Monday, 30 April 2012

Riverside Adventures


With all this torrential rain falling in this awful draught, we have been beside ourselves with utter, doom and gloom boredom. I have been pulling my hair out being stuck inside, and I know Leo has felt exactly the same. I love the sunshine you see and I adore being out and about in it, this is not what I had planned for us, being stuck inside during the Spring months.

So today as soon as I looked out of the window and saw that the rain had listened to my few choice words that I had shouted up at the clouds. I whipped the Quinny out of the car and strapped Leo straight in, just in case the rain clouds came back with a vengeance. I marched us on a walk into town where we spent the morning at baby group and then made our way down to the river to grab a bite of lunch.

As soon as Leo saw where we were, he gave me a massive smile. I think part of that smile was tinged with relief, the kind of relief that comes after you have been locked up inside for over a week. The horrid weather really did leave us housebound, and we were both feeling the relief of escaping the same Four walls. Nothing beats some fresh air and spending some One on One time with your boy...

All that rain had filled the River right up to bursting, feeding the duck's from our usual perch was not going to be happening today....As ducks were now swimming where we usually stand. The water had not been very forgiving when deciding to flow up and out of it's usual course.

This was no problem though and we found a bench a little further along that was now right by the river edge, thanks to the bursting of the banks. It was nice being able to sit there and watch the world go by. The traffic on the other side of the road, the people taking a leisurely stroll along the embankment and of course the duck's who were swimming past, making the very most of all that extra river to swim in.

Sitting by the river with Leo, is something special. It is a magical moment when you can just sit together and take in everything around you. Leo finds it all fascinating, every little thing. The noises the bird's make and all the stranger's who like to make a fuss of him. He watches the river boat's parading past, completely unsure what they are and what their purpose may be.

I plan on spending a lot more time down by the river with my beautiful boy. I am looking forward to the grass becoming dry, so we can drag Daddy down to the river for a picnic and let Leo crawl all around. To take Leo back to the park and re-introduce him to the swings. To aquaint Leo with those magical River Boat's, by taking him on his very first boat ride so he can take in the river sights from a different angle. I know he will love it.

There is so much we can do when the sunshines. So please sun.... Just shine! It is almost Summer after all!

Laura
xx












Show Me The Money


I have now entered that dreaded Grey area of maternity leave... You know, that 3 months un-paid kinda leave. I have always been independent. I have always worked for my money and always insisted on either taking it in turns to pay for things or going 50/50.

That is just me and having no new money coming in, is actually really depressing...

I know it is only 3 months, and I know that at this moment in time I have saved enough money to pay all my bills for this amount of time. My problem is that I don't have any money to go out and about with, not even really for a coffee. Those simple luxuries in life that really make all the difference.

It is really just money to go off and play with. Money that gets you out of the house for a few hours.

Luke of course will give me money to do these things but I find it hard to take it. I don't like the feeling in the pitt of my stomach that suddenly springs out of no where when he offers it. Of course I know we are a team but being the person I am, I find it so hard to shrug these feelings off.

I hate knowing that I cannot offer to pay for a takeaway as a treat, or even just giving half to foot the bill. I feel like I am just taking from him and it does not sit well with me.

Just today I have had to ask him for his card to do Leo's monthly shop, where I would usually purchase all the nappies and Milk we need for our little monster. Even though all this is for Leo and he needs it, I resent having to ask Luke for the funds. This is my first month into not being paid and I already hate not having any money.

I shouldn't feel like this as I have been able to pay for this throughout the duration of my leave, and I have also sorted all the larger sizes of Leo's clothes right up to 18 months plus to a certain extent. This means Leo is sorted for the most part and he does not need much. I know that for the next 3 months, I am just going to have to accept Luke's help.

I could have gone back to work and by passed this un-paid leave, but I did not want to. I wanted this extra time to spend with Leo, as it is so much more important to me than a few notes. I am going to have to accept the help that Luke is wanting to provide, and swallow up my pride.

As much fun as I know it would be being a stay at home Mum, I think I would slowly go insane not having a income of my own. I hate having to ask for anything and love that I do usually have the luxury to just get what I need as I need it, whether it is something for Leo or a little treat for myself.

How did you get through your 3 months unpaid leave and did you share any of my reservations?

Laura
xx


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Little Me Organics Review - Shhh Sleepy Head Range

Over the past week, I have been tweeting all about my little nocturnal monster, who has been fighting sleep at every corner. I even blogged about it here. In fact I must have gone on about my sleep deprivation to the point of every body's distraction, as it was not long before Keep Me Inspired came forward with a potential solution to my current situation.

Keep Me Inspired very kindly sent out Little Me Organics for Leo and I to review, in the hope it would help us both get some sleep. I was at the point where I would try anything and just that little glimmer of hope kept me going.

If you have not heard much about Little Me Organics, you will be pleased to know that their products contain Organic Essential Oils, which are renowned for their therapeutic benefits. They worked very closely with the well-known aromatherapist Glenda Taylor while developing their diverse product range.

There are currently 3 lovely baby ranges on the market:


Leo and I started using the 'Shhh Sleepy Head' range last night. This range contains the comforting aroma of Dill & Organic Lavender, it is to help baby rest and help them to sleep more soundly. The Lavender helps to settle and calm the baby, and of course Dill is renowned for its calming properties.

I kept everything the same with our routine and when it came round to bath time, I simply switched from our usual bath products. I replaced the bubble bath with 'Shhh Sleepy Head Bath Milk'. I was instantly impressed with the bath milk's no bubbles formulation. Not to mention the lovely Dill and Lavender aroma that swept across the bath room as it hit the hot water.

