Month: October 2016

Bump Watch – Tiny Tuppen #2 Week 21

Bump Watch week 21

Blink and you miss it so they say, well here’s to week 21 and it certainly feels like I almost missed it! I can’t believe there’s only 19 weeks to go. I realised I am actually heading into my 6 month of pregnancy….what?!? I’m beginning to panic, I basically have everything somewhere from Finlay, but I am not feeling prepared! I still don’t feel like I have my head around this pregnancy. Perhaps that is completely normal for the second one?  I shall just keep telling myself that, that will make me feel better, maybe I will write a to do list…..maybe…if I get round to it!

Week 21

This week I say a fond au revoir to my belly button. It was nice knowing you. I admire how you faithfully returned last time a little worse for wear. If you return again, you may have to give me the heads up as I don’t think I will recognise you. You will be missed and I will reminisce those days when we would go out partying, showing off to the world. Thank you for being such a stunning belly button. p.s sorry, I keep hitting you on things, I am not used to you being the furthest point of my tummy!

This week I think my hormones are reeking havoc with me. I feel my moods are swinging constantly. Especially relating to my positivity. I had a little blip last week and really started to panic about having a successful VBAC. I think a combination of hormones and finding out the baby was sitting breech at the 20 week scan put me into panic mode. However, some lovely reassuring comments on a few of my post have put my mind at ease. I’m going to take a list of things I want to discuss about it at my 24 week midwife appointment. Hopefully, I can get some answers to everything that’s a bit unknown still.

I think the hormones are also messing a little with my Blood Pressure. I had a few funny feelings this week. Nothing bad, but just weird. I remember getting light headed on occasions with Finlay the first time around and it was just down to random drops in BP. I have also been experiencing some funny feelings in my tummy, tightening combined with what I can only describe as going over a hump back bridge in a car, just less intense. I’m guessing this is probably the baby pushing on something of flipping about. If it carries on then I might mention it to be on safe side.

The baby has been moving about quite a bit this week. Although I wouldn’t say I feel regular movements yet due to the anterior placenta, It definitely has a good jiggle a few times a day. In fact, the other day in bed when it was happening I lifted my top. I was just in time to see the teeniest movement on my tummy!

This week I have really begun to notice Chloasma, on my face. This developed with Finlay also, luckily only really by my left eye. It does look just like my freckles, but they tend to fade in the winter where as this gets more pronounced. I have begun to use my bio oil on it, hopefully, it won’t get too bad. The good news is if it does it will disappear at some point after the birth anyway.

I have been looking into Doulas quite a bit recently. Most probably due to  all my overthinking, I was looking for ways to find reassurance. I would really love to hire a doula for the birth. Just to have somewhere there to support me and help make my wishes heard. I just think it’s going to be impossible financially, though. We only just make ends meet each month, so unless I come into some pennies, I don’t think it will happen. It makes me quite sad as I have heard such wonderful things about doulas, from friends and reading blogs. I really think it would be so good for me, I’m still holding out some hope!

So Finally, back to the raging hormones – I have been having weird dreams about Vampire Weekend (The Band)!

Sig

MaternityMondays
This Mum's Life

 

VBAC: The Impossible Dream?

vbac

From the moment I decided another baby was on the cards, I always knew VBAC would be my first choice. I had done some research, I wanted to educate myself so I could make informed choices about my birth. I was pretty sure that I would be a good candidate for VBAC. Finlay was an undiagnosed breech. There was no other complication with the labour. So as long as baby number 2 was not breech, a VBAC was entirely plausible. Although I know this is often not the case with those having previous sections having limited choices. With many women having to fight for Vaginal births.

I had a lot of anxieties as a result of Finlay’s birth, Things were missed and I ended up back and forth between home and hospital and was extremely poorly. Although the cesarean was not entirely to blame, I have associated it with the fear and trauma I went through. I am desperate to avoid it unless of cause it is ‘truly‘ the safest option. However, it’s almost impossible to know what’s ‘truly‘ the safest option when it comes to VBAC.

