Saturday, 31 December 2011

It's My 1st Blogoversary Today!

I can't quite believe it but I sit here exactly 12 months after writing my first blog post 'New Year, New Blog'.

Yes, it's my 1st blogoversary today. I've survived a year...

...and what a year it's been...
  • 1st April 2011 -  I somehow go charging into the top 100 (at #62) of the Tots 100 index 
  • 7th April 2011 - I finally confess the 'Korma Calamity' in a gross/hilarious blog post

I'm ending the year so much richer because of blogging. Not because of the odd freebie that has been sent my way but because of the amazing friendship and love from the wonderful people that I've met through blogging (and some that I've yet to meet).

I also found out yesterday that my blog scraped into the top 100 blogs of 2011 (at #97!) according to the Tots 100 index. For a blog only just turning a year old today, that's something I'm really proud of.

My year has had it's ups and downs but overall it's been an amazing year and I have no doubt that 2012 is going to be even better - we have a 3 week holiday in Florida in a few days time and then a couple of months to prepare for MC's little sibling. I can't wait for our family to become 4 and I can't wait to blog about it.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has read and supported my blog over this last 12 months and I hope 2012 brings you all much love and happiness.



Thursday, 29 December 2011

Save The Children #66cities Campaign

This blog post has been a long time coming and for that I'm so ashamed. Being ill most of November and December has meant this has slipped but it's time to make up for it whilst there's still time.

As most of you know, I feel extremely passionate about the Save The Children charity and I volunteer one day a week to work in one of their shops - which I love. So, I was eager to become involved with their current #66cities campaign.

Photo: Save The Children
The lives of over 400,000 innocent children around the world at risk and Save The Children are calling on governments around the world to take life-saving measures to protect these children. The Charter to End Extreme Hunger has been created which outlines specific actions that governments should take to stop starvation as a result of drought, high food prices and conflict.

Campaigners all over the U.K. who are representing their cities have been emailing their MPs calling on them to raise the issue in parliament.

2 days before Christmas I sent a letter to my local MP (Mark Tami) and the Chester MP (Stephen Mosley) to raise this issue on behalf of my nearest city.

If you have a spare few minutes, please contact your local MP to make them aware of the charter and also use twitter and Facebook to continue to spread the word for this important campaign.  We've seen before the huge impact that the blogging community can have with these campaigns.

If you haven't got time to email your local MP, then PLEASE spare 1 minute to sign the petition

YOU CAN SIGN IT BY CLICKING HERE

and then spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, email, word of mouth, carrier pigeon - do what you must!

I'll be blogging again on return from holiday with an update on a response from the MPs but for now, go forth and continue to spread the word...





Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Pregnancy Patter - 26 Weeks...The Christmas Edition

Firstly MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you all had an amazing time full of love and laughter.

Yes, I know, I'm 2 days late. I did wish everyone a Merry Christmas on Facebook and Twitter and I had plans to write a post but time (and illness) didn't allow.

Secondly, dear readers, an apology.

2 weeks ago I promised you a bump picture in this update and I've failed. I have a good excuse though - I've been poorly again this last week. I went downhill fast, managed to get through Christmas Day and then crashed into a bed-ridden state yesterday. Matt has been really ill too so it hasn't been a totally great Christmas in our house, sadly. I've actually got up out of bed today but still not feeling great. We were supposed to go to Nottingham to visit the inlaws Boxing Day but so far, we haven't made it. We are hoping to go tomorrow.

Mini Cheddar has been so well behaved. She has a cold but has been feeling okay despite having to have her nose wiped every second of the day. We felt so bad for her yesterday as she was just left to her own devices whilst Matt and I did relay sleeping as we both felt terrible.

Still, on the positive side, at least (hopefully) all our illnesses will be gone in time for the holiday next week.

Back to the pregnancy...I'm still suffering with heartburn but oddly I haven't had it as bad as I would have expected after overloading on meat, brussell sprouts, cheese and cake etc. Baby is still partying hard inside - making me wince sometimes it's so uncomfortable.

I have a midwife appointment first thing tomorrow morning just to check everything is okay before we go away. I'm hoping to find out which way the baby is as I'm convinced this one is breech again like MC.

Matt and I are starting to panic a bit about space in the house. Christmas has brought an influx of toys and games to the house - far too many. Come April we will have a baby and I dread to think how much stuff next Christmas. When we return from Florida we are going to have to do some serious sorting out. At least the nursery is decorated and so is MC's new bedroom so that's a weight off our minds.

Yes I'm still in two minds over the whole VBAC v's elective caesarean section but I've promised myself I'm going to forget about it for the next few weeks and just enjoy the break away.

So sorry about the rubbish update but I'm hoping this picture will make up for it. This is MC taken Christmas morning with one of her presents over her PJ's. This is what has kept me going through feeling rubbish...


p.s. Whilst I'm away in January I have 7 great bloggers lined up with some fab guest posts for your reading pleasure. Really looking forward to show-casing some of my blogging friends to you...more news on that next week and I promise a bump picture next time *hangs head*




Wednesday, 21 December 2011

What A Difference 3 Years Makes

This time 3 years ago I was pregnant with Mini Cheddar. About the same stage as I'm in with my current pregnancy. She was to be our first baby and Matt and I were very excited. However, Matt was quite over-protective.

I gave up work Christmas Eve even though MC wasn't due until mid-March as Matt didn't like the idea of me driving up to Preston and back (a 128 mile round trip) every day. To be honest, I was grateful of this. It gave me a chance to look after myself and fully prepare for the new arrival.

Matt didn't like me driving anywhere and would worry about me - and the baby - constantly. He would get nervous if I was planning a night out or anything out of the ordinary that meant I was leaving the house for any substantial amount of time.

We had decided to spend our 'last Christmas on our own' and I mean quite literally 'on our own'. We had Christmas dinner and the whole of Christmas Day at home, just the two of us (and the late Betty Dogface). I had wanted to go abroad for Christmas as a treat but Matt was nervous about straying too far away from home incase anything happened and we needed to get to the hospital. I suggested going up to Bamburgh (a place we both loved) but even that, a mere 4 hour drive, was too far for comfort for him.

It became mildly frustrating - especially as his nervousness *ahem* also affected our sex life a bit.

However, looking back I understand.

