Sunday, 14 September 2014

Chatterbox Walls Print Review

For those of you that don't know, I met Mr R at Art school, I was studying fine art painting and Mr R Graphic Design. Since buying our first place about 8 years ago we have steadily filled every wall available to us with photos, paintings, postcards and prints - each has a story behind it and I love how we collected so many beautiful pieces in the 14 years we've been together. 

So as you can imagine when we were given the chance to order a sample print from Chatterbox Walls an online personalised print website we jumped at the chance. As a Graphic Designer Mr R is very particular about typography type work so we chose together and decided on a bright print listing some of the places which have a particular meaning for us, where we met, have lived and where we went on Honeymoon.

The Chattterbox Walls website is really easy to work through and allows you to preview your design before buying, there is also the opportunity to buy a framed print if you wish. Our Sample was A4 size which isn't normally the size I would choose for a piece of wall art but it gives you a taste of what is available. 

The quality of the print is really good and the colours are lovely and bright.

Chatterbox Walls do a huge range of prints which would make a great gifts for house warming, new baby etc so have a look at their website and get choosing the one for you. 

We were sent this print for the purposes of this review but all words and opinions are my own

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

About to Become a Stay at Home Mum - To 2! (Help me stay sane!)

Wanted mum friends for play dates, cake, tea and wine! 

Christ on a bike it's just hit me like a big wet kipper across the chops, from the end the month I'm going from working full time to being a stay at home mum to a bonkers toddler and very soon a brand new wriggling, crying, pooing bundle of joy - what was I thinking?

I've accepted it's too late to jump ship on this particularly crazy cruise so I guess I ought to start getting my head around it. 

One of the main things I'm freaking about is keeping my toddler entertained? She's used to busy days with a childminder and lots of other kids, crazying it up at soft play, toddler groups etc. Is she going to be bored with just me and bub? We'll obviously go to these places as well but will she enjoy it as much without the other kiddies in tow? 

D will be starting pre school 2 days a week in September and then 4 in January so I hope that will fill the gap for her socially, and give me a bit of time with the tiny person.

Then there's the baby, when I had D we had no other commitments so I joined baby groups, had lazy lunches in quaint Balham caf├ęs and took long walks in the park. Lazy lunches with a newborn snoozing beside you are one thing but throw an overtired toddler in the mix and somehow my boho vintage tea and cake image doesn't seem quite so idealic 

We've also moved out of London since then and being at work full time I've not really been able to meet other parents so the idea of leaving work, where all the grown ups go and spending my days in a Hertfordshire village with 2 small people, one who poos themselves on an hourly basis and another who currently thinks her bottom is the funniest thing in the world is a tad scary.

I know what I need to do but doing it is a very different matter, I need mum friends! But how on earth do people actually find mum friends without looking like some crazy stalker at the toddler group, I used to talk to grown ups, have actual intelligent conversations so I know I can do it, however I can also sing all the songs from frozen, make princess crowns to due for and name all the Peppa Pig characters - you know you wanna be friends! 

So if you happen to feel the same and have a taste for tea and cakes amidst the chaos of small people feel free to get in touch, you never know I might not be such a crazy stalker after all. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Coping with a Summer Pregnancy

If you haven't noticed it's been HOT these last couple if weeks and normally I'd be basking in the sun at every opportunity but at 34 weeks pregnant I'm struggling so despite temperatures dropping a little over the last day or so I thought I'd put together my tips on attempting to stay cool when pregnant in the summer. 

1) Take a cold shower before bed. If like me your suffering from restless legs in the evening I've also found this helps settle them enough to get a little bit of sleep. I turn the shower right down to ice cold and blast the backs of my calves, it should be torture but it's heavenly! 

2) Eat Iced anything! If it's frozen I'll eat it. I've developed a mild obsession with decaf iced coffee and behind closed doors I skip the coffee and just munch on a cup of ice. My current favourite snack is frozen peas or ice pops I just can't get enough of either!