When Chris and I discovered baby number two was arriving, it was one of the first questions I asked. Could I go for VBAC? The booking in appointment was really positive. We discussed the options and VBAC was agreed. I would have an appointment with the consultant in a few weeks where things could be discussed further. I left feeling really good about the birth.

During the consultant’s visits, it was agreed that a VBAC birth was an option as long as the baby was not breech. We would be scanned at 37 weeks to check presentation, but I should plan for VBAC. However, I remember feeling that there was a lot of emphasis placed on the risks of rupture. I asked about monitoring and I was told I would have to have constant monitoring, along with a canula my heart began to drop.

I have done alot of research about VBACs about what can help make them successful. Constant Monitoring was not one of them. I really want to be free, to move about, to be upright. Monitoring may not allow that.

VBAC is too often associated with fear and risks. Ask anyone about VBAC and the first thing likely to come to mind is uterine Rupture. Why? Because this is highlighted time and time again. You can’t labour too long you may rupture, if you’re induced you may rupture, you must be monitored to check for rupture. Everything about a VBAC comes back to rupture.

So what is the risk? Figures in the UK are hard to come by but 0.5% appears to be the agreeable figure. However what they don’t tell you is this 0.5% figure includes all degrees of rupture. Not every rupture is life threatening. This figure includes those where the rupture is actually where the scar only just begins to fails. It hasn’t ripped or burst open, and not life threatening at this stage. Did you also know your uterus can even rupture if you have never had a section? This is also included in this figure. I am not playing down the seriousness of a full rupture, but the risk are so slim, why scare women so much? To put it into perspective I found this article written by Eileen Sullivan, where she puts the risks into perspective, here are just a few:

  • you are more likely to suffer a rupture than to be struck and killed by lightning, by about 30 times.
  • you are 2 times more likely to be murdered than die of a rupture.
  • you are nearly 10 times more likely to cord prolapse than  have a rupture.
  • You’re about 17 times more likely to contract an STD this year than you are to have a uterine rupture.
  • Follow here link above to read them all.

Although I feel there is some support for my VBAC choice, I feel I am being geared up to have another cesarean. Especially with the constant monitoring as if they are waiting for my scar to rupture. There is no evidence to suggest constant monitoring improves the outcome and in fact has shown it can increase the chance of having another cesarean. Why do I need a canula straight away? If VBACs should be treated like a normal labour, then why the need for all this? If the hospital is set up to deal with emergency C -sections during a natural labour, then why not treat the VBACs in the same way?

I haven’t even had the chance to talk about Induction. With Finlay, I was booked in as soon as I hit 40 weeks and I had gone in to be induced. I really want to avoid induction with the planned VBAC. I just don’t know if I am strong enough as a person to hold my ground., I have researched into hiring a Doula which I love the idea off. However, I just don’t have access to that kind of money. So, for now, it appears I will be going my VBAC journey alone. I feel that everything is against it being successful and that it really is just an impossible dream with all the clinical procedures that need to be followed. Who am I? Little me to fight against them?

Sig

Twin Mummy and Daddy

 

 

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Black Friday: Top Tips from HUKD

.Black Friday

 

Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year is almost upon us! The Black Friday tradition first began way back in 1932 in America. It remained something of an American tradition until it made it’s way over to the UK in 2013. Black Friday is a day when Savvy shoppers can grab amazing bargains and take advantage of huge savings from shops and retail outlets instore and online. This year black Friday falls on 25th November, a little under a month away. Rumor has it, this year will be bigger and better than ever before. With sales figures expecting to top last years 1.1 billion!

I love a bargain and have picked up some great Black Friday deals for xmas over the past few years. I often find the best ones on the Black Friday page of HUKD. Those who have read my Money saving tips will know HUKD is one of my favourite savvy shopping sites. So imagine the huge grin on my face when I opened an email from them asking if I would like to share their top Black Friday tips with my readers!

 

HotUKDeals Black Friday tips

Do your research: During Black Friday it is tempting to buy items because of the exaggerated savings being advertised. However, sometimes these items can be of poor quality with merchants putting them on sale to clear stock. This isn’t always the case, so always check reviews before purchasing. Especially for electrical items such as televisions and washing machines, to ensure the deal is worthwhile.

