This Modern Life Wishlist

One of my favourite online stores for nursery accessories has to be This Modern Life. They have so many lovely items, from cute cloud night lights to quirky quote prints. Here's just a few of the things I've currently got my eye on...

1. Light Box - £30.00
Everyone seems crazy for light boxes at the moment! I really want one for Arthur's nursery so I can write him little messages and read them to him when he's older.

2. Cloud Night Light - £10.00
I'm in need of a good night light for Arthur's nursery (for when he's actually sleeping in there) and I've never seen one so cute! The colour is perfect for the room and the fact it's a happy cloud just makes it even better.

3. Pom Pom Fairy Lights - £25.00
Who doesn't love fairy lights? I can't decide whether I'd put these in Arthur's room or my own! I think they'd look lovely draped over the headboard of my bed.

4. Wire Mesh Display Grid - £55.00
I'd love to use this in either my living room or bedroom to pin up my little Instax Mini photos. 

5. You Are My Happy Flag - £14.00
This little flag would look lovely hanging on the wall in Arthur's room. I can't get enough of cute quotes!

6. Eef Lillemor Print - £12.00
If you saw this post then you'll know how much I love Eef Lillemor prints. I've already framed three postcard prints for Arthur's nursery but this one would look lovely on the wall, alongside the flag.

Have you bought anything from This Modern Life before?
xo

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Sanctuary Skincare: Glow & Boost


Sanctuary Spa is a brand I love and trust. I've been using their products for years, after being first introduced to their bath range by my mum. I've also become a fan of their skincare range but there were still products on my list to try; so you can imagine my delight when I unwrapped the Sanctuary Spa Glow and Boost Skincare Collection on Christmas Day!

The Glow and Boost set includes the Radiance Exfoliator, Illuminating Moisture Lotion SPF15, Therapist's Secret Facial Oil and the 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask. Out of all of the products, it was the Secret Facial Oil that I was most excited to try. I love the old fashioned style dropper bottle and have had great results using the product morning and night. It really works to plump up and hydrate the skin. A little goes a long way so this should last me a little while - good job since the full size costs £17.50...I've got to say though it's worth every penny.

I'm all for an illuminating face cream, so the Moisture Lotion ticked all of the boxes for me. It's got quite a lightweight consistency, which feels lovely on the skin and sinks in super quick. I find that it leaves my skin extra soft and definitely works well to brighten my complexion. This paired with with the Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm (more on that in an upcoming post) gives all the glow you'll need!

The Radiance Exfoliator and 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask are both products I've tried before. The exfoliator is great for leaving the skin feeling thoroughly cleansed and smoothed, though I think some may find the exfoliating particles a little too harsh. The 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask is a charcoal mask that actually warms up when applied to the face. Once it's worked it's magic, it leaves your skin feeling fully purified - a great choice for end-of-week pampering sessions.

The Sanctuary Glow & Boost kit has unfortunately sold out on the Boots website, though may still be available in some stores. It's been reduced from £20.00 to just £6.00 so if you see it, snap it up quick! If you can't get your hands on the gift set, you'll be pleased to know that all of the products featured in the set can be purchased separately on the Boots website. I believe they're currently on three-for-two, making now the optimal time to treat yourself and refresh your winter skincare routine!

Have you tried any Sanctuary skincare before?
xo


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Birth bag: What I actually used!


I was pretty pants at blogging during my pregnancy, so I never got round to writing a 'What's in my hospital bag' post. It's partly that and the fact I must have repacked my bags so many times that in the end, even I wasn't sure what was in there haha! So instead I thought I'd put together a 'What I actually used in my hospital bag' post. I hope it's of some use to any mamas-to-be reading this!

Oversized nightie & a nursing one - I'd originally planned a water birth but seeing as I was induced, I knew that'd be a no no. Luckily I'd picked up a rather large nightie from Primark for a few pounds. It was perfect for giving birth. It had a couple of buttons on the neckline, which I was able to undo so Arthur could be placed underneath and straight onto my chest for skin-to-skin. You'll also want an extra nightie (I took a nursing one) or pyjamas if you've got to stay over night like I did.

Slipper socks - It's true what they say - your feet can get cold in labour. I remember asking my mum to put my slipper socks on for me. So glad I packed them.

Hair bands / bobbles / grips - I wore my hair in two plaits to give birth and used grips to keep it off my face.

Lip balm - I only used it once as my lips got a bit dry but I was glad I packed it.

Something to keep you entertained (in my case a someone - my mum!) - You might want a Kindle or some magazines to read, especially if you're in labour for a long time. I didn't actually use mine though! Me and mum just chatted and I tried to sleep a little in between contractions.

Toiletries and a towel - You're likely to want to shower after you've given birth so pack some shampoo, body wash, deodorant and your toothbrush / toothpaste. Minis are best! I took a pack of face wipes too. I didn't bother with makeup! Some hospitals might provide towels but I took my own just to be on the safe side.

Kimono - Hospital bag checklists say to pack a dressing gown but I didn't own one and didn't think there was any point in buying one if I wasn't going to wear it ever again. Instead I took my long kimono, just to use as a cover up when I was on the maternity ward, after having Arthur. It tends to be warm in hospital, so it was absolutely fine and didn't take up half as much room in my hospital bag! Obviously a lightweight dressing gown would be fine too.

Nursing bra - One of my breastfeeding essentials. They make it much easier for feeding baby.

