Win £30 to spend on Party Supplies: A helping hand for your next celebration
We recently celebrated Bella’s fifth birthday with a Frozen themed party. Olaf was very pleased as it was a rather pleasant summer’s day! One of my favourite things about a party is the actual planning and gathering all the bits and pieces of table decor. As it was a Frozen party I went for a blue theme. We had nine girls in total, including Bella, and held the party at our home. We were able to fit them around our dining table for food without too much of a squeeze as the children were aged between three and five years old.
Wipe clean blue table cloth – a simple blue table cloth which we were able to wipe clean and store in a party box in the attic for future birthdays
Blue paper plates – to save costs I went for plain paper plates, but patterned napkins
Frozen napkins – this was only one of two actual branded items that I purchased – they looked great on the plates
Snowflake lunch boxes – I popped a plate of sandwiches, cocktail sausages, mini cheese and onion rolls and chicken poppers on the table. In their lunchboxes they had a packet of dried fruit ‘sweeties’, a box of raisins, a carton of juice, some pom bear style crisps (Tesco’s own bunny version as Bella liked the pink packets). There was also a small bottle of water each.
Silver hearts – I sprinkled silver shiny hearts over the table to make it sparkle
Cupcake stand – instead of a single cake Bella chose a pack of 12 cupcakes (only £1.90) and I used a cupcake stand saved from our wedfest – they looked great and we added a number 5 candle in the top cake to sing happy birthday to Bella. The children loved picking a cupcake each
Giant balloons – I purchased 6 giant balloons and these provided most of the entertainment whilst we waited for the princesses
Princesses – the most expensive part, but still quite reasonable at £115 for two hours, I hired Elsa and Anna to come and provide all the party games, photos and entertainment for one hour in the middle
Olaf – I bought an all in one olaf outfit for around £15 from eBay for Ben to wear! I didn’t tell him, but I think he secretly was pleased and had fun on the day, even if he denies it!
Party bags – I used plain pink party bags and stuck on a square gift tag of Anna and Elsa onto each one. Each party bag was filled with a small unicorn notebook and matching pen, pencil and rubber, along with a small tube of bubbles. Whilst the children ate the party food I sneakily printed off some photos of them with the princesses and added one of these to each of the party bags
It really was a fab party and went so well! The table set up looked amazing and the children had a great time. I love organising parties and seeing everything come together.
One of my guilty pleasures is watching ‘Botched’. It’s one of my favourite TV shows and I record it every week. In fact, it’s the only thing like it I watch. I find the overdone plastic surgery obsessed type ‘celebs’ on it a bit ridiculous, but still very entertaining. What I like to watch are the normal people who have had a botched surgery or something terrible has happened to them, and then the surgeons really can improve their quality of life and happiness. These are the stories I resonate with most.
I actually went under the knife myself this year. The full story is for another time and I’ve not yet decided if I want to share it all on my blog, but it has made me question whether plastic surgery is seen as a quick fix and the seriousness of the surgery has been forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, thanks to the internet there is now a huge source of plastic surgery info out there which makes research and finding a surgeon a whole lot better nowadays, hopefully reducing the number of botched surgeries. Though I’m sure there are still those who will go for the cheapest which is quite absurd, but when you’re young you may not make the best decision.
I’m glad I waited until my 30s to make this huge decision. I know if I’d have gone ahead in my early twenties I really would have gone for the cheapest surgery and probably one of those plastic surgery holiday deals. Money would have been my driving factor and I would have gone for what I thought was the best deal. This could have turned out to be a huge mistake.
By waiting until I was in my 30s I had a different mind-set and wanted to pick the best surgeon, no matter if it cost a small fortune. I now realise the cheapest dealisn’t always the best deal. If I’d chosen the cheapest it could well have been a mistake and I’d have ended up spending more to fix it anyway. I took my time and did my research. I didn’t rush (like I would have when younger) and I knew it was the right decision for me. It was a part of me I’d hated for over 20 years and it upset me every day. It wasn’t something I just disliked a bit, but could live with. It affected me mentally and emotionally for over twenty years, every single day.
I worry that there are too many young people making rash decisions about surgery nowadays. It's as though surgery has become the norm to correct our imperfections, even if they're miniscule. This might sound like I’m contradicting myself as I’ve had a procedure, but after doing so much research I can see how most people really don’t need anything done!
