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Tuesday, 31 January 2017
ways to induce labour naturally

Rewind back to a couple of weeks ago when I did my 37 week pregnancy update, I was calm, chilled out, nesting like crazy yes but I wasn't in much of a hurry to meet my new little life. Bring it forward to today & I'm ready to tear my hair out. Undoubtedly, the majority of the reason why I'm now so impatient to go into labour is because as many of you will know if watch my YouTube videos, at my midwife appointment last week I was told that I'd more than likely have Charlie in the preceding days and wouldn't make it to the weekend. It's now over a week later & I've had nothing but false starts, show and a lot of pressure. In the depths of my despair I've found myself falling for every old wives tale there is out there, relentlessly googling 'natural ways to induce labour' and aside from trying castor oil (which I definitely do not intend on doing either) I feel like I've ruled out every one in the book. Here are a few that I thought would be worth chatting about, or in some cases as you'll soon see, laugh at.

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Research shows that Raspberry Leaf Tea can help to soften your cervix and prepare your baby for their decent into the world. After drinking more than 60 cups of the stuff in the past 2 weeks I can certainly say it's not worked for me. Thankfully, it doesn't taste too bad and since I'm used to drinking herbal teas anyway I didn't see much difference that was apart from the dry after taste it leave in your mouth and throat which would literally give me the dry heave. I suppose the extra hydration from all of the water is only a good thing but in terms of starting anything labour related? Nah. On a positive note though it has reduced in price since I purchased it when I was pregnant with Ella so surely I can celebrate that mini win?!

Spicy Food

The idea behind hot and spicy food inducing labour is that it irritates the bowel (TMI!) and what's neighbouring? Your Uterus of course! So by irritating one it's bound to kickstart the other, right? Wrong. If nothing else it just makes you feel lousy. Plus who really wants to have a sore tummy & contractions at the same time anyway? No thanks, I'll pass!

Bouncing on a Yoga Ball

At least my thighs are getting a workout, or am I not doing it properly? Bouncing on a yoga/birthing ball is supposed to bring on your baby's arrival by the force of gravity. The repetition of baby's head impacting on your cervix is supposed to help you to dilate, the exercise should hopefully start braxton hicks contractions and ultimately if the combination of the two can last for a period of time should send you into labour. All I've ended up with is feeling the burn as my redundant muscles have been kick started into action after a 9 month sabbatical and a numb arse from sitting on it through my nighttime ritual of celebrity big brother and bit on the side.

Running Up & Down Stairs

I have sort of been doing this subliminally for the last 20 months anyway since Ella was born. I reckon I must run back up and down the stairs a minimum of 4 times before leaving the house for nappies, the shoes I forgot, my bag/purse/keys/money ..... the list could go on foreeeeeever. But has it broken my waters? Nope. And with the amount of Raspberry leaf tea I have been going though teamed with the added pressure on my bladder it's inevitable that I have been running up and downstairs constantly for loo breaks! If anything it's just made me more tired.


This one is a hypnobirthing favourite. The idea is that you have to imagine your labour and delivery, with the focus to be predominantly on the delivery. Visualise your baby making it's way down the birth canal and moving slightly closer into the world with every contraction..... I'll be honest, my head is so full of daily chaos that as soon as I have a spare second to sit down and try to visualise this the first thing I think of is 'what's for dinner?', 'is that washing machine finished yet?', 'I wonder when Ella will wake up, I miss her...', 'I hope Ella doesn't wake up for a while, I have things to do...' and so on. So maybe this does work but I would need to do a huge mind clear out first before I could even consider it.

Coffee Potty

I realised my level of desperation as I sat and steamed my hoo-ha with coffee. Like honestly, I never thought this would be a situation I'd ever find myself in. Basically you find a tupperware tub, add a cup of ground coffee and pour boiling water in until it dissolves, sit it inside the toilet bowl and sit on the loo with a towel over your legs. I now realise when I write this down how completely bizarre and frankly weird it is. I sat for the recommended 30 minutes and let it do it's thing, which oddly enough meant nothing at all. All I was left with was an empty coffee jar, a huge ring from the toilet seat round the back of my legs & southern regions that smelt like nescafe. Time for a shower & a long chat with myself about what my life has become.


This one did and didn't work, let me explain. They say pineapple contains an element that softens the cervix and can allow for the ripening process to take effect (that's such an unfortunate word, ripening...) I tried this with Ella too and after a few days of drinking huge amounts of pineapple smoothies I had a show. The same thing happened this time. I basically blended frozen pineapple with pineapple juice and drank loads of it. I did this last week and had a show on Monday and since I've not done it since then nothing has happened. So as much as it hasn't brought on labour, it's at least been the only method that has given some kind of result. Plus it tastes amazing so that's a win for me!

