Friday, 26 October 2012

And the Baby Blooms winner is... #2

I had to redraw the winner for this giveaway so the new winner of the Baby Blooms giveaway is... *drumroll*

Linda Bird


I'll be emailing you today to find out where you'd like your
Baby Bloom baby clothes bouquet sent.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bumplog - perineal massage?

Oh the joy of the latter stages of pregnancy. Dignity - gone, euphoria - gone, waist - long gone, horse - well and truly bolted and down the pub having a beer. At 36 weeks I'm huge, uncomfortable, sore, tired and I can't even pick up the things my butter fingers drop (which is practically everything they touch). The packaging on the outside may say 'blooming' but the small print on the inside says "bloomin' 'eck, when's this baby gonna arrive?"

And now I'm told that I need to pre-stretch my lady bits to ease baby's arrival and help prevent any 3rd degree tearing. It's a bit like my 80s shrink-to-fit-jeans... in reverse. But I can hardly reach my lady bits now - how on earth am I meant to teach them yoga?

I didn't get as far as perineal massage with our first pregnancy. At 35 weeks Curly Girl had stopped putting on weight and my body started to reabsorb the amniotic fluid (something I didn't even realise was possible), so after a week in hospital in China where valiant attempts were made to hydrate my womb through a drip in my arm and encourage Curly Girl to grow by pumping me full of protein shakes, our baby girl was born a month early by c-section at just 4lbs. Perineal massage was, frankly, the last thing on my mind.

The time around we're already at the point where Curly Girl had arrived and, thankfully, Peanut is still hanging in there. It may sound great to have an early baby when your bump is the size of your birth ball but, believe me, a premature baby is NOT an easy option. We're hoping for a VBAC natural birth this time, as long as Peanut gets his act together and pops his head down in the next couple of weeks, hence my current preoccupation with massaging bits of me that I can no longer see.

So what exactly is perineal massage? Ok, here's where it gets a bit graphic so if you're at all squeamish click away now.

Still with me? Thought you might be.

Right. Imagine if you will trying to squeeze a watermelon through the eye of a needle *gulp*. No doubt this feat would be much easier if said needle was made of nice stretchy elastic, yes? Well that's the principle behind perineal massage. The perineum is the area of tissue between your vagina and your anus (yep, real terminology here folks) and massaging it can help to prepare it to stretch more easily and hopefully less painfully during childbirth. It's the last bit of you that baby has to negotiate before he or she finally gets to meet you in person and as luck would have it, it's fairly stretchy already. But a quick birth, big baby, or any number of reasons at all may mean that it's given less time to stretch than it needs - hence it tears. And while a tear is MUCH better than a cut (episiotomy) in terms of healing, better still is little or no tearing at all. How do you make something stretchy even MORE stretchy? You pre-stretch it and lubricate it. It's not foolproof, but hey every little helps.

So without further ado here's how to do perineal massage courtesy of Oxford Radcliffe Hospital and for the swots amongst us I've even found a  (don't worry it uses a demo model).

So there you have it - perineal massage 101. I'm off to buy an extra bottle of olive oil. Wish me luck.

Have you used perineal massage? Did it work for you? Or am I wasting my time? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments.

Image courtesy of Craftyjoe /

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Silent Sunday

Love All Blogs

Friday, 19 October 2012

Bumplog - top gifts for a new baby & giveaway

At almost 36 weeks we're in the last throws of this pregnancy and can't wait to meet our (not so little) Peanut in person. Our VBAC clinic went well and we're praying that he'll turn out of his current breech position and get himself ready for a natural birth.

In the meantime as I mentioned in my recent our weekends have been busy prepping the nursery and other practicalities and I realised the other day that I had absolutely NOTHING for Peanut to wear when he finally arrives. Nada. Not a stitch.

Ummm... organised? Moi?

