Wednesday, 27 May 2015

What we've bought for our baby girl.

It has been twelve days since finding out at our private gender scan that Pickle, as we nicknamed him/her, was in fact a little princess. TWELVE days. And let me tell you, my bank card has been getting a hammering as though it was Christmas next week!

I have always dreamed of having a little girl. Being quite girly myself, I used to find it hard to shop for Jacob. Of course I'm acquainted with it now quite well. But I am loving buying anything pink, flowery or frilly for our baby girl! Yes, I am one of those gender stereotypical mothers. Annabelle will be dressed in tutus, headbands, frilly socks, the works! And well, her kit has to match her clothes doesn't it! So I have been shopping, and I am thrilled with what I've bought for her so far.

Here we go... Are you sure you are ready for it?

A small selection of the baby grows - the 'New to the World' one was the first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant!

MORE clothes. Some from next, although the mummy & daddy, and the princess tutu one are no longer on the website, and the Thumper romper is from George. And you just can say no to pink polka dot converse can you?!

This was a bargain! 20% off in the Mamas and Papas sale. £55 for a Pink Lining changing bag. I had be drooling over it for weeks. They were practically giving it away, I HAD to have it. And it is Blooming Gorgeous!

I'm a big MAM anti colic bottle fan. These worked wonders for Jacob, so I got them in pink and green! Half price in the Argos sale too!

This took me ages to decide on. I originally wanted a girlier design but the Fisher Price label, and the fact it was an all singing all dancing swing, rocker, bouncer and toddler seat all in one had me sold.

I'm in love with the Mothercare Little Lane range, and this is another multi purpose item! (See Aiden, I'm practically saving us a fortune buying these things ;) ) It can be used as a play mat, a tummy time support, and a sit me up.

And of course, a white swinging crib. I was never a fan of Jakes moses basket, these seem much studier and last longer, plus it fits in perfectly with my bedroom furniture!

I think thats most of the big stuff for now. It makes me feel a lot better actually. Doesn't look as much wrote down! And I'm an organised list person by nature. Feels so good! So we haven't got much left on our list. Few more packs of vests, some cute dresses, the basics. I'm desperate for the Quinny Zapp Xtra 2 pram in Pink Precious too. Then some video baby monitors, and a tommee tippee perfect prep bottle machine. And we will be all ready for Annabelles arrival, albeit almost 3/4 months early!!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A lioness protecting her cub.

Thats exactly how I feel I am recently. Theres no other way to describe this intense, overwhelming urge in me. Of course I have always adored Jacob, and would do anything for him. But these past few months, it is on a whole other level. 

Jacob is my first child. My number one. It was always planned that he would one day have siblings, but it appears a little egg inside my tummy decided that would be much sooner than I had thought! It's not that I am not happy about this pregnancy; quite the opposite in fact. But it appears that subconsciously, I am worried. 

For almost two years, it was just me and Jacob in our little 2 bed semi (plus our four legged furries of course), and all of a sudden in these past few months our world that we know, our safety blanket, has completely changed. There is another little boy he has to share his toys with. Another little boy sleeping in his bedroom occasionally. A man around his mother. Her kisses are shared out now. Her time is shared out. And thats before a newborn comes along.

Before, quite honestly, as a full time single mother, I would be happy about the 2 nursery days a week, and the occasional sleepovers at Gangans (my dad! Jacobs favourite person EVER). I'd be glad of the peace, a chance to catch up on the housework, and maybe a lie in if I had the time! But now I just feel sad. I feel empty. I don't want to walk away from him at those nursery gates. I almost feel envious when he cuddles anyone else. I just want to cuddle him and never let go. I want to squeeze him and tell him he's my number one man and keep him all to myself. I know its good for both of us to have the space, and for his socialisation skills but my god. I do have to hold myself back recently.

I'm quite sure that this is a normal feeling. I hear lots of other pregnant-the-second-time-around mums talk about how they worry how on earth they could possibly love another child as they do the first one. How on earth they will divide their time and attention that once was all dedicated to their precious first born. And I guess it is really all that for me too.

But I just can't help but be a little sad that this is the end of just me and Jacob time. No more sleepovers in Mummys bed (there isn't the room!). No more naps on the sofa with him curled up on me. Yes he still does that! No more of the 'two for Jacob, one for mummy' rule when sharing a packet of rainbow drops. No more spur of the moment escapes to Nana's caravan in the country trips, just us. 

