Category Archives: Motherhood

Selling houses – Weird Things to Worry About

Those of you that know me or are regular visitors to this blog will know we are going through the process of selling our home. After making the announcement here , I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family and interest in how the process is going.

I’m so excited to announce after 5 weeks, numerous viewings and four offers, we sold our house last wednesday.

We are well underway with solicitors and the buyer is hopefully scheduling a survey for the end of this week. He is selling to first time buyers and as you know, we are moving into rental. So fingers crossed it should be a short process and we can be in our new home by Christmas. Although I’m in no particular hurry.

moving

One month into this selling houses business I realised how it could quickly become stressful. I’ve absolutely loved the house feeling clean, fresh and tidy. Mrs Hinch totally came into my life at the right time.

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But living the showhome life with 3 cats, a bearded husband and a three year old did make me a little highly strung. As they each took it in turns daily to undo my hard work and efforts. Life must go on though, as everyone told me. I made sure that I stayed on top of everything cleaning and tidying wise., and still do. George is allowed his toys out but everything has to be considered under the motto;

“can this be tidied and showhome ready in 30 minutes”

If the answer to the above is no, then we had to stop what we are doing and have a little speed tidy. George was wholeheartedly on board. Whilst he may cheekily jump on the beds I have just smoothed out, he is happily tidying one thing before getting another out. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Ok maybe for hubs to shut his sock drawer and take his coffee mug downstairs but we can’t all be perfect! (*winks coyly).

home

Whilst our house is now sold subject to contract, we aren’t in a position to look at rentals yet. The rental market moves quick. Well round here it does. We are at least another two to four weeks away. In order to secure a rental we would need to put a deposit down. We would be silly to do this until we have exchanged contracts. There is always room for things to go wrong. Should the sale fall through, we would be left with the commitment of paying two sets of bills.

There have recently been a few houses that have come and gone onto the rental market that have caught our eye. This has boosted our optimism that when the time comes, we will be able to find something local without having to relocate.

So whilst your typical human type will be worrying about… well I don’t know what you normal humans worry about??? I suspect top of the list of your average mindset would be school catchment, crime rate, access local facilities?

Meanwhile in overactive imagination land, I am worrying about the following;

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  • Ghosts and the supernatural – Literally top of my list. Luckily I live with three cats so they are walking supernatural detectors. It doesn’t stop me worrying though. Literally it’s one of my biggest fears and I would have to move out the day I saw one!
  • Spiders and creatures – I know what kind of creepy crawlies are within our current vicinity. After living in our house for 11 years there haven’t been many surprises. The odd spider but nothing like the beasts I see some people posting on social media! What if our new house is a magnet for regular tarantula sized arachnids! Someone I know locally moved house and kept finding weird lizard things in her new home! What the actual fuck will I have in store for me. I try to love and respect all living creatures but it doesn’t mean I want them in my home.
  • Temperature – Whilst everyone was complaining about the heatwave this past summer, I was pretty content at home. Our house retains the heat pretty well but it also maintains the coolness. By far, of all the non air conditioned places I visited during this Summer’s heatwave, our house was the coolest place to be as long as the windows were pulled to. What if our new house is a sweat box in the Summer and an ice box in the Winter! Annoying more than anything.
  • Noise – Where we currently live is dead quiet. The neighbours are well behaved, dogs included. We are spoilt really. What if at our new house they play loud music all day? Road noise, yapping dogs that are left out and neglected all day… the list goes on.

Maybe it’s a good thing we are renting and will only be tied into a six or twelve month contract!

moving

Have you had any unusual worries when moving home? I’d love to hear them.

 

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Stink Bomz – The Must Have Toy for Christmas 2018 #JoinTheFarty

*Disclosure – I was provided with a Stink Bomz goodie box courtesy of Tomy Toys in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*

You may remember me attending the Tomy Toys Christmas in July event. To bloggers this is standard behaviour. For the rest of us it’s a little bizarre talking about the C word in July. For me, hubs and George it was an informative and fun filled day. Here’s where our introduction to Stink Bomz began.

I don’t know about you, but when I heard about Stink Bomz my first thought was that they sounded lethal. Did I even want to welcome them into my home? Then the day arrives where a box marked “Caution! toxic” arrives at our door. I was thankful we had been pre warned about the packaging.

The fun began as we started to unbox. I think this is the most engaged and excited I’ve seen George for an unboxing. It was fab. After tearing the yellow caution tape, he lifted the lid on the black box to reveal oodles of green shredding paper.

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As George dived in he found some chocolate balls, cute Stink Bomz biscuits and a whoopee cushion, which George quickly became obsessed with. As he continued searching he found the Stink Bomz. Whilst I got a fab surprise as I opened the virtual postcard which gives a humorous VT if each of the Stink Bomz characters.

“You’ve heard them…you’ve smelled them…but have you ever met a fart? Meet the Stink Bomz! All Stink Bomz contain a collectible fart friend known as a Stink. Each Stink has their own silly smell and makes 3 unique fart noises. But best of all, every Stink has their own fun personality. Even though they’re all different, they have one important thing in common – they are ready to get the farty started!” Taken from the TOMY UK website.

If you have or have ever encountered a three year old, you will know of their obsession with poo, bums, and pop offs farts! George walks around, and even has us in the habit of, playfully cussing;

“poo-bum-poo-stink-smell-bum-smell-face”

Once I helped him open the Stink Bomz pod and open the shrink wrap, it revealed a Stink Bomz character by the name of Squirmy. As I had already used the words “Stink Bomz” several times to describe the package he was opening, it was very interesting what he said next;

“Eugh that wrapper smells!”

The wrapper didn’t smell. I think it just goes to show how suggestable their little minds are. He was quite happy when he actually realised what they smell like. We both agreed that they smelled like “biscuits”. But the piece de resistance was when he realised if you squeeze their tummies they make a fart noise.

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#JoinTheFarty

Just to talk about the elephant in the room…whilst I don’t encourage the use of the word “fart” I can see why it’s a great marketing ploy for these Stink Bomz. I’m not sure how other parents would feel?

