Thursday 30 April 2015

The A to Z of Me

I've been tagged by the lovely Sarah at Run Jump Scrap to take part in the A to Z of Me, I do like taking part in these things as it introduces me to a whole load of new blogs to read. This one sounds like a bit of a challenge so lets get started!

A is for Alfie, my first born and my main man, he'll be 3 years old in May where has that time gone?

B is for busy, adapting to life with a toddler and a newborn is pretty hectic at the moment, I'm hoping we'll find our way soon!

C is for chocolate, I'm a huge chocoholic but I'm so peeved that Cadbury's tastes a bit yuck these days. Bad times.

D is for Dad. I'm a real Daddy's girl, always have been always will! Love him!

E is for Elarna. The latest addition to our family, my little Princess.

F is for friendship. Love my friends, I just wish I lived closer to them all so I could see everyone more regularly.

G is for grey hairs, just a few but ergh!! That is the reason why my hair is dyed!

H is for Helen. I don't like my name, sorry Mum and Dad!

I is for Ice Cream, been obsessing over it recently not entirely sure why.

J is for June, I'm on countdown to my holiday, wahoo! Although we may be slightly mad taking a toddler and a newborn abroad.

K is for keeping up with my blogging, obviously I've not been able to dedicate as much time to it in the last couple of weeks but I'm hoping I'll be able to as things settle down a bit.

L is for loud, Alfie is so blooming loud at the moment, especially his 'elephant' noise which sounds more like a pig being slaughtered!

M is for Mum of 2, arghhh! Scary stuff.

O is for orange juice, still drinking plenty of it.

P is for pink! My favourite colour and now I have an excuse to buy even more pink thing!

Q is for quiet, I do love a bit of p&q when I'm lucky get any, this is generally what at 7pm when Alfie is in bed and Elarna is hopefully snoozing too for perhaps about 30 minutes until the TV gets switched on.

R is for random, I use this word alot.

S is for soul mate, that would be my husband :-)

T is for time, I hate that time passes so quickly as you get older, it scares me somewhat that I'll blink and miss something.

U is for understanding, I like to think I'm an understanding person.

V is for vexed, I get vexed about lots of silly little things but hey that's just the way I am.

W is for wet (hair), I hate it, I look like a witch, my hair just goes horrendously frizzy and uncontrollable.

X is for xylophone? Haven't played one in years!!

Y is for yucky, another commonly used word in our house these days!

Z is for Zebra's, struggled with this letter....we like Zebra's in this house!!

So there you have it the A to Z of me! I now tag the following lovely blogs: 

Tuesday 28 April 2015

My Little Dream Box - Review

I'm a little bit late writing the latest My Little Box review for obvious reasons, I've been somewhat distracted! This months theme was the rather nice My Little Dream Box, I don't think I'll be doing a massive amount of dreaming at the moment but hopefully the items inside can help me out a little!

As always the box was beautifully illustrated with a dreamy design and in soft, muted relaxing colours. When I opened the box placed on the top was a little cloud which said 'surprise inside', intrigued it was the first item that I opened!

Inside was the cutest little necklace with the words Bonne Etoile (lucky star) on the front, so adorable, I've already worn it quite alot! The necklace has been designed by Delphine Pariente and has a retail price of £20. A really lovely surprise item to receive. 

The box as always seemed full of lovely things, each item selected and packaged thoughtfully. 

The next item that I looked at was inside another little box as you can see below, the clue is on the packaging! Once again My Little Box have opted to include a quirky little item which is part of the reason why I like these boxes so much. Inside the box was a great little stamp with lots of cute messages on it so you can personalise your mail (RRP £8.00 ). 

It was then on to my favourite bit, the beauty items! First item was Masque Reparateur (repairing mask for split ends RRP £7.00 for 100ml). Lovely, I always need a bit of TLC for my hair so will be testing this out over the next couple of weeks! I've really been liking the items that I've been sent from the 'My Little' range too, they've been really good.

Second item is a brand I've never heard of,  Nominoe Gentle Foam Face Cleanser (RRP £21.00 for 150ml), I love a cleanser, I'm a big believer in cleansing and toning before bed so will add this to my regime and see what it's like.

Final item is described as rouge in a balm (RRP £8.00 per tub), lush!! I've already tested this and it's great, adds just the right amount of colour without being too red and it feels lovely and moisturising too. Designed by the French actress Lou Lesage she wanted this item to be a staple in every woman's beauty bag. 

