5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Spend Big On A Newborn’s Nursery

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One of the most exciting stages of your first pregnancy is planning for your newborn’s nursery. It makes everything so much more real (although not quite as much as the sheer hugeness of your belly). So it’s no surprise that many couples splash out big money on making everything just right for their newest member of the family. I have no problem with this – but I do question the reasoning behind spending so much on a nursery. Here’s why.

It’s not really for the baby, is it?

A newborn baby isn’t going to appreciate the difference between a hand stitched wallpaper and a splash of supermarket own-brand paint. Nor are they too fussed about what they sleep in. A convertible cot that will see them through their toddler years might be a better idea than a fancy hand-carved teak option that costs you the price of a small car. Of course you want to give your baby the very best start to life, but maybe that money would be better off put into a savings account for the future?

It might be a waste of time

In fact, they may not even use the room at all! Regular readers of this blog will know that I have embraced co-sleeping. It’s a personal choice, and I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse than other options. But, you have no idea of how well your little one is going to sleep. They may not like sleeping on their own,They will probably just sleep where they are comfortable, no matter how plush their nursery is.

It will be a waste of time, eventually

Once your adorable little bundle of joy starts to move around on their own, they will begin to wreck things. Everything that you put in the nursery will be explored, prodded, poked, pulled, ripped and drawn on. Within just a couple of years, your baby will be a toddler, with a fast developing personality and a love for having things the way that they want them. That could mean somewhere new to sleep, a brand new set of toddler bedding, and new wallpaper with Buzz Lightyear or a few Minions on it. So I would advise keeping that nursery plain, simple, and easy to maintain.

There are too many bargains to buy new

I understand that people want to buy brand new things for their first born – I really do. But the truth is that buying second-hand is a lot more cost-effective. Think about how little time your baby will spend in a Moses basket – just a few weeks, in most cases. Must you have that brand new, solid oak changing table? We purchased so many items seconds hand when we had Willow, and its since been used for our other 2 girls since. We have had so much use out of items that we hardly spent any money on at all. If you aren’t planning on having any more kids that could be a waste of space within 18 months. So, if you are strapped for cash, always buy second hand. There isn’t much point in buying certain things new, and you’ll get a higher percentage of your money back when you sell it on, too.

Hopefully, this has inspired you to make some more frugal choices about decorating your firstborns nursery. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make an effort – it is so much fun and you absolutely should – but be wise while you are going about it. Until next time!

My Vegan Challenge

Anyone who knows me will also know that I love my steak rare, my liver with my onions and I can consume my body weight in party sausages in around 10 minutes flat. So why on earth for the whole month of July have I decided to go VEGAN. I also love cheese. Lots of cheese.

I MUST BE BONKERS.

Despite being such a meat eater, I have always enjoyed chomping down on fresh healthy fruits and vegetables. I am also a good cook (taking the chance to blow my own trumpet here) and I would love to extend my knowledge of what I can create in the kitchen. I also live a very frugal life, Using only cloth nappies, baby wipes and feminine sanitary products, growing my own food (as much as we can with a tiny garden) and reusing many daily disposable items before I discard of any item or turn it into something else. I want to take my health conscious-frugal life to the next level. BUT ultimately the reason I have decided to go Vegan is because, I no longer like the thought of how my meat or diary produce gets to me. I don’t know what it contains, what nasty man-made crap the animals were fed on, how they were killed (am I eating Halal or Kosher meat- just something that I would like to know) or even if my Lasagne really is beef (I’m sure we all remember the horse meat scandal back in 2013). If I could live easily and reliably knowing that all of my meat and diary produce was being locally sourced, animals fed an all natural and non-artificial feed and ethically sourced for the animals and the farmer, I would be happy. But sadly, in this modern day and age we have no idea what we really are eating, and even more worryingly what we are feeding our children and what we are doing to their bodies. How bad is that?

I read recently that cutting out animal proteins can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancers. I will be stepping up my fibre, antioxidants, mineral and vitamin intakes dramatically, something my body has been lacking for some time because grabbing easy and fast food has quickly satisfied me (blame juggling 3 kids under the age of 4 for this).