I’ll admit I do swear around George,  and he knows which words are naughty and not to say them. That said, I allow him to experiment in the safe confines of our home. Whilst making it clear that in public and at school and around others, there may be people who don’t like to hear those words. Given the freedom to understand this, he rarely uses these words.

Occasionally he will create rhymes and mistakenly say a word that he knows sounds like a “naughty” word and then justify why he said it. I think this is really important in allowing him to make choices and understand things. Rather than just the old fashioned command of “Do as I say, not as I do”.

The name “Stink Bomz” reminds me of my days in school back in the 90’s. You would all be congregated in the corridors, minding your own business. When suddenly the smell of rotten eggs would grace your nostrils. Everyone would be quickly dispersing from a certain area groaning  “eugh, someones let off a stink bomb!”I don’t know if this was the inspiration behind these toys. Was the creator an 80’s child reliving their youth?

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The main thing to remember about Stink Bomz is they aren’t just a plush toy that smells nice and farts. Each one has a crafted personality for your child to learn and build upon. The Stink Bomz range will also have a supporting app, which at present is only available in the US but will be coming to the UK soon.

My verdict

The product itself I have to admit I was slightly disappointed to discover they actually smell pleasantly of vanilla and biscuits. I understand why. There wouldn’t be many parents rushing out to buy a toy that smells like rotten eggs. Overall I think they are great but a reduction in the plastic packaging given the current climate would be reassuring. The green pod that the Stink Bomz come in is reusable. They don’t appear to have the option to change batteries so I don’t know how long it would take before the sound runs out.

I loved seeing George get a cheeky smile on his face when he squeezes them.  Stink Bomz are a great little gift and George looks so proud to show them off. Almost like his own little gag. Would I buy these? At £9.99 I think they are reasonable and would make great stocking fillers.

George’s verdict

He likes playing with them and wants to get them involved in his game. Squirmy featured in a game he was playing the other day, as a big bad monster that farted and blew everyone away.

Let us know what you think. All positive shares and comments welcomed.

Postnatal depression or normalities of motherhood?

There have recently been some new babies born to friends and extended family of mine. It’s led us to chat about the early days and months of motherhood and I’ve offered my support and shared some of my own experiences. I can’t help but constantly be on the lookout for their mental health. I don’t want another woman to have to be trapped inside her own mind wondering is it, isn’t it and struggling more than she needs to.

It’s only when doing this that I realise that I’m not as truthful as I’d like to think I am on this blog.

My experiences may have been tainted by the now obvious and apparent fact that I had some form of postpartum depression. This lasted well into George’s second year, if not beyond. I continued to believe I could fix it myself but it always crept back in. One good day would be marred by two bad days.

I have worked in and around the mental health sector for the entirety of my Pharmacy career the 11 years prior to George’s birth and solely being employed by a mental health trust the 8 years previous to leaving my job to become a stay at home Mum.

I knew the mental health system relatively well. I had been in close contact with many types of mental health conditions when people were at their absolute lowest. Yet when I myself felt that I needed help, I was so scared of seeking it for fear that I would lose George. It was never going to be the case.

If you are considered to be a threat to yourself or others you may be sectioned under the mental health act. Despite having very desperately low thoughts, I was avidly aware of them and it upset me that I didn’t want to feel like this but I couldn’t stop it. I wanted to just run away. I told my husband countless times I wanted to leave him when all I really wanted was to vanish. He was the only person I could fully confide in despite his own issues.

Not more than a month after George’s birth, hubs own father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was in his fifties, the same age at which hubs grandad also died of a heart attack. We now look back and realise that hubs always suffered with mild anxiety. Who doesn’t. But losing his father and witnessing me have a severely traumatic birth was the trigger to make him have what in the olden days would be referred to as a nervous breakdown.

He couldn’t even bear to be in the same room as his own mother due to the intenseness of his anxiety. Running upstairs in tears during a visit, leaving me to see them out. Quickly realising he couldn’t bear to be in a room by himself without feeling desperately scared and anxious of having an heart attack. Thankfully this intense week was exacerbated by the GP starting him on Beta Blockers which had the opposite effect to what they should have. (This can happen and is known as a paradoxical side effect). After stopping the tablets he slowly improved but it was a long road.

Having had an emergency Caesarean section and needing to stay in hospital with George with us both suffering with suspected infections for 6 days I was weak and in pain at the start. By the time of hubs breakdown I was healed and able to be strong for all of us. It was hard and we had some great support from family.

Hubs wasn’t able to work and I had given up my job due to struggles with health and being able to juggle what was expected of me in my work role and as new mother. This all added to his anxiety over needing to support his family and being unable to. Although self employed, the guys he was contracted to were very supportive and understanding.

As hubs grew stronger, my own mind must’ve relaxed and with it came flooding through all the negative thoughts. My mum said with what we had both been through it was a wonder we hadn’t experienced this sooner. George was now almost one years old. I could still cry several times a week. I remember if I couldn’t console him, feeling so helpless I would just cry. Then I’d feel better and he would soon settle.

I’d tell people and no one made it seem unusual. A few suggested I go to the doctors but I was so scared of explaining it wrong to the doctor and being sectioned or George being taken away. I was absolutely no danger to George and I knew it and deep down I knew this wouldn’t happen but the depression made me irrational.

In the end anyone who made me feel even slightly unhappy I shut out and pushed away. Even now I still don’t know if I lost friends because of my behaviour or theirs. I don’t know if I took my frustration at myself out on them or if they genuinely were not compatible with me now I was a Mama. I changed. I’m still me but I have changed.

The mask became a powerful thing. Sometimes I couldn’t hold it together and I found myself quickly rushing George to the car so I could hide the tears that I couldn’t hold back. I cried over the stupidest of things. But overall when I saw people the mask came up and I smiled and it was a brief relief from the negativity I dwelled in behind closed doors.

