So, I am about to touch on a madly hyper sensitive subject (why do I do these things) so, as everyone cannot control their opinions, I am going to state some ground rules:-

1) These are my opinions, If you do not like/agree with them, that’s fine, go to the little cross at the top of the right hand side and click it – ‘Ta-Dar’ they have gone

2) These are NOT a sweeping statement on all blogger but from observations over the last year online (so no knickers getting in twists please)

3) I work with bloggers all over the world (in Marketing) and also blog (sometimes for companies) so am sitting on both sides, so yes, I can see differences, so please no name calling or generally acting like a twit

Right, now the ground rules have been observed I wanted to highlight a change I have noticed in the last year online. When ‘bloggers’ of all types (mums, dads, friends, foes) started, it was about working alone and with brands to review and publicise products for the good of the blog and the brand together. Blogs were informative, educational and bloggers were picked that were a match for that brand. Simple. So, why do I see people begging, yes begging for products. Both online and via email requests to brands? No longer is it about a ‘fit’ but more of a ‘free for all’ in getting anything you can and review, review, review. Reviews are boring, obvious and state what the product does (which can be found anywhere). It doesn’t even try and be different and the blogger tries to review product after product to almost fill their days, nights, years with.

Now, after begging for products, it should be up to the brands to look and use a variety of sources to investigate the correct models to promote their products and use those they think can bring them the most return. So, why do brands blanket email everyone they can find for a review…or pick those with the biggest sob story. Now I agree, bad things happen in life and some have a rough time whilst it feels others do not. But publicising highly personal details in order to gain sympathy…and then products is just dreadful. I will not go into what details I have read or received on email in my Marketing role, but I am genuinely shocked by the desperation of some bloggers.

So, what has happened? When did the mix of bloggers and brands become some confused? As a Marketeer I have taken a step back and as a blogger, I do not engage with brands unless I truly think I can bring a product justice. Why? Because I think we are coming to the head of a blogger ‘boom.’ Shortly, a brand explosion will happen and bloggers everywhere will realize they are a commodity and cannot beg, borrow, cry, lie or fake their way in or out of a brand anymore. Top ‘bloggers’ that are seen to be ‘top’ how many have got their on raw talent or by telling their story, in great depth, in great detail. When did it become a ‘well my life/day has been worse than yours’ so that blogger deserves more toys to review?

Madness. Such as shame, because as a blogger I’ve lost interest in brands and as a brand, I’ve lost complete faith in bloggers.

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Everyone that knows me will know that with a passion, I hate teeth. I hate everything about teeth and since about 22 have been terrified of the dentist. I used to like the dentist, then my lovely dentist retired and was replaced with a psycho-crazy Irish woman who basically tried to kill me with a drill. Since then, the visits to the dentist (a new one I may add) have resulted in me rejecting sedation (Yes, I actually tried to attack the dentist), crying, vomiting, hiding in the toilet and basically being terrified of anyone touching my mouth.

So, you can imagine, to my delight, that now I am planning my first implant, I have to have a bone graft on my jaw first. Yes, a bone graft. I am more than scared and have asked the Doctor for a large prescription of Valium (I asked if they could just knock me out…the answer was no). This happens on the 6th December, so I will of course report back (if I survive, I may not mind you) and hopefully I can begin the journey of my first implant.

Why are dentists so god damn scary? Why can I not be brave again? Any voodoo magic, luck, drugs, prayers anyone wants to send my way would be most appreciated for the 6th.

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So, time is narrowing and I am beginning to dread next year a little bit. Okay, not *alot* but a bit, because…I am turning 30. Yes, I too am shocked that I have made it to the ripe old age of 30. My mother often threatened to ‘kill’ me, beat me into ‘kingdom come’ and also ‘throw a party’ if I made it into teenage years, let alone out the other side and into the big 30!

It is a bit scary as I suddenly feel old. Yes, yes, I know that 30 is not that old, but why inside my head do I feel 18? I have had two beautiful children (I still can’t quite believe I am a mother of TWO!) and I have a career, hubby and a home…I suddenly feel a bit old and out-dated. I think it is because I used to go clubbing at 16 (sorry mum) and look at the 21-somethings and think ‘Wow, you are old,’ and now I am alot older than that and some.

