9 months in, 9 months out

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

My beautiful, happy, smiley boy has been out in the big wide world as long as he was in my tummy. And in that time, he's brought sunshine, giggles, excitement and a whole new dimension to our family.

Before Ayden came along, people would often say that we had the 'perfect' family. Mum, dad, a little boy the mirror image of his dad and a little girl who looks just like me. And things were just wonderful. 

But we always knew we wanted a large family and said from the start that we thought we'd end up having four children.

Ayden coming along has been the most wonderful thing - for all of us. For our 'mini-me's it has been the highlight of their little lives so far. Narrowly beating Disneyland Paris into second place ;)

To say they adore him is a massive understatement. He is, even nine months on, the first thing they want to see in the morning and when they come home from school. And the cuddles… oh good grief, the cuddles! 

They barely put him down for a second. Which, as lovely as it is, is starting to get right on his nerves since he has learnt to crawl and wants to be free.

He started crawling on Boxing Day and since then, he's been charging round like a little wind up toy! He just looks so small. In the last couple of weeks he has started standing up and wastes no opportunity to practise. It won't be long until he's trying to take his first steps. And you can just tell he's so excited by his new found independence! 

But, as wonderful as it is to watch, It doesn't get any easier to see your little ones finding their feet and growing into little people. Can't time slow down just a little bit!? 

I wonder if we will end up with four after all…. 

The juice

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Why am I doing this again?

On a bit of a whim, I decided to join a friend on the Juicemaster five-day detox plan. Well, a slightly modified version. I'm still breastfeeding three times a day and spooked myself out reading articles about toxins potentially being released into your bloodstream, which can effect your milk. So, rather than just drinking juice and only juice for five days, I'm juicing for breakfast and lunch and eating a (very) healthy meal in the evening. This way I'm cutting out all the junk, sugar and caffeine but still getting some lean protein and carbohydrate. The juicing includes good fats like avocado and seeds too.

I'm getting an unbelievable amount of fresh fruit and vegetables through the juicing. Five a day? Pah! I've never eaten so much fresh produce. And it feels good :)

I've juiced on and off for a while. Particularly last summer - it just seems more appealing when the sun is shining. But never as frequently as this and with such a variety of juices and ingredients. 

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm enjoying it... yet. The cookies are definitely calling me. But the juices taste really good. Honestly. And it feels good to be cutting back after *really* overdoing it this Christmas. I'd got to a place where grabbing a couple of biscuits first thing in the morning, even before my coffee, was a regular occurrence. Not good. 

I'm not doing this for weight loss really (although that would be an obvious bonus), but more to reset myself. Curb the cravings for sugar and caffeine and give my body a boost to start the new year. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to drink my beetroot juice :) There's a sentence I never thought I'd say!!

Hotel Chocolat - a review

Hotel Chocolat is the ultimate celebration and occasion chocolate in my opinion. Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, Valentines... Easter! Did I mention their Easter selections!?

If I'm looking for an indulgent treat or gift for someone special, Hotel Chocolat is my first stop.

We were offered the chance to review one of the items from their Christmas range and when this little beauty landed on the doormat, well, excited doesn't cover it!

This is (was!) 450g of solid 50% cocoa milk chocolate with amazing things added in - cookie pieces and caramelised almond florentine. And boy is it as good as it sounds.

Something as special as this deserves a special occasion, so we decided to save it for our little family new years eve party. It was definitely worth the wait. 

As with all Hotel Chocolat products the chocolate itself is smooth, rich and utterly delicious. And it looks absolutely stunning - my little ones' faces when I brought it to the table was a picture. It was the perfect centrepiece for our new year table.

And it didn't last long ;)

If you're in the market for an indulgent gift for your loved one this Valentine's day, I would absolutely recommend you take a look at Hotel Chocolat. The range has something for everyone - how amazing does the Sunrise to Sunset Gift Hamper look? Also, keep an eye out for their mouth-watering Easter products. The ostrich eggs are a sight to behold! 

Eight month sleep regression... for shizzle!?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ayden has decided that sleep is for wimps and he's bought us both a ticket on the insomniac express. Yaaaawn.

I'm talking every hour. What!? How did this happen. He was sleeping through... this is so cruel.

So, clutching my Nespresso like my life depended on it, I took to google. Turns out sleep regression at eight months is an actual thing. Who knew? Certainly not me. And I have three children; so clearly still a lot to learn.

It makes sense I guess. At around eight to ten months babies learn so many exciting new skills. Ayden took up his new crawling hobby on Boxing Day and has been scootling about like a tiny excited puppy ever since. Multiple stairgates anyone?

He's also becoming fluent in baby babble. The cutest language on the face of the planet surely. 

So, team those two new skills together and I guess I can see where he's coming from. Who wants to sleep when there's a perfectly exciting cot to crawl round and songs to sing at the top of his little voice at 3am.

I on the other hand can totally see the point of sleep. I've been crawling and talking for years, so the attraction isn't quite there for me ;)

Here's hoping this blip is short-lived. Or else I could take out shares in Nespresso. Every cloud...

Start as you mean to go on - a Heinz baby breakfast review

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A bit of a theme this month for most people - making changes at the start of the new year to make life more organised, feel healthier and start new routines for 2014.

I'm on board the usual healthy eating/more exercise train this month, but I'm a bit of a monkey when it comes to getting my day off to the best possible start, often skipping breakfast in favour of clutching onto a flat white as if my life depends on it... sometimes it does ;)

I am however adamant about making sure all three of my little people eat a good breakfast, full of slow-release energy, to set them up for the day. No Coco Pops in this house! Well, maybe a cheeky bowl once in a while.

As Ayden is the littlest of the bunch, its especially important that he starts his discovery of food in the right way - trying lots of different flavours, textures, and combinations. I try to encourage all three of my children to try new tastes; if they don't like it, fair enough, but they have to at least give it a go. 

For breakfast, we're big porridge fans in this house. When its chilly outside there's nothing better than a bowl of porridge with fresh berries and a weeny drizzle of maple syrup. 

Ayden loves his morning porridge. It may not have berries and syrup but he flaps his little arms like crazy when he sees me getting his baby porridge out of the cupboard. More so than any other meal. So we were thrilled to be sent a basket of Heinz baby breakfast goodies to try out.

Inside the basket was a box of Creamy Oat Porridge, a selection of ready-to-eat breakfast pots (Very Berry Porridge, Banana and Apple Muesli and Creamy Oat Porridge) and a pack of Breakfast Biscotti.

This couldn't have arrived at a better time in fact. I was running low on Ayden's usual porridge of choice. We've tried the Creamy Oat Porridge before, so I knew he would enjoy that, so we went straight in and tried one of the breakfast pots.

I went for the Banana and Apple Muesli, warmed it ever so slightly and it went down a treat.  

Although I wouldn't choose the ready-to-eat pots for use at home, I think they would be ideal if you have to leave the house early and eat breakfast out and about. Plus they're packed with calcium and there's no added sugar, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

The Breakfast Biscotti are a big hit. I wouldn't necessarily give these to Ayden for breakfast, but they're great as a little snack or treat. Again, ideal for out and about. They're made from a blend of six cereal grains and can either be eaten on their own or mixed with your baby's usual milk. 

The Heinz breakfast range is available from supermarkets and Boots and you can find out more here.

*We were sent these pouches for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.