Have you got any labour inducing methods that worked for you? Let me know I'd love to try them!

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Thursday, 26 January 2017


Wednesday, 25 January 2017
kids meal ideas

With baby Charlie's due date just around the corner, the amazing Alice Fotheringham, recipe developer from the organic baby food company Piccolo did the first 'Piccolo Pop In' of 2017 in my kitchen. Alice helped me to prepare lots of healthy tasty meals for the whole family to enjoy! One of our New Year's Resolutions was to prepare a meal plan and try sticking to a shopping budget for our family food shop. Alice is a professional, she has been doing this for years so she has passed on some of her knowledge & I'd like to share it with you. You'll find a whole list of recipes at the end of this post.

Plan Ahead

I can only imagine that as I become a mum of 2 under 2 my time will be super restricted. This is when making unhealthy choices can become all too easy and it's harder to break these poor habits once you start. Alice's advice? Prepare in advance. Take a day of the week and batch cook lots of meals that can be frozen or easily taken from the fridge and heated for dinner time. Buying little storage pots for individual meal portions can be really helpful. I used the Maxi food storage tub from Beaba as they are suitable for use in the freezer and the microwave which makes things a bit more convenient. I'm going to use a Sunday to prepare my weekly meals as Ella stays with grandparents on that night and Fraser is always off. I think a Sunday works best too as it's a new start to the week and it feels like we are doing things in the right order!

Make it Tasty

Don't be afraid to use lots of different herbs & spices when cooking for your little ones, this is what grasps the attention of those tiny taste buds to keep them interested. Luckily for us, Ella is a fantastic eater, she will try something if she sees us eating it which is great that she is learning from example - only if we are giving her the best example to follow! 

Keep Trying

Sometimes it's difficult to stay focused or enthusiastic when your child doesn't want to eat something but it's important to try and remain positive. Keep trying! They may not like something the first time they try it but that doesn't mean that a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time later they'll not give it a go. If you're getting nowhere then it's okay to accept that they don't like a particular thing, it's normal. We are going through a stage at the moment where Ella doesn't like the texture of pasta but that's OK, we will keep trying because it was her favourite once before and that could be the case again sometime. I can't really expect her to like everything she is handed, that's what makes her individual and having her own taste. 

Vary Things Up

Giving your child a whole host of different flavours and tastes in the weaning and early eating stages will help to broaden their palette range. We liked to give Ella things like lemons that are sour and also spicy foods to see how she reacted with them. This is great to educate your little one about the variety of foods and flavours plus it's so fun to see them with a citrus fruit! 


Here are some of my favourite healthy recipes for toddlers and some kids lunch ideas that Alice left for us to try.
Recipes by Alice Fotheringham

Speedy Sweet Potato Soup
 1 tbsp coconut, rice bran or olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 inch chunk of peeled, grated fresh ginger
900g sweet potato, peeled and grated
1l vegetable stock (low salt for baby’s under 1)
¼ can coconut milk (optional for a creamier soup)
Freshly ground black pepper
To serve (optional)
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped 
  1. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and add the onion and gently fry for 6-8 minutes until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the garlic, spices and ginger and cook for a minute. Add the grated sweet potato and stock and bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes until the potato is tender. 
  2. Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk if you would like a creamier soup. Cool briefly before whizzing with a blender until smooth. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with warm bread. 
Makes 4 portions  | Preparation: 10 minutes  |Cooking: 5 minutes  |Suitable for Freezing

Oaty Fingers

These are a quick, no fuss, and more importantly minimum mess, snack or breakfast.
10 heaped tbsp porridge oats (or a mix or oats, millet flakes or barley flakes)
10 tbsp full fat cow’s milk (or no added sugar nut milk alternatives)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Optional extras: 
Preparation: 2 minutes Cooking: 2-15 minutes
Makes: 6 large fingers
Storage: Lasts 3 to 4 days in an air tight container in the fridge

  1. Pour the oats into a small, flat bottomed microwave proof dish and pour over the milk. Add the cinnamon and mix together. Press the oat mix down into the dish with the back of the spoon and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  2. Cut into fingers and serve once cool. 
If you don’t want to use the microwave, these work just as well in the oven. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 and cook for 15 minutes.

