Friday, 29 August 2014

Christening Chaos

A few weeks after Joey was born we set a date for his christening...Sunday 28th September.  In an ideal world I would have liked his christening to be around when he was 6 months old but that would fall around Christmas and trying to afford Christmas AND a christening was definitely not going to happen.

Seeing as though I have a uni degree in Event Management AND I planned my own wedding this should be a piece of cake really...oh no. A degree in Event Management does not prepare you for the unexpected family emergencies that pop up now and again.

Whenever i have my planning head on i am very organised, everything has a list. So the first thing to decide on was a guest list, pretty easy to come up with and this has to be done first so that you have an idea of guest numbers for your  reception venue. In terms of venue I had quite a few options, the most extravagant was Langtree Park home of St Helens Rugby League Club, I thought it would be a great place to hold the reception seeing as though my dad was a past player, I've worked their and both me and the hubby support the team. But alas, it was way too expensive just to hire the room. So back to the list I go and I have a few local nightclubs and bars suitable for the event it just depends on that all important budget.

But just when I'm getting into the planning of the christening an emergency situation arises with my grandad which lead to me rushing him into hospital in the middle of the night and then spent the following 2 weeks backwards and forwards visiting him in the hospital. The planning for the christening had to be put on hold, Joey was 5 weeks old at the time and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to be planning anything...but that's another blog.

So we both decided that it might be best to postpone the christening,  I really want it to be a great day. I know Joey won't remember it but his dad and I will and I want to put my full attention into planning it. We hadn't even sent any invites out but we had made an event page on Facebook with the details. But it's now just less than a month until the christening and we haven't been able to make any decisions about postponing. We decided on a venue and where all ready to pay the deposit but they wanted over £300 for the buffet. I think we were missing the point though, it's not just about having a good party afterwards the most important thing is to get him christened and just have a small get together afterwards. So hopefully we are going to hire a venue that is free or has a very small charge and then just do the buffet ourselves....with the help of some Costco food.

Have any of you recently planned your babies christening??? Any advice or tips would be great! Hopefully this time next month I'll be blogging about the christening and sharing some photos. 

Thanks for reading :)

Lolly x

Thursday, 28 August 2014

My ClaireaBella Addiction

Hello Lovelies,

I thought I'd have a bit of a break from blogging about mummy/Joey things and blog about one of my obsessions......ClaireaBella. If anybody reading this knows me personally or you follow me on Twitter then you will know how obsessed I am about the brand.

Here's most of my collection
The brand was created by a woman called Claire from Hull who at the time was working as a custody sergeant with the police and started creating bags for a few of her work colleagues and then they were seen on the likes of the Towie cast. Back when the brand was created Claire made every bag herself, nowadays because the brand has evolved so much a company called Toxic Fox now has artists that make the jute bags by hand. As you can see by the above photo the brand doesn't just sell bags, there are a wide range of products available such as phone cases, iPad cases, hoodies etc. I use my ClaireaBella stuff ALL the time, especially the bags whether I'm popping to the shops or on holiday I'm never without a form of ClaireaBella. 
ClaireaBella Jute Bags
I first became aware of the ClaireaBella brand in 2011/2012 after seeing one of the Towie cast with a bag and fell in love immediately. I bought my first Large jute bag to take on my holiday to Turkey that year. From then on my obsession got bigger....and more expensive. I have 3 limited editions which were my most expensive ClaireaBella purchases but overall I have about 13 bags now. Before I go on I think it may be handy to explain the different variations of the jute bags; you have the Originals, Classics and Limited Editions. The originals are created by Claire herself and you can customise the bag to your own specifications, they come in 2 sizes Medium and Large and they are only available when Claire has the time to actually do them and there are always a very limited number. The classics are created by artists that Claire has trained at Toxic Fox and you can pick from a variety of hairstyles, hair colour, outfit, eye colour and skin colour. The classics are available in 3 sizes; Polo, medium and Large. Finally, the Limited Editions are bags that can be either created by Claire or the Toxic Fox artists. The limited editions you can purchase from Toxic Fox can be special occasion bags for example Christmas, Valentines or Mothers Day. Limited Editions that are done by Claire are usually based around a theme or colour and you can usually get yourself one on eBay or in a twitter competition Claire does now and again. In 2012 I was lucky enough to win a competition and I received a very special bag from Claire, she had won an award and made a special bag to take along with her. 

