Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 highlights

In a couple of days time it will 2015...a new year and it's got me reminiscing about 2014 and what a great year it's been. So I thought I would go through my best bits with you all...

20 week scan - we got to finally find out the sex of baby Varley

Love Exclusive Makeover - I've already written a post about my amazing makeover/Photoshoot, you can read it here. I enjoyed it so much and I loved the pictures especially the bump shoot.

Start of maternity leave - the end of April meant the start of my maternity leave from work.  I couldn't wait to finish work, I was commuting 50miles a day on the M6 everyday and always got stuck in traffic. I was so looking forward to just getting everything ready for our new arrival.

Carrie comes to visit/Corrie tour - May signalled the start of my maternity leave and meant that I had time to chill out and do things before Joey arrived. My best friend Carrie (Joey's godmother) came to visit and I had a full couple of days planned for us. We went to the Coronation Street Tour which was amazing and then the day after we went shopping to the Trafford Centre.

Officially baby month, Joey's due date was 11th June but he was 8 days overdue and was finally born 19th June.

Birth of the blog - In July I started this blog, not knowing if anyone would actually read it. I love blogging and I can't wait to do more of it in 2015. 
Sunday 28th September was Joey's christening. It was such a lovely day and he was so well behaved. When he is a little bit older we will start to take him to church, my hubby was brought up Catholic and Joey's nan goes to church every week.

Joey's 1st Christmas - the lead up to Joey's 1st Christmas was lovely and especially the big day itself. We didn't go over board with presents as it's only his first. We spent our day with Chris's mum and sister, Joey even had his own Christmas dinner.

I must say, 2014 has been a great year and I'm sure that 2015 will be even better. 

Wishing all of my readers a very happy new year! 

Thanks for reading 

L x

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Joey's 6 months old

It's finally here, Joey's 6 month update. Can't believe he is half a year old already...and it's his first ever Christmas.

Not a lot has changed since last month's review, I mean yes I can see a lot of changes and progressions in Joey but nothing to really write home about. The day before his 6 month birthday (can I really class it as a birthday at 6months??? Well I don't know how else to word it) I took him for his monthly baby clinic where he gets weighed and checked by the health visitor. His weight as of 18th December is 20lbs..and hell I can feel every one of those pounds. He's not fat but just really solid and mummy's back is really suffering. He is a little chatterbox, forever just sat chunnering to himself and it's so cute, he makes some lovely little brumm brumm noises aswell. 

I've probably mentioned in a previous update but Joey has had a really bad chest for a few months now. He's already been on a course of antibiotics and an inhaler which have both not made any difference. So a few weeks back I took him back to the doctors and he referred us to a specialist for February and on new years eve he will be having and chest X-Ray.  I'm guessing that the results of the X-Ray will be discussed with us in February. 

I thought his 6th month would bring lots of lovely new milestones but it hasn't really. Joey can sit up a lot more unaided which is great. He's still trying to master the art of rolling over which is fun to watch, he only manages to get on his side and then gets very frustrated. His hair is coming along nicely, it's all a bit fuzzy at the moment and he's definitely going to be a blondey.
Look at that hair!
Joey's finally sleeping all the way through. He sleeps from 7/7.30pm until about 6am, although he has had me up a few times at 5 am but when he wakes that early I change his nappy and just get him in our bed and try and get him to sleep for an hour. His naps during the day see becoming shorter and shorter, unless we've been doing something exciting during the day he may nap for an hour if I'm lucky. 

At his 6 month check up I was advised/told that I need to reduce his milk drastically and introduce more solids. He typically has around 7oz per feed and he'll have around 5 feeds per day. Over the past few weeks we have been doing a bit of weaning to introduce him to different foods and textures and he has been leaving about an oz or 2 in his bottle. As I'm writing this Joey has been on 3 meals a day for about a week and he seems to be enjoying everything. I am just using pre prepared baby food until I know the types of things he likes. For breakfast he has either multi grain, porridge or mango/banana brekkie. For lunch he'll have Heinz Cheesy Veg with Pasta or a left over dinner pouch. 

