Snuz review feature pic
Review

The new Designz collection by Snuz | Review

If you follow us on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen that we recently received a beautiful little package from the new Designz collection by Snüz, the company behind the infamous SnüzPod. We didn’t have a SnüzPod for Twink when she was newborn, but in hindsight would have absolutely loved one. It would have made the whole nighttime breastfeeding thing soooo much simpler! And I loved her being close to me, which is exactly what the SnüzPod is all about!

Anyway, I’m sure you’re now wondering what the heck we received in our lovely parcel if we don’t even have a SnüzPod…. Continue Reading

Five reasons my baby thinks she's a dog
Baby Stuff, Daily Life

Five reasons why my baby is like my dog

 

I’m pretty sure Twink think’s she’s a dog and I felt the need to share that fact with you all today.

So here are five reasons why my baby is like my dog…

 

1. She regularly crawls around the house carrying things in her mouth

2. She spends a lot of her time in public places barking…loudly

3. She plays with the dog’s toys more than her own – this includes trying to pawn her own items in return

4. She attempts to eat dog food on a regular basis (without success may I add!)

5. She has become akin to lying in the dog bed when she wants to chill out after a long day

 

Five reasons my baby thinks she's a dog

Does your little one seems confused about whether they are a human or animal? What are their animal related activities of choice?

Blue monday feature
Daily Life, Mama Stuff

Why Blue Monday sucks and what you should do about it

So apparently today is Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. How ruddy jolly! Let’s talk about why Blue Monday sucks and what you should do about it. I feel as though the fact that this has become a ‘thing’ over the years has done nothing but encouraged people to feel all a bit shitty and focus on the negative due to being surrounded by it through the media’s digital highlighters…

So I am popping by today, on this here teeny space that is mine on the internet, to throw a fireball of positivity at you. There it is. Coming at you. Straight in the face, right about now!

OK, so statistically speaking, you lot may be feeling a bit down today being as it’s Blue Monday and all… now that the excitement of Christmas and New Year has faded and you are back to the old 9 to 5 slog at work… BUT! Big but there guys – notice it, embrace it. Surely this is the BEST day. Turn that frown upside down and take the time to reflect this evening. Look back at the past year, and look at all the positives. (Perhaps it wasn’t all positive for some of you – you may have hard a pretty rough ride. But there were positives, if you look really hard.)

Why Blue Monday sucks and what you should do about it

I have taken the time today to reflect on all of the awesome that made up my 2015, and instead of focussing on my goals/tasks/ridiculous attempt at losing weight (I gave up carbs last week…and ate carbs… every.single.day. Don’t judge.), I looked at all the good that came to me during that year. Continue Reading

my monthly bucket list January
Daily Life

My Monthly Bucket List | January

Oh hey therrreeee guys! So, I am [finally] here (only 14 days late) to wish you all a happy new year and share my first monthly bucket list of 2016 too. I feel as though I was thrown at full speed into 2016 and am still attempting to catch up (the Christmas tree only came down last weekend, win!) I always have this feeling at the beginning of a new year to start afresh, get my ass into gear and sort my life out. However I will be honest with myself, this never works. I put a timescale on myself and then get all kinds of stressed about it when I can’t achieve it. So bugger that, it doesn’t work for me. This year, I am just going to go with the flow. And my monthly bucket list will continue to be my drive to strive!

Last year was no doubt the best year of my life so far. My one resolution for 2015 was to be a good mama, and I can quite confidently say that yes, I achieved that. Phew! And that will continue to be my only set in stone resolution goal for every year day of my life forevermore. Yes I have things that I am going about to improve upon in my life, but I’m not getting hung up on it. As long as I can be a good mama, everything else can follow at its own pace. I shall continue to write my monthly bucket list and see where each one takes me. And with that, here is my January bucket list…. Continue Reading

Choosing gifts with Wicked Uncle
Review

Choosing gifts with Wicked Uncle | Review

I’m a mum so that means that I understand children of all age ranges, right? I know what their interests are and how to gift them the perfect present be it birthday, Christmas or other such occasion. Erm….no. To be truthful, beyond Twink and her little friends of very similar ages, I have no flipping clue about children. So when it comes to buying them gifts, I am equally as clueless. This is where I need to employ the help of either their parents or other people with more expertise in this area. And this is where choosing gifts with Wicked Uncle comes in.