Egg & Ham Breakfast Cups

4 eggs
8 slices of Parma ham, wafer thin ham or turkey
Some chopped spinach, baby tomatoes, spring onions or mushrooms

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas mark 4. Generously grease a muffin tin with sunflower, rice bran or olive oil and place the ham slices into the tin to form a cup, you may need two slices of ham to ensure there are no gaps in the muffin cup. 
  2. For a baked egg, put any vegetables you would like in the bottom of the cup and break the egg directly on top. For a scrambled egg cup, mix the vegetables with a beaten egg and pour into the cup. 
  3. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Note the scrambled egg cup takes less time to cook through than the baked egg.

Preparation: 5 minutes   |  Cooking: 10-15 minutes   | Makes 4 egg cups

Fishy cakes
Try making fishcakes with tinned fish. Tinned sardines, mackerel and salmon is a great source of omega 3, and tinned sardines and mackerel contain vitamin D, which is much harder to find in foods.
400g/14oz potatoes, peeled and diced
 20g butter
20g parmesan
2 medium eggs
2 x 120g tins of sardines, mackerel or salmon in oil or water
1 small onion finely chopped
Half finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp English mustard
½ tsp paprika
Handful chopped parsley leaves
Flour or breadcrumbs for coating
1tbsp of oil for frying (rice bran is very good for this)

  1. Put the potatoes in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil, cooking for around 20 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat, drain and mash with the butter and parmesan.
  2. In a bowl mash the drained fish with a fork, checking for any large bones that might be there. 
  3. Add the eggs, onion, lemon zest, mustard, spices and parsley and mix well. Add the mashed potatoes to this and mix until well combined. 
  4. Using your hands make into round patties coating with flour or breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a moderate heat. Cook the cakes for a few minutes on each side until browned and heated through. These last in the fridge for one day refrigerated.
Preparation:  20 minutes  |Cooking: 30 minutes  | Makes: 10  |Suitable for Freezing

Prune Jam

250g dried prunes, ensuring all pits are out.
60ml water
1tsp lemon juice

  1. Either soak the prunes in the water over night or put the prunes and water in a pan and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Once you have soaked the prunes over night or cooked for 5 minutes, add the lemon juice and whizz up with a hand blender until smooth. 
  3. Store in a clean, sterilised airtight jar in the fridge for around 2 weeks.

Herby spiced Shepard’s pie

This fragrant Bolognese herby Bolognese is delicious on its own or with this yummy carrot and sweet potato topping. Perfect batch cooking recipe.

For the topping
800g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into medium chunks
200g carrots peeled and chopped, similar size to the sweet potato
salt and pepper & dash of olive oil
lime zest and juice (optional for a zingier mash)

For the filling
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4cm piece of fresh ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
500g lean minced lamb or beef
1 x  400g tin of chopped tomatoes
100g dried red lentils
salt and pepper to season
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsps of redcurrant jelly or 1 tsp tomato ketchup

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/428°F/ Gas Mark 7. Start with the potato topping.  Put the sweet potato and carrot pieces in a large pan with a lid and add enough cold water to cover.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes until both vegetables are soft and easily pierced with a knife. While these are cooking you can start with the filling.
  3. Either place the onion,  garlic and ginger in a food processor and whiz until finely chopped, or chop finely yourself. 
  4. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy bottomed pan with a lid and tip these ingredients in. Cook for a few minutes to soften, stirring frequently.  Then stir in the garam masala, turmeric and chili flakes. Tip in the meat, mixing it into the onion mix and allowing it to brown all over, breaking up any lumps.
  5. Once browned all over, add the tomatoes, filling the empty can with water, swilling it around and pouring into the pan as well. Add the lentils and stir.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and Worcester sauce and redcurrant jelly.  Bring to a bubble, reduce the heat and put on the lid. Simmer for around 25 minutes, stirring a few times to stop it sticking at the bottom. 
  7. When the sweet potatoes and carrot are cooked , drain them, reserving the liquid. Mash the vegetables, adding in some of cooking liquid if needed to make a more mashable consistency. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil. For a bit of zing you can grate over some lime zest and a squeeze of lime.
  8. Once the meat filling has had its time, ladle into either four oven-proof bowls or a large oven proof dish (approx. 30x20x5cm deep) and top with the mash.
  9. Place in the oven (you can place an oven tray underneath to catch any drips), for 10-15 minutes for individual portions, or 30 minutes for larger dish. The mash should be piping hot. 
Makes 4 adult portions  |preparation: 20 minutes  | Cooking: 40 mins  | suitable for freezing

Sugar & dairy Free Banana Bread
This delicious banana bread uses dates to sweeten it. But you can simply replace with sugar if you would prefer.
175g wholemeal or plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
125ml Rapeseed or rice bran or coconut oil
140g dried dates, pitted
2 large eggs
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp grated nutmeg

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/ Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. In a small pan add the dates and a enough boiling water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes to soften the dates. Remove the heat and set aside.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and mix together.
  4. Drain the liquid from the dates and in a separate large bowl or food processor combine the oil with dates and beat together until blended. Add to this the eggs, then the mashed banana and lastly the vanilla or nutmeg. Gently mix together. Add the flour mix and fold or beat in together until fully mixed together. 
  5. Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 ¼ hours, until golden brown and on inserting a knife or skewer, it comes out clean. Leave the loaf to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

Suitable from 8 months +
Dairy free
Contains eggs and gluten
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking 1 hour


Monday, 23 January 2017

With 10 minutes to spare, this is how I usually get ready in a hurry!