Joey's peggies are still yet to make a proper appearance, they are still bothering him. Christmas day he was in quite a bit of pain with them...Poor thing. I really had hoped by Christmas he would have had at least 1 tooth through. 

Joey is well and truly in the 6-9months range now. Some of the 6-9month sleep suits are a bit too long for him, so pj wise he's in 3-6 months. 

Well that's Joey's 6 month update done and dusted. 

Thanks for reading 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation

For the past God knows how many years I have had to live with annoying acne. It blighted my teenage years and now at the age of 22 it still curses me. Over the years I have spent hundreds maybe even thousands of pounds on products and treatments that promise to reduce the appearance of blemishes  but nothing has really disguised the acne scars and spots leaving a flawless finish....until now.

Ladies and gents I'd like to introduce to you Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation, my makeup problems have finally been answered. I was kindly sent the corrective foundation and the settling powder and I couldn't have been more excited to try it out. I'd seen maybe 1 or 2 blog reviews about the product and I was really interested in seeing the coverage on my skin type. Vichy claim that the Dermablend foundation "expertly conceals minor to moderate skin imperfections such as; uneven skin tone, dark circles, redness,  scarring, etc.". I've been using a mineral powder concealer and foundation for about 5 years but it just hasn't given me that full coverage I've been after. I'd heard of the Vichy brand before but I wasn't aware of their Dermablend products so I had no idea what shade I would be, I went for the Nude and at first when I first squeezed it out I immediately thought it was too dark but it actually wasn't. As soon as I had warmed the fluid up and applied it to my face I found that it really blended in well with my skin tone. Please excuse the messy hair, overgrown brows etc...

Before & After
I thought the foundation may have been really heavy on my skin but I was pleasantly surprised, it felt so light and I couldn't tell I had any makeup on. Generally, my skin is just really rubbish, i never seem to be without a spot, I get my biggest breakouts just before I'm due on usually around my jaw/chin area. Before I used the foundation for the first time I had a list in my head of all the things I needed it to do/hide. I felt like it was really important that I really put the following issues to the test...

Redness/skin tone
Vichy explain that "Soft-focus" pigments conceal imperfections with a beauty result comparable to that of a conventional foundation. Due to the redness in my skin it means I don't have an even skin tone, when reading the info about this foundation one of the main reasons i wanted to try it was becuase they claim to conceal imperfections. Other foundations I have previously used haven't evened my skin tone or hid my imperfections. I'm really happy that my spots, scars and redness are mostly hidden.
Long lasting
Dermablend foundation promises "up to 16 hours high coverage, with 30% pigment concentration for a flawless coverage. With my previous foundation I have felt that after a few hours that I feel like its melted off my face. I really like that the foundation still looks the same as it did when I first applied before going out. 

How to use Dermablend foundation:
1. Apply the Foundation using your fingertips or a small sponge, working gently from the centre of the face outwards. In the case of more marked skin flaws, dab the foundation onto the area concerned, then spread out lightly.
2. Blend downwards towards the neck, then out to the ears and up to the hairline to avoid leaving lines.3. Repeat application until desired coverage is achieved.

I have found the foundation and settling powder really easy to use and I am so glad I was able to try it. I will definitely be using Dermablend foundation from now on, I give it full marks. What I really love is that I don't have to bother applying a concealer, the foundation covers everything. It really does hide everything and doesn't make spots appear bigger. It also blends in so well and doesn't leave a dreaded line on my neck or hairline. For the first time in my life I feel like I've found the answer to all my skin worries. I can use this foundation without having to worry about how my face looks. Thank you so much Vichy, you are a lifesafer!

Vichy Dermablend Foundation and the Dermablend Settling Powder can be purchased from Boots and other stockists. I was sent this product free of charge in order to review. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Joey's Weaning Journey

Joey will be 6 months old on 19th December, a whole half a year old! But 6 months also means it is the recommended age for weaning.