Of course, I understand there are die-hard vegans out there who do it for a thousand more reasons than I have listed, but I really did just want to experiment with myself and see if I could actually do it. How many times will I slip up? I am not going to beat myself up if I accidently consume something on my no-no list, that would just take the fun away from the challenge. I’m not sure if I can even last the full 31 days being vegan. How much will it cost? Buying vegan produce can be costly (I want to try and disprove this- another part of the experiment) but when I am not forking out for meats and diary produce, will it actually work out that much more expensive? How will I know if my cleaning products are vegan friendly? Are there websites that just lists the do’s and don’ts? Will I feel different in myself when my body has gotten used to the detox of shite in my system or will I go into some massive crash and feel cold turkey?

I also need to remember that I am a breastfeeding mother, and I need to be careful that I get my daily recommended doses of essential vitamins, minerals and calories to continue to produce high quality milk for my 16 week old infant. My body is still healing from birth too. But surely this is an even better time to teach myself clean living, when my body needs me to be working on top form and no longer sluggish.

I think I could be thinking about this a little too deeply and I am worried that I will fail by 8am on July 1st. I need to have a little faith in myself. And who knows, come August the 1st, I might just carry on… or at least go veggie!

A Few Body Stats: Day 0.

Weight: 11st 1lb

BMI: 28.3 (overweight)

State of mind and how I feel: Normally quite happy these last few weeks, Always hungry at 8pm. Tiring easily and at times irritable (This could be PMS these last few days though). Lots of headaches, but it is hot weather and humid.

Skin: Spotty, not hugely but noticeable.

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Why I Breastfeed My Babies

Feeding baby Ivy at Ickwell May Day festivities.

Feeding baby Ivy at Ickwell May Day festivities.

It’s National Breastfeeding week and I decided to tell you all why I breastfeed. Are you ready for the answer?

Because I’m lazy. There I said it. I can’t be bothered to faff around with bottles and formula. I can’t be bothered to get out of bed at 1 am , 3am , 6am. I’m skint. Breast milk is free. I have to carry enough stuff around with me, let alone lugging bottles. I love my body. I love my baby’s body. I want to loose weight. I’m really forgetful and the thought of remembering to pack milk or buying formula scares me. Breastfed baby poop doesn’t smell. The list goes on and on and on.

I do not bash mothers who bottle feed. That’s their choice. If their baby is happy who cares? I even put my oldest onto formula after a few months, I was angry then and I think I did hate myself and others for it at the time, but I grew up. BUT formula feeding; it’s just not what I want to do. I trust my body to work and do it’s job. Why would I want to make my hectic life even more complicated? I have baby brain and I forget everything. I can’t forget my boobs if they are attached to me, can I?

My milk is always available for my baby. It is always at the right temperature, and my body tailors my milk (daily) to baby’s age, and makes any bug busting immunities that may need developing and is always on tap; think of boobs as a river rather than a warehouse. We also co-sleep (sharing a room or bed with your baby) which means I rarely miss out on any sleep. If my baby needs a drink, I simple pop her out of her cot into our bed, latch her on and we both go back to sleep within seconds, she will then stay in our bed until morning feeding when she wishes too. Co-sleeping is great for not loosing sleep, keeping your milk supply strong and even reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, due to your baby regulating their breathing with yours. There are a few simple co-sleeping advisories which can be found here, to ensure that you are co-sleeping as safely as possible.

Other than the amazing ‘laziness factor’, breastfeeding has some incredible health benefits too. Early days of feeding help the uterus contract back to its pre-pregnancy size quicker, and due to the huge amount of calories it takes to make breast milk (around 500 per day), many new mums find that their baby weight vanishes quicker and is easier to loose. Studies have also shown that mums who breastfed for longer are significantly less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancers- although breastfeeding for any length of time is beneficial to your health. Newborn breastfed babies have the immediate benefits from receiving colostrum (first milk) as it is full of antibodies, helps clear out your baby’s meconium (the sticky tar like poop that builds up in your baby and is their first few poops after birth) and is full of white blood cells that fight bacteria and diseases. Babies who are fed for 6 months or longer are statistically less likely to develop Type 1 and 2 diabetes, diarrhoea and vomiting, chest and ear infections, Gastroenteritis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and respiratory illnesses including Asthma. Visit the NHS Website here for more information.