 

mental health

I no longer enjoyed things I previously enjoyed doing. I went along but just willed it to be over. I wasn’t interested. I was flat. I didn’t care. Eventually when George was around 16 months old I visited the GP and was put on Fluoxetine. It made me feel so, so nauseous. You’d think it’s a small price to pay but food was the only thing I found enjoyment in and to lose the willing and desire to eat made me feel even worse. What’s more they didn’t make me feel any better.

Antidepressants can take 4-6 weeks to have an notable effect. My GP agreed they wasn’t doing me any good after 3. Ultimately this was because they made me feel so nauseous, I lost my passion for food and eating. Food was all I had left that I enjoyed. The thought of losing that was just too much. I know it sounds ridiculous, especially since I need to lose weight. It was how I felt though. I had to stop the fluoxetine. From there the GP follow up was non existent. Presuming I would return if I felt low again, there was no further contact to see how I was doing.

mental health
Cake is the answer to everything.

Thankfully after that period of time, something changed. I don’t know if maybe even the short amount of time I took the Fluoxetine was enough to reset the chemicals in my brain. It also coincided with my neurologist introducing some new medication for my migraines. They happened to fix my long term vertigo and I was able to drive again. I had my independence back and I think this contributed massively to my self worth and happiness.

What I do know is that I feel better than I have for a long time. Stronger, fearless, happy. Once you’ve considered your life worthless you tend to lose your fear of things. You realise nothing is as scary as the thought of escaping your life.

So what’s the point of sharing this with you? I suppose I want mums out there to distinguish between what is normal and what really isn’t when you have a baby. If something doesn’t feel right then please speak to someone. Your partner, parent, friend, health visitor or GP. Okay,  my experience with the GP wasn’t wholly positive but I wasn’t completely honest with them and I should have been more persistent.

mental health

I got so good at the mask, my GP visits saw me sitting with a smile on my face. I felt stupid. No way someone sits there trying to explain how low they feel whilst smiling. People break down and burst into tears. But I’m too polite I just smiled. If you’re the same, maybe take someone along to the appointment with you who has seen you at your worst. Don’t suffer in silence.

Can you relate to any of this? I find it so hard to know if I can say I had/have postnatal depression. Does it ever go away? My moods are certainly more changeable but is that how parenthood feels? I genuinely still have no idea.

The Hunger Games – Insects Vs Toddlers

It was a fresh, crisp Sunday morning in October. The creatures of the woodland were going about their daily life, little knowledge of what was due to descend on them in a few hours. We had our boots on and were ready for one of George’s little buddies fourth birthday parties. But this was not going to be your typical birthday party. There would be no soft play, sugar and screaming children. As much as we love those types of parties, I was excited to see what would happen at a wild wood birthday party at the local reservoir.

We buckled up after bundling wellies, pressies and a change of clothes into the car of another mummy friend who had kindly offered us a lift.

creatures

Things quickly escalated from standard 10 minute journey to complete comedy sketch show. My influence clearly rubbed off and despite being a frequent visitor at the reservoir, we quickly found ourselves pulling over to ask for directions.

My phone had decided to play silly buggers and was going through a reboot so I could program the SatNav before I quickly realised I didn’t actually know what I was programming in and where we were supposed to be headed.

I messaged our host for the party and fellow Mamas in the group chat to ask for the address. I quickly had to abandon their response in favour of calling the police to report seven rogue Shetland ponies trotting merrily down the centre of the road. After leaving my poor friend driving blind I finally switched my phone call from the emergency operator to a mama friend who put us on the right track.

With the party underway we were having a fabulous time. The sun was shining, the leaves were crunching and the toddlers were marching. The party guide was a lovely lady who commanded their attentions well. We soon found ourselves searching for creepy crawlies. We each had a magnifying pot and flitted from log to leaf looking for something to catch.

I think over the years I’ve watched too many a cartoon and Disney film, giving me a knack for humanising any living creature. After playing some games we continued on through the woods, pots in hands, taking our creatures on a merry tour like they’ve never had before. Or had they?

Had this snail and woodlouse been collected by many a child at many a party and toured the woods like a pair of mismatched backpackers? The pot behind me contained a fly being devoured by a spider, taken fresh from the web. As I imagined the crane fly in front of us screaming “where the hell are we going”. Our own woodlouse was wondering when he would see his mum and dad again. Having carried him the equivalent of here to Australia for a woodlouse, we came to a new home.

creatures

Let the den building commence. As 20 toddlers collected wood and sticks to build our very own big brother house. For our unsuspecting creatures, they were about to meet their new housemates. Or were they?

With the house build complete (basically a pile of twigs on the floor), it was time to set our creatures free and introduce them to their new home. Our snail had ventured out of his shell and was roaming the inside of the pot, acquainting himself with the new neighbourhood.

However as the toddlers descended upon the new twig house it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the Big Brother house. In fact these creatures were about to enter their very own Hunger Games. An insect Fornite if you will. As varying species of insect were dropped (minus canopy) into their new environment, it was every creature for his or herself. Ladybirds scarpered, the woodlouse foolishly didn’t roll into a ball and the snail quickly realised it was time to retreat into his safe haven shell.

creatures

For those that hadn’t already eaten one another or climbed a hiding spot deep into the ground, another challenge began. Forget your purple rain storms, it’s no match compared to a toddler armed with a huge log. With a crash, the den was flattened, or rather ‘complete’ in said toddlers eyes.

And so we left our creatures to rebuild their lives in the wood of nightmares as we ventured on in our party activities.

Honestly it was a great experience. It was just so lovely to be outside in the fresh air without all the carnage that can come from a kids party. We loved it.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Sex In A Candle – A Review of Scents Unusual

** Disclosure – I was provided with a Sex Candle (how often can you say that in a week) in return for my honest review. All opinions are my own **

Candles! We all love them don’t we? With the exception of my husband who is scared of fire, candles fill the majority of our homes with love.

Candles have come a long way from being mere providers of light. They create mood, ambience, scent and for some can become a bit of a collectors hobby.

