Tuesday 31 March 2015

Sassy Bloom - Review

Sassy Bloom is the latest subscription box that I'm reviewing, where as normally I'd be reviewing a beauty box this is a subscription box especially for Mums and Mums to be. The concept as with all subscription boxes is similar but the difference with Sassy Bloom is the boxes are tailored to your personal specifications such as baby's age, sex and stage of development which is a great idea as you can be sure you'll receive items that are useful at that particular stage, plus it's a nice surprise when you open the box to see what you've been sent. 

A little bit about Sassy Bloom and the company.

Sassy Bloom was founded in 2012 when Hollie, 29 weeks pregnant was rushed into hospital and diagnosed with a rare condition called Pulmonary Hypertension, after spending a month in hospital and having her daughter delivered as an emergency Hollie's friends brought her some gorgeous gifts into the hospital. Hollie touched by the personal thought and effort that had gone into selecting the gifts began to think about ways that she could create something similar and the idea of Sassy Bloom was born.

There are various options for joining, you can purchase a one off box or join with a rolling, monthly subscription or buy a 3 month, 6 month or annual subscription. I like the idea that you can purchase a one off box because these boxes aren't particularly cheap, I get that you receive a decent amount of items, that are full size and that they are more than you pay a month but I'm not sure I would commit at this time to a monthly subscription. 

Anyway as always I'm rambling on, I'm sure you want to see what I received in this box!

So my first box arrived, well packaged and I was actually surprised by the size of it, I wasn't expecting it to be such a big box! It was presented very nicely and I couldn't wait to have a look to see what I'd been sent. 

So as you can see my box was full of lovely, lovely items and I was really impressed, not only with the selection of items but the quality of items too, there was only one item out of the whole selection that I wasn't massively keen on. Read on to discover which item this is. 

The first item that caught my eye had to the gorgeous teddy bear, so soft and adorable this is heading straight for the moses basket ready for when baby girl arrives. Keel Toys Belle Rose Bear Soft Toy 18cm (RRP £10.00), Sassy Bloom say that this the perfect addition to any nursery and I agree, a nursery wouldn't be complete without a few teddies! 

I then picked out the car sign, so cute! I can't wait to pop this in our car window once baby is here, I'm not one for advertising that we have children in cars for other drivers to be aware but as a safety feature if we were to ever (god forbid we don't) have an accident it would alert the emergency services that there are potentially children that they need to look for. Little Bird Told me Baby Car Sign (RRP £6.00), Sassy Bloom say take care of your little one when on the move and suction this to the car window.

The next item was the Spatone liquid iron supplement, this was my least favourite item out of the box, I definitely would have preferred this in another form than liquid! Spatone Liquid Iron Supplement (RRP £1.00), Sassy Bloom say this is the best selling iron supplement and is best taken on a morning on an empty stomach or in between meals, I have to confess I'm yet to use it! 

The fourth item that I received was a pink pair of sock ons, great item to receive I used these with Alfie and they are a life saver to ensure pesky socks stay put!! Very happy to receive these. Sock On's Pink 0-6 Months (RRP £6.00), Sassy Bloom say a simple but ingenious idea to keep socks on and to prevent losing them!  As I said, big fan of these so they will get much use.

The next item was a stretch mark oil, I haven't been using oil this pregnancy mainly cocoa butter but I will absolutely make use of this and it's a decent sized bottle so will last for yonks. Shea Mooti Mama's Belly Rub Stretch Mark Oil (RRP £14.99), Sassy Bloom say  it's great for stretch mark prevention and treatment, I've never heard of the brand before so am looking forward to using it even though I'm nearly at the end of my pregnancy!

The final item that was selected for me were some little scissors, these look like a decent pair of baby scissors for little nails and unbelievably I didn't buy any with Alfie I used to just use an emery board to gently file his nails down so I'm pleased to be sent these. Beaba Scissors (RRP £3.99) , Sassy Bloom say they have rounded tips to protect little fingers and a protective case , a finger block for even greater protection. 

Overall I think it's plain to see that this is a fantastic box of items, carefully thought out and chosen, I will use every single one of the items, maybe with the exception of the Spatone! The combined full value of the box is £41.98 which is very good value for money considering I paid £9.99 as an introductory offer. I would definitely consider buying some of the one off boxes and I think that they'd make a great gift for expectant Mum's or parents with younger children, I would be interested to see what would be sent in future boxes. 

