Saturday, 28 March 2015

Easter 2015 with Marks & Spencer


M&S Easter Goodies*

M&S have a cracking (yes, that was intentional) Easter egg range this year. I was offered a selection to try and I could not resist. From cute carrot jelly sweets to the luxurious giant golden lattice egg there really is something to suit every age and budget.


I tried the M&S Mini Eggs, Bubbly Bunny, Popping Candy Chocolate Eggs, Carrot Jelly Sweets and the Beehive Honeycomb Egg all of which are delicious. 

The Honeycomb Egg is so pretty to look at, it reminds me of my honeycomb vase, there are honeycomb pieces throughout the thick chocolate of the egg and it also comes with eight beautiful Scottish heather honey caramels. This is the perfect egg for us adults who still expect to receive chocolate eggs at Easter.

If you are looking for something a little different for Easter this year give M&S a go, they also have a lovely selection of non food gifts.




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Friday, 27 March 2015

Aria's Four Week Update

Yesterday, Thursday 26 March 2015, Aria was four weeks/one month old. I can't believe how fast the time has gone, I don't like it!

28.2.15 2 days old || 12.3.15 2 weeks old || 19.3.15 3 weeks old || 26.3.15 4 weeks/1 month old

In these four weeks we have all come on leaps and bounds. Spencer and I have had very little experience with looking after babies so have both been learning on the job. It still shocks me how confident we have both become, especially with Aria being so small, most people are afraid to hold her but we just have to get on with it. Don't get me wrong we get very stressed at times and rely on Google, a lot, but we are getting on with it quite happily.

Spencer is back in work four days a week, he currently has Wednesdays off to give me a break. His being back in work has definitely helped me get into a routine with my days, though they still never go to plan! I have been out on my own with Aria (only for short periods so far) and also caught the bus with her. I've also been out on my own without Aria, I spent most of that time wondering why I wasn't using the time out to sleep.

Aria was weighed today at four weeks + 1 day and is now 7lb 60z, she has outgrown most of her tiny baby clothes, those that still fit her only just fit her. She doesn't quite fit newborn sizing yet which is quite annoying, at the moment we have a choice of dressing her in clothes that are either too small or too big, nothing fits.

She is no longer scrunched up and wanting to be straight most of the time, if we hold her up now she forces her legs straight so that we can't sit her down, she also forces them straight when trying to change her which can be fun!

She has started to hold her head a little, nothing major but she will move her head around to look around. She was very aware from the moment that she was born, as soon as she came out she was looking around, but she is doing it a lot more now and appears to take more in.

She is awake a lot more, yesterday she actually stayed awake for the whole time between two feeds (around two and a half hours) which never happens. I used this time for a little bit of tummy time which she really doesn't like, she puts up with it for about five minutes before screaming the house down, and also for her to play with her Fisher Price gym. She still doesn't have the coordination skills to be able to hit the toys but she gives it a very good going, you can see how excited she gets when she does manage to hit one, her arms and legs go wild!

As for sleep Aria is pretty good, typically going about three hours through the night without waking, which she has done since day one. I usually feed her at around 12am, 3am and 6am throughout the night and she goes back to sleep pretty much straight after, although I do hold her upright for twenty minutes after each feed otherwise she tends to be sick. The holding her is quite hard going at 3am in the morning when I just want sleep!

She is pooing roughly every 1 - 2 days now and they are a nightmare. They are super runny and leak out of the nappy every time. I have researched this and apparently it is just a result of her having my breast milk, it makes their poos runny and therefore they will leak.

My biggest lesson learnt - do not change nappies in the back of the car. Aria had a poo so I felt like I had to change her straight away using the portable changing matt and the back seats of the car. I didn't take into account the fact that the car seats slope. The poo was already all over her as it leaked out of her nappy and up her front. She kept kicking her legs around during the change which resulted in there being poo on the backrest of the seats. She had a pee mid change which all ran down the matt and all over her body and in her hair. Next time she can stay in the dirty nappy until we are somewhere convenient!