3) Dress to stay cool. Shorts never wear but needs must, if you can't get any cut a pair of maternity trousers down. Also try to stick to loose clothing in cotton - this is no weather for skinny jeans!

4) Be a fab mum and buy you children a new paddling pool which will coincidently be big enough for mum to sneak in and cool down. 

5) Ditch the shoes - I'm practically living in my saltwater sandles - they're crazy comfy and the only shoes that don't feel like I'm trying to stuff a hippo in a shoe box!

If all else fails, get naked, dance in the rain stick your head in the freezer whatever it takes! Hopefully cooler times are ahead of us but I would love to hear your tips for coping when pregnant in the summer! 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

33 Week Bump Update

I woke up this morning and realised I'm having a baby next month! how did this happen? Okay I know 'how' it happened let's not go there but seriously I'm 33 weeks and I feel like this pregnancy is flying by. 

We also received our final invoice from Daisy's childminder today and it made it so real, from next month I'll be a stay at home mum again with 2 babies!!! I can't wait to have D home with me again but I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty anxious about life with a newborn and a toddler but get I'm sure we'll muddle through it. 

Like most pregnant ladies I am really struggling with the heat at the moment, I've also been getting restless legs in the evening and night which is making sleeping tough. I've found a cold shower helps but I think the only real solution is going to be to meet my little lady! 

I'm also growing Daily at the moment and keep forgetting how big my bump is, particularly when eating - every meal I finish without spilling some on my bump is a success as far as I'm concerned. 

Thankfully the sickness is down to once every couple of weeks now and only when I'm really tired but it has been replaced with raging heartburn, Im guzzling Gaviscon like it's water but in truth it's not working that well. I had the same with Daisy so think I may have to just suck it as one of those unpleasant pregnancy symptoms which I know will eventually go. 

I've got my 34 week appointment coming up and can't wait to hear my baby again, being my 2nd my anti natal appointments are fewer and sometimes it feels like forever between them. I'll no doubt be posting a gushing update and I hope I won't be reporting on any breach or back to back to back babies!Daisy was a back to back birth and it was a tough labour so Im really going to  get to avoid that this time round.

So I feel like I'm on the home straight, finishing work at the end of the month, getting my shop on for baby bits, preparing my hospital bag and mostly loving being pregnant. I just wish I could sleep..........

Monday, 4 August 2014

July Degustabox Review

One thing I am pretty partial to is good food, so imagine my joy when I was asked to review a foodbox service which delivered good food and drink directly to your door....

Degustabox is a monthly foodbox subscription which in my opinion is a bit unique. Not only is the food different each month but you never know what you're going to get until it lands on your doorstep. 

Now I'm one of those shoppers who could pretty much walk around the supermarket with my eyes shut and still buy exactly what I need, I'm a bit habitual, we tend to buy the same things which in turn means we eat the same things, Degustabox throws that completely in the air giving you products you may not have tried or even thought about trying before and challenges you to mix things up a bit meal wise. 

The subscription is £12.99 a month (including postage) and each month you'll receive food and drink products which far exceed that in value and which are often completely new to the market.So enough of my rambling here's a glimpse of what delights I discover in this months box

Hornsby's Blueberry Cider
As I'm 8 months pregnant my Husband took the baton and sampled these for me (he's such a trooper) however I had a little taste and they are seriously good - perfect over ice on a warm summers day! 

The Berry Company Black Tea with Elderflower
I'm yet to try mine but the blend of Elderflower and lemon sounds really good. Made with fruit juices and with no artificial colours, preservatives or sweeteners I'm hoping this will be a delicious and healthy summer drink.

Portlebay Popcorn
Now I LOVE popcorn so was thrilled to see these bad boys when I opened the box, I've already sampled the Sweet and Salty and can't wait to try the Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup and the Chilli and Lime - Yum! 