Maternity pads, breast pads and old knickers - Pretty obvious why you'll need these. Pack plenty of maternity pads and old knickers! I wouldn't bother with disposable ones. Apparently they're super uncomfortable and I can imagine them making a horrible yet hilarious noise when you walk.

Maternity clothes - Make sure your going home clothes are comfy! I wore my maternity leggings and a maternity top. You're not going to automatically go back to your old shape, so you might as well get a bit more wear out of them and be comfortable at the same time.

Plastic bag - I took one of these to put mine and Arthur's dirty clothes in - saves getting everything else messy.

Baby essentials - I packed a separate bag for Arthur filled with his Naty Size 1 Nappies (I took a whole pack just in case), cotton wool (I took wipes but ended up using cotton wool and water), sleepsuits, vests, a couple of muslin cloths, hat and cellular baby blanket. The sleepsuits had scratch mits on them already (Next are great for this) and I got my dad to bring in a snowsuit when he came to pick us up.

My other essentials - Camera and spare batteries, phone, hairbrush, little mirror, maternity notes (I wrote my birth preferences in there but they'll probably ask you anyway) & medication (I take thyroxine).

I wish I'd packed...

Extra sleepsuits - I didn't quite grasp how many sleepsuits and vests I'd need for Arthur, as we ended up staying over night and then most of the next day. I think I only packed two and then had to get my mum to bring in extra the next day. If you can't fit more in your hospital bag, have them packed in a 'go-bag' ready for your partner or family to bring in for you if you need them. It's hard to know what size to pack. Arthur was 9lb 3 and newborn was still big on him! The best fit were his Next First Size sleepsuits which actually only said they went up to 7lb something on the label (obviously wrong). You could just pack a selection. It doesn't really matter if the sleepsuits are a little big!

Mobile phone charger - Yep, I stupidly forgot to pack my phone charger and yes my phone ran out of battery as soon as I got onto the maternity ward after giving birth. Luckily I'd taken my camera and my mum had hers so we got plenty of newborn Arthur pictures!

Bobble bottle - It would have saved a few trips to the water machine!

Other things you might want to pack (I didn't pack / use these)...
  • Tens machine
  • Birth ball
  • Extra pillows / breastfeeding pillow
  • Hot water bottle
  • Headphones
  • iPod

  • Things the lists tell you to pack but you probably won't use...
  • Water spray - I couldn't imagine anything worse than being sprayed with water while in labour but each to their own!
  • Ear plugs and an eye mask 'to help you sleep on a brightly lit, noisy ward' - It's your first night with your brand new baby, you're not going to sleep well no matter what you pack!


  • Hope you mamas-to-be find this useful!  Shout up if you have any questions!
    xo
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    Sunday Scribbles: Happiness

    You won't look back on your life and wish you'd spent more time working, sitting at a computer or doing household chores, so you should never feel guilty about doing the things that make you happy to be alive. Here's just a few things that have made me happy this week...

    Arthur smiles - There's nothing that fills my heart with joy as much as seeing Arthur smile back at me. To know he loves me and I make him happy is just the best feeling in the entire world.

    Countryside walks - When I was pregnant, I kept thinking ahead to the times where I'd be able to take Arthur around the country park in his pram and it's just as wonderful as I imagined. This week we went for a walk around the lake, in the sunshine. It was so beautiful and it made me grateful that I get to live in such a lovely place.

    #20BeautifulWomen - I was tagged in the #20BeautifulWomen tag on Instagram last night and it really put a smile on my face. The idea is that you share a photo that makes you feel beautiful and then tag your friends to do the same. I shared the picture above of me and Arthur cuddling, after our first night together in hospital. I really enjoyed browsing the photos other women had shared and reading their beautiful stories. So inspiring.

    Tea for two - Drinking tea out of pretty tea cups with my mum and talking about anything and everything. She gets me. I get her. Pure happiness!

    What has made you happy this week?
    xo
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    Lil' Cubs Apple Sleepsuit


    Although I buy the majority of Arthur's baby clothes from stores like Next, John Lewis and F&F, there are fantastic independent stores out there that I'm starting to discover, through social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. One such store I've recently come across is Lil' Cubs, an independent baby brand specialising in bright patterns and prints for boys and girls.

    As soon as I saw the gorgeous red and green Apple Sleepsuit, (£13.00) I knew I had to get it for Arthur. It reminded me of the Cosatto Strudle 3Sixti High Chair, which he got from his granny and grandad for Christmas, to use in a few months time! I chose to get the sleepsuit in size 3-6 months as Arthur has now grown out of the majority of his 0-3 month stuff.

    Aside from the beautiful bold pattern, the thing I love most about this sleepsuit is that it's virtually popper free (there's just one on the neck!) Instead it has a zip so you can fasten it in seconds, rather than faffing around with numerous poppers and getting in a kerfuffle. It doesn't matter how many times you've changed your babies outfit - I guarantee when someone is watching you do it, you'll do the poppers up wrong. The zip on the Lil' Cubs sleepsuit is foolproof!

    The sleepsuit also comes in a gorgeous Rainbow Chevron pattern and there are dribble bibs and muslin squares to match. If you love the sound of bright and bold, gender neutral baby clothes, I definitely recommend checking them out!

    xo
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    Colour Crush Nails


    These days painting my nails is a rarity, as getting ready is usually done in the five-or-so minutes I can sneak while Arthur naps! Though when I'm able to spend a little extra time getting ready (thanks to Arthur's wonderful grandma) it's these nail polishes by The Body Shop I've been reaching for.