Saturday, 21 January 2017
Bloom and Blossom Maternity sleepwear mamas and papas

Maternity Sleepwear* : Bloom & Blossom x Mamas & Papa's Collection out soon! *

With baby Charlie's due date nearing, I'm starting to get a little nervous. The romantic memories of Ella's textbook labour and amazing first few months are beginning to become clearer in my mind as I remember the difficult times too. Team this with the fact I've got a crazy 19 month old & a dog to look after as it is, to say I'm apprehensive would be an understatement!

There are a few pretty graphic, tiring and stressful moments that my mind decided to edit out when storing in the core memories (thanks for that...) that are now coming back to me in a sort of shocking reality check kind of way.

Childbirth, just like this post, is not for the faint hearted. So if you're easily offended or don't like to hear the nitty gritty then I suggest you don't read on...

1 -The Acid Pee

OH. MY. DEAR. GOD. Why does nobody tell you about this? Maybe it goes without saying because it's pretty obvious that urine on an open wound wouldn't exactly be pleasant but I wished someone had told me that every time you pee after giving birth you'll literally cry like a baby. Perhaps if I did know then I wouldn't have so confidently gone to the bathroom and allowed the force of my first wee to escape so liberally! I'd have taken a degree of caution, treaded carefully but no. I learned the hard way! For me, this was by far the worst part of childbirth, I'd take the delivery and contractions all day long - oh better be careful what I wish for. What makes it worse is you have 2 options. You can either drink lots of water and this dilutes your wee but makes you go to the loo ALL THE TIME and it's still sore. Or you can basically dehydrate yourself and suffer the strong acid pee a couple of times a day. Either way whether it's the drawn out option 1 or rare but agony option 2 - it's still bloody awful. Apparently it was worse for me because I didn't tear or need stitches but grazed instead (Hi, I'm Ash. Here are my most intimate details, pleased to meet you...) so it's much more nippy and takes longer to heal. On the positive side I really learned who my friends were because the only way I could suffer taking a wee was if I did it in the shower. So if you're planning on inviting us for tea & cake the Charlie is born, ask yourself if you're cool with me marking my territory like a dog in your bath...

2 -Goodbye Hot Tea

It was nice knowing ya... Just as I felt I was starting to get my sh*t together & managing to have my morning, afternoon, night time - anytime really, cuppa I'm going to have to sacrifice it all over again. When my need for caffeine will be at it's peak I probably won't get a spare second to have a nice warm hug from the inside. Microwaved tea to reheat it becomes an all too frequent occurrence. Make a new cup you say? But that would require 30 seconds that I just don't have and perhaps the use of 2 spare hands which when you've got a new baby suctioned to your boob and a toddler pulling on your leg you've pretty much just asked me to do the impossible. So with that being said, unintentional iced tea it is.

3 -Not the Nipples!

When you're starting to breastfeed apparently your nipples 'toughen up'. Now I'd have to disagree with that statement and say that they actually get more sensitive and sore! I'm getting toe curling flashbacks of me exiting the shower and drying myself off with a towel that quite honestly felt like a sheet of sandpaper across my boobs. Believe me, in this house we love a fluffy towel so god only knows what it would have been like if this was something other than the Egyptian cotton bliss that I dried with. 

4 - The Month Long Period

After the longest time off, Aunt Flo is back for a visit & this time she's making up for it. Just when you'd gotten used to not have the annoyance of having a period - it's back and it's not just for your usual 5 days of inconvenience... try a couple of weeks! This teamed with the fact you'll be wearing a sanitary towel that's probably larger than your newborn baby's nappy is the price you pay for having the vacay for the past 9 months. So if you ever needed an excuse other than the baby weight to not attempt to fit into your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans then this is it!