One of the websites I looked at daily whilst making my decision was RealSelf. It's real people posting their experiences as well as before and after photos. I was getting daily emails and started to see how so many of these (mostly) females really didn’t need anything done at all. I’d have been a billion times happier with their feature, rather than mine! The worst was if it didn’t go as they expected and they realised they were actually happier with their original look anyway. For me it was a gamble worth taking. I knew the risks. I knew it could turn out worse. But I hated it so much that it was worth this gamble. I couldn’t imagine it looking any worse!
When I went for my consultation the same thing was true. I was asked on a scale of 1-10 how much I hated this feature. I think I said 9 as I said everything could always be worse so I won’t say 10. I was a little shocked the surgeon was surprised by my answer! He said most people say 5 or 6. There’s no way I’d have had surgery if it only bothered me 5/6 out of 10. I said I was shocked at this! Why would you even consider having risky surgery if you’re not that bothered by it? I found this insane! If I hated something a bit, but it didn’t affect me every day, then there’s no way I would consider having surgery which has a risk of making it look even worse or having severe complications!
This is why I worry surgery has become normalised. There are people going under the knife to have the tiniest of improvements as if it’s an in and out job with no danger. Plastic surgery is surgery. It’s serious stuff. Yes they do it all the time now, but it still has its risks and it can still go wrong. Not only is it a huge amount of money if you’re not that bothered by something, it could look worse or it could go seriously wrong. After my surgery I was actually more petrified of getting an infection than I was of the big reveal!
Most people are lucky and surgery goes well, but you could always be that one unlucky person. That’s something to consider before taking the serious plunge and going under the knife. How would you feel if you were the one it went wrong to? Could you afford to try and fix it? Would you be happy to go under the knife again?
I think this is why I like Botched. It gave me hope that if my surgery went wrong, it could be fixed. But perhaps that was quite a blasé attitude to have about a serious operation. I hope young people will give serious consideration to all the ins and outs of surgery before going ahead. Perhaps even wait a few years and see if you still feel the same. If you are 100% it is the right decision then don’t cut corners – do your research and pick the best of the best!
Have you ever considered plastic surgery? Do you think too many people have it unnecessarily?
The day I wanted to throw my laptop out the window
I do really actually quite like technology, after all I make a living online so I couldn’t be without it. But, when it doesn’t work isn’t it the most frustrating thing ever?
Just the other evening I had a stack of blogging work to do, but I chose to take a rare evening off as I felt like throwing my laptop out of a window! It was a good idea for me not to use my laptop that evening.
I’d already wasted almost SIX whole hours in the day trying to move the photos from my iPhone to our shared family network drive.
A simple task you might assume.
A few clicks and job done.
I hadn’t actually taken anything off my camera since the end of last year so there was a fair amount to transfer. I tried to copy directly from my phone to the network drive but it was having none of it. It was going horrifically slow saying it was going to take three days or something ridiculous to copy the entire lot.
Was it joking? There were probably 1500 photos and some videos.
I knew this was far too long so restarted my computer a couple of times to see if it helped.
Whilst it was trying to copy it over it took me no less than three hours to finish and upload two blog posts that should have taken 45 minutes tops. The transfer was just making my computer freeze non-stop. I was getting so frustrated by this point!
I decided to copy the photos to my desktop instead and then move them to the network. They copied no problem at all to my laptop.
Then I clicked copy (or cut, I can’t quite remember which) on the whole folder and paste in our shared photo folder on the network.
An error came up saying it couldn’t perform the action so I had to try again or skip. I clicked skip.
And then. . .
The folder of photos DISAPPEARED!
Absolutely gone. Vanished into thin cyber air.
I lost all my April and March photos from this year including all of my son’s second birthday!
As Reuben is now two years old I feel like we are (finally) coming out of the baby stage and hopefully leaving a lot of the crying stages behind us. To be replaced with terrible two tantrums instead, then troublesome threes and so on I’m sure! Luckily Reuben and Bella weren’t huge criers, they tended to only cry to alert me to something they needed. The first few weeks, perhaps 6-8 weeks or so, were definitely the hardest with regards to crying.
Bella used to cry in the evenings. It was as though a switch went off at 6pm and it was crying time! This went on until midnight at first and the only thing that would settle her was walking up and down the room with her over our shoulder, bobbing up and down and patting/rubbing her back. She even knew if we sat down! We could hold her the same and comfort her in the same way as if we were standing up, but she knew we weren’t standing up and start crying again! Up and down the hall way and round and round the living room in laps, taking it in turns was our evening ritual for so many evenings.
Gradually over the first few weeks these six hours reduced down and down, until eventually this evening crying stopped. We continued to have crying and be woken during the night for several months still, but usually because Bella wanted a feed. I gradually worked out what the cries meant and mostly knew what Bella wanted.