And there you have it. That’s why I breastfeed. I don’t know when I will stop feeding Ivy, probably when she is ready and chooses too and I am perfectly fine with that!

http://www.simplyrealmoms.com/posts/33-uses-for-breast-milk/

http://www.simplyrealmoms.com/posts/33-uses-for-breast-milk/

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My Puppy Is PAWSOME!

We give our kids toys and tasty treats when they are good. But we also treated our puppy Scrapper to new treats too. He has been such a good boy after all, learning commands, and getting used to us as his new family.

pawsome box review

Pawsomebox is a super easy way to treat your dog each month with nibbles, toys, accessories and hygiene products to keep you and your best friend happy. The box contents are a total surprise (for you and your dog) as each month’s box contains a different range of gifts and each box is tailored to your dog, when you create their profile on the website. The boxes are sent to you via a subscription, and you can choose from a monthly plan, a three month plan, a six month plan and a yearly plan and special discounts are available for those who wish to pay this way.

Dogs seem to love (like, really love) the postman, and even more so when he delivers a parcel just for them. Lets start with the box itself. Its big and blue and chewable. Scrapper loves cardboard and the thought of a box to play with made his day. But he was no way prepared for the delights inside of the box! Each box has a theme and this month’s was quite obviously Summer fun! The box contained 2 toys (a cute summery flip flop and a soft plush squeaky toy), 2 bags of edible treats, a towel just for him for when he’s all wet from playing with the garden hose or having a dip in the sea and a really useful lead catch to safely secure your dog when popping out and about.

Toys.

pawsome box toys

The first toy we found in our Pawsome box was a really cute flip flop (beats him chewing mine). Its bright and colourful so is great for him to spot as it flies across our garden, and it has a great rope attached to it for him to gnaw on, superb for him during his chewing stage, soothing his gums as his teeth come through at the same time. He is only small and the flip flop toy is small too, great for puppies as it isn’t too heavy or too big for him to carry into his bed.

The second toy was a beautiful doggy credit card! Well, kind of. The soft plush toy is very cuddly and the squeak grabs his attention and gets him to a frenzy right away! The ‘card’ belongs to the Royal Bone Bank and the card holder is ‘Doggy Prince’, respectively.

pawsome box review

Both toys feel well made, durable and great fun. Scrapper cuddles the plush toy when he’s sleeping in his bed, and can be found dragging the flip flop with him around at all times when he’s playing. I’m just not sure if he knows whether to hit the beach first or the shopping centre.

Tasty Treats.

pawsome box treats

There were 2 packs of yummy treats for Scrapper in the Pawsome box for him to try. The first pack is from the dog treat experts 8 in 1. These healthy mini bite-sized treats are chicken and carrot flavour (sounds tasty enough for me) and has Scrapper smacking his lips for more. They are low fat, gluten free and have no added sugar. As Scrapper is only little, I broke one treat into 4 or 5 little lumps and used them as training treats. They broke up easily and didn’t crumble into a fine mess all over the floor, unlike some other treats. He found the treats very yummy and was keeping his eye on the pack at all times!

8 in 1 mini treats

nom dog treats

The second bag of treats are very posh. Woof & Brew have brought us a new super tea-infused biscuit just for your pooch. So pop the kettle on!  The biscuits are meaty, natural and gluten free, that are oven-baked. They boast a high meat content (and that’s post-bake not pre-bake), raw herbs and are infused with Woof & Brew’s signature health boosting herbal tea. These biscuits were also quite large but easy to break up into smaller pieces for smaller jaws to manage.

Easy-Tie.

pawsome box accessory

This fantastic little functional accessory is a must for any dog owner. The Easy-Tie from Happy Paws allows you to safely, quickly and easily secure your dog to pretty much anywhere. Café tables, railings and posts become a convenient place to leave you pooch while you enjoy a cuppa or quickly pick up a loaf for bread (or dog food) from the shops. It is suitable for all dog types and all types of leads, keeping all dogs safe at all times. You simply thread it through the handle of you lead and click the belt around any narrow width bar, or post and click it shut. If the railing is too big for the Easy-Tie you can alternatively wrap the lead around the object and secure 2 parts of you lead together with the catch, making nearly anywhere safe suitable to use the Easy-Tie. We liked using the Easy-Tie in the car to clip around the head rest meaning that Scrapper wouldn’t jump out when I opened the door and into danger. And when it’s not in use, you can simply fold it into itself and sits compact on the lead so it is always to hand at all times. A great design!