5 -Unwanted Advice

Now if I didn't want this first time round then will I hell the second time. It's like when you have a new baby people start to give you all of their do's and don't for parenting. Just stop, stop now. If I didn't ask for it then I don't want to hear it. I'm figuring this one out myself. It's not a stubbornness or that I think people are meaning any harm BUT by giving out advice that was never requested is inadvertently suggesting you think whatever I'm doing or not doing is wrong. Hold on a second 'til I just reach for that one size fits all parenting manual that doesn't exist (I just became the straight faced emoji there for a second). Seriously though, it's bad enough coming from family members or people you know but the strangers in the Supermarket? Don't get me started. If I ever have another woman reach in and take my child dummy/pacifier from their mouth and say 'take out that dirty dummy' again I will erupt - (again). 'So here's my advice for those who give unwanted advice', said the hypocritical blogger, unless someone asks for it please be mindful of the new mummy who is just trying to work this parenting business out for themselves, they're doing their best and that's good enough!

6 -Human Contraceptive

Who needs the pill when you've been awarded your very own 8lbs 5oz human contraceptive. Seriously though, doing the deed will be the last thing on your mind after you've given birth for obvious reasons (please see point 1 & 4) and let's face it - that's what got you into this state in the first place! But when the chance does come about when you want to have a moment with your better half -think again. Whether it's due to baby wanting to co-sleep with mummy & daddy, feeding for over an hour mummy or just generally having whinge you'll very rarely find the moment and when you do chances are you'll both be so knackered that a cuddle and a kip will seem more appealing! 

It's just as well your body & mind seems to be in a euphoric baby bubble for the first 4 weeks - at least that's what I felt like with Ella. The overwhelming love and emotions you feel for your new arrival seem to overshadow the negatives - minus the acid pee, I still firmly stand by that one. Maybe this time things may be a little different, but my motto is prepare for the worst and hope for the best that way you can't be disappointed. Maybe I will be so busy with my 2 little cherubs that I won't have time to notice the things I did before. I guess we will just need to wait & see, not long now.

What did you find the toughest part of the '4th Trimester' ?

*This post contains PR items 



Thursday, 19 January 2017
37 weeks pregnant


As a new mum you're totally spoiled for choice when it comes to baby products. The market is completely saturated and it seems that there's a gadget or product for every stage of baby's development. It goes without saying that in such a lucrative market where panic buying is at a high and real consumer knowledge is unfortunately low, some companies can manipulate this to their advantage and make new mummies to be feel like they need EVERYTHING in order to be a successful parent. Not true.

Although with this being said there are a few items out there that albeit are not essential but just make your life a little easier with a new baby. I don't want to product bash here but going on personal experience these are the products I wish I'd never bought or asked for on my newborn gift list either because they just don't do what they say on the box or I found them a complete waste of our cash.

Tommee Tippee Sangenic 

baby blogger glasgow

If you're unfamiliar with this product let me just give you a quick breakdown. It's basically a nappy bin. Once you have changed your little ones nappy/diaper it claims you can just pop in inside the system, twist the wheel,close using the easy push plunger and it secures the nappy inside the bin. The product claims to be convenient and hygienic, saving you going outside with a dirty nappy in adverse weather conditions. I didn't like this product for a few reasons.

First of all it's initial price of £25 is a little steep therefore making it's promotional price online and in most store of £12.50 a little more inviting. Do not let that fool you - the costs don't end there. Once the cassette of bin liners/nappy sacks have run out you'll have to pay a staggering £12 for 3 replacements. £12 for nappy sacks?! Seriously? Most mummies I know have ended up ditching this idea and used their own nappy sack instead and used it as a bin on it's own but believe me, that will last for a day before you end up completely disgusting yourself with the fact there is baby wee & poo sitting in that beautiful nursery that you spent so long saving up to perfect into a sanctuary any baby would be delighted to spend time in.

My honest advice? Spend the cash on a pair of easy to slip out outside slippers and leave them at your garden door so you can just get rid of that stinky little package as soon as you can.

Blooming Bath

blogger baby review

You'll have probably seen this super cute product all over instagram & an abundance of little beauties organically emerging from the bloom of the beautiful flower sink cushion/support. I was one of those new mums. I seen this and instantly fell in love with the concept. I mean, who wouldn't want their babe bathing in a sunflower, right? WRONG.

First of all it seemed like foreeeeeever had passed before Ella could even go inside this. As much as it is described as a sink bath support there is literally NO support. It actually made bath times pretty difficult rather than the convenience the product claimed as you have to physically hold your little one and try to wash them too which when you are new to the parenting game and you already feel like you should have grown another few extra limbs after childbirth to help you look after this little one in the coming months it can be so difficult and super frustrating.