    The Body Shop Colour Crush collection is made up of twenty nine beautiful shades, ranging from pastel to brights and everything in between. The nail polishes are all vegan friendly and have a stunning high gloss finish. Out of all the shades, Meet Me At Dusk and Mint Cream are most definitely my favourite (great choice mum!). They're extremely wearable shades that look oh-so-lovely on the nails. Even better, they dry within seconds, only need two coats and last for a good few days without chipping.

    If you're after a new affordable nail polish (these are £5.00 each) then head over to The Body Shop and check out their Colour Crush collection. There's a shade for everyone!

    xo

    PS Get £10.00 off The Body Shop when you spend £25.00, using the code NEWYEAR.
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    Tu Baby Event Haul



    Baby clothes shopping is way more satisfying than buying clothes for yourself. One, you don't feel even the slightest bit guilty spending money on your baby and two, they look adorable in literally everything...the same of which you probably can't say for yourself, well at least I can't anyway!

    So when my friend Sophia (Tattooed Tealady to you blogger folk) sent over a link to this gorgeous Lion sleepsuit in the Tu clothing baby event, I knew I had to check it out. She thought it would be perfect for Arthur and she was right, he'll look absolutely adorable in it! Of course once I'd started I just couldn't stop, which meant I ended up buying a selection of baby boy clothing in both 3-6 months (Arthur's current size) and 6-9 months.

    The Blue Car top and Red joggers, which were size 6-9 months cost just £2.00 each as they were part of the two for £4.00 deal. How ridiculously amazing is that?! I don't want to think about Arthur fitting in these just yet (time's flying by so fast as it is) but I know he'll look so cute in the bright colours.


    In my opinion, you can't beat the classics, so I was more than happy to treat Arthur to few Winnie The Pooh sleepsuits and vests. The sleepsuits were just £5.00 each and the vests were £5.00 for a pack of two (one short sleeved and one long sleeved). I also picked up a matching Pooh Bear bib (not photographed) for just £1.50! These are perfect for either baby boys or girls.


    Arthur's grown out of the panda sleepsuits I bought from George at Asda so I decided to replace them with Tu's Panda baby grow (£6.00). The panda print sleeves are adorable and Arthur looks so sweet in white sleepsuits - even though they rarely stay that way for long!

    Funnily enough, my favourite item from my entire Tu baby clothing haul is the Farm sleepsuit. The busy design is just so lovely to look at and the colours really suit Arthur. What's even better is that it was part of the two for £8.00 deal so I got it for just £4.00, along with the gorgeous grey Lion sleepsuit. I also picked up the Elephant t-shirt and footed leggings set, as grey and elephants make the perfect combo!

    If you've got a baby or one on the way, I definitely recommend checking out Tu either online or in-store (at Sainsburys). Their baby clothes are good quality, yet very reasonably priced - great if you don't want to spend a fortune on clothes your little one will quickly grow out of. Friends have bought me quite a few bits and bobs for Arthur from there and I continue to be more and more impressed by what they have to offer.

    Keep up the good work Tu!
    xo
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    Makeup brands I want to try in 2016


    This year I'm making a conscious decision to buy makeup from cruelty free brands and filter out any products in my collection that have been tested on animals. Animal testing is something I've always felt strongly against, however I've been quite hypocritical in that I still own cosmetics from some of the industry's biggest offenders. In 2016 this is going to change and I'm going to start replacing my old makeup with new offerings from cruelty free brands. Below you'll find a few I've discovered, feel free to send over any more you know of for me to consider!



    Lily Lolo is a makeup brand I’ve heard so many good things about but I’m yet to fully explore their products myself. Launched back in 2005, Lily Lolo was created to provide women with high quality mineral makeup, free from Parabens, synthetic perfumes and dyes. The brand is BUAV approved, giving you the peace of mind that they do not conduct any animal testing nor do they pay companies to test on their behalf. What also appeals to me about Lily Lolo is that it’s a British brand. Their products look beautifully designed and I can’t wait to see what they have to offer.



    Bagsy isn't a brand I know much about, however I've seen their products on a couple of other beauty blogs and think they look so beautiful. The stylish, yet compact packaging alone is enough to make me want to place an order but the fact they do not test their products on animals gets them the biggest thumbs up from me. Oh and even better, Bagsy is another British brand!



    NYX has been doing the rounds on beauty blogs for a good while now but I've only just got round to trying my first product. I decided to go for one of the Soft Matte Lip Creams (review coming soon) as I'd heard so many good things about them. Needless to say, I'll definitely be trying out more products from NYX this year. And yes, NYX is another cruelty free brand whoop whoop!




    TheBalm is another bloggers' favourite and maker of the oh-so-gorgeous Mary Lou Manizer (my favourite highlighter). This year I'm keen to try out some of TheBalm's other products. Their eyeshadow palettes have really caught my eye with their cheeky designs! Speaking of cheek, I've also read some great reviews of TheBalm's blushers, so I think I'll be popping one on my list to buy soon!