What I'm failing to understand this time around is just how relaxed Matt is about the new arrival. He's taking it all in his stride - in fact, he's admitted to me that most of the time he even forgets I'm pregnant! How he does this I'll never know as I'm sporting a mighty bump.

That will be me in 2 weeks (hopefully)
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net
We've just returned from a 4 night break in Edinburgh (a 4.5 hour drive away from home) but more importantly, in October Matt only went and booked a 3 week holiday to Florida and we fly out 2 weeks today! I'll be 27 weeks on the day we fly and 30 weeks on the way back. I've even had to get a 'fit to fly form' signed by my consultant for the return journey.

I know it sounds a bit daft but I didn't want to go at first. Matt took a good couple of weeks to persuade me. I think it was the fact that he wanted to book it at a time when I was feeling so ill in the earlier stages of my pregnancy. I would have thought that he would have seen how ill I was and thought that a holiday wasn't the best idea.  Oddly though, Matt was persistent - even when I told him that airlines get a bit nervous taking pregnant women after the 28 week mark. How times have changed in the mind of my husband it seems!

Still, I'm so grateful for my wonderful husband who wants us to really enjoy these last few months as a family of three.

So, that's it. We are going. That is if nothing happens in the next 2 weeks to stop us. I'm coming around to the thought of the holiday now and I am quite excited but I still have doubts - I think it's the fact it's right after the Christmas break and I have so much to do my head is in a spin.

Matt seems so relaxed about it all and now it's my turn to be a little nervous!




Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Pregnancy Patter - 24 Weeks And 'Viable'

Well, I've reached it! That second big milestone after those nervous first 12 weeks - the week the pregnancy becomes viable. I know things can still go wrong but I have to say I'm relieved to reach this milestone. I don't know why but I've been much more nervous about everything this time around.

It's been a bit of a rough ride at times what with sickness, a severe headache then just 2 weeks of feeling 'normal' followed by the most awful cold and cough and the stomach bug.  I'm happy to say that, although I still have a cough, I'm feeling quite good at the moment.

If you're reading this today (Tuesday) I'm currently in Edinburgh in the middle of a 4 night break away with Matt and Mini Cheddar.  We went up there last year so it may become a 'Christmas tradition'. It's the one city in the U.K. I would love to live in - I adore the place. It's lovely to get away before Christmas and, to be honest, I need the break. I know we are going to Florida in January (fingers crossed) but this is a more relaxed affair and after all the illness it will be lovely to just chill out before the festivities.

My bump is growing nicely and I'm in size 8 maternity jeans (whoop whoop!). The maternity jeans I had when I was pregnant with MC were a size 12 and they hang off me so despite my bump being quite large it seems my arse has remained fairly small this time!

The baby is a right kicker, same as MC was. The worst is when I feel the kicks really low down in my groin - sometimes it's almost unbearably uncomfortable. It makes me jump. I'm starting to wonder whether this baby will end up breech the same as MC did (maybe my pelvis is that way inclined?) and the decision for another c-section or a VBAC will be taken out of my hands! Despite me wanting to try and forget about it for another 10 weeks I find it's a decision that's on my mind constantly.

In addition to the kicks I can really see the baby move now - I'll just sit and watch an arm, elbow or whatever stick out and move about. I always thought it would be something I would freak out about (I used to have a bit of a phobia of pregnant bellies) but it's something I love about being pregnant.

The other good news is that I popped in to see my midwife last Wednesday and there was no trace of glucose in my urine which my consultant (and I) was worried about at 20 weeks - damn all that pineapple juice! It's a weight off my mind as there's a history of diabetes in the family and there's no way I want to be on a diet whilst in Florida! Om nom nom.

With all this good news, comes the bad. My heartburn is getting worse so it won't be long before I'm keeping our local chemist on his toes ordering stocks of Rennie and Gaviscon. I had never had heartburn in my life until I was pregnant with MC and it seems this little one is bringing it back into my life even earlier this time.

That's it for me for a couple of weeks again - next time I promise to include an updated 'bump' picture!

Friday, 9 December 2011

An Awesome 12 Months

I can't believe it's almost 6 months since I attended Cybermummy. I still can't believe I signed up to have my photograph taken by Jay and Tara for the Blogger Calendar.  I hadn't even been blogging 6 months at that point so I was in the 'newbie' section.

The calendar has been produced and it's time to bag me one.

So, what's the inspiration for my blog?

In a word, a photographic word that is, it's this:


My little family (soon to be plus another one). 

I took this back in August 2009 (when Mini Cheddar was only 5 months old).  Little did I know that a year and 4 months later I'd dip my toe into the world of blogging, feel the warmth and love and dive straight in head first! 

As a SAHM I felt I wanted somewhere to jot down my thoughts, my feelings, my ramblings, my journey and somewhere to record my experiences with my new family. I never really imagined anyone would even read it, let alone actually enjoy reading it.

Yes I'm coming up to my 1st blogoversary at the very end of this month. I shudder when I look back at my very first blog post 'Three Little Words'...not only because I cringe at how I started my blog but because I've only really achieved 1 out of the measly 3 things I said I was going to do this year. How rubbish am I? Actually, don't answer that.

I've had an awesome 12 months!

I (somehow) made the finals of the MAD Blog Awards for Best New Blog which was totally overwhelming.

My blog also gave me my freelance work which I love so I can keep my CV rolling (and bring in some money) despite being a SAHM.

Blogging has made me laugh, it's made me cry, it's made me excited, it's made me frustrated but most of all it's made me make some amazing new friends, many I've met personally and have all lived up to their blogging personalities.

Since becoming pregnant my blogging has been a bit quieter but it doesn't mean my passion for it has gone, I still adore it so here's to the next 12 months!  Although there will be little 'events' for me this year - I've had to bow out of BritMums Live or Cybher as I'll be up to my eyeballs in nappies and milk.


This was posted to receive one of the fab calendars kindly put together by Jay and Tara. For more info:






Monday, 5 December 2011

Be A Princess Every Day!

I have a confession to make.

My name's Heather and I think I'm a tent-o-holic.

There, I said it.

Mini Cheddar has a total of 3 play tents. So why have I just had another one sent to me?

Who could not resist this?