Dr Oetker Eton Mess and Violet Sprinkles
We're avid bakers in the Robinson house so my little girl grabbed these as soon as she saw them and declared we should make cakes.Not one to disappoint we topped our favourite chocolate cupcakes with them and quite frankly they we're amazing, we'll be sharing the recipe on the blog soon! 

Green and Blacks Dark Chocolate with Lemon
I adore dark chocolate and have a very big soft spot for a bar of Green and Blacks. I did wonder how I would get on with the lemon but it's actually really subtle and as you can see isn't lasting very long!

Frank Snack Honest Snacking Bar with Blueberry
Made from 100% natural ingredients with no gluten, dairy, nuts or refined sugar I must admit I was sceptical about whether a chocolate  lover like me would enjoy this but this was really good plus it comes entirely guilt free! 

Zeo Carbonated Drinks
We received 3 of these in the box each a different flavour - Citrus Twist, Peach and Grapefruit and zesty lime. I've not seen these drinks before but after sampling the Citrus Twist one I'm more than looking forward to trying the other two flavours. Im always on the lookout for interesting alternatives to alcohol while Im pregnant and these really hit the mark. 

Maggi Flavour Sachets
I've tried these Maggi Sachets before so was really pleased to see these in the box, plus there were some flavours we've not tried before so we wasted no time in trying out the Peri Peri Chicken. 

We made it up with Chicken thighs rather than the suggested drumsticks (purely our preference) but added the peepers, onions and sweet potatoes which the packet suggested and it was a lovely combination. Served with rice this was a delicious family meal and we'll certainly be having it again (I promise I didn't burn it, despite the photo being a tad dark!)

 All in all I was really pleased by the selection in the box it was a great mix of things I know I like and things I've never tried before, for me that's the beauty of Degustabox it makes trying new things and expanding your foodie horizons so so easy. Add the convenience of having it all delivered to your door and it's a real treat to look forward to each month. I have to say I hadn't really considered foodboxes other than the standard vegetable boxes before but have been won over by Degustabox. Im sure there will be months when something will be delivered which isn't to my taste but I have no doubt there will be a friend of family member more than willing to take it off my hands.

So if you like what you've seen here you can find more information about Degustabox on their website as well as Twitter and Facebook. Their website has lots more information about the brands they have worked with as well as example of previous boxes.

And the good news doesn't end there! The lovely people at Degustabox have given me a promotional code which when used will give you a fantastic £3.00 discount when you register with them - Simply type WIZUM into the relevant payment page. Personally I can't see any reason not to, enjoy discovering your own Degustabox! 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Centralcrafts Photo Album Review and Discount Code

Anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Instagram knows I love a photo, especially if it's a photo of my little lady so I was thrilled when the lovely Centralcrafts approached me to ask if I would like to review one of their beautiful baby photo albums.

As an old fine art student I still have a fondness for a real photograph, there's nothing quite like holding a real album full of beautiful memories. I love digital photography and the amazing flexibility it gives but there's something romantic about real printed photos of the people you love and the memories they bring. When I got married we opted for a real album and 5 years on still love looking through it and remembering the day, I often wonder if I would do the same if the photos were just on a CD. 

I was therefore thrilled when the photo album arrived with the traditional glue and corners, I couldn't wait to get stuck in creating something beautiful. 

The album design is beautiful, fab quality, with a gorgeous elephant motif. We opted for pink as I intend to use it for photos of my girls but there is also a blue version. It came in a lovely canvas bag and would make the perfect gift for new parents or maybe a first birthday to hold all those fabulous memories. Centralcrafts sell not only a large range of photo albums but all sorts of gifts and beautiful things for the whole family. 

As a family run business Centralcrafts specialise in Ethically sourced Handmade products and giftware, Have a look at their website it's full of fantastically unique and quirky gift ideas for very occasion. Their photo albums are made using only natural materials and you can really see the quality in this album, it feels just any gift should do - special.

