Tuesday 30 April 2013

Trendy Tuesday - Chambre Shirt

A quick Trendy Tuesday post today!

I've been after a chambre shirt for Ethan for ages now, and when I was in GAP recently, I spotted one in his size in the sale! Bargain!  For £3.99 we got a lovely quality shirt.  I do love the quality of the clothing at GAP and always take advantage of their sales!

Ethan wore his shirt for the first time this weekend when we went to Cardiff for my bra fitting at Bravissimo (you can read about that here!) and I thought he looked smart, but not over the top.  Which is just what you want from a chambre shirt I think!

Chambre shirt - GAP
Jeans - ASDA
High Tops - H&M
Sunglasses - Primark

Have you got any bargains for your little ones lately?  Been hankering after a trend but not been able to find it in there size?

Over to you lovelies now, link up your children's fashion blog posts below and don't forget the easy rules!

1) Link back to my blog in your blog post and/or display the Trendy Tuesday badge (code available to the right).

2) Comment on my blog post and please visit others who join in - share the love!

3) Tweet me @medicatedfollow with your blog post link so I can retweet it.

Family Fun Time!

Earlier today I read a post about the top fancy dress costumes in 2013 for children and it reminded me how much my son Ethan loves dressing up. One thing I've discovered that he loves to do and I can actually keep up with is dressing up! Most of the fun comes from simply being dressed up so Ethan can run around happily, entertained mostly by the fact he and I are both dressed up.

Although being heavily pregnant and trying to keep a young child entertained is hard! Now that I'm on week 37 the bump is really growing, and with it so is my back ache and tiredness.
However, just because my body is taking on these changes doesn't mean that I want Ethan’s happiness to be compromised. The favourite part of my day is playing with my son and seeing the happiness on his face as he laughs, imagines and creates.

His favourite book characters are Meg and Mog, and he also loves The Lorax, The Cat in the Hat and Curious George, so fancy dress and imaginary adventures regularly follow the forms of the books these characters originate from.

I want Ethan to have a broad range of interests as he grows so he can discover new and interesting things. TV and literature are great ways to engage with a child as they are drawn in by the colourful characters but learn along the way.

Where’s Wally?

Where’s Wally? Was a staple of my childhood so I want Ethan to know all about this classic kid’s character. The books focus upon finding Wally amongst a busy crowd and helps develop patience and concentration. We would obviously play hide and seek in this!

The Smurfs

Another classic children’s character here I’d love Ethan to know more about are the Smurfs! Since being a Smurf requires blue face paint, I like to do painting activities with him so he can be creative and artistic.

Buzz Lightyear

Toy Story teaches children about compromise and learning to get on with those around you who are different. While that’s a great lesson, I also like the fact that I can sneak in a lesson about space with Buzz!

I found all these children’s costumes and many more were available to buy online and I got a lot of inspiration from this which helped me with writing this post. And after looking at all the different characters that are available to dress up as it also triggered a few happy memories from my own childhood and I'm sure Ethan will absolutely love it if I bought him one or two of these outfits to dress up as these characters.

Monday 29 April 2013

Bravissimo - always the best!

I LOVE Bravissimo.  When I was growing up, it was obvious I was going to have a large chest.  By the age of 12 I had D cup breasts.  It was a constant source of awkwardness growing up.  I remember being the first girl in the class to have to wear a bra.. this of course meant I was the one the boys were always annoying, pinging my bra straps and the one girls bitched about.  I constantly felt uncomfortable.  Older men stared at me not realising my age.  It was so bloody awkward.  I hated my large chest for a LONG TIME.

Eventually of course, probably around the age of 15/16 I started to realise the "power" or the boobs and got a bit more comfortable in my own skin.  I still had a journey ahead of me, but I was starting to realise I wasn't fat, I just had big boobs.  You see, I have a more "unusual" breast size.  I have a small back and large cup size.  I am normally a 30/32F/FF.  For years, and I mean YEARS most shops didn't even stock this size, let alone know how to cope with me.  Buying a bra that fitted was almost hopeless.  I remember being about 18 and finding out that House of Fraser finally stocked a wider range of bras but even still, they only ever had about 1 or 2 designs in my size to choose from.  Buying swimwear was even more of a pain in the ass.  I can't go into Debenhams, Top Shop or Primark and just buy a "size 10" bikini.  The bottoms would be fine, but the top?  No bloody chance.  No, I discovered that I could get swimwear to fit me but that I would have to stump up around £60.  No cheap and cheerful swimwear for me!

I remember the day I discovered Bravissimo.  I was so excited I think I nearly jumped a hole in the floor!  Now, according to the Bravissimo website, it started up as a mail order company from the living room of founder Sarah Tremellen in 1995.  I certainly didn't discover them then.  I think it must have been around 2001/2002 when I found them.  I know it made my day though.  It was so wonderful to have more than 1 or 2 bras to choose from.  In different styles as well!

I started a new Bravissimo journey in 2009 when I was pregnant with Ethan.  There was a shop in Cardiff (it's the closest one to me) and I decided to go and get myself fitted part way through my pregnancy as I knew my breasts had grown.  I had a fantastic experience there.  The staff were kind, helpful, discreet and attentive.  You feel really cared for when you're with them, like they are totally focussed on you.  I was so impressed.

Now, I am pregnant again.  I've been meaning to get myself to Cardiff for months but it just hasn't happened.  Finally, this weekend, at 37 weeks pregnant I've made it there again to get myself measured for a bra to wear now and a nursing bra.  Again, I had a fantastic experience.  I had a lovely lady fitting me called Jane.  Just like before, I felt she was totally focussed on me.  There was no hint of a rush despite the fact they had full fitting rooms with more people waiting to be fitted.  She sorted me out quickly with something to wear now - in fact, I went with the first bra she brought in (a gorgeous spotty number).  She also sorted me out a nursing bra.  We went for something with some room for growth because I still have a few weeks to go but she was happy to point out that as long as I keep the tags on, I can try it on when I actually need it and if it no longer fits, return it with no issue.

