Saturday, 31 January 2015

#Drop30 Week 3

My Stats:

Weight lost: -1 lb
Total lost so far: -8.5lb
Overall mood: mixed
Weeks left until my 30th birthday: 27

My Thoughts:

What did I find tough?
It seems that time is slipping away from me rapidly now, as my return to work is almost imminent and this is making me anxious, stressed and somewhat fed up. These 3 feelings make me want to EAT! However, I have reined it in still and kept my eyes on the prize.

Jake has had 2 nursery sessions this week which was tough, but also a relief after they went well. We've been out and about, which makes it hard to resist temptations - especially when you go to Costa Coffee and you have to resist cake!

I also found it tough to think of things to have with the main part of my evening meal e.g. if having curry, what else could I have besides rice or veg?

What has gone well?
I resisted cake! I resisted cake every day! I ate no bread, even though I really wanted some and Jake has had a good week.

Overall:I am pleased with how my #drop30 challenge is going. In 3 weeks I have gotten rid of a good chunk of the 30lbs I have challenged myself to lose before my 30th birthday in August. I hope I can keep up the positive trend, now. We have 2 meals out this coming week for family birthdays so that's going to be hard!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Review: Mamas & Papas long-sleeve body suits

When Jake was born, I was really lucky to receive lots of presents and gifts from friends and family members. One of those gifts was a gorgeous pack of Mamas & Papas long-sleeved body suits in size 3-6 months from the lovely Scarlett, who was actually my sisters friend (but we have always been friendly ourselves). 

I loved them immediately, and couldn't wait until Jake was big enough to wear them.

Now, fitting snugly in size 3-6 month clothing, I have had time to try these gorgeous bodysuits out... And I love them!

What's great?
  • Soft fabric that is quality, washes well and doesn't loose shape or fit
  • Trendy, funky designs for a boy without being stereotypical e.g. No tractors!
  • Contrasting edges which complement and support the design, helping to give a good fit and style

Since receiving these I have bought a few more items of clothing from Mamas and Papas to wear now and to grow in to. Fantastic!

Now I just need to get my hands on one of their gorgeous Armadillo Flips or Urbo2s for my 
small car boot! Love them. 

Review: January Sassy Bloom Box

This month I was super pleased with my Sassy Bloom Box for Jake; it was full of useful products which we either needed, or had researched and planned to buy!

Jake was really pleased to see his latest Sassy Bloom Box, and was quick to get it unwrapped (mummy was too)...

Here's what was in the box and what we've thought about it:
  • Ashton & Parsons Infant Powders – RRP £5.99: This is very relevant at the moment, as Jake is showing symptoms of being troubled by his gums. We often use Nelson's 'Teetha' but was pleased with how this had a calming influence on Jake once we had tried it.
  • Green People – Organic Babies Soothing Baby Salve – RRP £9.95: Those of you who follow Jake regularly will know that he does suffer with skin irritation and infantile eczema. Although we've only used this a few times since receiving it, it does have a nice feel to it and hasn't worsened his skin (too early to see any real change). It also can be used as nipple cream, although that doesn't apply to me as I don't breastfeed.
  • Taggies Carrier Cushion – Blue – RRP £9.99: Super, Super happy with this! Luke and I had been looking for one of these in TKMaxx recently, but they were all a little too girly. THis is brilliant and Jake is loving the little dangly toy. Not only does Jake like it - but it has really helped to alleviate that pain when carrying the heavy car seat!
  • Sassy Pour and Explore Water Whirl – RRP £7.95: We have yet to actually try this with Jake - he can't sit up yet, so can be difficult to really play at bath time. Looking forward to using it though!
  • Metanium Planner with pen – £1.99: This was of no use to us, and really should be given to new mums not once baby is almost 5 months.
  • Metanium Everyday Barrier Ointment – £1.99: Another useful product and once we'll try out once our current barrier cream finishes.
  • Halilit Rainbow Shaker – Green – RRP £5.99: We were super pleased to receive this. I had been planning to make something similar at home with rice and chickpeas, but pleased that this came in the box. Jake loves the sound and it is something that is going to get a lot of use!
  • Tommee Tippee Explora Easiflow Cup 4-7m – Blue – RRP £4.16: SUPER pleased this came - we were about to buy one when we were going chopping - it was on our list! So glad we didn't. We haven't used it yet, but gave it to Jake to practice holding and we'll be trying it out very soon, once we begin weaning. Pleased that it was a good, trusted brand.
  • Organix Strawberry & Banna Porridge 4+ – RRP £0.80p: Again - pleased this was in the box as we're about to begin weaning and we've added this to the pile of goodies to try :)
  • Personalised Bib – Blue – RRP £5.00: We were chuffed to see this in the box. Anything personalised is an added little bonus and it will make it into our keepsake box, which I talked about here. Lovely addition to the Sassy Bloom box.
Jake also likes the pretty ribbon too...
Overall: I was really pleased with this months Sassy Bloom Box. It was full of things we need, or have wanted to purchase. Very good overall. If you would like to purchase Sassy Bloom and save yourself £10 - then use my referral code SASSBEXM here.