    Are there any particular makeup brands you're hoping to try in 2016?

    xo


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    Eef Lillemor Nursery Prints


    When it came to designing Arthur's nursery, I could picture exactly how I wanted it to look; mint green walls, white furniture, a modern rocking chair and quirky prints. I thought finding the right prints would be difficult but after discovering This Modern Life, I immediately fell in love with the prints by Dutch illustrator, Eef Lillemor. They are just so cute and colourful - perfect for a nursery.

    I had a hard time choosing between all of the adorable prints but finally settled on the three above. These are all postcard size (A6) and cost just £1.50 each but you can also buy larger, A3 prints for £12.00. The frames were purchased separately from this seller on Amazon. It was a tight fit but I managed to slot the Eef Lillemor postcards in without trimming the edges! They now sit proudly on Arthur's shelf and I show them to him every day, after his nappy change.

    It's the small touches like these little prints that can make such a big difference to the rooms in your house; giving them character and charm. If you're currently doing your baby's nursery go have a peek at the other Eef Lillemor illustrations available on the This Modern Life website!

    xo
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    My Mum's New Book!


    So I've got some pretty exciting news to share - my mum's got another book coming out! Yes, The Dangerous Gift will be available to buy on 9th February 2016. I'm so proud of my mum. She's my rock, my bestest friend and the most wonderful woman I know! She works so hard and since writing has always been one of her greatest loves; she deserves every success with The Dangerous Gift.

    Here's a little bit more about the book...

    After a tragic plane crash kills Jennie Taylor’s guardians, she returns to her childhood home—and her first love, Jared Stewart.

    At just eighteen years old, Jennie had left the Unicorn Ranch in Texas to seek a life in the outside world. But she wasn’t just running toward independence. Heartbroken and confused, Jennie fled her home after Jared harshly rejected her on the eve of her birthday.

    Now she must choose between making a new life on the ranch she has grown to love, or returning to her simple but empty life in England. The choice seems obvious at first, but nothing in life is simple…

    Jared is forced to share control of his beloved ranch with the woman he wants but can't have.

    When Jennie receives an anonymous note, she goes to Jared for support. But what she finds is more than she was prepared for, driving the two further apart than ever. When an old friend is murdered and suspicious accidents escalate, endangering Jennie’s safety, Jared becomes her reluctant protector.

    Jennie knows Jared is hiding something, but does he really want her gone from the ranch? And if so, could he be the one behind the ominous threats?

    Determined to prove Jared isn't involved, Jennie turns detective. Can she succeed in her courageous but reckless investigation…or is the truth a dangerous gift she won’t survive?
      


    Limitless Publishing // Facebook // Twitter // Website // Blog

    Fancy giving The Dangerous Gift a read?
    Be sure to download it from Amazon on 9th Feb!
    You can also visit the links above for further information.

    xo
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    Gro-Egg Room Thermometer Review


    The Gro-Egg Room Thermometer gets very mixed reviews. Some parents think it's a great judge of temperature, others find it useless. Me? I happen to love the Gro-Egg!

    If you're new to the world of room thermometers, this one basically changes colour to let you know at a glance whether the temperature of your room is too low, too high or just right. It makes it easier for you to maintain a safe sleeping environment for your baby, as you can get a better idea of whether to pop the radiator on, add another blanket, take off their vest etc, etc. The Gro-egg glows blue if it's too cold, yellow if it's just right, orange if it's a little warm and red if it's too warm. According to health professionals, the ideal room temperature for sleeping babies is between 16 and 20°C.

    In addition to glowing different colours, the thermometer also has a digital display that tells you the temperature of the room. I've read a few reviews that have said they believe the temperature is wrong on their Gro-Egg or they've found differences in temperature when comparing with other thermometers. Whilst I've never compared the temperature with another thermometer, I've always found the Gro-Egg to be a great judge of temperature. At the end of the day, common sense will tell you if a room feels too hot or cold for your baby (as will feeling your baby to get an idea of their temperature) but the Gro-Egg can help to confirm it.

    What's also great about the Gro-Egg is that it comes with a temperature guideline that explains the ideal clothing / bedding for different room temperatures. It also tells you what sleeping bag to use, if you happen to have bought them from the Gro range. This is information that will give new, worrying mums and dads extra peace of mind.

    Design wasn't high on my list when choosing a thermometer, however I have to say, the Gro-Egg is super cute, especially with the Egg Shell, which can be purchased separately. I chose Percy the Penguin, but there's also Orla the Owl and Mikey the Monkey too. You simply slip it over the top of your Gro-Egg, plug your Gro-Egg into the wall, press the button underneath and you're good to go!

    Whilst I find the Gro-Egg useful for getting an idea of the temperature of rooms, it falls short as a night light (something it's also advertised at). The light is much too dim for feeding or changing in the night, so if you were buying it for that reason alone, then you're better off with something a little bigger and more powerful. If on the other hand, temperature is your priority (which I assume it will be with a thermometer) then the Gro-Egg will make a great choice for your bedroom and your baby's nursery, when he or she eventually moves into their own room to sleep.

    What do you think of the Gro-Egg?
    xo
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    Autograph Beauty @ M&S


    Makeup brands like Nars, Mac and Bobbi Brown regularly dominate posts by some of my favourite beauty bloggers but I think there are a lot of other great makeup brands out there that don't get the recognition they deserve. Brands like, Autograph at Marks and Spencer.

    I know what you're thinking - M&S isn't really known for it's beauty; more like it's delicious food ("This is not just a chocolate pudding...") and good knickers. But trust me, their Autograph beauty range is top notch and I know this because I was lucky enough to receive a few items for Christmas - thanks Mum!


