Saturday, 28 February 2015

How Much Washing?!

I don't know about you but my washing machine is on all the time. The poor thing never seems to have a day off at the moment, I don't know how two adults and one little person, soon to be two little people can possibly create so much washing? As soon as I can (almost) the bottom of the basket, literally within 24 hours it's almost full again. How is this possible? 


Yesterday I did three big loads of washing and there was only a couple of items left in the bottom of the basket, I look this morning and the basket is about half full, I just don't know where it all comes from. I should start running a launderette I'm sure. 

When we moved into our house we were lucky enough to have integrated appliance's which was fantastic as we didn't have to purchase any, but five years down the line some are starting to reach the end of their life (overuse I reckon!) and it'll soon be time to purchase some new items. We did recently have to replace our dishwasher and I suspect the washing machine will be next on the agenda, I can only imagine what a panic I will have if our current one packs in! 

Although our current washing machine is not a bad one next time I will definitely be looking for something that has a bigger capacity, is quieter and has a quick wash, also that is energy efficient which is think these days is a fairly important feature. 

One of the brands that we favour in our house is Panasonic and when I've been looking around at new appliance's Panasonic washing machine's have stood out at me with all the requirement's that I would be looking for. In particular the 'auto load sensor' that is featured on some of the Panasonic models, this detects the amount of washing in the drum and reduces the water and power consumption as necessary, what a great thing to include!I think when choosing large appliance's it's always best to stick with brands that are known and trusted just in case there happened to be a problem. 

I'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed that our washing machine doesn't pack in any time soon but in the meantime I better put another load of washing in before it starts spilling out of the basket onto the floor!!

Please tell me I'm not the only one that seems to constantly have the washing machine on all day?!

* Published in collaboration with Panasonic.




Friday, 27 February 2015

Spring is in the Air!

Image courtesy of  clipartpanda.com




My word of the week is Spring.

Spring is in the air, I can feel it, I can almost smell it! I know that sounds a bit weird but you can kind of smell Spring time in the air. I don't want to speak too soon but this week has felt a little Spring like, there has still been a little bit of a chill during the day but there has been sun! Yes I'm aware there have been a couple of iffy afternoon's where I live BUT I've been able to put some washing out on the line to dry and the sky has started to be less dull and more of the blue stuff with fluffy clouds. 

I absolutely love Spring time, I think it has to be my favourite time of year, from the little lambs in the fields to the start of some beautiful flowers sprouting, not to mention that bit of warmth that starts to slowly radiate from the sky, it's not too hot and not too cold, it's just pleasant. I'm really looking forward to another Spring baby, Alfie was born in May and it was so lovely to enjoy the season with him as a newborn, I can't wait to take Alfie and the new baby out for some lovely, gentle Spring walks enjoying the days in a light, warm breeze.

I find that Spring really adjusts my mood, gone are the dreary and gloomy days that just make me feel meh and in come the brighter days that instantly uplift my mood,  you can't beat a bit of Vitamin D from the sun to perk you up!I feel more energetic, ready to face the day and as the saying goes full of the joys of Spring. The lighter nights are so much more pleasant and I just enjoy the whole season the most in the year.

It's great to feel a bit more positive and energised at the moment, I may not be sleeping well still and becoming increasingly more uncomfortable but the last couple of days have filled me with some excitement about things to come and happiness to look forward to. I've got loads planned in the next few weeks in the run up to the new baby and I'm really looking forward to seeing friends and family as well as spending time with my husband and our \little monster.

What is your favourite season? 
The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My Little Frenchie Box (Feb) - Review

The second of my beauty subscription boxes arrived the other day and as with the last few of these boxes this is the one I was most looking forward to receiving. This month it's the 'My Little Frenchie' box and as always it lived up to my expectations. Beautifully designed box, crammed full of lovely items and with a French twist what was not to like! Tres bien!






As mentioned above one of the things I love about these boxes is the thought that seems to go into the items and products sent, each month that I have subscribed I've been impressed with the quality and selection of items received.