Bravissimo http//www.medicatedfollower.com
I cannot recommend Bravissimo enough.  I'm always recommending people go there, even if they don't believe they are an awkward bra size.  So many ladies are actually wearing the incorrect bra size due to the outdated measuring techniques that most shops use (step away from the tape-measure people!!!).  I myself had a rubbish experience the other week.  In an attempt to avoid the trek to Cardiff, I popped into the Triumph Bra Shop in Clarks Villiage whilst we were there the other weekend.  I was "measured" by a grumpy lady and her tape-measure   She put me in a bra that I knew was all wrong.  It didn't fit, it wasn't supportive in the back and was baggy in the cups.  To give you an idea, my new bra from Bravissimo is a 34FF (my nursing bra a 32H) but this lady in Triumph put me in a 38EE.  Completely wrong.  When I tried to suggest so to her, she got very defensive and just said "Well, that's what the tape-measure says".  Hmmm.. I don't trust these old fashioned methods!  You can find out more about Bravissimo's fitting philosophy here. You can read all about why the old tape-measure method is so bad here.

I've not been asked to write about this, this isn't a sponsored post.  I just love Bravissimo and want to tell you all about them!

Friday 26 April 2013

37 week ponderings - homebirth plans, cloth nappies, nesting...

On Sunday (or today) depending on who's dates you go with (mine or the dating scan) I reach 37 weeks pregnant.  It's quite a big deal, reaching 37 weeks, I think.

As I'm planning a home birth, this means I can now happily labour at home (as long as there are no complications), even if I'm not 40 weeks.  Yippee!  There is a good chance I will get to use our birthing pool.  It's something I've worried about, after all this planning.  I really want to give home birth a go.  Even if things don't pan out, it'd be nice to think labour started at home, that I gave it my best shot.  Obviously, thinking positively  I hope that the whole birth will occur at home!

So.  What's going through my head at 37 weeks pregnant?  Well, quite a lot actually.  Though many pregnant women are worn out and suffering with "baby brain" causing them to forget things ALL THE TIME, we actually have quite full and active brains.  I think it's because they are so full of thoughts/plans that we forget silly stuff.  You know, like taking your son out in the car to ride his scooter up at the local sea front but leaving the scooter at home, right on the drive way, practically with a sign on it saying "please steal me and sell me on eBay!".  I'll give you a glimpse into my head right now:

I must plan ALL THE THINGS! 

I'm obsessed with being organised and prepared for things at the best of times.  As I reach the end of this pregnancy, I've gone beyond nesting.  I've decided that as baby is due in May and Fathers Day is in June, it'd be a great idea to buy/make presents for hubby and Granddad now.  Not only buy them, but wrap them up.  And make cards as well.  This is well and good, but the chances are that I'll probably have forgotten where I've put them by the time Fathers Day actually rolls round.  Or be too sleep deprived to remember on which day it falls.  Never the less, I am steaming ahead with this plan.  The power of hormones compel me!

Real/Cloth nappies

I used Naty nappies with Ethan - disposable but better than your average disposables.  I've planned throughout this pregnancy to do the same this time.  After all, I'm not planning to have a 3rd child so really it'd be silly to invest in cloth nappies now... and yet, at 37 weeks pregnant, when I could pop at any moment and should not be worrying but trying to rest all I can, I find myself trawling the internet and eBay looking at cloth nappies and thinking.. just thinking... it'd be so nice to use cloth!!  I'm mad to be thinking this now, surely?  One of the reasons I've steered clear of cloth, despite preferring to be green and loving everything about them from their ethos to the way they look, is that I know how easily stressed I am and that I am not someone who needs extra hassle when a baby comes along.  Like many things baby though, I'm not finding it easy to be logical about this.  Deep down I know I would love to use cloth.  I'm scared to though.  I have no idea where to start, I'm worrying about taking something on that I can't handle and I'm not sure where I'd come up with the money to buy what I need upfront.  I just don't know if it's practical for me.. all the same, I love the idea of them!

Baby position

Prior to my check up with the midwife this week (or middle-wife as Ethan calls her) I was seriously concerned about the position of baby.  Due to some big movements the week before and where I was feeling hiccups, I was convinced that he was breech.  I spent the whole week stressing over this.  Any spare time I had was spent hanging upside down from the sofa, on the birthing ball or on my hands and knees (and no, not in a sexy way!).

Here's an attractive photo for me to share with the world!
I didn't feel him move positions so was petrified on Thursday when I had my appointment.  I know people (locally) who's babies have been breech at 36 weeks and they were all sent into hospital to have the baby manually moved and if that didn't work, booked in for a c-section at 38 weeks.  So NOT what I want.  I pretty much had a panic attack in the waiting room this week.. it didn't help that my midwife was (as usual) running half an hour late.  Turns out I was worrying over nothing, that actually he is in an OK position.  Not perfect (he's lying to the side a bit) but he is still head down.  No engaged, but that's not something to worry about.  I never realised second babies don't generally engage until labour! Interesting!

Presents for my son

I've always liked the idea of giving your first born a present when the new baby arrives.  After all, they've been your one and only for however long (in Ethan's case, nearly 4 years) so it's likely that even if they are excited about the new baby and being a big brother/sister they are also likely to feel a bit usurped and left out.  The idea of a present "from" the baby to your first child is a simple one.  Something to remind them they aren't forgotten.  I like the idea of it being "from the baby" as well - I like to think it'll be an encouraging start to a lifelong bond.  I've bought a few things "from the baby" for Ethan.  I've tried not to go overboard.  I've got him a "Big Brother" t shirt (the baby has a Little Brother one).  I also picked up a couple of Dr Seuss books in the charity shop, a card game and I've ordered one of those huge lego head storage boxes for Ethan's lego.  Quite a nice selection I think!

