Monday, 30 September 2013

The Weekly Chase

I have just found a GREAT weekly goal setting idea called The Weekly Chase from the blog live, love & run.  
It is really simple, every Monday bloggers post a weekly goal.
 I have an end goal..... to loose weight.  
I do not have just 'a few pounds to shift'... more like a few stone to shift!
I like the idea of setting a weekly goal and then reviewing it on Sunday night.
 SO welcome to my very first post of The Weekly Chase.
I think I need to start off with something that is achievable

My goal for this week is:
To keep a food diary (photos) of everything I put in my mouth.  

I know how good it is to record a food diary.  I am the type of person who 'thinks' I have eaten really healthy BUT seem to 'forget' the odd biscuit or chocolate bar.  By keeping a food diary I will become much more aware of what I am eating and will be able to see what triggers bad eating and if there are any patterns.

I know this is just one small goal but the whole idea behind this is that these small goals will help get us to the end of our journey.

I am starting this journey for Baby E

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tree of Life

How to say Thank You

Baby E was a long time coming. 
We had fertility issues and tried conceiving 'naturally' for 1.5 years only to eventually be told that 'it would be a miracle for it to happen naturally' following specific tests.  
So our journey began....
JUST before Egg Transfer (baby E was put back inside me to GROW!)
This is not an IVF journey post, rather a post about saying THANK YOU to someone who helped bring Baby E into our lives.
My acupuncturist Liz
She is an amazing woman who was SO much more than just someone who put 'needles into me'.
I will not include the copious amounts of research that supports acupuncture (especially with aiding IVF procedures)...I also know that there are a lot of people out there who do not agree with it BUT I KNOW it helped us conceive our first round of IVF.

YES at times I did feel like a PIN cushion but what she ALSO did was keep me on track and keep me focused during every step of the procedure.  SO there were the physical benefits she gave me, the knowledge and guidelines about nutrition during each stage but also the emotional support. She specialises in fertility and was recommend by a friend who also conceived the first time.  
She 'grounded me' and reined me in when I felt stressed and worried and lost HOPE.
NO gift could EVER repay her for helping to give us our miracle, Baby E but I need to find something

My theme is around Trees.....mainly because I see her as the woman who HELPS give LIFE and for some reasons trees remind me of life...
The Tree of Life 

I love this print and actually have it in our house.  It is just beautiful and makes me smile every morning.  It is available from Missemai online botique

Or I could give her an actual plant, such as this Olive Tree by giftplant

Or this stunning tree necklace from Etsy shop thelovelyraindrop

I know she doesn't NEED, WANT or EXPECT anything but I know she played a MASSIVE role in helping bring Baby E into this world.
Sorry for the SOPPY POST

Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday 5

Thank goodness it is Friday!
It has felt like a VERY long week. Baby E has had her first streaming cold which means last night I was up and down like a YO YO. However, after swimming today she appears to be a little better? Maybe the humidity and the steam unblocked her?
Anyways loving this weekly post....

1. Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte OH MY

I think it is a North American thing but the minute this baby is available from Starbucks it defo feels like Autumn is here! The way I like it is: A grande soya pumpkin spiced late with 2 pumps.  Normally they put 4 pumps of syrup in the thing but it is just TOO sweet! 2 pumps is all I need

2. Same love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (featuring Mary  Lambert) 

I heard this song whilst watching the MTV Video Music Awards (yes I still act like a teenager) and fell in love with it.  The beats, the words, the message and Mary's voice are AMAZEBALLS.  Give it a chance if you haven't heard it...

3. Driving in the English country side on a sunny Autumnal day with the roof open (but heat on for baby) and music playing (not blaring due to baby)

4.  This whole outfit is perfect for this cooler weather


5. Petit Pumpkin Spiced Donuts

Like I said before its a North American thing...
Autumn=PUMPKIN EVERYTHING and I stumbled upon the gorgeous little beauties from here and am going to make them AT SOME POINT


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wallpaper Wednesdays

Ok I am starting a regular blog post: 

Wallpaper Wednesdays

This might shock some people because I have NEVER used wallpaper in any of the rooms I have occupied in my adult life.  The last room I can remember having wallpaper in was when I was a little girl, it was zoo fact I loved the wallpaper SO much that when we moved house I asked if I could take some with me......................