Wicked Uncle is a site that has been created to help inspire and enthuse gift givers who are looking to buy for particular age groups or gender. If, like me, you have no idea what to buy most of the time, this site is for you my friend. Continue Reading

December Bucket list
Daily Life

My monthly bucket list | December

Oh em geeeeee, I almost dropped the ball and forgot to share my monthly bucket list for December with you all. Bad blogger!

This month is, obviously, going to be a busy one so our list is a tad shorter than usual. Our focus is all on family and fun times, seeing us relax our usual ‘to do’s’ to make way for a bit of well deserved R&R….

 

Moi:

– Finish the last bits of Christmas shopping and wrap everything beautifully

– Get ahead in the old blogging game, write regular posts and find some focus for new content during my time off

– Get organised ready for the new year, planning dates in the diary for everything I can possibly think of.

– Have some chill, reflective time in the hope I will find some focus in certain areas of my life

 

Mama and Twink: 

– Spend time with our new mama friends before some of them return to work after maternity leave

– Meet Father Christmas!

– Go and see a festive show

– Make Christmas related gifts and first Christmas keepsakes  

– Spend time just simply being together, soaking in the joy of the festive season

 

Together as a family:

– Put up the Christmas tree – this didn’t happen last year due to being HUGE so this will be soooo exciting!

– Spend some special Christmas-related time together, just the three of us

– Invest in storage for the Christmas decs once they come down

– Decide what things we need to store/sell etc. to make way for the ridiculous amounts of toys/clothes etc. we are expecting for Twink (based on inside knowledge of what her uncontrollable grandparents have been up to!)

– Start booking things for Twink’s birthday/christening 

– Spend time with all of the special people in our lives, old and new

 

So there you have it, short and sweet! At the end of December I can update you on what I have achieved from both my monthly bucket list for November and December.

 

What do you have prioritised for December? Is your tree up yet or is that still on your list?

Cybex sirona review
Baby Stuff, Review

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

Choosing a car seat for Twink was a big deal to us. It’s probably the most important piece of kit to own as a parent in my eyes. After all, it is something that ensures the safety of your precious bundle from the moment they are brought into this world and continues to be utilised for a long period of time whilst bumbling around from location to location to deliver them to keen and most welcomed babysitting family members.

Choosing a car seat can be tricky for new parents as there are so many out there on the market. Initially we invested in an infant 0+ carseat which attached to a travel system for ease of use, as that seemed to be the ‘done thing’. When Twink had grown and she started to become more able, for example being able to sit herself up, she became increasingly frustrated with being in it. I was also very aware of how this being part of a travel system almost encouraged us to keep her in the carseat for longer than just a car journey for our own convenience which if we hadn’t been so aware, could have meant Twink being sat in the same position for hours (not recommended by the way guys!) This isn’t to say the infant seat was rubbish, far from it in fact… just that if we were to do it again, we would be much more likely to consider a model like the Sirona first whereas before Twink, something like that hadn’t even crossed out minds and we gravitated towards the teeny tiny stuff first.

When the time came to upgrade to a larger model, we wanted something that was designed with all of the latest safety tech in mind, adaptable to the size of Twink as she grows and easy to install and use. The Cybex Sirona met all of these needs, plus is an incredibly attractive design too.