I got Leo ready for his bath and as usual he happily kicked away and splashed until his little heart's content. He always loves bath time.

When it came to washing Leo's hair and giving him a wash, I switched the baby shampoo with 'Shhh Sleepy Head Hair and Body Wash', I put a little on my hand and massaged it into his head and body. It has to be said that it all smells so delicious, and that alone would make me want to use it again.

Bath time is always a good way for Leo to burn off that extra energy he may have left over, and also start to un-wind for his bedtime. I try to keep it the same each and every night just so we don't get into any bad habits. While he is happy in the bath, I let him play around and enjoy himself. There is always something relaxing about a bath just before bed...

It is soon time to get my little water baby out of the tub, wrap him up in a nice warm towel and get him all dried off. I love breathing in his baby smell right around this time of night and it always makes my heart skip a beat. Last night with his lovely Lavender and Dill aroma, it was 10 times better than usual. He smelt good enough to eat.

I got him all dried off and started to massage 'Shhh Sleepy Head Body Cream' into his tummy, arms and legs. He lay there very content and just looked incredibly relaxed. The body cream is so light that once massaged into the skin, it is soon absorbed. It lets off the Lavender and Dill fragrance which in turn helps to calm baby right down, while also aiding any dry tender skin.

Leo is currently suffering from dry skin on his arms and legs, and this is something I think has been brought on by the bubble bath we had been using. One of the things I did notice last night, was that his dry skin seemed to be very well moisturised. I am optimistic that with continued use of Little Me Organics, that Leo's skin will be soft to the touch in no time.

After Leo's bath, he seemed incredibly relaxed, he sat on my lap and cuddled into me. It was not long before we prepared his bottle of Milk and went up-stairs. Over the past week, Leo has been drinking his Milk and then deciding to stand up in his cot to scream and shout. Last night he went down without a peep.

In fact last night was such a good night, despite the fact that he graced me with his presence at 4am, he took his Milk as good as gold and returned straight to his cot and closed his eyes once again. Then to add even more icing to a already very iced cake...Leo slept in until 10am.

I am sure that the bath aided this sudden change in Leo, all the soothing aromas floating around even sent me all dreamy! The bath and the magic aromas certainly relaxed him if nothing else. I am so glad that I have been able to try these, as now I have discovered this organic range, I will be avoiding synthetic fragrances where possible in the future.

Tonight Leo has had his Little Me Organic bath, and once again he is down and sleeping like a baby.

The Shhh Sleepy head range is very well priced and in my eyes is worth every penny:


 It is also worth mentioning to all you yummy Mummy's to be, that they have a 'Mum to be'organic range just for you. It contains Rose Hip, Organic Vanilla and Grapefruit, the 3 products in this range help ease your skin into pregnancy, as well as helping you to unwind with beautifully blooming skin.

Of course there are probably other factors in Leo's sudden change in sleep behaviour. This past week we have not used our Gro Bag due to the house being too warm for it, so Leo has been going down without this. Last night I re-introduced the Gro bag and there was no drama or tears. I am sure that the Little Me Organics - Shhh Sleepy Head range have certainly given us a good start in our bath time routine, and this is something I will be continuing.

Laura
xx


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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Dear Nocturnal Baby...


Dear nocturnal baby boy,

I write this letter with blurry eyes and a not so bushy tail, after nights of you going down late and waking throughout my slumber, I am wondering when these horrid nights will end.

We had such a great understanding you see Leo, when 6pm would chime you would be out for the count. Now I can spend hours trying to settle you and that understanding seems to have gone.

I don't know if your poorly, teething or just plain mean? Is it just a phase? Or am I really in for it now?

I seem to sit on the stairs longer than I stay in my bed. I sit there willing you to stop crying and lie down in your cot. You seem to think it is immensely clever to stand up and shout at me, and sometimes you are stood up quicker than I can escape the clutches of your room.

Last night it took me 5 hours to finally get you down, and even though you went down exceptionally late you still awoke at 2am for a bottle. It wouldn't be so bad if you went back down after your Milk, but you seem to want to play. It is lovely that you like to relax and watch a bit of television, but I must protest at you waking me up in the middle of the night to do so.

I have tried to just stay in your room and put you back down in your cot to go to sleep, but this has not been working like it usually would. Although I know flicking the television on is not the best idea, at this time of night I don't really know what to do. It seems to settle you, and the cuddles then seem to calm you down, a temporary solution to my nightly problem.

Leo this actually does have the potential to drive your Mummy insane. There really is only so much 'In the night garden' I can stand to watch. My sleep deprivation hits a new level when you insist I watch this, and when the narrator tells me it is time to go to sleep, I find myself nodding in agreement and hoping you will too. Those magic words make me long for my bed, and the thought of closing my tired eyes makes them heavier still.

When you finally succumb to sleep, and the standing up in your cot and screaming for all to hear comes to an end. I see a opportunity to take my tired body back to bed. I look at the clock knowing you will be up again soon and try to make the best of the sleep I can get. I lie there in bed and take full advantage of the warm duvet wrapped around me, and the satisfying feeling I get when I close my eyes. I find myself listening to the baby monitor half expecting the slightest cough you make to be another reason for me to leave my sanctuary behind.