BUT in our new house I have been thinking that the time has come to use some wallpaper.  I need to be brave!  

Whilst watching the newest episode of Giuliana and Bill (one of my favourite shows) I fell in LOVE with some wallpaper in her new office.

The picture below makes it appear more 'pink' then it actual is.  It is very much grey and white

WELL I have tracked it down and am seriously considering this for our new house.  It is from Cole and Son and is the Paisley collection!

It is MY wallpaper of the week!

 I think the wallpaper works SO well with the panelling, especially the way the panelling has been coloured to match (although the pictures are not that clear).

In my bid to 're-create' this look I found 
Check them out.  I think panels can make a REAL difference to a room and I am seriously considering which room to include these two new finds

Monday, 23 September 2013

Operation find a Nursery- Pre - Visit Prep

As mentioned here  I explained why it is going to be very difficult to find childcare that is 'good enough' for Baby E when I go back to work.

Today I am going to share top tips of things to consider  before visiting potential childcare settings..although I have written 'Nursery' we are also considering childminders.

I must stress that none of these should individually impact your choice for setting, instead they should all play a role in deciding where to visit.  I also understand that finding time is very difficult and some of these might appear time consuming BUT for me personally this is helping me decide who will be taking care of my child for the majority of the working week, so I was willing to put in the time along with my husband.  In fact he enjoyed some of the responsibilities (I have him 1 and 3 - together we did 5)

1. Map It Out

If you are totally new to this it is the easiest thing to do.  For example  I  typed  'day nurseries in Leeds' and this map appeared with links to the nurseries and locations.  This is very useful to get a feel for how many are around you.  
It is crucial to think about the commute you and/or your partner make to get to work and highlight nurseries that are convenient. 
Also it is worth while considering places near your or your partner's work- convenient and if your child falls ill suddenly it can be easy to get to them quickly

2. Ask Around

Personal recommendations go a LONG way when looking for childcare and schools.  Do not be afraid to ask friends or even acquaintances.  Also if you are a member of a  local 'mummy facebook' group or just a local group there is no harm asking for recommendations.  Sticking to just 'Google' could be flawed as not every childcare option may be on the map.
I must also add that it is important to not be swayed entirely by what/who friends suggest.  Although tempting to have your children go to the same place as their best friend bear in mind that that place might not be RIGHT for your child

3.  Fees


Most childcare settings have fee information on their website or a brochure/perspective parent book can be requested prior to the visits.  In my experience while settings can vary on their costs, they are not usually widely different but it is important to have that information beforehand to help making your decision of where to visit.

4.  Ofsted Reports


Ofsted reports can be a very useful document when thinking about childcare and schools for your children.  I will be detailing in my next blog post how to use the Ofsted website effectively.

5. Rank Your Top Choices

If you have done tips 1 to 4 (or some of them) you are going to have a lot of pre-visit information.  It might feel like a little TOO much. However, time is not something we have on our side and I am not personally able to visit every nursery/childminder on the map.  As a result I would prefer to make an 'informed' decision of the childcare settings I decide to visit.
It is important to decide how many visits you are able to make (with or without partner) and then rank the settings that are of highest interest.

6.  Book visits

I would suggest booking your visits to the nursery between Tuesday-Thursday as these are often the busiest times.  This will allow you to see a much more 'accurate' picture of how the settings runs.  Monday and Fridays tend to be quieter (as these are the preferred days off work) and everything runs much more smoothly on quiet days but this is not a 'true' picture of the day.

Do you have any other TOP TIPS that worked for you? If so please share in the comments section.

If you are 'totally new' to this and not sure where to start I would strongly recommend that you visit  more than one childcare setting.  I can assure you that no settings are the same and you need to find the 'right fit' for your child.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Operation - Find a Nursery


The time has come...... 
I have begun looking for childcare for Baby E for when I go back to work in April

I know this is not going to be easy.

I need to set the context as to why I am going to find this task particularly challenging.

In my role I am an Early Years Consultant - my background is that I am a qualified teacher who developed a passion working with the youngest children and as a result got an MA in Early Years Education.  I have worked in many schools and in my last school I was the Early Years Team Leader who helped lead my school to be deemed 'Outstanding' by Ofsted.  Following this I was approached to become an Early Years Consultant-my current role

In a nut shell this means that I spend a lot of my work days working with different early years settings (nurseries, pre-schools and schools) to improve current practice.

