Does my bump look big in this?

It’s getting to that stage in my pregnancy when I start to moan that nothing fits and if it fits I look fat.

My stomach is ..big. My face is starting to get rounder. My ankles are cankling already and my right leg is swollen. It’s not a good look. Add to that I am now wearing a thick white stocking due to a DVT scare last weekend and I bet you are thinking I am one hot mama hey? It’s really not that bad. In fact on most days I quite like my pregnancy shapes..especially my blooming chest but on some days I feel bleurgh.

Luckily this time around I am pregnant at a time when maternity wear is cool. Of course Kate ( as in Royal Kate ) is pregnant so all the major brands have hurriedly created some really pretty maternity lines just at the right time for me ..Woop!

So far I have jeans, tunics, vests, bras and I am on the look out for some dresses and if my leg decides to stop swelling maybe even some maternity shorts luckily I’ve been offered quite a few products to review otherwise I would be broke.

I need to find something special but not too extravagantly expensive for a wedding in September when I will be blooming nicely at 7 months..any brand recommendations? I am definitely planning flat shoes but with the UK weather and my increased size I really do not know what kind of dress to buy.

Were there any items of clothing you wish you had been able to buy when pregnant? Did you like your pregnancy shape? Anyone else have any DVT scares?

A recent bump shot..me and Alex from Madagascar at the Britmums Live 2013 conference:

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*this post contains paid content

Watch the pennies…

I love spending money. I really do. I’m not a spendaholic or a massively obsessed with brands but I like shopping – who doesn’t?

It always seems that there is something I need to buy whether it be new shoes for my child,maternity clothes for me or a birthday present for someone in my rather large extended family.

Mostly I love to be able to buy good food to experiment with and create recipes and well it all adds up. As a family we have been looking at ways to cut back or to make some money from junk ( someone’s treasure apparently) which is cluttering our house. We have tried boot sales – getting up at stupid o clock doesn’t really appeal and the usual online auctions etc and most recently we tried one of the newer ways to sell your stuff via Music Magpie. We used the sell your DVDs option and made about Β£10 on a few which we hadn’t watched in quite a long time so basically money for nothing in my opinion. You can also sell CD’s, laptops, mobile phones and clothes amongst other things so its quite varied.

Cutting back is something we are always doing in one way or another. I like to use every scrap of food we buy and this saves us a fortune. Luckily we are both naturally pretty thrifty and love a good hunt around the charity shops and I’m getting quite good at hunting deals down on bargain sites or using vouchers. We do indulge occasionally as does everyone but cutting back 75% of the time definitely eases the guilt.

What websites/bargain hunting tips do you recommend for someone looking to save some pennies or to clear the clutter?

*this post contains paid content

Simple Suppers – Cheese and Potato Bake

After a few days away last week I returned home to a sack of potatoes which I really needed to use up and it just so happens I’ve had such a craving for cheese and potato pie. I really didn’t fancy the fuss of making pastry tonight and also I am currently on strict orders to take it easy so I made something quick and simple which my mum made a lot when I was growing up – cheese and potato bake. I adapted it from the basic recipe my mum passed on and it was delicious.

Cheese and Potato Bake

8/9 medium sized potatoes (peeled and diced)
1 red onion (diced)
200g mature cheddar (grated)
75ml of milk
25ml of single cream
1tsp of crushed peppercorns
2 tbsp of butter
1tbsp of herbs (your choice – I used rosemary & thyme)

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4.
Put your potatoes in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and drain.
SautΓ© your onions in a tbsp of butter until soft. Heat your milk in a small pan or microwave and add to your potatoes, butter, pepper and cream and mash thoroughly. Mix in your onions and 150g of cheddar along with your herbs and spoon it in to a cazuela or large ovenproof dish, top with remaining grated cheese, some sliced tomato and a few basil leaves for decoration and bake for 25-30 minutes.

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This was a really comforting, tasty meal. Fairly cheap to make and really quick and easy.

I served this with tinned chopped tomatoes and bacon – yum.

This fed 1 hungry pregnant lady, 1 hungry 6ft man and 1 hungry energetic toddler with a chunk leftover for someone’s (mine) lunch tomorrow.

Izzy enjoyed πŸ™‚

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Let me know if you try it πŸ˜‰

We heart Kiddicare

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to be invited along with a small group of fellow bloggers to visit the newly opened Kiddicare Bristol in Cribbs Causeway. If like me you have previously never been to a Kiddicare store and you are expecting or already have a baby or young child then you simply have to go. The prices are fab – in fact if you find anything they have in stock cheaper in another store or online then they will not only match the price but knock an additional 25% off too which is pretty awesome. The main attraction for me is that everything is laid out and on display in store. Every type of car seat, every type of pram and all the cots/toys etc.