Leo I am looking to cut a deal with you, something along the lines of extra pudding at dinner. Or more Milk before bed, in fact.... Anything at all. You name it and it will be done. The only thing I am asking of you is to PLEASE go to bed at your usual time. PLEASE just wake up once if you feel you must, and PLEASE go straight back down after your Milk.

You know...Like usual...

I am not asking you to sleep straight through and I know this will come when you are ready. I am just asking for enough sleep to keep me human, and enough sleep to do all the fun things I love to do with you.

So please nocturnal baby...Bring me back my little Leo and let us both catch some Zzzz's...

Signed...

Blurry Eyed & Not Bushy Tailed
xx


Friday, 27 April 2012

Brit Mums Live 2012

Being a relatively new Mummy blogger, there are many things I do not know and I do not proclaim to have all the knowledge about. More often than not I find out about things after they have happened and sometimes I just don't have the resources to attend. On this occasion though, I am more than aware of the up and coming Brit Mums Live! event and there have been moments in time, that I have found myself sitting there and day dreaming at the thought of attending.

For those of you who do not know what Brit Mums Live is...Brit Mums Live! is the biggest blogging event of the year and is devoted entirely to a parenting audience and run by the UK’s largest parent blogging network of more than 3k influential and engaged bloggers.

On Friday June 22 and Saturday June 23 2012 hundreds of delegates will descend in their masses to London in order to share best practises, network, and polish up their blogging skills in workshops tailored to novice and expert levels.

BritMums Live! is a two-day blogger event that has grown out of BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogger community, made up of more than 3,000 influential bloggers. The thoughts of attending soon got me wondering how this could become more than a dream.... Of course being on maternity leave this does not leave much spare cash for such luxuries in life.

I have scratched my head, I have umm'd and arhhh'd and I still could not see a way of making this dream a reality. I have heard that some very privileged bloggers occasionally get sponsored to go to such events and suddenly I had the most amazing idea. It is one of those ideas that shoots like lightening and suddenly you wonder why you did not think of it before.

Back in October when I first engaged with Twitter, I came across the most amazing new business. You will all know exactly who I am talking about in a moment, as I have always been very smitten with all that she does, and happily shared my discovery with you right here. I am talking about the lovely Kat, who has brought us her fabulous boy tights through her successful company Slugs & Snails.

Right from day One I fell head over heels for those amazing tights, and it was not long before I had ordered a few pairs to model on Leo. To this day we wear them more than anything else and are always being complimented on the great designs and bright colours. I always beam when I hear this and point them in Kat's direction.

So you are probably wondering what this has to do with my struck by lightening idea? Well... Once I had recovered from the initial bolt, I sent Kat an email.

The outcome of our email exchange is so positive and I am so pleased to announce that Kat and I have joined forces, as Two working Mummy's uniting together. The Life and Times of The Working Mum is now proud to present you with Slugs & Snails, our amazing sponsor.

I can not think of anyone I would rather work with and I hope that this new bridge we have crossed, will draw in lots of new Mummy's with beautiful baby boys to discover the wonder that is boy's tights.

Over the coming months, I will be inviting Kat to guest post and share with you all, her journey in founding Slugs & Snails and everything in between.

I would also like to take this moment to congratulate Kat on all her hard work. Kat's efforts have been recognised by many people, customers and supporters alike, who have even gone on to vote for Slugs & Snails in the Mums Club Business awards!

Slugs & Snails are currently in the running for “Mumpreneur of the Year” and “Award for Innovation” with The Baby Hub Family First Awards. I am asking you to take a moment to place your vote with them and help them take it all the way to the finish line!

You can place your vote right here and it only takes a few moments.

I would like to say a BIG thank you to Kat for making my Brit Mums Live! dream come true. I will now be attending this exciting conference and meeting many other bloggers and polishing up my blogging skills. So keep your eyes peeled for many excited and nervous posts as this date creeps closer, where I am sure I will feel nervous, anxious and completely over the moon.

Now....What shall I wear to this big event? A big pair of Slugs & Snails with heels would be absolutely perfect, don't you think!?




BabyBjorn Plate Spoon & Cup Review


Leo is my little testing assistant, and we enjoy trying out these exciting new products and letting you, our lovely readers know all about them. We are pleased to tell you all about the BabyBjorn kitchen range that we have had the pleasure of reviewing.

Just the other day we had a parcel delivered, and upon opening the parcel I was greeted with the most attractive looking clover shaped Plate and Spoon set, in PINK! This just made me beam from ear to ear, it looks absolutely lovely. You see BabyBjorn are going Pink, after all it is the new black you see!

The Plate and Spoon set is just so easy on the eyes, and even when you look past the very pleasing appearance it is just perfect for your little ones, who are wanting to learn to feed themselves. Weaning a baby is so important and so is having all the right equipment in order for them to learn how to eat as you do. With this set, it makes it easier for the child to learn how to spoon up the food and feed them selves.

The BabyBjorn Plate and Spoon has been designed to make it easy for your child to feed him or herself. The three-leaf clover shape of the plate makes it easier for the child to pick up food with the spoon, instead of chasing it all over the plate.

The plate stands steady and is hard for small hands to grab and throw on the floor, this has been demonstrated by myself earlier today, when I struggled to pick it up off the work surface to give to Leo. So not only is it hard for babies to throw on the floor, but Mummy's too! You cannot tip it over so it is safe to entrust with your little monsters....As I did with Leo!

Despite his greatest efforts he did not manage to over turn the bowl, and as hard as he did try he could not pick it up. Leo loved playing with the spoons and even put them to his mouth with food on. I don't often try this with him as I find it easier and not as messy to feed him myself, but to test the product fully I figured I should let him give it a go. He thouroghly enjoyed his eating experience and this is something I feel is very important. Eating should be fun!

