Monday, 30 January 2017

You Are My Sunshine #1

I often use my blog and social media as a way of sharing both the highs and lows of motherhood but I can sometimes feel like I'm moaning a little too much. I love motherhood and having children is the only thing I ever knew I wanted in life, my baby girl really is my pride and joy! The one job I feel I am succeeding at in some way is being her mum and although I don't always get it right, in fact Im pretty sure I screw it up completely some days/weeks/months compared to others but when I look at how funny, clever and happy my baby girl is, I know I must be doing something right! So I wanted to start a new series every week in which I share what Emme did that made me proud that week, whether that's learning a new word, staying in her own bed a little longer than usual or even just going to the shops without throwing a tantrum. Ive decided to call the series 'You Are My Sunshine' because the song is close to my heart and my daughter really is my sunshine on a cloudy day!

You Are My Sunshine #1

This week Emme has said so many new words and she has become so obsessed with stickers just lately, which I think is pretty standard at her age and although I find them everywhere, including her nappy! I swear I can find more in Emmes nappy than my bloody handbag! However they are pretty inexpensive and they keep her entertained for ages so I quite like that she likes stickers! A few days ago she was putting her stickers in her book and as she put one on the page she said 'all done' and it was just the cutest thing! I have no idea where she learnt that phrase but I love it!

One of her new favourite things to do is say 'jump' and then she bends her knees and lifts up abruptly, not quite lifting her feet off the ground but up to her tiptoes and she giggles with laughter each time. She especially loves it when mummy and daddy join in jumping and she jumps around the room, giggling and shouting and I honestly love how something so simple can make her so happy! She really does make me so proud!

Whenever Dan has a busy month at work, Emme stops wanting him to do things with her, don't get me wrong, she still collars him into playing with her princess castle and she'll give him kisses for choc choc but when it comes to getting dressed or going to bed and daddy wants to do it, all you hear is 'no, mummy' and it becomes so hard for all of us. Dan starts to get a little disheartened when he can't help out, Emme becomes frustrated and upset and I find it hard that when Dan wants to help out and take over that Emme won't allow him to. This week I've found that instead of asking 'is daddy going to take you to bed' and giving her that option, it's been more effective to just say 'give me a kiss sweetie, daddy's taking you to bed, na-night' and because we take that option of choice away, she has just been accepting it and giving me a kiss before taking her daddy's hand to go to bed. The tantrum and tear free bedtimes have been so much nicer and I love that they have been having more time together to bond because when Dan works so much, that time becomes rare.

At the weekend Dan and Emme were playing with her princess castle, I was cooking tea and I could hear them saying 'na-nyt' to the princesses as they put them to bed and Emme saying 'weee' as she pushed the princess on her swing, it was so lovely to here them role-playing and Emme is really starting to use her imagination now which is just the sweetest. When I came in the room to join them, Emme had put the swing out of place and each time she'd done it, dan had asked for a kiss in return for him fixing it, she once again took the swing out of place and Dan said 'what does daddy get for fixing it?' And she just came out with 'more kisses' me and Dan just looked at each other in amazement, sometimes I cannot believe the words and phrases she manages to say, not too long ago, she barely spoke a word and all of a sudden she's coming out with more words and phrases each day that just make me light up and feel so proud!

I cannot believe how quickly my baby is growing up and I couldn't be any prouder if I tried!

Love Abbie x

Monday, 23 January 2017

Switching to a toddler bed at 18 months

Toddler bedroom


Recently we decided to switch Emme to a toddler bed at just 18 months. We have co-slept with her since the day she came home! Not through our choice (ok, maybe we could have persevered) but because it turns out the big wide world is actually a pretty scary place for a newborn baby and being close to mama and dada is the only place Emme would settle! I can't say I blame her, it must be terrifying going from being all curled up and cosy in the womb to suddenly being placed in an open and seemingly cold moses basket without the familiar sound of mamas heartbeat, the first sound she ever knew and one that she had been so used to for the past nine months. 

