Thursday, 25 November 2021

Autumn Style with Angel's Face

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In the lead up to giving birth, I wanted to spend some quality time with Cora, reminding her that she is special and loved and that even though she won't always be the baby of the family, she will always be my baby and she will stay as the only girl.  In many respects she is one of the boys, she answers to the collective of 'boys', if they are doing something, she is more than capable of it too and she is part of their pack.  In other ways she is very much different to them and she loves to embrace her more feminine side too with some girls activewear.

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

These photos are from our last trip out together before her youngest brother arrived wearing some gorgeous new girls designer clothing- in fact he was born about 4 hours after some of these were taken.  I think I must have subconsciously known that something was about to happen as it felt like a good day to get out with just her for a walk along the seafront and a hot chocolate and she was desperate to wear her new cosy clothing from Angel's Face.  I used to love dressing her but now she is very much self-styled and led by comfort so the moment she pulled this velour set out of the box she wanted it on.  The hooded top  from the girls designer jumper section has a beautiful pattern on the arms and the joggers are warm and soft.  I used the sizing info on the website when deciding what size she needs and it fits perfectly (she is nearly 5.5 years but 104cm tall so wearing age 4-5). 

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

We walked through the town and along the seafront and she collected special things like colourful leaves to put in her bunny bag.  The bunny bag is ridiculously soft and you can leave the padding inside and remove the strap to snuggle up with it as a cuddly toy (I need to get a photo of him snuggled up in her bed) or take the padding out and wear it as a bag. 

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

Cora knew exactly where she wanted to go for hot chocolate and as it was just the two of us, it was easy to follow her lead.  We spotted a big letter A along the seafront though and she wanted a photo with her new girls designer jacket from Angel's Face.  Not only is it comfy and long enough to keep her legs warm too, it is the perfect Elsa coat for any Frozen fans and I just love her in this shade of blue.  The wind really picks up along the coast so warm and cosy is a priority and we both love how incredibly soft the hood lining is.  Cora has been wearing this coat for a couple of weeks now, including to school and I can also report that it still looks immaculate despite her love for playing with mud and in the sand.

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

Spending time with my children one on one will always be important to me, although there will be a break for a while as we adjust to life with a newborn and how much he needs to be with me. I know Cora will be warm and snuggly all Winter in her new clothes though!

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion


Visit the Angel’s Face website to see the full collection.


angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion

angels face, girls designer clothing, kids fashion, girls designer fashion


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Monday, 22 November 2021

Baby 5 - A Birth Story

I have had four babies before so I know how painful labour is, but still I found myself looking forward to it in a strange way as I approached our due date with baby no 5.  I think it is knowing what comes at the end of the pain, knowing how worthwhile it all is (and it helps knowing my labours tend to be quite speedy).  I had convinced myself that I was going to give birth on the Tuesday before my due date this time (my last three babies have all come a few days early) so I woke up on Saturday morning determined to use the weekend to get everything ready.

I did three loads of washing, built the crib and took Cora out for some special time as I knew it would be her that will be most affected by the new arrival.  We had a lovely productive day and got home just after 4pm.  Around 6pm, I noticed that I was getting quite a few Braxton Hicks, the painless tightenings but I didn't think they would lead anywhere so I carried on as normal.  At 7pm, after having them painlessly for an hour, they started to change and I wondered whether I could possibly be in early labour. Because my plans for a home birth had been cancelled due to staff shortages, I decided to ring up the hospital and find out what the options were if things progressed during the evening and was told that the midwife led unit was also not able to take any more women due to staff shortages but the labour ward had spaces when I felt ready to come in.  We left it that I would ring back if things progressed.

I called my mum next, who was on standby to look after the other children and told her that I thought this could be it.  I have a history of short labours so I knew I needed to get plans into place early.  My body was telling my to walk so I decided to go for a walk.  As it was already dark, I walked round to the local Asda and paced the aisles.  With Cora, my contractions came fast when I walked and stopped completely when I sat down and I felt like this one would be the same.  I came home and had a quick dinner and then carried on pacing upstairs as things started to kick in more.  Cora could sense that things were happening I think and decided she wanted to hold my hand as we walked around the house. 

I didn't time the contractions and was still able to walk and talk through them, but when my mum arrived around 7.45pm, I decided it was best to make the 15 minute drive to the hospital and then I could walk around the grounds if I wasn't ready to go in yet, but at least we were in the right place.  We parked up just after 8pm and I decided we would go straight in and explain that although I hadn't rung back, I was definitely in labour now.