Also as an incentive when you sign up with Sassy Bloom you can earn various points and rewards to redeem on future boxes simply by introducing friends or leaving feedback on the items received, Always nice to provide a little loyalty scheme to maintain and entice customers.

As said previously Sassy Bloom is a monthly subscription box retailing usually for around £29.99, for further information please click on the link I have provided further up in the review. 

What do you think of Sassy Bloom? Have you subscribed or would you consider it in the future?
Family Fever

Monday 30 March 2015

Hospital Bag Essentials.

With less than two weeks to go now till my due date I thought I better get my hospital bags packed and ready to go, I have been putting bits and pieces in them over the last few weeks but they are now in the car in the anticipation of labour starting at some point soon (please don't keep me waiting little girly!). 

I have two bags packed, one for baby and one for me, I can't remember what I did for Alfie, I think I had two then also but it seems to make sense so that everything is accessible in separate bags. Neither bag is particularly massive so won't be getting in anyone's way once we're at the hospital. For anyone interested the bag on the left is from Flamingo Gifts which is a great website and the one on the right was a Clarins freebie that I use regularly.

I'll start with what I've packed in my bag then I'll go on to baby's. 

First up are my toiletries, I wear contact lenses so one of the first things that I always pack in any of my weekend bags are lenses, solution and glasses (not seen here as I'll add them when I go into hospital). I'm also packing a spritz for my face, labour can get pretty hot and sweaty so this light smelling facial spritz I'm hoping will help. I'm taking two packs of slim maternity pads and a handful of breast pads, from what I remember last time I didn't require many breast pads until my milk fully came in so these should see me through. 

In the pink makeup bag are a selection of travel sized toiletries with the essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste, face wipes, body wash, razor, deodorant and a little bottle of perfume, also a couple of lip balms, using gas and air can make your lips ever so dry. I'm also taking a small selection of makeup, call me vain but I wear makeup most days and after birth I want to feel a little bit like me so I have chosen a few items that I can quickly just pop on and will hopefully help me feel a bit more human, I'm also taking a flexi hair band to keep my hair out of my way during labour!

I'm taking two large bottles of Lucozade, I had a long and drawn out labour last time so if this time round is anything like that (I pray it isn't) then I will probably be needing triple the amount of these but for the time being these will have to do. I'm also taking a handful of snacks, I got pretty hungry last time so a bit of sugar will hopefully boost my energy levels, also these will be useful for my husband too, can't forgot his needs either. I'll perhaps add a few more when we leave the house. 

The next item is my TENS machine, I absolutely could not be without this during labour, a great distraction from contractions and worked really well for me before during my latent stage of labour. I do need to stock up on some batteries though! For anybody interested I purchased mine from Amazon and it was well worth it.

I'm packing my maternity tankini in the hope that birthing pool is free as the Consultant has okayed it for me to use to pool up to the point of delivery, I'm keeping my fingers tightly crossed that I will be able to make use of it.

In my first labour I wore a hospital gown so I'm taking just the one nightie, if needs be I'm happy to wear a gown again, giving birth can be a messy business so I'd rather not ruin anything of mine! I'm also packing a breastfeeding bra for easy feeding, some big knickers (a size bigger than normal just in case I need a section and purely for comfort), a pair of flip flops and a hairbrush for obvious reasons!

Clothes to go home in, I'm packing a simple pair of black leggings, a loose top and some socks, I'll either wear flip flops home or boots depending on what I'm wearing when I leave home. I've also packed my husband a spare top just in case he wants to change. If I need anymore clothes I'll get my husband to pop out and get some as the hospital isn't far from several shops. It's likely I'll be wearing a cardi when I go in so I'll wear that over the top too, when I gave birth to Alfie in May 2012 it was one of the hottest weekends of the year so I left in a maxi dress, this time it's not looking so promising weather wise so I'll play it safe with the leggings!

Next up is what I'm packing in baby's bag.

My little boy is obsessed with the blue version of this bear, it's his bedtime bear and we have three just in case (god forbid) he was to lose one. It seemed apt that when I found out we were having a girl I purchased a pink version for him to give to her when she's born, bedtime bear is from Mothercare costing £9.99. I love the bedtime bears as they are so soft and very cute so this was always going to be coming with me to hospital. I'm also taking one of Alfie's old comforters that he said 'baby smister' could have. I'm also taking two blankets, one a soft one from Mothercare that is cot sized and the other my husband's Aunty knitted and it's a perfect size for a little cot.

