I Went To Britmums Live!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last weekend I spent two days at one of the biggest parent blogging conferences in the country. Along with 700 odd other parent bloggers I had a very eventful few days full of different emotions and learnt a few valuable lessons.

The build up was so exciting and on the Friday morning I quickly packed up my case, did my hair and make up and donned my beautiful Tiffany Rose gown and I felt amazing! It's not very often I get to wear such nice clothes or even make an effort with my hair and make up so it was a great confidence booster. I was ready to hit London! Along with Hannah (A New Addition) I got to travel first class to London, for the first time ever, thanks to nabbing bargain tickets in the Virgin seat sale. 

We eventually turned up just in time at The Brewery in London for the event we had been waiting all year for. It was lovely to see so many old friends and familiar faces lined up to get in and once we had got rid of our suitcases and grabbed our badges we all sat down for the first keynote speech of the weekend. I have to say I was a bit too excited to pay much attention to what the lovely Emma Freud actually had to say and spent much of her speech texting my brother (the film student) to tell him I was in the same room as THE Richard Curtis. Not that I got anywhere near him or a chance to meet him!

I have to say I felt a bit underwhelmed by the first day. The talks went by in a blur, people weren't socialising much and the atmosphere just seemed a bit 'off' I thought it was my hormones but by the sounds of it many felt the same that first day. Although a few dramas in the evening whilst trying to get our luggage into our hotel and back meant that me and Hannah missed the pre party drinks for the BIB's awards and turned up just in time to sit at the back quietly. This is when my pregnancy hormones hit! I had just spoken to the kids and felt stressed and deflated and just wanted to go home for cuddles! Luckily I soldiered on and joined a big party of bloggers at Wagamamas for a lovely meal where I made some great new friends and had a fabulous evening followed by drinks (non-alcoholic) in the hotel bar until the early hours!

The next day I was pretty tired but after a nice big breakfast at the hotel I felt great. The joys of not drinking alcohol! I felt positive that it was going to be a better day and was determined to make the most of it. I attended a few great talks, my favourite being a lesson on Google+ which I've been wanting to learn more about. I got to talk to all the brands that were attending and really enjoyed talking to them about their products and what they have planned over the next few months. It was especially nice speaking to brands I already work with such as Parragon Books who we've been book buddies for over the last year. They sent me away with a lovely learning book for Gracie which she is loving working at in preparation for her starting school in September. I got to spend much more time with my blogging friends on the Saturday too which I had hoped to do at some point over the weekend. It was lovely seeing so many babies there this year and made me so excited that next year I can take my baby along with me too!

I've come away from Britmums Live learning mostly that blogging is about being yourself and writing how you want and not trying to compete and compare yourself to other blogger's as there will always be people more talented at different areas than you and trying to compete will only make you unhappy with yourself. I am really enjoying all aspects of my blog at the moment except my design and I have been inspired to make it more 'Me' as soon as I have time! I have lots of great notes from the design session by Capture By Lucy and can't wait to get started.

I have to say a HUGE thanks to my amazing sponsors MAM Baby UK for making it possible for me to attend Britmums Live and helping inspire me to make the most of my blog! I was very happy to see a few MAM items in the goody bags at the end too so every blogger got to take home a few lovely MAM products.

All I can say now is bring on next year! I already have my ticket booked at the super early bird price. I hope to see lots of you there!


Review: Woolly & Tig Songs for wobbly moments CD

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last week we received a copy of 'Songs for wobbly moments' the new CD for children from CBeebies hit series 'Woolly and Tig'. Along with the CD we were sent a lovely Woolly the spider cuddly toy for Gracie to enjoy. The CD contains 20 different songs all with a different lesson to teach children. Whether it be teaching them important lessons like 'How to turn anger into laughter' in the song 'Big Stomps' to teaching them to make light of what can be scary situations for children such as 'making going to the doctor or the dentist funky fun' in song 'Funky Dunky'.

For those who haven't watched 'Woolly and Tig' on television, it is a series about a little girl named Tig and her toy spider Woolly who together, explore all the feelings that children have when faced with new experiences. Whenever Tig is feeling scared or anxious she can always rely on Woolly to help her get through it.

I actually used this CD to occupy the kids while I was doing housework a few times this week. I could hear them laughing and dancing around to the music together. I think it's great that there are lessons for them to learn through the music as at preschool age it's amazing how much they can actually pick up and learn through both music and playing. It's always good to find new creative ways for them to learn. Not only that but any CD that gets them active and playing nicely together is a winner in my eyes. Not only has the CD gone down well but both of the kids have been loving the Woolly cuddly toy, he hasn't been put down all week!!