Be quick: Some online deals will sell out in seconds, so be prepared and be quick!

Don’t wait until Friday:  Black Friday deals can start anytime during the week before the event. Keep an eye out for details of when and where the discounts will be. This includes the social pages of HotUKDeals where all the insider tips will be posted to ensure you don’t miss a deal.

Keep an eye out for hidden costs: Elevated savings are common during Black Friday but always check for hidden costs. This can include shipping, which can reduce the discount.

Plan ahead: Think about what items you want to buy and find out if and where you can get them. To make sure you don’t miss the items you’re looking for you can set keyword alerts on the free, HotUKDeals app so you get the deals straight to your smartphone.

Check delivery times: When purchasing Christmas presents online during Black Friday always check estimated delivery times so you know they will arrive in time.

Be patient: Everyone gets excited to receive items when they order a great deal online. However after Black Friday some parcels may take a little bit longer to arrive than usual due to the huge number of people purchasing items. If you’re shopping in-store during the sales event be patient with staff who will be dealing with an increased number of shoppers.

Make extra savings: As well as offering a Black Friday discount retailers may have a code for free shipping or an extra 10% off. Search for these codes on deal sharing communities and forums. You may be able to use them in conjunction with the original Black Friday discount to save even more money.

Pay securely: If you’re shopping online use a credit card or use PayPal. If you do use a credit card, use one that offers you rewards such as air miles or vouchers for money off your shopping to save even further.

Question the discount: Retailers sometimes increase the price of an item before a sales event to make the sale look better. Check deal threads on sites like HotUKDeals. Deal savvy members will share their knowledge of sale prices and RRP’s to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Check the retailer: Some savings will be for lesser-known retailers who may not be Google approved. Always check that you’re purchasing from a safe site. Look at forums where people discuss retailers and customer experiences to ensure you don’t get caught out.

 Be a VIP: Some retailers release Black Friday deals to their VIP members first. It may be worth signing up to receive their emails. If you’re not a fan of marketing emails set up an email account specifically for these sorts of things.

 

About HUKD: HotUKDeals (HUKD) is the UK’s biggest deal-sharing website where over 1.5m members find, rate and share the best deals from on and off the high street every day, Members use the temperature gauge to vote on deals so other users know that the hotter the deal, the stronger the offer.

What are you waiting for? Getting planning and be sure to pop back and let me know what bargains you manage to find!

Sig

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Bump Watch: Tiny Tuppen #2 – Week 20

bump20

It Seems Bump watch has naturally fallen into place on a Monday. This suits me fine and it means I can link straight up to #MaternityMondays hosted by Emma at Farmers Wife & Mummy. It also means I get a couple of extra days to add any extra updates as my new pregnancy week starts on a Sunday! It has been quite an exciting week this week as I have hit 20 weeks. That means I am half way through (for a normal 40 week pregnancy). How did that Happen? 20 weeks also marks the week of the anomaly scan, and if you want to find out the gender, as long as baby is playing ball, you should get find out Pink or Blue at this appointment! What did we do? Keep reading to find out!

I was having a conversation with a friend on Sunday about the pregnancy and I said I feel that I am in denial, but my mind is excited! What do I mean? Well I know I’m pregnant and I very very excited to have a new addition to our family. However, I feel I have not paid much attention to the fact I am pregnant, apart from the developing Bump. I am too busy just trying to brush my hair and clean my teeth and generally make myself publically acceptable. Last week I even made it out with eyeliner on one eye only. If I can’t even think about dressing both eyes properly, how on earth have I got time to think babies!

Week 20

This week was the week I finally began feeling little movements. It has really eased my mind. I don’t know if the baby has moved ever so slightly that is now allowing me to feel the movement. Perhaps it’s just the fact it’s now getting that little bit bigger and stronger. Either way, I am pleased and reassured to be feeling the new little life inside me.

I have developed a strong case of heartburn and indigestion this week. Uncomfortable is an understatement and I can’t imagine it getting any better. I lived on Tums when I was pregnant with Finlay, so I think a trip to the chemist is in order! It will be interesting to see if this baby has a lot of hair as the old wives tale goes!