We were taken into day-care/triage so they could assess whether I was ready for the labour ward yet.  They did my blood pressure and other checks and asked me how my pain was on a scale of 1-10 - I answered a 7, and then left us whilst they checked me in on the system. A few minutes later I felt strong pressure and my waters burst all over the floor. My first thought was to panic about my boots as I hadn't brought any spare shoes with me so I made Ed remove them before he went to get a midwife.  They came back and could see that things were progressing very quickly, so they helped me into a wheelchair and raced me round to the labour ward.  They knew I wanted the MLU so they took me to the room with a birthing pool.  As I stood up from the wheelchair I could feel the baby's head coming, so I had two midwives peeling off my now very wet jeans as I stood up leaning on the side of the pool and gave birth in two pushes to the most perfect baby boy. The midwives passed him up to me and helped me to a bed and left the cord for over 5 minutes before cutting it.

baby five, birth story, positive birth story

He was born 8 days before his due date at 8.28pm weighing a smaller than expected 7lb 13oz.  I don't know if it has just been so long since I held a newborn but he felt so much smaller.  Just like his big brother and sister before him, once he decided to come, things went very quickly! 

baby five, birth story, positive birth story


The placenta came naturally soon after and after a few hours just the three of us, baby and I were transferred to the ward for the night.  Due to a complication during the pregnancy, it needed to be the paediatric doctor doing the new baby check rather than the midwife so we had to stay until we could be seen (which ended up being 6pm the next evening).  Thankfully everything was signed off and we could take our healthy baby boy back to the madhouse to meet his excited big brothers and sister. 

baby five, birth story, positive birth story


We are now 8 days into life as a family of seven (which still feels like a strange thing to write) and this baby has settled in perfectly.  He is so calm and tolerant of the others who want to be hands on and he almost seems more settled when the house is noisy and chaotic than he does when it is peaceful.  He is the final piece we never realised was missing.

After nearly two weeks, we finally agreed on his name  - Rex Arthur

baby five, birth story, positive birth story




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Monday, 15 November 2021

Baby's First Christmas Gift Guide

With our own baby just arrived, it seemed the perfect year to show some great options for Baby's First Christmas.  We have always used the opportunity to gift a few new toys and treats for the next stage alongside essentials and practical gifts (like the next size up clothing) and this gift guide reflects this idea.  Whether you are buying for a brand new baby or one that has left the newborn stage behind, here are some ideas for a very first Christmas.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Mizzie Teething Toys

It doesn't take long before babies stop waving their arms and legs around with no control and start wanting to use all their senses to experience the world around them, and it often coincides with teething.  Mizzie are a new brand to me but the kangaroo is sure to be a big hit with little hands.  Made from all natural rubber, Mizzie stimulates babies sense of touch, smell, sight and hearing (she can squeak!).  It also helps to sooth sore gums and comes in different styles so you can take Mizzie on the go with you.  Mizzie is available from John Lewis, Amazon and www.mizziethekangaroo.co.uk.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Chicco Rainbow Sky Arch

As new babies sight develops, they become a lot more interested in their surroundings and the Rainbow Sky Arch from Chicco can be fitted on to the Chicco next to me crib and other similar styles to light up and entertain sleepy babies (and hopefully settle them for sleep too).  It comes with a removable, portable night light and the plush toys can also be removed so baby can enjoy for longer.  I love how calm and sweet this looks and I think it makes a gorgeous gift for little babies this Christmas.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Joone BabyCare

Joone is a brand for new babies and parents that offers complete transparancy about what is in their products.  From nappies (which can be delivered so you never run out) to gorgeous tiny clothing, they have a great selection of products, and their baby care range makes a brilliant and practical gift for new babies.  Joone Babycare is organic and good for delicate skin - something very important to me as I have always had problems with mine.  I love how transparent the ingredients list is and the products come beautifully presented.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Nuby Stars and Clouds Play Mat

A playmat is an essential for the early days and I love how soft and snuggly this Nuby Clouds and Stars playmat is, especially with a winter baby due! The fluffy base is machine washable and the bars can be removed for transport and cleaning.  With different textures, sounds and a little mirror, this mat stimulates all baby's senses and when they outgrow it, I know the fluffy mat will still be used for snuggling on!  This is perfectly unisex and I can't wait to try it out with our own baby soon! A great Christmas gift for a newborn.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Gund Kissy the Penguin