I'm taking a pack of sensitive wipes, the hospital provided cotton wool from what I remember but I thought I best pack some wipes just in case, baby wipes are generally something I always carry with me these days anyway! A small selection of bibs and a couple of hats, a pack of nappy bags, a small tube of Sudocrem plus some Lansinoh nipple cream, it's never too early to apply this from my experience last time and this cream is the best you can get, it can also double up as a great lipbalm!

I struggled to choose what baby clothes to take so I picked put a handful of bright vests and pink babygro's, I can't wait to put my little girl in some of these, they are gorgeous! It's difficult to know what size to pack so I've chosen one small baby and the rest are 0-3 so hopefully they'll be ok. Alfie was 7lb 4oz when born so I'm hoping for a similar size!

When I had Alfie I struggled to breastfeed, I found the whole thing very stressful and I didn't enjoy it all, although I'm hoping it will be different this time I refuse to put myself under pressure again so I'm taking some pre-filled bottles into hospital with me because as far as I'm concerned it's surely more important for the baby to fed than not. Anyway, these are purely a back up and fingers crossed I'll settle into breastfeeding ok .

I've selected a handful of girly muslins and a towel, I can't think whether I'll need a towel for baby but it doesn't take up much room so thought I'd pop one in. With a newborn muslins are an actual lifesaver, great for mopping up posset and other spills and messes so these are pretty important to pack.  

The next items are essential to pack, a pack of nappies and a changing mat, I am using Kiddicare's 'Just for Bums' nappies, I used them with Alfie and I think they are really good, £19.99 for a month's supply and we had minimum leakages. I'm also taking a small changing mat just so there is something underneath baby when I'm doing a nappy change. 

Last but not least is the car seat, this is standard I believe in all hospitals that you can't go home unless you have the car seat. We are reusing our old travel system as it's in great condition so we just couldn't justify getting a new one. I've given it a full clean and added a pink accessory to make it a bit more girly.

There are a few items that aren't pictured here that I'll quickly pick up as we leave such as my phone charger, hair straighteners and my Kindle, I'll also throw (not literally) in our camera and probably some loose change for any other snacks or drinks. I will also be putting in my maternity notes but then that probably goes without saying!

I'm hoping that I won't be in hospital for very long again so these things will see me through!

Has anyone else got any other ideas what I should pack? Am I missing anything important?


Friday 27 March 2015


Image courtesy of sebringrevolution.com

My word of the week is rage.

I reckon it must the dual female hormones jangling around in my body at the moment but oh my god every little thing, and I mean little is causing me to have some serious rage, I feel it bubbling up inside me and then BANG I explode and just as quick as I'm ragey I'm back to feeling ok again, hormones pfftt. 

Take last night for example, I go to pick Alfie up from nursery and then pick my husband up from the station and there is a massive queue of traffic, I start to feel my blood boil and I get ragey!!

He gets in the car and immediately I snap at him about something insignificant, he then calls me stroppy and I can feel the rage inside me again!

We get home and Alfie starts throwing toys around, I start to cook and burn myself on the pan and then nearly chop my finger off, I didn't thankfully but chopped into my nice long nail that I've been growing and guess what I have RAGE!!! Why, why the nice long nail?!


I am generally quite a happy person, of course I have my stroppy moments but generally cheerful, I remember one of my patients calling me 'smiler' which was so sweet, but more often than not in the last few weeks you can see me making this face........ attractive eh!

Even in this picture I'm annoyed that I'm having to wear a blanket because I'm randomly cold, I mean what's that all about?! 

I was feeling some rage last night that I had to do an online food order, it's such a pain, god forbid when it arrives later if there is anything missing or substituted, rage!!!

I feel like I belong on that show 'Grumpy Old Women', although less of the old!! I am such a moaner at the moment, no wonder my husband calls me a grumpy baggage, but even when he does call me that TO MY FACE he gets my rage look!!!

I'm sure (please god) that once baby is here I'll be back to my normal self, perhaps it'll be like the acid indigestion, once you give birth it magically disappears, here's hoping because I really don't like being so short tempered. 

Do you know what though? I already feel better writing this post, I feel like I've got a few things off my chest. 

Until the next little, insignificant thing that gives me the hormonal RAGE!