The Cybex Sirona is a group 0+/1 car seat and is suitable from birth up to 105cm (approx 4 years), comes in a wide range of colours and retails in the UK at £375. Let us pause here and look at the picture below. This is Twink trying her car seat out for the first time (not heading anywhere mind you, just having a play in it). Could she BE any happier?! I think not. In fact, this picture says so much that I may stop writing right here…if you could write a review on the Cybex Sirona with a picture this could be it, wouldn’t you agree?!

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

 

HOWEVER, despite the ridiculously cute above picture of a thousand words, I shall give you some more info on why this car seat is so darn fab…

Safety features

  • Rear-facing from birth

The Sirona is both a rear facing and front facing seat, making it suitable from birth all the way through to approximately your little one’s fourth birthday (105cm). Rear facing seats have been found to be much much safer for children to travel in when they are young and parents are required by law in the UK for babies to travel in this way until the guidelines set out for height based or weight based seats are met.

  • One-click installation with ISOFIX

The Sirona comes as an all-in-one combined seat and ISOFIX. With just one click, the seat is installed and you can be safe in the knowledge that your babe will be secure by lessening chances of installation mistakes. ISOFIX could be seen as potentially making it tricky to move from car to car as the whole thing is quite heavy, however it is so easy to take out and put in again that it hasn’t phased us yet. Just takes a bit of teamwork if you’re a mere weakling like me…

  • Five point harness

The harness is simple to use and easily adjustable. Initially it was a bit fiddly, but like with any new thing it just took a bit of practice to get it right. As well as the harness itself, the Sirona comes with padded pieces to cover the harness straps around shoulders and hips for added comfort.

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

  • Telescopic Linear Side-impact Protection (L.S.P. System)

A feature that I hadn’t seen before is the telescopic Linear Side-impact Protection (L.S.P. System). This is an extra component, which is located at the side of the chair and extends outwards to act as an additional safety feature. In the event of an accident the L.S.P system is able to absorb the impact of a side-on collision, increasing the safety tenfold in my opinion. It’s a no brainer that this would make this seat a winner over others for me. The more safety features the better I say!

  • Adjustable impact shield for forward facing

Once you do turn the seat around to be forward facing, there is an additional safety feature of an impact shield. This is secured on the front of the child and is able to absorb the energy of any impact (just how an inflated airbag would) and significantly reduces the strain to the neck.

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

 

Clever design and ease of use

  • 360° rotation with easy entry position

What genius invested this?! This has been an absolute game changer for us. No more awkward back twisting to put baby into the car and much less chance of smacking the poor bairn’s head on the ceiling as you try to manoeuvre them into position (yes, I have done that on more than one occasion, please don’t judge…when you have your little one you will discover how easy it is to do, when deprived of sleep and trying to evacuate the house at a precise moment before they need something else from you or wake up!) The seat can be turned to the side to face the open door so you can simply pop them in, secure their seatbelt and then rotate them into the correct position and you are ready to roll! Bish, bosh, bash. Initially I did find the handle which rotates the seat a tad tricky to use one handed and thought that it would put me off the whole idea, BUT with a little practice I now have it down to a mastered art and can rotate the seat whilst holding babe and changing bag! Go mama!

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

  • One hand reclining function

As well as being able to rotate the seat, we are also able to recline it meaning that if Twink is due a nap we can lie her back and reduce the chance of head rolling and the chance of a stiff neck at the end of a long nap or drive. (We have also found that this feature also helps to reduce the effect of headlights blinding her if driving at night!) Alternatively if she is wide awake, we can sit her more upright so that she can see more out of the windows around her.

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

 

Comfort and design

The seat cover is made of a cushioned and soft material, almost like a gorgeous squidgy (yes, that technical term you have of course all heard of before guys, squidgy) memory foam and is clearly comfortable just from initial touch. As well as feeling the comfort that it offers, we can also clearly see how happy and content Twink is in it. In fact, she loves it! She is so happy every time we put her in it!