My favourite at the moment is my Original bag, after years of trying to get one I finally ordered mine on 12th June this year and there's quite a nice story attached....if you've read my previous blog posts you would know that I have recently had a baby well my due date was 11th June (I ended up going 8 days over) and Claire had announced that there were going to be a batch of originals available on that day. After stalking the website all day i actually managed to order one and seeing although I was waiting for the arrival of my little boy I thought it would be nice to add him to the bag as well as my love for Christian Louboutins. 
My ClaireaBella Original
ClaireaBella is a great brand. No matter what your budget or style there is a ClaireaBella for you. If you want to know more about ClaireaBella and it's products then visit the ToxicFox website or ClaireaBella Designs. Also keep an eye out on twitter and Facebook for competitions to get your hands on one. 

Thanks for Reading :) 

Cloud B Tranquil Turtle

I thought I'd do a review on the Cloud B Tranquil Turtle.

I bought this over a month ago to help soothe Joey to sleep. I bought it from a site called Wauwaa which is a site that specialises in baby essentials RRP £40.95 but I used a discount code and paid £34.12 (Inc VAT & postage) which was great!

Before we had Tranquil Turtle we were using the Tomy Starlight Dreamshow Projector which just plays a few songs and projects onto the ceiling, the Tranquil Turtle plays 2 soothing sounds and has an underwater light effect. The 2 soothing sounds consist of a lullaby kind of song and also the sound of waves. Joey prefers the lullaby sound but overall he loves it and at night I do struggle to get him to sleep without it now. The light and sound timer stays on for 23 minutes, which sounds like a really exact amount of time. I can only think that Cloud B have done some research into the time it takes for babies to fall asleep or something like that.

Overall the Tranquil Turtle is a great sleep toy and I don't think Joey would get to sleep without it anymore. The only little niggle I have is that I have to replace the batteries every week but apart from that i would really recommend the Tranquil Turtle. The toy is available from a wide range of retailers.

Are their any sleep toys that your little one couldn't sleep without?

Joey loves it!

Thanks for reading :)

Lolly x

Monday, 25 August 2014

Joey's first Jabs

On Wednesday Joey had his first immunisations, the lead up to the appointment I was so scared for him. I had read a few peoples experiences of their child's first jabs and I sought of new what to expect. I took my mother-in-law with me for the appointment as hubby was working and I'm so glad of the support.
Their were 3 immunisations to be had, one was an oral solution that was injected into his mouth which he didn't like at all. He cried for a couple of seconds and then calmed down. Then it was time for the two nasty injections in his thighs. I had to sit him on my knee and hold him so that when the injection went in he didn't wriggle about. Dear god,when the injection went in he screamed and then cried. It broke my heart and both me and my mother-in-law were nearly in tears. The nurse told me to look out for any side effects such as a rash, bleeding or fever and advised to get some Calpol just incase.

After Joey had his jabs we then saw a healthcare person for his check up where he was measured....he's a whopping 60cm. Apparently he is going to be a tall boy, which is great as I'm 5ft nothing. After we left the doctors surgery he was absolutely fine, we went food shopping afterwards for an hour or so and then once we got home he was like a different baby. Joey was inconsolably crying for over an hour and he was really hot and sweaty. I was petrified, he'd never cried like this since he was being born. I gave him some Calpol and tried to comfort Joey over my shoulder, just when I thought he'd fallen asleep and tried to put him down he'd start screaming again. I rung my husband in floods of tears, I was really scared. So Just to be on the safe side I took him back to the doctors to get checked over, I was sat their in the waiting room thinking that the doctor will just say he was fine and have a go for wasting his time but the doctor was really good and me feel so much better. He assured me that Joeys reaction to the jabs are perfectly normal and that he gets a lot of mums coming in on a Wednesday (immunisation day) with the same worries.