Have I got everything for labour?

Planning a home birth means you have to go to a bit more trouble than if you're planning to go into hospital.  At first you think "I'm labouring at home! I won't need to do anything to prepare!" but that's just not the case.  First of all, I've packed a hospital bag anyway, because things might not go to plan..  Right there, that's all I did last time.  On top of that I've had to get everything I can think of to cover labouring at home.  The Good Birth Company have provided a birthing pool and they have a great selection of kits which you can buy alongside their pools (kits include a sieve, a thermometer  a pool liner, a pool lid, a pump to blow up and deflate the pool, a pump to remove the water afterwards, a hosepipe and tap attachments and other items) but I've still had to buy/gather up more items.

Just some of the stuff I've been collecting up..
I've collected a whole heap of old towels.  I've got plastic sheeting from a DIY store, a cheap shower curtain and oilcloth material.  All will be used to protect surfaces such as the carpet and sofa.  I've got a waterproof mattress protector on our bed alongside an old towel and a disposable bed wetting pad.  These are in case my waters go in bed or in case I decide I want to labour in our bed.  I've also got a dark blue fitted sheet on the bed because it'll be more forgiving if I stain it.  I've bought a cheap handheld mirror to help us see what's going on during labour.  I've bought masses of supplies such as energy drinks and snacks.  I've got my TENs machine from last time but I've had to buy new electrode pads.  The birthing ball is ready and set up.  I've got the potty down from it's hiding place (it's been hidden away after Ethan started using the loo) in case I need a poo/wee during labour and don't want to leave the pool.  I've got oodles of maternity pads and cheap black pants from Primark.  I'm sure there's even more that I can't remember just now!  Planning a home birth is definitely more involved!!  Even the birth plan took me longer...

I must clean the top of the wardrobe and sell those clothes at don't fit on eBay...

I can't seem to stop dying baby clothes or faffing around in baby's room!

Crazy nesting.  If you've ever been pregnant you'll know what I mean.  Nesting really does make us do strange things that people in our delicate (heavy) tired state should NOT be undertaking.  I remember some classics from last time such as cleaning out and bleaching our freezer, reorganising it and labelling the draws.  I also remember listing a whole heap of things on eBay when I was not only due to pop but overdue.  You can guess the outcome.  I ended up having to make trips to the Post Office to post items that sold when I had a tiny days old baby.  Stupid.  So stupid.  That's one mistake I won't be making this time.  But you can be sure I'll still be staying up until 2am tweaking the d├ęcor in the baby's room or steam cleaning the oven.


Trying to look my best... feeling rubbish!
I'm mostly a style/fashion blogger but even my style is struggling to keep up with the body of a heavily pregnant women.  I just don't have the budget to buy heaps of maternity wear and I'm so far along now that it'd be pointless to buy any more.  I just have to struggle along wearing a tiny selection of clothes and trying to keep feeling "stylish" and "like myself" but it's getting harder by the day.  For one thing, I have to wear compression tights every day because I don't want to aggravate the varicose vein that has appeared on my leg.  Because I'm wearing these tights every day, they are taking a lot of punishment   I've now had to sew them up three times and paint the ladders in with clear nail varnish.  Whilst they are holding together and just about doing their job, they are NOT looking stylish.  Not at all.  They are unsightly so I'm forced to wear other tights/leggings or jeans over them..  It'd better not get too hot before this baby comes out!  I am NOT feeling stylish.. and that is why you are not seeing many style posts from me at the moment!! At least, women's style.  Thankfully I can still go on about children's fashion!

There are so many more things I could blab on about tonight . but this has been a massive blog post and in all honesty, I want to eat some ice cream now.. so I'm going to sign off!!

Thursday 25 April 2013

Jack's Amazing Shadow by Tom Percival - a book review

A few weeks ago we were contacted by Anovabooks asking if Ethan and I would like to review a new book by Tom Percival.  Would we? Of course we would!

Ethan and I love to read.  I've read to him since he was tiny and he always has books at bedtime - about three long books these days followed by a "'tend story".  One of the things I've loved about being a blogger is the opportunity to review children's books.  I love being able to present Ethan with a new book, they are great as rewards I find and it's lovely for us parents to have a variety of books to read to him!

When I saw the title of this book, I knew it would be just up Ethan's street.  He's recently become very interested in shadows - for example our walk to preschool today was taken up with chat about shadows for the whole duration.  Why they exist  why they change position, whether they get hurt when they knock into other shadows (haha, 3 year olds!!).

Jack (the main character in the book) is a little boy with a magical shadow.  They are the best of friends, always doing everything together.  Jack's shadow has quite a cheeky character and one day he goes to far with his "cheeky" behaviour.  As a result, Jack and his shadow fall out.  It's a lovely story which engages the imagination of young children, exploring ideas about what our shadows can get up to when we're not looking and also what it's like to fall out with someone you are very fond of.  As you'd expect, Jack and his shadow make up towards the end of the book - it'd be a little sad and harsh for a children's book otherwise!

As soon as this book arrived in the post I showed it to Ethan and the illustrations caught his interest straight away!  I'd read it three times before we'd even got to bedtime that day! He sat and listened attentively  the story certainly kept him interested.

On a personal level, I love the illustrations in this book.  The characters are really interesting to look at with bright hair - sometime I love as a parent who often dyes her hair!  The story has a moral but it's not too in your face and the idea of a magic shadow captures the imagination of young children.  It's a hit as far as we're concerned!