I started Joey weaning when he was 4 months old, just on the baby rice, baby porridge and the odd melted rusks. And even though they are quite bland introductory foods he's seemed to like them. He hasn't pulled any faces or turned away anything so I take that as a sign that he likes his food. Once I was certain he had no alergies to those first foods I then tried him with Cow & Gate fruit puree pouches and again he seemed to like the taste of that aswell. Aswell as the fruit purees, Joey has also tried the little jars which I'd say are more for lunchtimes and tea time. He's had baby cauliflower & cheese, creamy carrot & potato and Grandpa's Sunday lunch. 
Thanks for the pink spoon Daddy
His routine hasn't really changed, he just doesn't nap for as long but his feeds look a bit like this:
6/7am: Joey wakes up and has 1st bottle of the day. Sometimes he'll nap straight after his feed.
8/9am: Naptime or porridge if he isn't sleepy
9.30am: 2nd bottle 
11am: 3rd bottle 
1/1.30pm: 4th bottle
2/3pm: Yoghurt
4pm: bottle 
7pm: last Feed before bed
7.30pm: Joey's bedtime 
This routine isn't set in stone so sometimes bottles are at slightly different times depending on what we're doing during the day. Also he doesn't have food every day, 3 times a day, I just introduce it as and when I think he needs it. 

As you've probably read in a previous post, Joey already has his own baby Christmas Dinner courtesy of Ella's Kitchen. I'm really excited that we've started his weaning and i can't wait to see him discover different tastes. When Joey is eating more than a few spoonfuls I'll probably make his food myself. I still need to get the equipment to do that, for the meantime the little pouches are fine. I seem to be giving him a fee spoonfuls and then because they only last 24 hours in the fridge I then have to throw them away with loads still in. So I am on the Luck out for some little pots I can separate the pouch into and then freeze. 

I look forward to updating you all with Joey's progress. Any handy tips or food recommendations would be great! 
Obviously enjoying his food
Thanks for reading :)
L x

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

12 Week Scan Anniversary

A year ago today was our 12 week scan, the first scan, the first time we saw our baby. It was the best picture I had ever seen. Before the scan, I was slightly worried that I wouldn't be able to make anything out...just like in Friends when Rachel can't see make out the baby in the scan. But I had no problems, everything was so clear...
Our little bean, with his hands up in the air.
I'd done a bit of reading up about what to expect during the scan and about having a full bladder.  So I drank nearly 2 litres of water before I drove to the hospital, I could hardly walk i was so desperate to relieve myself. I managed to get to the maternity department and had a short wait. When the sonographer called us, she looked at me and she asked if i was alright and I told her I'd drunk loads of water, she let me  go to the toilet thank god. So I laid down on the bed and tried to get comfy, it wasn't easy with the sonographer jiggling my belly to get a good picture. We were so relieved that everything looked good, baby seemed happy and healthy.

The 12 week scan also meant that I felt comfortable in telling people I was pregnant. I had told a few people, mainly just close friends, family and work. It killed me not putting anything on facebook but I felt that I needed to wait until the 12week scan, we wanted to know that everything was fine. We had such a great response when we announced it on Facebook, with a few people commenting that it was about time. Me and Chris were in a good place, we'd been married 4 years, we had our own home and our jobs. It just seemed like the perfect time to start a family...and what an amazing family we've made. It's been an amazing 12 months and I love seeing Joey grow into an amazing little boy.

Thanks for reading

Lolly x 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

That time of year is upon us already, I cant believe its here all ready. It's looking a lot like Christmas in the Varley household; the tree and decorations are up, present shopping is nearly done and the presents I've bought have all been wrapped. The only things left to buy now are the last of Joey's toys from Smyths. Hopefully, this Friday me and the hubby are going to go to the Manchester christmas markets, we've been to the Birmingham markets a few times and we fell in love with the city. Now that we have Joey we didn't want to leave him and go to birmingham which is quite far away from us so we're treating ourselves to a day out together.