This month's box is great, as always I love the quirkiness and unique take that My Little Box offer, it makes these subscription boxes worth the wait!

* My Little Box is a beauty subscription box costing £11.00 (+p&p) a month, for more info click here.

Family Fever

Monday 27 April 2015

Birth the 2nd Time Around.

Hard to believe little over a 12 days ago I gave birth, I've been in a complete bubble the last few days and it still hasn't really sunk in yet that my daughter is here safe and sound and I went through labour again, mad as it sounds I know. It all just seems to be a bit of a blur. The last nine months has flown by scarily quickly and I'm sad in a way that this was perhaps my last pregnancy and baby! This post is a bit of a mammoth one but I do hope you enjoy reading about my birth the second time around.

So let me take you back to Monday 13th April, my due date was the 12th and I hadn't really had any signs of labour starting but on Monday afternoon I started to have a few niggly cramps that felt slightly different to normal, I didn't think anything of it though to be honest, I think I was just resigned to going overdue. When I went to bed on Monday night I was still having these little niggles, I remember waking up and taking some paracetamol but again thinking nothing really of it. Tuesday came and these little niggles were starting to get a little bit stronger but were very infrequent, I had the midwife coming over at 2pm for a membrane sweep so mentioned it to her and she said it might be the start of something. She was able to give a good sweep and off I went for a walk with hubby to see if I could get things properly started, in fact we went for a couple of walks and I then spent quite alot of time bouncing on my ball.

We went to pick Alfie up from nursery at around 5pm and I popped into the local Family Bargains to grab a couple of bits and while I was in there I had some really strong contractions. I knew at this point I was definitely in labour and was not in denial anymore! On getting home I spent a little while with Alfie walking around the garden, I then decided to have a bath, I told hubby that these contractions seemed to be getting quickly more intense and perhaps I should start timing them! It hadn't even crossed my mind up till this point to even think about timing then, funny how you're a little more relaxed 2nd time round! Off I went for a soak and I was steadily having more contractions, really quite intense but manageable, they were coming between 5 - 8 minutes apart but more frequently. After putting Alfie to bed I was starting to get more and more uncomfortable but managing to talk and walk through them ok, I figured I was going to be in for a long night! I was only able to manage a tiny little bit of food before promptly being violently sick, erghh, not good when you need energy in labour. I was pretty sick in my first labour too, how miserable!

I remember watching Eastenders in a bit of a blur, I spoke to my Mum and Dad who were on standby to come and watch Alfie if I needed to go to the hospital, they live over an hour away so suggested to my parents that might want to think about coming over now. Thankfully they were all ready to go and set off immediately. I continued to have strong contractions and at this point I said to my husband I think I want my TENS machine on, his response to me.......'don't you think you can manage without it for a bit longer? You're doing really well and you don't to wear the batteries out........'. My response in the midst of a contraction 'put my fu*k*ng TENS machine on please, I need it, it bloody hurts!!.

My parents arrived just after 10:30pm and I was finding the contractions painful now, I couldn't seem to find a decent position to get comfy in so hubby suggested another walk and I was glad to get out in the fresh air. We walked for around 20 minutes and the contractions were starting to come every 2 - 4 minutes, it was at this point my hubby decided that when we got home we should ring the labour ward. On ringing the labour ward we were told because of my previous birth to head straight in to be seen, I think reality hit home a bit for my husband at this point as I don't think he anticipated them telling us to go in!

We arrived at the hospital just before midnight, we took a little longer than expected due to my husband deciding to fart around, he decided that having a shower and shave was appropriate and even debated about preparing some food until I pretty much yelled at him to get in the bloody car. We said a swift goodbye to my parents mid contractions and made our way to the hospital. During the journey I was writhing around like a lunatic while my contractions continued to come every 2- 3 minutes. 

Once we arrived I was swiftly shown to a room and asked how I was coping with the pain, I said the TENS was helping but wanted gas and air more or less straight away, ahhhh the relief as I sucked on that mouth piece! My husband kindly took this delightful picture of me having a lovely time (to begin with) on the gas and air!