This week I have started to use Bio Oil daily on the bump. I used this with Finlay and I only developed a couple of small stretch marks in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. So I am hoping for the same this time round. Although my tummy is in full bloom now, so I guess we’ll see how much I balloon in the coming weeks!

This week I have seen a marked improvement in my energy. Finally, I am feeling more energised, actually wanting to get up and about and do stuff now. Although I know I probably haven’t got too long before my energy levels start sinking again. I am going to try and make the most of it while I can!

20 Week Scan

So we had our 20-week anomaly scan, those who read my 19-week update will know how was unsure about finding out the sex of the new addition. Well, I was still so unsure, even as I headed into the room. When asked the question I just blurted out ‘I don’t know!’ The sonographer was so lovely, she said that was absolutely fine and she would start and if I want to know to say. Chris asked at that point if she would write it down for us ‘Of course’ she replied. So we still don’t know!! To be honest I am very happy with my choice but know I can find out if I have the need too.

bump anomoaly scanSo baby is looking really healthy. It was being a little bit of a monkey and had tucked itself right down in my pelvis, with its chin resting on its chest, and its arm across its heart. Finally, after a few prods of the bump, the sonographer got what she needed. Everything appeared to be working as it should and nothing of any concern was found. My placenta is anterior which explains why it’s taken longer to feel movement. It is however high up, so shouldn’t cause any issues.

The baby is measuring a lot smaller than Finlay at this stage at 368g, with a prediction of 7 and half pounds at term. That’s quite a difference to Finlay’s 8lb 15oz. I guess we will see though! Its head and legs are the smaller end of the scale. So it takes after me with my short legs and pea head.

I’m not sure if I got any gender clues, I was trying to have a little peek and guess. Where Finlay made it very obvious. There was nothing obvious about this one. In fact,  I’m not sure I could see anything there and it was pretty clear potty shot. I asked Chris what he thought and he couldn’t see anything either. We have both got a little thought that perhaps it could be a girl, but I am not going to get my hopes up. What will be will be!

The only piece of news that has made me feel anxious is that baby is currently sitting breech on the right side of my pelvis. It has its bum wedged tightly in and feet waving in the air. The sonographer advised it was pretty normal at this stage to be breech and there was plenty of time to turn. However those who have read my Birth Trauma post will know that Finlay was an undiagnosed breech, and was the start of a series of events that left me feeling quite traumatised. I just hope this baby turns.

Sig

 

 

 

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#MySundayPhoto – Fireworks Night

fireworks#MySundayPhoto – Fireworks Night

Rememeber, Remember. This weeks photo is linked to Bonfire/fireworks night, the day we good old Brits remember when the traitor Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the houses of parliment in 1605. I loved bonfire night when I was a kid. I grew up fireworks spoilt I have decided, having lived in Lewes, East sussex throughout my childhood. Lewes is notorius for putting on one of the biggest and best Bonfire night celebrations in the country with people flocking miles to experience it. Although, safety is top priority, the night is not tame by any means and certainly not suitable for little toddlers. As Chris grew up in Seaford, his family still pop out for the towns annual fireworks celebrations and for the past few years its been our display of choice. Yesterday was that night, Finlay loves it. A great little prossesion through the town followed by a great little display on the fields. Autum is well and truley here!

The Fifth of November

    Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England’s overthrow.
    But, by God’s providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James’s sake!
    If you won’t give me one,
    I’ll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!

Sig

Photalife

Birth Trauma: A Series of Unfortunate Events

birth trauma

N.B: Apologies, this is quite a long post. I have tried to keep it as brief as possible without losing too much detail. The events that led to my feeling associated with Birth Trauma span a number of weeks.

Birth Trauma Fraud

I feel like a fraud writing Birth Trauma. After all Finlay’s birth wasn’t really dramatic in the grand scheme of things. There was no alarm ringing emergency, no rushing about, no worrying if my baby was going to be OK. Although, when I think back when Finlay was born, there is no fondness for those first few weeks. My memories are masked with a sense of fear and dread. The littlest thing can trigger that feeling to return, like the music on Finlay’s nightlight or the wallpaper in the spare room (thankfully we painted it last weekend).

