My Sunday Photo - 52/52




Project 365 - Week 52/52


24th December 2017

25th December 2017

26th December 2017

27th December 2017

28th December 2017

29th December 2017

30th December 2017

31st December 2017

Well, that's it! The very last week of 2017 and what a year it's been! I'll be writing an run down of our year on an upcoming post, so stay tuned if you'd like to read about it. This week has of course been jam packed full of Christmas festivities, we've been so busy! We've had a Christmas Eve party with family, Christmas Day madness at our house where we cooked Christmas dinner, then visited more family, another party but this time on Boxing Day, Noah had a birthday party to go to, a soft play play date, then we've had a few trips out and of course New Years Eve. It's been a wonderful week and the most perfect first Christmas as a family of four, Ava's first Christmas.

What have you been up to this week?

Mummy & Me - December



As we near the end of 2017 I feel quite emotional writing my last Mummy & Me post. This time last year I was pregnant with Ava and one of the photo's I used was a picture of me holding Noah, with both of our hands on my bump. Fast forward 12 months and my baby bump is now a nine month old Ava bean and it's honestly been the fastest year of my life. I feel like I've blinked and a whole 365 days have just flown on by. She's well and truly completed our family and I can't remember what life was like before she arrived.

I had half a dozen different photo's to chose from this month, from days out or quick shots whilst we've been at home but I had to go for these three festive pictures. My favourite has got to be the one of Ava giving me a big Christmas kiss whilst we waited to visit Father Christmas. She looked so cute in one of her Christmas dresses, matching headband and fluffy white coat and it was such a lovely afternoon. The other two photo's are a little grainy with them being a front camera selfie but I love them none the less. We were all sat under the tree on Christmas Eve, so excited for the morning ahead! Christmas is always magical when you have a child but having two, it just made it even more memorable. Our first Christmas as a family of four and we've all had the most amazing time!




Nicola... Life Through My Eyes

Merry Christmas 2017




Just a quick post to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and all the best for 2018! This year is going to be super special for us being Ava's very first Christmas, our first as a family of four. I hope you have a wonderful time and make lots of lovely new festive memories! 

I'll also take this opportunity to share some of the images from the Christmas themed photo shoot Ava won a couple of months ago (you may recognise a couple from the banner on my blog!) They are way too cute to not publish and I absolutely treasure each shot. I just wish I'd dressed Noah out of his nursery clothes as a precaution as I didn't know he'd be invited to take a few photo's too!




Project 365 - Week 51/52


17th December 2017

18th December 2017

19th December 2017

20th December 2017

21st December 2017

22nd December 2017

23rd December 2017

This week has been a mad dash of last minute Christmas prep (shopping, wrapping, planning) and front room decorating bedlam. Why we decided to start work on our front room four weeks before Christmas is beyond me, but everything is getting there slowly but surely. Most pictures this week are of Ava looking cute because we've been so busy and when Noah's been home from nursery he's either been having play dates or preoccupied with something else. This week at nursery everything has of course been Christmas themed, he had a Christmas party, Father Christmas came to visit, they've been sledging, doing festive arts and crafts, they even walked down to a local to school to see some reindeer's. It's such a fantastic nursery, I couldn't have asked for anything better for him!

What have you been up to this week? 

Ava - 9 Months Old



Well this year has no intention of slowing down, Ava is now nine months old! 9 months in, 9 months out and I can't quite seem to get my head around where the times gone! I can't remember what life was like before she arrived, she's totally completed our family. She's an absolute joy to be around, she just has this aura about her and even makes total strangers smile from ear to ear.


Character
As mentioned on previous updates she's an absolute joy and is such a happy baby. She is rarely grouchy or whiny and is always cheerful, with a big cheesy smile on her face. She's super affectionate and loves nothing more than to give copious amounts of kisses and cuddles, it's just the sweetest thing. She gives us a big sloppy kiss or a clumsy cuddle when we ask for them but she also gives them freely and without a prompt too. She already has us all wrapped around her finger, at just nine months old! She is very inquisitive and always seems to be learning something new. As well as being quite laid back, happy and affectionate she can have her moments where she will have a little strop, usually when you take something off her that she shouldn't have. She's also a proper Mummy's girl, sometimes all she'll want is me but then again the moment Nick walks through the door she's literally leaping out of my arms with excitement.