NB: I do not receive free boxes to review. I have paid for this 3 box subscription. Opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Settling in Sessions at Nursery

This week has been full of Milestones. As well as rolling over, Jake has taken the big step of going to his settling in sessions at nursery. We have enrolled Jake in a Co-operative childcare nursery, which is local to us. They have over 47 locations nationwide and offer all-inclusive fees, which means they provide all formula, nappies and wipes as part of the service. Importantly for us, they offer half day sessions - which means that although Jake will be going 2 or 3 times a week, it will only be for the morning. Brilliant!

The sessions were broken down into 2 days, which is a good idea because it is much less intimidating and scary!

1st Session
I took my mum along with us to session 1 at the nursery because mum is the other form of childcare we'll be using, along with daddy (around his shifts). It didn't start out to well as I half-dropped Jake in his car seat in the car park! Something I have never done! But luckily, he was OK and we were all fine. 

The session was a real success. Jake was taken into the 0-2 year old's room, which will be where he spends his sessions and one of the staff members took hold of him. For over an hour he played with her, looked around, investigated things and even had his feed! He was really good, and didn't seem upset or overwhelmed by it. The only thing that started him was when a girl, who was a little poorly, started crying quite loudly...he wasn't sure about that!

Claire, the staff member who was inducting us took us through where he was up to so far in terms of developments and explained some of the ins and outs. The other children were all lovely (and very cute), and I left feeling very positive.

2nd Session
This time once we arrived and had been greeted and signed in, we took Jake to the baby room and we had to settle him in with his key worker - Tia. - and then leave.

Yes. Leave my child with someone I had met only once, for an hour.

I have to say that I was a bubbling mix of emotions. On one hand I was confident, because Jake seemed to like Tia when we were at our first session and he was well behaved for her. I was reassured by the fact that all of the other children seemed happy, and enjoying themselves. But, I was also suddenly very sick about the fact that I was leaving him in a place he didn't know - with people he didn't know. 

As I left the room, to go and complete the paperwork, I was anxious. I hoped that he was ok and did feel a little torn - part of me wanted to just nip back and see! However, once we got into the room and began the admin side of things with Claire, the room leader, I became much more relaxed and at ease. Claire went to check Jake for me twice and to make sure that he wasn't upset. In fact - he took his feed comfortably from Tia and had been winded calmly. 

The admin session allowed me to ask / find out the answers to the questions I had, for example:
  • What sort of activities will he do?
  • Who was going to be his key person?
  • What happens if we are ever late to fetch him?
  • How does safeguarding work here?
  • What happens if Jake becomes ill or is hurt?
  • Could we work together on weaning etc.?
  • What clothes should he wear?
  • What nappy brand do you use?
  • And other practical questions.
In all, the admin session helped to alleviate my niggling concerns and by the end, when the contract was signed, I felt a lot happier. 

We headed back to Jake. I was so happy to see him! There he was, sat on the floor between Tia's knees whilst she was singing 'row, row, row your boat' with lots of the other children sat around him in a horse shoe. He was happy, and taking it all in. 