The spoon is tailored to the shape of the plate so it can get into each of the corners, it is specially designed to suit the grip and movements of a child's hand. I have to admit that I absolutely love the character in these spoons. They each have a pair of eyes on and just add a whole dimension of fun to them.



Have you ever used a spoon where despite your greatest effort's to get all the food into your little ones mouth, there is always that curve of the spoon where it all gets stuck? I have... Leo can never quite get at it and it just sits there with each mouthful he takes. The BabyBjorn Spoon shape ensures that, once in the child’s mouth, no food remains on it afterwards. To me, that is just amazing!

Along side the Plate and Spoon set we have also had the pleasure of reveiwing the BabyBjorn Cup, it is the perfect first cup for your baby and is specially designed for tiny and often clumsy hands. Leo has always been a very determined little soul, and demonstrates this in his "do it myself" attitude. We have always struggled getting him to use a tippy cup and I think the way forward is to introduce his first big boy cup early.

The cup's ergonomic design, with easy to grip materials and soft, distinct shapes helps baby learn to drink from an open glass, just like mum and dad. Leo loved being let loose with a big boy cup. Despite it being solid and hard to knock over, Leo has no problem picking the cup up. He did very well and even took a sip but it was not long before he decided to throw it all down his outfit. This was his first attempt, and I am sure if we persist and gain more experience with the cup, he will soon be drinking juice like a pro.

The cup is pleasant to hold and has a little Teddy Bear on the front, it is recomeneded to be used from 8 months plus, which made this just perfect for Leo who is now 10 months old. Our cup is in a matching Pink colour and goes perfectly with the BabyBjorn Plate and Spoon set.

The cup was designed along side Paediatricians, Industrial Engineers and most importantly children and parents. This shows in all aspects of how babies and children interact with the cup. It seems almost instinctive that babies know what to do with the cup. Although Leo does like to put anything and everything in his mouth.

The design of the cup is unique and offers a low centre of gravity, which is what makes it so difficult to knock over. Both the BabyBjorn Cup and Plate Set contain no BPA or phthalates. They are made from durable and recyclable plastics making them safe to use in the microwave up to 90 degrees and in the dishwasher.

Not only is this stylish first cup just for drinking out of, it also has a serperate use that can actually be very handy when out and about. This quirky cup can also be used as a feeding container, it has been designed to fit perfectly with the BabyBjorn Spoons!

There is a great choice of colours in these exciting items, for the BabyBjorn Plate and Spoon Set you can pick it up for RRP £19.99 in the following colours:

- Pink
- Red
- Blue
- Green
- White

The BabyBjorn Cup can be picked at RRP £8.99 in the following colours:

- Red
- Green
- Pink

I have been so impressed with both of these products and I look forward to watching Leo become more confident in feeding himself and also being able to have a drink out of a big boy cup. I feel that these weaning tools offer a great way in teaching our little ones how to interact with such important equipment from a young age. It also gives them the confidence to be able to do these things on their own. I am going to be giving Leo his plate and spoons on a regular basis so he can become more familiar with what to do.

BabyBjorn have really done their research and provided us with some very attractive products, but also provided very relevant and useful products.

You can purchase your BabyBjorn equipment right here

Laura
xx



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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Planet Cards review

Earlier this month, Leo's Daddy and I booked a very special date in our calenders. This special date is Leo's Christening.

I have been on the look out for the perfect invitations. I wanted something unique and beautiful, something to fit the importance of what they represent.

That is when I discovered Planet Cards and their extensive collection of everything card related! From welcoming a new baby into the world, Birthday Cards, Christmas Cards...And you guessed it! Christening Invitations.


From first visiting their website you will see just how easy it is to navigate to where you want to go. Everything is clearly listed and presented to you, the problem you will have is deciding on which invitation template you want for your occasion! There is a brilliant choice and they all look outstanding.... So how do you decide?

I spent a very long time studying each individual invitation and even uploaded the photos I wished to use to have a play with, and see how they looked. This is the great thing, you can personalise your cards and invitations to make them truly unique. I was so impressed with the quality of the templates and what you can do. The best bit for me was knowing that no-one in my friend circle would have used or would be planning on using these invitations for their little one's Christening.

Once you've made that all important decision and you know exactly what you want. You can make the invite your own by clicking on the 'personalise this card' button. this will then take you to another screen where you can edit the template as you please.

We finally decided to go for the Elegant Writing template and I started to change over the standard photos with my own, I was instantly impressed. I had only made the first few changes and it already looked great. You can even get down into the smallest of details, if you wish to change the font size or line spacing...This is all possible, and very easy to do.

When your invite is complete, click on 'confirm and order'. You'll be able to double check your design before paying for your order.  It is then time to choose how many cards you want and whether you want a gloss coating for your cards. It is a really nice finishing touch but I felt I did not need this to make my card's any better. Planet Cards provide a nice little touch here that makes a big difference. The envelopes are free of charge.

I am sure you are just wanting to see how my Christening Invitations turned out, and in all honesty I am very excited about showing you. So without further adieu, here is our little creation.


I am sure you will agree that they look fantastic. Would you be pleased at the prospect of recieiving one of these beauty's?

Upon recieving my beautiful invitations, I was over the moon. They look fantastic and you can certainly feel the quality in them. Now I am just in the process of  eagerly writing them out to all of our friends and family, as I cannot wait to hand them out.