Size

recently weighed Ava on our bathroom scales and although they can be quite unreliable it said that she now weighs 1 stone 3 which is 17 lb. This means that she's following her centile line to a tee, she's right where she should be. She's quite tall but she is quite stocky too, she's so heavy to carry! She is now wearing mainly 9-12 month clothing but some are still way too big, which is quite frustrating. Why do baby clothes vary so much in size?



Health
Nothing to report on the health front as she's been fine, perhaps a few sniffles here and there. She cut her first tooth last month on her brothers fourth birthday and since she's cut another four more! This means she now has 5 teeth which is strange to me because Noah didn't get his first until a week before his first birthday! They've not bothered her at all, she's been a great teether so far.



Feeding

We are still breastfeeding and have no intention of stopping anytime soon, everything has been brilliant on that front. She gets so excited when I ask her if she'd like some milk and if I ask her where her milk is she will lift up my top and laugh. She feeds around 6-8 times in 24 hours but it can vary from day to day. Her longest feeds are of course first thing in the morning and her bedtime feed. Not only does she love milk but she adores her food too! She is another Noah  when it comes to her appetite and I've not found anything that she doesn't like. She mainly eats what we eat now and has very little baby food. She has the occasional pouch or jar here and there but she's really easy to please and does prefer to eat what we are having. She has three meals a day and a couple of snacks during the day. Her favourite foods are; pasta, cheese, tomatoes, toast, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, brioche, cake, pear, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, yogurt.



Sleep
We are still waiting for a full night sleep but she's getting there! She's managed 6 and 7 hours without waking so far and every week she seems to be getting better and better. Nap time is okay but it really depends. Sometimes she will want to nap earlier and usually when she does she will only sleep for about half an hour. With this in mind I try to keep her awake and encourage her to wait a while longer and usually she will then nap for an hour or so. We set up her cot last week and although she is still in our room she is sleeping so much better! I think because she's not in our bed or in the co sleeper next to us, we aren't disturbing her as much. Who knows, next month she may be sleeping through!?



Milestones and new tricks

* Ta and Aww has now joined Ava's vocab of Mama, Dada, Hiya and Baba!
* We now have a fully fledged crawler on our hands, no more bum shuffling. She is so fast too!
* Not only that but she can now pull herself up and stand against chairs and tables. She can't be left for a moment as she is also starting to cruise with furniture.
* She now has five teeth with her sixth on the way.
* We said goodbye to the co sleeper and now she mainly sleeps in her cot and sleeps so much better, though she still ends up in my arms at some point during the night.
* She dances when she hears music but she has been doing this for some time now.



Likes and dislikes

Mummy, Daddy, Noah. Her family. The cat. Guitars, especially when Daddy plays his. Food and milk, eating in general. Little Baby Bum videos and songs. Singing and dancing. Reading and books. Playing with Noah and his toys. Crawling and getting up to mischief. Pulling herself up and trying to cruise. Building blocks and balls. Soft toys and giving them a cuddle. Peppa Pig. Cuddles in bed. Being held. Nursery rhymes. Remote controls, wires, mobile phones. Bath time. Sleeping in her cot. She's not a fan of men with big beards, the changing mat or being in the car.

aden + anais Dream Blanket - Competition




For the past couple of weeks I've been uploading my annual Christmas gift guides and they've been so popular this year, more than ever before. My final gift guide of the year was put together for the little ones in our lives, the babies. In my baby gift guide I included a lot of practical and useful items because for me as a parent with a baby, those kind of gifts are appreciated more that ten dozen different toys. One of my favourite items that I included this year has got to be the aden + anais Dream Blanket, read below to find out why.

Here's a little background about aden + anais, one of the many reasons why they are one of my favourite baby brands. Once upon a time, a new mum found herself searching high and low for the muslin swaddle blankets that her mother, grandmother and generations of Australian women before them had used to comfort their own babies. When she couldn’t find them anywhere in her adopted home of the USA, she made them herself, and aden + anais was born. aden + anais believe that soft, breathable muslin is the only fabric you should use on your babies.
Perfect for those born to sparkle, their 100% cotton muslin dream blanket gets a metallic makeover with new prints that are as soft as they are shimmery. Made with four layers of breathable muslin, aden + anais dream blanket’s uses go beyond cuddling, as it also makes a snuggly surface to lay your little one on no matter where the day takes you. They are machine washable, but the precious fabric requires specific care instructions, so be sure to follow them carefully.