I know what 'oustanding' early years settings should look like and have very high expectations of every setting I work with.  Whilst teaching, I also had extremely high expectations of myself and my staff.  The reason for this is that I KNOW the difference we can make in the lives of children.

So this is why I think finding somewhere for Baby E will be very hard. Not only will I have my 'expert' hat on I will also have my 'mummy' hat on....

Over the next few blog posts I am hoping to share some of my TOP TIPS when looking for childcare.  Although I will be focussing on childcare for young children, a lot of what I will write about could also be used when looking for schools.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Friday Five

Some of the blogs I have been following have been doing Friday Five and I love today is my first official FRIDAY FIVE

I was at a friends house and noticed a very cute Cath Kidson covered chair in her kitchen.  She then kindly gave me the link to Chairs for Cherubs Ebay Store which is AMAZING! It has big chairs and small chairs and lots of different fabrics to choose from.  I am currently coveting this little girls chair for Baby Es bedroom.  I think £82 is a good deal.  I think the adult chairs come in around £159 and you can choose your fabric.  A good find!
Since becoming a mummy Nespresso has been my saviour! BUT my hubby surprised me with a Caramel Nespresso Pod which is delish! ...BTW the vanilla one is also amazing
This knitted outfit is amazing! I seriously am in love with this winter hat for Baby E! The company is pretty cool too, expensive but I could seriously buy everything.

I am a HUGE fan of the blog created by The Detoxinista and will defo be truing these date and energy balls this week!

My rainbow birthday cake fresh from The Hummingbird Bakery! Seriously yummy BUT such a sugar high


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

HIgh chair HELP needed

OK we are about 3.5 weeks away from moving Baby E onto solids and I have NO idea what kind of high chair to buy?????? 
  I have been putting it off as I have been told SOOOO many different things and there are too many options.

Some people have told me the BEST option is the SUPER cheap Ikea chair.  I have to say the £12.00 price tag is super tempting.....but if I am being totally honest the aesthetic appeal is lacking...
 Then on the opposite end of the spectrum is the expensive Stokke Trip Trapp highchair.  Two of my friends rave about this one.  They love that it fits right under the table and can be used as the child grows.  I have to admit I like the look of it and the idea of being able to use it later...BUT I do see a lot of these on ebay and local adds which has me thinking, 'maybe children don't use it as they grow?'

Finally the other highchair I have heard a lot of praise for is the Cosatto highchair.  Again it is a little pricey, although anything would be when you compare it to the Ikea highchair.

PLEASE HELP ME! Any suggestions/recommendations greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Winter hats for Baby E

Now that Autumn is upon us.... I have been thinking about buying Baby E winter hat (s).  In fact I have bought one from Tesco that was a bargain but am still on the look out for other winter hats.
There are too many hats to choose from......this might be the new obsession...HATS to replace my 'chavvy headbands' obsession.  Here are some of my favourites
This hat is my FAVOURITE ATM 

Such a warm and cosy hat but is a little too much money

 I love these owl hats...super cute

This hat and gloves selection makes me feel SO wintery!

I bought this one for Baby E as it was such a bargain at £5.00 from Tesco

A simple and super cute hat

I LOVE this WIG hat..although probably not top choice for day to day

Have you found any other great winter hats?

Monday, 9 September 2013

YOU calling MY baby 'chavvy?'

I think not!
You might have read in my previous post that Baby E is currently wearing Ear Buddies.  The tape is not a pretty sight especially once it has become worn. 
I therefore decided to buy some headbands to help cover the tape and splint..I must add I was super inspired by Aspiring Kennedy's super cute little lady who has been rocking to headgear lots.
SOO my little lady has a few of her own to wear
Everyone comments how wonderful they are and how cute they make her look.  
I therefore, wanted to buy some more so did a Google search and accidentally stumbled upon a long thread on Mumsnet that was super BITCHY.