Thanks for reading :-) 

The Reading Residence

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Glossybox March 2015 - Review

It's Glossybox time of month again and this box is all about stepping into Spring, with some (hopefully) warmer weather just around the corner this box promised to be filled with items to start the season afresh with. 

First impressions, not a bad box, a couple of brands I don't recognise and a few that are well known, overall it seemed like a decent box. 

What did I receive this month?

First item, Naobay Moisturising Peeling (full size 100ml received RRP £13.71) this is a brand I've not heard of before, I really like the packaging, the wooden top is very cute and gives the impression of a natural product. This is designed to remove dead skin cells and revitalise and brighten the complexion. Anything to help banish dull skin and I'm willing to give it a go! 

Next up one of my favourite high street brands, Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm in Berry Sheer Tint (full size received RRP £4.49) I really do love a Carmex item, I prefer non tinted but never the less this will get used very quickly. It has the usual Carmex tingle when applied and keeps my lips moisturised so a nice item to receive.

The next item is...... yep you guessed it another mascara! I only just received a mascara in the February box (read about that here) so I'm a little confused and slightly disappointed that they would send yet another mascara. That being said the packaging of this brand is really nice and it seems a decent product so it at least won't be wasted, Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara (full size received RRP £3.30).

Fourth item is a rather pretty spring shade nail polish (ncLA Nail Lacquer in shade Santa Monica Shore Thing full size received RRP £13.00) , another brand I'm not familiar with but a nice item, I like the colour but I'm not too sure I would pay the RRP for it when my favourite brands like  Nails Inc and Ciate are around the same price bracket. I shall add it to the collection though!

Finally, the last two items are from the Dove Advanced Hair Series (Youthful Vitality Shampoo & Conditioner 50ml received, RRP for full size 250ml £5.99), great little items to receive I shall save these for our holidays in June instead of taking larger sizes. 

I actually don't think this is a bad box to receive it all the only thing that lets it down is receiving yet another mascara, I'm sure something else could have been chosen instead. That being said I'm sure that everything in this box will get me Spring ready.

Next months box is taking inspiration from a golden era which sounds intriguing so I'm interested to know what will be sent in April. 

What do you think of the items received this month? Any good?

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

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Frame Again - Review

I am always after great ways to display my photo's,  more often than not I end up just scrolling through Facebook or my phone to have a look at pictures rather than print them out to put on the wall. It's such a shame really as I love to have photos and pictures to look at and although I do have alot on display I feel I should have more!

Frame Again is an independent UK company founded back in 2012 and launched in 2013, Jake and Joe the creators of the company wanted to create cool frames to display photos in with high quality images and I think they've cracked it. You choose your photo, choose the frame and customise it to fit in with your home and surroundings.

Choosing and designing the frame is such a simple process, you just choose the photo required and upload it to the website, this can be from your phone, camera or Instagram. You can then have a play around and choose your border colours to whatever pleases you and throughout the process you can see in real time how the frame will look when it arrives. Naturally I chose a pink frame, not only because I love the colour but our living room has accents of pink and I knew I wanted it to be displayed in one of our windows. Not only can you display these on the wall they are also magnetic so you can stack them or put them next to each other to make a unique, individual and interesting display,I totally love this idea.

Once I'd designed my frame it was easy to checkout and it arrived super quickly! It was also very securely packaged to prevent any breakages. I don't think the online images do the frames justice, they are sturdy, chunky, fun to look at and high quality, size wise these frames are 7" x 7" and 3" deep so they are a decent size. I absolutely love my 'Frame Again' frame and wouldn't hesitate to order another couple as they cost a very reasonable price of £9.99 plus p&p, I also love supporting small businesses and I hope that Frame Again continues to be successful in the future.

* Please note I was kindly sent the frame free of charge in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are that of my own.
Family Fever

Monday 23 March 2015

Pregnancy Update - 36 - 37 Weeks

Baby is the size of a Swiss Chard (at 37 weeks)!

Maternity Style: I've been recycling clothes for this picture! It was my lovely friends 30th birthday this weekend so I opted for a flowered dress from Wallis (not maternity), mint court shoes from Next and over the bump maternity tights from Mothercare  (£8.00 for 2 pairs).  And yes that is a pair of heels that I'm wearing! It's very unlikely I would ever go out in a pair of flats even heavily pregnant!

