Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas Running

I had all these grand plans of running most days over the Christmas period. Well that kind of hasn't happened, but I'm feeling ok about it, because I've still run every few days, and think I've got the balance right between going out for a run and making the most of family time. Maybe getting up a bit earlier might've helped though!

Today I did a quick 30 minute loop, run at my fastest pace yet, chuffed about that. I deliberately made it a speed session as with marathon training I've found a lot of my runs I'm working on length, and therefore running at marathon pace or slower. I don't know much about training but figured some shorter, quicker sessions are probably beneficial too.

Finding always having my complete running kit made up and ready to put on straight away really helps motivation, as does the thought of a peanut butter and banana recovery smoothie, yum!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Weekly Round Up

I love the winter sunrises that we see from the windows at the back of our house! So beautiful, and a reminder of our awesome Creator 

We seem to have fallen into starting Christmas festivities quite unexpectedly!

This week we did some painting using berries - they were unsweetened, hence the comedy faces!

I made a slow-cooked lasagne, it was delicious - would never have thought it would work!

Monday, 26 November 2012

My longest run yet since training's begun

Headed out this evening, in the rain, with my new running shoes. It's been 5 days since I last went for a run, my legs felt really good for the rest, and coupled with some new trainers, I ran the furthest, and fastest, that I have since restarting my training - so all in all very encouraging!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Autumn Owls

I couldn't let autumn pass without a craft activity involving pumpkin seeds. Today we had a spare half hour so I quickly drew a rough owl shape for Eden to add pumpkin seed feathers to. Eden has always loved glueing and today I just left her to it while seeing to the baby. I especially like the buttons she added for eyes - all her own doing!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Marathon Time!

5 years ago I first applied for a ballot place in the London Marathon. I was in a totally different place in life then, this was a time of life pre-kids and when I regularly entered triathlons for fun (yes, seriously) hmmm....

I've entered every year since, unsuccessfully, but this is my year! About a month ago instead of the 'sorry you weren't successful' magazine that I am used to receiving through my letterbox every year, I received my 'Marathon News', and it's marked the start of my journey to the start line of the London Marathon 2013. It's with slight apprehension that I'm commencing this personal challenge but so far so good with dragging myself off the sofa for a run 3 times a week (even if it is only week 2 of training). Juggling home life, a 3 year old and a baby, with training, not to mention breast feeding, will be interesting!

I'll be updating my progress in training regularly, keeping a diary of the highs and lows along the way.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Donating Milk: The story continues

In early May I posted about how I'd started to donate my excess Mummy milk to the local hospital milk bank. You can read the post here.  Well this week I made my first visit to the hospital to drop off 25 bottles of precious milk.

I'm going to take a break for a couple of weeks now, while I replenish my own freezer stock for Asher, who is a hungry little milk monster! 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Win tickets to The Baby Show and a beautiful pair of shoes from Poco Nido

The Baby Show is back and offering a shopping haven for new parents and parents-to-be at the NEC Birmingham from 18th-20th May 2012. Forget the hassle of the high street, The Baby Show takes out the stress and confusion of shopping for your baby by offering the UK’s biggest baby brands all under one roof, so you can compare and try products before you buy! The UK’s leading parenting experts will also be on hand to offer advice on sleep, breastfeeding and first aid. Don’t miss this brilliant day out! For more information visit

Poco Nido is a refreshing modern, eco aware brand for little people offering affordable, good quality, limited edition, British designed baby footwear and t shirts. Their debut range features contemporary, baby stimulating illustration and simple shapes. The pull-on mini shoes have no exposed elastic and are made from cotton and leather, safely hand printed with water-based inks all playfully packaged into a recycled card tube box, which also cleverly doubles as a postal tube, meaning less packing waste and more crafting opportunities. See them at The Baby Show on stand D26. For more information log on to

To win this prize, just do one (or all) of the following, and leave me a separate comment below to let me know what you've done. Remember to leave a way for me to contact you if you're the winner - email address or twitter id. Good luck!
The winner will be drawn randomly at 7pm on Tuesday 15th May. 
The winner will be picked using
No cash alternative
Collection of prize will be by visiting Poco Nido's stand at the Baby Show
Loquax competitions

Good luck!