What are the top things I have noticed when growing those grey hairs? Here are my top 5 ‘getting old’ notes on my list that yes, are a bit scary:-

1) Hangovers – even a sniff of a drink now and I have a hangover. Not just a little ‘Oooh I feel a bit odd,’ but an actual, get the will out and declare I only have a day left to live type hangovers.

2) Grey Hairs – I love being blonde. It is hard with the highlights and conditioning treatments, but the main reason I stay blonde is the grey hairs can be hidden alot easier and look silvery (part of the highlights!) underneath I am just a mass of grey hair (how depressing)

3) Wobbly bits – yes, two children, a few too many glasses (okay, bottles) of wine and not enough running around have left me with some beautiful wobbly bits. Thing is, now I am too tired and too busy to even care!

4) Judging – I am that person who says ‘are you going to wear trousers with that top?’ I have actually become my parents. I now tell girls off for going out without a coat, and tell boys that there are plenty more fish in the sea when they have been dumped. I am officially ‘old’ in my attitude (sigh)

5) Opinions – I no longer care who likes me and who doesn’t! I used to worry all the time about who is classed as a friend, a best friend a close friend…now…I simply do not care. You either like me or you don’t.

I could probably do another 5 and am going to let you know if any more crop up – but basically I feel old. Pass the zimmer frame and knee length skirts, I am officially becoming Victor Meldrew.

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My little lady is now 5 months old and starting to get a bit frustrated due to not being able to crawl yet. She sees me get up and move and wants to come with me (yes, she is very nosey). So, along with always wanting to be carried (which is secretly love) she also likes to cuddled lots and lots. All i can say is GOD BLESS the Connecta! So, i used to try and carry her with the Baby Bjorn, but since learning more about hips and how they should ‘sit’ when being carried, i sold the Bjorn and brought a beautiful Connecta. With the help of the Ipswich Sling Library, i borrowed one (for just £5 for a month) and then brought my own.

So, what is the Connecta?

conserva2-300x300Suitable from 3.5kg up to toddlerhood, it is simple to wear and ‘connect’ together when baby is put in it. It also features an integrated sleeping hood which means Fluffy can be tucked away nicely inside when she is asleep, it also stops rain and wind affecting her and is great if you eat a sandwich (catches all the bits that fall out!). The wide base supports anatomically correct position for baby and optimum comfort for me. The buckles make them quick and easy to use on either the front or the back. I picked the beautiful Conservatory fabric and from ordering to delivery, it was really quick and pain free! Just 2 days later my lovely carrier arrived and we have used it nearly every day since. At just £62 too, its a complete bargain. 

I love baby carrying and love the closeness it brings. It allows me to feel ‘connected’ to her (get it….connected by the Connecta) and ensures i can have cuddles all the time with her being comfortable (and often she just falls asleep). Want to have a look at the other designs? Head on over to www.connectababycarrier.com/shop

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education-choosing-school_600x315So, little Jazzy bum is nearly 4 (weeps loudly) and we have entered the world of needing to choose a school. I thought that it couldn’t be ‘that’ bad and got excited until i was let into the ‘in crowd’ of playground politics, yummy mummy wars and everything including PTA, wine nights and bake sales. I have to say, I do not have the slightest bit of interest in being involved, but somehow think i may be dragged in when my little darling wishes to have tea at someone’s house. I mean, 20 years ago, i used to go round friend’s for tea and behave & eat whatever i was given, say my please and thank you’s and then go home? Now, it seems the competition is on. Who has next wallpaper and how many TV’s are in the house. What ever happened to ‘poo sticks’ in the garden?!

I am not looking forward to entering the fluffy world of mum-time/dad-time in the playground and hope that if i just pretend i cannot hear them or see them i might get away with not being involved. However, what does that say about my son? Do i need to be a bake off champion in order for him to be ‘cool?’ Does it matter what i look like, what car we drive and what his sister is called? Maybe it does, maybe i need to invest in some school time ‘clothes’, rollers for that ‘just out of bed’ look and ensure we send him in his best kit. Madness hey, and whoever thought school was about the children……!