As with each box the mini mag and little postcard with a cute quote are included, the products are then encased in the cute little cotton bag along info cards about the items received. 




The first couple of items are so cute, a smartphone case and a little pot of messages. The smartphone case is a mini pouch design that can be used not only to store a phone but memo's, bank cards and rail tickets etc, it's very stylish and I do like, the only problem is my phone is a little bit too big for it but I can definitely use to protect it when in my bag. The next item is absolutely adorable, I love quirky little things like this. It's a small glass jar of rolled up mini messages to brighten up the day. I have only opened one so far and although it's a little random it did put a smile on my face. 




The next items were the beauty items, first is from the My Little Beauty brand and is a complexion enhancer (RRP £9.50), designed to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth with a delicate tint of colour. A nice little skincare item to brighten up the complexion during these cold weeks, lovely product to receive and I do love the packaging from this brand.



Next item was a L'Oreal Super Liner Brow Artist Plumper (RRP £5.99), available in three colours (I received clear) and designed to add body and volume to your brows while intensifying them without colouring the skin. Not so sure about this item, would have preferred a darker shade rather than clear but will be handy for keeping eyebrow's in shape and looking neat. This was my least favourite item out of the box this month.




The next brand I'd not heard of, By Terry but I have fallen in love with this gorgeous black kohl eyeliner (RRP £23.00) flecked with gold, iridescent sparkles. It applies so smoothly and not only does it have great staying power it's waterproof too. Love.





Lastly a little pack of DHC blotting papers (RRP £4.00 for 100 sheets), these can be used to mattify your complexion to keep a  shiny face under control. I quite like blotting papers I just need to remember to use them!



I continue to love the My Little Box every month, this has to be one of the beast beauty subscription boxes around at the moment and I urge anyone who hasn't signed up to one but is considering it to give this one a go!

What do you think of the February box?



My Little Box is a monthly subscription box costing £14.95 (inc p&p), for more info please click here.
Family Fever

Monday, 23 February 2015

I'm tired. Zzzzz.

I am having some real issues sleeping at the moment, I recently touched on this in my last word of the week post. I have to confess I love sleep, there is nothing better than heading to bed, curling up underneath the duvet with a good book and getting a good 8 hours, obviously 8 hours is a luxury these days and although Alfie is generally a good sleeper I don't usually get that many hours. 


Image courtesy of  keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Before Alfie my bedtimes were quite late, I would often spend a couple of hours reading and turn the light off at midnight, nothing compared to my husband though he is a complete night owl and is often up till past 1am, I'm lucky if I can read a chapter of a book now without wanting to flake out. 



When we had Alfie and he was a newborn next to me in a moses basket my bedtime routine was completely screwed! Gone were the relaxing, quiet bedtimes that I was used to, instead it was replaced with creeping around keeping all the lights turned off in the hope that I could sneak into bed without waking him up, generally this worked but on the odd occasion he would stir and I would freeze and then resume the creeping around again. Don't even get me started on the sleep deprivation, now I was aware that there would be night feeds but I don't think anything can prepare you for the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn, that part is definitely not something I'm looking forward to! 

Rightly or wrongly we moved Alfie into his own room at around 10 weeks old, he was such a loud and wriggly boy during the night that it was clear that none of us were benefiting from this arrangement so after transitioning him gradually into his own room we all slept a whole lot better and Alfie was sleeping through mostly from around 14 weeks of age. Even when we took him to France at 16 weeks old he was in his own room (with a monitor) with minimal wake ups, he was such a good boy. I've always been quite regimental with his routine and it works for us, I implemented a sleep routine from when he was quite young and we rarely deviate from it even now, we've also never co-slept, the one or two times we have brought Alfie into bed with us he just thinks it's playtime and thrashes about, I'd much rather get him to settle into his own bed if he wakes in the night.  I hope to introduce a bedtime routine to the new baby once we've established a decent feeding regime but we'll see how it goes. 