It's like a sponge! The amount of water this holds is actually incredible which means unless you manage to squeeze it out and then throw it in the tumble dryer after every bath time (which let's face it - ain't nobody got time for that!) then it is constantly damp. Dampness also leaves an ideal breeding ground for mould to flourish which is not only unhygienic but dangerous for little ones. A big thumbs down from me, especially at £40 it's totally not worth the hassle.

Manual Breast Pump

manual milk pump review

When I started to breastfeed Ella, I soon realised that it was going to be both physically and emotionally demanding. In a bid to allow Fraser to help out with the feeds I bought a manual breast pump so I could express some milk into a bottle and allow him to take a turn if I needed to pop out, a sleep or just some 'me time' (a rarity when you're a new mum).

Now, besides from feeling like a total farm animal in one of the oddest situations I think I've found myself in to date my hand was completely exhausted within about 5 minutes. I was putting in maximum effort and receiving minimum results. I think it took me about 15 minutes to get 2oz of milk and by which point the pump had suctioned my nipples into an oblivion where they now resembled massive straws.. like honestly they were about an inch long it was both hilarious and terrifying! By this point I'd just resigned myself to the reality that I'd just be quicker feeding her myself. 

The manual pump also made me a little anxious that I was not producing enough milk but my lactation consultant said that the manual pump is difficult to use and because unlike an electric one it does not mimic the same movements that a baby makes to stimulate the milk production. This time I will be using an electric pump so with my already pessimistic views I will see how that goes.

A Lifetime Supply of Johnson's

baby blogger review

I think I must have had about 4 of everything. The stuff smells unbelievable & I understand the appeal BUT it's so highly perfumed which isn't good for super sensitive baby skin. We are benefitting from this now as I don't think we have had to buy any baby wash or shampoo for Ella since she was born and at the moment we love using the Johnson's range but when your baby is brand new you should opt for something more appropriate for their delicate skin. I'm convinced this is how Ella ended up with cradle cap because we washed her hair with the shampoo and from then on she struggled with the dryness in her scalp. My advice would be : listen to the midwife! Simple warm water can do the job. Babies don't tend to get dirty often so unless they're sick or have a nappy explosion they don't need daily bathing (like we did with Ella, lesson learned!). Trust me, once you have a 19 month old who likes to get their hands into everything you'll know what real mess really is!!

Insulated Bottle Bag

They seemed like a good idea at the time but it just ended up being another thing to carry along with us and something else to store in the kitchen when they're not being used. The insulated bottle bags are pretty self explanatory, they're used to maintain your baby's bottle temperature but unless you're in adverse climate conditions they're really just a waste of £15. The advice is that baby's bottle should be room temperature which is exactly what Ella's bottles would be if they are kept in the changing bag. Not only this but most changing bags nowadays have a bottle holder inside with insulated lining to ensure the temperature is maintained so to have a separate bag for this job seems pointless.

It's more than likely that there are other products I felt were a waste of valuable cash and maybe Charlie's arrival and first few weeks of life will jog my memory. It's annoying that I could have saved over £100 by not buying these products in the first place but it's a lesson learned! 

Are there any baby products you regret buying? Let me know in the comments box or tweet me @mamareidwrites 


Wednesday, 18 January 2017
best steam steriliser review

As a new mummy with Ella, one of the things that used to completely baffle me about the sterilisation process with baby bottles was the drying afterwards. It always seemed so odd to me that you would clean the dirty bottles, pop them in the sterilising unit and then once the cycle was complete you'd take the bottles and dry off all of the condensation that gathers when they're being steamed, whether it's with a dish towel or paper kitchen roll.

I don't want to come across like I'm a crazy germaphobe because I believe your home should be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. However, that being said, it is certainly a different story when it comes to the safety of a new baby where extra vigilance is imperative! I could just never understand why you would take a 99.9% germ free bottle and dry it with something that although could be clean, may not be entirely sterile. That's where Nuby have found a gap in the market and designed the first bottle steriliser that comes with a built in bottle drying function too, taking you from non sterile to ready-to-use in as little as 15 minutes. 

The Nuby Natural Touch Electric Steam Steriliser and Dryer is a sleek product that comes in a choice of 2 sensible colour options, Black or White. The unit is slim but also substantial in terms of how much it can hold making it both functional and aesthetically pleasing too to fit into your home. 

How it works

You can watch my unboxing and assembly video on my YouTube channel (see link below) which will show you how to put the steriliser pieces together and where to fill the water to. There is also an initial power button to turn the machine on which may be mistaken for the button on the front centre however it is located on the left hand side of the product and the centre button is simply used to change the programme selected. The electric unit has 3 options all of which include a very quick & efficient 5 minute sterilisation process. By pressing on the centre button downwards you can select which cycle you'd like to use.