Dog Towel.

scrappers first bath

Scrapper had his first bath this week. And while he is very small, it is still amazing how much water such a small dog’s coat holds. The super towel from Camon is made of super-absorbent, soft microfiber which reduces drying time and keeping your dog warm when they first get out of the water. We are yet to take a trip to the beach together, but when we are ready to pop to the sea-front this towel will definitely be coming with us!

The Pawsome box also had a great mini-mag called Paw Notes explaining all of the products in detail, a great tutorial of how to make your own tug toy and some fun doggy news. A nice little read to sit and enjoy while sipping a cuppa and your best friend digs into the box!

I thoroughly enjoyed the Pawsome box and all of its contents. The box seemed well planned and suitable for Scrappers breed and age, and was an absolute pleasure to receive quick and easily through the post. The contents of the box was definitely greater than the cost and it meant I was introduced to brands and products that I may never have heard of or thought about trying before. I definitely got just as much joy from the box as Scrapper did!

Pawsome are offering a free trial of their boxes to those who wish to give it a go and see if it is right for them (trust me, it will be!) and you just have to pay for postage. The boxes are £19.90 per month (if you choose a yearly plan, a discount will mean you only pay £15.90 per month) and you can cancel at any time. There is also a Purrfect box for cats too. I know my cats would really enjoy that… especially the cardboard box!

You can follow Pawsome Box on Facebook and Twitter for loads more Pawsome news.

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Little Kids, Big Milk

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My girls love drinking milk. What toddler doesn’t? Milk in beakers, milk on cereal and even milk in yummy smoothies. Whole cows milk has a superb calcium and fat content for growing kiddies, but worryingly a survey by Mumsnet revealed that 69% of parents feel that their child isn’t currently getting all of the nutrients they need. A very worrying statistic.

Arla Big Milk is the UK’s first specially developed milk designed to specifically meet the needs of growing children aged between 1-5 years and is made from 100% fresh, British cows milk, finely filtered for freshness. Arla (also behind the yummy Cravendale and Lactofree) have made sure Big Milk is enriched with key vitamins and minerals including Vitamin D, Iron and Vitamin A, as well as being naturally rich in calcium and good, happy fats.

The UK Department Of Health recommends that all children  between the ages of 1 and 5 take a daily supplement containing Vitamin A and D, which Big Milk conveniently does! Supplements in their diet is useful to safeguard them from nutritional deficiencies, such as rickets and bone weakness, conditions that are thought to be old fashioned and long gone yet are still making a worrying comeback.

Arla Big Milk includes:

  • Calcium and Vitamim D: Big Milk is naturally rich in calcium needed for strong bones and bone growth.
  • Vitamin A: Supports normal growth, and is key for keeping eyes, skin and their immune system healthy.
  • Iron: Contributes to a child’s normal cognitive development.

arla big milk

We put Arla Big Milk to the test after meeting the team and having a good chat about the milk at the Birmingham Baby Show. My girls loved the fresh tasting milk and Willow even said it was “Yummy and Creamy!”. The girls really enjoyed mixing the milk into smoothies and throwing in lots of fresh fruit for extra goodness. See below for a yummy Banana Split Smoothie recipe!

Arla Big Milk can be found in fresh milk isles across the country in supermarkets and is available in a 2 litre format, with a RRP of £2.25

Banana Split Smoothie!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Arla Big Milk
  • 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1 frozen banana chopped into slices
  • A handful of strawberries (Or other mixed berries)

Chuck it all into a blender or smoothie maker and buzz for a minute. Lumps in your smoothie isn’t fun, so give it a good whizz! Pour into your favourite plastic cup and add a bright straw. Kids will LOVE it!

arla big milk