As people are starting to plan their christmas dinners it never really occured to me about what Joey was going to eat on the big day. But thanks to Hannah at First Time Mummy for the tip off, Joey now has his very own baby friendly Christmas dinner from Ella's Kitchen. Apparently, these Christmas dinner pouches are like gold dust and you can only get them from massive Tesco stores. So any mummy's who want to get their hands on one, get to your local Tesco ASAP before they sell out.
The tree & Joey's crimbo dinner
Now that it's December everything seems to be Frozen...and i don't mean the weather! Let it go, Let it gooo...its doing my head in! I've no4t even seen the film Frozen but it seems to be in my face a lot lately and I'm wondering how long I've got until I have to introduce this madness to Joey. Don't get me wrong, I love a good animated fairytale movie...Hello I was a child of the 90s, Disney movies were my world. 

I really can't wait for Christmas. It's going to be an amazing year. I'll finish off with a gorgeous picture of Joey in his new Christmas jumper. 

Thanks for reading :)

Lolly x 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Should we be worried about the NHS?

Depending on which part of the world you're reading this, some of you may have heard about the tragic story of Charlotte Bevan, the Bristol mum who went missing with her 5 day old daughter from hospital.

Charlotte Bevan, 30 was caught on CCTV leaving St Michael's Hospital in Bristol on Tuesday 2nd December, with her newborn daughter without being stopped. Her daughter was only 4 days old and was wrapped in just a blanket. Unfortunately Charlotte and her daughter were found dead.
The question that is being asked at the moment by many people is 'Why was Charlotte Bevan not stopped?' Surely she must have passed a nurses station or someone saw her carrying a newborn in just a blanket might have thought it was odd and alerted someone. The hospital where I gave birth was impossible to leave the maternity unit without a midwife opening the doors. There will no doubt be an investigation in order to ask/answer those questions so that this doesn't happen again. No doubt the Bristol hospital is getting it in the neck by the NHS bosses and i'm guessing the local social services will have an investigation. Nobody truly knows what was going on in Charlottes life or how she was feeling about becoming a new mum. 

When I heard the story about Charlotte it got me thinking about my own experience with the hospital I gave birth at, and then I found this post Charlotte Bevan Highlights NHS Failings written by blogger London Mum and it suddenly clicked that yes the NHS are failing new mothers. The birth of my little boy was proof of that, not the actual birth but i'd say the lead up and then straight after the birth. I have documented my birth story in a blog post but ill just concentrate on the complication after I had given birth. So Joey was born at 9.25pm on 19th June 2014 after 5 hours of labour, he was placed on my chest and cried as soon as he was born and he was all fine. For some reason in all the chaos my husband wasn't allowed to cut the baby's cord. After I was cleaned up myself, hubby and the baby were left for hours while the midwives did paperwork. A midwife did pop her head round the door to tell me I could have a shower, this was probably about 11/12pm. I got a shower, which was a bit difficult, i then started to pack my stuff away for them to move me onto the ward. We were waiting for ages and when hubby popped out to ask when I was getting moved they just kept saying "it will be soon". I couldn't lie or even sit on the bed in the delivery room as they had taken the bedding off, hubby was cuddling baby in the one chair in the room. I managed to sit myself on the very edge of the bed, and then the next thing I know I wake up lying on the bed feeling very woozy. I'd basically fainted and had a fit because of the exhaustion and hubby ran out to get a nurse. They came running in asking me what was wrong, they got me on heart monitors you name it and it was just down to exhaustion and hunger. I asked them for some toast after I gave birth but that didn't turn up, I'd run out of snacks and all the shops in hospital were shut.

Finally at 3am we were moved onto the ward, before I got moved Joey had breast fed for ages so he was finally asleep resting his noisy lungs. I was put on a ward with 3 other mums and babies so hubby had to go and i literally begged them for him to stay but rules were rules. I had about an hours sleep that whole night. All I wanted to do was for me and baby to go home, I knew that I would feel better and more relaxed. But we only got discharged that day at 5pm. They were very reluctant to discharge me as breastfeeding wasn't fully established, I had the breast feeding nurses coming in to see me and I knew that everything would be fine once we got home. I just felt completely alone with my baby, and I feel everything would have been better if I had my husband their for support. I cried quite a few times during my stay in hospital, which I know is expected but even a week after the birth I still had a bit of the baby blues. Part of me getting so upset was the breastfeeding, it was so stressful, especially in the early hours of the morning. 