It made me smile, and I'm happy with the choice I've made. 

I will keep you posted on Jake's nursery adventure!

20 Weeks Old

Today, Jake has turned 20 weeks old! I can't believe it! In just 2 weeks my baby boy will be 5 Months old and no longer such a little baby. 

This week has given us our biggest milestone yet, as Jake has rolled over on to his front several times in the last 24 hours :) 

We are so proud xx

Jake is growing up so quickly!

Milestone card says it all 😊

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

#FilmReview 'August: Osage County'

'August: Osage County' was a true surprise; I hadn't expected to enjoy it or to be so riveted. I decided to watch a bit of it when I saw it was about to start on Sky Movies. I was so intrigued by the opening 20 minutes, that once Jake woke up I decided to find it on demand and save it to the sky+ box.

I have finally watched the film in its entirety and am moved by the true to life misery that is dished up in this film.

Directed by John Wells, and written by Tracy Letts (who wrote the original play), IMDB summarise it as being 'A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.'

With talent such as Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor and Benedict Cumberbatch taking on these complex, quite often damaged, characters it is no wonder that the film is so moving and brings home a real truth. This truth is given to us in the very opening of the film, when the father of the story tells us, 
'Life is very long. T.S. Elliot. Not the first person to say it, certainly not the first person to think it, but he's given credit for it because he bothered to write it down.'. 
It isn't until the action unfolds that we realise just how poignant that is.

The film delivers us laughs, shocks and tears that are pulled from us by the performances given. The turmoil of the main characters, who are strong women, is difficult to watch at times as you start to see into the lives of these women and you feel a little bit like the awkward guest at the dinner table.

4/5 stars. It is well worth a watch.

Mummy wants to Cuddle

I don't know about you and your baby, but my little man just isn't a cuddler. 

When he was newborn and still really young JD would only go to sleep if we were cuddling/holding him. I remember those first few nights, we were mistakenly rocking and shushing him to sleep, staying up for hours sat on the sofa with the 24 hour news muted in the background (it's fair to say we didn't know what we were doing!).

He would nap on us, too, during the day. But quite quickly he became disinterested in cuddles. Jake doesn't like to be 'bustled' - he doesn't like people bothering him and 'petting him'. He isn't interested in cuddling us unless he's tired or under the weather. 

Oh - don't get me wrong - on his 'bad days' he's clingy, but not for cuddles. Just to be held up off the floor and looking around. 

More and more, I find myself wanting to cuddle him. To snuggle his warm body and smell his baby smell. I want him to want to come into our bed in the morning (but he only stands it for about 10 mins!) and to fall asleep on us again - but these are now becoming rarities. They happen only when really tired, or not feeling himself. I love those cuddles we get at night, after the late feed and we sing 'twinkle twinkle'.
I hope we get our cuddly JD back after this new phase -  mummy wants cuddles! 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Old Friends

Today the hubby and I took Jake to meet up with one of my very best friends; Emma. 

Emma and I met at University and it was evident from day one that we would be lifelong friends - after all, if someone loves Bridget Jones' Diary and Pride and Prejudice, and knows as many of the words as you do, you know it's meant to be. 

Emma is, without a doubt, the nicest person I know. There isn't a cruel or selfish bone in her body, which is why I love her so much. She never moans or bitches about people, and I know she is an amazing Primary School Teacher. She values her privacy, so you won't see a photo of her on here. 

Even better? She gets on really well with Luke - and even he says she is the friend of mine that he likes the most. 

We met up at the Intu Merry Hill Shopping Centre, at Starbucks. It was so great to see her and to catch up.... A skinny latte later and it was as though no time had passed since we last saw each other, isn't that the sign of great friendship? 

An added bonus is that Jake really seems to like Emma; he smiles at her, holds her fingers, and even blows raspberries on her (a huge compliment from Jake!). It's so rare to find friends who are interested in your baby if they don't have one themselves. Here he is having a lovely time: 
Does your little one get on with your friends? Do they show an interest and make an effort?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

#Drop30 Week 2

Phew! What a week it has been... My grandma celebrated her 80th birthday, we saw hubby's parents and the pair of us had a dodgy tummy bug at the start of the week.