The lovely people over at Planet Cards have provided a discount code for my lovely readers. This discount code will give you 20% off your order and applies to everything, there is no minimum order. The magic code to enter upon checkout is GUK13.

So if you have any special occasions coming up, Leo and I give Planet Cards a BIG thumbs up.

Laura
xx



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Baby Sing & Sign - Week One

Yesterday Leo and I embarked on our baby signing journey, this will be the last group we attend together before I return to work, and this makes it extra special. I had been looking forward to attending for a few months, after booking it back in February. Leo and I had started doing a few signs at home and have had success with the 'Milk' sign.

Now the course has started we will be attending every Tuesday at 11:00am right through until the beginning of July. We will be learning many new signs and songs to try and communicate with each other, and give Leo a better understanding.

Our morning started out early, where I even awoke to an alarm! This is pretty un-heard of these days as Leo is usually the main culprit in waking me up. The beauty of awaking to an alarm, rather than a baby is the 'snooze' button. What an amazing invention and my oh my, I have missed it.

The baby signing is a 20 minute drive away, this gave Leo ample opportunity to close his bright Blue eyes, and true to form it was not long before he was fast asleep and dreaming. We arrived early giving Leo chance to catch some more 'Z Zz's' and when it was time to go in, he woke up and just wanted cuddles with his Mummy. I knew it would not take him long to come into his own and take baby signing by storm.

There was about 15 Mum's in total who were all wanting to get their babies on the road to signing. Some Mummy's were on there Second term and already knew all the songs and many of the signs, this did make me feel a little worried, as sometimes it can be hard to keep up when things move along so quickly, but everyone was very welcoming and the instructor went through everything so everyone could take part. It was lovely to meet some like minded Mummy's who wanted to achieve the same things.

Leo was slowly coming around and sneakily edging off my lap, it only took him a few minutes to decide that he did not want to stay next to his Mummy. He would much rather crawl away at lightening speed and mingle with all the other babies.

Leo was One of the older babies attending the group and also seemed to be the cheekiest too. He made his way into the centre of the circle and bee lined for the lady teaching the class. He was first to choose a musical instrument and wasted no time in using it. Despite my greatest efforts Leo did not wish to come back and join me in the signing and seemed to thoroughly enjoy his time learning from the instructor. Maybe this is a good thing? Learning from the best in the class cannot be a bad thing!

Of course this must have made me look rather comical, signing 'Chicken' by jiggling my arms up and down to no-one, as my baby boy had all but abandoned me. I got around my stage fright in the knowledge that everyone else was participating too and once you got into the session, it was all very enjoyable.

The first session taught the basic signs, which will be very helpful.
They consist of:

- All Gone
- Milk
- Drink
- Eat

We all sang songs using the actions we had been learning and as this was going on, time was ticking by as suddenly an hour had elapsed and the class was coming to an end. I feel that this will be a lovely way to spend our Tuesday mornings, and I look forward to learning more as the weeks go on.

I cannot think of a more amazing way to finish off my leave, while learning with Leo and also bonding on a whole new level.

Laura
xx





Sunday, 22 April 2012

Pet Days...


From a very young age I have always been brought up around Animal's, we have always had a Pet for as long as I can remember. This has given me many qualities and a confidence around animals, above all else I have always had a companion and friend.

We have had Cat's at home since the day I was brought home from hospital, and it was not long before I was on the move and could crawl after them. Before I knew any better I was always catching Charlie the cat by his long bushy tail. One day though, Charlie decided he had endured enough of my rough tactics. He set up camp by the sofa and waited for me to have a leisurely crawl past. Upon my passing, Charlie pounced and clawed my nappy to shreds, I guess that is the price you pay for pulling a pussy cat's tail...

I have always been told that it was a good job that the nappy was in prime place, as otherwise Charlie Cat could have done some real damage. Beside my early day's of pulling Charlie's tail, I have always loved and respected all animals. Pet's have a funny way of becoming a big part of any family, yes a big fuzzy part, but they are part of the family all the same.

Over the years we have had our fair share of Cat's come and go, it is always very sad to see them depart to the big litter box in sky, and even as you get older...That part never gets any easier.

He have endured more than One road collision involving our beloved feline friends, despite the extent of their injuries, Cat's have a knack of returning home. It is like they make it their final mission, and must must make it back against all the odds.

The vet has played a role in putting our Kitty Cat's to sleep too, when there is nothing else that can be done, with each departure there is always heartache and lots of tears.

With the sad departure of our Cat Ginger, my Parent's decided to take in a Feral Cat from a Farm in Yorkshire where we lived at the time. The Cat we adopted was not picked as such, as in all honesty she was the only one silly enough to be caught. After we thought long and hard about what to call our latest addition, we soon all agreed on 'Tabby', as after all...That is what she was.

Slowly but surely she lost her feral senses and slotted right into our family of Four. She was always a timid Cat but it was not long before she became my shadow, and followed me absolutely everywhere. Tabby used to sleep on my bed, infact she even slept in the duvet just like a person. Tabby would even follow me the short walk to School. We must have had Tabby for over 15 years in total, and in that time she really had got her furry paws right under the table, above all else though we had grown up together.

I can remember a time where I would tuck Tabby up in a doll's cot, and she was more than happy to oblige. She even slept in there for hours, once she was all tucked in nice and cosy. I do have to question the fact that she may have been stuck in there...But she seemed happy and contented none the less.