I hope my gift guides have given you a little inspiration when it comes to your gift giving this year and to fit nicely with my baby gift guide I've teamed up with aden + anais to give away one of their Dream Blankets worth £58.00 to one lucky winner! To enter simply use the Gleam for below. Good luck and don't forget to enter my other blog competitions!

aden + anais Metallic Silver Deco Dandelion Dream Blanket worth £58.00

Terms & Conditions.         
1. There will be 1 winner who will the prize mentioned above.
2. Prize sent directly by the PR. 
3. Competition ends 14/01/18.
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. UK entries only.
 

Project 365 - Week 50/52



10th December 2017

11th December 2017


12th December 2017


13th December 2017


14th December 2017


15th December 2017


16th December 2017

As we near the end of the year, the weeks don't seem to be slowing down. I can't believe that Christmas is just over one week away, I'm so excited but not prepared at all! We've had a pretty ordinary week really, nothing really exciting! Just our regular daily routines of slimming world, nursery, shopping, family visits, etc etc! Noah had lots of Christmas themed activities at nursery this week, as well as Forest School. He's loving it so much lately, there's no more tears at drop off which is such a relief. Ava is coming on leaps and bounds at the moment, I just have to blink and it seems like she's learned something new. I can't keep up her! She loves to pull herself up now, up against the sofa or a table. She also crawls very very fast!

What have you been up to this week? 

Baby Dove Rich Moisture Range - Review



All parents know how delicate and fragile babies skin can be, it's thinner than ours which means it loses moisture easily and can become quite dry if you aren't careful. From the moment they are born, it really pays to be conscious of how you take care of their skin; they need the most gentle cleansing to make sure their skin remains healthy and protected.

Dove has been a leading retailer in skin care for the past 60 years and they recently developed a brand new range, aimed at children with normal to dry skin. Introducing, Baby Dove! Included in this range is everything you need to take total care of your baby’s skin. The products are; Baby Dove Rich Moisture and Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture (fragrance-free) Head to Toe Baby Wash, Baby Bar, Shampoo, Lotion, Nappy Cream and Wipes. The entire Baby Dove range is dermatologist tested, paediatrically approved, and plus the Head To Toe Baby Wash is also pH neutral and clinically proven to be as mild as water. This range isn't just mild on delicate skin but it also helps to replenish essential moisture and nutrients too.



We were recently invited to try out our pick of two products for the new range, whichever would be the most suitable for Ava. I opted for the Baby Dove Head to Toe Wash and the Lotion. I thought they would both be great to try out for the first time during our bath, book and bedtime routine.

I always check the labels on the products that I use on my children's skin and when it comes to using them I only use the smallest amount of product, as it's all their skin needs. I also found that bathing them every other night, rather than every night helps prevent their skin from drying out and lets the natural oils get back into their hair and skin. Baby Dove is however gentle enough to be used daily, even on newborn skin.



We were very happy with the two products we received and would definitely buy them again as they provide exactly what's promised - total care of my little ones skin. I also adore the gentle scent of the products which is described as a "hugs and kisses" fragrance however if you prefer your products fragrance-free I'd recommend the Sensitive Moisture range rather than Rich Moisture products.

Prices for the Baby Dove range start at RRP £1.25 and it can be purchased online and in store at most leading retailers. Head over to the Baby Dove website for the full information and more details.

- In sponsorship with Baby Dove.

Christmas Gift Guide - For Infants


Christmas is just around the corner and for the past couple of weeks I've been publishing my annual gift guides, they're a great way to get a little bit of inspiration before the big day. I've already published my gift guide for men, one for us ladies, one for the kids and today brings me to my final one for the year, aimed at the little ones in our lives. Having a baby myself I've included a lot of items that I'd personally love to receive for Ava, especially the essentials which are listed towards the top of the guide. I hope my suggestions give you a couple of gift inspiration and ideas for Christmas and beyond.