    The Autograph beauty range contains a whole host of products from lipsticks and liners, to mascaras, brow gels and powders. Their concealers are some of the best I've ever used. The Ultimate Wear Concealer (which comes in stick form) has a creamy consistency and is great for covering up spots, blemishes and redness. It lives up to it's name in terms of longevity and isn't cakey like other robust concealers. The Illuminating Touch Under Eye Concealer is ideal for disguising dark circles, while adding a pretty highlight. It's really easy to use (click the bottom to dispense the liquid) and blends effortlessly.

    I have to say, the Ultimate Shine Twist Up Lip Colour isn't quite what I expected it to be. From the bullet, you'd assume it'd be a hot pink but it's actually quite sheer with a glossy finish. I still really like it but it's definitely more of a balm, rather than something you'd reach for, for colour pay off.


    I love a good palette, so I was delighted to open this one on Christmas Day! All ten eyeshadow shades are really wearable - I can honestly say I'll use each and every one of them. There's plenty of neutrals (my go-to eye look) but also some pretty gorgeous shades of jade, olive and purple if I'm feeling more adventurous! The eyeshadows have great pigmentation and are extremely blendable - some of the best I've used.

    What makes this Autograph palette even better is that you can slide the bottom out to reveal three cheek products; a blush, bronzer and highlight. Like the eyeshadows, the shades are all very wearable and perfect for adding a warm glow to your makeup look. There's also a huge mirror. Who doesn't love a huge mirror for on-the-go makeup touch-ups?

    This year, I've decided to make it my mission to filter out as much animal tested makeup as possible. I thought it'd be really difficult but seeing as M&S' Autograph makeup is cruelty free (as are many other great makeup brands), it may be a lot easier than I thought! Along with getting bonus points for being cruelty free, the Autograph range also gets extra points for it's sleek packaging. Less is more.

    After having such a great experience with Autograph makeup so far, I've already started making a list of the products I want to try next. It's a great range of high quality makeup that's also cruelty free, what more could you want?

    Have you tried anything from the Autograph Beauty range @ M&S?

    xo

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    My Breastfeeding Essentials


    Before I had Arthur, I didn't really know a lot about breastfeeding. I was one of those pregnant women that read all about being pregnant and giving birth but didn't actually read anything about what to do when my baby arrived. Luckily, when they say 'it comes naturally,' it really does. You learn on-the-go and your confidence in doing mummy things, like feeding your baby, grows and grows as the days go on.

    Don't get me wrong, I hadn't a clue how to breastfeed when I was first handed Arthur and a lot of perseverance, patience and calm breathing was required to get it down but 11 weeks on and I feel like I've learnt an awful lot! Here's a few of the breastfeeding essentials that have helped me along the way...

    1. Disposable breast pads
    If you read my review of the bamboo washable breast pads, you'll know that as much as I like the idea of them, they weren't really practical for me. Instead I tend to use disposable breast pads and thankfully these Tesco ones aren't individually wrapped! No more tedious unwrapping sessions in the midst of drowning in milk. Praise the Lord! I tend to just slip them in but you can peel off the backing and actually stick them to your bra if you want to. Just be aware that accidentally getting the sticky side on your boob can be pretty painful!

    2. Muslin cloths
    You can never have enough muslin cloths. They're great for popping under baby, so your clothes don't get covered in milk, if they decide to spontaneously unlatch before they've swallowed! Muslin cloths are also perfect for mopping up baby and protecting your clothes, if some of their milk comes back up when you're winding them. You can buy them in all sorts of lovely designs. These particular ones are from Tu at Sainsburys.

    3. Nursing bra
    Nursing bras are basically bras with drop down clips that make it easier for you to feed. I've really struggled to find ones I like but so far my favourites are these nursing bras from Next. They're both pretty and practical. I also bought a couple from New Look (one of which is photographed above) but the material they're made from isn't as thin as the Next ones, making them slightly more awkward for folding down and feeding. Struggling to get the perfect fit? Check out this guide by Cake Maternity on how to measure maternity bra size.

    4. Nipple balm
    I definitely recommend picking up a nipple balm like the Mama Mio Keep Calm Nipple Balm. It will help to protect and soothe your nipples. This particular one is great as it doesn't need removing before a feed.

    5. Spare top
    I'm planning on doing a separate 'What's in my changing bag' post soon but I always make sure I have a spare top in mine. If you're leaking milk or baby possets (still find that such a funny word) on you, it's good to know you can quickly change when you're out and about and feel comfortable again! I tend to pack a strappy top as they don't take up much room and are also practical for feeding.

    6. Bobble Bottle
    For me, the Bobble Bottle is a breastfeeding essential but any water bottle will do! The key is to keep hydrated as breastfeeding is likely to make you thirsty. I know I wouldn't drink half as much water as I should if I didn't have this bottle by my side.

    *Special Mention* Completely forgot to photograph my breastfeeding apron! I don't really use it at home, as I'm comfortable feeding in front of my family and best friends without it, however I like to pack it in my changing bag, just in case I feel like I want to use it when I'm out and about. I'm all for just whipping them out and breastfeeding whenever and wherever you like but if you're feeling a little nervous, this could give you the extra confidence you need to get baby latched on calmly and enjoying their feed.