Image courtesy of adlimon.org


Anyway, I'm slightly digressing with the point of this post. As I said to begin with I've always loved my sleep and if I don't get enough I do tend to turn into a bit of a grouchy so and so, I just don't deal well with being really tired. When I was pregnant with Alfie I think I slept pretty well, I definitely slept well  in the first trimester and second but maybe not so in the third, however I was able to nap during the day which helped. Over the last 4-6 weeks with this pregnancy I seem to have developed some pregnancy related insomnia. Funnily enough when I was reading up about it once again it's one of those niggly pregnancy things that is quite common. It may be common but bloody hell it's annoying, guaranteed I will wake at around midnight for a pee and then at 2:30am I'm awake again and mulling things over in my head, I usually manage to drift back off into a light sleep to be woken again at around 4:30am. Not helping matters is that around the same time recently I have heard Alfie get out of bed, he is clearly suffering the insomnia like me and I'm such a light sleeper so wake up easily, so off I trudge to put him back to bed (during the week I tend to do this as hubby is up early to catch the train to London), generally he will go back to sleep quickly but I am then lying wide awake once again, mind working overtime trying to get back to sleep, this morning I reckon I drifted off at around 6am to be woken by hubby's alarm at 6:45am. This is leading to one tired mama bear!!  

Maybe it's my body's way trying to prepare me again for some sleepless nights but honestly I'd rather deal with that when it happens and have a good sleep now before she arrives! I know what to expect, I really don't need the practice just yet.

I'm also starting to realise that I'm becoming really whiny in the last few weeks of pregnancy, I just feel that I haven't enjoyed this time round as much as the first, people are so right when they say that every pregnancy is different, I really couldn't agree more. Here's to trying to be a bit more positive in the coming few weeks though.


Did you suffer with any insomnia in pregnancy? Any remedies or advice for this tired Mummy?


MaternityMondays

Friday, 20 February 2015

Apprehensive.

Image courtesy of wordinfo.info


My word of the week is apprehensive.

I'm starting to really enjoy this linky on a Friday, I think back over the week and collaborate all my thoughts into this one post, it can be quite cathartic! This week I feel I have been letting my anxieties get the better of me and have started to over think things leading to some very disturbed nights sleep. I have already been suffering some serious pregnancy related insomnia and Alfie has had a couple of unsettled nights too which has added fuel to the fire, it's like he can sense that I have alot on my mind. 

I'm apprehensive about many things at the moment, I'm fairly sure that these are all normal thoughts and feelings but it would be nice if I could switch off a bit, perhaps start becoming a little more positive and less stressed about things. I find myself waking at around 2:30am and my mind suddenly becomes a hive of activity and I can't switch off, round and round the thoughts go and I'm lying awake for what seems like hours before I can drift off back to a light sleep. What I'm seeming to think about most are the birth, I've talked about this in  previous posts and clearly I'm still quite traumatised by it so I'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed for an easier time during labour. I'm also apprehensive about soon becoming a family of four, I've always wanted 2 children and I'm super excited about welcoming a little girl into the family the dynamics are going to change and I've no idea in what way but I'm ready to accept the challenge and head into this new territory, so clearly there is apprehension around this, will I cope? What will I do differently? Will it come naturally to me?

We are so used to being a family of three it's certainly going to be interesting adding another body to the household, I am having to remind myself about what looking after a newborn is like and how do I adapt to caring for a hyper toddler at the same time. It's difficult for us as we don't live near any family or close friends so we don't necessarily have someone to call on to give us a hand at short notice, things generally have to be planned in advance and this is something that I will have to bare in mind, thankfully my parents and in laws are extremely helpful and I'm sure will be there for us when needed. 

Although I'm apprehensive I am obviously looking forward to seeing what the future holds and I'm very excited about meeting the little one and Alfie becoming a big brother, new challenges await but I am really looking forward to creating some new memories.