The first two weeks of Emme's arrival, Dan and myself took it in turns to have her curled up on our chests for two hours whilst the other slept because our chests were the only place she would settle. I wouldn't recommend our method, we are first time parents, it was all so new to us and we weren't yet familiar with sleepless nights, little did we know how used to them we would become! This method was the only compromise we managed to reach through the exhaustion and tears, neither one of us could stay awake for more than two hours at a time during the night and two hours just seemed enough to keep us going for another two while the other caught up. 

Needless to say we soon realised that we couldn't live like this, Dan was due to return to work after his paternity leave and with him working permanent night shifts at the time, I knew that I could not survive the nights alone this way. After a heck of a lot of research, the only thing helping to keep me awake during the small hours, I came across the wonder that is the Sleepyhead Deluxe. With a hefty price tag, I knew it would take a lot of persuading Dan but I was willing to try anything and in all honesty, I was desperate! Luckily the research and persuasion paid off and the sleepyhead became the answer to our prayers! We finally had a baby that would sleep somewhere other than our chests but because it was too big for the moses basket we decided to place the sleepyhead in the middle of our very small double bed and use it to co-sleep, we may not have had much room but we finally started to sleep again, kind of!

Honestly I thought by 18 months, Emme would be sleeping through the night! I remember complaining when she was around 3 months old because she still woke several times, I was so naive but when you hear people saying their babies are sleeping through from so early on, you can't help but feel sorry for yourself when yours is so far from it. At six months we put Emme in her own cot in her own room but still using the sleepyhead, we hoped that with the sleepyhead staying the same that the cot and room wouldn't be too much of a change and the first night went amazingly well, maybe because we weren't all squished up in one bed, maybe because she didn't have our shuffling, snoring etc waking her and I wish I could say that this was the answer to all our problems but this was just a one-off. 

Every now and again Emme likes to surprise us with a full nights sleep but i'm talking once in a blue moon and the rest of the nights are spent settling her for up to two hours in her room, with a few re-settlings before we go to bed and then eventually, at some point between us going to bed and waking up, Emme will join us for the rest of the night. If she's having a particularly bad night she'll hear us come to bed and ask me to 'come on mummy' and points to the door saying 'dada' because she wants to get in mummy and daddys bed. If Dan's on earlies he needs his sleep, he cannot do his job whilst tired so i'll sleep on emme's floor once she wakes and often we'll end up on the sofa, usually on these nights she wants to play and then when Dan leaves for work, usually between 2.40-5.30am we'll go back to bed for a few hours, which takes a lot of pursuasion.

On the nights that Emme comes into our bed, cuddles into me, stroking my head whilst saying ahh and then falling asleep soundly through until morning, I love co-sleeping and on the whole this is how she sleeps. However on the nights that she wakes crying, she spends the whole night kicking me, pulling my hair, whimpering and shouting cat every time she hears Luna's bell, I want to cry with exhaustion and i plead with Dan that we find a solution the next morning.

So our sleep journey so far hasn't been the easiest and yes I sometimes look at those mum's with babies who have slept through from three weeks old, with green eyes but I know I probably don't have it the worst and every child is different. I know that one day I will miss her tiny arms draped across mine and her tiny feet scratching my legs, I know that i'll miss the warmth of her body against my side and the sound of her breathing quietly next to me and I can't blame her for not wanting to sleep alone, I hate sleeping alone when Dan works nights, so I love that she wants our comfort. However the sleepless nights don't do any of us any good and because we have co-slept for the most part, our bed is where she settles best so we thought her own bed, where she has more room and the freedom to get in and out as she pleases, i'm sure i'll come to hate that part, will hopefully help her to love her own bed and to sleep better.