The store is also really attractive:

Check out the bib bunting:

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I really liked that you could take the prams for a wander in walk in the park:

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And that children are encouraged to try out the toys and have a good old play:

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I fell in love with lots of products..including this

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Children are not only welcomed but catered for in every way:

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For pregnant ladies you can measure your bump:

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After a tour, some coffee and cake the Kiddicare team had a treat in store for the little ones with a cooking lesson run by a local cookery school:

I can cook:

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We ended the day with paninis in the lovely cafe before being given a haul of goodies to take home:

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Thanks Kiddicare – we will definitely be back!

* We were invited to the event at Kiddicare and given a free goodie bag

Help me kit out my Kitchen

If you know me at all you know how much I love to cook. My kitchen is my place and I’m always looking for ways to improve what little space we have as well as you know buy the ESSENTIAL gadgets I need to make me a better chef πŸ˜‰

Probably because of overuse my kitchen gadgets and appliances are all starting to break around the same time. Nightmare. I’m having to start trawling around the shops and maybe Pinterest for ideas which can be quite fun I guess.

What are your essential kitchen bits?

My microwave, kettle, toaster, oven and fridge freezer could all do with being replaced although due to budget it will not be done at the same time. There are so many brands and types of devices now that it’s so hard to choose – I mean yes of course I would love an ice dispenser on the front of a swanky new freezer but do I need it? Would I even use it? Probably not a lot.

Just choosing a basic toaster or microwave isn’t simple anymore. Do I want a toaster that can make eggs at the same time? Or a microwave that is also a combi oven? Hmm.

If you had to choose your top 5 gadgets/appliances what would you pick.. And why? Is it because they look good or are they just really useful?

For me the ones I use the most are:

My oven – obvious one I guess
Fridge freezer
Slow cooker
Smoothie maker*
Microwave

Aargh 3 out of the 5 are on the verge of dying. Tell me what brands you use and if you recommend them.

*By the way I am not an uber health whizz who is forever making smoothies but I use it to make soup, smoothies, milk shakes and crush ice etc for cocktails ( or mocktails for the moment) and this is also probably going to die soon!

Help kitchen and foodie lovers.

*this post contains sponsored content

Babies on board at Camp Bestival 2013

When you think of music festivals ..do you think: LOUD NOISES, dirty toilets and drunken teenagers falling over your tents guy ropes? This could be correct in some cases and is the reason why some festivals are not really my thing. Camp Bestival is not one of those festivals.

At least once a week on Twitter someone will ask me if Camp Bestival is suitable for babies/toddlers/children? I always answer with a resounding YES. CB is all about the family. Yes if you go right next to the stage when Dub Pistols jump on there will be loud noises but there are a hundred places you can go which are a lot quieter and calmer right at the same time. I used a lot of toilets during the 5 days we were there last year in all the different fields from the posh ones in the Camping Plus field to the busy ones next to the main stage and I honestly didn’t come across a dirty one – some can get a little *fragrant* but they are toilets and it really wasn’t an issue. There are even special children’s toilets and they are always well supplied with toilet paper and anti bac gel. There aren’t many drunken teenagers.. I didn’t see any – there is the occasional tipsy mum and dad though πŸ˜‰

Baby on board

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If you are taking a baby – like I did last year then you will find baby changing facilities as well as a baby chill out tent where you can relax and feed your child in peace. Last year there were lots of free Bepanthen goodies which was nice. There are babies and toddlers everywhere – it will make you broody even if you have your own children with you. I had serious pram/stroller envy as there are so many cool ones on display.If that wasn’t enough most people have carts/trolleys which are covered with fancy paint jobs and fairy lights…and it really is adorable seeing all the little ones snuggly asleep while the parents munch on burritos and sip Pimms watching their favourite bands.

Tips for festivalling (made that up) with a baby/toddler:

* Clothes and bedding for all seasons – last year we had incredible weather.. It was gorgeously sunny everyday and my main concern during the day was keeping a hat/bandana on my daughters head and topping up the sun cream but at night well it does get chilly quickly and we had a padded sleepsuit for her as well as a Grobag and snuggly blankets for when she was in her pram. This year we are going to be using a Readybed and probably a fleecy sleepsuit too.

*Food – you will be able to buy all sorts of food at Camp Bestival and some of it really is superb but it can get expensive so packing snacks/pouches for young ones is a really good idea. Be sure to take a camping kettle if you are making up feeds or needing to warm food. Last year we cooked some really lovely meals on a tiny camping stove and I’m sure food just tastes better when you are camping.

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* Toys/books – you may find your child will wake earlier when camping due to the sunshine pouring in, the general hustle and bustle outside or just being in a strange place – it’s worth taking some small toys/games to occupy them while you continue to doze or make breakfast. We actually only had one night of slightly disturbed sleep the first night and then it was all fine – miraculous!