I leave you with that thought whilst I briefly detour. Trust me. This post is like a well planned comedy routine. Stick with it and it will all marry up in the end.

sex

There are items and experiences in this world, for which the terms “nice” and “good” just won’t cut it. I get easily excited about things and I like to share that excitement with others. I think this is one of the reasons I blog.

In order to enthuse and excite others about things I have seen, eaten or visited, I’ve got to describe them well. I reached a point where “lush” and “brilliant”, “amazing” and “fab” rolled off my tongue with ease. I use them daily. So when something is that bit more special, I had to  get inventive.

I honestly do not remember what inspired me to first start comparing things to sex. Maybe it was the cocktail, Sex on the beach? I think most of us human types would agree that orgasmic sex is probably one of the best things out there. So why not use sex as the yardstick to judge everything else by. If your tongue isn’t in your cheek right now then you are reading this wrong.

And so it was born. During a visit to my fave The Royal Hotel, I tried one of their unique cocktails which was pretty quickly declared by myself as “Sex in a martini glass”. At our local seaside resort you can get a chocolate and cream covered waffle on stick which is quite clearly “Sex on a stick”.

I’ve had sex on a plate numerous times and the ultimate was when I told my husbands seventy something Nan that her homemade stew was “sex in a bowl”!

So imagine my utter excitement, and if I’m honest, sheer intrigue, at seeing the opportunity to get my hands on a sex candle by Scents Unusual.

Sex….in a candle!!!

It’s literally got my name written all over it! “Send it over Dave!” I shouted. Well I never because that wasn’t the PR guys name but you get the gist.

Now as you may know, we are in the process of selling our house. Whilst waiting for the candle to arrive I contemplated what a sex candle might smell like? Could I sell my house with au de sex lingering in the air? Would it make potential buyers feel a little fruity? Hell perhaps I should add that to the Rightmove listing….. “this property is pure sex in a house!”

Now back to that thought I left you with earlier. Candle lovers this is your paragraph! So you wanna know what a sex candle has to offer you and whether you should buy one and I’m here to tell you.sex

The Sex Candle is a bit of novelty gift so that’s your Secret Santa sorted for this year. It’s a simple white candle in a clear glass container, labelled with the Scents Unusual sticker.

sex

The candle is packaged in a tin with some comical sexual innuendos. My favourite being “Issue:69”. I like the obvious and silly gags. Simple minds and all that. The attention to detail is perfect and the more you look at the tin labelling, the more you see. Say it out loud, “Sex candle”, dya get it?

Light this candle and you will get an initial intense aroma of that moment of passion, gradually turning into the fresh and comforting smell of clean cotton – it’s as if you have just changed those bed sheets! – taken from scentsunusual.com

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With an approximate burn time of 40 hours, I’m yet to reach the linen scent. As for the “aroma of passion”, I literally cannot compare it to anything . You really need to smell it for yourself.

To me it’s not offensive once lit, although the smell knocks you back a bit as you open the can. It’s also not an overly appealing smell such as vanilla but it has a weird addictive hint to it. The smell isn’t too obtrusive either. I had to get quite close to be able to smell it and I have a super human sense of smell.

At £15 I’d be unlikely to buy it for myself now my curiosity as to what it smells like has been fulfilled. I’d definitely buy one as a novelty gift. This would definitely have been my secret Santa gift this Christmas, had I still been at my previous employers. I’m intrigued by the Cuban tobacco and oak range. I imagine it’s  uniquely appealing.

Do you like the sound of this? Would you buy one for yourself or someone else? Check out Scentsunusual.com for their other products.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

My September beauty faves – Inspired by Mam Rants and Reviews

I’m about to do something a little different to my usual posts. My world has recently been brightened by a fellow blogger Shân Williams. Living approximately a six-hour drive from one another and technically in different countries, we are yet to meet in real life. Nonetheless, this lady and I have clicked and she’s definitely one of my new faves.

New to the blogging scene, Shân is already inspiring me. I learn something new about her everyday. She first caught my eye the day I watched her #BraveTheShave on Instagram. An act she completed to mark her eighth year since she got given the all clear. Each year she does something different. I’ve always wanted to shave my head but never been brave enough and here was this woman, whacking on her fave lippy and braving it.

So Shân blogs over at Mam Rants and Reviews. She recently blogged about her Fall Fashion Faves and asked me to join her with some of my own faves. Life being as it has in the Gorgeous George’s Mama household, fashion has been bumped off the budget list of late. I’m hoping things are on the up though as I’m desperate for a few new key pieces for this Autumn/Winter. Beauty is an essential though in my eyes and I can always find the pennies to look after my ageing bod. Stick with me…I’m not a beauty blogger and I’m not about to impersonate one.

ANEW Anti Wrinkle, Line Erasing Serum with A-F33 by Avon

faves

I’m proper pleased with myself about this stuff and not least because it’s a great product. So I’ll tell you the story about how this came into my life. Whilst attending the last of the Summer family fun fetes, hubs took George to a tombola stall. I needed to park ym aging bod for a moment as I;ve been suffering with my hip. I reminded him that we didn’t need to be taking any toot home as I had just decluttered our home ready for sale.

“Don’t worry” he reassured me “this time I’m going for something for you”.

So off he trots and a few minutes later and £2 lighter he appears with a gorgeous set from Boots and this wonder serum. This stuff retails at £25 from Avon! I effectively got it for a quid! I’m already loving it. I started to use it every morning as a must and I will never got back. This is going to be part of my morning routine for life!

Avon were the first major cosmetic company to end animal testing nearly 30 years ago. The serum isn’t greasy at all and it’s currently on sale for £18 (prices as of September 21st 2018). What’s not to love!

Before and after. See the difference? Me neither but it feels lush.

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Coconut miracle penetrating oil by OGX.

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This little beaut presented itself to me in the reduced section during my weekly shop in Asda. Again OGX Beauty ltd are a company that do not support testing on animals and this particular miracle oil is vegan friendly too.