I was examined by a lovely Student Midwife and found to be 4- 5cm, I was pretty chuffed by that and felt quite positive that I'd dilated to that in far fewer hours than my previous labour. I felt quite positive at this stage and continued to labour over the next couple of hours with my TENS and gas and air. My contractions really seemed to ramp up after a while and I was climbing the wall at the height of them, I was pretty vocal this time round and a fair few swear words were definitely yelled. I was starting to feel quite alot of pressure at this point and because my waters hadn't gone yet the midwife's suspected that the waters were putting pressure on my cervix causing the bearing down feeling. I was pretty sick again which didn't really help matters, ergh.

In my first labour I had a similar issue with bulging waters and I didn't dilate as quick as they liked, because of this I asked if they would break my waters this time round. After a discussion with the senior midwife it was decided that they would break my waters to see if that helped me progress, prior to this I was examined and told I was 7cm dilated. My contractions intensified even more after my waters had been broken (which I was warned about) and it was at this point I was starting to become quite anxious that I'd been labouring for a while now and I didn't feel like I was progressing. I asked if I could have more pain relief as I was starting to feel very tired, I didn't want pethidine so my only option was an epidural, before I could have this I had to be examined again to see if I had dilated any more, on examination it was found that actually I was still only 4 - 5cm, I cannot tell you how completely demoralising this is after been told you are 7cm. Basically because my waters had been bulging they had actually stretched my cervix giving the impression I was more dilated than I was, upon hearing this and the fact that my anxiety levels had grown I decided that an epidural was the best option for me. 

So Mr. Epidural man as I affectionately called him (the anaesthetist) came along and jabbed me in the back several times and put the epidural in, he got called several choice names as it wasn't the most comfortable of experiences, I was pretty monged on gas and air which accounted for that but luckily he took it in his stride and didn't take offence! Now even working in the health care industry I haven't seen an epidural needle and thank god I didn't at the time, it was only when I got home and googled it I saw the size of the bloody thing, wowzers! Trying to sit still through my god awful contractions while having the spidural put in was horrendous too! 

Image courtesy of
Finally it was in and I felt back in control and actually more relaxed. Although it took around 2o minutes for the epidural to kick in the contractions I was having were much more manageable and I breathed through them alot less distressed than I had been. The epidural was weird though, I could feel some contractions, it was like a really dull ache, some stronger than others and I still needed gas and air through a couple so the nice anaesthetist kept giving me a top up to  get the right dose into my system. Eventually I had a nice amount of the drug in my system and was able to get some sleep for a short while. Unfortunately it was during this time that the baby's heartbeat was starting to show some signs of deceleration so I was then heavily monitored which included having a clip put on her head so it could be kept a close eye on, it was then discovered, that I'd started to run quite a temperature so was then dosed up with some IV paracetamol too, I'd also not pee'd since 4am so a catheter was also required. Oh they joys, I did not enjoy the boot being on the other foot, once again I had left my dignity by the door! 

I was then examined again by the Consultant and found to be 10cm, what a relief! I was told I'd would be given an hour to ensure baby dropped into my pelvis as she was still high and I would begin active pushing. It was at this point that both myself and my husband managed to get a little bit more sleep which was so much needed, plus I needed to get my energy to try and push her out, as once again I was very close to an instrumental delivery or a c-section.

So at 10:20am I started active pushing, although it was pretty hard as with the epidural I couldn't feel all my contractions so it was difficult to know when exactly I should be pushing! At 11am I was put on the synto drip to make me contract more effectively, luckily I didn't feel it to the intensity that I did previously but enough to feel the contractions more. I was pushing for 50 minutes, it was weird I could feel the sensation of pushing her through the birth canal but I couldn't feel much pain at all? Bizarre, but so much more controlled and relaxed than the first time. Reaching the end of the pushing stage was incredibly emotional and terrifying, due to the 3rd degree tear I suffered previously this is where my anxiety was at it's worse, however I listened to the midwife and her instructions when to breathe and push slowly. I had a feeling I might tear again judging by the midwife's faces but I just kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn't be as bad as before. I was an emotional, sobbing mess as I actually gave birth to her, I must have looked a right state. Elarna Lucy was eventually welcomed into the world at 11:50am and I had immediate skin to skin which was just incredible, she weighed a rather reasonable 7lbs.