Photo: Big Game Hunters
Gorgeous isn't it? I have to be honest, was a bit skeptical about the price. It retails on playhouses.co.uk at £74.99.  The tents Mini Cheddar has all cost about £20. However, the ones we have are small, flimsy and cheap looking - in this case you definitely get what you pay for!

This tent is simply stunning - I never thought I'd use those words to describe a tent.

It's a unique hexagonal turret shape with a flag on top, complete with two windows and a door with velcro fastenings. I'm now wishing I was smaller so I could play at being a princess!

It's made from quality materials and is so sturdy. Just what you need in a children's play tent. The interior frame is made from wooden poles which slot together and the external material is a strong, thick canvas made to withstand summer showers.

I think that the other tents I purchased before probably won't see the light of day again.

We can't wait for the weather to turn warmer again so we can get full use of it (although we are in the middle of decorating her bedroom at the moment so I'm tempted to let her have it a little earlier).

MC is going to love playing princess in her new kingdom - aka the back garden - next year.  I'll be sure to post some photos of her practicing her royal wave through the window.

If a Princess Tent doesn't take your fancy then check out the other range of Play Houses here. Some of them are just amazing - the crooked playhouses have to be my favourites. playhouses.co.uk provide a wide range of quality outdoor products perfect for Princes as well as Princesses.




This is not a sponsored post.  
I was sent a Princess Tent to review but all words,
views and opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Hello Moon

First I have some GREAT news. Well, it's great news for our house... Mini Cheddar is fully potty trained! I can't tell you how happy I am about this. I felt so deflated at the end of October over the whole potty pressure. So, I stepped off the gas, relaxed and just let her lead the way and it's worked. 2 whole days with no accidents and today I gave her a lot of water and we even went out twice - a total of 11 wee wees and only one that I prompted her to do. It means so much that we can go away next week and in January for our big holiday without having to take a suitcase of nappies or Pull-ups with us.

So, the real reason for this post...I had to share this with you.  This was taken a couple of weeks or so ago when MC decided to talk to the moon through the patio window. For those of you know don't know, Betty is our dog who had to be put to sleep on 3rd November.



Here are some other gems that MC has come out with in the past couple of months or so as I need to document them:

MC: Yaye! We are going to Biscuits today!
Me: Where?
MC: Biscuits! It's going to be wonderful Mummy!
Me: I think you mean 'Whizz Kids' sweetie (Whizz Kids is a play centre near us).

Grandma: Is Grandma a boy or a girl?
MC: You're a girl Grandma!
Grandad: Yes, Grandma is an 'old' girl (my Dad trying to be funny)
MC: And you're an old boy Grandad! (touché Grandad, touché!)

Me: We need to go to Asda today to do the food shopping.
MC: (adopts a stern voice) Well we'll see about that Mummy!

MC: (talking about Halloween) I think ghosts are very spicy.
Me: I think you mean 'spooky' darling.

MC: I want a yoghurt!
Me: Aren't you forgetting something?
MC: Erm...my manners?
Me: Yes, so what do you say?
MC: But Mummy, I've lost my manners. I can't find them anywhere! Where are they? (raises hands in the air and looks left and right)

MC: (running her toy Dyson vacuum cleaner over the carpet) PHEW! (wipes mock sweat from her brow)

MC: (coming into the kitchen) What are you doing in here Mummy?
Me: I'm making dinner
MC: How long is it going to be?

MC: Mummy! (shouting from the lounge...I'm in the kitchen)
Me: What?
MC: MUMMY!
Me: What?
MC: MUMMY MUMMY MUMMY!
Me: (running into the lounge in a slight panic) What darling?
MC: I'm playing with these stars (some plastic stars she has). You can go back in the kitchen if you want.

Me: Come on sweetie, I need to get you changed
MC: Calm down Mummy! (she's clearly been listening to Michael Winner!)

(MC is listening to noisy banter between Matt and his family)
MC: Everybody just calm down please!

MC: (pretending to talk to Daddy on the toy phone) Daddy, I'm at Grandma and Grandad's house. I've made a right mess!

MC: (fussing over a new baby she's spotted in a cafe) Aw, he's SO cute!
Grandma: Yes, Mummy has a baby in her tummy doesn't she?
MC: Yes, but I want that one! (pointing at the baby)

For previous MC conversational delights, have a look at these:

It's Bumpy!
The World According To Mini Cheddar



Monday, 28 November 2011

Pregnancy Patter - 22 Weeks And The Big VBAC Debate

I can't believe it's almost 2 weeks since my 20 week scan. I'm 22 weeks tomorrow - eek.

2 weeks of knowing the sex of our baby, it's a strange feeling...one I'm still not really used to. Part of me wishes that I didn't know as some of the excitement has gone now. Matt wanted to know (and I didn't) so I'll blame him happily. Still, at least it gives me something to focus on and the opportunity to look at proper themes for the nursery rather than just going neutral like we did last time.

In my last update I told you that I was ill with a sore throat and headache and that Mini Cheddar had been suffering badly with an awful cold and cough. Well, that transferred to me and I've spent a good amount of time in bed over these past couple of weeks feeling truly horrible (hence the lack of blog activity). I still have an awful cough now. Just as I was starting to recover at the end of last week I was hit with a stomach bug (or I ate something that didn't agree with me) and spent another day and a half in bed - and on the loo!

I'm hoping that after 3 weeks of illness I'm finally bug free and can look forward to Christmas - and our yearly December mini holiday up to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks. I'm also hoping to catch up on everyones blogs again!

So, on to other things...

As most of you know I had to have an elective section due to Mini Cheddar being well and truly stuck in the breech position.

The thing is, I'd planned a natural water birth so when I was told this news I was completely crushed. My NCT course covering natural birth (with a brief 10 minute section on caesarean birth) seemed pretty pointless at the time. I spent a good couple of weeks in tears and took to a baby forum where, with help from others in the same situation, I got through it and accepted I was having a c-section.

I turned it into a positive in the end and, as it happened, I had an amazing birth. The caesarean was a lovely experience and one I will cherish.

Shortly after the birth of Mini Cheddar
(eyes and nose puffy from blubbing)
So, now I'm pregnant again and over half way through. I saw my consultant a couple of weeks ago and she gave me a leaflet on having a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). They are recommending I try for a VBAC as I have no real medical reason to request a caesarean but I can push for one if I wish.