The CD launches 7th July and will also be available to download from the iTunes store (Songs for Wobbly Moments) for just £4.99

We were sent the products featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

30 weeks pregnant

30 Weeks Pregnant

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Today I am 30 Weeks Pregnant! Eek! Now I am panicking about getting ready. So far we have nothing for baby to sleep in (well a friend is giving me a crib but I need to find time to visit to pick it up. If only my friends lived locally!), I have no newborn suitable pushchair and biggest of all I haven't started my bedroom makeover so we can find room to fit her in with us!

Excuse the poor photo but isn't my bump getting big!
I'm feeling really healthy in myself at the moment. With only the obvious tiredness that comes with pregnancy. I was a bit burnt out Sunday and Monday after all the walking Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The kids loved Cbeebies Land Thursday and I had lots of fun at Britmums but it took me so long to recover! I had such hugely swollen feet Sunday people would have mistaken me for the Elephant Man! 

I've been remembering to take my Iron supplement everyday and have felt so much better since. I think I will carry on as long as I can as the natural energy boost is amazing. I've been getting much more done around the house and have been writing myself lots of organisational lists to help me get back on track with everything. 

I have to say I'm amazed that in just 9 weeks there will be a baby here with us. I cannot wait for baby cuddles. It is such an exciting time and I am so glad that I am really enjoying it again!

baby heartbeat monitor

Review: Unborn Heart Smartphone Fetal Doppler

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Whilst at the NEC Baby Show I met up with Ardega Ltd who were there to promote the Unborn Heart App. They offered me one to take away in return for a review and to let them know my honest thoughts on the product. 

The Unborn Heart App allows you to monitor your baby's heartbeat in the comfort of your own home. You can use the app to record and share your baby's heartbeat with friends through email or Facebook. There is also a built in kick counter similar to those used in hospitals, anyone who has had fetal monitoring will be familiar with the small click pen they give you to hold and click whenever baby moves, well with this app you tap the foot on the screen to count the kicks. The recordings are all stored in the app which is nice when you want you look back on previous recordings. In the box came the Fetal Doppler, 1 smartphone cable, 1 set of earphones, 1 user manual, 2 AAA batteries and a small tube of ultrasound gel. The app itself is available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

I was quite eager to try this out. I had never thought of buying a Doppler before as it is something that should be used sensibly (if you are genuinely worried about baby do get checked out rather than using an at home Doppler) and so I never felt the need for it. However, this time round Gracie hasn't been allowed to scans or appointments with me and she is at the age where she is likely to feel left out. Especially as she was there for everything when I was pregnant with Zach. I thought this would be a lovely idea for some bonding with Gracie so we can listen to her baby sister and talk about her together.

It is harder to use than I expected. Not the equipment itself, that is simple to put together and use. I found it difficult getting the right position and finding babies heartbeat so that I could hear it clearly. It definitely takes a couple of times practising to finally get it properly so don't worry if you try it and can't find a heartbeat immediately! I find now that I've been using it for over a month I find the heartbeat much quicker and can keep hold of it for a longer time but do still tend to move slightly and lose it again or baby moves position and I have to have another quick search. 

I've really enjoyed using the Unborn Heart monitor and app and would definitely recommend it to expecting parents.

I was given the product featured free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

29 weeks pregnant

29 Weeks Pregnant

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wow 29 weeks! Although I haven't been given a date yet I've been assured my section won't be any later than 39 weeks which means we will meet her in 10 weeks or less! Again I've been feeling a lot better still. I'm having to cut down my antacid tablets as they have bought my iron levels down very very low but that's nothing that can't be solved with some Spatone and eating plenty of steak! Who knew heartburn tablets would stop you absorbing iron! The results of my GTT came back clear and my growth scan last week showed that baby girl is growing at the perfect rate and a week ago was around 2lb 2oz. Of course this doesn't mean I'll have a small or regular baby. We had a growth scan with Zach at a similar time where we were told he was average and was shocked looking at all 10lb 4.5oz of him on the big day!

I do have to say the Braxton Hicks are a nightmare! You'd think third time round I wouldn't panic whenever they happen but poor Andy found himself running me a bath at 3am yesterday morning as I was getting pains and contractions. After a soak and a few hours sleep they started to ease and have had nothing since! Thank god we now have our bath it's been a life saver this week and I can see me spending a lot of time in it over the next 10 weeks to ease pains or destress!