So for the rest of the evening Joey was pretty grizzly but for the first time ever he slept all the way through the night. I must admit, I'm really not looking forward to his next round of immunisations in 4 weeks time. But at least I know that him being slightly off after the jabs is normal and I know how to treat him. I really hope that it will get easier for him, no mother wants to see their child in pain.

For all you mummy's out their who have their child's first immunisations coming up, I know it's easier said than done but please don't stress yourselves out.

Thanks of reading :)
Lolly x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Avent Manual Breast Pump

I thought I would do a review of the Avent Comfort Manual Breast Pump. I bought it from Kiddicare for £24...bargain as at the moment they are £40.

When I was looking for breast pumps I was so overwhelmed, there is a lot of choice out their for all different budgets. In an ideal world I wanted to buy an electrical pump, It seemed to me like the easiest way of expressing but obviously not the cheapest and seeing as though my mother-in-law bought me an Avent bottle steriliser I thought it be best to stick to the same brand. So I went for the Avent manual pump, at the time of purchase I had no idea how my breast feeding journey would go so I thought if I started off with the basic equipment and things were going well then I could decide whether to invest in an electric one.

The contents inside the box consisted of:
  • Breast pump
  • 3 storage cups with lids
  • 1 bottle with teat
  • 1 day and 1 night pair of Avent breast pads
The storage cups came in really handy for storing breast milk in the fridge and you can actually write on the side of the cup for instance the date and time you expressed. I was also really pleased that the box had samples of Avent breast pads, I had bought Mothercare breast pads and they weren't very good. The Avent ones were very soft and absorbed quite a lot. On the subject of breast pads, I did sample quite a few. As mentioned, I did use Mothercare's own brand of breast pads and personally I found that they didn't absorb much and were actually quite small. I then bought a box of  Johnson's Baby Nursing Pads (pack of 30) £2.50 from Asda, again these were not very good in my opinion. They felt very cheap and again did not absorb that much. I then started using Asda Little Angels Breast pads (Pack of 40) £1.50, these were by far the best I had tried. They were nice and soft, and I seemed to not have to change them as often. Also compared to the other brands the pack contained more and for a cheaper price. Another breast feeding essential that I used was Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream, it is slightly expensive but well worth it when you have sore nipples. 

Using the breast pump was easy and I found it quite rewarding to see how much I was expressing. Using it for the first time my hand ached so much from the pumping action, but after you use it a few times it goes away. Something that I was really disappointed with was the annoying squeaky sound every time i squeezed the handle. It was horrendous, it got to the point where if I had to express during the night or whenever the baby was asleep I had to go in a different room. If you can put up with an annoying squeaky noise then this can be a good pump. I had no problems with being able to express, it was actually very easy....apart from that noise.

If you have read my previous post you will have read that I have stopped breast feeding, so now I don't need the equipment. If I had carried on breast feeding I think I would have invested a bit more money and gone with either a Tommee Tippee electric pump or the Madela Mini. I've read mixed reviews on both, it would have been nice if I had had the chance to compare both manual and electric pumps...maybe next time.

What were your experiences with breast pumps? Did you experience manual AND electric?

Thanks for reading :)

Lolly x

Saturday, 23 August 2014

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed....that is the question.

One of the many questions I got asked during my pregnancy was "Are you going to breastfeed?". At the beginning of my pregnancy I had made my mind up and I wasn't going to, my husband was happy with whatever I had decided. I had researched the pros and cons of both bottle and breast feeding and personally at the time I felt that it would be too weird getting my boobs out all the time to feed and at 22 years old I really didn't want leaky boobies to add to my list of reasons to hate my boobs.

My first booking appointment at the hospital you are given your maternity notes folder and it has a vast amount of information on breastfeeding and the whole "golden hour" thing. The midwife didn't even ask which route I was going to take, she just assumed I was breastfeeding and booked me in for the breast feeding clinics over the following months. It wasn't just medical people I felt slightly pressured by, a few friends I spoke to brought the subject up also. Of course I was fully aware of the amazing benefits breastfeeding provides not only your baby but also yourself. I suppose the main reason I changed my mind and decided to breastfeed was the possible prevention of cancer. My own mother sadly died of breast cancer when I was 5 years old and in my mind I thought I'm so stupid to not do it for that reason.