'NOMOREBOOZE' started the thread with.....'it really annoys me when i see cute little babies wearing chav elastic hairbands, why oh why do people put them on there babies when they have no hair, it looks stupid!!!!!!!!! argggggggggggggggg.x'

The entire thread had something like 339 other comments (most negative). It took everything in me not to 'stoop' to their level and post pics of my baby girl asking if they thought she looked 'chavvy'.  It also took almost everything not to comment on how 'CHAV TASTIC' someone called NOMOREBOOZE was.
What defines 'chavvy' anyways?
After my initial annoyance simmered down I started to think how crazy it is that SO many woman...mothers presumably...had THAT kind of time to write and then respond to a thread about headbands...339 comments? 

BUT maybe I need to get a life for taking the time to read these bloody threads..

OK rant done..almost
I think that Baby E looks cute and if a group of mums 'snigger' that she looks chavvy when they see her then so be it..

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Baby E

I have always loved living in a market town
  The fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, flowers..all of it is fantastic
This Saturday I was surprised to stumble upon a new stall I have never seen before
Rock A Bye Baby has seriously 'cool' clothes for children even the packaging was cool-old vinyl record cases!
 It was also great to hear that Emma lives locally and designs all the clothes by herself.  I could not resist buying a few things...some for now and others for when Baby E is 12months plus.  
If you have a chance take a look! There is a seriously good sale on at the moment as well.
*****I was not given any type of discount to write this post, purely my own thoughts*********

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Have I already failed?

I am worried as I begin to write this post that I might come across as 'vain' or 'my worries trivial compared to others' but I thought I need to just GET ON WITH IT.
Baby E is beautiful to every way possible.

I want to teach her SO badly that she is MUCH more than just looks...that she needs to be happy and confident in her own skin and that she should be proud of WHO she is and the person she will become.
I want my daughter to know who she is and love who she is

So have I already failed?
Have I already taught her that looks matter the most?

When Baby E turned 3 months old we started to notice that her ears changed....they became more prominent.

This picture was taken just as they started to become more prominent. I know they do not look that bad here but they became more and more prominent and sticky-outy ears run in the family.

I worried about it, especially as I had friends growing up who were SO self conscious of their ears.  So much so that they would NEVER EVER wear their hair up, even if it was boiling hot and we were outside playing sports.  
I was also told by people 'she is a girl and can just cover it'...but I didn't want that for her. 

Then a friend of mine told me about Ear Buddies.  She was using them on her daughter...I looked into them further and saw that the NHS was starting to offer them in Greater Glasgow and that some top Doctors also support them so I thought 'why not'.

As Baby E was over 3 months we need to leave them on for at least 9 weeks.  She has about 3 weeks left of them.  They have not caused her any pain or discomfort and we change them regularly.
This is what it basically looks like....
ear buddies
We have certainly noticed a difference when we have taken them off and left them to air dry for a day.
My good friend who saw Baby E before and then saw her on a day we were letting them get some air also commented about the improvement.

She is beautiful no matter what BUT I just couldn't help but think ahead to the future 'Teenage E' and decided it was worth a try.

If children have crooked teeth they are often given braces, I suppose this is like 'braces' for her ears but far less painful and a lot less of a time commitment.

Here I go again trying to reassure myself.
You can probably tell that this is a dilemma that still goes on inside my head.

But I am her mummy and will still teach her to love herself and this was our choice for her....all with good intentions

We still do not know what the outcome will be so will keep you posted

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What Baby E Wore

Today is already hot and muggy so I have had to go into the 'pack away' bag to get Baby Es summer clothes out again. I love this summer dress from Seed Heritage in Australia (cousins sent it over). Seriously wish I had a version. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Coffee Nooks

Let's talk about 'coffee nooks'
Since become a mum I have seriously gotten into coffee (honestly, never drank it before).  SO coffee nooks are super exciting (tea as well)

As we are getting closer (fingers seriously crossed) to completing on our new house  I have seriously started thinking about our new kitchen and coffee nooks are on my WISH LIST.  Does anyone have one? Any recommendations?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Baby Es Autumnal looks

Baby E is growing up WAAAAY to fast! She is almost 5 months (8 more days)
I have just realised that I do not have many 6-9 month clothes and anything appropriate for the colder weather.
So I have been on a little shopping spree. One of my favourite places for Baby E is Zara and I have just ordered another round of fantastic baby girl clothes.  Can't wait for them to arrive 
(free delivery on orders over £50).  I also had to throw in a treat for me :-)