The thing is, after being so totally crushed at not being able to go through a natural birth process last time, I always thought I would jump at the chance for a VBAC. But now, faced with the decision I find myself wondering if I really want to try for one. My head is filled with so many questions...

1. What if my scar ruptures?
2. What if I can't get through the natural birth and end up having an emergency caesarean?
3. What if something awful happens?
4. What if, what if, what if?

I know it's just me being silly and worrying but I know so many women who have gone through natural labour only to end up having an emergency caesarean. I don't think I could cope with that after having such a positive first birth experience. The thought of everything spiralling out of control makes me very nervous.

However, it may not come to that...everything could be fine.

If I choose an elective section the thought of having to spend 2 nights in hospital away from Matt and Mini Cheddar after afterwards also fills me with dread. The thought of not being able to pick MC up or do much around the house etc. is not something I would want either.

However, when I had my first caesarean, as it was elective, I had a great recovery. I was driving 2 weeks afterwards and healed really quickly.

I have been told if I go for a VBAC then they will only allow me to go a week overdue and if there are no signs of labour they will go ahead with a caesarean anyway so part of me is thinking I should just go ahead with a section and save all the faffing!

Oh decisions, decisions.

I'm seeing my consultant 21st February 2012 so I have until then to decide. I'm trying not to think about it until after Christmas but it's not going to be easy.







Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pregnancy Patter - 20 Weeks And Scan Time!

Hello baby!
We had the 20 week scan today and it was fabulous. We got to see the baby in so much detail and it really cheered me up as, despite having a much better time with the sickness etc., I've had a bit of a crappy time over the past couple of weeks - all starting with my beloved dog being put to sleep just over 2 weeks ago. I should be feeling really happy as we have so much to look forward to over the next few months but I've been a bit down. I'm guessing pregnancy hormones just make everything feel 10 times worse.

I was feeling very anxious before the scan. I just wanted to know that everything was alright. Even though I've been having good movements now for a long time there's always that niggling doubt.

We ended up finding out the sex of the baby this morning. I didn't want to find out but Matt did and as I wouldn't let him find out with Mini Cheddar it was time to concede. We weren't going to tell anyone but our parents asked so we told them. My Sister said she doesn't want to know though - so hoping my Mum and Dad don't spill the beans! It feels very strange knowing...I still wish we hadn't found out but I'm happy also that we did. I know, I don't make any sense but hey, I'm pregnant!

We spent a long time with the consultant after the scan. I'm consultant led as I had to have a caesarean section with MC. I have until 34 weeks to decide to try and push for another caesarean or to try for a VBAC. I must say at the moment that the VBAC is looking more desirable - the thought of staying in hospital for 2 nights with MC at home will kill me. It's funny because first time I was so prepared for a natural birth and was destroyed when I knew I'd have to have a c-section. Now, after having such an amazing c-section birth, the thought of a VBAC scares the hell out of me! What will be, will be I guess.

The glucose levels in my urine were VERY high today which is of concern to them. I am due to have a GTT at 30 weeks anyway because of family history of diabetes - I had to have one with MC but it was fine. Hopefully it's just the amount of pineapple juice I drank this morning when I woke up (oops!) and the fact I had THE biggest chocolate panettone at Piccolinos last night. 

In other news I'm feeling really ill in a non-pregnancy related way. My throat feels like it's on fire, my head aches and tonight I've started aching. Really hacked off as I had my flu jab in October. MC is really struggling. She's had a bad cold and the worst cough ever for almost 2 weeks and tonight she's thrown up everywhere. She's had a sleep for an hour and then woke up coughing and crying and talking about wanting to go to Asda (?!?!). Back to the doctors for us tomorrow!

That's all for now...enough of my ramblings. See you in 2 weeks!





Thursday, 10 November 2011

A 2 Year Old's Guide To Losing A Pet

It's been a week today since I was at that vets where they put my 15 year old dog to sleep.

This has upset me more than I ever imagined.

"I miss Betty"
But what about Mini Cheddar?

She had to come to the vets with me as I had no-one to watch her. Neither of us witnessed them putting Betty to sleep. We had all walked into the vets together - Mummy, daughter and pooch...and then MC and I left alone, me just clutching a pile of tissues the vet had handed me along with a lead and Bettys precious collar.

MC asked me as we walked out the vets "What about Betty?"

I couldn't answer. I could barely see through the haze of tears, let alone speak.

MC asked me on the way home in the car "Where is Betty, Mummy?"

I told her that Betty was going on a long holiday.

"When will she be home?"

"She's not coming home sweetie, it's a special holiday" I sniffed.

When we got in the house I was a mess. I dearly wanted to be strong. To hide it from her, but I couldn't. MC just handed me tissues and kept saying "It's okay Mummy, Betty will be home soon".

Then she started playing with her Duplo bricks and built a tall tower.

"Look Mummy, I've built this tower. When Betty sees it she will come home".

Now she still builds towers all the time and places them in front of the picture I have of Betty in the lounge. She talks about Betty a lot and I really hope it stays that way as I do want MC to remember her. She even asked for a photo of her and Betty for her bedroom.

Betty and MC - as seen on her bedside table
What breaks my heart is how our routine has changed and how much MC has noticed. Every morning we would go downstairs together into the kitchen and let Betty outside into the garden. Now, every morning without fail, MC comes into our bedroom and says "Is Betty Dogface downstairs?". She opens the cupboard in the kitchen which once housed 'Betty's biscuits' and says "But there's nothing in here Mummy!". She used to love feeding Betty her dog biscuits.

MC has been sad, standing where Betty's bed once sat and asking where she is but she's not been upset about it as she doesn't really understand.

Although, somehow she knows whenever I look sad or get upset that I need a cuddle and to hear the words "I know...you miss Betty, Mummy" and then gives me a kiss and pats my back.

I think 2 year olds are far more switched on than we sometimes give them credit for.

I'm so thankful for my beautiful girl and how caring she is. I couldn't have got through the last week without her.






Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mamas & Papas - At The Heart Of The Word 'Family'

As most of you know, I was lucky enough to be invited by MumPanel to the head office of Mamas & Papas in Huddersfield last Tuesday to preview their new range. Living in the North West/North Wales area means that most of the events I get invited to are a bit of a trek as they are usually 'darn sarf' so I jumped at the chance to attend this. Not only is it just over an hours drive for me but it's for a brand I absolutely love!