I thought I had come to terms with it, but here I am at 20 weeks pregnant. Little thoughts keep creeping back into my head, my pulse quickens and the palms of my hands begin to feel sweaty. Birth Trauma was unknown to me. It was something I found out about after reading a post from Ghost Writer Mummy.  It’s her site and experiences on Birth Trauma that inspired me to share my experience.

I have spoken a little bit about Finlay’s Birth, in Finlay’s Plagiocephaly Journey. However, I chose not to go into too much detail as that was not the focus of the page. Finlay’s birth was not particularly dramatic, but a number of errors leading up to and after all added to my experience. Together, they left a traumatic imprint and feelings associated with birth trauma.

My waters break

I was 10 days overdue when my waters broke. Having called the maternity unit they asked me to come in for them to double check. It was a quiet night and I wasn’t experiencing any contractions. Three days previously the community midwife advised Finlay was fully engaged and my cervix was fully effaced. As I was already 2 cm dilated then, I thought this was it. The midwife confirmed my waters had gone and to go home and relax. They would expect my contractions to start within 24hrs. If they did not, I was instructed to come back the next evening.

It was a long 24 hours. I wondered if every twinge was the start. It wasn’t to be though by the next evening there was no sign of contractions. I packed my bag, expecting to be admitted due to the risk of infection. Once we arrived it was totally different to the previous night. The unit was run off its feet with labouring women.

When I arrived, I was questioned why I had turned up, no notes had been left for that evening’s staff (unfortunate event 1). After explaining, we were told to wait, unsure if anyone would actually be able to see us. I’m not sure how long we waited but I was eventually given a bed on the pre-labour ward and strapped up for monitoring. Again we waited for what seemed like an eternity.

Once again I was examined and I was asked who wrote my notes that I was fully effaced and dilated? I was not any of these things, it was completely wrong (unfortunate event 2). In fact, there was no way I could be admitted that evening. I would have to come back in the morning to be induced. This meant 36hrs without my waters and increased risk of infection (unfortunate event 3).  Although they were sure I would go into labour that night. Statistics showed that 95% of women go into labour 24 hours after their water broke. Then of the 5% that don’t, 95% go into labour after 48 hours. I fitted into that 5% of 5% of women that don’t (unfortunate event 4)!

Undiagnosed Breech

In the morning, we arrived finally happy that we were getting somewhere. The midwives explained the process of induction and that I would need to be examined by a consultant before the induction would be started. All I can say Is thank god I was. The consultant within seconds of examining me called urgently for a scanner. My baby was an undiagnosed breech (unfortunate event 5).variations-of-breech-positionSuddenly nothing made sense. Finlay was always head down.  C-section vs Breech birth were now my only options. The dangers of each, overwhelming. We decided on an emergency C-section, I was scared and I ended up in floods of tears as the doctors rolled off all the risk including death. Although the risk was greater if the breech birth went wrong. Dying suddenly seemed a real possibility.

The stress must have initiated my contractions, which began nice and strong. Luckily this was just as my time came to go into the theatre.  I have no fear of needles, but I hated the thought of a needle in my spine. My spine is slightly bent and it took two attempts to get the line in, the feeling was horrendous (unfortunate event 6). From this point, everything went smoothly. Finlay was born healthy, There were no other complications, I went to recovery. I thought that would be it, after a few days I would go home.

Recovery

Although I appeared to recover well, I didn’t really feel right. The first 24 hours were a bit brutal, I was in a lot of pain. I felt blood coming out of me. A number of times I requested a change of maternity pads, but the HCA insisted they were clean. They were not. I ended up struggling to change and clean myself, still bed bound (unfortunate event 7). When the time came to get me up, I struggled. I managed to sit on the edge of the bed. As I tried to stand, the pressure inside my tummy was immense, I couldn’t do it. The HCA rolled her eyes and insisted I would have to get up in the morning and walked off.