So as I approached the end of my pregnancy and buying the last bits and bobs, I decided to give breastfeeding a go. In my head I said that would breastfeed for a good couple of months with the help of expressing when I was able to.

As soon as Joey was born he latched on straight away and guzzled for a good 2 hours (He must have been a hungry boy) after that it all went a bit wrong. He would latch on and then stop and then start and then stop again. Before I was discharged I had several people from the breast feeding clinic trying to help but I was still so exhausted I just wanted my own bed. I was confident that once we got home that things would be better. Things were better...Sort of, the first night home was pretty horrendous, breast feeding still wasn't fully established and I was starting to get very stressed. I very nearly went to the shop to get him formula. But after a few days he was feeding brilliantly,  instead of losing weight like most new babies do he actually put 4 ozs on in 4 days, which was a relief knowing that I was doing the right thing. It was physically draining me, obviously I had to do all the feeds I couldn't just give hubby a bottle.

As Joey got to around 4/5 weeks old i started to express and OMG it was the best thing ever! I expressed mainly for nightime feeds but when he was 5 weeks old i had a bit of an emergency with my grandad where I was in A&E for 6 hours in the early hours of the morning where I just couldn't feed or express so had to resort to giving him his first formula. From then on I started to combine breast and formula which worked really well but then shortly found that because he was actually using the boob that my supply decreased. When I was trying to express maybe only 2oz was being produced each time. I have now completely stopped lactating, in an ideal world I thought that I'd still be breastfeeding at 6 months. I'm really glad that I did decide to breastfeed though even if it was only for a few weeks.

Too much pressure is put on mums to breast feed, some people just genuinely can't and it must be so distressing to mothers who cant establish breastfeeding.

I'd love to hear your own experiences on this...

Thanks for reading :D

Lolly x

Hospital Bag Essentials

Like all expectant mummy's I couldn't wait to start packing my hospital bags for our impending arrival. As I didn't really know anybody at the time who's recently been in labour I had to rely on websites to point me in the right direction. One website that I relied on heavily for advice and shopping was Kiddicare, as well as shopping they also have a blog and some very handy buying guides. I found this Kiddicare blog really helpful when buying for my hospital bag.

My own hospital bag was from New Look and had wheels at one end and handles which was ideal to wheel around.
Baby's hospital bag was his Pink Lining 'Yummy Mummy' Changing bag. Pink Lining have such a great range of changing bags and accessories.

When ever you look at ready made lists there will be things that you know you won't need or use. I treated it as if I was packing to go on holiday...minus the suntan lotion and bikinis :(

What I needed:
  • Maternity notes – obviously these are a must! I had my notes with me everywhere I went 
  • Large bath towel - for that first shower after labour. The most amazing shower I've ever had.
  • Flip flops or Slippers  - I took flip flops with me. It was summer and I thought for showering they would be handy to use.
  • Basic knickers - I'd suggest black and plain, don't go using your nice underwear. It WILL get ruined. Also try buying the next size up to what you usually are so that you can fit maternity towels in.
  • 2 vest Tops - I'd bought a few basic maternity vests from New Look, they have a really good range.
  • 2 Pairs of plain black leggings - I literally lived in leggings/jeggings towards the end of pregnancy.
  • Nightie - I bought a shirt nightie from Primark which had buttons at the front, easy access for feeding. 
  • 2 nursing bras
  • Breast pads - I didn't actually use these until a few days after I had been home. 
  • Phone, iPad and camera - during labour in delivery suite I couldn't get any signal so completely pointless. I ended up not using my iPad at all . Camera was handy to capture those first moments
  • Phone and iPad Charger 
  • Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shower gel, dry shampoo, deodorant, face wipes, moisturising cream. 
  • Maternity pads 
  • Hair brush, hair band and clips
  • 2 isotonic drinks - I kept them in the freezer and took them out when I needed them for hospital
  • Cereal bars 
For me I think I had everything I needed, there wasn't anything else I wish I had. Are there any essentials you couldn't live without in your hospital bag? 