I really like the look of the Sirona, and the wide range of colour options that is offered, meaning that people with all kinds of tastes have a chance of owning something that suits them. I must admit, I am a creative and visual person, and a consumer who is led by how products look. (I wouldn’t say that I am materialistic, but I do like things that I own to be attractive.) We have the Sirona in Autumn Gold however if that’s not your cup of tea, you can visit the website where you will see just how many variations there are including a ‘plus’ collection which consists of a selection of coloured hardwearing, twill effect fabric options.Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

We absolutely love our Sirona, and I reallyyyyy wouldn’t be saying that if it wasn’t the truth. Cybex have created a high quality, safe and stylish carseat that offers new parents an ulterior option to the regular infant car seat that you see on the shelves. Investing in the Sirona from birth (you can buy an infant insert) not only ensures optimum safety from the offset but also will save new parents a whole lump of cash as it is suitable all the way up to when they are approximately four years old. I will mention this once again…it only costs £375! Say whaaaat??

I feel so safe in the knowledge that if anything were to happen while we are travelling about in our car, god forbid, that we are offering our daughter the best chance of being protected from any impacts resulting from an accident. She is comfortable and happy, and looks rather good in it too I think!

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

 

This post was created in collaboration with Cybex. The Sirona and other Cybex products including the Cloud Q (Gr. 0+, £220) and Solution Q2 Fix (Gr. 2/3, £190) are available on the Cybex website and at leading nursery retailers.

 

Choosing a car seat | Cybex Sirona Review

For information on guidance around UK legislation and carseats, you can visit the .gov website here

Daily Life

The Best Alternative Advent Calendars of 2015

Despite being a chocolate lover, I have never liked the mass produced chocolate (I use that term loosely) advent calendars that you find everywhere. You know the ones? The ones that only allow you a daily dose of chocolate the size of a 2p piece, if you’re lucky! Growing up, we had a fabric advent calendar which mum then filled with treats which were much more satisfying, but since living alone I haven’t really indulged in one. I know, bloody madness right?!

So this year, with only days left of November (yeah I know I’m a bit late to the game, but I can play catch up) I have decided to explore what’s out there on the market that ignites a bit more excitement than your run of the mill cardboard fake chocolate calendar! And here is what I found – ten of the best alternative advent calendars of 2015…

Alt advent 2015 final

  1. Keepsake Personalised Baby’s First Advent Calendar  Max Made Me Do It @ Not on the High Street, £15
  2. 25 Days of Beauty Wonders Advent Calendar  No7 at Boots, £38
  3. Reindeer Carousel Advent Calendar   Yankee Candle, £31.99
  4. Make Me Up 12 Days of Christmas Calendar  Asda, £5
  5. Little House Advent Calendar The White Company, £20 14
  6. Party Poppers Advent Calendar Benefit exclusive at Debenhams, £34.50
  7. Advent Gingerbread John Lewis, £12
  8. Lily’s Kitchen Advent Calendar for Dogs Lily’s Kitchen, £9.95
  9. Personalised Advent Calendar Tree Wall Stickers Kidscapes Wall Stickers @ Not on the High Street, £21.95
  10. Truffles for Two, couples Advent Calendar  Hotel Chocolat, £26

 

So there they are, ten of the best alternative advent calendars of 2015. Ok, so a bit pricier than a cardboard calendar from the supermarket BUT don’t they look amazing?!

Which one would you choose? Do you have any advent traditions?

 

Daily Life

A Dream Family Home

Recently we have been making changes to our home, and adding small touches here and there to make it more suited to who we are as a family. We have lived in our current house for seven years, and in this time we have changed the shell that it once was into a lovely little family home that tells our own little story. We have added our own unique touches where we can and have tried with all our might to inject character into our simple little maisonette. It is small, ideal for our current circumstances, and we have grown to love it very much. It is located in the most beautiful of areas, with a duck pond and cricket green at the end of the road. In time, when we decide that we would like our family to grow, we will have to consider a bigger place to move on to and in my mind I know exactly what I want that to look like already…