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Thursday, 26 March 2015

Aria's Newborn Photo Shoot

When Aria was just seven days old we hired friends and fellow bloggers Chantele & Jon, aka, Cross-Jones Photography to carry out a newborn photo shoot for us. They came to our house armed with props and snapped away. Aria was a little angel and slept almost the entire way through the shoot, allowing them to move her around with little complaint. She did wake up once but Chantele gave her a bottle and off she went again.


The photos are absolutely stunning, as you can see, and Chantele and Jon make a fantastic team, they were both brilliant with Aria and didn't even complain when a little bit of poo leaked onto their trousers! If you looking for a newborn photo shoot in South Wales I cannot recommend them enough, as well as newborn shoots they do the usual wedding, engagement, pregnancy shoots, etc.

Visit Cross-Jones Photography's website here
Visit their blog, Two Hearts One Roof, here.
Visit their facebook page here.






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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Easter Gift Bags for Boys & Girls


I never tend to spend too much money at Easter but I do like to buy a few little bits and pieces for my niece and nephew. Aria won't be having anything from us this year as she is too young to even know that it is Easter let alone eat chocolate.


For my nephew who is obsessed with cars I bought the Hot Wheels Easter Egg from Tesco, this contains a chocolate egg and a toy car. 


I bought this cute basket of chocolate eggs for my niece, again from Tesco. I could have bought her a Frozen egg but thought that everyone would buy them so this was something a little different.

To go with the eggs they each have a Kinder egg, a pretty lollipop from Next and a wind up bunny from Tiger, they can race their bunnies on Easter day.

The gift bags are recycled ones, I have a trillion gift bags from Aria's presents! 

Do you spend much on Easter presents? What do you usually buy?





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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

You Know You're a New Parent When...

You get really, really angry when people without children park in the Parent & Child Parking spaces. You also get angry at the shops for putting these spaces at the front of the store. If they weren't at the front of the store you would still use them, parents need them for the extra space not because we're lazy, the people that hog them without children are just plain lazy.

The baby is clean and smelling fresh, you on the other hand haven't washed for days. Just the other week we attended a Christening, I bought Aria not one, but two new outfits so that I had a back up in case of an accident. I got up early, bathed her, washed her hair, fed her and changed her nappy just before leaving. She smelt and looked great and was content throughout the Christening. I on the other hand didn't have time for a shower so had a quick wipe over with baby wipes, had to use dry shampoo in my hair, had to raid my wardrobe in the hope that I could find something that looked half decent and fitted my post pregnancy body and grabbed a quick cereal bar on the way out. Also, Aria was sick over my tights just before leaving, I made sure it didn't go on her though. It doesn't matter though, because now that I have a baby no one looks at me, I could be naked and no one would notice, they are all looking at Aria and rightly so.

You are super proud when another human being does a big burp. I never thought something like wind could make me so happy, but it really does. Aria does huge burps when we wind her after a feed and it is the most satisfying sound ever.

You have got really confused and frustrated by the whole bottle sterilising minefield. So many people tell you different things about sterilising bottles how do you know who to listen to? Then, to top it all off nicely you will be told that once you remove a bottle from the steriliser it is no longer sterile. What is the point in all of this worry then? 

Google is your new best friend. The first night that we had Aria I think we spent the entire night on Google. Every time we switched the iPad off we switched it back on within ten minutes to quickly check another strange noise or action. We are still quite good friends almost four weeks on but are slowly drifting apart.

You are exhausted. So much so that you don't even know what day it is, I updated my facebook status to state that Aria was two weeks old, when in fact she wasn't two weeks old until the following day. I genuinely thought it was Thursday.

You constantly check that your baby is breathing. One minute you can't sleep because baby is crying, the next you can't sleep because your baby is too quiet which means that you have to check that they are still breathing every two seconds.

Every moment is a photo opportunity. New outfit, first bath, new nappy, absolutely everything is a photo opportunity. 