       The wine in the picture is non-alcoholic ;)

I've been off work on holiday this week which is great as over the next few days I have so much going on. Thursday sees us taking the kids to cBeebies land at Alton Towers then Friday I am off to London for Britmums Live! And I can't wait. I just hope little miss behaves for my weekend away! 

Yay for another overall pretty good week! 

carseat safety

Review: Koochi Carseat

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A few weeks back I was given a list of items to choose from to review from Asda Direct. We had been looking for a new car seat for Gracie and this Koochi Group 123 car seat seemed perfect! They agreed to send me this seat in exchange for a review. 

Delivery of the car seat was very prompt after they had ordered it. It arrived in a matter of days. It was very easy to set up and fit into the car. We actually have a Cosatto monster car seat very similar for Zach so we knew how to fit it but the instructions for the seat are very clear and easy to follow if you don't already know. This seat is perfect for the next size up from a baby car seat. The seat is only forward facing but Gracie is 3.5 so forward facing is no problem for her as she is well within the weight range of 9kg to 36kg. It has a five point harness seat restraint to ensure your child is safe and secure. The headrest is actually adjustable so you can move it lower down for younger children. It eventually converts into a high back booster for an older child.

Not only is this car seat a safe option, but it is a lovely stylish design. Gracie was very pleased that she has a nice new car seat to replace her old black, worn car seat. I like how the covers are easily removable and washable as we like to let the kids eat snacks in the car especially on long journeys and it is always great to know you can give them a nice spruce up. 

The seat is currently priced at £81 which I think is a bargain for such a good, long-lasting seat. 


A Little Bud Of Hope

Monday, June 16, 2014

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time but haven't quite felt ready until now. As you know I am 28 weeks pregnant and back when I announced my pregnancy to you all I told you it hadn't been easy.

Well back last summer we found out we were expecting. We were very excited and were waiting until our 12 week scan to announce to all our friends and family. We were on holiday when I started to realise that my awful sickness had disappeared along with all other pregnancy symptoms. I put it down to excitement about our holiday, maybe I just wasn't noticing as I was having so much fun with the kids. The day after we got back from our holiday we moved into our new house. It had been a long stressful wait but our mortgage was sorted and we had the keys. Andy made sure I did no heavy lifting while we moved and we knew that just days later we had our 12 week scan. It was 24th Septemer last year, it was my Dad's birthday and also the day of my scan. I turned up for my scan, I had to go in alone while Andy waited outside with the kids. I lay down on the bed and the sonographer began. I remember it being very quiet and I remember making a stupid joke about hoping there was only one in there. Then I remember her giving me the look. I don't remember quite what she said but it wasn't good news, baby had stopped growing and had no heartbeat, they had stopped growing at 7.5 weeks. Anyone who has had a miscarriage will know 'the look' it's a look that will stay with me my whole life. I just remember bursting into tears and her saying 'that wasn't what you wanted to see was it'. Does any woman ever want to see or hear that news?! One of the hardest parts was after she bought Andy and the kids into me, I was walked through the ultrasound waiting room with Gracie tightly gripping my hand while I was in floods of tears. I could feel all eyes on me while I walked past a load of women and their baby bumps. 

I chose to wait and see if I naturally miscarried so I was sent home with some painkillers for when the pain kicked in. Just three days later on Zach's first birthday it all started. We were miles away in Birmingham and I had to cut his birthday day out short and head home as the pain got worse and worse. As if I didn't feel bad enough about what was happening I could now add guilt about ruining his birthday. The pain was excruciating. I could never imagine anything more painful both physically and mentally. After almost a week of pains and bleeding I thought it was over but when I went to the hospital three weeks later it turned out my body had clung on to the baby and I still had a lot of 'product' left so we went for the medical miscarriage approach or 'medical abortion' to some. This time it wasn't as painful but thankfully it worked. 7 weeks after my scan I was discharged from hospital care. 