Those magical few moments that you spend with this little baby that you've brought into the world are like no other, even though I was full of medication I felt so completely overwhelmed. After 9 months carrying her it feels like such an epic thing to do. Alhough this birth wasn't what I'd have liked again it was marginally better than my first labour, I was so much more aware of my body and what was happening and I'm pleased that I opted for an epidural. Unfortunately I did suffer a 2nd degree tear and when they were 'assessing the damage' I was petrified, my husband saw my face drop and he told me after he became very concerned about me, thankfully I was stitched by the Consultant and reassured that 2nd degree tears are the most common and should heal well and thankfully I think I am.

We were left to bond with our little girl for a while which was lovely but I then became really quite unwell, I felt like I was having some weird out of body experience, I was dizzy, light headed, couldn't move my arms and then violently sick. I think I was running on empty, full of drugs and completely washed out, I hadn't eaten for well over 24 hours and I think it affected me. Thankfully after a couple of hours I started to feel much better and once I'd had a shower and a bite to eat I was starting to feel almost human.

To end my epic birth story we had to wait for at least 6 hours before I could be discharged home because of the epidural but in actual fact we waited 11 which was ridiculous. We had to wait for her newborn check and I think they forgot about us, eventually she had it but the midwife carrying it out found she had a heart murmur so we then had to wait for the Paediatrician to come and check her over. He came and did find a murmur but it was only faint so we agreed to come back the next day for her to be checked again and possibly have an ECG (thankfully when we returned the heart murmur couldn't be detected which is quite common in newborns). We eventually got home after 11pm and we had so been looking forward to introducing Alfie to her that evening but sadly we had to wait till the next morning. It's always such a strange thing coming home with a new baby and having them next to you for the first night, bless her though she was very kind to us and only woke the once so we could catch up on a little sleep.

So then this happened and suddenly we're over a week into life with our new little girl. It's gone so quickly already, she'll actually be 2 weeks on Wednesday it's just my feet haven't really touched the ground since the 15th!

I'll leave it there now, I think I've rambled on enough and if you've got this far thanks very much for sticking with it and reading this post.

Alot of people have asked if we're done at 2, my response at the moment is yes, my little family is complete but never say never eh!!

Friday 24 April 2015

Proud Mummy.

Image courtesy of

My word of the week is proud.

I am so proud of my little man over the last week. The week has been pretty overwhelming for all of us, I was always worried how we would adapt to being a family of four but at the moment little Elarna seems to just have slotted in to our family life. Alfie has been an absolute star, I was concerned about jealousy and how he would take to having another little body in the house but he's been so, so good. Of course we have had the odd bit of attention seeking and jealousy but it's been much less and infrequent than I expected. 

He's been a very helpful big brother wanting to bring Mummy nappies and when she cries I hear this voice holler at me 'Mummy!!! Elarna's crying! Mummyyyyy!'. He's wanting to hold her (with supervision although we have to watch him as he will try and just pick her up!), and when she is crying he's straight near her asking her 'what's up Larna?', so adorable. 

Although Alfie is a whirlwind of energy he's a very caring and sweet natured little boy and actually quite shy at times, he's quite content with entertaining himself at times but he is intrigued by Elarna and I hope that they develop into the sort of sibling relationship where they will play with each other, it's always been something that I've envisaged. 

My heart literally bursts with pride when I see him with her, I always wanted to have two children and every day that goes by I'm feeling so incredibly blessed and lucky. Such a cliche I know but oh so true, this love I have for them both at the moment stretches beyond imagination.

I'm so excited to see where our little jourmey will go as a family of four and I'm intrigued to see how Alfie and Elarna's relationship will develop, as I'm an only child I don't have that sibling bond and I'm sure there will be plenty of fighting and disagreements over the years but I think, I hope that Alfie will look out for her and protect her as she grows up.

So my word of the week has to be proud, I'm proud of Alfie and I'm proud of our little family, such a special thing that we've created. 

Ok you can put the sick bowl down now.........!

The Reading Residence

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Glossybox April (Hollywood Edition) - Review

It's time for the latest Glossybox review and this month it's all about Hollywood glamour. I absolutely loved the theme this month, you can't beat the beauty classics and I automatically was envisaging bright red lips and smoky eyes and I think Glossybox were definitely on the same wavelength as me this month!

The box itself had a Hollywood makeover this month and I received the beautiful yellow box, very fresh and Spring like with a gorgeous image of Marilyn on the front, very glam. 

Love this quote! 