Its hit me. Hard. I know we will have amazing times to come as a family of five. Of course we will. I've always dreamed of a big family, and Jacob having siblings. I think its just a shock that everything is happening together and very quickly. Mummy has a new partner. New partner has a little boy. Mummy is having a baby. And he's starting nursery 5 afternoons a week in September! But I guess this is what its like having your first baby growing up. And wow, it really is as hard as they say. And you really do miss the younger baby days where they needed you twenty four seven. But he's growing up, and he is going to make the best big brother ever. And our future as a family is bright and exciting. I just know it. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

A Fresh Start

I'm back in the blogging world, third time lucky hopefully! I've followed a lot of family and lifestyle blogs for a couple of years now and I just love the memories they create, so I've decided to give it a proper go myself.

I've tried unsuccessfully a couple of times in the past. I have a love of writing but I just struggle to find the time to do it. This time I want to MAKE time for it. I know I'll be thankful, especially with the baby brain I'm currently experiencing! 

That leads me on to an introduction of myself. My name is Lauren Byrom, I'm 23 years old and I live in West Yorkshire. I have the most beautiful son, Jacob James and he is 3 years old. I'm lucky enough to share birthdays with him, and I've left a couple of posts from my old blog on here if anyone fancies a read of his birth story or anything. Jake is my world. You'll get to know him as JJ, Jayboo, Jaybean, he has a fair few nicknames, but he prefers to go by JJ! 

I'm currently 18 weeks pregnant with my second child. I'm carrying a little girl, Annabelle. Middle name currently undecided! And boy am I suffering from baby brain, so I apologise in advance for rambling, whinging etc etc!.

I'm lucky enough to call a lovely young man who goes by the name of Aiden as my mister. My sidekick. My one true luuuurve. Enough of the soppy shit. The poor bloke who has to put up with my crazy, emotional hormones, my nesting urge and my OCD all in one. But hey, impregnate me and deal with it I say. I'm just preparing him for life with a daughter, doing him a favour really. 

Aiden has a 3 year old son, Reef, who joins our family most nights. Obviously, if you've noticed ages of our children you'll realise that means we are a 'blended' family. But to me, its not all about genes and DNA. We are happy as we are, and we are learning to slot together perfectly. Annabelle is mine and Aiden's first child together and she will complete us. 

So there you have it. An insight to me and the family. This little blog will be my place to reflect back and have beautiful memories. I'm not fussed about the page views, or the commission posts. I'm doing it for me and our children. I hope you join us for the ride!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Dealing with PUPPP

During the latter stages of my pregnancy I became victim of this awful condition. PUPPP - Short for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy is also known as PEP in the UK - short for Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy. It is not a widely known condition so I feel a blog post about it is needed for any unfortunate ladies to experience it, to try help them understand what it is and how to cope with it.

PUPPP generally starts in the third trimester and is a severe itch and rash all over your body. It generally starts on the bump and can often start as itching in the stretch marks as it did with me. It then spreads all over your body and can look and feel as if you've fallen in a nettle bush naked, although it generally avoids the face.

The only way I can describe it is a burning itch all over your body that you just have to scratch HARD. So hard that you will make yourself bleed. I have scars all over my legs when I itched so hard it caused deep gashes in my skin. The most annoying thing is people telling you to 'just not itch'. Like its that easy!! It ruled my life for around 4 months, and even carried on for around 6 weeks after I gave birth. Most mothers have relief just hours after giving birth and the rash starts to alleviate, but it stuck around for a while for me! It kept me awake all night, had me begging at doctors to give me an early c-section so it would go away, rolling around on the floor crying because it burnt that much. It is truly awful.

It is more common in ladies carrying multiples and recent research shows most ladies go on to have baby boys. I carry on this theory too and my dermatologist said that some studies think that it can be to do with the extra testosterone due to having a boy - although this has not been 100% proven yet. The actual cause is unknown and it carries no long term risk for mother or baby.

The short term effects however are soul destroying. No other way to describe it. GP's don't know much about it, I must have visited 10 different GP's trying to get help, crying and begging for them to make the itch stop. It wasn't until after I gave birth that one GP wanted to help and referred me to see a specialist dermatologist in a hospital, although he also did not know much about it he could at least give me a diagnosis.