It has been said by other family members that Tabby thought I was another Cat, with the way that we used to play together. A typical evening back in the day would consist of a younger Laura of about 5 or 6 crawling around the living room, cruising in circles around the arm chair, while Tabby would be perched on the arm of the chair awaiting my next circulation. Picking the perfect time she would jump right onto my back in a playful attack. She would then paw my long hair as if it was a toy, and then the process would start all over again.

These are some truly wonderful memories of my childhood.

Of course as the years have gone on, Tabby grew older but never seemed to loose that sparkle she had always had.

On Boxing day in 2009, we lost our Tabby Cat for good. With all the festive Cheer that had been going on, we had neglected to realise that Tabby had not been seen since the day prior. It was only later that day when she re-appeared out of the harsh cold snow that was lay thick on the ground, we saw that the sparkle in her eyes, which she was renowned for was gone, and had been replaced with a relentless shiver. She was so cold. We knew we had to warm her up and wrapped her up all snug, just like I used to do in the old days. Tabby was then placed by the radiator in a attempt to warm up her frozen body. We left her to it, just to give her some peace that I am sure she was craving. Upon return though Tabby was missing, only to be found asleep in the shower... shivering...

 I insisted we called the vet and get her in at once, this was my Cat and we had grown up together, I could not bare to see her in such pain. I hated that she was not her playful self and I knew deep down that it was going to be bad news.

The vet checked her over and told us she would do her best. The concluded verdict was either she had fallen on the Ice from a substantial height...Or someone had kicked her in the tummy. Either thought was something I did not wish to bare. If I had known that this would be the last fuss I ever made of her, I would have done so for longer.

We left her in the vet's capable hands and just hoped for the best.

Tabby was put in a Oxygen tank as she was having trouble breathing, but passed away naturally over night. It was her time to fly away...In the end it probably was curiosity that killed the cat, Tabby was never the brightest bulb in the box but that was part of her charm. If she had fallen it would have been on one of her daily adventures, and despite her age...She was always going out on one of those.

It was boxing day that Tabby flew away to the big kitty box in the sky and we were visiting Luke's Mum,  when I got the phone call with the sad news. I could just not contain myself. The tears came until I did not think I could cry any longer. It really was as though one of the family had been taken away from us. I cried all night, completely numb...

We collected our beloved Tabby cat and brought her home. This was where she belonged. She looked so different and you could tell she wasn't there any longer. It broke my heart seeing her so empty. That sparkle that we all loved, had all but fizzled out now and her eyes were shut tight never to open again. We found a box for her to be placed in and I wrapped her up in a blanket one last time, it was freezing cold outside and I had to make sure she would be warm...Just like back in the day when we used to play with the doll's cot...

Somehow my Dad had managed to dig a hole in the frozen ground. This was where Tabby was going to sleep now... forever. The whole family was so sad at losing her, it was like we had each lost an arm.

Everyone was quiet, and now it was time to fill the hole back in again. This time though, Tabby was in there too...

Despite all the pain that comes from losing a pet, I think it is so important to have loved one rather than never experiencing it. They teach so many life lessons without even realising the impact that they have on you. This is why I want Leo to grow up with a pet, as despite the sadness that comes from losing one, for the entirety of your pet's life they enrich every part of you. Even the loss of a pet is a important lesson to learn, grief is something that comes to us all eventually.

So when the day comes that I can put a roof over Luke and Leo's heads, we will be bringing a puppy into our lives. Leo will be growing up with a little play mate and making childhood memories that will last him a lifetime. These memories for me are so special and writing this post has brought so many emotions flooding back.

I am sure we have all lost a special pet in the past, and this is something that everyone can relate to.

Laura
xx










Silent Sunday

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Teething Bling Review

Leo and I have been going through the teething motions for month's now, although we do only have his Two bottom peg's to show for it. This of course means we have plenty more to come along to complete his pearly white set.

I am always looking for new innovative ways to help Leo on his quest for teeth and have always heard such glowing reviews in regards to teething jewelry. Over the months I have become more and more curious to find out why all these Mummy's swear by it as they do.

I have been sent some Teething Bling to review, and upon first impressions. I can see why Mummy's and babies love it so. Since Leo was about 12 weeks old, I have given up on necklaces and wearing anything pretty. The reason being my little monster who loves to tug the chains from my neck, and more often than not put it straight into his mouth...Seeing a pattern here?

Teething Bling, by Smart Mom is designed exactly for this purpose, making it ok for our cheeky monkey's to tug and chew on. They are specifically designed for little fingers and teething gums, while also giving Mummy a little treat too. I have to say it has been lovely being able to wear some jewelry again, and also knowing that I do not have to worry about Leo breaking it or potentially swallowing anything.

The Teething Bling pendants and bangles are made of the same silicone that is used in most teething toys. They are completely free of phthalates, BPAs, PVCs, lead and latex. To add extra reassurance the necklace pendants even come with a breakaway clasp as an added safety measure.


The range is very extensive and there will be something in the ever growing collection to catch your eye. We are very pleased with our smart Moonstone coloured pendant and matching bangle. There are so many different colour variations, patterns, shimmers and shapes, that setting your eye on just one, can actually be really hard work.

The real beauty with Teething Bling is that it goes with absolutely anything, and unless you tell someone it is made specifically for your baby to chew on....No-one will ever know!

Since receiving my Teething Bling on Thursday, I have been religiously wearing it and Leo has really enjoyed being allowed to pull it and chew it. He of course thinks he is being incredibly mischievous but little does he know...He is doing exactly what he is supposed to!