We had a spoiler earlier this month so I did already knew that I was going to receive a bright red lip pencil, Lord & Berry in shade Kiss ((full size received RRP £10.00), this is a brand I keep hearing more and more about, I think the packaging is pretty similar to Bobbi Brown so very slick and upmarket. This colour definitely has Hollywood glamour written all over it, a bright cherry red, perfectly Marilyn. I'm looking forward to wearing this, I'll just have to make sure I have a decent outfit to go with it!

Next item I looked at is an all time staple and classic moisturiser, Astral Original Face & Body Moisturiser (50ml tub received, RRP £3.89 for full size 200ml), this rich moisturising cream apparently was a favourite amongst the Hollywood stars and was created in the 1950's so it's definitely secured its place in the market. Not only is at a moisturiser but it can also be used to remove makeup so quite a versatile little product! 

I then checked out the POP Beauty Kajal Liner Pen in Sooty Black (full size received RRP £6.50), so I know Glossybox loves to send out eyeliner's but in a Hollywood edit I wouldn't expect any less! This is described as a pen but it's a pencil and I love the fact that it comes with a smudger, it always really annoys me when liners don't have a smudger included as to achieve a decent smoky eye you need one! This is a great item to receive.

Fourth item is a nude nail polish, Colour Club Barely There Polish (full size received RRP £4.10), slightly random price and not a brand I'm familiar with, it's a niceish colour, not sure I'll wear it all the time but I'll give it a go. 

Final item received was a very pretty and feminine shower gel, IDC Scented Garden Country Rose (100ml received RRP £3.59), this smells beautiful, very delicate and pretty. Very iconic scent of the era apparently! Always nice to received a shower gel, very handy.

So that's the April box, I think Glossybox have captured the era perfectly and this is one of the best boxes received since the beginning of the year, I will use every item and although some of the brands are still unfamiliar it is a great way of introducing less heard of brands.

What do you think if this months box? Did Glossybox get it right?

* Glossybox is a monthly subscription box costing £13.25 (inc p&p), to find out more click here.

Family Fever

Monday 20 April 2015

Brighten up your Old Muslin's!

I had a load of muslin's from previously that were either blue or white, naturally having a pink bundle on the way I wanted to buy some nice new pink ones but wondered what to do with the others as I didn't want to throw them away or waste them. One of my friends on a baby group had a brilliant idea to hand dye them to give them a new lease of life. She had already dyed some of hers and impressed with just how good they looked I decided that I'd give it go and if it all went wrong I wouldn't have wasted too much money.

It's really incredibly simple to do, much more than I originally thought and with a little bit of effort I've got a batch of lovely bright muslins to add to my collection. I purchased two packs of different colour Dylon dyes from Ebay for £2.99 a sachet, I chose the colours Powder Pink and Flamingo Pink so there would be a variation in the pinks. I had chosen to dye a couple of blue muslin's too so rather than purchasing a purple dye, instead would use the Flamingo Pink and see what result was achieved from that.

I chose a day when the weather was ok so that I could hang them out to dry once dyed and a day when I had a spare afternoon because it was fairly time consuming. I did two batches separately starting with the lighter of the two as I'd be using the same sink and didn't want to contaminate the colour. The advice is to use a stainless steel sink or bucket when dyeing to prevent staining and I can confirm that there was no staining at all in my sink afterwards.

First step is to weigh the items to be dyed dry so you know the weight and whether 1 sachet per load will be enough, all the instructions on the pack are very self explanatory and easy to follow. The items are then washed and left damp prior to dyeing, I just did a quick hand wash and left it at that.

The next step is to dissolve the dye in 500ml of hot water and stir to dissolve. Add around 6 pints of hot water to the sink and 10 tbsp of salt (I used normal table salt and this is perfectly fine). Add the dye to the water and then add your material to be dyed. 

Then comes the time consuming bit, stir continuously for 15 minutes making sure that the fabric is agitated and fully coated, it's a bit of a pain to stand there stirring for 15 minutes but it's worth the effort. Once stirred for the required time, leave for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Once this process is completed wash the items in cold water, then again in warm water and put it out to dry away from direct sunlight and heat. 

Et voila you should have a great set of muslin's with a new lease of life! As you can see from the picture below the muslin's that were blue have turned a gorgeous purpley shade which is exactly what I was hoping for so I'm really pleased I didn't buy a purple dye too!!

I am so chuffed with the results and it's well worth the effort for minimal cost.

Would you dye your old muslins to liven them up? I would definitely do it again and it was actually quite relaxing!