In the morning with Chris’s help, I forced myself up. I could only take pigeon steps, but I made it to the toilet and had a shower! In the evening I found out that my drugs prescription was all wrong. While I should have had Paracetamol, Co-Codamol and a liquid morphine shot, I was only on Paracetamol!! It doesn’t even touch a headache sometimes, no wonder I hurt so bad (unfortunate event 8) . The new drugs helped a lot, but the pressure inside me continued. The next evening after almost 4 days since we arrived I was discharged. Even though I could barely walk. As I made my way to the entrance, a caretaker noticed us struggling and got me a wheelchair.

Finlay’s Re-Admitted

I was home for one night and one day, when the midwife came to check on Finlay. His birth weight dropped so much, that he had to be readmitted to hospital (unfortunate event 9). I was producing only a small amount of milk, not enough to sustain him. I was put on a milk producing drug, and we had to supplement with formula. We were on a 3 hourly schedule of Breastfeeding, followed by expressing, followed by formula. By the time I finished it was almost time to start again. I was shattered. Slowly Finlay’s weight increased and his sodium levels reduced, we were allowed home.

Losing Blood

At this point, I was still struggling with pain and to walk, but no one seemed concerned.  However, after a few more days at home, I woke one morning with a really heavy period like pain in my tummy. As I sat in bed I felt a rush of blood. I got up to change my maternity pad, but at this point, blood and clots started to fall out of me. Scared I called to Chris, who rang the community midwife. I was feeling quite ill and confused by this point, but Chris was assured that large clots were normal and if I wasn’t soaking a pad within an hour I was fine.

I was too weak and dizzy to know if what was coming out would soak a pad, it was dripping like a tap. Chris was told they were too busy to check on me that morning they could only come in the afternoon (unfortunate event 10) .  At this point I almost fainted in the toilet, that’s when Chris called an ambulance. I was admitted straight back into maternity. Strangely by now, I felt fine, but I had blood everywhere. The consultant who delivered Finlay was on duty came to see me. I can’t remember what she said but she left the room for a few minutes. I then started to feel really faint again.

Postpartum Haemorrhage

The consultant began to examine me and as she did, more clots poured out onto the bed. She worked on me for ages, pushing down on my tummy trying to clear me out. It hurt so much. At one point a midwife came in. The consultant asked her to start cleaning me and the mess. In front of me, the midwife said she was too busy to help me (unfortunate event 11), the consultant went mad. Once she had done all she could I was taken to the recovery room. She checked me often and continued to work on my tummy, constantly apologising but saying it was necessary.

In recovery, I was hooked up to a drip and antibiotics and a drug to contract my womb. Once I had recovered a bit she explained I had postpartum haemorrhage caused by an infection. At that point she was hoping the bleeding would ease, otherwise, I may have to have surgery. I was so scared and I missed my little boy. Chris visited with him but took him home after visiting hours as I was too poorly to look after him.

Home for Good

In the morning the blood loss had eased but my blood levels were low. I had to have 3 units of blood via transfusion. Luckily surgery didn’t seem necessary at this point and I was transferred to the ward in my own private room. Feeling better, I was well enough to have Finlay back with me too. Recovery took another 4 days, but then I was discharged.

As I was discharged, an HCA who had been looking after me, said how pleased the consultant had been with my quick recovery as she had been extremely worried when I was admitted. It was only at that point it occurred to me how poorly I had actually been. I had a small blip a week later and ended up being checked over in maternity as I passed one large clot (unfortunate event 12), but a scan confirmed it was the last of it and I was allowed straight home.

Moving on from Birth Trauma

For months after I would find myself panicking about it all. I never wanted any more babies because of it. It took me a long long time to even think about that. Hence one of the reasons for a 4 year age gap between Finlay and the new baby.

While the bad memories have faded over the years, in the back of my mind I see it all happening again. Realistically I know the chances are so very slim, but the fear is still there. I hope that by sharing my experience it will  help me face my fears. As well as helping anyone who reads this to know that Birth Trauma doesn’t have to be Hollywood dramatic to have a big impact on your life.