The Reading Residence

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Glossybox February 2015 - Review

It's that time of month again when the postie comes a knocking on my door with my beauty subscription boxes. After the January sneaky peek convinced me to stay a little while longer subscribing to Glossybox I was looking forward to receiving this month's box, had Glossybox raised their game enough for me to continue to subscribe?

With it being February, naturally this box is labelled the 'love edition' and the box itself has had a romantic themed revamp which I love very cute, appropriate and PINK! 


As seems to be the norm with Glossybox these days a little sneak peek for the next months box is featured and a product card containing information about the items received.



This months box I feel is a mixed bag, first impressions though pretty good although I did spot the dreaded So Susan brand which I'm really not a fan of.

So what did I receive this month?



First item that caught my eye was the Wilkinson Sword Hydro Silk Razor (full size received RRP £9.99), perfect I need a new razor and this one comes with a water activated moisturising serum so there is no requirement for any other shaving gel, perfect! 


The next item was the one that was featured in the sneak peak from the January box and that I was most pleased to receive. I am a sucker for cute and quirky packaging and this is no exception, beautifully vintage and pretty I already loved it without even testing it out.

Royal Apothic Tinties in Shade Coral (full size 3.4g received RRP $14) are a relatively new brand to the UK after previously only been available in Los Angeles. Containing shea butter and a trio of oils (grape, argan and almond) they are designed to nourish lips while leaving a subtle tint of colour. The coral shade received is gorgeously subtle and it really is a lovely item to receive..............now where can I buy more?!





Next item as I said previously in the post was the one I was disappointed to receive. So Susan Rose Quartet Lip & Cheek Palette (4g received RRP £8.00), this is a brand we seem to be receiving frequently in Glossybox and I just can't see the appeal, cheap and nasty packaging and awful textures. I would honestly never try this on my cheeks, at a push I would use on my lips but I have much nicer products that I've purchased myself! Sorry if this sounds harsh but I really don't like the brand.


I then received a brand that I'm not familiar with, Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in the colour Fifty Shades, very aptly named! (Full size 1.2g received RRP £14.49). Lovely item and the shade is very nice, more intense when applied wet and all inspired by the Fifty Shades film, although I'm not interested in slightest by the film as the book was terrible! 


Final item received was yet another mascara although I'm getting used to receiving these regularly in Glossybox! B.Cosmetics Mascara (full size received RRP £9.99), designed to lengthen, define condition and volumise so it really should be a wonder product but it has alot to live up to as I am too in love with my Bare Minerals Lash Domination!


As a little added extra a pack of Love Hearts was included, delicious! Overall, with the exception of the So Susan palette another decent box that is making me want to continue with the subscription, I wonder what the March box will hold?

What are your thoughts on the February box?

To read my January review please click here.

Glossybox is a monthly subscription beauty box costing £10.00 + p&p. For more information please click here.

Family Fever

Monday, 16 February 2015

Pregnancy Update - 28-32 Weeks


Baby is the size of a kale (at 32 weeks)!

I is getting fat and I'm also very behind on my updates! Ooops. So I am now 32 weeks & 1 day, my last update was at 27 weeks which you can read here. Time is flying and with now just eight weeks to go till due date it's definitely true that subsequent pregnancies go alot quicker. I've now entered the third and final trimester of my pregnancy and with that comes a whole load more different symptoms.

Over the last few weeks I have become increasingly more dizzy during the day, it was quite worrying when it started as it came on so suddenly while I was driving around, not good. The dizziness eventually made me take some time off work and visit my GP who diagnosed me with having low blood pressure which is causing the dizzy spells. For a little more information click here, it explains a bit more about dizzy spells and fainting during pregnancy which is quite common. Unfortunately due to the nature of my job as a Community Nurse (I drive around and visit house bound patients), the Dr signed me off for three weeks for my own safety more than anything, but warned me that the dizzy spells are likely to carry on until I have the baby and just to try and take it easy and look after myself. I am hoping to make it back to work at the end of the month before I am officially on maternity leave as I am missing my colleagues, my job and the patients! I am also feeling incredibly guilty being off as I know what stress and pressure my colleagues are under at the moment. In my first pregnancy I felt really well at this stage so feeling a bit useless and rubbish is new to me! So if any of my lovely work colleagues are reading this, I'm so sorry girls, I miss you and hope to be back with you soon!