1. 5 Minute Sterilisation. This function works purely as a steriliser without the option for drying just like the other bottle sterilisers on the market.

2. Quick Dry. This includes the 5 minute sterilisation process as above plus 10 minutes of drying time which may leave a little residue on the bottle but makes for a quick cycle under time restraints.

3. Super Dry. This function includes the 5 minute sterilisation process but with an additional 25 minutes of drying time which leaves your bottle completely dry to touch when complete.

When the your selected cycle is highlighted you simply press & hold the same middle button down until you hear the beep and the steriliser will now begin the programme.

Breastfeeding Benefits

I'm hopefully going to be breastfeeding Charlie as I did with Ella so I was so delighted to see the huge basin inside where I can put my breast pump and pieces in to easily clean, sterilise and dry them for the next time I need them. If any of you have breastfed before or expressed milk you'll understand when I say the stuff is like liquid gold! You do not want to waste a drop nor do you want to have it diluted with any condensation from the bottle you're expressing into as breast milk is thin enough as it is! The fact that this device will dry the equipment completely makes such a difference to the expressing experience and also saves such a tricky job for mummy's when we simply do not have the time to try and dry the pump off before using it again.

It's also extremely difficult to find a sterilising unit that will accommodate for the size of a breast pump so Nuby have definitely succeeded in allowing for a sizeable basin to fit the sometimes irregular shapes of breast pumps. 

My 1st Impressions

After putting on a full Super Dry 30 minute cycle I was so surprised at how little noise the drying function made. It's really just like white noise which is hardly a disturbing sound, in fact I may find myself placing baby in front of it to get him to sleep when he is here!! Once the cycle was complete I was expecting to see slight water residue and was astounded to see that all of the bottles teats and lids were completely bone dry and a safe temperature to touch. 99.9% of bacteria is killed using the natural steam sterilisation process which means no chemicals are required and it is compatible with all bottle brands, not just ones available from Nuby. In the box you'll also find a NEW Nûby Natural Touch 360˚Bottle & ÛberSoother Pacifier. This product also comes with a very reasonable price tag of RRP £60 which when compared to outdated products on the highstreet that purely offer a sterilisation process and more often than not at much longer cycle time normally costing you around £40 seems like even more of a bargain. You'll most definitely see your value for money with your steriliser as it is something you use every single day as a new parent. I'm looking forward to making this one part of our bottle making routine!



Wednesday, 11 January 2017

I can't believe the time has come to share with you what I have in my hospital bag! This has been the fastest pregnancy ever and usually at this point everything seems to slow down a little as your impending due date nears, it almost seems to get further from reach. Not this time! I'm now 37 weeks which means I'm full term, although I'd be quite happy if he cooked away a little longer so I can make sure I'm super prepared, my bags are packed and waiting so without further ado I will show you a breakdown of what you need to take into hospital for labour and baby.

I will be packing my items for baby & labour in my KeriKit 'Joy' changing backpack in black. You can use the code MAMAKERIKIT10 for 10% off on across their full range of real leather changing bags.


in fairness, there isn't a whole lot you need to take in for you little cherub. As I mentioned in my video, you really don't have to take in your own nappies and wipes but I just prefer to use my own things. I've packed :

3x vests
2x sleep suits (magnet mouse sleep suit can be purchased HERE!)
Coming home outfit 
Hat (MiLoves hat can be purchased HERE!)
Water wipes


For labour I liked to wear a soft large t-shirt style nightie. I picked mine up from Primark along with high rise, seam free, incredibly glamorous pants and some socks because your tootsies get pretty chilly in labour! I'd say having your hair tied back is a must so make sure you can take something like a hair clip that is foolproof for your partner to make an attempt at putting it up for you in case you're otherwise preoccupied - chances are you will be! A water bottle with a straw is sooooo useful. You can take little sips at a time while you partner holds the bottle for you.

Pants (think Bridget Jones style)
Soft bra/nursing bra if you're planning to breastfeed
Hair bobbles
Hair clip
Lip balm
Maternity pad
Breast pads
Cooling spray (optional)
Chewing gum/mints
Nipple cream
Lip balm
Bottle for water

Recovery & Going Home

After you've given birth you'll just want to live in Pj's or something similarly as comfortable. I've packed 2 sets of pyjamas which is plenty. Remember your partner has to go home each evening so if you're unexpectedly asked to stay in hospital they can collect you some more and bring them in on their next visit. I'll list all of the toiletries and other items you need below. In terms of a coming home outfit make sure it's something comfortable. I'm taking a loose fitting dress and stretchy tights with boots and my coat.