Whilst she was at her grandparents last weekend, we went to Ikea and bought her the Minnen Extendable bed, which goes from toddler to junior to a full sized single bed in three stages. We put it up ready for her coming home and I have never felt so sick and worried about such a big change. Luckily as soon as Emme saw the bed she climbed straight in and tucked herself and her babies up in it. We took her downstairs to say goodbye to her Nana and as soon as she left, Emme asked to go straight back upstairs to bed she loved it that much! Settling still took us an hour and she stirred a few times, eventually getting in our bed at around 3am.

Fast forward a week a later and unfortunately it hasn't made any difference at all! She has been taking up to 2 and a half hours to settle and still comes into our bed during the night. Maybe I just need to persevere and maybe i shouldn't be giving into her during the night, I'm not sure. She has been poorly and is cutting teeth though so fingers crossed when that's all over she'll start to love her bed, still clinging onto hope here aren't i? I'm hoping that by buying a few extra things for her bedroom and making it into a big deal that she'll be excited enough to want to stay in her bed. I am also considering the Lulla sleep doll but at £50 its an expensive risk so if anybody else has tried this with their child, i'd love to know your thoughts!

How wrong were we to think that our child would ever fit into our routine when she came along and not the other way around?! You know you thought it too!

Is your toddler in a big bed yet? What age did you switch them over?

Love Abbie x

Saturday, 14 January 2017

WhiteWash Laboratories Nano Whitening Kit

WhiteWash Laboratories Nano Whitening Kit

WhiteWash Laboratories Nano Whitening Kit

Teeth whitening products always draw me in, I've always wanted perfect teeth but unfortunately wasn't blessed with them and although they may not be straight, who doesn't want pearly whites?! The only problem is, I worry about them damaging my teeth as they are often quite abrasive and I do not deal well with toothache, which I know a lot of them can cause if used incorrectly. So I have been testing out the Nano Whitening Kit* (£39.80) by Whitewash Laboratories for over a month now, developed by dentists, gentle on the teeth and backed by science, these products are fast becoming my favourites! I have seen such a difference already but the amazing thing is, I'm not the only one to have noticed! Dan has constantly been commenting on how white my teeth are looking and has even sneakily started using the products himself too!

A beauty lovers dream - these products are free from parabens, alcohol, SLS, triclosan and PEG, in lamens terms, all the nasties that you don't want in your products! Instead, each ingredient has been selected for a specific use, ensuring that there are only ingredients in the products that need to be in there and they're cruelty free! 

WhiteWash Laboratories also donate a toothbrush to a child in need for every product sold! How amazing is that?! The 'Brush For A Brush' campaign aims to prevent tooth decay in children which you can read more about here!

The WhiteWash Laboratories Nano Whitening Kit - 

Nano Whitening Toothpaste 75ml 
Made with special micro-polishes that help to remove surface stains and advanced Enamel Care Technology© which helps to whiten, remineralise and repair teeth whilst reducing sensitivity and helping to create that pearly white shine! 

Nano Whitening Mouthwash 300ml 
Again, this contains Enamel Care Technology© so double the whitening! The advanced complex in this helps to reduce any sensitivity to the teeth and the naturally occuring xylitol helps to prevent bacterial plaque from forming.

Nano Whitening Toothbrush
The whitening bristles removes 35% more stains than normal bristles whilst the ergonomic designs makes for a comfortable grip!

Anti-stain floss
A non-shredding floss that provides anti-bacterial action, glides easily between teeth and helps to brighten the gaps between your teeth.

I also received a Micro-rinser floss too which is the only clinically tested floss which removes up to 40% more plaque compared to others.

The Nano whitening range is gentle enough for daily use, is designed for 7years+ and can even be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Using this kit has completely changed my brushing routine! With the Nano Whitening Kit you floss first, use the mouthwash second and then brush, which really took some getting used to let me tell you, however its surprising how quickly you adapt. When using the Nano Whitening Toothbrush as apposed to a regular toothbrush with the products, I noticed that my teeth seem so much whiter and feel so much cleaner. The bristles of the brush are quite soft so I feel that I can scrub a little harder without fear of making my gums sore. 