I continue to get braxton hicks but rather infrequently and noticeably less than last time but when I do get them I feel like they are more intense than previously. I'm starting to get more lower back pain as I am growing bigger but this is easily managed by avoiding being on my feet for long periods of time. Although I am trying to remain quite active by walking and doing the housework but I confess not a lot of strenuous activity at this point. My acid indigestion and reflux is starting to ramp up a bit now although currently not as bad when I was pregnant with Alfie but still bad enough for me to be popping Rennie's like they are sweets.

My weight gain to this day is around 6lbs, not the average amount that would be put on usually at this stage, but I seem to be the exception to the rule as with my first pregnancy I ended up losing a load of weight (around 2 stone)! As each pregnancy is different I was interested to know if this time would be dissimilar and although I did lose weight at the beginning I am now slowly putting on a bit of baby weight. 

I have started to become (slightly) more organised and we have now moved Alfie into his new room with his big boy bed, this hasn't been as horrendous as we imagined although we are having to adjust to some slightly earlier starts and erratic bedtime's but all in all it's going ok, I will be writing more about this in a separate post. I have sorted out all of Alfie's clothes and managed to salvage some neutral clothes that can be used again and organised the nursery putting away new babygro's and various other bits and pieces. I am still yet to pack my hospital bag, I haven't really given it a massive amount of thought to be honest. Considering I was 10 days overdue with Alfie I'm not in a huge rush as I think I'll go overdue again.

Baby is weighing roughly around 1.5kg (around 3lbs) now and measuring an impressive 41cm long, the arms, legs and body are starting to plump up nicely now too! Last Sunday I had a 4d scan and the Sonographer's estimate at the moment for me is baby is nearly 4lbs and if continuing on this rate of growth I should be in for another 7lber which is not a bad weight. Unfortunately, even after a 20 minute walk and a bit of jiggling this little tinker didn't really want to behave and spent the majority of time with hands in front of her face so the pictures that we did get weren't as good as I was hoping but never the less gives a little insight into what SHE is starting to look like! I don't think I have shared the gender on here yet but I was over the moon to find out that we are having a little girl to add to the brood, very exciting for me since I am about as girly as girly can get and I can buy lots of PINK things :-)

Previously the midwife thought that baby was breech (feet down) but the scan has shown that baby has moved and is now head down, that explains the feeling of having a foot in my rib most of the time!



I will try and update again soon, while I am off work between looking after Alfie and trying to take it easy I'm taking the opportunity to blog a bit more so another update should be up soon.

Thanks as always for reading.



MaternityMondays

Friday, 13 February 2015

Little Miss Clumsy.

Image courtesy of  houseofgeekery.com

My word of the week is clumsy.

I have always been clumsy, butter fingers should be my nickname, I dread to think if I counted up over the years the amount of glasses or crockery  I have broken the cost it would total. Recently my clumsiness seems to have reached new heights. I am blaming this solely on pregnancy but in the last few months I have roughly broken 3 pint glasses (my poor husband has near to no pint glasses left now!), a jug, a bowl, a dinner plate, chipped a dinner plate (so annoying as these are a new set!) and the other day two ramekins! Not only that but I don't seem to have the capacity to pick things up first time, I try to but never seem to be able to actually maintain a grasp on something leading to much frustration on my part! For example the other day as I was trying to pick up my mascara I just kept dropping it on the floor, so very annoying!
My clumsiness doesn't just stretch to breaking items but nearly myself! Last week while carrying Alfie down the stairs (he wanted a cuddle), pretty silly of me really when I've been having dizzy spells, I successfully proceeded to slip down around 5 stairs bashing my back and hand in the process but miraculously I managed to prevent any injury to bump by getting myself and Alfie into a strange position as I was slipping and a sliding down the stairs. The next day I then rather glamorously managed to do the 'Bambi' on ice but again thankfully didn't end up on my arse!