Reuben never had the same evening crying patch as Bella. Don’t get me wrong, he sure could cry, but there wasn’t a pattern to it. The funny thing was I thought everything would come totally naturally with the second and I’d know what all his different cries meant as I’d learned with Bella, but every baby is different. It took me a few weeks with Reuben to work out most of his cries and what he wanted.
When you arrive home from the hospital, especially with your first, it can be pretty daunting once they start crying (don’t be fooled by the reasonably quiet first few days when they mostly sleep!) But over time you’ll work out what most of the different cries mean and how to comfort your baby.
Healthcare brand Care and Penny Lazell, a qualified midwife and independent health visitor are here with advice to help you comfort your little one.
“Babies are genetically programmed to call out for comfort when distressed”, says Penny. “Crying is your baby’s way of getting you to understand what they need as their brain isn’t developed enough to manage this on its own. Babies do not cry to exercise their lungs or to annoy you! They cry when they need to alert you to something that is bothering them, either physically or emotionally, and require you to meet their needs. The more these needs are met and understood over time, the less your baby will cry as you will learn to understand what they want before they become upset.”
Top 9 reasons why your baby might cry and what to do:
“Young babies’ brains are not developed enough to anticipate hunger”, says Penny. “Therefore when they realise they’re hungry, a message goes directly to the brain to alert the baby to let their carer know they need feeding. This can happen very quickly and the force and escalation of the cry often catches parents out and can be quite worrying.”
What to do: “If your baby has not been fed for 2- 4 hours then they may be hungry. If they are soothed immediately by a breast or bottle then that’s probably what they were trying to tell you. Over time, babies will learn to regulate their feeds and often manage to have longer gaps in between, which will help you anticipate when the feed is due and reduce crying.”
Wet or dirty nappy
“All babies are different so some don’t mind a slightly dirty nappy while others will cry as soon as it has been filled”, explains Penny. “Often babies will open their bowels straight after feeding so if they start to cry after a feed, it may be that they have a dirty nappy.”
What to do: “A cry for a wet or dirty nappy is often mistaken for them still being hungry. Try to change your baby’s nappy frequently to avoid distress.”
“Your baby yawning, rubbing their eyes, becoming fidgety, or disengaging are all signs of tiredness”, reveals Penny. “Once a baby becomes overtired, they find it really difficult to calm down again. This often causes anxiety for the parent and in turn the baby picks up on this and is even less likely to calm down.”
What to do: “A change of environment or someone different soothing the baby may help”, recommends Penny. “Or sometimes just allowing your baby to start using their own self-regulation; placing them in their cot with you nearby may actually give them permission to fall asleep.”
“Cries from pain can be quite frightening and are often very different to those of hunger or tiredness”, says Penny. “They tend to be more high pitched and have quite a sudden onset.”
What to do: “Trust your gut instinct. If you think your baby’s cry is one of pain, take their temperature and check them over. It may just be that a piece of clothing is tight or they are in an uncomfortable position. If the cry continues seek medical advice.”
“The brains of young babies are wired to crave attention so they can start to learn about the world. For this reason they become bored very quickly and will often alert you on a regular basis that they want you”, explains Penny. “Although this can mean you find little time to get things done, it is very important to respond to these cries to ensure your baby’s brain develops.”
What to do: “Babies learn from you so try to set aside time to provide short periods of stimulating activities. This could just be talking to them or singing. They love your voice and eye contact. Try to avoid putting them in front of a TV. Even watching you hang the washing out is fun for them even if not for you!”
“This can be as hard to deal with as boredom. Babies’ brains are like sponges but can only take so much at a time. An over stimulated baby will become very fretful and can be difficult to settle which may be mistaken for many other things.”
What to do: “If your baby appears to be fretful and isn’t settling with rocking or cuddling, try taking them to a quiet low lit room and just hold them still, gently sshshhing and talking to them. It may take a little while to settle them but stick with it.”
Wanting a cuddle
“Babies have emotional needs and having spent nine months tucked up in a nice cosy womb feeling secure, they can often feel a little lost when out in the big wide world”, adds Penny. “Cuddling babies is important for their emotional development and for growing their ability to self-regulate themselves.”
What to do: “Don’t be afraid to cuddle your baby. It will not make them clingy, in fact, it will help them become more independent.”
Being too hot or too cold
“Babies have immature temperature regulation which means parents have to regulate it for them”, recommends Penny. “Babies lose heat from their heads so you should leave this uncovered. If a baby looks red with their crying it may be that they are too hot.”