And the winner is....

Comment number 7 - Aimee.
Well done Aimee - an email is on it's way to you with more details

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Donating Milk: Every Drop Counts

I'm not gonna lie, for a number of reasons I didn't get on all that well with breastfeeding Eden. I made it to 6 months (just) because I'm stubborn and that's the goal I'd set myself. This time around though things are going so much better with breastfeeding - Asher has a good latch, I was much more confident from the start, I feel awareness of breastfeeding in public has improved, and my sister in law gave me a fabulous breast pump. I'm proud of myself for feeding Asher just with my own milk for the 9 weeks of his life so far, and I hope I continue for much longer.

I've found expressing milk has given me such freedom, and I find it rather satisfying in a strange kind of way, to see the amount of milk I produce. Actually, I've got so much milk in stock in the freezer now for Asher that I realised a couple of weeks ago that I really didn't need to save any more. So instead, I've started donating my extra milk to a local milk bank - to be used for premature and sick babies. Donor breastmilk protects from infection and is easier to digest than formula, thus helping these little babies to grow and recover.
My first bottle of expressed milk for the milk bank

You can read more about donating milk on the UK Association for Milk Banking website.

The Baby Show is coming to Birmingham!

I'm so excited that the Baby Show is coming to Birmingham next week! It brings with it the UK's biggest baby brands and latest products - all under one roof. Last time I went, there were some fab deals and special offers to be had - the savings more than outweigh the cost of a ticket, making it so worthwhile to go along. For me personally, I'm especially looking forward to some great deals on reusable nappies, but you'll find everything you need for your little one - feeding equipment, clothes, toys, pushchairs, nappies... the list goes on. As well as the shopping, on the Main Stage you'll find experts on hand to offer advice on a wide range of parenting issues, including sleep, feeding and first aid topics. There's also an under 1's cafe for your little one to sample some Plum food, and a free creche where children can have fun playing with the latest Fisher Price toys while you do your shopping.  

The Baby Show is running from 18th - 20th May 2012 at Birmingham NEC. It's central location has good transport links and is easily accessible by car and train, or even plane if that's how you choose to travel! Tickets are £12 in advance, or two for £20. To book tickets and for more information, visit 

You can follow @TheBabyShow on Twitter here
Or like their Facebook Page here

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Our neglected Poinsettia is flowering!

We have a Poinsettia plant in our dining room that we acquired either two or 3 Christmasses ago - we can't quite remember but it means we've had it at least 18 months now. Although the red flowers disappeared after the first Christmas we had it, we kept the leafy plant anyway as a house plant. Apart from the occasional water to keep it alive it's had no TLC from us. But lo and behold, this week the leaves are turning their signature red colour!

It's notoriously difficult to get poinsettia leaves to turn from their green to red for a second season. The experts advice that you keep the plant in the dark for 14-16 hours per day, ideally from 5pm to 8am. They need to be brought into the sunlight for 6 hours everyday. The temperature also has to be optimum. It requires these specific conditions for a couple of months before flowering occurs, so it's advised that you should start on 1st October to produce the red flowers in December in time for Christmas.  

Why our plant has suddenly decided it would like to flower now remains a mystery!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bumgenius Freetime Review

If you're a regular reader you're probably aware that we love our cloth nappies! We started cloth nappy-ing our now 28 month old daughter when she was a week old and haven't looked back.  There are so many benefits to using cloth nappies, and the modern cloth nappy has come a long way since the days of nappy pins, soaking in pails and boiling. The Bumgenius Freetime nappy is one of the newest cloth nappies on the market, and we were lucky enough to be sent one to review. We also have Bumgenius v4s and Bumgenius Flips in our current nappy stash so I was interested to see how the new Freetime compares.