And so I got to thinking about gifts for newborns and what we might like to receive from anyone generous enough to think of us. It's a bit harder second time around because we have basically everything we need already - cotbed (tick), Silver Cross and Maclaren prams (tick), car seat (tick), bedding and blankets (tick), toys and mobiles (tick), bouncy chair (tick) - see what I mean? So I decided to put it out there as a question to the webiverse and this is the lovely list of suggestions that came back:

The Essential One
Oh my. I am SO in love with this site. The Essential One sells clothes for newborns up to 18 months old and the range is just gorgeous. I've already bought a couple of gifts for new Mummy friends and decided that this cute 'I'm the little brother' all in one romper suit (£12) is a great candidate for Peanut's going home outfit. Luckily I'm now one of The Essential One's 'Much Loved Bloggers' (yippee!) so I'll be reviewing lots more of their lovely clothes before Christmas. Watch this space.

The Cuddle Crew
Curly Girl has LOADS of soft toys which she can *ahem* donate to Peanut but I'm hoping someone will see these adorable characters too! Air Puppy has launched The Cuddle Crew with the release of the Hickory Shack range. They come in three sizes (26cm, 36cm and 43cm) and include Woofles Puppy, Mojo Monkey, Hamlay Elephant, Sorfy Giraffe and Flopsy Bunny. Each wears interchangeable clothing and fits in the palm of a child’s hand. The 26cm toys retail at £11.99 RRP. Incidentally each member of the Cuddle Crew is hand-assembled, meaning that no two are exactly alike. The faux suede used for the inner ears and base paws of the Hickory Shack range is called Alcantara and is the same material used as a seat trim in the manufacture of Aston Martin cars! Online stockists include and

My 1st Years
While it's a bit early to think about teeth and haircuts for Peanut I'm loving these gorgeous first tooth and first curl boxes from The Silver plated boxes with dark blue velvet interior come in either a heart or square shape and can be personalised with the name of your choice. Both boxes cost £14.

Cuski Baby Comforter and Dreameez Muslin
Cuski is a calming, safe infant comforter. Suitable from birth, it has all the qualities a child looks for in a comforter - softness, suckabillity, sheer lovability and of course a label to twiddle! It has been fully tested and conforms to all relevant UK, European and International safety standards, is machine washable and retains its comforting softness wash after wash. Cuskis are being used in Special Care Baby Units and neonatal hospital units in the UK, are recommended by midwives and are the ONLY baby comforter in the world used with its own written NHS protocol for use in hospitals. Cuski Baby Comforter RRP £13.99 & Cuskiboo (bamboo Cuski) £16.99 - stockists include, Fenwick department stores and

The 100% bamboo rayon Dreameez Muslin is one of those ingenious products that make you wonder why no-one invented it before. Primarily designed to be used as a bight lights shade over a pram it's a great multi-tasking item and can also be used as a swaddle, sarong, nursing cover and a light blanket. The Dreemeez Muslin costs £21.99 and is available from the same stockists as the Cuski above.

PurFlo’s Shleepy Baby Comforter
Another comforter that caught my eye is this cute one from PurFlo which recently won the Silver award for Best Baby Comforter and Best Soft Toy. This loveable, snuggable little sheep is stuffed full of brilliant features that help little ones (and therefore us as parents) enjoy a full night's sleep: Baby will love Shleepy’s Teether Toes, made from medical grade silicone, to help sooth sore little gums whilst teething. Little hands will also enjoy Shleepy's Handy Hooves that are textured to help small fingers grip and play with the comforting soft toy. Shleepy is also great for when you are out and about with baby, as his floppy ears will even keep hold of pram or car seat straps, ensuring he never strays far from his flock. Shleepy is machine washable and dryer safe – so he can be quickly washed and dried ready for his nap time duties. The Shleepy's RRP is £12.99 and it's available from all leading baby retailers including Mothercare, Boots, Kiddicare and Tesco, plus independent stores.

aden + anais Swaddle cloths
I love muslin cloths. They are seriously the most useful thing you can carry around with a newborn (apart from nappies and wipes of course, although they can stand in for those occasionally too!) aden + anais® wraps are extra large, measuring 120cm x 120cm so that new and seasoned moms alike can swaddle babies of all sizes with ease. The wraps can also be used as burp cloths, nursing and pram covers, portable cot sheets, stroller and car seat liners, tummy time blankets, change table covers, and more. The list is endless! This Super Star version (£44.95 for four) has been spotted with quite a few celebs recently too including Mark Owen and his wife Emma and Peaches Geldof. There's also a double layer cozy version for the colder months - perfect for a November baby like Peanut!