Often teeth whitening products can have quite a chemically taste but I find that the sweet peppermint taste of the Nano range doesn't taste much different to my regular toothpaste, if anything it is just a little plainer, which I prefer as some can be quite overpowering meaning that I don't brush for as long as my mouth can feel irritated if it's too strong. Texture wise, the toothpaste is a little thicker, similar to a clay and as you don't dilute this toothpaste with water you can feel a slight difference at first but it isn't unpleasant and you soon get used to it. 

Having teeth that overlap means that flossing is essential to my routine and I have been loving using the flosses provided, especially the Micro-rinser Floss which I swear has been the key to getting the gaps between my teeth white! I hate flossing as it can be quite uncomfortable between the teeth that overlap however I find that this one is easy to use and doesn't cause me any discomfort at all so this will be straight on my shopping list when I run out!

I have been loving using the Nano Whitening Kit and the effect that it has already had on my teeth, quick fix it is not and to be honest I'm glad that it isn't, as quick fixes don't tend to be permanent. However I am so pleased with how much whiter my teeth seem already and by replacing my old routine and products with this kit I feel so much more confident with my smile! 

The WhiteWash Laboratories Nano Range can be purchased from the website here, Harrods, Boots, John Bell & Croydon, amazon and leading dental practices.

Don't miss their January Sale with 25% off!**

Have you tried the WhiteWash Laboratories Nano range yet?

Love Abbie x

* gifted pr sample, please see disclaimer

** correct as of 07.01.17

Monday, 9 January 2017

My Goals For 2017

I love the motivation that the first day of a new year brings, for me it feels like a clean slate, the chance to make a fresh start and kick my ass in gear to do those things I've been putting off and although I know I can make goals any day of the year, I feel like the new year is a great place to begin! 

So here are my goals for 2017

Be more organised

I think this is the first goal on my list every year and I still haven't mastered it but this year will be the year! (Am I convincing?) I'm not scared to admit that I am the most unorganised person you will ever meet! (ok, not convincing at all) I set goals every now and again and occasionally I'll make a list but carrying out those goals doesn't always go as well and I soon forget about them before moving on to making the next one, forgetting what was even on the first. This year I need to be more organised with every aspect of my life, personal, work and home.

Use my diary

You would not believe how many diaries and notebooks I buy and never actually use! I can't help but wonder if I actually used them, could I finally become organised with my life?! This year I aim to try that and see!

Schedule housework

I do a thorough clean through the house every Saturday when Emme is at her grandparents house but I want to schedule set chores for set days so that come Saturday if Dan's off work, we can use our baby free day to do things that we can't do so easily with Emme in tow, like decorating or Ikea trips (sorry Dan) or even just having a date day and enjoying each other's company which becomes so rare when you become a parent..

Renovate our house one room at a time

When we bought our house just over two years ago, we knew we wanted a house that was already liveable. Upon viewing the house I didn't love the decor but I liked it and the plan was to do it up as we went along but it took months for everything to go through due to the previous owners and the month before we moved in I found out I was pregnant with Emme so buying baby items took priority over house renovations. Two years later and the only rooms we've decorated are Emme's bedroom and the living room and we're slowly starting to loathe the rest of the house. Don't get me wrong it's lovely, we're very lucky to have our home and I'm so grateful but it still doesn't quite feel like our house when we haven't put our stamp on it yet. So this year I want to pick a room and decorate it, buy accessories and complete it before moving into the next room rather than just buying a couple of accessories here and there for each room and not actually being happy with any of them.

Grow our family

We decided after Emme turned one that we wanted to add another addition to our family. We always wanted our children close together in age and just after Ems birthday felt like the right time for us but having a condition called pcos means that getting pregnant isn't straight forward for me. Unfortunately the more I weigh, the worse my pcos symptoms become and still being 2st heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Emme means that it is proving a little more difficult than we'd hoped! This year I hope to lose the rest of the weight that I gained during pregnancy (I actually gained 5st) and welcome baby number two to the family!

Do you set new year goals?

Love Abbie x

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