I’ve been going grey since I was 15 and it reached a point where I was home dyeing my hair every 3 weeks to cover the greys. This became something I couldn’t maintain once I became a Mum, so I started getting highlights at the salon. This does involve the use of bleach as I am a natural brown.

After this summer’s heat wave and the bleaching, my hair was feeling a little dry on the ends. I needed a quick solution so I thought I would give it a go. It was reduced from £7.99 to £4.99.

I wash my hair every other day and literally just put an amount the size of a penny in my palm and run my fingers through towel dried hair. It makes it feel silky again without being greasy and removes frizz. It’s definitely revived my hair.

“>
.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/IMG_22251-e1537562226369.jpg” alt=”faves” width=”270″ height=”480″ /> Couldn’t resist a Snapchat twat pose[/caption]

nSPA Cherry Body Mist

nSPA Cherry Body Mist

faves

This spray was a gift from my sister along with some other nSPA goodies. nSPA are another of my faves that is vegan friendly and against animal testing.

Just before the summer break we visited the step up room at George’s preschool. Another Mum, who I have made friends with was sat with me. I asked her what she thought of the place whilst we were there and she replied;

“It smells nice so that’s a bonus….oh no that’s you”

 I’m rarely complimented on my scent. I rarely wear one as it can aggravate or trigger my migraines. Now every time I spray this I feel like I’m one of those people you walk past in the street and think

“mmm they smell lush”

The nSPA range is available from their website or at Asda. Their Blooming Gorgeous range served me well during my pregnancy with Gorgeous George.

faves

So there you have it. Some fab products for you to checkout, each with their own story of why they are my faves for this month. This post is not sponsored or paid. They are just products I wanted to shout about after Shân inspired me and suggested we collaborate.

Be sure to go show her some love over at

Mam Rants and ReviewsFacebookTwitterInstagram.

Much Love x 

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Leaving the Property Ladder – What’s the Big Deal?

So finally. The second part of my big revelation. We are selling our house! If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll know that already. So if you are a regular visitor of my social pages you will remember me declaring last month that I am feeling really positive and optimistic. An exciting next chapter is beginning in our lives and I’m full of hope. Focusing on the hope and possibilities of a situation helps me remain excited and not get stressed. The first reason I told you all about here.

property

The property ladder is constantly something pushed to us but what’s the big deal?! Since I can remember, society has forced the idea upon me that it’s the be all and end all to own your own property. I totally get that there is security in owning your own home.

Hearing buzz phrases like “you need to secure your future for your retirement” are heard from a young age. But times are not what they used to be. People are living differently to how they used to back in the day.

ladder

As a society we are travelling more, some of us living on the move for quite some time. But to the older generation I think the thought of not having some bricks and mortar to come back to is a scary prospect.

It’s September 2018, with a deal still not agreed for Brexit, there is a potential for the housing market to crash and property prices to drop by up to a third…or so I’ve read. Although this is of course speculation but it seems like a good a time as any to sell up. George isn’t getting any smaller and we’d love to add to our family.

Myself and hubs are stuck on an interest only mortgage, stuck in a house that’s no longer fulfilling our needs, our life jackets are on and we are full heartedly jumping ship. When I say we are stuck, trust me, we are. We’ve consulted financial and mortgage advisors. Without blacklisting ourselves the only way out is to sell.

I don’t particularly wish to divulge the detailed ins and outs of our financial situation or how we ended up in this position. In short we purchased our house with a 105% mortgage just before the last recession back in 2007. We had no deposit, no bank of mum and dad and wanted to consolidate debts.

Some of our debt had been accrued through putting commute expenses on credit cards as hubs was working within London but not earning enough to pay the expenses. Such is life at times. Having a job doesn’t mean you are thriving. So many in this country work damn hard but still struggle to pay for the essentials of life.

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We were both raised by parents who didn’t really believe in not paying for things in full. They tried not to take out credit or “HP” as they call it. Hubs and I have always been of the mentality “you only live once, if you want it, have it”. I’m not talking silly things like Ferrari’s or Caribbean holidays. We only took staycations (aside from a med cruise we booked to celebrate my first pay packet). We bought a nice tele and simple things. If we saw some nice chocolate cakes we had them. We don’t own designer clothes or expensive handbags. We’ve lived within our means….or so we thought.

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So we have reached a point where we have outgrown our house. We have potential to extend but no funds to do so. It could be years before we could. All the while our quality of life is affected. We are living on top of one another 24/7. Hubs needs a home office. We know we have a pretty decent amount of equity in our property because the housing market has reached ridiculous prices. So why not cash in on that and move into rental?

Yeah I actually said it. We are going to LEAVE the property ladder and join the RENTAL market.

We could never even dream of buying anything bigger than our 2 bed in our county. Not without moving to the type of area most people wish they could get out of. We are also at the stage where wherever we move, the schools have to be good for George.

But the rental market is a different ballgame. Not least because we will have more cash available on a monthly basis because we will be debt free. Using the equity from the sale of our property, we can clear our debts, all outstanding loans and start a fresh. We can rent a larger property whilst stashing a potential deposit in the bank or a limited access saver.

When the time comes where we are feeling it’s the right time, we can hopefully jump back on the ladder. It may not be in our current area. But by that point we may be better suited to moving away. The further north you go, the cheaper it seems to get. It’s crazy how much prices vary!

We have even considered buying in maybe years time in our potential desired area for retirement, Norfolk. We may then rent it out until we are ready to move in ourselves. No one knows what the future holds for either of us and the security of a roof over our heads is obviously paramount.

There are so many options. We can continue to build that deposit. This is an exciting time for us. For many though the ladder is the dream. It’s so hard to get on to. All you read in the papers is how hard it is for young people to get on the ladder. And here we are, willingly leaving it. Oh the travesty. But to us it has cons but right now, the pros outweighs the cons by a mile.