As soon as I found out I was expecting Mini Cheddar back in 2008, I spent countless amounts of time at my nearest Mamas & Papas store. I think everyone knows and loves that brand so much as it oozes quality and style.

What I didn't realise though, was just how much the word 'family' is at the very heart of the company. The company was founded by the lovely David and Luisa Scacchetti in 1981. Luisa was an expectant mother who was frustrated by the lack of choice when it came to prams and baby products so she found what she was looking for in Italy. From then, Mamas & Papas was born and celebrated it's 30th birthday this year.

We were lucky enough to spend time in the company of Amanda and Olivia - David and Luisa's two daughters who now work within the business. Amanda is the very reason the company was born and her passion for the company, along with Olivia's, is in abundance which is so heart-warming for a large company. David and Luisa are permanent features at the company and Luisa still personally approves every single product that they sell which I think is just amazing and shows her 30 years of commitment to quality. This is something that has made me extremely passionate about the brand myself.

Mamas & Papas are also very focussed on keeping costs down for customers. They are constantly looking at their price points to offer a wide range of options to suit all budgets - something much needed in the current economic climate.

The brand new Sync - available Feb '12
We were treated to sneak previews of the forthcoming Spring and Summer range which were excitedly shown to us by the team. They showed us the new features and the new colour ways. Every one of the staff their had such a passion for their products and were very knowledgable. They are so welcoming of comments from parents and are constantly improving their products on the feedback they receive.

We were shown everything from the latest buggies to the top-of-the-range pushchairs and also baby carriers (I loved the Comfort and even got to try it on for size!). We were shown the range from the re-designed Trip which is the lightest weight holiday buggy and will be priced at a mere £39 up to the Voyage at £179.  We were also shown the Sync which is a brand new hybrid (cross between a buggy and a pushchair) available February 2012. It's suitable from birth, has a multi-position recline toggle system which means no jolting your sleeping baby - hurrah! What I also loved about this model was that it had an intelligent folding system which means that none of the fabric touches the floor when it's collapsed.

The Urbo now with bigger basket

The pushchairs were where I really fell in love. The Sola, Urbo and Luna all with modifications and new colour ways. When I was pregnant with MC, I did my research on pushchairs if only the Mylo from Mamas & Papas had been available - I think it launched 6 months too late for me sadly.

I can honestly say that I could have cried when we were shown it. I hear about women who have 'pram envy' and go through countless prams during their time as parents and I have never understood it - until now. I had serious pram envy when I saw the Mylo - it's amazing - I love it and I am now secretly scheming to have a pushchair related 'accident' with my old pushchair so I can convince my husband to buy a Mylo!

The Mylo - "I love you dream pushchair"
There are certain parts of the Mylo that are handmade and you can tell - it's the epitome of design and innovation. I can't believe I am talking like that about a pushchair but, hand on heart I just love it. The unique selling point of the Mylo is the single-handed fold. Just what I need next year when I'm struggling with a new baby and a 3 year old! I had a go at collapsing it and it really is so easy to do. You can also get adaptors for car seats which is perfect. It's not exactly cheap at £545 but, having seen it in action I would gladly pay it...it's definitely worth it.

There is also the option to purchase a carrycot which, and I think this is fabulous, is suitable for overnight sleeping! For us it would mean no more hiking a travel cot on frequent nights away. The carrycot can also rock, be put on a stand and the infant can be propped up which is perfect for those babies that suffer with reflux.

The Mylo - one-handed folding system

I could talk about the Mylo for hours, I love it that much.

Now, having spent time with Mamas & Papas and their products I am even more in love with them too.

The new Spring/Summer range will be coming to a store near you next year.

Go check them out!
















This is not a sponsored post.  
I did receive travel expenses, a gift voucher, a Christmas goody bag 
and some yummy lunch (thank you again Mamas & Papas!) but all words,
views, opinions and photographs are entirely my own.








Friday, 4 November 2011

My Dog Is Dead

I didn't know what to title this post. I couldn't come up with the right words. I thought of emotional titles, I thought of heartwarming titles. The thing is, the fact remains.

Bamburgh Beach - 2007
My dog is dead.

Sounds brutal but it's the truth and at the moment I feel so numb it's untrue.

I thought I was prepared for this moment. I'd talked about 'this day' coming and I knew at almost 16 years of age she didn't have long with us but it's hit me badly.

If she'd just died in her sleep of old age I may have been able to handle it better but yesterday morning I was faced with that awful decision in the veterinary surgery - the decision that every pet owner dreads.

I had to put my dog to sleep.

It didn't help that my husband was away down in London and my parents were on holiday - plus I'm pregnant! I felt so alone.

I had to take Mini Cheddar with me as I had no-one to look after her. It didn't help that she was being very 'difficult' so I was trying to talk to the vet between my sobs whilst MC is running around the surgery having removed her wellies!

I know there will be people reading this who are thinking "it's just a dog, get over it". If that's you then please don't comment, I really don't want to hear it.

Sleeping - 2008
Betty was more than a dog, she was a massive part of my life for so long and, even though she was old and didn't run about as much as she used to, the house feels so empty without her.

She was such a loving little dog to those who really knew her. She could be a nasty piece of work when she was younger and she never got on with other dogs, she would regularly see off even the biggest of dogs if they got too close for comfort.

I feel sad that I haven't been able to give her the attention she has needed in these last couple of years of her life. I blogged about Betty at the beginning of the year when I realised how old she was getting. Her quality of life these past 6 months or so had gone downhill fast, she had cataracts and could hardly hear and what finally got her was an infection in her back legs. She was too old to undergo anaesthetic and the pain and lengthy treatment without it was something I couldn't have put her through.

"What would you do?" I asked the vet.

I knew her answer before she even spoke.

Meeting Mini Cheddar - 2009
So at 9.45am yesterday Betty was put to sleep. The thing that upsets me most is that I couldn't be there when she went because of MC. I had to wait in the echoey waiting room and just listen as I heard them shave her leg in preparation for the injection.

I was awake at 5am this morning crying. I'm wracked with guilt about my decision. I know it was for the best but I can't help it, it's one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.