You loose hours just staring at your baby. You have loads to do when baby eventually falls into a deep sleep, instead, you sit there staring at your beautiful, peaceful baby feeling so happy and proud.

People are disappointed to see you if you don't have the baby. Honestly, no one cares about you any more. If you go somewhere without the baby people will be disappointed because they would much rather coo over your newborn than hear you talking about pooey nappies and how sleep deprived you are.

But despite all of this, you are the happiest that you have ever been and you wouldn't change it for the world.






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Monday, 23 March 2015

Jumping into Spring with St David's, Cardiff - #SpringbySD

Last Thursday I was invited along to Wahaca in St David's, Cardiff to celebrate all things Spring. I love Spring and I'd never been to Wahaca before so decided to take the plunge and leave Aria for the first time so that I could attend.


We were treated to snacks and drinks, a few delicious non-alcoholic cocktails for me.

The interior of Wahaca is stunning, all three floors are very modern and fresh which suited the Spring theme perfectly. The swinging chairs are adorable, though I wasn't quite trusting enough to sit in one! 


We saw previews of the Spring clothing coming to St David's, think yellow, floral and denim in every style possible, including 70s flares! 


Two of the guys from Vivienne Westwood were at the event to talk us through some of the beautiful pieces currently available. It was quite interesting to hear all about Vivienne Westwood, including the fact that some of the pieces in the basics range are a lot cheaper than you would think, because Vivienne wants to stick to her roots.


To celebrate Spring St David's are running a promotion between 23 - 29 March. If you spend £70 or more in St David's you will receive a free goody bag, spend over £200 and you receive an extra special bag containing a months free parking in St David's. As well as treats from stores in St David's there is a brochure in the bag offering discounts in quite a few of the stores, a lot of them a whopping 20%.






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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Pretty Outfits for a Tiny Baby Girl

Aria was only 5lbs 11.5oz born and then dropped down to around 5lbs. As a result she was (and still is) wearing tiny baby clothes. All of the clothes that we had in readiness for her arrival were too big for her so we had to purchase smaller clothes after she was born.

I found that a lot of shops don't stock outfits in tiny baby size (or at least our local shops don't), just sleepsuits and vests. We had a Christening to attend and I didn't want poor Aria to have to wear a sleepsuit when everyone else was dressed up nicely. We went down to Spytty Retail Park and, after visiting every shop there, managed to find two smart outfits that were small enough for Aria. I couldn't resist buying both.


First up we have this gorgeous dungaree outfit from ASDA, this set included the dungarees and the top, the bootees that Aria is wearing were bought for us as a gift. This outfit fits Aria perfectly now, it was a little big on her at first, but still wearable. I do find ASDA tiny baby to be a little bigger than other shops tiny baby ranges.


I couldn't resist adding this photo into the post, she was not happy with mummy taking her photos!


The second of the two outfits that we bought, and what Aria ended up wearing to the Christening, came from Boots. This set contained the dress and leggings, she is wearing a long sleeve vest underneath and again the bootees that were bought as a gift, I am aware that the pink bootees don't really go with the purple dress but these are the only ones that fit her so they had to do! This outfit is Boots small baby size and fitted her perfectly, it is getting a little tight on her now.




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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Breastfeeding : My First Impressions

As mentioned in my breastfeeding hopes & fears post I had great hopes of feeding Aria by breast and by expressing my milk into a bottle for when we were out and about. Aria is now over three weeks old, so, the question is, how are we getting on?

Unfortunately Aria was a very lazy newborn, it would take her quite a while to latch onto the breast, when she did she would fall asleep after a couple of minutes suckling. She wasn't getting what she needed which became obvious following her first weigh in at four days old, her weight had dropped by 12.3%, which is quite worrying, especially when her starting weight was only 5lbs 11.5oz. The Midwife explained that in the first week they expect a loss, but the safety zone is between 5 - 8%. 