Sig

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

 

 

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Tips for Carving a Halloween Pumpkin

halloween-pumpkin

Pumpkins are one of the essential accessories for Halloween. We always have at least one pumpkin in our house. Usually more as we take at least one over to Aunty’s house for her annual Halloween Party. I’m usually the one who empties the insides, while Chris carves out the design. I think between us we are becoming Pro’s. So I thought why not share our expertise and tips for Carving Halloween Pumpkins with you all!

Pumpkin Tips

  • Get your timing right! If you buy and carve your Halloween too early, It will go rotten and smelly before Halloween even comes around. They are usually at their best until they are a week and half to two weeks old. So the best time to buy your them is a week to ten days before Halloween.
  • Pick the best Pumpkin! Try and select a healthy looking pumpkin, free from nicks or bruises. The colour should be consistent all round. The pumpkin should sound hallow if tapped and indicates it’s ripe. The stalk should be firm,not soft, as should the bottom, if not it may be showing signs of rotting.
  • Selecting a design! Novice pumpkin carvers should select a simple bold design. As you master the basics you can then start moving on to more intricate designs.
  • Cutting the Pumpkin! Having the right equipment is a must have. A long, sharp serrated knife will do best. However, there are some great Pumpkin carving kits on the market, which come with cutters, stencils and scoops! To cut out the lid, cut into the pumpkin at a 45 degree angle. cutting straight down will cause the lid will fall through! Cut with a sawing motion, to ensure you make it through the flesh. The best way to cut out your design is to draw it on the pumpkin with a water based marker. Then cut on the outside of your markers.
  • Scooping out the Inside! Either use a pumpkin scoop, ice cream scoop or heavy metal serving spoon. Scrape down the inside of the pumpkin, in a circular motion until all the strings and seeds are free from the wall. They should then come out in one scoop. Scrape it as smooth as possible as this is where the light will be reflected and enhance the spooky effect.
  • Clean your Pumpkin! Soak the Pumpkin in a light bleach water for a few hours, this will pro long the life of it. Dry it thoroughly to prevent any mould growing. Once dried, rub it inside and out (including the cut edges) with vegetable oil. This will help prevent shrivelling, if you do notice shrivelling, repeat the process. When not in use, the pumpkin can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge.
  • Scenting the Pumpkin! Sprinkle and dust the inside with cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, doubling it as an air freshener!
  • Lighting! LED candles make a perfect safer alternative to real candles, especially if you have lots of little ones running about. If you prefer the real thing or you want to use the spices, then place your candles in a tea light holder or a votive Candle in a glass. To keep the lid on then cut a small hole in the back to act as a chimney.  Lastly, never leave a Pumpkin with a live flame burning unattended for any amount.

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Monkey Bizness: Soft Play Review

Monkey Bizness Soft Play review

Monkey Bizness is a huge indoor soft play warehouse catering for young babies to younger teens. There are 4 locations across the country: Gosport, Hull, Lewes and Sheffield.

Locally to us is Monkey Bizness: Lewes. Although not on our doorstep, we are more than happy to travel the half hour car journey. Although some of our towns soft play areas are great, the sheer size of Monkey Bizness puts it ahead of its competitors. Especially if you’re after making a half day or day of it.

Opening times

  • Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm
  • Saturday – Sunday 10am – 5pm

Prices

Prices can vary depending on whether the days is classed as Peak. So check on the website. However, the general prices are:

  • Under 1’s: Free – peak and off-peak
  • 1 – 3 yrs: £5.25/£6.25
  • 4 – 12 yrs: £6.25/£7.25
  • Adults and 13 yrs+: £1.25/£1.25

Monkey Bizness also offer quite a few deals such as during term time 1 adult and 1 child can get in for £4.00. They also offer a Play and eat deal and Marvins meal deal, restrictions apply so check the offers page.

Also on offer are a number of Entry Packages, which cover annual, 90 day and 30 day passes for the more regular visitors.

Parking

Parking is a little restrictive. In Lewes, the warehouse is located on an industrial estate. There are some parking spaces outside the lot, alongside the road and a small overflow car park about a minutes walk to the centre. However on our visit at 11am, off peak, there were no free spaces anywhere and we ended up pulling off down a back lane and parking about 5 minutes walk away. The lane was very quiet traffic wise, but not the best if you also have a buggy in tow. I would say arrive earlier to secure a close parking space if you can.