MC said to me this morning "I miss Betty" (we've told her she's gone on a long holiday and won't be coming back).

"I miss her too, sweetie" I say "I miss her too".


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pregnancy Patter - 18 Weeks And Loving It

Well, 2 weeks has passed since my last proper update and I have to say things have turned around remarkably in those 2 weeks.

I feel alive!

On the Tuesday of that time I was at my worst when a package arrived from the lovely people at WaterBaby. I took my first drink that day and haven't looked back since, it was literally like I'd been reborn the following day. I even managed to do housework which I hadn't touched in a long while.

It could be a total coincidence but I think not.  I've now run out of WaterBaby and, although I'm still feeling reasonably OK, I do have to say I haven't got as much energy as when I was drinking it. So...I've just ordered a bumper pack with them.  Hope it arrives quickly.  I just need them to start doing some sachets of the drink that you can add to water so I can take them on holiday with me!

In other news, it's just less than 2 weeks until our 20 week scan.  I'm very nervous but also excited.  Matt is still saying he wants to find out the sex but I don't. I've agreed that if he is adamant then I'll go along with his wishes and we'll find out as we didn't with Mini Cheddar.

I've also got all my old maternity clothes out of the loft. I thought I was lucky in that I'm pregnant at exactly the same time of year as I was with MC...then Matt went and booked a big holiday for January! So it's going to be a bit of a scrabble trying to find some very cheap Spring/Summer maternity wear.  We have so much to do over the next 2 months we've had to write a list to keep track of it all. Somewhere in the middle of it we are going up to Edinburgh for 4 nights for our usual Christmas jaunt...I feel like a pregnant Judith Chalmers at the moment.

The only bad thing that has happened in these past 2 weeks is the fact my chin erupted in the worse case of spots I've ever seen...I was just lucky that I was potty training MC so I didn't really need to go out. My skin wasn't even this bad when I was a teenager. My bathroom cabinet is like an advert for Clean & Clear. Lets' hope they are under control soon!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the head office of Mamas & Papas for an exclusive look at their new Spring/Summer range. I have always loved Mamas & Papas but now I'm 'in love' with them completely (and the Mylo!). The staff there are so lovely, knowledgeable and passionate about their products. I'll be writing up a blog post about my trip there very very soon - exciting!

So, enough of my ramblings for now...I'll be back in 2 weeks with news of the scan.





Thursday, 27 October 2011

"My Child Mastered The Potty In A Day" - Oh Feck Off!

Looks so easy doesn't it?
Today has been a somewhat distressing day in our household.

For those of you who don't know, I started properly toilet training Mini Cheddar on Monday so we are now on day 4. It all started out so well with 2 great successes Monday (even a poo!) and another one Tuesday...yesterday we had nothing and today was just a constant battle.

I've tried toilet training her a couple of months ago but she was a bit constipated so I stopped.

This week was going to be different. No constipation. No play school (half term). No engagements. Just me, my daughter and the potty.

I thought training her would be a doddle, she knows when she's going, she knows she needs to do her "wee wee's and poo poo's" on the potty, she has great communication and she's intelligent.

I was so naive.

After the successes earlier this week, MC has now resorted to jumping up and down getting all stressed and shouting "Mummy! Mummy!" when she wants to go. I tell her it's time to get the potty out and she starts getting upset. She eventually sits on it for 5 minutes, says she doesn't need a wee wee anymore, pulls her pants up and then urinates. Everywhere.

It's so hard to try and not get frustrated.

"Maybe there's a 'potty whisperer' we can pay to come and help us" my husband jokes this evening as he looks at how knackered I am.

"Haha, yeah maybe" I fake laugh "Be back in a minute".

Obviously I jump straight on the laptop. Hey, don't judge me - desperate times call for desperate measures and all that! Besides, I'm sure I've heard the term 'potty whisperer'* used before. I think I'd pay £1000 right now to get someone in to train MC, that's how bad today has been.

Thanks for those of you who offered your support on Twitter earlier today when I sent out a tearful tweet (Husband had taken MC to the post office for 10 minutes so I could have a frustrated, knackered cry to myself). So glad none of you tweeted back how your child picked it up in a day. I had that last month and I wanted to scream in the persons face! Think they are the same breed of person who tell you how their 2 week old sleeps through 12 hours a night when your 1 year old has you up every few hours.

If you have any pearls of wisdom then I'd love to hear them, if you're one of those people above then move along...nothing to see here!

Here's to the on-going potty saga.

It wouldn't be so bad if I could have a few glasses of wine at night to ease the pain. Guess I'll just have to slope off and weep into a glass of orange juice. Remind me again why I'm having another baby?


*The potty whisperer is a technique that you start on newborns by making a "pssss" noise in their ears when you want them to 'go'. My Sister who has travelled to some pretty remote places in the world says they use it in places they don't have nappies for their children.




Tuesday, 25 October 2011

You Know You're Pregnant When...*

You can't walk around Asda for 15 minutes without gagging at certain foods.

Open my food cupboards and these fall out...
I'll be looking like a Fruit Mento soon
You are addicted to eating fruit Mentos.

You drop a fruit Mento in the footwell of your car whilst driving and almost cry.

People keep telling you how big you're getting and you don't (most of the time) feel like punching them in the face.

You think nothing of putting chilli jam on a roast beef sandwich.

You sit and eat pickled onions straight from the jar.

You put the butter dish in the bin and some rubbish in the fridge.

You're in bed before 8pm on a Friday night.

You're still in your dressing gown at 11am and don't feel guilty about it.

You see some gorgeous Autumn outfits in the shop just because you know you can't buy them.

You have to have a lie down after doing anything that involves standing up for more than 30 minutes.

You can't watch a game show without getting emotionally involved with the contestants and sobbing like a baby when they win/lose.

You find yourself standing by yourself looking down and wondering if it's the last time you'll see your feet.

Your husband surprises you with a plan to go to Florida on holiday 3 months before the new baby arrives and you aren't sure you want to go.

You scream hysterically at your husband if he gets himself a chocolate/biscuit/cake without getting you one.

Your craving for meat is that bad that you can't drive past a McDonalds without using the drive thru to just grab a Sausage McMuffin or Big Mac.

Your craving for meat is that bad that you make your husband go to the 24 hour McDonalds at midnight.