Don’t forget comforters, favourite blankets/teddies or dummies if you use them.

* Ear defenders – if you plan on going to watch the live music and want to protect those teeny ears don’t forget these. I think we paid approx Β£11 for ours. ( Edz kids from amazon)

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*Sling or baby carrier – we used carriers and a hippy chick last year and they were great.

* Nappies/wet wipes – take more than you would normally use as it would be just typical for them to get an upset belly wouldn’t it?

* Calpol/teething gels etc – hopefully you won’t need this but if you do get one of THOSE nights you will be so glad you brought these.

* Trolleys/carts – you can buy/make these beforehand or hire them at CB. We only hired one for the journeys to and from the car on the first and last day. The price was very reasonable and made things so much easier. If your child is out of the pram/stroller but still likely to get tired little legs in the evening I think it’s definitely worth hiring one for the whole festival.

* Suncream/rain covers/broliies – be prepared!

I will probably think of lots more tips so this post may be ever changing πŸ˜‰

I know that many of you will still be worried at the thought of taking a young baby away but I really can’t encourage you enough to go – as a family we have said it was one of the best holidays we have ever been on and we do travel quite a lot! There aren’t many places when one day could include: Kool and the Gang, Rizzle Kicks, Mr Tumble and Dick n Dom alongside incredible food.. fabulous festival activities like the wall of death and bedtimes stories from Howard Marks. Each day is an amazing experience and you just will not be able to fit it all in.

Some lovely photos here of fellow Camp Bestival friends enjoying baby time :

So jealous of Abi and Bo in this pic!

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For those of you trying to decide I hope this pushes you in the correct direction and those of you already coming please say hello if you see us. We love making CB friends.

Read about last years CB here

Ticket Info here

I will leave you with two of my favourite photos from last years festival:

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Please ask any questions you can think of and I will try my very best to answer.

* We have been given press tickets to this years CB – thank you πŸ˜€

Pregnancy LIES

This is a bit of a ranty post.. I apologise in advance. It was originally meant for Mommatwos Sunday Soapbox and it’s only 2 days later… Oops.

Before you get pregnant or maybe even while you are pregnant people will tell you lies.. They may be white lies..myths..old wives tales. Below are the most common ones:

1. This oil/moisturiser will stop you getting stretch marks.

WRONG. I practically bathed in bio oil when I was pregnant with my daughter and guess what – stretch marks. Moisturisers are great for keeping your extremely stretched skin supple and feeling good but stretch marks are genetic. If your mum got them the chances are so will you. Sorry about that. Also getting to 30+ weeks and being all woohoo I didn’t get stretch marks is asking for trouble – mine appeared overnight at about 34wks. On the plus side – they do fade.

2. You should eat for two.

Not only do you not need to do this – you actually only need an extra 250-300 calories but also it’s unlikely you will want to. In the first trimester you will mostly be avoiding excess food and later on there isn’t room for it so eating for two is out. Eating cake however is an essential part of baby development. Honest.

3. The size/shape of your bump will differ on the sex of the baby

Twaddle. Utter twaddle. Everyone told me I was having a boy on Izzy even after my scan old ladies would say oooh it’s a boy I can tell by the way you are carrying.

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4. Lots of heartburn means your baby will have lots of hair

Wrong again. I almost took out shares in Gaviscon in my last pregnancy and I guzzled milk all day long as I suffered with horrid heartburn and guess what – she’s 21 months and is only now starting to have a little but of hair.

5. Along with the second trimester your pregnancy glow will appear

In my case this is wrong. In lots of cases this is wrong and it can almost make you feel guilty. I’m a lot more tired now than in my first trimester although the sickness is easing and I’m certainly not glowing. Yet.

6. Labour is like bad period pains

A fellow tweeter shared this *lie*. I’ve heard similar variations of it myself. It’s definitely a lie. I’m not sure any women I know who has experience childbirth would describe this as like period pains.

Childbirth is probably (hopefully – as in I hope you don’t experience more pain) the most painful experience you will have – luckily it comes with the absolute best experience you will ever have so it is definitely worth it. As I’ve told my yet to be pregnant friends .. I’m doing it again so you obviously forget just how bad it is.

7.You won’t be able to sit down for weeks

Now don’t get me wrong things will be a little sore ..maybe even a lot sore but you will be able to sit down. You may want to sit down more gently than normal but it’s really ok. I had an episiotomy and the first few days (probably due to adrenaline) I didn’t really notice any pain. After that it was tender but it was manageable and you will get some good pain relief in the hospital.

It may sound like I hate pregnancy and well I’m probably not its biggest fan. I am however still overjoyed to be pregnant knowing that in just under 5 months I will be welcoming my wonderful baby into the world. Pregnancy is an amazing experience and although this time around has been far from straightforward I still feel very lucky that I’m able to carry baby 2.



What fibs were you told?