Kissy the penguin is just the softest toy for babies aged 10 months + and I couldn't stop stroking it when it arrived!  The buttons on her feet play 'Frere Jacques' as she lifts her flippers to her beak to blow kisses.  Kissy is surface washable and comes with three AA batteries ready to start playing on Christmas morning! Gund have a selection of adorable soft toys suitable from newborn onwards so perfect for baby's first Christmas.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Snoozeshade

Snoozeshade is an award winning pram and pushchair shade for single buggies, strollers and prams that offers protection from the sun and encourages sleep.  It attaches in seconds and protects babies from 99% of UVA and UVB rays as well as encouraging a dark sleeping environment.  This is a practical present that parents are going to love as much as the baby!  It comes with three different colour trims, pastel pink, safety green and a soft grey and folds up in an easy travel bag.  It is breathable mesh and so safe to use, unlike muslins which should never be used to cover prams.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Taf Toys Tummy Time Book

Tummy time is so important for little people and this tummy time book from Taf Toys is designed for babies from birth upwards.  With different pages designed for different stages, the black and white is perfect for early days when their vision is still developing and the mirror and more interactive pages will encourage strong core and neck muscles as they get bigger.  The book is a fantastic gift for a first Christmas.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Frugi Hat and Booties

With Winter coming, most parents are starting to think about how to keep their babies wrapped up and warm and Frugi's matching hat and booties set are perfect.  You can even get a matching blanket if you want to brighten up a colder day.  Everything is made from Organic cotton and this set is wonderfully unisex and perfect for baby's first Christmas.  If you want to treat the baby to new clothing, then check out Frugi's wonderful 'My first Frugi' collection.

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Nuby Portable UV Steriliser

As much a gift for parents as it is baby, Nuby's portable UV steriliser has a handy strap to attach to a pram or bag and can sterilise a dummy without water, chemicals or a microwave in only one minute! I remember how often Finn used to drop his dummy when we were out and about and this would have been a game changer!  This award winning innovative product runs on three batteries or can be plugged in and used through a USB port.  It comes with one dummy ready to go and is such a handy little device, ideal as a festive gift!

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas



Critically Endangered Animal Socks

Is there anything cuter than tiny baby socks? This box of four not only fits perfectly through a letterbox, but every sale of these sustainably made socks helps save critically endangered animals.  This pack of four should fit babies roughly 6-12 months but they can also be used as sock puppets! Supporting the World Wildlife Fund UK, these organic socks are also supporting the protection of the rainforest so you can purchase them and feel great! If you are looking for a gift for a new parent, then check out Critically Endangered animal socks for adult too! 

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

Baby's first christmas, baby christmas gifts, gift guide first christmas

I think there are some great suggestions here for different stages of baby's first year, I hope you find some inspiration! 

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Tuesday, 26 October 2021

The Ordinary Moment // These Two

These two are the closest in age out of my children.  There is 16 months between them, but when they were little it felt like less.  Finn had a difficult start and took longer to meet some of his initial milestones which meant he was still very much a baby when Cora arrived.  They grew up together and they have had a special relationship since very early on.

As toddlers they were so close but things inevitably changed when Finn started school and the age gap between them seemed to grow hugely in that year.  Now they are both at school in year 1 and 2 and I can see such a difference between them but when you get them away from it, their special relationship is still there and they can be the best of friends.


I like to take just the two of them out sometimes to encourage it. With the bigger boys around, Finn is desperate to be one of them, but when these two are on their own, they play so well, they encourage and share and are back to being the best of friends.  We love the woodlands but to get to a decent sized area we have to drive quite a way, so we visit this tiny woodlands in our town to play amongst the trees and set up our swing.  

I loved listening to their conversations, watching them play and connect and be close again.  The age gap between them looks bigger than ever as one is shooting up at an amazing speed and one is growing much more slowly, the academic gap grows with school but I hope they will always have a special relationship as brother and sister.


These pictures are from a little trip out this week.  The bigger two had friends over so I took these two out for a few hours, to the tiny woods and then the park and I realised how much I missed time with just them.








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Monday, 27 September 2021

Cloud Nine Glamping

Press Trip
We were invited along to try out Cloud Nine's luxury glamping this summer, but it wasn't until the end of our summer travels that we made it up to the Cotswolds and experienced it for ourselves.  With a festival vibe and plenty of activities for all the family, Cloud Nine was a real highlight of our summer and these photos hopefully show you why!