You don't really care that there are actually 565 calories and a shit load of salt in a Double Sausage McMuffin as long as you get your fix.

Your chin resembles that of a 15 year old McDonalds worker because of all the crap you're eating.

You have to run out to the shop to buy a cabinet full of spot treatment.

You visit the toilet for a pee more than 7 times in a couple of hours during the night.

You are tempted to take your pillow and duvet into the ensuite and sleep on the loo to save getting up.

You use the fact you have a pregnancy related 'illness' to get out of having sex.




* Okay, so these are all ME but I just had to share





Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pregnancy Patter - 16 Weeks And Still Sick

Yes, I know my bump is huge already
(At least MC's hand makes it look a little smaller)
It was about time I got around to blogging about my pregnancy. I didn't really take any photos of my bump (apart from a couple) when I was pregnant with Mini Cheddar so I have nothing to look back on.

I've decided this time it's going to be different. Now I have this blog to use as a diary too. I'm not going to blog about it every week but just when I have some news.

I was 16 weeks yesterday. The time I'm supposed to be 'blooming'.

Yeah right!

I'm off blogging again as I've been feeling a bit rubbish this week.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the sofa, unable to move without feeling sick or my head pounding. I was that poorly that when one of my friends rang me to see how I was I started crying as I felt so sorry for myself. I honestly thought that I was over it but no, I don't know what my body is playing at but some days (thankfully most) I feel fine but then others I'm of no use to anyone.

Matt found me curled up on the sofa at 5.30pm yesterday, no dinner prepared, nothing. I didn't have the energy to interact with my daughter, let alone tidy the house and I felt awful about it all. Luckily I have a superb husband who, despite being out at meetings all day and driving a few hundred miles, came in and ran around the house like 'Super Dad', tidied up, sorted out Mini Cheddar and the dog, got me some water, nursed me and then...rang up Dominoes Pizza who delivered our dinner in 30 minutes. What a star!

Today is a totally different day. Today I feel remotely human again. I've done some freelance work, been to a play school meeting, been to see my midwife, done some more work, tidied up and organised dinner (left over pizza yes, but hey at least I thought about it!).

The trip to the community midwife went really well and, as this is my second baby, I don't have to go back until I'm 28 weeks. I have my 20 week scan at the hospital booked for the 15th November so looking forward to that. Matt wants to find out the sex of the baby but I'm not so keen. I guess it will be a last minute decision.

I have been feeling the baby move for the past couple of weeks now, in fact I'm convinced it was after the MAD Blog Awards in London whilst I was in bed in my hotel room that I felt the first movements - must have been all the excitement! The midwife even said she saw the baby move when I was laid on the examining table. I got to listen to the baby's heartbeat today for the first time too - I remember this so well with Mini Cheddar and it would always get me really emotional.

So, that's it in a nutshell. I have to say I've felt a lot more sick this time than I did with MC and a lot more zapped of energy. The lovely people at mywaterbaby.com heard my moaning about sickness last week on Twitter and very kindly sent me a box of their folic acid hydration drink which arrived yesterday - perfect timing! It's early days yet but maybe that's why I am feeling much better today. Who knows? I will report back soon on my findings.

MC is loving the pregnancy so far (we told her at 12 weeks) and she regularly talks about her "baby in Mummy's tummy" and talks to the bump or puts her hand on it. She seems excited and keeps asking for "baby to come out now". Let's hope she's as excited when her new sibling enters the world.

24 weeks and counting.




Wednesday, 12 October 2011

My Birthday Competition - Win My Dress With Ellos!

Photo credit: MAD Blog Awards
Well okay, not my actual dress as that would be a bit wrong but you can win a dress like the one I wore to the MAD Blog Awards OR choose any one item up to the same value of £39.00.

I thought it was about time that I offered you, my dear readers, a chance to get something back from my blog (other than my genius *cough* writing) and I didn't want to wait until my blogoversary as that's New Years Eve and you'll all be busy quaffing champers and celebrating. It's my birthday today though so what a way to celebrate my birthday and share it with you all!

So, the lovely people at Ellos and I are offering you a chance to win an item of clothing for your Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

Ellos are a brand new retailer in the UK but they've been established in Scandinavia for many years. As they say on their website, they bring Scandinavian spirit to their lines and their clothing is stylish, natural and sophisticated. They offer a great selection of womenswear, menswear and children's clothing in a range of different sizes.

All you have to do to enter is visit the Ellos UK website by clicking here and choose which item you would pick (up to £39.00 value) and leave a comment below with the item you would choose and a link to it.

For some extra bonus entries:
* Follow my blog/feed (click the link/s on the right, sign up to email if you would prefer.)
* Follow @SAHMlovingit on Twitter
* Like my brand new SAHMLovingit Facebook page
* Follow @ellosUK on Twitter
* Like Ellos UK on Facebook
* Tweet the following "I want to win something fabulous for my wardrobe with @EllosUK and @SAHMlovingit http://goo.gl/5JiSd"

This gives you so many more chances of winning! If you take advantage of the extra entries, please leave a separate comment to let me know what you have done.

Competition is open to UK residents only.
Competition closes at 8pm Wednesday 2nd November 2011.
Entries will be drawn at random that evening and notified by Twitter/Email as soon as possible.
Winner can choose any item from the Ellos UK website up to the value of £39 and subject to availability.



Monday, 10 October 2011

Make A Will, Make A Difference.

I turn 37 this Wednesday. I know I'm still young (ish) but I'm starting to freak out a bit that I haven't organised a will. It's something you don't really think about when you're younger - you generally associate wills with 'older' people.

It's something that Matt and I said we would do as soon as Mini Cheddar was born as we hadn't already organised one but it's something we never got around to sorting.

Big fat fail.

Not only do we need to sort out where our savings etc. would go, it also needs to include who would have MC if anything were to happen to us both. It's quite an awful thing to think about and maybe this is the reason I've been putting it off.

The thing is, in November there is no excuse. When I started volunteering for Save The Children back in February I found out about something called 'Will Aid' that I'd never heard of before. Basically, each November a selection of Solicitors in the UK will waive their fee for preparing a will and that fee goes to Will Aid. Then all the money raised is divided equally between 9 fantastic charities, Save The Children being one of them.