My Stats:

Weight lost: -2.5lb
Total lost so far: -7.5lb
Overall mood: pleased!
Weeks left until my 30th birthday: 28 

My Thoughts:

What did I find tough?
I had a rough day on Wednesday and I wanted to eat sooo much. Anything naughty would have done!! You name it! I really struggle with emotional eating, it's part of my problem. So I was glad that I was able to stay strong and resist.

I also felt a bit like I was denying myself, a couple of times this week...but then I remembered that NOT denying myself is what got me here in the first place. 

What was positive? 
I had a great time celebrating my gran's 80th birthday and enjoyed a lovely slice of cake. Luke has been supportive and has begun adapting his own evening meals to complement mine, which is good (and better for him). 

I tried a new breakfast, which was granola, 100g low fat Greek yoghurt and a tablespoon of organic honey. I also tried a new lunch which was lemon and bulgar wheat cous cous with chopped orange mixed in. Both we're nice and I'll be eating the granola a lot more, I think!

You really can lose weight just by monitoring your calorie intake and trying to move more. I'm pleased with my half a stone loss in two weeks and it's a great kick start because I know I won't lose such big amounts now (always lose the most in your first week or so). 

Tonight we're going to have a treat, but other than that I am sticking to it! 

How has your week gone? Are you trying to lose weight too?


Friday, 23 January 2015

Book Review: The Husband's Secret

This is the first book I have read for pleasure, since becoming a mummy. I have spent a lot of time reading baby-related texts, websites, blog posts and magazines; it has been nice to read a fiction novel for no reason other than I want to.

The Author & Blurb:
'The Husband's Secret' is written by Liane Moriarty, a wife and mother who lives in Sydney, Australia. Moriarty has written over 6 books now, with 'The Husband's Secret' published successfully around the world.

"At the heart of the top ten bestselling The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty is a letter that's not meant to be read . . .Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic. Written in her husband's hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death. Curious, she opens it - and time stops. John-Paul's letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, if revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.Cecilia - betrayed, angry and distraught - wants to do the right thing, but right for who? If she protects her family by staying silent, the truth will worm through her heart. But if she reveals her husband's secret, she will hurt those she loves most . . .Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, or anyone who enjoyed One Moment, One Morning or The Midwife's Confession, The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty is about the things we know, the things we don't, and whether or not we ever get to choose. Above all, though, it's about how we must live with the consequences of our actions - whether we like it or not."

My Thoughts
The cover suggests a story of beauty and mystery, I found myself attracted by the design and title - exactly what their purpose is!
There are 3 main characters of the book; Tess, Cecilia and Ruth. Each woman has her own voice, her own quirks and her own story but gradually these stories start to intertwine. 
Personally, I found this very obvious from the start - though that wasn't a bad thing. The secret that Cecilia discovers ultimately becomes central, and as a wife & mother myself, I could empathise and only imagine how I might tackle such a revelation. Cecilia was definitely my favourite character in the book, and I enjoyed reading about her the most; I could see her being a #mummyblogger :)

I found Tess' obsession and repeated worrying about Felicity's character rather annoying. It becomes repetitive and unnecessary, though she has been bowled over by her husband's newly confessed secret. Still, it seems too much. Too whingey. 

I really enjoyed the character of Connor Whitby; he was attractive and mysterious enough on paper to be interesting. I found myself hoping things would work out for him.

Finally, the book's ending was quite neat and tidy but ultimately not very exciting. However, I did enjoy Moriarty's use of epilogue to give a sense of 'what if' and the final paragraph is very poignant.

I would give 3 out of 5 for the book. 
I think the cover is more inviting than the actual story, and I disagree with the statement that it is 'literally

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Bad Days

Yesterday was a bad, bad day. 