Although the pregnancy hadn't been planned I was truly heartbroken over what had happened. I decided to not tell my family. I couldn't cope with any 'it's probably for the best' or 'three would be too much hard work anyway' comments. I told my closest friends and they gave me amazing support, I don't know what I would have done without them. It was because of some of these ladies that I have finally felt the courage to talk about it. The week following my scan a group of amazing ladies sent me some lovely gifts. Flowers, a gift voucher and a lovely Rose bush. The purpose of the Rose bush was so that whenever it flowers I can remember the baby I lost. Well yesterday I noticed the first bud starting to open in this Rose bush and I suddenly felt blessed. The first flower is starting to show and while I'm planning the arrival of our rainbow baby. I thought seeing the flowers would make me feel sad but they make me feel hope. Hope that everything will be fine. And they make me feel happy that I have such amazing friends who will be there for me throughout everything.

I started this pregnancy very paranoid, I was too scared to tell anyone, too scared to get excited and terrified for that 12 week scan. I found out just five weeks after being discharged from hospital and it was very unexpected. I also had a miscarriage scare after a bleeding episode just days before that scan so went into the scan expecting the worst. The relief I felt when I saw baby moving around was amazing. Since then each appointment and each scan has been a huge milestone and I can't believe how far we've got. Every movement makes me smile. I can't wait to have our new baby girl safely in my arms but until then I am enjoying this pregnancy. No matter how bad my symptoms get they are proof that everything is still ok and that makes me happy. And to think it has taken one little flower to make me feel ready to tell my story.

Thank you for reading


28 weeks pregnant

28 Weeks Pregnant

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Well I'm now 28 weeks pregnant and I can finally say I've been feeling much better this week. After last weeks panics over my heart palpitations and breathing problems I have had an almost symptom free week and bar a few Braxton's hicks I've just had a week of being able to enjoy the nicer parts of pregnancy. Lots of regular movements, I'm noticing a pattern of when she seems to be more awake.

I've been doing a bit of shopping this week too. I bought her some bargain sleepsuits from Boots on Monday. One for £2.50 and one for £3.75! I've also been stocking up on girly cloth nappies which for me is very exciting. 

Today is going to be a busy day appointment wise, I have a growth scan at the hospital this afternoon to see how she is doing. I'm quite nervous as I'm going completely alone and I don't know what to expect when I go, after two large babies will it be another big baby? I then have a routine midwife appointment two hours later where I will hopefully get my results from my GTT I had on Saturday.

It feels so nice to have a non moaning post about pregnancy for once! I will definitely love looking back and reading the posts like this when my pregnancy is over. I'm so glad I've been writing a pregnancy diary this time round it's been such a nice outlet and hopefully I'll have lots more nice happy pregnancy posts to come!

I'm Going To Britmums Live!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Name: Carly Markham
BlogCarly Markham 
Twitter ID@CarlyMarkham1
Height: 5ft 7ish?
Hair: Medium length brown after years of being extremely long!
Eyes: Blue eyes (and I wear glasses)
Is this your first blogging conference?
No, it will be my 3rd conference and 2nd time at Britmums
Are you attending both days?
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014?
Meeting up with old and new friends and feeling inspired to come home and work on my blog. Conferences always leave me with tonnes of inspiration.
What are you wearing?
I have a beautiful Maternity dress from Tiffany Rose to wear on the Friday but will be wearing more casual clothes on the Saturday.
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014?
I'd love to gain some confidence in my blogging style. I find I constantly judge everything I do and I'm hoping being around so many different people will help me realise it's ok to be me and to do things the way I want to do it. At the end of the day that is what blogging is all about, finding yourself and doing things your own way!
Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before?
Just be yourself! Bloggers, especially in the parent blogging community, are so supportive and you will find you will make real connections with people if you just be you. The only other tip I have is to have fun! There is so much to do at Britmums Live I would say go with the flow and enjoy yourself.


Introducing My Britmums Live Sponsors!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Last year I attended my first ever blogging conference, Britmums Live! I used my birthday money to treat myself to a ticket and it was an amazing experience. Although being my first time it was very overwhelming and I didn't learn as much as I could have! There was no question that I would be returning again this year but was having trouble trying to self fund again. I went in search of a sponsor and so sent messages to a few of my favourite companies to see if they were thinking about sponsoring a blogger this year. I was in luck! Within a day of sending messages I had my sponsor and not just any sponsor, a company that I believe in and have been using their products for the past three years. I've been very excited to announce so here goes; my sponsor for Britmums 2014 is MAM UK!

You may have noticed the shiny new badge in my sidebar, we will be working very closely with MAM over the next 12 months but I will start now by telling you a little about them and their products (in case you don't already know!)