The image of this dream family home is so clear in my mind, and is a serious goal of mine. If I close my eyes here right now, I can picture it. A wooden porch, with Wisteria flowing over it like it had just been delicately placed there. A path leading to the large front door would be tiled, and the sun would shine through stained glass either side of it. The front of the house would have a large bay window with shutters where the dogs could sit and watch the postman rudely come and invade their space daily. The house would be filled with character. It would have history behind it. A story to tell about the families who have been there before us. And then we would add to it, and intertwine our own brand new family stories within the old. It would look traditional and of its era from the front, however out the back would be quite different. Traditional yet tweaked with an injection of modern design and creativity.

dream family home

Continue Reading

November Bucket List
Daily Life

My Monthly Bucket List | November

Hi lovely people, I trust you are all well. October has been non stop and flew by with not much time to pause. I took a small momentary step away from this space to focus on a few projects both on and away from the blog as well as spending as much time with Twink as possible before returning to working almost full time hours this coming month. So that’s where I’ve been at, its been a whirlwind and I have hardly seen anyone but sometimes life just goes that way right? And now onto my monthly bucket list for November:

Moi:

– Finish reading my current book, The Island by Victoria Hislop

– Continue to increase my Twitter followers

– Book my Britmums Live ticket (yes I am still putting this off, but this month will be the one for sure!)

– Complete my Christmas shopping (yes people, that is my aim…no last minute shopping this year!)

– Catch up with some friends who we haven’t seen for some while

Mama and Twink: 

– Customise bunny with her teeny tiny baby grows (carried over from last month’s list)

– Make it to at least one baby group every week

– Baby proof the house from our crawling little monster 

Together as a family:

– Invest in some bits for the home including new blinds for the lounge and bathroom

– Declutter unused items to make way for Christmas stuff

– Start organising Twink’s birthday/christening arrangements

Continue Reading

GROBAG REVIEW TITLE
Baby Stuff, Review

Grobag by The Gro Company | Review

You may have seen me tweet last week about the fact that I have had a mini breakthrough by getting Twink to nap. Hoorah! On top of that…wait for it…I may have just taught her how to sleep through the night. Even bigger hoorah! In fact, I want to pause here and through the power of imagination shout that ‘hoorah’ from the rooftops right now – I will give you a moment to visualise that and join me….

Fab. Now that we have rejoiced together I can chat about the reason I am here today…

Grobag9Grobag10

There have been many factors towards being able to get Twink to sleep, and one of those things has been Twink’s new Grobag by The Gro Company. If you haven’t heard of them before, well, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN PEOPLE?! Good job you are here to learn more about them now huh?! These beautiful sleeping bags for babies and toddlers enable little ones to sleep safely and comfortably from birth upwards, acting as an alternative to a blanket or duvet. At the very beginning with Twink we were swaddling, tucking in blankets etc. and it was a right old faff. And for some unknown reason (maybe the fact that I was a first time mum crazed by WAY too much information thrown my way) I completely overlooked a sleeping bag as an option.

So let me tell you why I think these are so glorious… Continue Reading

tulips
Daily Life

Notes to my Teenage Self

Notes to my teenage self:

Hey there awkward looking teen, it’s me. From the future. I just want to hand you a few notes, all written in hindsight of course….without ruining the end…it’ll all be ok…

 

Keep paying attention and get your head down.

You’re doing well so far, but for gawd’s sake kid, work hard! I can see you straying and that may not turn out so well. You don’t want to end up in the gutter, in some dead end job because you didn’t get your arse into gear do you? It is so worth the effort. To ruin something for you here, you get an A* in Religious Studies. No, you don’t become a nun but it turns out you know your morals and how to make a fair argument.

 

People are bitches, especially teens. But they won’t be around forever. 