As a result of falling quite a way outside of the safety zone we were put onto 'plan 2'. Plan 2 is simply continuing as you are but introducing two bottles of 70ml formula into the daily routine, this is where the small Cow & Gate bottles mentioned in my bump & beyond essentials post came in handy. Aria was weighed again on day five and thankfully after just one day on the new plan she had gained 60g, followed by a further 50g on day six. 

While I was giving Aria these bottles breastfeeding was becoming increasingly more frustrating for us both. I think the ease of the bottles made Aria frustrated at having to work for my breast milk. She simply started to refuse to latch on. After one night of Aria attempting to latch for two hours and failing, her crying and me crying I decided that enough was enough, breastfeeding was not good for either of us. 

I still wanted Aria to have my milk but I could not cope with the stress that we were both facing. I made the decision to express my milk and feed it to Aria by bottle. This way she is still getting all of the benefits of breastfeeding (bar the bonding experience which I really don't think we were getting!) without the stress. 

Expressing is tough, thankfully my Medela electric pump* makes it a little easier. If expressing exclusively it is advised that you express eight times a day (both breasts), and importantly, you express during the middle of the night. I attempt to pump after every feed, though when I am busy and or tired the pumping does tend to get neglected and I don't produce enough milk for the daily feeds which has resulted in Aria drinking a lot more formula than before. 

At Aria's most recent weigh in when she was twenty one days she weighed an amazing 6lb 12oz, this made me so proud and really shows that what we are doing works for us, I now know that I made the right decision.

Left - Aria on 28 Feb at two days old weighing around 5lbs || Right - Aria on 19 March at twenty one days (three weeks) old weighing 6lb 12oz.

No one tells you just how difficult breastfeeding is, not only is it difficult but it is very emotionally draining. While being very draining during those early days when Aria did latch on and feed properly it was very emotionally rewarding. There is something so satisfying about looking down at your newborn baby happily feeding on your breast, I spent many a feed watching Aria and feeling super proud of my body and everything that it has achieved. 

My breastfeeding essentials are patience, an electric pump and breast pads because you will leak milk! 








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Friday, 20 March 2015

Mummy & Daddy Essential : Hooded Coats

What a lot of people don't consider when pregnant, or at least we didn't, is the fact that you can't hold up an umbrella when in charge of a pushchair. Whilst you can buy umbrellas that attach to the pushchair I'm really not convinced that these would hold up well in the wind. I have visions of me fighting with an umbrella that is clipped onto Aria's pushchair while getting soaking wet and just looking ridiculous! As a result both myself and Spencer are going to need to invest in a lightweight coat with a hood for the dreaded April showers, and knowing Britain, the entire Summer! 

While searching the internet for coats with hoods I came across the brand Esprit and fell quite quickly in love, their selection of practical clothing is fantastic, their home ware section is to die for (there are so many cushions that I didn't know I needed, I just need to persuade Spencer that we need them!) and the kids clothing section is ridiculously cute. We have an absolutely ridiculous amount of clothes for Aria so I must resist, though it is difficult to.

These are a few of my favourite coats for both myself and Spencer, links left to right. 


1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5

Which coat is your favourite for me and for Spencer? I think the first is my favourite and Spencer prefers the last of the men's in this list. 





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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Next New Baby 2015 Range

Next have seriously impressed me with their new baby 2015 range of products. We received a few of the clothing items as gifts before Aria was born and we couldn't resist purchasing the storage box.


The design of the storage box and gift wallet is so pretty, as you would expect these come in both pink and blue. There are a range of other items in this design including fleece blankets and cushions, we have managed to resist those, so far!


Not surprisingly we received some of the 2015 clothing range as gifts, these are such a good gift idea for any expectant parents. With Aria being such a tiny baby they are all a little bit too big for her at the moment, though the way she is feeding I am sure she will be in them in no time at all! 


If I remember rightly both the hat and vest came as a pack of two, the other one just plain white with the grey star pattern all over. 


Well done Next, I think you have really hit the spot with this gorgeous range. It is all adorable and will make the most perfect keepsakes. 













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