Ewan the Dream Sheep - £29.99
Ewan the Dream Sheep plays soothing sounds on a low and slow base frequency and emits a calming pink glow, designed to help babies drift off to sleep. There are three white noise sound options, the vacuum cleaner, rain falling and womb sounds and gentle harp music, all of which play for 20 minutes giving your baby plenty of time to doze off to sleep gently. Ewan is number one on my list for a reason, there are so many parents who swear by this little fluffy sheep, myself included. Both Noah and Ava have one each, Noah has the purple original Ewan and Ava has the new grey version. The perfect gift for any new baby.

Winnie The Pooh Baby Eeyore Soft Toy - £12.99
Rainbow Designs have collaborated with The Walt Disney Company to launch a stunning new collection of infant soft toys. The new Hundred Acre Wood Signature Collection features one of the world’s most famous bears, Winnie the Pooh and some of his most lovable friends. We received Eeyore from the collection and I think he would make a lovely first teddy to a new baby on their very first Christmas.

Twinkle Twinkle Grobag - from £38.99
Grobag's are another of my baby essentials, I swear by them! When a friend is pregnant or when someone is thinking of buying a gift for a baby, a Grobag is always the first thing I recommend. In case you didn't know, a Grobag Baby Sleep Bag is a wearable blanket that will keep your baby at a comfortable temperature all night long. There are different togs for different temperatures and more details about togs and temperatures can be found on their website. Grobags are so much safer than using loose cot blankets as nothing can ride upon their face whilst they are sleeping, this of course is great for peace of mind. We are currently using the Twinkle Twinkle Grobag which is a 3.5 tog and comes in three different sizes, from 0-6 months through to 18-36 months. This is a great option for the winter months, especially if the bedroom your baby sleeps in a cool room like Ava does. The dark blue velour material is absolutely heavenly and I kind of wish they did them in adult sizes too!  

aden + anais Classic Dream Blanket - £44.95
aden + anais are another of my all-time favourite baby brands, they are famous for their multi-functional muslin cloths but their classic dream blankets are amongst my favourite products that they produce. These blankets feature four layers of 100% cotton muslin for the softest, most plush baby blanket ever! It uses go beyond keeping your baby warm but it also makes a comfortable surface to lay your little one on no matter where the day takes you, to the park, the beach or just playing around on the floor. They come in an array of different colours and patterns and they usually have matching muslin cloths and musy cloths too!
Rudolph Chirstmas Bibetta Bib - £7.50
When it comes to babies and Christmas you have to go all out with Christmas themed gifts and this festive bib is the perfect attire for when they are at the table, eating their Christmas dinner! Made from flexible and waterproof neoprene, with a soft pocket that folds out to catch any dropped food. This makes this bib perfect for baby-led weaning because not only does it catch any dropped food but they can easily retrieve the food themselves and carry on eating. Ava will be wearing hers on Christmas day, that's for sure! 

Tots Bots Easyfit Star - £17.99
Reusable nappies are a great gift idea for those environment-conscious parents out there and Tots Bots are the best of the best, in my humble opinion! Their award-winning Easyfit Star is the ultimate one-piece reusable nappy for absorbency, fit & comfort, with an out of this world performance. Their super absorbent bamboo core is so soft and gentle next to babies' bum. They have stayed dry buffer zones to keep liquid locked into core, making sure the baby is comfortable and dry. One size fits most, from birth through to potty training! Using cloth nappies can save parents hundreds of pounds and buying all the different prints and patterns can become quite addictive, don't say I didn't warn you!

Hape Teddy and Friends Bath Squirts - £9.99
If bath time with your little ones is more hassle than enjoyment then look no further than Hape’s Little Splashes range. Sure to provide never ending entertainment and happiness in the tub, create a beautiful bond between parent and child, whilst learning valuable water skills, encouraging growth and development. For hours of fun in the tub enjoy this set of lovable characters. As they soak up your bubbles, just make sure they don’t get too greedy and drink up all your water! Suitable for 0 months +.