    So there we have my breastfeeding essentials! Please keep in mind that these are MY essentials and yours or another breastfeeding mother's may differ. For example, some women find it really useful to have a special breastfeeding pillow but for me, this isn't a must-have! I tend to just use any old pillow or cushion for support when feeding at home. You may also want to look into breast pumps like the MAM Manual Pump or Medela Swing if you want to express milk.

    Hope you've found this post useful if you are thinking of breastfeeding!
    xo

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    Copper Craze

    If you saw my Living Room Tour post, you'll know that I have a thing for copper. Yes, like every other blogger out there (or so it feels) I've fallen for the copper craze. I have to say though, even if copper went out of fashion tomorrow, I still wouldn't change a thing in my living room. I absolutely love it.

    Of course, you can never have enough copper and these gorgeous home accessories from Not On The High Street really caught my eye. The first thing I spotted were these Copper Lantern Lights (£21.00) from Home & Glory. Everyone loves fairy lights but the fact these are copper ones makes them even more special! I think they'd look great draped over my sideboard or even spilling out of a glass bowl.

    I already have three cactus plants from Ikea but there's always room for more! Any miniature plants would look great in the Concrete Copper Pots (£19.50). They have a real industrial feel to them and I love the minimalist design.

    Onto something a little more fancy! The Copper and Glass Jewellery Box (£16.00) would make a lovely display piece for my living room. I don't really have anywhere I could show off a fancy jewellery box in my bedroom but I don't see why I couldn't have one in my living room. My room, my rules!

    Like the jewellery box, the final item I've featured, the Hanging Copper Filigree Frame (£12.00) also has a charming vintage look to it. The frame comes in various different sizes and would be perfect for displaying a picture of me and Arthur on the wall. Out of all the items, this one is highest on my wishlist and with free delivery, I don't think it'll be long before I'm hitting the buy button!

    Copper: Love it? Over it? 
    Let me know in the comments!
    xo


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    Sudocrem Care & Protect Review


    Have a peek inside any baby changing bag and I guarantee that you'll find something from Sudocrem. Mothers have sworn by it for years for treating nappy rash but did you know that Sudocrem Care & Protect* (which comes in a handy tube) can be used to prevent nappy rash from occurring in the first place?

    What is nappy rash?
    Just incase you're new to the world of nappies, babies and bottoms, nappy rash is an irritation of the skin, which is often caused and aggravated by babies’ wee and poo. The rash will look slightly red and can be both sore and uncomfortable for little ones. Nappy rash is extremely common, so don’t panic – you’re not doing anything wrong! If your baby does have nappy rash, pop on a layer of Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream, as it will help to sooth your baby’s skin and get rid of the rash. And if you are worried at all, you can always give your Health Visitor a quick call!

    Preventing nappy rash with Sudocrem
    You can help to prevent your baby from getting nappy rash by ensuring you change them regularly and popping on a thin layer of Sudocrem Care & Protect. Sudocrem Care & Protect is a hypoallergenic, triple-care ointment that is designed to create a barrier between your baby’s skin and any wee or poo they do in their nappies. It has a much thinner consistency than the original Sudocrem and is therefore easier to apply. You only need a small amount (a little goes a long way) and the cream is suitable to use each time you change your baby’s nappy.

    As well as creating a protective barrier, the ointment also conditions babies’ skin, leaving it soft and smooth. I’ve been using it on Arthur ever since he was born and I’ve noticed that he hasn’t really had any nappy rash at all, so it obviously helps a great deal!

    What’s great about Sudocrem Care & Protect is that it comes in a handbag / changing bag-friendly tube. You can simply flip the lid up and squeeze a little out, without having to faff around with tub tops or dip your fingers in. Simply squeeze a little out and apply it using gentle circular motions.

    Sudocrem Care & Protect can be purchased from most pharmacies and supermarkets. If you’ve got a little one on the way, it’s definitely a must-have product to stock up on!

    xo
    *PR item sent in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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    Wolf & Moon




    Fashion jewellery is not something I regularly buy. It takes something special and unique to catch my eye and make me want to wear it. These gorgeous pyramid earrings from Wolf & Moon (at ASOS) that I received at Christmas, are the perfect example.

    Wolf & Moon is a British label that specialises in handcrafted jewellery. It was set up by designer Hannah Davis, who previously studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths. Each piece of Wolf & Moon jewellery is made in-house at her Hackney studio, with the help of a small team makers. Wolf & Moon draws inspiration from a wide range of sources, from nature and travel to art deco. A lot of thought is put into sourcing materials from other British and European sellers and all of the wood used is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved. I do like an ethical business!

    The Little Pyramid Studs from Wolf & Moon are made from perspex and wood. I think the design is super pretty, yet quirky enough to add a special finishing touch to both daytime and evening outfits. I love the pale blue and gold glitter colour way but the earrings can also be designed in various other colours, such as gold and navy, peach and gold and another of my favourites, teal and gold glitter.

    Cove Necklace // Plateau Pendant II // Little Hex Studs // Double Triangle Earrings // CoppaFeel collection


    As well as handcrafting beautiful earring studs, Wolf & Moon create a wide range of striking necklaces, rings and brooches. I particularly like the collection they designed in collaboration with breast cancer charity, CoppaFeel and know it won't be long until I add some more Wolf & Moon pieces to my jewellery collection.