What to do: “Start by removing a layer of clothing from your baby. You may also need to check their temperature to see if they are hot due to a fever. Equally babies may alert you to being cold by crying. Try to remember to always be aware that this may be a reason for their crying.”
Transient Lactase Deficiency
The available evidence states that the immature digestive system of babies can struggle making enough lactase to digest the lactose (a natural milk sugar found in breast and formula milk) in their feed, which can induce colicky symptoms. This is called Transient Lactase Deficiency. Guidelines from both the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the NHS Choices website suggest that Transient Lactase Deficiency could be an underlying cause of infantile colic, and that a one week trial of a Lactase Enzyme Drop is worth a try in colicky infants.
“Transient Lactase Deficiency is a common occurrence in young babies”, says Penny. “It can make them very uncomfortable and difficult to settle, which can lead to increased stress for both baby and parent.”
What to do: “Introducing a lactase enzyme drop with feeds can often resolve the problem without having to move to or change formula.”
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops
Designed to reduce lactose content in milk, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops help make digesting lactose easier for baby without delaying the feeding process.
These drops can be used from birth, and are sugar, preservative and flavour-free. They are to be added to breast milk or infant formula prior to feeding. The lactase enzyme breaks down the lactose in breast and formula milk which should reduce the symptoms of Transient Lactase Deficiency. Unlike other preparations, Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops do not interfere with the feeding process, meaning a baby can be fed immediately (rather than waiting 30 minutes for the drops to take effect). They are available to purchase from Asda by clicking here
Blog Giveaway: Win a Branded Box of Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops
For your chance to win a branded box of Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops simply enter your email on the widget below and follow one (or more) of the entry requirements.
Going out with the family for a day out needn’t always be so expensive. A family day out with an entry cost for the four of us, along with lunch and treats, can easily rack up to £100 or more; as much as it’s great fun and OK to splurge every once in a while, we can’t do this too regularly as it’s simply not affordable. Luckily there are several places local to us in Gloucestershire where we can enjoy a free day out and keep the kids entertained.
Here are nine of my favourite places to take the kids out for free in Gloucestershire:
Gloucester Docks – Have a walk along the canal and around the historic and beautiful Gloucester Docks. There are often large pirate type ships being repaired in the dry docks which are magical for children to see.
Sculpture Trail, Forest of Dean – I’ve been doing this trail since I was a child and though some of it has worn and even been taken away as it’s aged, there’s still plenty to see and it makes a walk more interesting for children as they try to be the first to find the sculptures.
Roman Ruins, Witcombe – This is a two minute drive from our home and the children love to play in their ‘castle’. It’s a perfect picnic spot on a sunny day with scenic rolling hills right in front of you and you can even walk up the hills to the top of the cheese rolling hill along the paths.
Over Farm – Located in Over just on the edge of Gloucester is Over farm where you are allowed to walk around and see the animals. We usually see horses, sheep, pigs, piglets and ostriches. There are benches you can eat a picnic on and if you have some pocket money do pop into the farm shop where you’ll find lots of yummy treats.
Pitville Park, Cheltenham – A firm favourite in our household and one I’ve been going to since a baby! It had a huge facelift last year and the large park was completely redesigned. It’s pretty amazing for the children! There are also animals to see, a huge lake with ducks to feed, a fun forest assault course, rowing boats to hire and plenty of outdoor space for picnics or to take a ball.
Robin’s Wood Hill, Gloucester – The kids love to see the carved wooden sculptures at the foot of the hill and play on the slide. If I can manage to drag them away there are woods to explore near the base of the hill and if you walk to the top you can see views 360 degrees around.
Severn Ham, Tewkesbury – A beautiful meadow which is a site of special scientific interest in Tewkesbury next to the River Severn and Mill Avon River. There are often animals roaming the meadow. You can walk along the path to the weir or cross over the meadow to see the river on the other side. We’ve enjoyed a couple of picnics in this meadow on a sunny day.
Midsummer Fiesta, Cheltenham – A free yearly family event in the beautiful Montpellier Gardens in Cheltenham. Entry is free and there are market stalls, a music stage, fairground rides and free entertainment throughout the day. No need to spend a penny if you take your own food and drink and enjoy a picnic in front of the main stage.
Stratford Park, Stroud – I have lots of memories going here as a child and playing Pooh Sticks on a small wooden bridge that crosses the brook. There’s a lovely winding path to walk through the many acres of land and beautiful trees around the lake and brooks. Feed the ducks in the river before walking up to the huge playpark.