I have reached the milestone that is 37 weeks pregnant, classed as full term and I feel huge! The medical professionals prefer you to reach 40 weeks so baby can plump up and has enough weight to enter the world but I'm happy for baby to come anytime from now. I'm still feeling big but more people have told me that I'm carrying quite neatly which is nice to hear, I'm still carrying high and don't feel as if baby has dropped much at all, only perhaps very slightly.  Definitely getting less acid indigestion now which is a bonus, but I'm still feeling very lethargic and tired most of the time. I have started to nest, on Friday I decided to clean the whole fridge and our cupboard under the stairs, I think my husband thought I had gone slightly crazy.

I visited the Midwife last week for the usual checks and my blood pressure has gone up slightly which is a good thing as the dizzy spells I was previously having have reduced. She measured my stomach and the growth has plateaued slightly (I measured the same at 33/34 weeks that I did at this appointment where I  was 36 weeks), however the midwife wasn't overly concerned about this and I'll be checked at my next appointment at 38 weeks. I haven't had any results back from the heart scans I had at the hospital a couple of weeks ago (you can read about that here) but the Midwife put my mind at ease and told me that if there had been anything of concern they would have let me know by now.

Baby is definitely head down and is starting to engage slightly, with 2nd labours it's quite unlikely that baby will fully engage till labour itself but the fact she's  starting to engage some what is a good sign, she's heading in the right direction!

In the last few days I have been having a whole load of braxton hicks, they are definitely becoming more frequent and more intense so I think it's clear that my body is starting to get ready to labour. I am so uncomfortable in bed now too which is making it difficult to sleep and it continues to be difficult to walk any long distances without having aches and niggles in my pelvis! I'm certain that half the night I'm just tossing and turning in the hope I find some position that is comfy but it doesn't seem to happen! 

We keep hearing more and more stories about 2nd babies arriving super quickly so my husband is convinced that I'll have a speedy labour this time but I'm still anticipating a lengthy labour as I'm not sure my body would do a short labour! Time will tell!

My hospital bags are now packed, the TENS machine is handy and the car seat is ready to grab so to be truthful we are now ready to go. The only thing we need to sort is what we're going to do with Alfie when I go into labour. All of our parents and close friends live over an hour away so I've given my Mum and Dad very clear instructions that when they get a phone call to get over here they need to do it sharpish! 

We're still trying to talk about the baby around Alfie so he knows that there is going to be a new arrival soon but I'm not too sure how much he really understands. I'm busy getting him a little 'brother to be' gift box sorted with a few bits and pieces from his new sister to hopefully help him be a bit more accepting! He's also got her a little gift that he's going to give her when she arrives. 

Baby is still continuing to put on weight, approximately 1/2 lb a week now and roughly weighs at this point about 6.5lbs. There is much less room for baby to move around so movements felt are more like stretching, wiggling and rolling sensations. It's vital that movement should still be felt and monitored at this stage, movement patterns should still be consistent to what they have been. My little bean clearly has her own pattern and I feel more movement towards the later parts of the day.  Baby is also starting to behave like a newborn and has periods of deep sleep, thumb sucking, blinking and turning from side to side. 

I'm not sure when my next update will happen, it's a case of seeing what happens in the next couple of weeks but I will try to get one written for next week.

Thanks as always for reading and I can't quite believe I'm nearly at the end of this pregnancy!


Friday 20 March 2015

Bouncy, bounce, bounce.

Image courtest of pinterest.com

My word of the week is bounce.

This week and for the next few I shall mainly be bouncing. Bouncing on my birthing/gym ball that is. With 37 weeks fast approaching (Sunday) I'm classed as full term in pregnancy. This little girly needs to come out at some point and I intend to help her by bouncing and bouncing. I'm also fairly fixated on the positioning of her too as Alfie decided that going back to back frequently in the last few weeks and during labour was appropriate. I however did not enjoy the experience of  a back to back  baby at all and will do all I can to prevent it happening again!!

I actually find bouncing on the ball pretty relaxing and it really helps with all the pregnancy aches, pains and niggles. There are loads of exercises you can do on the ball to make sure baby stays in optimum position, mainly leaning over it and rocking but my preferred position is generally just sitting on it having a gentle bounce and rock.

The great thing about these balls is they can be used after giving birth too, exercising and gently bouncing.........until it gets popped by a cat which is what happened to my previous ball!

So my mission in the next couple of weeks is to bounce, bounce, bounce and keep this baby in optimum position. The only issue I have is trying to convince Alfie that it's not a realllllyyyy big ball to play with! 

The Reading Residence