    What's your favourite piece of Wolf & Moon jewellery?
    xo
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    Letters To My Baby

    Ever since I was 18 I have been creating memory boxes full of little treasures for me to rummage through in years to come and reminisce over. This year, I have started creating my most special memory box to date, the memory box that will one day be passed onto my son, Arthur. I have already started filling the box with special little keepsakes, such as Arthur’s hospital tag and congratulatory cards from friends and neighbours. However the thing I am most looking forward to adding to the memory box is this paper time capsule, entitled ‘Letters To My Baby.
    Letters To My Baby* from JOY, is a beautifully put together book of letters that make up a paper time capsule for sons and daughters. It’s the perfect place for mothers and fathers to share memories, wishes and little snippets of information that their children will be able to read and enjoy when they’re all grown up.
    Aside from its utterly beautiful design, I love how each letter is themed, giving you an idea of the words to share inside. Letters you can write to your baby include ‘My wishes for you are,’ ‘The world I want to give you is’ and ‘One really special thing about you is.’ It also comes with stickers that you can use to seal each envelope, ready for your grown up baby to open in years to come.
    I’m really looking forward to writing my letters to Arthur, though I'm definitely going to need a box of tissues at my side – just thinking about some of the things I’ll write makes me well up!

    Sleepsuits, outfits and teddies all make lovely ‘new baby’ gifts but if you are looking for something a little more unique for a new mummy, Letters To My Baby from JOY will make a wonderful choice. I’ve already bought one for a friend and she loves it as much as I do!
     xo
    *Item gifted in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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    Pawsomebox Christmas Edition

    Although Christmas has been and gone, I wanted to share a little post about the Christmas Pawsomebox*, as it was, well...awesome! Think of it as a 'What my dogs got for Christmas' if you like.
    Jazz and Oby were lucky enough to receive a good few Pawsomeboxes last year but the Christmas edition was by far the best! It contained so many fantastic products and was a real treat for them to open on Christmas day! Of course, the things the dogs were most interested in were the toys! This time the box contained three Christmas-themed toys, perfect for big dogs, including a plush candy cane toy, a squeaky Santa toy and a rope toy. Jazz was so excited that he wouldn't keep still and was so difficult to photograph but luckily Oby was happy to oblige, posing for a couple of photos with his new Santa toy (which he has been carrying around ever since).
    Of course it wouldn't be a Pawsome Christmas without treats! Inside the box was a packet of Gim Dog Nutri Pockets (packed full of healthy vitamins and minerals), some Chocolate Orange Minis from Good Boy (which stopped them hanging their noses over my Chocolate Orange) and Christmas Puddings from M&M's Kitchen.
    M&M's Kitchen specialises in healthy cakes and bakes for dogs. These particularly treats are made with carob chips (a dog-friendly chocolate substitute) and are packed full of delicious, yet healthy ingredients for dogs to enjoy. They've certainly gone down well with Jazz and Oby, as did the other treats included in the box! If you're looking for gluten, dairy and sugar free dog treats, then I definitely recommend checking out the offerings from M&M's Kitchen - your dogs won't be disappointed!
    One of the things I like most about Pawsomebox is that they include a variety of dog products in their subscription boxes. I was particularly pleased to find a full size sample of the Biogance shampoo in the Christmas Pawsomebox. Biogance is a French brand that specialises in shampoo products for dogs with sensitive skin. They focus on using organic and natural ingredients that enhance the look of dogs' coats, whilst also being kind to their skin.

    The Protein Plus Shampoo is enriched with wheat proteins and has been designed to assist owners in detangling their dogs hair, whilst also smoothing, hydrating and nourishing it. We'll definitely be trying this out next time Jazz and Oby need a bath after a muddy walk!
    As you can tell, I was very pleased with the Pawsomebox Christmas Edition and so were Jazz and Oby! It was one of those boxes where every single item was going to get used and it gets a big thumbs up from me.

    Although it's no longer Christmas that doesn't mean you can't treat your four legged friends to a Pawsomebox subscription. The monthly boxes are fantastic; a treat for both you and your dogs! Take a look at the Pawsomebox site to learn more and subscribe!

    xo

    *This item was gifted to me in return for an honest review. All words and thoughts are my own.
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    Bamboo Breast Pads Review


    Individually wrapped disposable breast pads have become the bane of my life. Seriously, why do they need to be individually wrapped? When you've got milk dripping from your breasts, the last thing you want to do is spend valuable seconds of your time unwrapping an individually wrapped disposable breast pad. Trust me.

    This coupled with having a pretty sore nipple a few weeks back (TMI? sorry-not-sorry) led me to look for other options, namely bamboo breast pads, which I'd heard great things about. These particular ones, the Ana Wiz Bamboo Breast Pads were on offer on Amazon, with the option to buy more or less, depending on your needs.

    After trialling the bamboo breast pads, I was initially very impressed. They were so much softer than the disposable pads, making them more sore-nipple-friendly *giggles*. I also found that they soaked leaking milk fairly well. Well, that was until I had major leakage. Yes unfortunately, these bamboo breast pads aren't so great if you're leaking a lot of milk or forget to change your pads very regularly. You end up wetter than you probably would if you hadn't bothered with breast pads in the first place. Whoops!

    Another issue I've had with these reusable breast pads is that they're rather large and indiscreet. Their size often results in them crinkling in your bra, leading to rather odd shaped boobs. Odd shaped boobs are fine in the house but odd shaped boobs may get you a few puzzled looks when you're out and about. #JustSaying.