We decided back in February that I would wait until November to organise our wills so we could take advantage of donating to charity rather than see it go into a Solicitors pocket.  I think the fee is roughly around £85 for a single will and £120 for a pair of mirror wills - depending on the Solicitor.

By visiting the Will Aid website you can search for you nearest Solicitors and contact them direct to make an appointment.

If you haven't made a will yet and, like us, have been putting it off I think this is a great opportunity to support worthwhile causes whilst sorting out your finances and future.

I'm ringing my Solicitor this week to make my November appointment.

To find out more, visit www.willaid.org.

Make a will. Make a difference.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

I'll Never Eat A Dried Strawberry Ever Again

My blog became slightly legendary (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a lot there but it did develop a bit of a reaction at the time) a while back because of a couple of poo blog posts. If you're feeling a bit strange, a bit sick or fancy a giggle and haven't read them then please feel...you can find them here:

What's On The Specials Menu Today Then?
Revenge Is Sweet

Well, it seems that more poo hilarity has ensued in the Lucas household today.

I honestly thought Mini Cheddar would be a doddle to potty train. For a two and a half year old, her speech is fantastic. I'm not just saying that because I'm her Mummy - everyone we meet can't believe how well she speaks for her age.  She fully understands that the potty or toilet is where we do our 'wee wees and poo poos' and she knows when she's going etc.

See how I thought it would be easy. Well, how naive was I?

When I started to introduce it to her the other month she did great. In fact, by her second day she even asked for the potty, waited for me to get her on it and did a wee straight away.

I don't know what happened but she's regressed totally. Maybe it's because she's started play school (although she does go to the toilet at play school!) or maybe it's because she now knows I'm expecting another baby.  Who knows?  I can tell she needs to go so I get the potty or get her to the toilet and she goes mad. She will scream the place down and say she doesn't need to go. Then a minute later she's wet herself.

To say I was totally at the end of my tether the other day is an understatement. Let's just say, out of sight of MC I sobbed my heart out with pure frustration. Yes, it was that bad.

Mmmm strawberry poo
So, trying not to be defeated, I turned to my old friend Google. I found an article that said I should try and introduce a doll and get the doll to 'go potty'. I actually bought one of those dolls that drinks and will wee (lovely). It even came with it's own potty.

It all started so well. MC fed the doll, the doll went to the potty and we celebrated with a tea party - we blew up balloons and ate some sweeties.

Then MC said the dolly needed a poo. Wanting to be as realistic as possible I grabbed a few dried strawberries (I'll never eat another one ever again!) from the cupboard and when MC wasn't looking I put them in the potty under the doll.

MC was delighted when she checked if dolly had 'been'.

She wasn't so delighted when our dog, Betty, came into the lounge and ate the fake poo.




Sunday, 2 October 2011

Last Night I Asked My Husband To...

I can't put into words how tired I was last night. When you're in bed by 8pm on a Saturday night you know something is wrong. You also know something is wrong when you're that tired that you say the totally wrong word in a sentence and shock your husband!

So, why was I so tired?

Photo thanks to
Mad Blog Awards
and taken by Lindy 
I'd spent Friday night down in London to attend the amazing MAD Blog Awards where I was a finalist in the 'Best New Blog' category. It was a glamourous evening and I tried my best to scrub up for the occasion thanks to Ellos and the outfit (right) they very kindly gave me to wear.

Did I win?

No I didn't. However, I lost to the person I'd said from the start would win it - the fabulous Lexy aka Mammy Woo. It was fantastic to finally meet her and I was genuinely really chuffed she won as it means the world to her.

Did I meet some amazing people?

Yes, of course. Everyone at the awards was totally amazing. The atmosphere was fabulous and there was no jealousy over the winners at all, that I witnessed, which just goes to show how wonderful all the finalists were. It was also fantastic to spend quality time with bloggers and friends Alex (my room mate) from All For Aleyna, Lou (my travel partner) from Bloggomy and Michelle from Mummy From The Heart. I also got to make new friends with the lovely Clare from Seasider In The City and I met so many other lovely bloggers and talked to so many that I've met before I can't possibly name you all (sorry) but you know who you are!

Did I party like mad?

No, not really. I was drinking orange juice all night! Having my husband knock me up 3 months before the awards ceremony was seriously bad planning. I ended up back at the hotel at 11pm. I didn't sleep though, I spent the first 3 hours going to the toilet (damn that orange juice!) - I actually lost count after the 9th time! I think the whole headache/hospital drama last week had taken it's toll on me a bit if I'm honest. I didn't mingle as much as I would have liked.

Annoyingly I woke up the following morning at 7am with a banging headache. I honestly felt like I was hungover. Then came the sickness. Alex was lovely and looked after me, got me some water and took me for breakfast. I should also mention that later on the Saturday I ate McDonalds for lunch and went to Pizza Hut for dinner - a pregnant lady has to eat...that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Would I change anything about the night?

Yes, I'm going to be totally honest here. Sally and Jen did an absolutely amazing job with the night (and everyone else involved, I know I've tweeted you) - it was fabulous. From the red carpet photographed entrance to the Talk Talk X-Factor singing booth. They really added the glitz and glamour and the fun of the evening. However, there are actually two things I would change and that would be the seating (there wasnt really anywhere to sit down). Maybe it's because I was pregnant and wearing heels but there were lots of people I saw walking shoe-less before 7.30pm.  The other thing I would change would be the people talking loudly whilst the awards were taking place. We were right at the front and we struggled to hear the gorgeous Muireann at times. That's the only thing that let the night down a little for me.

So what exactly did I ask my husband last night?

Even though I managed to catch an hours sleep yesterday when I got back home, I was utterly exhausted. I think because I'd been so ill the week before I was still feeling the effects. I still had my headache.

My husband sat in bed next to me saying he wasn't tired.

"That's good then", I said "You can rub my cock for me".

"WHAT?" the immediate shock and horror in his voice

"My HEAD! You can rub my HEAD for me!"

Needless to say Matt was a little taken aback.

I do have to point out that
a. I do not have a cock
b. I have never had a cock
c. I was not thinking about cocks

It's official. Tiredness really doesn't agree with me.




*For more info on the night and some more photos 
(so gutted I didn't really take any!) visit The Mad Awards Blog*


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