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Sometimes life can be a bit mad at times, and even as a social media lover and user, I really learn’t how vulnerable you can be online and how people can cause actual damage to you, your life and your ‘world’ just by sticking their neck in and basically, having a fiddle and stepping back. Social media has changed so much in the last 4-5 years and even I need to remember that we are all strangers and even though we have a common theme, it needs to be respected at arms length. Such a shame isnt it, maybe it is time to go back to the old letter and pen, or maybe we should all be a bit better about talking in real life, face to face and not online?

So, how long have you been a social media user and do you find yourself forgetting you are actually in an open public space?

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center-parcs-logoI am excited to report that I am off to Center Parcs for a week with my little gang and Nanny! My lovely little Jasper adores Nanny so is literally bouncing off the walls at the prospect of having a whole week with her and Fleur (he tends to forget me) at somewhere he has begun to love.

Growing up as a child, everyone seemed to head to Center Parcs and go for weeks or weekends and I never really understood the ‘pull.’ We always had amazing holidays and spent a lot of time in Spain. Since having children, UK holidays were a good idea for us until we got brave enough to venture abroad and therefore the attraction to places such as Center Parcs began.

A whole week of walking, feeding the ducks, making friends with the squirrels and of course swimming is so appealing at the moment. I need some time to be ‘me’ and remind myself that even with everything that is happening, I can be a good, fun and happy mummy. I also need to spend some time with my mum – who does what any mum does best, looks after her babies. She will look after me and remind me how much she loves me, which is exactly what I need at the moment.

I will of course, report back on all the fantastic activities we got up to and how many times I had to say ‘No Jasper, you cannot take the Duck home,‘ to my little man (he loves ducks). Time for some relaxation in the forest and to be in the air with my little gang. Time for me to spend some time with my mummy and for her to wrap her arms around me with the words we always promise to say ‘It will be alright.’

 

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Some of you may laugh, but I am writing this full of tears that are now dripping down my face. The salty taste leaking into my mouth that makes this so hard to write.

When Fleur became ill and went into Hospital at 13 weeks over night, when she came out, she started to refuse to feed from me. The initial heartbreak I thought would be short lived and she would return to bf, but with the increasing stress in my life (cannot explain that in detail at the moment) and my body going into exhaustion from coping with it, I feared my supply was not as strong as it used to be. That, with Fleur sensing my ‘stress’ she completely refused to feed from me. To say I was gutted wouldn’t even come close. After weeks of battling the pain, the tiredness and finally being strong enough to feed anywhere in public, I strongly believe that my little lady sensed my levels of stress just topple over with her going into hospital. I tried to feed her, hold her, cuddle her and express (she would take expressed milk) but she would not latch onto me for a feed at all. Already on the edge and pushing back the feelings of depression, it came tumbling on top of me like a tonne of bricks.  After consulting a Lactation specialist, Doctor, Friends and Family to try and get back to breast feeding, she will not feed off me at all.

That was now nearly 4 weeks ago. She is thriving on bottles and with the help of the wonderful team at Nuby, we have transitioned easily onto bottles and formula. How do I feel? It has taken me 4 weeks to write this post. I feel like a failure. Like I’ve lost something I wasn’t ready to give up and I believe this has happened due to the stress put on my body by external factors. I feel alone. I feel angry and I feel like I could scream and cry all at the same time. No words have made me feel better and no words will. My journey has ended and I wasn’t ready at all.

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We were very lucky and send a pack of 6 Nuby Bottles to use for mums that are breast and bottle feeding (or just bottle feeding). At the time, we were combination feeding and now we are exclusively on bottle feeding (will explain more about that in another post).

The Nuby Natural Touch™ decorated feeding bottle set includes 6 x 270ml bottles and 6 Slow Flow Easy Latch teats.  They are available in Boots stores and the Nuby UK website, RRP £14.99 which is cheaper than most set of 6 bottles by other brands and also the Nuby bottles have a couple of great features that I have really noticed made a difference to feeding Fleur and helped hugely with her Colic.