These people that surround your every day will most probably not be a part of your future life. That girl who added you to her death wish list…you will never see her again. Yeah you will remember her name and the fact that she even owned such a ridiculous thing, but all you will feel in time is pity for her. I am sure Karma will bite her in the arse, and if not maybe it will help her see a better, more positive way to live her life. Don’t retaliate by being a bitch yourself. Rise above it. It wastes unnecessary energy, isn’t attractive and is just plain nasty. Everyone will disperse and follow their own paths, and every drama and hurtful word thrown will disperse with them. They do not define you. They are not important.

Ignore what they say. Be you. You are beautiful.

You are kind, sensitive and quite funny when you want to be. You like following the rules. You enjoy changing your hair style/colour often, and experiment with makeup. You have pretty crap eyesight and should really be wearing those glasses. And your boobs may never grow to Pamela Anderson proportions. (In fact, I’ll tell you now, they definitely won’t.) But you are perfect believe it or not. And you are you. So be you. Ignore all the haters who dig you out for these things. Seriously, sod them all. There is only one you, do what the hell makes you happy and what makes you feel safe in your own skin. People are jealous creatures at times and unfortunately this shines through their spite. It is their unhappiness, do not let them make it yours.

Oh, and your big eyes that those boys on the bus make fun of regularly? They will be one of the most complimented part of you in time to come. They are something that your future husband falls in love with. (That and your small boobs, sorry nan if you’re reading!) And the best part? Your beautiful babies will inherit your blue eyes. And your boobs will fill those baby bellies when they are born. And those nasty boys won’t cross your mind even once.

 

That feeling that you have right now…the one that encompasses pretty much every move you make…yeah, that’s a thing called Anxiety.

Right now you think these feelings are meant to be normal, and you are pretty alone with your thoughts through fear of sharing them and being labeled as a crazy. It’s ok to talk, in fact it’s so so important. I really wish you knew that now…

In time you will discover that these feelings of anxiety are a real thing and that it can be manageable…this discovery will be life changing when it happens. Every time you fear leaving the house, every time you lose all focus, every time you lose your shit. It will all become explainable. Mum and dad will go on at you which will drive you to the edge of insanity. But that is only because they care so very much, and probably have exhausted everything they have tried to help. You know, they are learning still despite having parented you for almost two decades. This is all new to them as it is to you. You will totally get this when you become a parent yourself. And your respect for them will grow tenfold. For now, plod on. Keep smiling. It’s what so many people love about you.

 

Your heart will be broken by a boy.

It’s not going to feel like it at the time, but he really isn’t worth the heartache. You’ll fall head over heels for your first love, and then your little soft heart will be shattered. And you will feel positively pants. This believe it or not will make that young soft heart stronger and a little harder, and you will appreciate the lessons learned in time to come. At the time it will feel like your world has imploded, and question everything that is wrong with you. Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with you, he is just quite simply a dick.

 

Stop chasing love. 

It turns out that you won’t even find it at school, so stop chasing the boys! Such a waste of your precious time! You won’t find it in fact until you are eighteen when you are in the midst of college, working in the local hotel and learning to drive. It will pop up in front of you when you are least expecting. This time, you really will fall head over heels. You will fall so so deep. He is handsome and funny. He is not your type. He is your soulmate. This is where your true fairytale begins. The stuff before has all been a warm up for the main event. The dress rehearsal. Now it’s the real thing.

 

Oh teenage me….I wish I could hand you these notes for real. But alas I cannot.

For now, just hang on in there kid. Things will get better and easier.

Believe in yourself, draw support from those around you and take your time to reflect.

One day when your baby sleeps in your arms, and the dog snoozes at your feet as your husband brings you a cup of tea you will be thinking these thoughts  aloud…. and then maybe…just perhaps… you can help others with these words….

 

 

Signature

For me, I wish I had known more about anxiety and its effects in my younger years. If you would like further info about anxiety visit this website which is full of great info or this guide. Comment below if you can relate to this post or alternatively you can always send me an email privately – I am here and happy to chat 🙂

tales.tea@gmail.com