I've read a lot of blogs recently and there seems to be a pattern emerging with mums being pressured to breastfeed. London Mum suggests that the NHS is putting too much effort and money into encouraging breastfeeding both before and after the baby is born instead of focusing more on the basic post-natal care. I completely agree, from my first booking appointment with a midwife this time last year when I was only about 8 weeks pregnant I had been booked onto a breast feeding class in 5 months time. At that stage in my pregnancy I didn't know which route I was going to take. I even felt slightly pressured by people I knew. Don't get me wrong, the NHS is a great institute and we would be stuck without it, but surely the case of Charlotte Bevan just shows that the immediate post-natal care is just not good enough. It needs major improvements and less of the breast is best army within the NHS (I'm not bashing Breast feeding..I've tried it). I did subsequently breast feed Joey exclusively until he was about 10 weeks old, I then moved on to combination feeds and then moved onto just formula feeding by about 12 weeks.  We tried it and it was ok very early on but we just found that formula was the best option.

With my own experience after birth I definitely had a case of the baby blues, I seemed to cry all the time at nothing. I had no problem bonding with Joey, that aspect was fine and I knew that I loved him straight away. But I must admit I didn't tell my health visitor or doctor that I was struggling a bit in those early days, I just got on with being a mum. I'm first to admit that I'm the sort of person that likes to keep up pretences and i won't seek help immediately which is the wrong thing to do. 

Again, I am not saying that the NHS is irrelevant but more emphasis on the post natal care side of things needs to be assessed. Maybe and this is a BIG maybe, if nhs strategies were different Charlotte may have felt more supported or know that there was more support out their and may not have felt the need to do what she did. My heart goes out to Charlottes family and her partner. Ofcourse, it has been well documented that the NHS is strained and that midwives in particular are in short supply and aren't getting paid enough either. I just hope that the NHS can just improve things so that new mums and health care professionals can work happily together and provide more support. 

I'd really like to hear your views on this. 

Thanks for reading 

Lolly x 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Gro Hush Baby Calmer

 Last month, Joey and I were chosen by The Gro Company to review their new product, the Gro-hush. Which has been deemed the next 'must have' baby product. Well it arrived last week and I've been using it on Joey, he is the intended target market...even if mummy uses it sometimes aswell.

The Gro Hush is a hand held white noise baby comforter that can be used from birth. It has 3 different white noise sounds and they can be operated by pressing the buttons which consist of heartbeat, rain and waves.

Obviously, research has been done by the Gro Company as to the different levels of white noise and they've gone all scientific on us. I was kindly sent the research findings and i found it quite interesting, reading this sort of took me back to my uni days reading all those case studys. Without boring you too much and giving you lots of info I've gone through the most interesting information. Now, we should all be slightly familiar with decibels, there are different levels such as dangerous levels, extremely loud and very loud. The Gro Company has sort advice from the The Children's Hearing Institute to give some examples of noise levels that some of us encounter on a daily basis.

According to the info provided by Gro Company it is advised that "anything fewer than 80 Decibels is safe for humans for an unlimited length of time". The Gro Hush is set at 75 decibels, so is perfectly safe our bambinos delicate ears.

Enough of all the scientific talk, Down to the actual review. I've used the Gro Hush quite a few times now with Joey, mainly at night when I'm trying to get him to sleep. The first few tries he just kept pushing it away but recently when I've used it I've laid him at the side of me in bed and left the Hush at the side of him and he falls asleep. Usually he won't fall asleep straight away and he likes having the TV on in the background. So last night I still had the TV on but when I put the hush next to him he turned his head away from the TV and towards the Hush and then fell asleep. Joey is nearly 6 months old so I can't get him to sleep by holding him anymore. People say that the best way to calm your baby is holding them near you and that's all the calming they need. But Joey loves a bit of white noise to calm him or get him to sleep.