    Although I've found a couple of drawbacks with these breast pads, I do really like the fact they're reusable. You can simply pop them in the washing machine and tumble dryer, ready to use again later. There's no wastage like with disposable breast pads and you don't have to faff around opening a wrapper (you can see I'm really troubled by their individually wrappedness).

    So have these washable bamboo breast pads become a breastfeeding essential? Unfortunately not. As much as I initially liked the pads (and even raved about them on my Instagram), they're just not practical for me. I find that they get damp too quickly and stay wet, whereas the disposable pads seem to soak up excess milk well and keep you patch-free.

    The washable breast pads were great when I was experiencing a little soreness but if I was to use them again, it'd have to be with disposable pads behind them, to eliminate any worries of milk leaking through. So it's back to unwrapping those individually wrapped breast pads. Next time I definitely need to find unwrapped disposable breast pads...I know they exist!

    Breast pads, disposable or reusable? What's your preference?
    xo
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    Mum and Baby update | 10 weeks


    Arthur is 10 weeks old today. 10 whole weeks! How crazy is that?

    Although time is flying by so quickly, I really am trying to savour every moment and I feel so lucky to be able to dedicate all of my time to him. Over these last 10 weeks he has changed so, so much. He’s gone from being a tiny, delicate newborn to a charismatic little boy who smiles for his mummy, goes crazy for his play gym and babbles away as he watches his mobile spin. He’s still feeding like a champ and latching on well, which has made breastfeeding all the more enjoyable.

    It’s been a couple of weeks since we saw the health visitor, when he weighed 12lb 14 and measured 59cm. I was so proud. Every weight gain feels like such a big achievement, especially as we struggled with feeding in the first few days due to the jaundice. Arthur’s now on the 75th centile and is fitting into some of his 3-6 month clothes already! Everyone always comments on how strong he is. He’s got a fantastic grip and is able to hold his head up for a good few seconds. I'm looking forward to seeing how much he weighs when we go to the clinic.

    Although I haven’t noticed any hair loss, parts seem lighter and his eyes also appear to be changing from grey to a chocolate brown. Arthur’s wearing size 3 Naty nappies (which I highly recommend) and has not experienced any nappy rash so far - Water Wipes and Sudocrem seem to be working very well!

    There are a lot of things Arthur loves; milk, kisses, cuddles, his bouncer, his play gym and Derek the giraffe are some of his favourite things but he’s not so keen on bath time. It’s not so much being in the bath but when he’s taken out of the bath and wrapped in a towel. Hopefully bath time will be more enjoyable for him as he gets older.

    Most of the time he’s extremely smiley. His gummy smile just melts my heart and I adore the gurgles and cooing sounds he makes.

    This week I’ve noticed he’s been dribbling a lot and has started taking interest in his Sophie La Giraffe. I’ve also noticed how interested Arthur is when others are eating. He puts his hand to his mouth and usually has to be fed soon after. I think he’ll love it when he’s old enough to sit in his high chair (I’ve bought the Cosatto 3Sixti Circle) and join in at dinnertime.

    Arthur’s started sleeping more at night, which initially panicked me! But after a conversation with the HV I was reassured that it was perfectly fine and to enjoy a little more sleep. There’s nothing better than waking up to his little face though. I love how happy he looks to see my face.

    In terms of a ‘Mummy update’ I’m feeling pretty good. My episiotomy seems to be healing well (information I’m sure you really wanted to know…or not) and I feel like I’m getting stronger by the day (probably because I’m carrying around a >13lb baby!) I do feel it’s time I cut out the chocolate though (pregnancy, new mum, Christmas…I’ve run out of excuses) and start gently exercising - it is the New Year after all! My stomach isn’t huge by any means but I’m definitely bigger than I was pre-pregnancy and I’d like to get back to my old dress size. I’m not putting pressure on myself or doing any fad diets though. I'm just going to eat better and go on more walks with Arthur in his pram.

    I’m still trying to get used to the size of my new mum boobs. A sentence I never thought I’d type! I’ve not had any soreness recently though and my first experiences breastfeeding in public have been a success! Small victories are what I like to call them. Others include getting the Simplifix base in and out of my best friends’ cars (without the help of my dad) and putting up and collapsing the pushchair chassis (review of my Silver Cross Surf 2 coming soon). Small victories are something to be proud of as a new parent – single or not!

    So there’s my 10 week baby & post partum update! If you’re also sharing baby or pregnancy updates, send your links my way. They’re some of my favourite posts to read!

    xo
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    Thomas.


    Today I've woken with mixed emotions; joyful to see in the New Year with my beautiful son but sad to say goodbye for now to my gorgeous Thomas cat, who passed away this morning. He was a lovely little cat, with such a big personality. He saw and experienced a lot during his 17 years on Earth, including 3 house moves, 2 new dogs (who he ruled over) and more recently a new baby. He saw me grow up from being a young girl to a woman and a mother. He was playful, clumsy, brave, bold and loving.

    We will miss him greatly and I will remember him fondly; especially cradling him and his little sister Tabetha in my arms, the night we bought them home. I love that he enjoyed smoked salmon as his last treat and died at home, knowing that all the people that loved him most were close. He's gone to join little Tabby now and I know he'll be at peace.

    Thomas, you were a big part of our little family and we love you so very much.

    xo
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