Since selling their first soother back in 1976, MAM have evolved into the world's leading authority on the design of baby products. Ensuring proper teeth and jaw development in babies, along with a desire to make parents’ lives easier, have always been determining components for MAM studio designers and technical experts during development of MAM innovations. 

MAM now sell a huge range of different baby products and are available to buy in most supermarkets and baby stores as well as online. They cater for both breast feeding and bottle feeding mums and sell a range of cups and feeding accessories for toddlers.

Over the next 12 months I will have product reviews and competitions showcasing some of MAM's amazing products so do look out for them.

In the meantime it is only two weeks today until Britmums Live and I would like to take this opportunity to thank MAM for sponsoring me and enabling me to go!

27 weeks pregnant

27 weeks Pregnant

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Well 27 weeks now. I swear the time between me writing each of these posts gets shorter and shorter! Unfortunately this week has been another bad one. I hate to moan about pregnancy and I know it will all be worth it in the end but sometimes pregnancy symptoms just plain suck! Sunday morning started off normally, up early with the little ones, doing my household jobs like washing up and cleaning the kitchen but by lunchtime I was getting horrendous pains and my heart felt awful! This was no normal heartburn or anything I had ever felt in pregnancy before. It hurt to move, it hurt to lie down, whatever I did it didn't ease. This lasted until, well this morning! After talking to friends I realised I was getting heart palpitations and they came with a lot of shortness of breath. My breathing is still an issue now, which is strange as I have never had breathing problems in the past. I've come to the conclusion though that I need to take it easy a bit and my original plans of waiting as long as possible before taking my maternity leave from my part time job are out the window. I've spoken to my manager and she is going to help me sort so I can leave as soon as possible. I'm glad my heart has eased off now as I was starting to worry about it and worrying never helps does it! Luckily my kids have been absolute angels this week for me (which definitely makes a nice change) they have been so well behaved and lovely to me, helping tidy their toys and going to bed when asked with no moaning.

I also have some great news, well for me anyway! I am finally getting a bath fitted in my bathroom (currently shower room). I have really missed being able to relax in a nice bubble bath. Whenever I had pains when pregnant with Zach, nothing eased them as much as a good soak did so I think this will be great for me. It should be done sometime in the next month! 

I think that's about it for this week. It's not been the most exciting. Here's hoping next week I can have a more positive post!

book buddies

Review: Parragon Books: Three Little Dinosaurs Egg Rescue!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Every month, as part of the Parragon Book Buddies club, we receive a lovely book for either a baby or toddler. May's book was Three Little Dinosaurs Egg Rescue by Charles Fuge. I didn't read the description before reading it for Gracie's bedtime so it was a lovely surprise to find that the story was about a young dinosaur who is about to have a new sibling! As Gracie is expecting a new baby sister in a few months time she really enjoyed the story.

Scratch is excited- he's about to have a new sibling. But the egg is in trouble! Snatched from the nest by a mischievous mammal, it's fallen into the river and is floating rapidly downstream...

Of course everything is ok in the end and finishes with Scratch meeting his new sibling. This left Gracie excited for her new baby and we had a nice little chat about how she is going to help look after the baby.

A lovely fun filled book for small children and a great story for children who are about to become siblings whether it be for the first time or not!

We were sent the book featured free of charge as part of the Parragon book buddies review club. All opinions are my own.


Disney's Sleeping Beauty DVD/Blu-ray Release and Activity Sheets

Monday, June 02, 2014

I still have fond memories of watching this film as a child and I have been waiting for years hoping it'll be re-released so I could watch the film with Gracie. Well today, the 2nd June 2014, see's the release of a Disney Classic on DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download. You should be able to find it at all good DVD retailers.

The story begins with the birth of Princess Aurora (voiced by Mary Costa), the precious daughter of King Stefan and his wife. To celebrate the arrival of the Princess, three good fairies - Flora, Fauna & Merryweather bestow gifts of magic on Aurora, but an evil sorceress named Maleficent places a curse upon the little Princess - that she will die on her 16th birthday after touching the poisoned spindle of a spinning wheel.  Merryweather tries to undo the damage by casting a spell that will allow the Princess to awake from an ageless sleep with a kiss from her one true love.

We have watched this film a few times the past week and Gracie has loved it as much as I did at her age. In celebration of the films release I have some free activity sheets for your little princes and princesses for you to print off at home and enjoy. Just right-click and save to your computer to enjoy as many times as you like.

Do you have a favourite childhood film you would love to share with your children?