In hindsight I wish I had been given this/bought the Gro Hush when Joey was newborn. I think all those sleepless nights may have been slightly better with this product. Will it last much longer with Joey? I don't know, is the answer, he's teething and he's getting older and more restless so only time will tell. It's handy to take out and about so you could use it during the day. The material that goes against baby's ear does come off and can be washed which is great. This product would be great for any new mums or mums-to-be looking for something to calm baby. The Gro Company are a fantastic brand and have a variety of other products available, we also have the Gro-egg room thermometer in joey's room which is great.

The Gro-Hush retails at £34.99 and is available from a wide range of stockists. I was sent this product free of charge in order to review. All opinions are my own.

I hope you have found this review helpful.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Lolly's Loves - December

We're now in December and that means 1 thing...Christmas. My hasn't it sneaked up on us quickly!

I've done a lot of blogging over the past month. So much happens and I just love telling you all. Christmas is the time of year when we get all of those lovely TV specials, we also go a bit mad on shopping and no doubt someone will have that dedicated Christmas album or radio station playing in the background. So here are my loves for December....

As always I'm always watching the telly. As I'm writing this I am watching the itv3 coverage of Phillip Schofields Live 24 hour TV Marathon for this year's Text Santa appeal. I love a bit of behind the scenes action.
I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here started about 2 weeks ago and I really wasn't bothered about watching it, I thought it was the worst line up ever! But I find myself watching it every night and I must admit I love it. It was really sad that Craig Charles had to leave because of the sudden death of his brother. I'm not so sad to see the back of Gemma Collins, I've never been a TOWIE fan but I liked Gemma and i just thought what a waste when she decided to leave the jungle. After Gemma left I thought oh hell  they're dropping like flies. But the I'm a celeb team got 2 new recruits and i think it's worked out so well. I can't really see a winner at the moment though.
X Factor has been on for a while now, it's only 2 weeks until the final. I've always watched XF, even though I love it I'm feeling a bit disappointed with the acts though. I really hope Fleur wins, I do like Andrea but he is a one trick pony, Lauren is a great singer but there are so many singers out their that are the same.
Dance mums with Jennifer Ellison is another show I'm really enjoying at the moment. Similar to the American dance mums show, Jennifer is the dance teacher and it's typical scouse behavior. If you haven't watched then it is on Lifetime channel on Mondays 9pm.

I absolutely love my music, music is such an important part of life in my opinion and i have my own tastes. At the moment I've been seeing and hearing so much of Sam Smith, I think you'll all agree he has an amazing voice and his songs are great too. When Sam released his first song I wasn't too keen but when I heard I'm Not the Only One, I was hooked. He is like the male version of Adele. Jessie J is smashing it across the world, I've been a fan for years and I've seen her live. Bang Bang has been Number 1 in several countries and she has appeared on a few high profile awards shows performing with Arianna Grande & Nicki Minaj. We're going to see some great things from Jessie J. 

Most of us have been doing some Christmas shopping haven't we? I started my Christmas shopping in October and i still have things to buy. Friday just gone was the dreaded Black Friday, a stupid American tradition that turns us crazy when it comes to those sales. I didn't go out, I comfortably browsed the Web from the comfort of my home and bought some gifts. Some stores have great discounts and i probably wouldn't have purchased without the discount. I got a great deal on some personalised sheepskin booties from My 1st Years for Joey. I love wearing my uggs and i wanted to get Joey some...even though he's a boy. I also received my alphabet scarf from Matalan in aid of Alder Hay Children's hospital, it's lovely and snuggly. No Christmas or birthday can be complete without some form of ClaireaBella product and my main Christmas prezzie is an original bag. I've asked Claire not to take a picture of it and I won't open it until Christmas day.

You may have seen on my instagram that I got a new tattoo recently. Something I've been planning since Joey was born. Hopefully in the next week or so me and the hubby will be going to the Germans Christmas Market in Manchester. We've been to the Christmas markets twice in Birmingham and they were brill so thought we'd try closer to home. I will hopefully be doing a blog about it. On Sunday we put up our Christmas decorations, and ive just been wrapping some presents.

Thanks for reading

Lolly x