Bolli Sensory Teether Ball - £6.99
Bolli is perfect for sensory development, shape exploration, fine motor skills, grasping and hand-eye coordination. It’s soft and pliable material can be squished, stretched and manipulated in so many different ways. It's great for stretching, twisting and grasping too. The open ball design makes it easy for babies to chew while teething and also makes it easy to grab a hold of. It's ideal for infants for teething but it's also great for older kids for imaginative play or for when they are learning to catch.
Happy Christmas Twirlywoos Book - £5.99
Get into the festive cheer with the Twirlywoos and their new book, Happy Christmas Twirlywoos! Knock! Knock! Knock! There’s somebody at the door! It’s a Christmas present! Join the Twirlywoos for lots of festive fun as they discover what’s inside their mystery gift! Packed with trademark Twirlywoos fun, this gorgeous shaped board book has a shiny foiled cover and is the perfect gift for every Twirlywoos fan.

Mini Club Reindeer Christmas Jumper - £13.00
This Mini Club Christmas reindeer jumper is the perfect festive addition to any wardrobe. Featuring a bold red background, and reindeer character with sequin and glitter bauble decorations. Perfect for your little one's first Christmas or a great idea for a gift. I was recently sent two Christmas jumpers from the Mini Club range for the children to wear on Christmas day and they are beyond gorgeous and super thick and soft.

Paddington Bear Activity Toy - £24.99
This Paddington Bear Activity Toy stimulates baby’s senses and engages their imagination with a host of fun activities to explore in just one toy. Perfect for little Paddington fans, the super-soft Activity Toy, embroidered in beautiful detail, plays a tune and features a baby-safe peek-a-boo mirror and suitcase shaped yellow teether. It has been designed specifically to encourage baby's early developmental skills and includes multiple textures and sounds. The Activity Toy comes in a platform box and is suitable from birth.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea 4 in 1 Games Box - £9.95
The 4-in-1 The Tiger Who Came to Tea Cube Game is a little box jam-packed with four traditional fun games for preschoolers, a great gift if you want to buy them something they'll grow into as babies really don't need that much. Included in the set is, Matching Bingo, Snap, Twisted Pairs and Four Shapes in a Row. The Games Cube features beautiful artwork from Judith Kerr’s classic children’s storybook. Measuring 135mm cubed the 4-in-1 Games Cube contains colourful and educational games that are just perfect for children.
Angel's Face Cardicoat - £45.00
This beautiful knitted cardi coat is essential for the colder months, a stunning piece that I think any parent would love to open up on Christmas day for their little one. It's made with the softest cotton for your little one's comfort and warmth, it's decorated with large gold buttons down the front and finished with a delicately embroidered heart charm. Available in three different colours, snowdrop white, ash grey, and vintage rose. You can buy directly from Angel's Face website.

My Friend Upsy Daisy - £19.99In the Night Garden My Friend Upsy Daisy is the sweetest of toys. She comes complete with exciting accessories such as a soft comb, mirror and flowery bag to encourage imaginative play. Made in bright, eye-catching colours and with a soft, huggable body, My Friend Upsy Daisy is the must-have companion for all In the Night Garden fans.

Teletubbies Giggling Tiddlytubbies Soft Toy - £9.98
The Giggling Tiddlytubbies Soft Toys are super tiddly! Simply press their tummies to hear them giggle. They  are made of softest material and look just like the adorable characters from your little one's TV show, this makes them perfect to snuggle up too. A great gift for any age, collect them all. 

Hopping & Talking Lily Bobtail - £29.99
A fun-packed feature plush toy from the TV Peter Rabbit Toy Collection! Watch Talking and Hopping Lily Bobtail waggle her cute little ears and also hop up and down. The endearing 40cm character also says five different phrases including ‘Not bad for a rabbit’ and ‘You need a big hug’. The fun-loving Lily wears her characteristic pink dress and jacket and is suitable for children 10 months and over. If your little one prefers Peter Rabbit then you can also get a Talking and Hopping Peter Rabbit instead!

As mentioned in my previous gift guides, there's a lot of variety in my gift guides this year, for all budgets. Make sure to keep a lookout on the blog this week, as I'll be publishing further gift guides and keep an eye on my competition page as I'll be giving away quite a few items which I've included.


- This post contains PR samples.