2x Pj's
2x pants
2x bras
2x socks
light dressing gown
maternity pads
breast pads
camera & charger
make up bag

Face wipes
Bump cream - (you can purchase Bloom & Blossom award winning anti-stretchmark cream HERE!)
Shaving foam
Dry Shampoo
Body wash
Shower puff

For a more in depth explanation of what I think you need in your hospital bag you can watch my full video on my channel below!


Monday, 9 January 2017
how to get rid of stretch marks
As many of you know, pregnancy totally takes its toll on your body. Creating a baby is not only hard work but it is also a dramatic change at fast rate for your skin. That's why it's super important to make sure you develop a new skincare routine when you're expecting so you can keep your blossoming bump looking beautiful & your skin feeling healthy.

Taking the time to pamper yourself is one of the few luxuries you can indulge in when you're pregnant. It beats the heartburn and complaints of swollen feet that's for sure! That's where the beautiful mother and baby skincare range baby Bloom and Blossom comes in. Made in the UK with carefully selected active ingredients, their mantra is minimal ingredients for maximum results!

For the past while in this pregnancy I have been completely craving a 'spa smell' don't ask me exactly what that means but all I know is when I opened the package from Bloom & Blossom it had that much sought after fragrance. It's a very natural, non synthetic scent much like what you experience in an aromatherapy type of treatment. The products I'm using are satisfying that little craving twice daily!

I've been using a combination of 2 of Bloom & Blossom's best sellers: Anti-Stretch Mark Cream (£24) & Mother and Baby Oil (£16)

Mother & Baby Oil

After I've washed I dry off and apply the oil first. I find that after a lovely warm shower it's really the best time to apply this as my pores feel open and ready to soak in moisture. I warm the oil in my hands and apply liberally all over my bump, thighs & chest as these are stretch mark prone areas. You can obviously use it all over however these are the areas I like to focus on most. It is made from a blend of 100% natural plant oils including camomile flower oil & lavender oil that both offer a calming and tranquil pampering experience as well as highly moisturising properties for your ever expanding bump. Although it's an oil, I was so pleasantly surprised at how highly absorbent it is and that it doesn't leave a greasy residue like most bump oils, or oils in general for that matter. I love that I can also introduce this to baby's bath time routine when he makes his arrival. The scent of lavender will be sure to send him off into a peaceful night's rest.

mum blog

 Anti-Stretch Mark Cream

It is not long after applying the oil that I then use the multi-award winning Anti-Stretch Mark Cream. A few pumps of this amazing lotion really does go a long way! It's a thick luxurious cream that not only maintains skins elasticity during a time when it is under immense pressure but it also has a firming property that will prove useful in post partum skincare too. I love the mattifying effect it gives the skin, I find when I apply it before taking bump progress photographs it really helps to conceal any skin blemishes and makes for perfect pictures!

anti stretch mark cream

The combination of both of these products works really well together and lasts all day. I tend to apply both in the morning and before bedtime. It's a very simple routine that only takes 5 minutes to complete. Afterwards I am left feeling fresh, rejuvenated & comfortable knowing that I am looking after my skin through this massive transformation.

Bloom & Blossom are a very well established business set up by sister-in-laws and mummys Christina & Julia who identified a gap in the market for good quality antenatal skincare. It's such a massive part of the changes your body goes through as you prepare for motherhood and that should be cared for as well as celebrated! The company prides themselves in producing UK made products free from animal testing containing maximum levels of active ingredients - all of which contain no parabens, SLS, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances or colourants. 

They are completely safe for babies from day 1 and can be used by expectant mothers from the beginning to the end of pregnancy (and beyond).

The Bloom & Blossom range can be found within many reputable retailers such as Mamas & Papas as well as their own e-store at If you're expecting and looking for the ideal range of pregnancy skincare have a look at the extensive range that is available. The Mother-to-be set would make the ideal gift for someone special you know who is expecting or even for a beautiful baby shower gift. The packaging is so elegant and made from 100% recyclable materials too - it's sure to make any new mummy delighted!

I'm really looking forward to trying out the beautiful baby balm too on my little one when he makes his arrival. I've already used a little on Ella's sore cheeks this winter and it's made a huge difference overnight in the colour of texture of her chapped skin. 

Overall, I'm really impressed with these little luxury items. I will be taking them into hospital with me and making them a part of my post partum skincare routine as I try to get my skin and tummy back into shape which I imagine may be challenging considering this is my 2nd pregnancy in 2 years, however I can only hope that the positive experiences I've had using this duo will continue after I've given birth too!

You can watch my review on the Bloom & Blossom products on my YouTube Channel here: 

Please subscribe too if you haven't already - I upload Sundays & Wednesdays!    

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