Inch Blue leather baby sneakers
Fun, fresh baby shoe designs in bright colours is probably what Inch Blue are best known for. All of their shoes are designed and hand crafted in Wales. With over 100 original styles in the range you're really spoilt for choice . . . the only dilemma you will have is making up your mind! I love, love these navy blue and white leather sneakers for £18 - how cute are they!

Baby Blooms Clothing Bouquets
We had quite a few bouquets of flowers delivered when Curly Girl was born and to be honest I didn't really have the chance to appreciate them as I was trying to get as much sleep as possible! But baby clothes bouquets are the best of both worlds - a pretty bouquet of 'flowers' that is actually full of newborn baby clothes. This medium blue bouquet contains 1 x Babyblooms Hat 4 x Pairs Babyblooms Socks 2 x Babyblooms Bodysuits 1 x Babyblooms Bib 1 x Scratch Mittens (All garments are size 0-4 Months) The garment 'flowers' are interspersed with delicate silk flowers and velvet and silk leaves and it's all delivered in a Babyblooms presentation box for £39.99.


I'm delighted that  has offered me one of their gorgeous baby clothes bouquets to giveaway to one lucky reader. All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the simple instructions. Winners will be drawn at random next week. Good luck!

Disclaimer and the all-important small print: Baby Blooms has offered me one bouquet to be used as a giveaway prize. I received no other compensation. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household. There is no cash alternative. The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random using Rafflecopter. You DO NOT have to subscribe to Bod for tea or like my  or follow me on  as part of your entry. 

Top image courtesy of graur razvan ionut /

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Today I have been...

Inspired by Live Otherwise, today I have been a...

Human snot mountain *sniff* *snort*
Trolley for Curly Girl's toys (you carry them, Mummy)
Head chef for the only person in the world who seems to be able to survive sans food
Dustbin (for leftovers - see above)
Chief colour mixer
Oracle and general knower of all things (but why, Mummy?)
Toddler-whisperer and general soother
Failed mind-reader (no Mummy, that's NOT the right episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!)
Wiper of orifices
Vending machine

Blogger. Wife. Mother. Watermelon (35 weeks preggo).

Who have you been today?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

What big questions are on your child's mind?

When Faber and Faber emailed me about their new book 'Big Questions from Little People' I just had to publish this graphic about it and hotfoot it over to to buy the book for Curly Girl as part of her Christmas bundle.

Of course I will have to sample it thoroughly first to make sure I know agree with the answers myself *cough, cough*....

Created by Faber and Faber for the book Big Questions From Little People.
INFOGRAPHIC: What Big Questions are on Your Child's Mind?

And the winners are...

The three winners of last week's i-pic giveaway are... *drumroll*

Sarah Bella
Karen Dixon
Rachel Oxtoby


I'll be emailing you all soon with the code you can use to get your free personalised photograph frame at

Friday, 12 October 2012

Tim Burton-inspired kids’ fancy dress

Sponsored Post

Nothing screams dressing-up box quite like Halloween, and with the recent release of Tim Burton’s new 3D film ‘Frankenweenie’, kids are sure to find plenty of weird and wonderful Halloween inspiration. Burton’s latest is a stop-motion animation film that offers a modern take on the Mary Shelley Frankenstein story, centred around a young boy called Victor. After his dog dies, Victor uses science to bring his beloved pooch back to life.

Demonstrating Burton’s usual fantastical style, with sweeping emotion and gorgeous visuals, Frankenweenie is the first film to use black and white stop-motion animation in 3D. This film promises a treat – rather than trick! – for the whole family this Halloween. Inspired by Frankenweenie and the genius of Tim Burton, here’s a look at some of his most inventive characters to help kids dress up this Halloween.