To celebrate the relaunch of their website The wonderful people at Centralcrafts are offering a code to use on their site giving you a 20% discount until end of August Simply type BEING MUM in the relevant section of the payment page and treat yourself to something beautiful!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

It's a massive shock when you have a baby and suddenly your life as a couple is thrown into chaos by a little bundle of craziness! You have to adjust in so many ways and let go of a lot of those perks of being just 2 adults. Living as a young married couple in Balham, South London we spent a lot if our time out for drinks, meals and lazing in the parks reading newspapers on sunny Sundays. We actually convinced ourselves the baby would fit into our lives rather than the other way round but how very naive we were! 

Nearly 3 years on we've moved out of London, swapped out trendy lifestyle for family life and we're expecting baby number 2 in September. The extra addition to our family doesn't seem too daunting for me and Mr R but there is one person in our family who is about to have her little world turned upside down. D has been the centre of our lives for nearly 3 years and we're a very content little trio so the thought of pulling the pin on the baby grenade and turning our calm to chaos sometimes feels like a crazy idea. 

However at 30 weeks pregnant that fourth member of our family is definitely on her way can't and I can't avoid the inevitable distruption, having a new baby in the house can be pretty mad but what we can do is try to prepare D for the changes that are just around the corner in a hope that she'll see having a new baby as both exciting and an opportunity for her to enjoy a new role as a big sister rather than having to share her life, home and most importantly mum and dad with a squealing little creature who quite frankly isn't anywhere near as much fun as everyone said she would be! 

From the moment we felt it was safe to do so we've talked to D about the baby and how she will soon come and live with us, we've bigged up the idea that D is going to be a very important big sister and tried to involve her as much as possible when buying new things, choosing clothes etc. So with that in mind who was better suited to tell the world about the new baby than D herself! 

As we started buying things we were careful to allow D to help us make choices and have never treated the new things as something she can't touch or look at, it was really important to us that she doesnt feel pushed aside by the new baby and all the 'stuff' that comes with it. In fact Upsy Daisy had already tried out the Shnuggle Moses basket and bath we bought last week! 

I doubt that D really understands what's happening at the moment but predictably in her usual laid back way she's accepted everything without any bother, we've even had a few belly cuddles and she kisses and chats to Baby Pip trying to get her to move. I have no doubts there will be more than few bumps along the way, particularly when baby arrives and the reality of sharing mummy kicks in but I hope that as long as we keep ensuring she's as important to this change as everyone else she'll soon accept things and love her little sister as much as I know they will love her. 

So if your in the same boat and wondering hot to limit the impact a new baby will have on an older sibling here's a few things we've done / plan to do to help with the transition from 3 to 4!

  • Big brother / sister books - we've been to the library and chosen a few books about having baby brothers and sisters - D loves a read so talking about these at bedtime will hopefully start to normalise the situation and reassure D.
  • Let your toddler choose and buy some items for the baby and really be a part if them joining the family
  • Try not to make the baby stuff off limits as this will create a barrier between baby and toddler and again make them feel ikea this baby is taking over their previously perfect life with Mum and Dad
  • It's a popular one but remember a hello gift from baby to toddler - there's nothing like a princess dress or Peppa house to convince a fickle toddler they can be best friends! 
  • When you first bring baby home and introduce them to their big sister or brother try not to be holding the baby so you are free to give your toddler a cuddle and let them say hello to you without baby being in between. 
  • Ask visitors to go to toddler first when visiting for the first time and congratulate them on being a big brother / sister first rather than heading straight to the new baby and potentially leaving toddler feeling left out.
  • When baby is here they will inevitably take up a lot of your time especially in the first few weeks so try to involve your toddler - get them to help with nappy changes, bathing baby and show them how important they are and how grown up they are being
  • Equally it's key to ensure you have some alone time with your bigger sibling. If this is hard for you in the early days with feeding, Dad could treat them to a trip to soft play, swimming or just an ice cream at the park
  • Finally try not to leave any old boxes lying around just in case toddler decides this new arrangement really isn't for them and packs baby off back to where they came from - not that my little angel would ever consider that......