Do I worry that we will be retired with little or no income coming in and having to find money for rent or mortgage payments? No. Hubs has his finger in many pies. Although I’m self employed, my input to the business will grow as George starts full-time school next year, increasing our earnings further. It will all work out. I’m willing to return to my previous career if need be as I can join that back at the top-level I left it, with a little retraining. There are ALWAYS options.

Sometimes you can’t always do what’s right for the future. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for now.

Whilst I’d love to know your thoughts on this, we are so sure this is the right decision for US. We know our situation better than anyone so don’t try to convince me otherwise. I know many may frown upon this idea which is one if there reasons I’ve been reluctant to share the news for so long.

What next? Well at the moment we have to wait for the sale of our house to be around one month away from completion before we can look for a rental. Obviously the rental market moves a lot quicker than all the legal stuff involved in the sale of a house. Estate agents just aren’t interested in showing us rentals until we are further into the process of selling our house.

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For many this is alien. People are asking me if we have “found anywhere to live yet”. Which I don’t mind because I wouldn’t expect people to understand this unusual process. But this is how it is. We wait for a potential buyer to make an offer on our house, once accepted we have to let the process evolve. When everything is looking good to go, then we can view rentals and hopefully get the keys before moving day. As long as we have exchanged contracts on the house so we don’t end up paying two lots of bills. That way we can also ease the transition of moving rather than it being all one big moving day.

Stay on the lookout for some more lighthearted posts from me on selling houses the Gorgeous George’s Mama way.

Have you ever left the housing ladder to join the rental market? I haven’t met anyone who has and would love to know your experience. Estate agents we speak to our surprised by our decision. They haven’t come across many people who do what we are. We have found a fabulous estate agents who are helping us through this process step by step.

Preparing to conceive with the AVA bracelet

Are you trying to conceive? Have you heard of the Ava bracelet?  Ava is focused on women’s health.

The Ava bracelet isn’t just for women trying to conceive. It can also be used to help track your cycle as well as being worn during pregnancy for regular monitoring of your body.

The Ava bracelet has got me so excited. You may have recently seen my social media update declaring I am full of positivity and optimism. Ava is one of the reasons why. Conceive

Ava cannot necessarily assist everyone. For example, for women with PCOS, irregular or non-existent cycles Ava cannot fix this. The Ava bracelet assists women with a regular cycle but highlighting their most fertile period. Whilst many products on the market pinpoint the approximate 48 hours within ovulation, Ava does more than this.

Other tests (which I have already tried unsuccessfully this time around) indicate the last 2 days of the fertile window. The Ava bracelet collects physiological data whilst you sleep. Ava then pinpoints a 5 day window, detecting the very beginning of your fertile window.

Ava claim to advise you of “more fertile days than any other method”.  Despite all those years growing up thinking I could fall pregnant easily at any time, it turns out there’s actually only a small window that this can happen.

Who are avawomen.com and what do they stand for?

Ava Women are ridiculously passionate about bringing the Ava brand to the world. The team are spread between a base in San Francisco and their Global headquarters in Switzerland.  They are a group of doctors and scientific researchers, committed to making scientific advancements to better understand the menstrual cycle. In a world where technology plays a huge role in almost every part of our lives, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been many advancements in women’s health tracking. Ava Women hope to change this.

“We don’t just make products, we conduct clinical studies and publish peer-reviewed papers.”  taken from avawomen.com

How does the Ava bracelet work?

While you’re sleeping, Ava’s sensors collect data on nine different physiological parameters. Ava’s algorithm then detects your fertile window, physiological stress level, sleep quality, and more. –  taken from avawomen.com

The data collected each night is synced to your phone and automatically entered into a chart. Gradually you will begin to build a picture of how many hours you sleep (this is useful ammo against hubs if you already have a child),It also monitors your resting pulse rate, skin temperature, breathing rate, and HRV which is short for heart rate variability (basically stress levels).

In order for an adequate amount of data to be collected, you have to wear the bracelet for at least 4 hours each night. The information that Ava measures doesn’t confirm if you are fertile but rather when. It uses the data collected to create an algorithm which recognises when your body is signalling that it is entering the fertile window, and hence at the prime time to conceive.

Set up and using the Ava bracelet.

The Ava bracelet is easy to use and stress free. On receiving the bracelet, it needed to be charged for a minimum of 2 hours. After downloading the Ava app on app store (or Google Play store) I set up my account. It helps if you already know a few details about your cycle such as dates of last period and average cycle length. This is something I already tracked on an app. I then synced the bracelet with my phone. The bracelet is found automatically once bluetooth is enabled.

Each evening before I go to sleep, I put the bracelet on my non dominant arm, just above the wrist bone. It’s a simple buckle strap, not too tight. I’m not aware of it during the night when I’m sleeping. In the morning I remove the bracelet, plug it into a power source and sync it to the app to download the data collected that night.

It’s so simple and easy. You can also join a closed Facebook group (so it’s not visible on your profile) to help you with support and analysing your charts.

Trying to conceive George.

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I’ve always been pretty good at getting my own way. So it kind of pisses me off  utterly frustrates me that when I want a baby, I can’t just have one! I’m so grateful for George and whilst my eight month conception journey to have him is miniscule compared to the struggle of others, I did let it consume me.

I don’t feel the same this time around. I would love so much to have another baby. A baby that I can enjoy minus the post natal depression (or at least with treatment this time). Another chance to use and learn from the mistakes I made the first time around. Maybe the chance to be Mama to a daughter. But mostly because I am SO sure that George will make the most kind, helpful and amazing big brother.

Those who know me know I research the back-end out of everything I do. Queen of Googling. I thought I knew all the tricks. I tried my hardest to not actually “try” to conceive. Knowing that the more you stress over it the less likely it is to happen (or so they say). We both took all the conception vitamins. I stopped drinking alcohol to try to get my body in tip-top condition. I even stopped making social plans. Firstly because I didn’t think I could enjoy myself without a drink (isn’t that sad!), secondly because I was always thinking “I can’t agree to that sponsored walk because what if I’m pregnant by then”.