1. Edward Scissorhands – A much-beloved Halloween classic, recreating this loveable loner’s looks can be done with minimum effort. Start with a wet sponge and white face paint to lay down the deathly pallor, before carefully painting the cupid’s bow in the centre of the mouth, followed by a heavy dose of black eye-shadow for bags that look like they haven’t gone to bed in centuries.

Gently backcomb your hair, or – if you’d rather skip on the styling – then a messy black wig might be a good investment. Finishing touches include a monochrome black outfit with a high collar and some scissor-hands crafted from card-board and sprayed with silver paint.

2. Beetlejuice – For the deliciously despicable Beetlejuice, you’ll need a similar make-up base to Edward Scissorhands, with some greenish-brown embellishments around your hairline for that all-important ‘faintly decomposing’ look. A black and white vertical striped suit will complete the outfit, along with a shaggy white wig with plenty of volume.

3. Alice In Wonderland (The Red Queen) – This one is guaranteed to be popular with the girls come Halloween. From a solid white coverage, gently paint on a line where the eyebrow should be. Next, use blue face paint or eye-shadow to paint the eyelid up to the bottom of the eyebrow line for a truly alarming effect, enhanced by adding thick black eyelash lines. Complete with a red wig, heart-shaped lipstick and a beauty spot.

For more great Halloween costume ideas for little ones, check out the great range of kids fancy dress online at Littlewoods.

Image courtesy of Idea Go /

Monday, 8 October 2012

WIN a personalised photo frame with i-pic

Well here we are at 34 weeks with only 5 weeks or so to go until we're no longer a family of three but a family of four. Peanut is stubbornly breech at the moment but we're hopeful that with some time to go and if needs be some assistance from and reflexology sessions he'll pop head down and let us have the natural birth that we missed out on with Curly Girl.

I'm busy nesting. The nursery is almost ready, nappies bought, baby gros just arrived from The Essential One (of which more soon) and I although I don't expect we'll ever be truly ready, we're as ready as we'll ever be. In the meantime I'm enjoying spending as much quality time as possible with Curly Girl while it's still just the three of us.

With this in mind I was delighted when i-pic sent me a code to try out their new personalised frame designer so that I could frame a special photo of us before Peanut arrives. i-pic photo frames are not like a traditional frame where you buy the frame and insert your photograph behind glass. With i-pic you choose your graphics from their frame library, add your personalised message and they then embed your chosen photograph safely inside the frame. The result is a robust and attractive photo and frame in one so there’s no need for you to worry about your treasured photos being damaged. It's magnetic so you can stick it to your fridge but comes with a peg stand too. Great idea eh? 

I had a lovely image of OH, Curly Girl and I at the base of Mont Blanc from our holiday to Tuscany this year that I knew would a perfect momento. The frame designer was super easy to use and I chose this lovely Grey Daisies design from Kate Knight Originals which I personalised with simply 'Mont Blank 2012' on the front and our names on the back. 

The frame arrived within a couple of days and I'm delighted with it. The frame is strong and the photograph has come out really well. It would make a lovely present for Christmas as well I think.

I'm doubly delighted that i-Pic have offered three lucky readers a free personalised photo frame that they can design themselves using the i-Pic site. Woo hoo! All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the simple instructions. Winners will be drawn at random next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer and the all-important small print: i-Pic sent me a code to order a free personalised photo frame and offered three frames to be used as a giveaway prize. I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household. There is no cash alternative. The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random using Rafflecopter. You DO NOT have to subscribe to Bod for tea or like my or follow me on as part of your entry. 

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Silent Sunday

Love All Blogs

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The waiting game...

The curtains are blue, green and white squares and the sunlight from a gorgeous autumn morning filters through them in an unexpectedly pretty way. As I lie here in the day assessment ward at our local hospital, listening to Peanut's heartbeat on the monitor, it strikes me that these are almost exactly the colours we've chosen for the nursery. The nursery that isn't finished yet. The nursery that I really don't want to start using yet.