I just wish I had discovered Teething Bling sooner, as it is in constant demand right now between Leo and I. I really love the look of both the pendant and bangle and also the convenience of not having to quickly run back into the house to find his missing teething toy. There is no worry of baby dropping it on a dirty floor while out and about, and when baby is not playing with it for those Five minutes you can enjoy it, as a stylish necklace to accompany your outfit.

For those of you who have not tried Teething Bling yet, I highly recommend it and I am sure you will agree. They are the perfect gift's for Mother's to be, who will have a teething baby at some point in the not so distant future, and not only does it have it's practical uses but it will also be the one piece of jewelry, that she will be wearing a few months down the line after becoming a Mummy.

By now you are probably wondering how much one of these would cost, and how you can get One (Or Five) of your very own?

Well... Teething Bling are very reasonably priced at only £12.95 for a pendant and £8.95 for a bangle. Taking into account that these innovative pieces of jewelry have Two very special jobs, looking pretty and helping your baby's pearly whites on their merry way, you cannot get much more reasonable than that right!?

You can purchase online, right now at http://smartmumuk.com/

Enjoy your new found style, as I know Leo and I are!

Laura
xx

I will leave you with some of my favourite designs...






This is a sponsored post

Keeping In Touch


I have been on maternity leave almost 10 months now, and this is the longest time period of my life where I have not worked. While on leave you are entitled to work 10 keeping in touch days, these days allow you to get paid your usual rate and do not affect your maternity leave. I have put off many occasions to go into work, as I have wanted to make the most of my time with Leo.

However last month, I had been asked if I would mind coming in and working for the day, to lend a hand while the office was inundated with employees on holiday. I more than happily obliged and hoped that it would give my brain a much needed work out.

When I accepted the day's work, April 20th seemed like a eternity away, but it slowly crept up on me and it was not long before I had that vaguely familiar feeling in the pitt of my stomach. It almost resembled the feeling you would get as a child, at the end of the school holiday's when you were due to return to school the next day.

It felt like a new school year was starting, at a brand new school, full of changes and people that I did not know...

I started worrying about what I would wear for work, even though I have been out and snapped up a whole new wardrobe full of work clothes. It was my way of making light of my return to work, as these days any clothes I wear around Leo end up covered in baby food, milk or my all time favourite...Sick.

So yesterday morning I awoke before my alarm, the reason being Leo had decided he wanted a bottle in that bottomless pitt of his. By the time his royal heiness had been catered for, there was no real point in me setteling back down in my toasty warm bed, so I proceeded to find that perfect outfit to wear for my day in the office.

By now my butterfly nerves had all but subsided and been replaced with un-expected excitement. It was then that it hit me, I was looking forward to going into work and seeing my collegues. I was looking forward to a day doing something I enjoy and out of my usual routine. Don't get me wrong, I love going on my many adventures with my beautiful boy, but I also love my job and I think along the way I have forgotten this all important fact.

The whole day was just great and I felt great about it too, I enjoyed being back in my familiar surroundings. I loved catching up with everyone who came by and seemed amazed to see me back in the office. I was the novelty, something a bit out of the ordinary to the day to day environment that they had become accustomed to, without me.

The questions on everyone's lips was 'How is Leo? How old is he now? Is he into everything?' Of course I was more than happy to tell everyone and anyone who would ask all about my baby boy, and about how he was developing all the time.

I was asked how I fill my time, and was I not bored? I told them all that I was far to busy to even contemplate being bored. Leo keeps me on my toes every day, and between the baby groups and Mummy meets, I have more than enough to do with my free time. I filled everyone in about the baby signing class we are starting next week, and for the most part it went straight over everyones head's. They simply did not see why or how a baby could use sign language. They all seemed pretty shocked that I was not going out of my mind on maternity leave, but I have loved every single second.

The day was flying by and it was not long until everyone was heading out for lunch, with work being a 5 minute car journey away from home, I have the luxury of coming back to see Leo at lunch time's. Upon my arrival Leo was sat in his high chair having his lunch. He looked up at me and beamed when he saw it was his Mummy who had walked through the door. My heart melted in that very instance. I spent the next hour with him enjoying the time we had together.

Leo was absolutely covered in food, it was all over his face and in every nook and cranny of his fingers, so you can imagine how giving him the cuddle that he so desired was going to be a bit tricky with my lovely work attire on. I soon found a solution to this problem and put on my coat, Leo got his cuddle and Mummy got to keep her clothes nice and clean.

The time continued to tick forward and it was not long before, it was time to head back for the final stretch at the office...

For the past 10 months I have first and foremost been Leo's Mummy. Every waking hour and every not so waking hour has been devoted to him, and him alone. I would not take that back for the world, but being back in my work environment has made me realise that there is more to me than just being Leo's Mummy. I have a career and the oppurtunity to make Leo's life the very best reality, and I have the power to make the future something wonderful.

After a enlightening day at work, I was ecstatic to see the clock hit 5:00pm. This meant I could now return home and see my baby boy, it was time to get him bathed and ready for bed.

My keeping in touch day with the office has been so incredibly positive. It has given me the confidence boost I needed to be happy about my return to work in July and although I am still apprehensive about going back full time, I know I will adjust to the idea eventually. I also know that Leo will be more than happy with his Grandma, and I am providing him with the best possible future.

I am going to be a full time working Mummy, but I am still going to be devoting every single moment to my baby boy. As at the end of the day, he is my reason for wanting to give him the best of everything in life.