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

When we arrived, check in was an easy process and there were golf buggies to take all our belongings and us to the tent, which meant no lugging things around with the children in tow thankfully!  We were in a Luxury Bell Tent which came with a double bed and four floor beds for the children.  All bedding was provided, as were towels and blankets.  Our tent had some goodies left for us and crockery for any cooking we might want to do. We had our own clean portaloo, table and benches and firepit too with a bag of wood so there were so many options and it felt very Covid Secure.  The tent was comfortable and spacious for the six of us and felt very luxurious compared to our usual camping style!

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

There were three fields of accommodation (different types of tent were available) and then two main areas for activities.  Not far from us was the main area which had a bar, four food trucks, trampolines, table tennis, a playground, a creche, plenty of seating both covered and uncovered and access to the forest which is where many activities were held.  Next to this area was the reception, bike hire and spa tent  and then at the other end of the campsite there was a small selection of rides, go-karts and the pirates tent.  

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

We started the weekend exploring the area, building dens in the woods and us adults having a drink in the bar area whilst the children made friends on the trampolines and in the playground.  There were no bookable activities for the swap over days (you can book Monday-Friday or Friday-Monday which meant we could explore at our leisure.  There was a family bingo evening though which was free to join in and we managed to win quite a few games between us! The children loved the pace and the challenge and they really loved winning!  

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

We had pre booked a few activities for our stay and managed to book some extras last minute after seeing how fun they looked in person.  This isn't always possible so booking early is advised.  There were plenty of activities available, but the ones we did were:

Pony trekking - The little two went for a half hour pony trek through the forest.  Each child had an adult leading their pony and parents could choose to leave them to it or walk along. Both absolutely loved this, and Cora spent as much time as she could visiting the ponies during our stay as the children were allowed to help brush them.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

Robot Making - There were a few craft sessions but I thought this one would appeal most to all four children.  They all made very different robots using the materials and despite my older ones not being convinced they wanted to join in originally, they were the last ones sat in the craft area finishing off their work.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

Zip-lining -  This was available for 4-8 year olds so the younger three did it.  They all loved their first experience of being harnessed and pulling poses as they zoomed through the trees.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

Tree climbing - After seeing how much they loved the zip lining, I booked Archie and Finn into
tree climbing.  Archie had a great time, but Finn struggled to get the hang of the process.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

Laser Tag - This was an activity for Ed and the boys and was set in the forest.  This was definitely a highlight for them and I was gutted I couldn't get involved!


Each evening there was a different entertainment put on.  As I mentioned earlier, the first night was Bingo and the last night was a family quiz run by the same team.  The middle night for us was a silent disco and I think this was unanimously voted the highlight of the trip for us.  There were three channels, one with a live DJ running it and the headphones had quite a wide range so you could choose to dance in the tents, walk around the area or (as the children loved) bounce on the trampolines.  There was a lady offering face painting (for an additional fee) and the mood was fantastic.  We spent almost the whole four hours at the silent disco and the children haven't stopped asking when we can go to another!

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

As well as the booked activities and the evening entertainment (which is included), there were additional activities you could do on site.  There was a tent for painting pottery which was reasonably priced and a great calm activity.  There was a small fairground which we included the bungee trampolines, a big inflatable obstacle course and go-karting track (all additional costs).  Unfortunately there was no food or drink available down this end when we visited, it would have been lovely to have a little stall down there.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

There was also the pirates tent, a colourful bell tent full of toys and energetic 'pirates' who were on hand to entertain.  They had outdoor toys, engaged with the kids and gave us adults a chance to stand back and watch whilst they played.  This was included in the stay and was our go-to area when the rain hit! The staff had endless energy and were fantastic at coming up with creative ways to play with all the children.  For additional childcare (when you really need a break) there was a creche area run by qualified nannies who were available both in the day and for evening babysitting slots in the tents.  We hired one for a couple of hours and she did a craft with the children in our tent before settling them for the night whilst we enjoyed a quiet drink in the bar.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

There are definitely areas I think Cloud Nine could improve on before next year, I would have loved more information on timings (the pirates did a bedtime story each evening in their tent, but we weren't told when).  More food options or a small onsite shop would have been good too, especially as there was regularly one of the four stalls shut or sold out.  Everyone we met was so friendly and helpful though and we had the most fantastic weekend.

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping

cloud nine glamping, family glamping, cotswolds glamping



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