I'm here because yesterday I noticed I was leaking fluid. Nothing to worry about, I thought, until I noticed it again today. Mmmm...with one premature baby under our belts I didn't want to assume everything was ok so I called the hospital full of apologies and they asked me to come in, just to be on the safe side.

So far his heartbeat is strong and healthy but he's dropped down quite early and is still breech (tsk!). I'm sitting waiting for the doctors to come out of surgery so they can check my cervix and decide if it was my waters leaking or just a false alarm.

It's a waiting game.

We've been here before. With Curly Girl I started to lose my waters at 35 weeks and a week later she was born by c-section. This time I'd like to go home with baby still tucked up safely inside me. At least for a while longer.

Fingers crossed.


Update: All's well. Doc has given me the all clear to go home after a steroid injection to mature Peanut's lungs just in case he decides to make an early appearance. So good to be leaving with him still part of me! Thanks for all your well wishes on Twitter etc. You lot ROCK. x

Monday, 1 October 2012

What would happen to your children if you died?

It's one of those middle of the night questions that pops into my head while I'm unsuccessfully trying to sleep on my mountain of pregnancy pillows - what would happen to Curly Girl if OH and/or I died?

I know, a bit macabre for your coffee break reading, but I'm not going to sugar-coat this, it's too important. If you or your partner or, god forbid, both of you died, who would provide for your children? Your family? Friends? The state?

Actually the answer is more complicated that you might think. This article from the Make a Will website gives a good basic explanation:
If you have children and you fail to appoint a guardian to look after them in the event that you die before they reach the age of 18 and if no one else has parental control of your children the Court will appoint guardians for you. It could take several months for the Court to appoint a guardian and in the intervening period your children could be taken into care. A Court appointed guardian will not necessarily be the person you would have preferred to look after your children.
Just the though of that makes me feel a bit sick.

A survey from, a US legal services web site, in April this year found that 50% of Americans with children do not have a will. Even more alarming, 41% of baby boomers (age 55-64) don't have one. The top three reasons cited by survey respondents for not having a will: procrastination, a belief that they don't need one and cost.

So we're not alone it seems. But with Peanut due to arrive in just over six weeks (gulp) OH and I have made the decision to finally get a will drawn up. And we have the perfect reason to get our butts in gear and get on with it because this November sees the launch of this year's Will Aid campaign.

Photo credit: Christian Aid - Mike Goldwater - Niger
Will Aid is an annual fundraising campaign involving nine of the UK’s leading charities: ActionAid, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Age UK, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N. Ireland). It's the UK's most enduring and successful charity Will-making scheme and sees Will Aid solicitors all over the UK agree to write basic Wills during November, without charging their usual fee. These solicitors aim to raise as much money as possible for the Will Aid charities by asking Will-makers for a donation, which reflects the time and expertise they have devoted to writing the Will. The suggested donation is £90 for a single Will, £135 for mirror Wills or £40 for a codicil or change to a previous Will.

What I love about this campaign is that it has a dual purpose - it raises substantial money for charity, but also motivates people like me to get on and make their Will – something that many people have been meaning to get around to for years. Last November, solicitors all over the UK gave their time and expertise to Will Aid. Over 27,000 clients wrote a Will. Nine charities shared £2.2 million donated by Will-makers to Will Aid.

Marsland, Campaign Manager for Will Aid says:
“Often people make the assumption that if they die without a Will, their loved ones will still be automatically provided for, but solicitors know that this can be far from the truth. Will Aid is a fantastic opportunity to get an affordable Will with one of our friendly and approachable solicitors. They are giving their time without any payment to help you look after your loved ones and to support some very worthwhile causes. Making that call to book an appointment could be the most important thing you do this year!”
The Will Aid website also has information on Wills and inheritance issues as well as a useful Will planner that we'll be using to help prepare our Will. In addition Will Aid has teamed up with Certainty, the National Will Register, so that Will Aid clients can register the location of their Will - for free. When a Will is needed, the register enables loved ones to quickly and easily find it.

The contact details of participating solicitors are now available online at or by phoning the hotline on 0300 0300 013. You should then contact the solicitor straight away to make an appointment for November. 

Go on. Do it. 
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