I was prescribed lots of various creams and tried lots of things to try take the itch away. The things I found that help were:

  • 100% natural aloe vera gel. Spread all over your body and blow a fan on yourself to cool your skin and rash down
  • Dandelion root capsules. These did seem to calm my rash down a tad, but many sufferers swear by it. It is all natural so well worth a try.
  • Lukewarm baths. I swore by this personally. It was the only way I could comfortably hold Jacob when he was little and I still had my rash.
  • Oilatum to add to the bath, to try bring a bit of moisture back into the skin after itching it so much
  • Wetting a towel, ringing it out and draping it over your most itchy parts. This was how I had to sleep (well - the little sleep I did anyway)
  • You will itch in your sleep, and most likely cause yourself to bleed like I did so use old bedsheets, and sleep on a towel to soak the blood up
  • Being naked. I know this is an odd one, but my god clothes make it worse. Especially bra's or any tight clothing. If I did wear clothes it was loose cotton.
I will be totally honest here. I think PUPPP was a big part of post-natal depression for me. I couldn't breastfeed because it hurt to have him touching my skin. I couldn't bond properly with him by having cuddles because my skin was so sore I would bleed when I cuddled him. The baths together were our saviour. I could look into his little newborn eyes and tell him how much I loved him. I did bond with Jacob, but struggled so much with my skin. For this reason mainly, I think PUPPP needs to be researched more & become more well known so mothers can get help from GP's instead of just being huffed at for being there again, sent away with some E45 and being told its 'just a normal allergy that will go away in a couple of days'!

Wrapped in a towel to be able to cuddle my baby!
As you can see the scars on my legs were very visible - this was about 3 months after giving birth
14 months on - you can barely see the scars! yay!
Just a few images of what the rash was like in action at its worst
You can see the rash on my arm here 
There is hope for ladies with scars - 14 months on since I gave birth and my pock mark like scars are much less noticeable. I used the well known bio oil and plenty of exposure. I really think sun helps scars fade.

Please - anyone suffering with this horrible condition don't be afraid to contact me for any advice or support. I hope this blog post will be helpful to any sufferers out there!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Holiday Tips for travelling with a little one...

As you know we have just returned from our holiday abroad with Jacob. He was 14 months at the time of travel, and beforehand I was really panicking about what to take, how he will be out there etc. Turns out there really was no need! Jacob was a little angel almost all holiday :0) But I have put together a helpful list of things for anyone else in the same position I was.

  • First of all - RELAX. This is a holiday. Relax the routine - Don't worry if little one isn't asleep in his travel cot for bang on 7.30pm.
  • Although keep general routines roughly the same - we found time didn't matter too much before bed as long as he had an extra snack. But a nice milky bottle in a dark room helped him understand it was bedtime.
  • Factor 50 suncream for the littlies. Common knowledge - but it is definitely needed on all uncovered areas.
  • Hats that tie under their chin! This was a lifesaver for us. Jacob is not a hat fan, but he kept this on after realising he couldn't get it off!

  • Visit a local supermarket and stock up on snacks. Biscuits, raisins, breadsticks, ice lollies and yoghurts were winners for us. Do shop around though - some supermarkets charged extortionate prices. 
  • In keeping with the above tip - if your luggage allowance lets you - take premixed formula milk, nappies and wipes with you. These are really expensive abroad!
  • Freeze water bottles overnight before a day trip so they stay cool all day - and regularly offer water to them to ensure they don't get dehydrated.
  • Don't bother packing vests, socks, PJ's - its way too warm!
  • Take a DVD player on the flight - this really helped us as Jacob got bored towards the end of the flight.
  • Ask for an extra plate in restaurants instead of ordering them their own meal. Jacob enjoyed sharing our food and trying lots of new things. We discovered he likes prawns, tomato sauce, steak, slush puppies, strawberry smoothies, mushrooms and much more!
And thats it! Enjoy your holiday :)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

My gorgeous new pram - Baby Jogger City Mini Review

I am finally the proud owner of a baby jogger city mini in purple!

I've been saving up for weeks to buy this little beauty and in the end I got a great deal. Being a mummy who is always spoiling her little man rotten I have to make sure I scrimp and save on anything I can. I got this pram for £175, and it has an RRP of £250! It was on sale in Mothercare at £199.99. I then got a further discount of £15 for spending over £100. And then I purchased it through topcashback and got £10 cashback just for clicking via their site! So I am really pleased with that :)

I have read lots of great but short reviews of this pram so I thought I'd give my blog readers a more in depth one.