The ugly truth about being a parent is that some days just aren't the crisp clean, bleached white perfect moments you see plastered across so many blogs, and baby magazines. Some days are shit. 

Yesterday began at 5am. JD woke up at 5am chattering and fake-coughing in his cot (he likes making that noise!). Jake doesn't cry when he wakes up in the morning, he's a very contented baby usually and will lie for 20/30 minutes amusing himself in his bed. Usually, he will go back to sleep himself but yesterday morning he didn't. This put Jake out for the whole day. 

All of his naps were a battle; Jake cried and screamed for 20/30 minutes when put down. In the end I endlessly rocked, patted and shushed him until finally, at 1:30 he fell asleep in my arms. I tried putting him down and instantly he woke up and screamed. So he slept only 30 minutes all day.

By the time Hubby came home, I had had enough. I was drained. I was emotional. I was exhausted... And Jake was still crying and clingy. 

Do you ever have days like this? Where you feel like an utter failure and like the worst mother in the world? Where you cry out of frustration at the complete cluelessness of it all? Why is he crying? Why won't he go down? Why won't he sleep? Why won't he play by himself for 5 minutes? What's wrong? 

What's really nice is how supportive and friendly everyone is - my hubby, my mum, my twitter friends. Being a parent makes you part of a massive community and it's a good job, cuz you need them!

And today? Today was a new day and a brilliant day. Jake was super happy and settled all day. Love him to bits. 


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Capturing Memories

When JD was born, we decided there and then that we were going to try and capture as much of his childhood as we could, so that as he grew up he would be able to look back on his life, his family and his milestones and share them with his own family once he's older. 

I am lucky; my family have lots of photos of me with friends and family, some of whom I don't know because they passed away before I was old enough to get to know them. For example, my Grandpops (Dad's dad) died when I was a few months old - but I have a few photos of him holding me as a baby. I cherish those, because it helps me to feel as though I know him in some way. 

In contrast, my hubby has only a handful of photos of when he was a small child. In fact, most of the photos Luke has are ones I have taken in the 13 years we've known each other. We have no real photos to compare JD to hubby as a child, to see how similar they are or aren't and he has no photos of himself with family, really and because of this we vowed to make sure JD was the opposite. 

When trying to think of how we could capture and collect memories we did two things:

Firstly, we bought a keepsake box from Paperchase which we keep on JD's bedroom windowsill. In the box so far we have his first hat and baby-grow, his hospital tag, daddy's hairnet from theatre and a little bird my friend gave us.
Secondly, we also bought two photo albums, also from Paperchase. One of the albums is a baby album and has pictures of Jake in his first 3 months. The second album is the 'First  family album' - this one we have filled with photos of our wedding, a few from our honeymoon, family and then loads of Jake. We wanted lots of photos of Jake with family and friends too, so he can look back on them and know who everyone is/was.

We've used the FreePrints app to get our photos (I reviewed the app here, and you can use my referal code when signing up rmarsh19).

It has been fun picking and choosing photos to include, and others to display in the many photo frames we have. I'm glad we decided to capture all of these memories for him to look back on in the years to come.

What do you do to capture these precious moments?


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

5 Quotes I Love

Sometimes finding inspiration, motivation and dedication can come from those amazing utterances we use everyday: words. 

Words are like ingredients in a recipe; they have the power to make a gorgeous, satisfying and really enjoyable  tasty cake. Yet, get the mixture wrong and they can upset us and cause us to unravel emotionally. 

I often find that when I'm reading a book, or watching a film, it is the words and how they resonated with me that I remember. The imagery they created or the emotion they evoked is what stays with you. 

I wanted to share with you 5 quotes I love, in no particular order, and why I love them. 

- Augustus Waters, The Fault in our Stars by John Green.
I adore this quote because it really does 'put into words' how you feel when you're confused, and in love. It's also beautifully poetic and evocative. 

- Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.
This is one of my all time favourite quotes. It utterly summarises my complete belief and passion in the power of words, and why it is so vital that our children learn to read, write and fully understand them.

3. - Peter Pan, Hook.
This quote makes me think of my childhood, and how 'to live' and be an adult seems o far away from where you are.