Sizing and Fit:
Like the v4 and Flip, the Freetime is a birth to potty nappy - meaning it grows with your baby, so in theory it should fit both my 4 week old son and my 28 month old daughter - I was keen to test it out on both!

Asher's 10lb and I can get a really snug fit around the leg with the Freetime, just like I can with the v4 and Flip - this is essential for containing newborn runny poo. The Freetime has elasticated legs which definitely makes a big difference in getting a close fit. We have other brand nappies in our stash that I just can't use on him, as I can't get a close fit around his skinny legs.

Eden is 30lb, and I can get a lovely snug fit on her too - this is particularly important as she only wears nappies for her naps and overnight now - so a close fit ensures we have no leaks onto the bed.

Having a boy, this is a big issue for me, as I want to be able to comfortably get cloth nappies under his trousers and this is why I love Flips - they're the slimmest nappy I've come across that remains reliable despite being slim. In comparison, I was pleasantly surprised that the Freetime is a slimmer fit on Asher than the Flip, which tends to be bulkier at the front on my small baby. However, I think as Asher gets bigger this is likely to change, as when comparing the Flip and Freetime on Eden - the Flip is slimmer, as the Freetime requires more boosting for her being older.

Ease of Use:
If you're looking for a nappy that's good for Dad/Grandparents/Carers to use then the Freetime is perfect as it goes on just like a disposable in one easy step. My husband ended up using the Freetime at nappy changes for Asher with no explanation of how to put it on, before I'd even tried it on Asher myself - granted he's fairly confident with cloth nappies, but I was nevertheless impressed and it shows how easy the Freetime is to put on. It's an all-in-one nappy, which means no fiddley stuffing of pockets is required. It has 2 microfibre pads that are attached to the outer shell, but open out to allow the nappy to dry quicker than other all-in-one type nappies do. Having used this nappy for a few weeks now, I can say because of it's design it's one of the quickest to dry of all our nappies - inside it'll dry on an airer overnight, outside if the sun's shining it's dry within just a few hours.

Another of the things I like about the Freetime is that the pads can be arranged easily in different ways to adjust the absorbancy for if you have a girl or boy. For Asher, being a boy I double up one of the pads at the front for extra absorbancy, and for Eden I lie the 2 pads flat for absorbancy all the way through. As she wears it for naps and so needs extra boosting, there's room for me to place an extra booster underneath the pads.

Overall verdict:
The Freetime has lots of positives going for it in comparison to other cloth nappies. For me, I love how reliable it is - we haven't had a single leak, and I love that it's so easy to use being an all-in-one but with the additional bonus that it's quick drying. As it's a birth to potty nappy it offers excellent value for money.

Bumgenius Freetime is available to buy for £15.99 from Baba Me 

Oh and one last thing......

Here's my little man modelling the Freetime, weighing 9lb.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Footprints on Canvas

Our little man, Asher is 4 weeks old today! I marked the occasion by printing his footprints, as well as Eden's, onto canvas.

Once we'd finished the canvas, Eden did some 'footprints' herself:

And here's a photo of Asher today, on his 4-week birthday

The last 4 weeks we've been settling down as a family of 4. Eden has done brilliantly adjusting to have Asher here; she's so kind and gentle with him, and so inclusive of him in activities and when we go out. An unexpected surprise is what an easy baby Asher is - he settles by himself well and is a very peaceful and contented little baby. I don't think we particularly had a hard time with Eden, but she was colicky and on reflection a more demanding baby. As we didn't know any different we were expecting Asher to be the same. 

Looking forward to the months ahead! 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mamatography: Week 11

12/3 Big Sis and Little Bro!

13/3 Playing together

14/3 First bath - loving it!

15/3 Eden coming home from preschool with the robot she'd made - I was so proud!

17/3 So satisfying having cloth nappies on the line drying!