First of all I can say you will not be disappointed by this pram. It is brilliant. Extremley lightweight and folds almost flat, which is great for if you have a small car. It is not umberella folding but does fold totally in half and the wheels come off with ease too if you need to make it even smaller. To fold it down is very easy. You simply unpop the little red poppers on the back and pull up the handle on the seat and it just folds in half as easy as that.

Its a great pram for walking around town, shopping centres etc. The only thing I wouldn't recommend it for is offroading on dog walks, but I wouldn't have expected that it would do that anyway - I have my 2nd hand shop n jogg all terrain pram for dirty dog walks!. The front wheel locks for if you go on slightly bumpy terrain to help you out but any bumpier than the local park I wouldn't take it on! Plus it is my new baby and I don't want it to get dirty hah! (we will see how long that lasts - Jacob has been known to enjoy smushing bright orange wotsits into previous prams!!)

It has a great big pull down hood which is great for when its raining as little one won't get wet, and has lots of protection from wind and also sun. We will be taking this pram on holiday with us and I know the large hood will be great to pull down and protect him from those harmful sunrays when he is snoozing away. It has two little flaps to open so you can check on your little monster without disturbing them.

It has a large easily accessible basket underneath, so you don't need to hang your bags on the handle! It also has a little pocket on the back of the seat to pop things like a water bottle or a toy so its easy to grab and give to a moaning little one!
The handle is soft and nice to hold, and the pram is so easy to push and steer. It turns easily and in very small spaces so great for when you're in shopping aisles. I can hang my pink lining changing bag on it easily too so I can get to that whenever I need. You can't adjust the handle height but regardless both me at 5ft 2 and Dad at almost 6ft find it at the right height for us!

The pram lays almost flat or can be sat up dependant on what your little one wants. It has an adjustable 5 point safety harness which has soft pads to protect your little one and ensures the straps aren't uncomfy on them.

Unfortunately it comes with no accessories - footmuffs, raincovers, car seat adaptors, carry cots, toddler ride along, parent console, belly bar, cup holder and a child tray can all be purchased seperately.
I plan to keep this pram for any other children I may have too, and would probably buy maxi cosi car seat adaptors for when I have a newborn, and a toddler ride along maybe for jacob to ride on when hes older! I would also possibly consider a footmuff for the colder weather.
Overall I'd give the pram 9/10 - only because you have to purchase other accessories that other prams usually come with as standard. I am very happy with it. It looks so gorgeous and Jacob loves it too :)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Welsh Kitchen Dresser Upcycle - the how to guide!!

I was lucky enough to be the winning bidder on this welsh dresser on ebay a few weeks ago.

I had wanted one for a while now, due to our kitchen not having much storage space and me doing my monthly shop! I also loved the cottagey style to them and couldn't wait to get upcycling!

First of all, I removed the old handles & sanded it back to basics with an electric sander.

It was then primed with a white undercoat from Johnstones to make the base a bit more solid and clean looking.

I then painted it all with 3 coats of Laura Ashleys Pale Ivory in eggshell. We used 1 litre of paint for this, which cost around £12 as it had 30% off! Bargain.

I left the top bit just wood and then painted over it in Dulux's Oak satin finish just to break up the dresser a bit.

It has then been covered in Ronseals clear wax to give it extra protection and cleanability.

We put some lovely new knobs on from B&Q which were around £6.

Its not totally finished yet as I am going to line the drawers with the left over paper from doing the kitchen, but that is still on the to do list at the minute! Tomorrow I am also going the scour the car boot to look for some lovely shabby chic cups to hang from the dresser to just finish it off.

Here is the 'finished' product.

I absolutely am in love with it. It has only cost around £100 in total to do and I think I could make much more on it if I was to sell it on. I'm really proud of how I have transformed it and it has given me the confidence to do more!
Upcycling is such a brilliant thing because you get a whole new piece of furniture for next to nothing, while also preventing more landfill building up!
I was so hesitant to start it because I thought it was going to be a hard process but it wasn't at all. For anyone thinking of doing it all I can say is give it a go - it is so easy and you end up with a perfect, unique, stylish piece of furniture :0)