4. - John Lennon, The Beatles.
Isn't this the truth? Especially since having Jake, I have realised that time seeps through our fingers like sand - it can't be stopped, claimed or pulled back - and that scares me a little.

5. - Anthony Hopkins as Dr Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal.
You'll all think this is a weird one. Indeed, I suppose it is. But I love the passion and sincerity with which Anthony Hopkins' character Dr Hannibal Lecter delivers these words to Clarice. The words themselves suggest to us that we are as we want ourselves to be - not what others might say we are.

These quotes all symbolise something to me about life and living it. There are so many wonderful, famous quotes to enjoy - but these are just some I enjoy, and that speak to me. 


Monday, 19 January 2015

Lady GaGa's 80th Birthday

Yesterday we spent the day at my Grandparents' house in Wellingborough to celebrate Lady GaGa's 80th birthday! Lady GaGa is what we've all decided Jake will call his great-Grandma Biggs, after she began sending whatsapp messages to him saying 'luv gaga' ... and so it stuck! She's really savvy for her age - she has a mobile phone which she uses really well, including the use of whatsapp messenger, and she has an iPad mini which she uses - and Facetimes us with! She's a groovy granny :-)

From where we live, the journey to my grandparents' house takes close to 2 hours. Although that doesn't sound a lot, in baby schedules it's only just enough time between feeds and nappies! Due to this, we were anxious to set off as early as possible so that we could spend a good few hours there before having to head home for the bed time routine.

Jake always takes a bottle at 8am, so we fed, winded and changed him then set off on our journey. To ensure we had everything we needed, we packed nappies, baby wipes, muslin, change of clothes and vest, toys, fleece blanket, coat, 2 sterilised bottles plus 2 lots of milk powder and 2 ready made Aptamil bottles for emergency.

The morning journey was gorgeous; cold, crisp freshness with bright sunshine. There were very few other cars about and the roads were clear. After an hour, I had two sleeping boys (read 'husband and son') in the back and could drive in peace with my music on. Was actually fun!

We arrived a little earlier than expected and it was lovely to see my Grandma! She was so happy to see us all, and Jake was greeted with lots of cuddles and kisses from everyone.


After much fun and giggles with Great Grandma and Grandad, Jake was tired; we put him down to nap on the Grandparents' bed and he was out like a light - a solid 2 hour nap! Which meant he missed all the buffet food, candles and cake!
Lady GaGa had just made her wish and blown the candles out!
It was a lovely day, and we had a fantastic time. It was so lovely to see my grandparents; my uncle and his partner Nic; our cousin Ellie; my mum and step dad, and my sister Jess. It was also lovely for everyone to see Jake and spend some time with him - we don't see the Wellingborough family often because it's 4 hours out of the day just travelling. 

I love my Grandparents so much - they were a huge part of my childhood. My brother, sister and I spent most of our school holidays travelling over to their house to stay. We played in their gardens and their allotment; we built dens in the woods at the back of their house; we played cops and robbers on our bikes in the little rural village they lived in, and we walked their corgis up across the fields. When we weren't playing outside in the fresh air and getting muddy, we were eating scrummy home cooked food and playing board games or reading books. Some of my fondest memories are from those years. I can only hope Jake has the same fondness about his grandparents when he is older.

Love you GaGa - happy 80th xx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

#Drop30 Week 1

Take that fat! 

Week 1 of my #drop30 challenge is done. 
Admittedly, the first week has only been 5 days as I want weigh days to be a Saturday...

My Stats:

Weight lost: -5lb 
Overall mood: upbeat and proud :)
Weeks left until I am 30: 29 weeks

My Thoughts:
I started the challenge first thing on Monday morning; whilst this might have been a mistake if I had been at work (Monday mornings are pretty blue when you work, I find) I am still on the last few weeks of maternity leave, and I found it motivating to begin a fresh week with a fresh attitude. 

What did I find tough? 
Firstly, I craved bread. A lot. White, crusty bread with butter. Which I find odd because I don't regularly eat that, lol! But I really wanted some by Wednesday.