18/3 Mother's Day with my 2 babies

18/3 A little bit in love with my new sling!

That's all for this week. Mamatography is hosted by Diary of a First Child. Check out other Mamatography blog posts here

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Toddler Craft: Exploring Textures

We did a quick craft this morning - I wanted to explore textures, Eden wanted to make a flower - this was the result! 

I keep a big box full of all sorts of materials and boxes for craft activities, so the first thing we did was have a rummage through to pick out different textures to use in our collage. Eden picked out some blue card, and I drew a big flower shape on. She then stuck on the scraps of different textures and I introduced some new words to her to describe them.

 The finished 'masterpiece'!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mamatography: Week 10

I've got a bit behind with my Mamatography project - it's been a busy few weeks in the run up to, and giving birth... However, I want to catch up, so this will be quite a long picture post, bear with me...
13/2 My 37 week bump!

18/2 Eden helps clean the car!

19/2 The result of a walk to church this morning - Eden rarely naps anywhere but in her bed, let alone at 10:30am in the morning!

21/2 Pancake day!

23/2 10 minutes before this picture, I'd tidied all her kitchen toys away - didn't last long!!

24/2 A trip to the zoo with the grandparents - watching the birds of prey display

24/2 Eden's Great Grandparents came to visit, and Eden decorated this photo frame all by herself to give to Great Grandma

27/2 Slightly missing the point of a trip to the library!

1/3 Some of the bluebells beginning to come up in the corner of our garden: spring's on it's way
4/3 So proud of Eden who for the first time walked to the top of our local hills all by herself!
5/3 Happy due day to me!

6/3 Asher Benjamin is born at home in the early hours. Here's his first look at Mummy 
7/3 Where's the baby gone? (Unintentional matching sleepsuit and change mat!)

8/3 'Good morning' from my gorgeous girl and beautiful boy

9/3 Seed planting with Daddy
10/3 Last week we made Eden her own little garden, today she was doing some watering

10/3 Cuddles with Mummy

11/3 We're a fan of cloth nappies but not nappy changes at the moment!

Phew - sorry for the long post! Well done if you made it to the end!

Check out more Mamatography posts this week here

Saturday, 10 March 2012

How driving safely can reduce your car insurance

How to reduce risk when driving, thereby minimising chances of collisions, insurance claims & points, and keeping your insurance costs down: A guest post by Sainsbury's Finance

  Reduce your car insurance premium by driving safely

Driving safely saves you money. Not only will it reduce the chances of being involved in a collision – potentially saving the no claim discount on your car insurance and keeping your premium down – it could also reduce the wear and tear on your car. 

Novice drivers
New drivers in particular can benefit from building up a no claim discount, as they generally pay the highest prices for their premiums. Completing a further training scheme like Pass Plus can boost their skill levels and might also bring down the cost of their car insurance policy.

Speed kills
RoSPA research suggests that inappropriate speed accounts for a quarter of all fatal road traffic collisions. By going easy on the accelerator, you reduce the chances of being involved in an accident. And remember that your safety record feeds into the calculations of risk that determine your insurance premium. 
Driving slower is also more fuel efficient, saving you money at the pump, too.
Remember that the speed limit is not a target. Always drive at a speed appropriate for the conditions and slow down if you need to.

Anything that distracts you from the road ahead can cause an accident. Don’t eat and drink behind the wheel, and remember that using a handheld mobile phone while driving is both dangerous and illegal. 
There are more subtle distractions to be aware of, too. For young drivers, too many passengers can be a big distraction. Similarly for adults, the demands of small children can be an issue, particularly if driving without another adult or older child to look after little ones. 
If you are unsure where you are going, make sure that you stop in a safe place before attempting to read the map. Better still, a sat nav can take the stress out of driving in unfamiliar areas – but don’t fiddle with it while at the wheel. 