According to What to Expect when You're Expecting it appears I'm not alone in my clumsiness and it's perfectly normal during pregnancy, although I'm fairly sure my pregnancy has just amplified that I'm already just a really, really clumsy person!


The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Pineapple Marshmallows Recipe - Amazing!!

This recipe must, must, must be tried I absolutely love marshmallows and they are pretty simple to make and taste divine (so much nicer than shop bought).


I am a big fan of Heston Blumethal I love his creativity and originality and I'm always eager to try out new recipes, I've eaten at Dinner by Heston which is incredible but haven't been lucky enough to try The Fat Duck as yet, anyway as usual I digress! After trying out a marshmallow recipe a few years ago I vowed never, ever would I attempt to make them again (it was quite a disaster really!) but when I saw this marshmallow recipe featured in this cook book I decided that I would face my nemesis and have another go. 

Now the thing with a lot of Heston recipes in this cookbook is some require ALOT of ingredients and some specialist equipment (think dry ice etc) but this marshmallow recipe is simple to follow and everything you need is easy to get hold of in your local supermarket. 


Now I know this looks like there are a lot of steps in this recipe but I promise it is very simple! 

Recipe (makes 30 marshmallows) 

Ingredients

100g cornflour
100g icing sugar
130g pineapple juice (or other flavouring)
200g egg whites (approx 7 large eggs)
400g white caster sugar
170g liquid glucose
9g leaves of gelatine, softened in cold tap water
A few drops of food colouring (your choice!)

Method

1. Mix the cornflour and icing sugar together in a bowl . Using a sieve, dust the bottom of a deep baking tray and reserve the rest for the surface. 

2. Put the pineapple juice in a pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil. Once boiled, remove from the heat and set aside. 

3. In another bowl or a mixer with a whisk fitted begin to whisk the egg whites on a low speed.

4. As the egg whites are mixing, add 100g of cold tap water, the caster sugar and glucose to the pineapple juice and place on a high heat. Bring this up to the boil and without stirring allow the temperature to reach 128 degrees C (you will require a sugar thermometer for this).

5. Use a wet pastry brush to stop sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan (gently run the brush around the edges where you can see the sugar sticking to prevent them). Once the syrup has reached 128 degrees C (this takes a few minutes) increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to whisk the egg whites until medium peaks form. 

6. Once medium peaks have formed gently add the syrup to the egg whites in a thin and steady drizzle to one side of the bowl, this is to ensure that the egg whites don't cook as you add the hot syrup. Once all the syrup has been added squeeze the water out of the gelatine sheets and add them to the bowl. Increase the whisk speed to high, whisk until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Add a few drops of food colouring at this point should you wish. 

7. Pour the mixture into the dusted tray and spread to an even thickness, a spatula is useful for this. Sprinkle the surface with more of the icing sugar and cornflour mixture. Rest uncovered for about an hour. 

8. After an hour cover the tray with clingfilm and leave to set at room temperature for 10 hours (I left mine overnight). Slice into cubes and toss in the remaining icing sugar and cornflour.



9. Pop into some jars to keep fresh, you might find that they become a little sticky, if so just sprinkle liberally with the icing sugar and cornflour mix to solve this. 

10. Enjoy!! These taste beautiful, almost a bit turkish delight in flavour, it's very subtle. You can experiment with the flavours to make all sorts of delicious marshmallows!



Helly's Top Tips: In this recipe it doesn't state the size of bowl required, my advice would be to use a large one the meringue becomes quite big once whipped up.

Keep any left over icing sugar and cornflour mix to coat the marshmallows should they become sticky.



To purchase the book from which this recipe is from you can click directly on the product link below: 



Has anyone tried making marshmallows before? Do you recommend anything when making them or any flavours to try?