By Wednesday I was starting to feel a bit of a difference; I didn't *feel* so bloated (but with so much weight to lose that doesn't change the appearance of my tummy). I also found it tough not having a hot chocolate, or a snack when out and about. It does make things feel a little dull. 

Another challenge was not eating the same as Luke; he isn't on a diet, so has free reign to eat and drink what he likes. That's been tough to endure, though he has tried to moderate what he has to make me feel better and be supportive, lol. 

What was positive?
I tried some new food this week, including vegetarian korma, vegetable chill (not a fan of chili normally), and ham and sweetcorn chowder, which I enjoyed. 

I also ate regularly throughout the day. Since becoming a mummy, I've spent the last 4 months eating nothing all day and then filling my face in the evening when Jake was asleep. 

I also noticed that before I was taking on calories every day which I didn't think about; that hot chocolate from Starbucks when out for a walk; the sandwich I bought from the supermarket instead of making my own... It goes to show that I really wasn't thinking about what I was eating and drinking before. I had stopped taking any care of myself.

Overall? Onwards and upwards! 


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Fangirl Online: Harry Potter

If you've read my 'About Me' and 'Book Club' page then you'll know I am a fan of loads of different films, TV shows and books. 

The thing I have fangirled about the longest is Harry Potter. I was a child when Harry Potter first came out and my younger brother came home from school one day talking about this book he was reading. He was so animated and excited - a young boy, excited about a book! - I had to read it too. So, I did. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone from cover to cover. 

That's where it all began. 

I was hooked. 

Some of the best memories I have as a child and teenager is reading, discovering and theorising about the Harry Potter books. The magic of it all. The Wizarding World itself and the mystery and history of Hogwarts. I so wanted my Hogwarts letter to come!

When I met Luke in 2001 (yes I was only 16 then!) he had never heard of Harry Potter. The first film was about to come out and he took me (along with my little brother and sister, bless him) to see it. After seeing the first film he was hooked too and he borrowed the first 3 books from me to read. 

After that, Luke and I shared the magic! We queued up at midnight for book 4; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and we devoured it that same night. We shared every book and film that came along after that. 

Harry Potter has been a part of my life since I was 12 - 13. This year I turn 30. I feel like my generation was lucky to get to 'live in the moment' of Harry Potter's story. Experience the hysteria, excitement and amazement that J.K. Rowling's story whipped up.
Here are just some of the Harry Potter goodies I have...
'Page to Screen' book, American Trunk Harry Potter Complete set; Complete collection of adult edition covered box set, and the Harry Potter Wizard's Collection DVD and Bluray limited edition box set.
Amazingly, in 2013, Luke and I went to Florida for our honeymoon and we stayed at the Loews Universal hotel, with 14 day, early entry fast track tickets to the Universal theme parks. Visiting Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and all of the rides (almost everyday!) was awesome. The London Studio tour is also an amazing day out. 

Now? I have already played the audio book of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, read by Stephen Fry, to Jake and we will read the rest of them to him too (multiple times I expect!). We want Jake to be a fan too so we can all share in the fun... But if he isn't, I'll have to get over it!


Thursday 15th January 2015

Heeeeeere's Jakey!

Today Jake is wearing an outfit from the brilliant Mothercare in size 3-6 months. It's already a bit snug on this 4 month old!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Liebster Award (Part 3)

Thank you very kindly to MammavsTeacher who has been the 3rd fellow blogger to nominate me for the Liebster Award. 

My original Liebster Nomination post details all the info and rules etc here and here. But I wanted to take the time to answer MammavsTeacher's 11 questions. Here we go!

1. When and why did you start blogging?
I answered this in my original posts. I began in November 2014.

2. Where is your favourite place you have travelled too?
Tough question! I loved Florida when we were there on our honeymoon - but - I think Cyprus is the prettiest.

3.What’s your favourite music?
My collection and tastes are eclectic to say the least! Right now, I am enjoying a Simply Red revisit :)

4. What blog post have you most enjoyed writing? (Provide a link)
Most definitely, my favourite blog post to write so far was An Interview with Daddy. Such a pleasure to write and share.