Do make sure that you keep your car well maintained. As soon as you become aware of a fault, get it fixed. Regular servicing helps to pinpoint problem areas before they affect the safety and performance of the vehicle. Early repairs can help to prevent bigger bills later. A safer vehicle is less likely to be involved in an accident – keeping you and your car in one piece and saving on your insurance premium.

Only drive when necessary. Some insurers offer special deals for low annual mileages. Walking for short journeys can save you money and is a healthy option, too.

Stay safe
Keeping everyone on the road as safe as possible is the best motivation for showing caution behind the wheel – but if it also cuts the cost of car insurance, then so much the better!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Asher Benjamin is born!

Very happy to be writing about the arrival of our baby boy, Asher Benjamin. He was born at home at 2:14am on Tuesday 6/3/12, weighing a healthy 9lb!

My due date was Monday 5/3/12, and after a walk I spent the evening bouncing on the birth ball, with a few strong tightenings, not particularly painful though. I went to bed at 10pm, and half an hour later the tightenings were getting stronger so I thought it was best for Luke to maybe inflate the birthpool just in case. I got up too and had a little walk around the house, trying to stay active. The tightenings pretty much dwindled away, so we headed back to bed at 11:30pm. I was dozing, and an hour later at 12:30am I had my first contraction - a *really* strong painful contraction and said to Luke if I had another one I'd have to get up. A few minutes later it happened again, and I knew I was in labour.

We rang the on call midwife, who arrived about 1:15am. Luke was busy filling the birth pool and I was leaning over the kitchen counter, focussing on my breathing. It was all very intense and happening quickly. The midwife took one look at me, and rang for the second midwife, before even examining me. At 1:30am I was 6cm, and got into the birthpool. With my first birth, the water had provided amazing pain relief - I found this time it just about took the edge of the pain, but didn't give me the same relief as last time.

A few minutes after getting into the pool I was already feeling the urge to push. As my waters hadn't gone yet, the midwife said this would be the feeling of extra pressure. I was worried it was too soon, having a few minutes before been at 6cm, but the midwife said to just go with what my body was telling me. I tried to not push for as long as possible, but started pushing just after 2am when I couldn't hold back any longer, the second midwife arrived around this time too, and my waters finally broke. I was so grateful to my midwife who helped me through the crowning stage as I was worried about tearing - she did a fab job guiding me.

Asher Benjamin arrived at 2:14am - 1 and 3/4 hours after my first painful contraction. I was so relieved it was over - it was a much more full-on experience than with my first! We had lovely cuddles in the birthpool, followed by his first feed on the sofa, and were tucked in bed as the midwives were leaving. So pleased to have had another successful homebirth!

First look at Mummy!

A few hours old
Asher is very different to his big sister. He's 3 days old now. He's latching on really well, settling in his Moses basket, taking a dummy - all the opposite to the early days with Eden! He's seems on the whole to be very chilled out, and has white blond hair - just like all the male babies have had on his Daddy's side.  

Eden is being a great big sister, she keeps checking on Asher, likes to show him her toys, and is keen to help out with nappy changes!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mamatography: Week 6

Don't know what happened last week but I didn't get around to posting up my weekly photos so I have two week's worth to do today, although there are some gaps where I just didn't take a picture that day - rest assured the intention is always there...
30/1/12 Balloon Fun

1/2/12: Rockin' on her 'stage'

4/2/12: A snowy drive out this afternoon

5/2/12: Test-run of our birth pool (stored in the loft since Eden was born so we weren't sure what condition it would be in)

6/2/12: This fairy loves playing with cardboard tubes and milk bottle tops!

7/2/12: Trying on Mummy's boots

8/2/12 Small world play: This is Eden's traffic jam!

9/2/12 Smily happy close-up
10/2/12: I had the most amazing surprise today: a completely unexpected surprise Baby Shower was organised for me!

11/2/12: Bump and I after the wedding of some friends today
Mamatography is hosted by Diary of a First Child. Check out more blogs taking part this week here.