Jack's Amazing Shadow by Tom Percival is available to buy now!

**We were provided with a copy of this book for review purposes but no payment was received and all views expressed are mine**

Wednesday 24 April 2013

My Dream Summer Outfit!

At last this week we've been experiencing some warmer weather!  Whilst I'm still stuck in my maternity wear at the moment, I'm looking ahead and planning the spring and summer clothes I'll be able to wear once the baby is here! Finally I can put away the thick cardigans and tights.  All my cute dresses are desperate to be worn!

As a mother, I am always aware that my clothing has to be practical, as well as affordable, but I always like to treat myself to just a couple of key pieces of clothing every season.

Whilst I've been waiting for the warmer climate, I've spent a fair bit of my spare time while Ethan is at preschool imagining my dream spring/summer outfits. Taking inspiration from the key trends this season, as well as including of my own style, I've finally decided upon my dream spring and summer wardrobe! Let me know what you think…

Casual Wear

Short Sleeve Crop Check Shirt, Topshop
Blue Turn Up Denim Shorts, New Look
Ariat Monaco Lace Boots, Equestrian Clearance 
Vannessa Mooney Acacia Necklace, Urban Outfitters

This cropped check shirt will go perfectly with most skirts, jeans and shorts, making it a real investment for summer. The denim shorts compliment the shirt perfectly and aren't too short meaning I can feel comfortable out and about without worrying about my thighs. These boots are great all year around as the leather is light enough for the warmer months while they’re great quality for the colder time of year. They match the rest of the outfit perfectly and give a slightly punk edge to an otherwise country style ensemble. Finally the necklace brings the outfit together and adds further to the punk detailing whilst matching the colours on the shirt!

Evening Wear

Shannon Dress, Jones and Jones
Slip One On Luxe Gloss, Sara Happ
Bow Court High Heels, Irregular Choice
Pink Cross Ring, Miss Selfridge

I'm hoping that even though I'll have a little baby in the summer, I'll still be able to have the odd evening out. With that in mind, here are my evening wear picks! I've taken inspiration from the ever popular spring colours of dusky pink and soft cream, the outfit is ultra-feminine and great for any evening event.

The dress is brilliant quality and compliments women with any figure. The colour will also suit a whole range of skin types, making it the perfect universal dress. The Irregular Choice shoes compliment the girly look thanks to the heart shape and the bows, whilst maintaining a quirky twist thanks to the heels.  Who doesn't love a pair of Irregular Choice?! (I wore some on my wedding day!).

To finish the outfit off, the cross ring takes the feminine colour scheme and makes it edgy. Meanwhile, if you’re rushed off your feet whilst getting ready, the lip gloss will tie the outfit together for a simple look, which would look great with just a little cream eye shadow and a touch of blusher!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

The Taxi of Mum & Dad - A Sainsbury's Bank Giveaway

Sainsbury's Bank have a new calculator on their website - one that calculates what parents would earn in taxi fares  if they were "on the clock".  As a parent of a young child who has yet to start "proper school" I haven't quite entered the world of ferrying my child to and from school/friends houses/groups/classes etc but as Ethan starts school in September I know this will become more and more part of my life.

On the preschool run...
Sainsbury's Bank Car Insurance are offering my readers the chance to win a £25 voucher to be spent at Sainsbury's.  All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog post and use the Rafflecopter below!  Easy.  Our time is precious as parents and as we are rushing around after our offspring, less and less of it can be spent as we would prefer.  What would you do with the time saved if you weren't driving around your child/ren?  Get commenting with your ideas!  The giveaway ends on the 1st of May and the winner will be announced shortly after!

I know what I'd be doing... reading a good book with a lovely coffee!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Trendy Tuesday - New clothes and moustaches

Hello Fashion Fans! Sorry.. that's very cheesy DJ isn't it! I'll start again...

Hello! It's Tuesday so it's time to share what Ethan has been wearing and what I've been doing for baby fashion wise.

Lately it's been all about new clothes in our household.  Not for me.  I'm still flogging my small selection of maternity wear to death (yawn) but Pete (hubby) has bought himself a load of new jeans and t shirts and as Ethan has grown lately and is getting closer to turning 4 I decided it was time to take the clothes he's grown out of (or will grow out of soon) out of his wardrobe and replace them with the age 4 clothes.

Ethan's always been a little bit diddy.  He's generally caught up with his peers and is about an average height for a 3 year old (he's 99cm) but he'll be 4 in July.  Perhaps he'll grow a few cms in that time.  He's grown about 2 cm in the last few months so he does seem to be shooting up a bit more quickly now and he's physique has changed, he's lost that chubby belly babies and toddlers have, his legs are looking lean.  There's not really any fat on him to be honest!  He's eating less and is more active.  All this seems to be pretty normal.  I've noticed his weight hasn't gone up in a long while though.  I don't normally weigh him - it's not healthy I don't think, but the other day he wanted to stand on the scales in his grandparents bathroom (he made me stand on afterwards which is something I didn't want being 36 weeks pregnant!!) and he was only 2 stone - he weighed more than that a while back!  Oh well, I'm sure it's all normal!

As usual I've gone off on a tangent.  Yes, Ethan's got a whole new wardrobe of clothes to enjoy - and of course I get to enjoy dressing him in them as well!  I love getting out his next set of clothes, items I've bought a year or two before.  It's fun because I can't always remember everything!

Bright colours and some sunshine!

T shirt - Boys & Girls
Stripy long sleeve - Katvig via bebaboo.com
Trousers - Molo via bebaboo.com (these have actually gone in the loft now - age 2!!)
Converse - eBay

We did a bit of dressing up this week.  Ethan has an extensive range of dressing up clothes but doesn't very often ask to use them.  He went for quite the eclectic look, borrowing one of my wedding hat/facinators!

Dressing up www.medicatedfollower.com
I've been doing a lot of nesting again this week.  I have the baby's bedroom finished now apart from some bunting I've ordered and a large letter F for the door.  I keep going in there and just standing in there like some mad person.  I love being in there though, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.  

Clothing wise I've done a bit more tie-dying for the baby.  I really cannot stand cream and white clothing.  Apart from quite often being boring - at least on babies (in my opinion) - they are very impractical.  Bright yellow baby poo and white clothing?  Not a good combo!  I bought 3 snugglepods on eBay for the baby.  All were white so that had to be changed.  I threw a few other items in the machine with them, mostly they were other colours to start so I ended up with a real variety of tie-dyed items!

Tie-Dye baby items - medicatedfollower.com
Finally, I want to share with you Ethan's outfit from the weekend - one of the tshirts Pete bought recently has a moustache print on it.  We're all a bit partial to moustache prints in our house!  At the weekend, Pete and Ethan had a moustache theme going on!!

Moustache prints! www.medicatedfollower.com
Pete's moustache print t shirt - Primark

Ethan's t shirt - Primark
Stripy long sleeve - Polarn O.Pyret
Green jeans - H&M
Trainers - Debenhams

Moustache print cushion case - Primark

Funnily enough, all our moustache prints come from Primarni!

Just one more thing before I hand over to you - someone, or perhaps more than one someone was kind enough to nominate me for the BIB awards (Brit Mums Brilliance In Blogging) under the style section.  If it was you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I didn't mention the BIBs on my blog this year.  I've not really had the time to think much about awards and I'm really touched to have been nominated and make the shortlist.  You can find out all about it here.  Voting for the finals is now open.  It would mean SO MUCH to me if I were to make the finals.  I'm up against some other amazing bloggers, but I have to say it would be fantastic, as one of the smaller blogs on the list, to make it to the finals.  It would be nice to see a few different blogs reaching finals, that's for sure!  It's quite tough as a smaller blog even to get this far, so I am thankful, but I often feel like it's not going to go very far because I have very few readers and followers compared to some on the list.  If you plan on voting and you enjoy my style posts, particularly Trendy Tuesday, please do consider me for your vote - here's a kiss from me in advance! XXX

So - what have your little ones been rocking over the last week?  Have you had any sunshine yet and gone crazy - perhaps you've not needed to use a coat!! Shock horror!!

It's easy to join in, follow the rules below and use the linky!

1) Link back to my blog in your blog post and/or display the Trendy Tuesday badge (code available to the right).

2) Comment on my blog post and please visit others who join in - share the love!

3) Tweet me @medicatedfollow with your blog post link so I can retweet it.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Trendy Tuesday - Nesting for baby!

As I write this post, I'm sitting at home in my living room at the table.  The house is peaceful - well, I have the radio on in the background.  I have the back door open next to me, the sun is shining and whilst it's still not exactly warm, I can hear the birds and see blue sky.  It's relaxing and calm.  A few weeks from now, this calm may well be shattered!!

Yes, at 35+2 I am well and truly in nesting mode because the arrival of my second son is imminent.  At the very most it could be 7 weeks.  Hopefully it'll be less than that.  I reached 42 weeks pregnant with Ethan and whilst I'm expecting to go overdue again this time (it's what I know!) I'm hoping I won't go quite that far over.  If nothing else, I don't want to have to fight to have my home birth and I know that the more overdue I go, the more I'll have a fight on my hands.

I digress.  Over the weekend, hubby finally moved our spare sofa out of the baby's room and downstairs to the living room.  The living room isn't intended to be it's final resting place, we are hoping to put it in our summer house in the garden (I have a fantasy of feeding the baby in the shade in the summer house on a hot summer day whilst Ethan plays in the garden - watch this space!).  Now the sofa has gone from baby's room, I can work on arranging it into a bedroom.  My intention is that he'll sleep in his moses basket in our room for the first few weeks but I still want to have as much ready before he arrives.  I've been nesting like a woman posessed.  I barely slept last night because I couldn't switch my brain off.  All I can think about is getting the baby's room sorted out, getting everything I need for the home birth and packing a hospital bag "just in case". I'd love to be someone who lives in the moment, but I'm not like that anyway, let alone when coming towards the end of a pregnancy!  If I could make pack lunches now for Ethan to eat next year at school I would.  I'm just wired that way.  Even now, I should be grabbing a quick nap whilst Ethan is at preschool but instead I'm doing this.  There is ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE DONE!

Tuesday is about style and fashion though, so I thought I'd share a few photo's of the baby's room so far and some of the clothes I have for him.

Most of the clothing is Ethan's stuff and has just come from the loft but I have bought this one a few new items that are just for him.  I couldn't not really!

Tie-dye vests - plain vests I dyed myself
Knitted cardigan - from a small shop in Hawes, Yorkshire
Little Brother top - Asda
Star romper & retro print romper - Boys & Girls
Stripe shorts - Polarn O Pyret via eBay
Stella McCartney cloud print top - TKMaxx
Leg warmers - eBay

What do you think of baby's room so far?  I have a few more things that need to be added.  For one thing, I need to put up a couple of shelves for books and some toys to go on - I'm thinking floating shelves would look good.  I've also got some more bits and bobs to decorate the room with - I ordered a load of stuff from The Pippa & Ike Show last night (you should check out their site, it's wonderful!) and also a couple of bits from Lapin & Me.

Well, I'm going to hand over to those who want to join in now and show off their trendy tots, toddlers and older children.  It's easy to join in, just follow the rules below and use the linky form!

1) Link back to my blog in your blog post and/or display the Trendy Tuesday badge (code available to the right).

2) Comment on my blog post and please visit others who join in - share the love!

3) Tweet me @medicatedfollow with your blog post link so I can retweet it.

Friday 12 April 2013

Friday Feature - Claire on Cloud 9

I got Friday Feature started with a big bang a few weeks back, featuring Funky Little People and with a lovely giveaway for my readers.  Since then we've had the school holidays.  We were away last week... I've been too busy to blog properly!  Well, despite being heavily pregnant, this week, things are back to normal.  So, with no further ado, I'd like to get back to today's Friday Feature!

This Friday I'm featuring a lovely lady who makes the most beautiful and original cloud themed mobiles you could wish for.  I don't mean mobile phones of course, I meant the kind you hang from your ceiling.

As I'm currently putting together our new baby's bedroom, I've been spending a lot of time searching the internet for items to decorate it with.  I wanted to get a mobile, something that wouldn't necessarily go over the cot (because I have one of those canopies Ikea sell that's going over the cot) but that could hang on the ceiling and be beautiful and funky to look at, but also engaging for baby over a long period of time.  I searched on eBay (often my first port of call), Amazon, Etsy, Folksy and on Facebook (there are loads of groups and pages on Facebook these days!).  After spending hours over a period of days searching  I found Claire and her mobiles which appear on both Etsy and Facebook.

Claire hand-makes a variety of items including large raindrop, moon and cloud cushions, cloud mobiles and cloud with raindrop mobiles.  I knew as soon as I found her page that her items were for me.  Bright, eye catching and different.  I could really see one of her mobiles working in baby's room.  The tough part was deciding what to go for.  I must admit I was very tempted by one of her smaller rainbow cloud mobiles (a gorgeous mobile with lots of tiny clouds) but in the end I decided I wanted to make a bold statement with a cloud and raindrops mobile.

Images: All via Claireoncloud9
I got in touch with Claire and she replied very quickly   I wanted to place a custom order because I wanted to choose the colour of the raindrops.  Claire had our mobile finished and posted out within days - honestly, within a week I had the mobile up in baby's room!  She was lovely to correspond with, in touch with me regularly.  Our mobile cost £30 which I think is very reasonable for an item that has been handmade, that I was able to have some say in in terms of colour choice.  The quality of Claire's work is great and I love that we have something so original and different in baby's room.

Our cloud mobile in situ
If you are looking for something to decorate a child's room, or any room really, a mobile with a difference, a cushion your child will love to hug, I'd recommend you check out Claire's Etsy and Facebook pages.  Or just ask her a question!  She's very helpful and responds quickly!

Thursday 11 April 2013

Planning my Home Birth - 34 weeks

Readers, things are starting to get real.  I am heading very quickly to 35 weeks.  Even if I go overdue to 42 weeks like last time, we are in single figure weeks now.  Yikes.

I'd like to say it's gone quickly.  In some ways it has, I suppose.  Quicker than last time because I'm inevitably more busy with Ethan to look after, even though he is at preschool, when he's there I'm doing the housework or blogging.  No maternity leave like last time.  I was damn lucky last time.  I had a load of holiday saved up so I finished working at around 31 weeks.  I had 5 days of the week to myself.  Even I can't make house work that long so I could potter around as I pleased.  If it was hot I spent the afternoon lounging around in a bikini in a paddling pool in the back garden (like a beached whale).  I had a two hour nap most afternoons.  I had the energy to take myself into Bristol to potter about the shops and buy baby clothes in TKMaxx and bulk buy Natty nappies in Boots... and I had the energy to carry it all home!  It's completely different this time around.  I've found this pregnancy so much harder physically.  I've reached the stage now where I can pretty much manage walking Ethan to and from preschool.  That's about it.  If I do that I can't really do any proper house work.  Not without paying for it in pain and stiff joints later in the day.

So, yes, things are getting real now and I need to start writing my birth plan and really getting things sorted for the home birth I'm planning.  Have I mentioned that before?  I think I may have in passing.  Yes, this time around I'm planning a home birth.  It's always appealed to me but when I was pregnant with Ethan I didn't have the confidence to go for it.  My experiences in labour with him, whilst not terrible, were not what I really wanted, so this time I'm trying to keep all the control I can.  Of course I realise that things may not go to plan and I may still end up with a hospital birth but if I can at least feel like I've done everything I can to get the birth I want then I'll be happy.

My experience with home birth has been mixed so far.  Way back when I had my booking in appointment with my midwife (I think I was around 10 weeks pregnant then) they were happy for me to plan a home birth.  The second time I went along, around 16 weeks I think, I was told that it was unrealistic, that there aren't enough staff and that the likelihood is that I'd end up birthing alone.  That meeting upset me greatly.  You can read about that here.  After that meeting, I started backtracking and planning a birth in a local birthing centre which opened in January.. I was getting myself all geared up for that when I went back for my next midwife appointment where I was then told that actually, I should try to go for a home birth seeing as I'm passionate about it!!  I couldn't have been more thrown.  Ever since then I've been planning the home birth, reading up about it, reading other peoples experiences.  I also know someone who's managed to have a successful home birth, one of my oldest and closest friends gave birth to her first daughter at home this February in London.  Knowing that she managed it has inspired me, so I intend to carry on making my plans :)

What am I actually doing to get ready then?  Well, of course, there are some practical implications.  I want a water birth so I've had to organise a birthing pool.  Some parts of the UK offer birthing pools for home births but North Somerset isn't one of those.  Birth pools are likely to cost around £100-150 to buy depending what type you buy and what extras you add.  You can hire them.  I've been very lucky and I'm going to be provided with one by a lovely company called The Good Birth Company.  They are providing me with a mini birthing pool in a box.  I've opted for the mini because I'm only about 5'2' if that and I want to make sure there's plenty of room around the pool for the midwife and Pete.

Image source: The Good Birth Company
Because I'm opting for a water birth, there are a few extra things to think about, such as making sure we have a way to fill the pool - luckily The Good Birth Company provide a hose in their basic extras kit which we can attach to our tap - hopefully the one in the kitchen.  I've invested in some plastic sheeting to place on the carpet under the pool just in case.  I will also be putting some spare oil cloth table cloth material I have on one of our sofas for me and baby to relax on after birth.  I'll be covering this with some old towels so it's comfy to sit on.  This is just really to save the sofa from blood leakage.  Hopefully I won't bleed too much but I remember in hospital last time bleeding through onto the bed sheets when I was in overnight, so it's better to be safe than sorry!!

In my bed I'm going to put some of those bed wetting sheets you can buy under my bedsheet - I'm going to do this in a few weeks just in case my waters break in bed.  I want to protect the mattress!  I'm also going to replace the fitted sheet with a dark coloured one I have once labour starts and will place an old towel in the bed to lie on when I do go to bed.

I intend to just wear a bikini top to labour in, maybe with a baggy t shirt when I'm not in the pool.  Last time I wore a cheap nightie which was fine.

I've bought myself some arnica tablets to take after the birth - I did this last time and I healed quite quickly.  Anything that might help!! I've also bought some raspberry leaf tea capsules.  I drank the tea last time in the last few weeks of labour but I HATED the stuff.  I am someone who drinks herbal tea on a daily basis so this is saying something!  I think it's because it's mixed with apple, I hate apple!! I'm more of a lemon and ginger girl.. So, this time, I've gone for the capsules.  I'm taking one a day now (just started) and will up it each week, so at 35 weeks I'll take 2 a day.  You can take up to 6 a day.  I'm not sure I'll go that far, but I'll certainly up it to 3 or 4 a day.  Raspberry Leaf extract is supposed to help tone the uterus which can help you have a quicker 2nd stage labour.  Now, I had to be induced last time, so I'm not sure if the tea I was drinking made much difference or not, but because I hated it, I only managed one cup per day, if that.  Some days I couldn't hack it at all.  I have no problem swallowing capsules!

For the birth, I intend to use my TENS machine as soon as contractions start - you don't really want to be getting in the pool before about 4-5 cms dilated.  My TENS worked well for me last time.  That reminds me, I need to buy some new pads for it so I can attach it!  I'm also planning to get into my bath at home whenever I feel it will help.  I want to avoid pain relief as much as possible - I didn't get gas and air last time, for some reason the midwife wouldn't let me have it!  I had pethidine right towards the end of my labour.  I'd managed nearly 30 hours with nothing but TENS and at that point they thought I'd labour for another 7 hours so I had the pethidine but Ethan was then born less than an hour later and we were both completely drugged up.  It wasn't a great start.

I plan to have some candles lit in the room for the birth - I'm going to use the living room.  I can have music on if I want.  I've not made a playlist because in all honesty, I'm not sure what I'll fancy listening to, I'm going to play it by ear (oh, haha!).

After discussion, we think it'll be best if Ethan isn't home for the birth.  Despite him knowing all about how babies come out, he's a sensitive little soul and I don't think it'll be helpful for him to see me in pain, or bleeding.  I didn't make any noise in labour with him, but I can't guarantee it'll be the same again this time.  I just think for him, it'll be best if he's somewhere else.  My parents are going to take him.  I'm just not sure exactly at what point!  Again, I plan to play it by ear.

This is my list of what I'm getting in ready for the birth/post birth:

Birthing pool & extras (hosepipe, tap connectors, thermometer, pump to remove water etc..)
Old towels - as many as I can get together
Plastic sheeting - for the floor
Oil cloth material - for the sofa
Maternity pads - for bleeding after the birth
Arnica - for after the birth
Lavender oil - to use in the bath after birth to help healing
Bikini top & t shirt/nightie - to labour in
TENS machine & new pads - for early labour
Snacks (chocolate, bananas, oat bars etc)
Water bottle & straw - makes drinking easier during labour
Blanket for me and baby post birth
Protective pads - for my bed in case of waters breaking and blood loss after labour
Dark coloured fitted sheet - for bed after labour
First set of clothes for baby
Camera - with battery charged!

That's my list at the moment - I'm sure there will be more things I'll think of!

Something else worth mentioning.  I plan to deliver the placenta naturally and to leave the cord attached for at least an hour post birth so that baby gets the best start he can.  If I can, I also hope to do what is known as the "breast crawl" in the hopes to establishing a good first feed.

Have you had a home birth?  Are you planning one?  I'd be really interested in hearing the views of others who've planned/succeeded in a home birth.

This post is linked up with Mums Make Lists for The Friday Baby Shower.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Maternity Style 30 weeks onwards

A quick style post today.  I know that I've been slacking in the style stacks, but can you cut me some slack in the late stage of pregnancy?  I'm really struggling now.. I feel I have so few outfits/items to choose from.  I'm still restricted by relatively cold weather.  Hopefully by the time baby arrives we'll be able to enjoy some warm weather and I can break out the maxi dresses and birkenstocks.  Ahhh, comfy summer clothing!

Here are a few outfits from the last few weeks:

A nice bright scarf to cheer me up on a grey wet day!

Scarf - Stella & Dot via me
Dress - Isabella Oliver
Denim jacket - New Look (last year, non maternity)
Wellies - Joules

Quite smart!

Grey dress - Dorothy Perkins Maternity
Cardigan (under jacket) - Room 31
Tights - New Look (non maternity)
Boots - Wrangler

I wore this for my friend's son's Christening.  Quite pleased with this one!

Dress - New Look (non maternity)
Bag - Marc Jacobs

I'm linking this post up in several places:

What I Wore Wednesday with Transatlantic BlondeThe Pleated Poppy & Kiwi Women's Style
The Friday Baby Shower with Mum's Make Lists
Watch What I'm Wearing with Watch Out for the Woestmans
Sunday Style with Plane Pretty
Visible Monday with Not Dead Yet Fashion

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Trendy Tuesday - Boys CAN wear pink!

A slight deviation from the norm for today's Trendy Tuesday.  I want to write about something that drives me MAD... Colour and gender.

Why is it so many people believe that certain colours can only be worn by boys, or by girls?  I mean seriously, what exactly does a colour have to do with gender, or even sexual orientation   Now.. I know this is deep seated issue, for years there have been "boys colours" and "girls colours" (although which constitutes which has changed throughout the years!) but come on, lets just think about it for a moment.  In all honesty, do you think that dressing a girl in blue will make her a sword swinging train obsessed lesbian?  Do you think dressing a boy in a bit of pink is going to make him start wearing heels to do the food shopping in?  I really don't think that if you dress your child in a variety of colours it's going to have any bearing on their gender and sexuality.  No, if anything, you'll have a much more balanced child who gets to know their own mind. Children know nothing of this type of thinking, it's only when they get exposed to the warped views of society that they start to equate things like colour or types of toys with gender.

All the time I come across this type of thinking.  Photos on Instagram "Oh, my poor son has to wear my daughters pink bib.. I hope he doesn't mind wearing pink!".  On a buggy fan page on Facebook "I'm looking for new textiles for my buggy, anyone selling?  Boy colours like blue only please".  On eBay descriptions "I'm selling this cot bedding set because I had a girl last time.  I'm expecting a boy this time so I can't put him in a cot with pink bedding".

I've witnessed the beginnings of this with Ethan and it saddens me.  When I was pregnant with him, I had no idea if I was having a boy or a girl.  I bought clothes for the baby according to what I liked and thought looked nice, comfy, colourful and funky.  I bought clothing in an array of colours knowing I'd happily put a boy or a girl in them.  We painted "the baby's room" green because Pete and I like green.  Not because we thought we were having a boy (apparently green falls into the "boy" category).  People actually asked me when seeing it either in the flesh or in photos "will you re paint it pink if you end up having a girl?".  Errrr... no!!! We like green, we thought it was a bright happy colour to have on the walls of a child's bedroom so that's what we went for.

We had a red buggy.  Again, we bought that without knowing what we were having, just because we like red.  I have lost count of the times that people assumed the baby I was pushing in that buggy was a girl just because it was a red buggy .People would stop and say "what a lovely baby, she's gorgeous" and I'd obviously correct them, point out that he was a he, and they'd respond with "Oh, well, I assumed it was a girl due to the red buggy!".  Really?!

I've always continued in the same vein, I've continued to buy Ethan clothes and toys in a variety of colours.  I've never told him he couldn't have something because it was pink (I may have told him no because he doesn't need something, but that's another issue!!).  He spotted a pink toy push chair in a charity shop once and asked if he could have it.  I said yes - why not?  Once he asked if he could push his Gloworm in that push chair to Tesco.  He was dressed as a fairy at the time (he has everything in his dressing up box, Astronaut outfits to Princess dresses).  Again, I said yes.  Unfortunately, whilst on our way there, some young men pulled up in their car and shouted "GAY!" at him.  Ethan didn't know what they meant, I don't think he even noticed, but for goodness sake, he was 2 at the time!!!!

This is what I mean by society starting to make an impression on him.  Since starting preschool last September, I've noticed Ethan coming out with strange views.  Views that I would never have expressed or imposed upon him.  Only yesterday he told me "boys can't be beautiful, they can only be funny".  How sad that has made me.  I asked him where he heard that, he told me "at school".  I'm not sure whether from the teachers or other children.  I can't control this sort of thing.  From now on, he's going to be without me for many hours a week and I won't be able to control what he's exposed to.  I can only discuss things with him when he brings them up and hopefully give him the strength and understanding he needs to get through this life without becoming restricted in his thoughts by the rest of society.

It's a hard path to walk.  By encouraging this way of thinking in him, I'm exposing him to the possibility of bulling and mockery by peers.  What can I do though?  I don't want him thinking certain things are "only for boys" or "only for girls".  I want him to think that he and EVERYBODY else can do/wear/achieve what they want.

I'm not one of those parents who's trying to raise some kind of "gender neutral  child.  The idea of not telling your child what gender they are is not one I'm comfortable with.  But equally, if Ethan wants to put on a dress or choose a pair of pink shoes, I'll happily let him.

OK.  I'm sorry about that.  I just needed to have a rant.  I will now get on with the normal business of Trendy Tuesday.  Unsurprisingly, to go with my rant today, I'm going to share photos of Ethan in pink and colourful clothing.  Both recent and from a few years ago.

Pink converse - via eBay
Pink bird top - Katvig
Pink jeans - Maxomara via bebaboo.com

Pink & Yellow sleepsuit - Brights & Stripes
Purple & Red sleepsuit - Katvig
Red & Pink spotty bib - eBay
Pink & Rainbow heart bib - eBay
"Space" top - Smafolk

If you want to join in, please link up any blog posts about your children's fashion using the linky below.  The rules are simple:

1) Link back to my blog in your blog post and/or display the Trendy Tuesday badge (code available to the right).

2) Comment on my blog post and please visit others who join in - share the love!

3) Tweet me @medicatedfollow with your blog post link so I can retweet it.

Thanks all! xx