5. How much time do you have to spend on your blog?
Wuite a lot actually, I now spend about 30 mins on average everyday, for various things.

6. What is your favourite food?
I love chicken chow mein from the chinese takeaway. Never the same if you buy ready meals or cook it at home!

7. What are your hobbies or interests?
Photography (beginner), blogging, reading, film trivia, movies.
8. What is your favourite season? and Why?
I love Winter - the cold crispness of it. I love the idyllic purity of snow when it is fresh on the ground.
9. What is the best present you have ever given someone?
I bought my mum a Tassimo coffee machine a few years ago. She totally LOVES coffee and it made her Christmas!
10. What is the best present you have ever received?
Hmmm. I have loved my pandora bangle and charms.
11. What do you like to watch on TV?
Loads!!! See here :)

#MyFirstPhoto Linky

One of my favourite blogger-buddies is Al, founder of The Dad Network.

Over on his blog, Al is running a New Born Photo Linky, in which we can all share our baby's newborn photos.

I simply couldn't resist this opportunity to share some of Jake's newborn photos, so here are some of my favourites below :)


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Drop 30lb by 30!

This is it! 

2015 is the year I turn 30, and boy where did the time go? It seems like just a year or two ago that I was passing my A Levels, doing my degree and starting my career as a teacher - now, I'm married and have a gorgeous 4 month old baby boy. 

I have spent my entire life 'chubby', 'overweight', 'fat' and 'on a diet'. Many times without success and other moments with a spring in my step and a fall in the scales. 

But now, I am married. I am a mum. I am about to turn 30. Drastic action and dedicated efforts are required.

Why am I doing this?
Well, you can sit there and say (like many of you probably are) why has it taken you almost 30 years to get a grip? I don't know why. I think because I am not someone who cares much about how they look - I'm all about what I do and achieve. First I was focused on my GCSEs, then passing my A Levels. Then I was zoned in on getting a job that could lead to something, and then setting my heart on completing my degree and post-grad certificate. Once I'd done all that, I was set on being the best teacher I could be - and, in all honesty, last year I think I did that - achieving 2 Outstanding observations and 100% in my KS4 and 5 students' results. 

You can probably see a trend here...I am a very dedicated, hard-working person. Just not about myself. This year, it is going to be about me, and about my family. 

As a new mum, I don't want to feel fat and frumpy. I don't want to let my son grow up to be fat and unhealthy. I hate to see children who have only just begun their lives and are already battling the bulge. I don't want that to be Jake.

Luke has to start as well - he's a hard-working bloke, who comes from a family with good appetites and he enjoys his food. But like me, he knows we need to make a change.

What do I plan to do?
For now, I have a simple plan - Move more and eat less. The 'My Fitness Pal' app is on my phone, the data put in and the target set. 
I will attempt to give a 'weekly' weigh in post #drop30, with a reflection on how it has been. I am also going to use 'prepared' foods for quick meals like breakfast and lunch.

What's my target?
Simple. I want to drop 30lbs by the time I am 30. My birthday is August 17th and this is a HUGE ask. But I will feel so much better for it if I can do it.
Plus, I will be in a better place to enjoy time with a one year old, as not long after my birthday Jake will have his first birthday! Just think how different I will look in those photos then.

What are the challenges?
  • Eating Out & Takeaways at the weekend.
  • Eating with Luke - not having the same portion sizes and foods.
  • Friends and Family constantly offering advice or asking how I'm getting on - I find it a hindrance and not always helpful.
  • Feeling like I can't do it.
  • Cravings.
  • Laziness.
How will I overcome these?
Honestly? I don't know. 
I'll try to help myself by using the 'My Fitness Pal' app; doing the weekly #drop30 blog post; shopping for meals and not for 'food'; creating a 'yummy mummy' inspiration pinterest board, and reading other people's blogs (recommendations welcome). 

So that's it for now. I will start on Monday, so wish me luck!