Legs up the wall, optimal positions, you name it, we did it.  After 7 months, my sister lent me her ovulation monitor. You pee on a stick when it tells you to and when you get the smiley face you go hell for leather and ta da, a baby. And after the first month using this machine, I discovered that in fact I ovulate way after my period tracking app suggested I did.

At the same month we started using the monitor I found out I was 2 to 3 weeks pregnant. I’ve always attributed our success in conception to the ovulation monitor. However it is also the time I took advice from a friend and just stopped caring and started to say yes again. Yes to that holiday, yes to that night out. In the end I was so busy during my pregnancy it was unreal. George was born 9 months later and the rest is history. But this time is a WHOLE different story.

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Trying for a second.

Last year we decided it would be a good time to start trying for a sibling. Since George’s birth, we haven’t used any contraception. so you could say we have always been trying to conceive. Although as most first time parents will know, having a child to care for is contraception in itself. You are way to tired and touched out for that shizzle come the end of the day.

For the first year I was breastfeeding and didn’t have ANY periods. Although it’s not supposed to be a trusted method of contraception, I believe breastfeeding stopped me getting pregnant in the first year. When my periods returned we sometimes used the pulling out method as I was never sure it was right for us to be having another yet. Again, kids this isn’t a safe way to avoid getting pregnant.

So last year I knew I wanted George to be a sibling. I didn’t want a baby too badly just yet, and I wanted to try to fall before I became over the top broody to eliminate the pressure and stress. It wasn’t happening. “Simple” I thought and out came my sister’s ovulation monitor.

3 months down and no smiley face. I went to see the doctor who booked me in for an internal ultrasound to check the health of my ovaries. After suspecting I may be starting early menopause (as the women do in my family), I was relieved to find out I wasn’t. Everything was the level it should be.

Hubs was going to get checked out but then my body started to really play up. I gained three stone taking medication for my migraines. I also have a problem with my hip which is affecting my quality of life.

Long story short, we had to make the sensible choice to halt trying for a baby. I’m under a consultant and physio for my hip and slowly losing weight. We suspect my health will have improved enough by the end of 2018, start of 2019 that we can start trying to conceive again.

Conceive

Now seems the perfect time to start using the Ava bracelet and build up my data within the app. I’m hopeful that when the time comes we will be better informed about the prime time to play the baby making game conceive.

My verdict

Obviously I would love to say that we have successfully conceived using the Ava bracelet…but I haven’t put the data to good use yet. What I will say is if you are looking for an aid to help you better plan your conception journey, then I feel Ava takes the stress out of it. At a RRP of £249 it’s not cheap.

But it’s worth bearing in mind that you can continue to wear it during pregnancy. The app also gives you a pregnancy tracker, giving you weekly insights on what to expect. I’m really excited about the potential this bracelet has for us (in case you hadn’t gathered). I can’t wait to share it with you all!

There may be some of you that thinks this all seems very involved. That you should just let nature take its course. But as someone who doesn’t appear to fall pregnant easily, it’s invaluable to me, as I’m sure it will be to many couples.

If you would like to purchase an Ava bracelet for yourself, you can get £20 off by using this link and the code;

GORGEOUSGSMAMA20

**Disclosure – I received an Ava bracelet in return for this review. Opinions are my own and this does not affect the integrity of this post**

Last Day Of School Holidays – Welcoming The Return With Open Arms.

💃 It’s the last day of the school holidays and I can’t say I’m not doing a little victory dance 💃

This time last year I was preparing for George’s first ever day of preschool, and let’s just say I wasn’t in a great place. Read all about it here. He cried, I cried, I pretty much cried my way through September. But it got easier. We both made friends, fab friends who we now have the most fun with. The little shits weren’t that bad and in this past year George has more than learnt to handle himself or deal with tricky situations. For all the anxious Mama’s packing their children off to their first day, I promise you, it gets better.

I’ll always remember pre motherhood seeing mums saying “is it time for the kids to go back to school yet…hurry the fuck up”

And my innocent little mind was thinking “oh why do you mothers detest your children so much?!”

“You asked for those little buggers, why aren’t you cherishing every gorgeous hair on their head every moment of your blessed day!” (Laughs deliriously)

And then I became a Mama. I put my kid in nursery and school holidays were still life as normal for me. Then due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to take him out of nursery. He got a place at the local government preschool system last September.

I never forget the realisation that every school holiday I would have to look after my OWN child 24/7 for a week or more! Now in all honesty the first half term in October was a blesséd relief. I think we both cried our way through September and we needed to get ‘our’ time back.

Cut to today when we are on the last day of our first experience of SIX WHOLE WEEKS of the schools being closed. I’m not going to lie. It’s flown by in a funny kind of way. All these plans we had and we didn’t get around to half of them. Seeing all these posts of “you only get 18 summers with your child” aren’t helpful.

On the one hand you are thinking “Fuck” I’ve got to make this summer all singing, all dancing, cherish every minuscule moment of every day. On the other you are thinking this was totally written by someone that doesn’t have kids! What teenager spends every day of the summer with their Mum! I’m thinking we’ve got 10 summers together max!

Anyway, that’s neither here or there. Facing facts, me and George are bored of one another. My creative enthusiasm for playing and inventing new activities is at its lowest. Owing mostly to the fact I spend ages setting something up, he looks at it and just wants to watch television or do something else. I don’t think he even knows what he wants anymore.

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that….

George has pretty much refused to be looked after by any family or friends this summer so it’s been full on. As a result he has tested our parenting boundaries something chronic.

He so badly needs to go back to preschool and gain some discipline and control over his behaviour. Listening to people in charge that aren’t his parents. I have huge respect to the preschool workers who take care of our little darlings each session.

We have resorted to a behaviour chart but that’s another story for another day.

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So all the mamas I silently judged pre motherhood, this is my apology to you. Looking after your own kid for 6 full weeks is bloody intensive. And don’t read this in a “she’s a cold hearted bitch” kinda way. Most mamas know I’m being facetious. Us mamas are only human and we have to have time off being in charge of mini humans.