Laura
xx







Friday, 20 April 2012

Trunki Visit London Zoo


Earlier last week I was in receipt of a very exciting invitation. This invitation signified my very first visit as a blogger, and the prospect of accepting the very kind gesture, was something I could not pass by. I have been excited at the prospect of meeting other blogger's for a while, so this opportunity really made my day.

I know...I am keeping you in suspense as you really want to know who the invitation was from and where was I going to be heading on this momentous day?

Well.... Trunki sent me the all important date for my diary, and not just any date. Trunki had invited Luke, Leo and myself to London Zoo for a day of looking at all of their new creations, and of course provided a great day out at the Zoo.

We started our day very early as we did not want to be late for our 10:30am appointment, we made our way from the heart of the Cotswold's to Uxbridge with sleepy eyes. It was here we caught our train into the hustle and bustle of city life.


Leo of course was true to form, and thoroughly enjoyed his first trip on the London Underground. His emotions were sky high and ranged from excited to hyper-active, he bounced up and down like a man on a mission, while staring out of the window in wonder. When having a little rest he was finding a helpless victim on the train to sit and relentlessly stare at, those victims had to succumb to his flirtation and were soon chatting away to him, making his cheshire beam ever brighter.

We arrived in London a little later than expected, and quickly found our bus ride which we hoped would get us to the Zoo in record time. Unfortunately after the bus terminated no where near the Zoo...We realised are grave mistake. We had caught the bus on the wrong side of the road...Meaning we were not around half an hour late...

It was here I lost my patience and got my little brood into a taxi. Luckily for us the taxi man saw us flailing on the side of the road, obviously standing out like a sore thumb. He could obviously tell we were country bumpkins and not accustomed to the way's of London travel. He even commented on the fact that we were not local to the area, but this amazing man was our saviour. He dropped us right at the Zoo gates, maybe worried that we could loose ourselves once again. I was so incredibly thankful even though it was now pouring down with torrential rain...

I wasted no time in trying to find where we were supposed to be, I was so gutted to be running late for my very first event and I did not want to miss a single thing. I have to thank Bex over at The Mummy Adventure for helping me locate everyone, and catching the lovely ladies at Trunki before they made their departure back to Bristol.

Trunki were set up by the Komodo Dragon's, hiding away from the rain. They had all their products lined up ready to present them to me, the blogger running late.

I was very glad they had waited for me so I could have a look at the fantastic range of products. The ladies were very understanding into my very apparent lateness, but still took the time to talk me through everything that I wanted to know. I am pleased to announce that I can now share all of these fantastic details with you all!

Trunki are launching their new product Snoozihedz just in time for the Summer months of travelling with your little munchkins. It is easy to see how this will soon be an essential for all of your little ones travelling needs.

Trunki Says...
SnooziHedz is the ultimate travel essential for the car, plane, train or even a space ship! The cute character simply unzips to reveal an inflatable insert for the pillow and a plush fleece blanket, ensuring little ones are comfy and warm from head to toe. The blanket also features a pocket for teddy to take some shut-eye too.

SnooziHedz features the unique Trunki Grip™ on both the pillow and blanket. This enables parents to connect the blanket to the pillow preventing it from sliding off in transit, leaving parents to relax safe in the knowledge their little one is tucked up and toasty!

Snoozihedz are available in Four Exciting animal designs! 

- Leeroy the Lion
- Dudley the Dinosaur
- Mylo the Monkey
- Pippin the Penguin


I was happy to learn that Leeroy, Dudley and Mylo are going to be donating to charity.  For each of these Snoozihedz sold, 50p of the product revenue will be donated to support their fellow species at London Zoo. I know...You are wondering who Dudley Dinosaur will be helping! Dudley is going to be focusing his charity work on the Komodo Dragons! As for Pippin Penguin...He is going to be focusing his donations a little closer to home. Bristol Zoo (near where Trunki are based) have an on-going Penguin conservation project in South Africa, and Pippin is going to be helping them along their merry way.

I was very pleased to hear all about thi,s and I am sure both London and Bristol Zoo recriprocate this feeling.

I have to say that my favourite Snoozihed is Leeroy, we always reffer to Leo as our little Lion. This fit's my boy down to the ground!

Leo and I have been kindly given a Snoozihed to review, on our next outing we will be making full use of our new friend and writing our glowing thoughts up very soon!

I have to admit I have always loved Trunki, not just for their exciting take on luggage for little people, but the company as a whole. It does have to be said though....There is just something magical about a suitcase a child can ride on, and I know that this is something we will be investing into, in the not so distant future.

The day did not end here, I was lucky enough to meet some of the lovely Mummy blogger's that I have become very friendly with over the past few months. Gemma at Always a Mummy and Bex at The Mummy Adventure.

All 3 of us brought our little bundles of joy and we all spent the day together enjoying the Zoo. I found the fact that none of us had ever met before hard to believe, as the conversation ran like we had known each other for many years. There were no need for introductions as I knew who everyone was the instant I laid eyes on them.

Bex's baby boy Dylan is adorable and has the most contagious smile, it was lovely watching Leo interact with him. Gemma's two little angels were just adorable, Kelz is at the age where she was loving the Zoo and made us all chuckle with her running commentary and little lady attitude, and Kai is just completely and utterly scrummy! It really was a pleasure to meet everyone.

I would like to thank Trunki for a brilliant day out at London Zoo, and allowing us to come and look at their upcoming product line.

A big thank you from....
Laura, Luke & Leo
xx