  • The Nuby bottles do not collapse at the teat with vigerous sucking – this means they cannot ‘suck’ all the air out of the bottle and get frustrated by the lack of milk coming through – this is due to the advanced valves that allow air flow back into the bottle so baby can have a continuous feed
  • They look (yes odd I know) like breasts – with the natural bumps and the shape of the teat, Fleur took straight to them when we made the transition from breast to bottle
  • The teats do not get powder stuck in them easily (and therefore do not block the hole they need to feed from) where other bottles we have been using seem to get the powder constantly stuck in them

I really love the Nuby bottles and have the pink ones – I have now switched all my bottles to Nuby and believe that they really have made a difference to feeding Fleur. She took to them straight away and they are easy to clean and fit in a standard steriliser.

I brought my next set out of my boots advantage card points and they also sell the next stage teats up for 4-6+ months feeding.

I love Nuby and would recommend them to any newbie mum that is unsure about what to use – I also found that for colic/wind they massively reduced the wind intake and this resulted in an easy feed, a simple burp (not a 45 minute walk round the house exercise) and Fleur seemed to take the whole feed rather than 1/2 and be full of wind!

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I was sitting here today thinking about my gang (yes, Fluffy was screaming the house down as usual) and I thought about all the things that they ‘didn’t’ tell me when I had children that would happen regularly. So, I know lot’s of mums have done this type of post, so I have shortened it to my top 5 and will be as honest as I can (look away now):-

  1. Patience – you need to be patient and have stacks and stacks of it hidden away inside of you. Teaching a little person how to talk, walk, eat, smile, behave and even be stubborn like mummy is difficult. It takes time, patience and more patience. Sometimes, when counting to 10 doesn’t work, hiding in another room, cupboard or toilet for 2 minutes does. It is normal to want to bash your head against the wall, cry and beg the child for a break.  I was told by a good friend of mine to ‘pick your battles,’ and this is so true. Are biscuits really horrific for breakfast? Everyday, yes, today, a one off….no. Did everyone survive? Yes.
  2. Parrots – children are indeed parrots. So, when you decide to discuss something in front of your child, make sure you replace everything relating to a swear word with something lovely – i.e. say ‘oh sugar puffs’ as swearing tends to rear its head at events and with the parents-in-laws and usually very loudly followed by ‘mummy told me to say it.’
  3. Potty Training Boys – right, for all of you that have boys, potty training is a nightmare! Why, well willies for one. They sit on the potty, willy goes over the top and they pee all over the floor. Teach them to sit back a little bit and tuck it in. Yes, Jasper regularly shouts loudly in Starbucks that he has ‘tucked his willy in’ to the amusement of the young ones (all mums don’t even look up as they know what this means!)
  4. Screaming – babies scream. They cannot talk to everything can be screamed at you. From ‘I am hungry,’ to ‘I am too hot, too cold, tired, need cuddles, don’t need cuddles,’ to even ‘I don’t know what i want so i am going to scream at you until you fix it.’ Superb! So, be prepared to cry, negotiate, bed, smile and bribe your newborn for some peace during the day. Oh, did I also mention they go through daily/weekly changes and growth spurts….each one brings a whole new wave of lovely screaming.
  5. Toys – not content with the 1000 toys they have in their room, downstairs and all over every single floor, children now want to be entertained. When I was young, I was given £1, my bike and a bottle of squash and told to find my own entertainment. Now, it’s TV programmes, toys, painting and outings and to top it off, out of every single toy you have lovingly brought, they want a different one….but of course!

And as a final word, Nappies and Food! If you need your child to poo, preferably an exploding green type one that shoots up the back the best thing to do is to make something to eat. The minute you raise your fork to your mouth it will happen. That, or be late for something. A poo is always then guaranteed, and not just a normal poo, a yellow, green, leaking, up the back out the sides, sponsored by poo town poo. I will do another top 5 shortly, but I have toys to clear away, food to eat and oh another poo to clean, all i can say is good bless baby wipes and vanish!

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