I literally feel like tomorrow when I drop him off will be the biggest relief. Not least because I’m still not sure if he will get upset and make drop offs difficult as he did for the majority of last year. He loved it once he’s there. I’ve seen the pictures and videos as proof. Often I can see or hear he’s stopped crying before I’m out of the playground.

And what will I be doing? Well I have a few more things to prepare before my big revelation about why I’ve been so optimistic and positive of late. (Although this post really isn’t indicative of this ) .

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And when I go to pick George up I’m hoping I find a child that’s refreshed and ready to adore my company again and me him. He literally said to me, can you go out and not come back please so me and Daddy can just watch Knightrider. Thanks kid. Love you too. I’m totally ready for him to be someone else’s problem for three hours.

How do you feel about the school holidays. Baring in mind we are still going through the toddler tantrum stage. My stance may change as the years progress. Are the long summer holidays  even necessary? Couldn’t we just break up the other terms?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Bing Live Show – a review

Round the corner, not far away, Bing is coming to your local theatre to play.

We are complete Bingster’s in our house. The CBeebies loveable Bunny Bing is a regular on our screens and I have even been known  to take some parenting tips from Flop. Bing actually came to Cbeebies screens the year George was born 2014 making it feel special to us in some way.

The Television show is actually based on books written by Ted Dewan. I found a fab interview with him here, which explains more about his vision for the show and what it should become.

I contacted the press team who were kind enough to not only send tickets to myself, hubs and George for the Bing Live Show but also a fab goody bag. Checkout what was in the goody bag over on our IGTV .

Bing

Details about the show.

Currently touring theatres across the UK, the show is 80 minutes long, including the 15 minute interval. The Bing Live show is touring 60 venues around the UK until April 2019. Tickets prices vary from theatre to theatre.

Bing
Credit Johan Persson – Images Courtesy of Bright Media

Our experience of Bing Live.

The Bing Live show was engaging, exciting and really well produced. I’ve been to a few theatre shows aimed at toddlers now and they can only be described as hilarious carnage! If you have read my previous post “What will my child become?“, you will know that George is the epitome of sensible. He’s able to sit still and watch shows from beginning to end without fidgeting, fussing or complaining he wants to do something else. I’m not bragging, but I forget that this isn’t “the standard norm” (whatever that is) for toddlers.

So whenever we attend a show where the bulk of the audience are toddlers, I’m often in hysterics at how funny it is to be in a room with 100+ toddlers all trying to be kept ship-shape and quiet. Hence the description “hilarious carnage”. With Bing Live , it is anticipated, hell, expected even, that the little ones will roam around, shout, clap, scream. It’s embraced. I think this helps to take the pressure off the adults from trying to maintain the decorum expected of a visit to the theatre.

Bing

As I was saying, at previous theatre shows aimed at this age, the carnage has sometimes been a little distracting and over ridden the show itself. I didn’t find this with the Bing Live show. The volume was somehow magically loud enough to always be able to hear it despite the excitable audience. But it wasn’t excessively loud that it unnerved or upset any of the little ones. I don’t know how they did it but it was really clever.

The narrator gave us a typical countdown to the show starting so our little audience could get excited. George is pretty reserved so it was so lovely to see him anticipating the show starting. He was so excited bless him. As the curtain rose and Bing and Flop entered the stage, we got out first look at how the show was present.

We had already watched the trailer video on Facebook, so we knew the characters were all puppets. The thinking behind this was that the characters could be a relatable size for the children. Not too large they are scary, but not too small you can’t see their expressions. I loved reading more about the Magic Behind the Puppets on the Bing Live site.

Each character was cleverly manoeuvred around the stage using rods attached to the puppeteer’s feet and body. Whilst the puppeteer voiced the characters.

They all sounded more or less the same as the characters on the show, although Bing himself was a little more shrill and not as husky as he is on the show. He was voiced by a female. They all did a fabulous job. I would love to know if their voices are naturally that tone and pitch or if they were enhanced at all.

The live show is literally like watching toddler play and imagine and explore. The characters were as excited to see us as we were them. They then played out before us, their own make-believe theatre. Imagining and dressing up and exploring through singing and dancing.  There were moments the audience were encouraged to participate in the singing and dancing and this was lots of fun. It was also really helpful that the lights went up for these parts of the show.

I don’t want to give away much more except that it’s a great show that appears to be written by people who understand young children and parenthood. Little touches like announcing the interval with Bing declaring he needs a wee and everyone getting all aboard the toilet train. Cue a room full of grown ups asking their child if they need the toilet train, instead of the usual battle to get them to try for a wee. We loved it!

Bing

George’s verdict:

He absolutely loved the show and took his Bing and Sula teddies along to share it with him. When the crowd were asked to join in the singing and dancing, we did this with his teddies instead. He is quite shy to sing or dance out of the comfort of his own home with just us watching so this was the perfect way for him to still take part and enjoy it. Our seats were perfect and he had a great view. His feet were tapping and he couldn’t sit still from excitement. When I asked what his favourite part was, he replied “All of it”

Our local show was held at The Cliffs Pavilion Theatre in Southend-On-Sea, Essex.  It’s not the first time hubs and I visited the Cliffs, but it was the first time we have visited with George and fully explored the theatre grounds. It’s modern, comfortable with air conditioning inside the theatre. There’s plenty of seating inside and outside to relax and enjoy a drink or a snack before the show. Upstairs is a pretty cool and comfortable selection of seating booths. Decorated in a funky seaside print. it’s the perfect place to sit and enjoy the stunning sea views. After the show we took a walk down the steps to the seafront and as the tide had just gone out, we watched lots of tiny crabs making their way back to the water’s edge.

Bing

If you do attend the show, be sure to have a piccie in front of the photo wall. Share it on social media with the hashtag #Bingstar.

Bing

**Disclosure – we were provided with tickets to the show and a goody bag in return for our own review. All opinions are our own and do not affect the integrity of this post **

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday