Saturday, 31 May 2014

Westbury Court Garden - National Trust

Lovely bank holidays - an extra family day!  If there is something we love in our house, it's a bank holiday. I love the way it stretches the weekend out.  An extra evening off chores and the like!

This bank holiday just gone we took ourselves for a picnic.  We like to picnic as often as we can throughout the year.  We have a little tradition, we go to the shops, buy fresh bread, cured meat, olives, salad, cheese and something nice to drink and then we head out on the road.  We usually go to a National Trust location because we are members.  On this occasion we visited somewhere new.  Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire.

The journey there was very pleasant.  We came off the motorway and travelled over the old Seven Bridge.  Something Ethan always enjoys.  We drove through some lovely towns and villages and enjoyed seeing sheep at the sides of the road.

The gardens themselves were very pretty.  As National Trust properties go, it's one of the smaller locations.  There is no house, there are few facilities, just a loo.  It was perfect for us though - lots of space for the boys to run around in and explore and lovely picnic areas.

Westbury Court Garden, Coombe Mill Country Kids

We found a spot and settled down to eat.  Felix spent most of his time romping around.  Ethan managed to get sheep poo on his foot.  Nice!

Westbury Court Garden, Coombe Mill Country Kids

After our picnic we strolled around the grounds.  It was lovely being able to let Felix go off a little now he's starting to walk.

Westbury Court Garden, Coombe Mill Country Kids

Westbury Court Garden, Coombe Mill Country Kids

There were quite a few long grass areas which Ethan enjoyed running through and Felix enjoyed batting with his hands and shouting at.

Westbury Court Garden, Coombe Mill Country Kids

Westbury Court Garden, Coombe Mill Country Kids

A lovely peaceful way to spend our afternoon!

Linking up with Coombe Mill for Country Kids.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Cosatto Troop Car Seat Review

We are very happy to be part of Cosatto's Brand Buddy scheme, they are a brand after our own hearts!  Colourful and functional products.  If you have a Cosatto product you are going to be asked about it.  No doubt.

Earlier this year Cosatto kindly sent us a stage 1-2-3 car seat for Felix.  This type of car seat is suitable from 9 months to up to 12 years (seriously impressive) however, your child also has to be at the minimum weight of 9kg so we had to wait a little while until Felix was heavy enough.  After a few months Felix reached the correct weight and I have to say we were glad.  He was becoming too long for his 0 stage seat.

Cosatto Troop carseat review Group 1 2 3 Pablo
Look what's arrived!

We were sent a Troop seat in Pablo and I have to say this is one of their more eye-catching designs.  Though since we were sent this design they have released new prints such as the Scootle in Spectroscope which looks amazing!  Troop is wonderful though and I love how it brightens up our car.  The colour is really appealing to both boys and I think that a geometric pattern like this should suit Felix for a good long while.  As the covers are removable, if it comes to a point when he wants something different, I'm sure this is something we will be able to work out - perhaps Cosatto will even offer some new cover styles that will fit!

Cosatto Troop carseat review Group 1 2 3 Pablo

Fitting our Troop was straightforward.  The instruction manual is nice and clear (thanks Cosatto) and there are lots of helpful videos also avaible on their site.  The Troop works with ISOFIT which our car has and was kindly supplied with adaptors to allow the best fit possible.

Now, perhaps one of the most obvious and maybe frightening thing about the Troop is that it has no harness.  Instead, it has a protective impact shield through which a 3 point standard seatbelt is threaded to keep your child in place.  This is a little strange to get used to, both for your child and you.  Some children take longer to take to this style of car seat than others.  Luckily Felix seems pretty happy.  During his first trip in the Troop he cried a great deal and we were a little worried, especially as hubby had found getting the impact belted in place quite hard.  However, Felix developed a very high temp a few hours later and was ill for a week.. and as for the fitting of the seat belt and impact shield, well, it gets easier the more you do it.

Felix seems very happy in his seat now.  He does chew on the impact shield, the teething devil, but you can buy replacement covers from Cosatto which I am planning to do once he has passed the teething stage.  I'm just letting him get on with it for now.  He often falls asleep in his chair.  It's very padded and comfy and often his head just falls on to his arms which he has rested on the shield.  Looks so cute!

Cosatto Troop carseat review Group 1 2 3 Pablo
First journey in the Troop

You can recline the Troop slightly by using catches on the side of the chair (see the instruction manual which has great illustrations!) which makes napping a little easier, especially for younger children who still fall asleep often in the car.

From age 4 you can remove the impact shield and just fit your Troop using a 3 point seatbelt.  As your child grows, so does the Troop!  You can adjust the headrest - all in all their are 5 different heights which is just as well because the seat has to fit up to age 12.

Here are a few facts about the seat:

  • Group 1, 2, 3 carseat
  • Suitable from 9 - 36 kgs (9 months - 12 years)
  • Universal fit when used without the ISOFIT system
  • Semi universal fit with the ISOFIT system
  • compatible to use with standard 3 point seat belts
  • Easy to install
  • Forward facing on both front and rear seats
  • ISOFIT system for optimum security
  • Side impact protection
  • Protective impact shield
  • 2 position seat angles
  • 2 position seat back recline
  • 5 position headrest heights
  • Sidewing and headrest to adjust with your child
  • Washable covers
  • FREE 4 year guarantee (UK & Ireland only)
  • Compiles with European Standard ECE R44.04

So, what do we like about the seat?  Well, obviously there's the eye-catching part of it.  It looks amazing and comfortable to sit in.  More importantly though, it is a safe and very supportive seat for your child.  We like how cushioned it is and how nicely Felix sits in it.  Personally, I like not having a harness.  Once you get used to threading the seatbelt through, it's quick and easy to do.  I like how the impact shield acts as a pillow for your child as well!  We also love how easy it is to transfer between cars should you need to.  And despite looking large, it's actually quite lightweight.

What are we not so keen on?  Well, we can't find much to pick fault with in all honestly.  Hubby still moans a little about fitting it but I suspect it's taking him longer to get used to using because he doesn't put Felix in the car as often as I do.  At first we weren't too sure about the white back and sides of the seat but whilst it does stand out, it looks very modern and cool.  It's a shame how easily Felix has managed to damage the cover on the impact shield but that's more to do with his constant chewing on things more than anything else.  Can't blame Cosatto for that!

We are really happy with this seat.  It's FUNKtional!

Cosatto Troop carseat review Group 1 2 3 Pablo

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Being a Mum of two: One year in

Felix turned one this Sunday just gone.  One year old.  Just where has that year gone?  I really can't tell you.  It's been a blur.  Becoming a Mum of two has been a really... interesting experience.  It's a strange thing.  Obviously, on the one hand, you are already a Mum, you know about children and babies.  But like everything to do with this parenting lark, nothing can prepare you for the reality.

Felix, Home Birth, One year of being a Mum of Two
Felix Jakub a few moments old
In the early days, something I really struggled with was a feeling of loss.  Just like the first time around when you morn for your old life.  I wasn't expecting this, it was a surprise to me.  I felt sad because I missed my one on one time with Ethan.  I didn't like the way Felix had interrupted our routine, our little unit of three.  I was worried Ethan was missing out.  I kept crying, I felt so detached from him.  With time this feeling eased.  That's all it ever comes down to really, time.  You adjust.  Your lives chance but you adapt.  Before long, you can't remember the old days and all of a sudden, you are a unit of four.  And that feels nice.  To us, four feels like a "proper" family, whatever that may be.  This is a personal thing though - three was good too!

Being a Mum of Two, Two Boys

Felix has grown from a small squeely helpless thing into.. well, an absolute bloody nightmare really.  I should have known from the moment he turned from his back onto his front at 3 days old.  As we've gone through the different stages there have been easier times and harder times.  It was tricky in the early days when Felix was waking for a feed 3 or 4 times each night.  Having to get up and get on with things due to having a 4 year old could be hard.  But on the other hand, it was good to have purpose.

I am finding the current stage quite hard.  Felix gets into everything and does things over and over again.  He is switched on there is no doubt of that but he has no fear and the sense of a lemming.  One of his current favourite games is putting toys in the loo.  So lovely cleaning them after he's given them a "bath".

Polarn O Pyret, Ej Sikke Lej, Baby Fashion, Christmas Fashion

He started walking at 11 months old - I thought he would walk earlier to be honest because he's been standing for months.  It's so cute seeing him staggering around.  We've had quite a few words from him now (although as his parents it's easier for us to understand what he's saying, let's be honest!).  His first word was clock but we now have:

Deden (Ethan)
Bye bye
Night Night

Clock as a first word might seem a bit strange - we have a Kitty Cat clock at the bottom of our stairs; one of those ones with a swinging tail.  It's always caught Felix's attention (funny really, Felix The Cat!).  He likes to look at is as much as possible.  He makes a ticking noise and waves his hand from side to side to mimic the tail.  Eventually he started saying "cat clock".  I've just bought him one with birthday money to go in his bedroom so I hope he'll still like it!!  Will he sleep again I wonder!

8 months old, cloth nappies, Tots Bots
Felix at 8 months

I find being a Mum of two is such a balancing act.  I am someone who likes order.  I like my house nice and tidy.  I like to be able to keep it in good nick.  If I can't vac one week or clean the bathroom I start to feel stressed and quite down about it all.  This week, for example, has been quite a trial.  With Felix as he is at the moment, I've not had a moment to get anything apart from the basics done.  I am currently in the process of coming off my anxiety meds and quite possible suffering PMT as well.  A great combination with a rainy half term!  This is when I feel low and start to pine for how things were.  I'd never go back.  I can't.  I love my two boys so much my heart bursts but as I ended up blurting out today, sometimes I just want to be ALONE.  I'm quite an introvert really and I need time to myself, time to be quiet with no one badgering me.  I'm lucky in that Ethan is at school and often once a week my parents take Felix for a few hours.  I am not joking AT ALL when I say that those few hours are what sustains me throughout the week.  That and the few late nights.  Though I suspect they are as detrimental as they are good.  Lack of sleep doesn't do you good either.. back with the balancing act again!


Having a second child was not a decision we took lightly.  I had PND and anxiety after Ethan and we both knew we wanted a reasonable age gap.  I think overall that our nearly 4 year age gap has worked well for us.  I must admit that at the moment I spend time each day telling myself that these hard times won't last for ever.  I tell myself I've just got to get through the next couple of years and then I'll have two delightful boys who listen to me and are easier to communicate with.  I hope!!  Ethan is already at that stage but obviously Felix has a way to go.

Felix is One!

I think one of the hardest parts of motherhood is remembering to stop and enjoy the moment.  They are so young and innocent and they won't stay that way for long at all. Every night I go in to my boys rooms and I hold their hands.  I lean over them and take in their beautiful scent.  I stroke their heads and kiss them and say "I love you".  They look so peaceful and beautiful.  I am stuck between wanting them to grow up and wanting them to stay frozen in the moment.

One of the best things about having both boys is seeing the bond between them grow.  Felix idolises Ethan and Ethan does like being a big brother deep down.  I know they will look out for each other.

I know, I just know these days are SO precious.  However flipping hard they are, I expect I will look back and remember them as the best days.  These are my salad days and the boys are my salad dressing!!

Trampy Thursday - Trendy Thursday goes slummy!

It's half term in our house and that means one thing -  no rush to get dressed in the morning!  Ethan relishes the chance not to have to get dressed first thing and will loll about in his PJs for as long as possible.  You can't blame him, he's only 4 and life is so busy!

Felix obviously doesn't get any say in when he gets dressed (well, he can't vocalise it!) so I still tend to get him dressed after he has his nappy changed in the morning.  However, he has another skill.. getting his clothes dirty in all manner of ways.

For a bit of fun today, I thought we should link up blog posts showcasing our children's lazy day clothing.  Muddy clothing.  Dirty clothing. Just don't care clothing.  Trendy Thursday will be back as normal next week, but for this week we are celebrating not caring what they wear with Trampy Thursday!

Here's a selection of my boys messy wear:

Cloth nappy, gNappy, gPants, WeeNotions
Nappy Bum!
Cloud tshirt - 3rd hand from Lindex
Custom nappy - Wee Notions
LOVED nappy - gNappies

For Felix, slummy clothes often end up being him just hanging around in a nappy.  As he wears cloth this does mean he still looks quite cute.. He usually ends up like this because what he was wearing has got dirty.  If we're at home and not planning to go out again I just tend to leave him like this.

For Ethan, he likes to be in his PJs.  He has a lovely selection of PJs.  Recently he decided to dress himself in his Christmas ones and some necklaces.  As you do.  If he's getting mucky in the garden, he likes to have some waterproofs on - he's wearing one of my brother's old hats in the photo above - he's making "porridge" at Grandma & Granddad's house.

Christmas PJs - Hatley
Stripy tshirt - Katvig
Hat - Top Man from about 10 years ago!
Waterproofs - Lidl

So, now it's over to you lot!  What do your children like to wear when they don't care?   Link up below.  Please don't forget to link to my blog in your blog post and visit others who join in!  Thank you!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Trendy Thursday - Polarn O Pyret for Summer!

Last week saw a very special Polarn O Pyret offer weekend.  These only happen once or twice a year.  I must admit that I did take advantage of the offer to get Felix a sun hat now the weather has improved.  Only £7 and free postage.  Bargain!

Polarn O Pyret are one of our favourite brands in the Medicated Follower household and we are very lucky to be sent clothing from them from time to time.  This week Ethan received some gorgeous items from their Summer 2014 collection:

"PO.P's new collection takes you on an exotic safari adventure with distinctive fruits, flowers and playful animal characters.  Get ready for summer! With children's clothes made for play and made to last!"

A good description I'd say, PO.P!

Ethan was sent some cute shorts and an adorable tshirt.  The tshirt is my favourite.  I love the print, it's very summery (a surfing monkey!) and cute, but in a way that a 4/5 year old will happily wear.  In fact, I'd say he'll be wearing this for a few years.  PO.P clothing comes up quite big on my boys generally.  The clothes Ethan has been sent are age 3-4 but they fit him with room to grow (he's 5 in July).  I'm so happy it's half term next week, I think Ethan will be wearing this outfit at least once!

Polarn O Pyret Summer 2014

Polarn O Pyret Summer 2014

PO.P now have a new offer on - 3 for 2 on shorts and T Shirts with free postage.  Another great offer which I have to say I have taken advantage of!!  I bought 3 T Shirts for the boys, one for Ethan to wear this summer, one for Felix to wear this summer and one for Ethan to wear next year.

Polarn O Pyret Summer 2014

Don't forget that if you've never ordered from PO.P before that as a reader of my blog you can get a special discount on your first order - just click on the ad on the right hand side of my blog!  It's the perfect time to do so because this offer and the voucher code you'll receive can be used together - double bargain!

Right, over to you lot - what have your trendy smalls been rocking?  Link up below, comment here and visit others who join!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Miszkomaszko - my favourite new find!

You know I love to introduce you to my new finds - it's no secret that I love to shop and especially love exciting creative brands that offer something a little different.  I love to share my finds because it eases my shoppers conscience a little and also, it's good to spread the word!  Well, my most recent find is a real wonder.  I love this brand and I think you will too.

Miszkomaszko is a Polish brand founded by Agata Piechocka.  Agata started making "Flip Dolls" but the brand now includes clothing and accessories for children and women.  She worked in Sweden for several years as a fashion and graphic designer for children.  I think this might be why there's quite a Scandi feel to her designs.

miszkomaszko Medicated Follower of Fashion
Agata at work - image source

When I stumble across a Polish brand (such as NoSweet or Zezuzulla) I get quite excited because the boys have Polish heritage.  They have a Polish Great-Grandfather (no longer alive unfortunately) on their father's side.  He came to the UK as a result of the war.  This is why Felix has Jakub as his middle name (it was going to be Wladislaw but we decided it was a bit too tricky for most people to pronounce - it's Vla-di-slav in case you were interested!).  Anyway, I like to buy items from Poland for them, it feels like an important connection.

Miszkomaszko Stokke Xplory

So far, I've just bought one of Agata's gorgeous flip dolls.  It's so lovely though, I'm lusting after her clothing.  Perhaps some tops for the boys, I particularly love the mermaid print!  I'm also very excited about her women's clothing - she mentioned on Instagram the other day that new women's clothing would be available soon!  As I've mentioned Instagram, it's well worth following Miszkomaszko on there.  Lovely pics and a good way to keep up to date.


I hope you love the brand as much as I do!  Go take a look now :-) Go on!!

Monday, 19 May 2014

A shout out to my friend - we are ALL in this together!

Last night, as usual, I was tapping away on my laptop at gone midnight, looking at the time, telling myself I must get to bed, when an email pinged into my in box.  It was from Maria of Very Busy Mama fame about the linky #RealMomStyle which she hosts along with a few other style mummy bloggers.  Nothing unusual in that per say, but this week, Maria wanted to let everyone know just what she has been going through lately. Something that really is very real.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my experiences of anxiety and depression.  Maria replied to that post and mentioned that she had been experiencing similar.  She was not the only one to get in touch, in fact, friends and other bloggers have been in touch since I wrote it, thanking me for my honesty and sharing their experiences.  We are so not alone in all of this.  Once you start to talk about it honestly, you realize this.

Unfortunately for Maria, it all came to a head when she was alone in San Fran last week.  She ended up having some terrible panic attacks and had to go to hospital, all on her own.  I really feel terrible that she is going through all of this at the moment.  Maria was very brave and posted an extremely honest video of herself talking about what she is going through on her blog and I have to say I found it very hard to watch.  Because I experience anxiety myself, hearing someone else describing what they are going through unfortunately is quite a trigger for me so I do have to be careful.  But the thing is Maria, I couldn't not write some sort of reply to you.  I know we've never met in person and only chatted on Skype once, but I feel we are friends and my heart just goes out to you.  I am so glad that you are seeking help now.

Once again, anyone reading, if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, try if you can to speak up.  We really are all in this together.

Firmoo glasses - updating my look

I'm quite happy wearing glasses.  I've worn them since I was 7 years old and they are just part of me.  Almost part of my personality!  I do enjoy wearing contacts, they give me some freedom and allow me to embrace my addiction for sunglasses but I only wear them a few times a week.  The rest of the time it's all about the glasses.

Firmoo contacted me recently and asked if I'd like to update my look and choose a pair of glasses from their vast collection.  When I say vast, it really is!

I've used Firmoo once before and found their site easy to use.  Since then they have improved it again.  It's easy to navigate.  They have glasses grouped according to shape, material and frame type.  As someone who has worn glasses for so long, I have a good idea of what shapes & frame sizes suit me so I found this very useful.  If you aren't so sure, you can have a look at their stock photos to see how a frame looks on them, or you can upload your own photo!

Once you have selected your frames, ordering them is straightforward.  You can enter all of the details of your prescription manually or if you're at all unsure you can upload a photograph of it so that their trained staff can make sense of it for you.

I went for a very 1950s frame, something very bold.  I chose to have 1.57 index (high index) lenses because my prescription is strong with anti UV and radiation coatings for better protection.

Once I had placed my order I waited with baited breath and I didn't have to wait long.  In less than a week my new glasses arrived well packaged in a good solid case.  I tried them on and whilst they felt quite good, I decided to pop into a local opticians to make sure the fit and prescription was correct.  The frames needed a little adjustment to make them comfortable to me (not something Firmoo could do) but it only took a few minutes and cost me nothing.  Well worth doing because now the frames fit like a dream.

Firmoo glasses review
My new glasses from Firmoo - Ethan joining in!

I'm very happy with them.  Whilst they are quite bold they are getting lots of compliments and I'm having fun wearing them.  Firmoo frames are very affordable and I think that the service is excellent.  I've got to be honest, I'm planning my next pair!!

If you are one of my US readers, you might want to take a look now - they are currently offering 50% off all frames using the code MD50 for Memorial Day.

I'm linking up today with my beautiful friend Maria of Very Busy Mama for #RealMomStyle and Transatlantic Blonde for #WIWW.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Trendy Thursday - paint your own tshirt!

I've been wanting to get my creative mojo back lately.  I still haven't got into crochet and knitting as much as I'd like to.  It just doesn't come very naturally to me.  I've always been artistic, I love colour, putting things together. I love decorating my home, I think I have a good sense of space and love arranging things.. but wool and I don't seem to get along just yet!

Felix, like most babies, chews EVERYTHING.  Ethan once said to me, "Mummy, Felix likes to chew the world!".  It really stuck with me.  Slogan tees are still so trendy right now, and I thought to myself that "chew the world" would be a great phrase to have on a top for Felix, one that would really mean something to us as a family.. and it wouldn't be too hard to do!

I bought a long sleeved top in a nice bright neon yellow on eBay for about £3 brand new.  I also bought myself some Dylon fabric pens, also from eBay for £4. They both arrived last week and I set about putting my plan in action.

At first, I was thinking of just going with the phrase, but then I decided it would look good with a small image.  I sketched out a few ideas and then I was ready to go.

When using fabric pens, you want the fabric to be clean and dry.  I inserted some card inside the top to stop ink bleeding through and also to make it easier to draw.

The pens were relatively straightforward to use but they did drag a little on the fabric.  I found it got easier as I got more used to them.  Before drawing on the fabric I drew my design on in pencil to save any errors.

Hand painted drawn t shirt Dylon
Design your own t shirt!

It was all very quick and easy.  I just wanted something simple so stuck with just a black penned design.  I like the outcome.  It looks homemade but in a way that's quite "in" at the moment.

I am now planning quite a few different designs for both of my boys.  There are all sorts of funny phrases Ethan comes out with and funny things Felix does.  This is a great way to help remember these things for the future as well, and they will hopefully become special keepsakes for the boys!

Just a little bit of news to share with you - Polarn O Pyret, one of my favourite brands, have a special 20% off EVERYTHING event this weekend.  It starts tomorrow and ends on Sunday.  I love their clothing and find it washes and lasts really really well.  I have PO.P items that have been worn by more than 4 children that are still going well so this is a great chance to buy something for children that you hopefully see worn again by your grandchildren!  Head over to PO.P from tomorrow to grab a bargain.

What have your funky monkeys been rocking this week?  Have you ever made any clothing for your children?  Link up your kids fashion blog posts below.  Don't forget you can tweet me your links using #TrendyThursday.  Please comment here, display my badge and link to my blog in your post and visit others who join in! Thank you! xx

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Sour grapes?

Well.. I was feeling down this morning.  I was all ready to write a moapy and moaning blog post about how I was feeling a bit miserable about my blog and some aspects of the blogging community.

Then, whilst I was waiting for Felix to fall asleep at nap time, I noticed I had a tweet from Carolin Mader telling me that I had made her Brit Mums Style Round Up! Honestly, the news couldn't have come at a better time.

Carolin, thank you.  You really have made a difference to my day.  It means to the world to have my blog recognised.  You see, I've been writing this blog for quite a few years now.  I am very proud of it and it has come a long way.  I am thrilled to have regular readers and to have people join in with my weekly linky.  However, I have to admit to some negative feeling.  This is what I was going to write about today, and whilst Carolin has cheered me up, as it's my blog and I can write what I want, I'm going to put some of these thoughts out there.  I hope it doesn't sound too much like sour grapes!

Blogging.  It's a funny numbers game, isn't it!  I always face the award nominations season with trepidation.  On the one hand, it is lovely to receive even one nomination, but I know deep down that as it stands, my blog really has little chance of making it very far in these things.  It may have been that once the MADs and BIBs were a fair place but to me it feel's they aren't really now.  You see, the bigger your blog is, the more chance you have of people nominating you.  Therefore, most (not all) of the blogs you see in the shortlists and finals have big followings.  I know there are exceptions and those are truly wonderful things.  I've seen blogs start small and grow into something wonderful with a very much deserved large following (Capture By Lucy springs to mind) but I also see some of the same blogs in the shortlists each year.  And whilst I am not saying they are bad, I do wonder how some of them get there.  There are so many other more innovative blogs out there with more varied and regular content.  I'm afraid it gets my goat when I see a blog that is updated once a week at maximum with just a small post making it to the finals when I slog my guts out creating new and interesting content for this one.  How do I think they get there?  Well, if they already have a huge audience (perhaps they have won in the past and gained a large audience) then it's simple numbers.  They are more likely to reach the final.

I know... I know.  This does sound like sour grapes.  I am a bit bitter, I'll admit it.  It's just it hurts a little.  I have to keep reminding myself why I started this, why I enjoy this.  I don't think my blog is the best out there.  I don't think it's the worst.  I would like it to get noticed more.  My boys keep me so busy.  I can't be online as much as some bloggers with older children can.  I know that is a factor.

Something else that upsets me a little is how little love my linky Trendy Thursday gets.  I try so hard to get word out there and I love my regular gang who link up, but I'm always keen to grow it.  Last week I discovered another blogger had started a very similar linky and is hosting it on the same day and already she had more people linking up.  I guess she just caught the attention of the right people.  I can't tell someone not to host a linky.  It's a free world, and if my one doesn't go as well, I suppose that's just bad luck.  It's a competitive environment.  It's just I'm a sensitive person and I take these things to heart...

Well, I think I've got my feelings out there.  I hope I don't upset anyone by writing this, but I feel honesty is the best policy.  I'll get my happy hat on for tomorrows #TrendyThursday!  Normal service shall be resumed!!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Where has my Mummy style gone?

I don't seem to have done very much blogging about my style and clothes lately.  Of course, it's not that I haven't been bothering with what I wear, I have.  I still plan my outfits the day before (after checking the forecast of course!!) and I still like wearing lovely bright colours and patterns and putting my make up on.  For some reason though, the blog has been more about the boys and the house over the last few weeks....

So.. time for a long over due post on what I've been wearing!

It was my birthday last week and I treated myself to some new footwear - some shoes I've been lusting over for many months now.  With summer around the corner (I hope!) these were the perfect new purchases, some Saltwater Sandals and some Sunjellies! Yay!

Sunsan Saltwater Sandals Sunjellies
Sun-san Saltwater Sandals and Sunjellies
I'm enjoying wearing both pairs.  They are very comfy and don't need wearing in either (well, not for me).  If you do find them uncomfortable, Sun-San recommend wetting your Saltwaters and then wearing them so they mould to your feet.

Clothing wise, I've picked up some really fantastic items in Asda lately.  Their range improves constantly and gets updated on what seems like a weekly basis, sometimes even more frequently! It's really hard not to pick something up when I pop in there, especially as it's close to Ethan's school and we're always in need of more milk or bananas.

George at Asda, Supermarket Clothes, Fashion Bloggers, Style
George at Asda
The denim pinafore was a total impulse buy.  There was just one there in my size, it was hanging all by itself in amongst some other dresses and it just jumped into my basket. Ehem.  Anyway, I'm glad I got it, it's really cute!

The cherry blossom dress I bought online and I love it.  The print and material are really pretty.  It's quite short but is fine with tights and looks best worn with a thick waist belt.

I'm going to link up with Momma In FlipFlops for Real Mom Style and Transatlantic Blonde for What I Wore Wednesday.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Introducing our newest sponsor - Salt City Emporium!

I discovered Salt City Emporium via Instagram and quickly fell in love with their quirky modern prints and gorgeous designs.  If you are a regular reader you will probably have heard of them before.  I own several pairs of their delcious leggings as do my boys.

Salt City Emporium Medicated Follower of Fashion, kids leggings
Salt City Emporium

I can't get enough of them and I hope you'll feel the same.  I am very proud to introduce them to you today as our newest sponsor.  You can visit their site quickly and easily by clicking on their ad at the side of my blog.

Salt City Emporium Medicated Follower of Fashion

So, who are Salt City Emporium?  Well, in their own words, they "create modern, on trend apparel for the busy urban family. We value comfort, great quality and fresh designs".  Not only that, but their newest venture is to team up with up and coming artists to design prints for their clothes - you can be sure that when you by from Salt City Emporium you are getting something really special, something quite unique.  Even better, as they are based in the USA, you can be sure that your little one (or you!) will be rocking something unlikely to be seen in your local town!

Salt City Emporium Medicated Follower of Fashion

Salt City Emporium stock leggings, t shirts, beanies, head wraps and more.  Check them out now!

Going under the knife

Plastic surgery.  Unless it's medically required or for very good reasons, it's not really something I am a fan of.  I know I'm not that old yet but I do feel that I'd like to 'grow old gracefully' wrinkles and all.  I have no desire to have my face scrapped up from the floor and pinned behind my ears.  I don't want some crazy scary face peel..

However, there is one thing that I would consider doing.  I have big boobs for my frame.  OK, they aren't crazy, but they are problematic.  Ever since they started growing when I was 10 they have caused me problems.  They were always big for my age and size.  They got me attention I didn't want and couldn't handle at a young age.  At the age of 12 they were a D cup and I had cars beeping their horns at me, men shouting comments across the road.  I don't think they could tell how young I was.  I did what most young girls would do - I tried to cover up so it was all baggy jumpers and shirts for a few years.  That didn't really help my confidence though.  They made me look much bigger than I was and I felt like a huge heifer compared to my skinny friends with their A and B cup breasts and slim frames.

School was no fun.  As the first girl in the class with a bra, boys found it hilarious to try to undo my bra during lessons or trying to ping the bra straps.  Aged 13 I was told by one of the boys in my tutor group that the boys had all discussed during PE one day who they like to think about when masturbating and they almost all agreed on me because "you have huge tits".  I didn't really know what to think about that.  I suppose I took it as a compliment in some respect but the feminist in me is outraged.  Can you imagine a girl saying something like that to a boy?  My breasts were just objects to them.  I wasn't important.  I was just tits on legs.  Something to objectify.

By 15 I had EE cup breasts and had come to terms with them a little.  I had realised that the baggy clothes were doing me no favours so I dressed to compliment my figure.  This brought with it other issues though.  I always looked like I was trying to attract attention and look sexy which I truly wasn't.  Wearing a shirt at school was a huge problem, they always gapped at the button holes.  Whilst on a holiday with my family in Portugal the attention I received was ridicules and embarrassing as I was with my family.  I was truly something to stare at over there as a blonde girl with large breasts.  Men waved at me constantly, came over to me in the street to speak to me whilst I was with my parents.  One man tripped over at the beach because he was so busy staring at my chest.   Worse still (though quite amusing) I was stood outside a supermarket with my brother whilst my parents shopped inside.  A delivery driver was driving along the road near to us and he was so distracted by staring at my chest that he actually didn't see a turn in the road and drove his lorry into a wall.  I kid not.

Attention is not the only problem when you have large breasts.  Buying bras and swimwear to fit them is a costly and difficult experience.  These days it is a lot easier.  Even Asda and Tesco stock bras in my size, and whilst not quite as good as more expensive bras, they are pretty darn good.  As a teen it was impossible to buy anything that fitted me properly.  Eventually I was able to order items in my size in a local department store.

Life changed when I discovered Bravissimo.  It is lovely to be able to buy in my size in lots of different styles and patterns.  However, it is still costly.  If I want decent swimwear that will support me I have to fork out around £60.

So.  Why would I consider going under the knife?  I am no longer objectified in quite the way I was (or at least, if I am, I am not told so!!).  Perhaps pushing a buggy around has helped that.. I'm probably too busy to notice anyway!  I have my pick of the bras these days.  Even the cost isn't as bad as it was?

Well... there are two reasons I would consider it.. and don't worry, I'm not about to say I'd go bigger.  No.  No way in hell!  The surgery I would seriously consider, no truly, would like, would be a breast reduction.  First of all, I get back ache.  Carrying around these boobs is hard work.  Even if I loose weight I have never lost weight on my breasts.  Pregnancy took me in to H cups and breastfeeding in to J cups.  Luckily both times my breasts have gone back to my pre-pregnancy size.  During my adult life I have weighed from 10st 2lb to 8st 5lb and my breasts have remained resolutely a 30-32F.

Secondly.  The fit of my clothes.  You could consider it a small thing, but really, it's something I am faced with every single day.  I always feel I look bigger than I am.  Unless I am wearing a top that is tight then what I am wearing skims down from my boobs and hangs out making me look like I have a tum when I don't.

I would like a nice pair of D cups.  I don't want tiny boobs.  I'd just like to took in proportion.

What is putting me off?  Cost.  I can't afford it.  I could possibly save up.. Perhaps I will!  Also, recovery time.  I know that it takes around 6 weeks before you can lift and right now, there's no way I could look after my children..  So.  It has to wait.  But maybe, just maybe, one day I will have the boobs I'd like!

Is there a plastic surgery you'd consider?  If so, why?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Sleeping in style - obsessed with bedding

If I ever want to freshen up one of our bedrooms, I start with a new duvet set.  I am rather addicted to them.  Luckily we have a large airing cupboard and under-bed storage so I am able to store quite a few.  We probably have too many, but at least we have plenty of bedding available for guests or when the children are sick (or have an accident!!).

I love how you can keep your room fashionable with something as simple as changing the bedding.  You can suit the season, your mood and for such a small cost.  What is even more fantastic is that it is so easy to pick up bargain bedding these days.  Whilst I really love buying from smaller independent companies, I am also a bargain hunter.  These days I have to admit that the supermarkets are the places to go for bedding.  In particular, George at Asda are brilliant at staying on trend and affordable.  You can often pick up a new duvet set for around £12.  Fitted sheets come in at around £5 so for less than £20 you can have a completely new set!

I thought I would share my top 5 places to buy bedding and some of my favourite picks from their current collections:

1) George at Asda

George are excellent at staying on trend, their prices are hard to beat and the quality is actually very good:

Duvet covers from George at Asda, Geo, Monochrome, Medicated Follower of Fashion
Bedding from George at Asda

2) Ikea

Ikea bedding makes my palms sweaty.  When I visit Ikea my heart rate increases once we reach the bedroom part of the showroom.  I find it very hard not to buy bedding when I go to Ikea.  Good prices, some are crazy cheap, most are average prices.  The quality is astounding though:

Ikea bedding covers.  Monochrome. Geometric. Medicated Follower of Fashion.  Bedding.
Ikea bedding

3) Wilkinsons

Wilkinsons were a real surprise to me.  I hardly ever go in "bargain" shops like Wilkos, I always think it's a little like a 99p shop.  However, I ended up on their online shop a few months ago and was astounded at the choice. Like Asda, their bedding prices are amazing and very up to date:

Wilko Wilkinsons bedding, duvet covers, Medicated Follower of Fashion, Monochrome, Geometric
Wilko Bedding

4) H&M

I started shopping online with H&M a few years ago when I discovered just how good their children's clothes are.  I love them for me and the boys.  Even hubby relies on them for their underwear!!  Their homewear range is growing all the time and is very stylish.  Their bedding sets are fantastic and often sell out within hours (anyone who knows about their very Mini Rodini style tiger bedding set will know what I mean.  I actually feel like crying when I think about missing out on that..).  Prices are very good and quality is also great:

H&M Bedding, duvet covers, trendy, monochrome, Aztec, geometric
H&M Bedding

5) Argos

I stopped buying from Argos a while ago feeling they were very old fashioned and out of date.  However, a recent Google for geometric bedding led me back to them and boy do they have a good selection!  Prices range from the very cheap to the much more expensive so there's something for everyone.  I'm impressed!

Argos bedding, duvet covers, geometric, bright, modern, medicated follower of fashion
Argos Bedding
How do you like to brighten up your bedroom?  I hope I've inspired a few people today to try some new bedding out and maybe try somewhere new to buy from! Have fun!!

Trendy Thursday - More bargains!

The last thing I need is more clothing for the boys.. what can I say?  I'm addicted.  Especially if it's a bargain.

It's very hard for me to walk in to a charity shop and not buy something.  When you see items for 99p or less, it's even harder.  Last week I popped in to one of the shops in town and had a nosey at the children's rail.  They had a load of items for 99p and I ended up buying a pair of awesome unworn neon yellow trousers, a Diesel body warmer and a Where The Wild Things Are tshirt.

Charity shop and bargain kids fashion, No Face, Spirited Away, Knitted Crown, Where The Wild Things Are, Ebay, Etsy
Charity Shop, eBay and Etsy bargains

I could tell the trousers hadn't been worn as the label was still attached.  The tshirt and the body warmer probably had been but hardly at all.  For so little money, how can you walk away from that?

I got a few more items in the post last week - when do I not?  We love Studio Ghibli in our house.  In particular, we love Spirited Away.  Ethan is quite obsessed with the character No Face from that film.  I found a baby vest on eBay with No Face printed on it.  Not only does it look cool, it fits in with my current love of monochrome.  Felix loves to watch Spirited Away as well and I know he recognises No Face.

I ordered a knitted crown from Etsy.  I've seen them on a few babies and think they look so cute.  With Felix's first birthday just around the corner I thought it was high time we got one.   It's going to look brilliant - I hope he'll keep it on!  He's getting better at wearing (accepting!) hats now.

Anyone else got a bargain this week?  Link up your kids fashion posts below. Don't forget that you can tweet me your links for a retweet.  Please also comment here and visit others who join in!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Describing Anxiety

Mental health.  Little by little it is becoming more acceptable to talk about it.  Good.  That's what we need.  Most of us go about our day to day life wrapped up in whatever we are dealing with and incorrectly believing that we are the only ones who "can't cope".  It's just not true.  If you are ever actually able to have an honest conversation with friends and neighbours you may well find out that it isn't just you.  You aren't alone.  There are SO MANY of us suffering in silence with various mental health issues and we don't need to.

Talking about it really helps.  Finding someone else who understands is amazing.  Sharing those feelings, even though it may not take them away, helps a little.  I know I always feel boosted by a conversation with someone who understands.

I have always been quite honest on my blog.  That's why it's called Medicated Follower of Fashion.  During my life I have suffered with anxiety, depression and Post Natal Depression after the birth of Ethan.  I write about what I have experienced here in the hope that it might help others, that it might encourage them to talk or seek help.  Since sharing my experiences with friends I have discovered that I am by no means the only one taking medication to help.  AND THERE IS NO SHAME IN THIS.

One of the hardest things to deal with is when people don't understand.  This is something you will unfortunately come across.  Some people are just made differently.  They have never had depressive periods, negative thoughts, compulsions, low self esteem.  They just aren't built that way and just can't comprehend it.  It can be really tough when you try to explain how you feel to these people.  It's especially hard when these are people who are close to you.  I have first hand experience of this and I'm afraid my way of coping with this has been to stop fully expressing myself to these people.  Perhaps it's not the right way to go about it, but to be honest, if I'm going through a low anxious stage, I'm not going to help myself by flogging the dead horse that is trying to get across how I feel to those who can't understand.

I cope by reaching out to those that do.  There are many people out there who are a lifeline to me, both online and in "real life".  To those people, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Anyone reading who is suffering and doesn't have that lifeline, I urge you to try to find someone to speak to. It doesn't have to be a face to face conversation, there are so many support networks online.  Even just commenting here.

Overall, the condition I've suffered the longest with is anxiety.  I've had it to different degrees for as long as I can remember, even as a child.  There are various things that exacerbate it; lack of sleep, PMT, not having enough time to myself..

What does anxiety feel like?  Well, I can only describe how I feel it.  To me, it feels a little like hunger.  That gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach. Feeling like you've had too much sugar or caffeine.  A clenched jaw.  Despite medication, it's very rare the feeling ever completely leaves me.  I  worry about anything you can think of and get stressed over things causing me to plan things to a ridiculous degree.  To give you an example, shortly after Ethan was born I drove myself into a severe panic because I was worrying how I would ever find the time to make him a packed lunch whilst he started school.  I was obsessively planning in my head how I'd manage it.  He was days old.

How do I cope?  Well, firstly, I take citalopram.  This does level out my feelings.  Not completely.  I always get worse in the days leading up to my period (I feel very unhinged then) and during really stressful times such as when both of the boys are ill and I'm not sleeping.

I have been on a course with others who suffer similar feelings and have become much better at recognising when I am becoming worse.  When I recognise my feelings are "abnormal" it allows me to be a little more objective.  I listen to the feeling and then tell myself that it isn't true.  It doesn't always work but it helps. I can still feel the anxiety but it's unfounded.  It takes a little of the pressure off.

I try to up my sleep and "me time" when I suffer.  Having a break from the boys is essential for my mental health.  It's a constant balancing act though.

Why am I writing this today?  Well, I'm not particularly suffering today, actually, I'm pretty good at present, but I thought it was worth writing down and sharing.  Just in case it helps someone.

Please, if you are reading this and suffering, comment.  It may help.  Know you are NOT alone.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Trendy Thursday - The Mini Classy

If you are a regular reader and someone who joins in with Trendy Thursday, I'm sure you know just how many fantastic children's clothing brands I discover via Instagram.  You start following one, they share a picture from another, you follow them, they link to another brand.  On and on it goes.  There are so many amazing independent and small businesses out there and Instagram is their playground!

What I tend to do when choosing clothes for my boys now is buy a few gorgeous pieces from these smaller companies and them compliment them with cheaper pieces from places like H&M.  There is no denying that handmade children's clothes or limited edition clothing are more expensive than the mass made items, but they are special.  A lot of hard work has gone into designing and making them.  I like the fact that by buying these clothes you are supporting someone trying to make their mark in a massive industry.  What's in it for you?  Well, if that alone isn't enough for you, it's a simple fact that your child will be wearing something much more unique than most of the other children in your town! I think it teaches them a good lesson too.  Buy clothes that are good quality and well made.  Know where your clothes are made.  Support small companies.  Be individual.

One company I have recently discovered is the American based The Mini Classy who, in their own words, have been "swagging out babies since 2013".  Still a relatively new company they have made a big splash, they have been stocked by Zulily in the US this year;  that's pretty impressive I think.  Their designs are very individual with an emphasis on comfort for children.  Something so important I think.  It's all well and good making your tot the trendiest in town, but you want them to be able to get comfortably around the playground still, not stand around like a trendy shop dummy!  They buy they fabric in small qualities so designs are limited edition which means you bag something really different and unlikely to be seen on many others.  It's also a great marketing idea, let's be honest!!  The clothes are handmade in the US.

I bought a few items for the boys recently after The Mini Classy announced a flash sale via Instagram (a great reason to follow them!).  All in all I spent about $50 including postage for two pairs of harem trousers and a vest top.  That's a bit less than £25 I think so really not bad including the postage.  Their harems are usually $25-30 each so that was a great bargain.

It didn't take long for our items to arrive at all and when they did, I couldn't wait to get them on the boys.  Personally, I think they look amazing.

The Mini Classy Harems Kids Fashion Children's Fashion

Ethan wore his vest and harems to a bouncy castle party at the weekend and they stood up to the two hour challenge very well.

The Mini Classy  Harems  Vest Kids Fashion Medicated Follower of Fashion
Ethan rocking his Mini Classy threads.

Felix has been wearing his around the house, crawling around in them.  They still look great after the repeated rubbing of fabric against the carpet and floor.  No bobbling.  I've washed them and they've come up looking as good as new.  They also dry really quickly!  As they are harems, they have more space for a big nappy in them which is great news for us as cloth users.

So, The Mini Classy, a big thumbs up from the 'follower household.  We'll be back for more!

Does Instagram influence you the way it does me?  I can think of some of my blogging friends who would agree with me I think (Emma from They Grow So Quick I'd say!!).

If you've got some trendy children's outfits to share, link up below.  Don't forget to comment here and visit others who join in!