Thanks for reading :) 

Lolly x

Joey's birth story

I thought it might be quite useful for any expectant mums out there to hear my own birth story. I promise I'll leave out the really gory details. I remember in the run up to my due date I read so many forums about giving birth, this being my first pregnancy I wanted to know everything and to read real accounts. Nothing could actually prepare me for what was to come...
The birth itself wasn't traumatic but it was hard. As of 19th June I was 8 days overdue and had a midwife appointment that lunchtime for what would be my 2nd sweep. My check up was fine but my midwife was slightly concerned with baby's heart rate, it was slightly low and I had had reduced movement the previous night. So, the midwife thought it be best to send me for a check up at the hospital and get me on the monitor.

So off I go to Whiston Hospital, I go into an observation room where I have the monitor that goes around my belly. The midwife said that the baby's heart rate looks fine but said that while I'm already 8 days over they may aswell start me off. As hubby only works across the road from hospital he needed to go home and get himself changed, so off he went while the midwife broke my waters and put me on a drip. At first the contractions were just like really mild period pain and then gradually stronger, I asked for an epidural and they kept telling me the anaesthetist was on his way....he never came. I ended up just having the gas and air which I hated, it made me feel really drunk and out of control. Things started to get a bit intense from then on, baby's heartbeat had dropped again and showed that he was in distress so the midwives had to put a clip on baby's head, I had my legs in stirrups and about a million people looking at my lady bits. This really wasn't how I imagined my labour at all. I was getting tired, my mouth was dry and to add more annoyance to the situation my husband was sat at the side of me watching England getting beat in the World Cup.

Finally after 5 hours in labour at 9.25pm my son was born via ventouse weighing 8lb 2oz. He had a good pair of lungs on him, did not stop crying until I fed him for the first time. Now this is where things get a bit interesting, 2 hours after giving birth I was allowed to finally get a shower. Had a shower, got dressed and started to get my stuff together before we got moved to the ward. I sat on the edge of the bed and the next thing I know I wake up flat on the bed, with my husband panicking and shouting the nurse. Turns out I'd fainted and had some sort of fit, I had to have all sorts of tests like ECG, blood pressure etc. 
Finally at 3am I was taken onto the ward where there were 3 other women who'd just given birth. It was absolutely pointless trying to get any sleep, once one baby started crying it set the rest off. We finally got discharged at 4pm the next day, the midwives were keen to keep me in because breast feeding wasn't completely established but that's another story which I'll blog about soon.
So that's my birth story! Nothing like anything I'd seen on One Born Every Minute, which really annoyed me. But my little boy and I were happy and healthy and ready to start our new chapter as a family.

Until next time....

Friday, 22 August 2014


Ok so I may be going against blogging rules or whatever but I want to blog about certain things throughout my pregnancy. So there will be a few posts that are backdated. But here is just a quick insight into my story...

My little boy is called Joseph Grattan Goodison Varley and he was born on Thursday 19th June 2014 at 9.25pm. He weighed 8lb 2oz. My not so little bundle of joy is now 9 weeks old as i write this. He is the love of my life and I would like to share some aspects of my own pregnancy.

I didn't know what to expect with being pregnant...would I love it or hate it??? Looking back now, I had a great 9 months. I was never actually sick, I just felt sick and my appetite was all over the place. I wanted to document my pregnancy with photos so nearly every week I took the obligatory bump photo...
My due date was meant to be 11th June but I ended up going 8 days over with 2 sweeps. I'll go into a bit more detail (nothing gory) about the lead up to the birth in a separate blog.  

That's it for now, I didn't want my first proper blog to be information overload. But here is a little picture of my gorgeous son Joey.

Until next time....


Blogging nerves

Hi everyone

This is my very first blog. I'm so nervous. I've been meaning to start blogging for a while but have never really got round to it. As a new first time mummy I thought it's about time to share my experiences. Hopefully not just about mummy things but general shopping Or life in general. My life has never been normal, it would probably make a really good film.

But anyway! Onwards and upwards sharing my journey with hopefully a lot of you beautiful people. All the highs and the lows....


Lolly :D