The Play Area

You enter through press button release doors, which is great for safety. You can let you little ones run about knowing they will only ever be in the warehouse. To the right, you find the babies area, especially for under 2’s. This is small square with soft climbing blocks and a ball pit. Also on this side is the Toddler soft play area. A two story area, with a small slide and activities scattered throughout, Large enough for the toddlers to explore and feel independent, but small enough they can be seen at all times. Directly in front, as you enter is the seating area with tables, chairs and sofas. To the left and behind is the cafe area and directly left is the multi story soft play area.

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I counted the main play area as three large stories high, but in places each level was semi split also, making it huge! There are three different slides coming down at different levels and different designs. There are numerous activities inside, balls to play on, bouncy climb ons, climbing ropes, a football area and tubes to climb through.

Adults are allowed into the play gyms with the little ones. Chris had the pleasure today. He bumped into another man right at the top and secretly I think they enjoyed it just as much,if not more than the kids!

Food

Inside Monkey Bizness you find the Amazonian Cafe. Although the food is nothing to rave about. It is adequate and caters for a variety of palettes. Hot when it arrives and fresh to taste. It’s a lot better than some soft play places I have eaten in. Another great off peak deal is if you spend at least £4.00 on an adult meal, you can have a child’s meal for £1.50 saving about £2.50 on the average child price, bargain!

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In General, the place is really clean, the floors are tidy, the soft play areas are not Sticky. The toilets are clean and fresh. I have to say Monkey Bizness is one of my favourites. Service with a smile, clean and tidy and vast area for the little ones to tire themselves out in! Highly recommended by us!

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Bump Watch: Tiny Tuppen #2 Week 19

bump-watch-19

Running Late with Bump watch again! Is this the start of pregnancy misorganisation? Quite possible! I knew I was going to be busy over the last couple of days and with all good intentions I was going to draft my post. However, I forgot, oops, baby brain! Am I allowed to say that before baby arrives?

Today, Chris and I actually had a rare toddler free day, we are both off work and Finlay was in Nursery. So we went for a lovely romantic stroll down the forest. It rained. We found a creepy blair witch style twig house to huddle in, it was kinda cute. We then went for a tapas style Thai Lunch, then back home for feet up and a movie snuggled on the sofa. These days are so rare, I just couldnt open my laptop. However come this evening, I was so excited to see I was selected for Farmers wife & Mummys Favourite from #maternityMondays linky last week. That means a lot to me especially as my blog is relatively new, so a big thank you.

Week 19

I was19-weeks in torment this week, as I really wanted to document my growing bump on Bump Watch. However I am terribly camera shy, I hate my picture taken and usually hate every picture ever taken off me. After about 20 change of clothes and I cant even remember how many shots, I found a picture I was semi happy with. I am not a selfie kinda girl, no one said taking a self was so difficult! Anyway, we have a 19 week shot, hello from bump!

I think I was saying last week how small I felt, can we erase that please. I feel I have doubled in size this last week. Even my team colleague at work said how she hadnt noticed my bump before, but this week she could really see it!! Eek,I hope this isnt asign of things to come, I am only small. I dont think I am ging to fit in my normal clothes much longer either, Maternity shopping is a must on my to do list!

I think I am carrying this one differently too, I was looking back at old picture when I was pregnant with Finlay. I was so much neater, bigger, but neater. This bump just seems to overtake my whole tummy!

I have been experiencing back ache quite a bit this week, I think this has been down to long drives and traffic congestion. The Southern rail tarin strike is effecting everything. Its not been that bad, but I think I really need to keep an eye on my posture at my desk, to prevent it getting worse.

I still havent felt movement this week, Im not too worried as I have obviously grown. I thought I may have felt something Friday Morning, Milo our cat wandered in our room while we were sleeping. He layed across my tummy as I slept on my side. He woke me doing so as he has the loudest purr and as he has been so ill, he is allowed to disturb me. Anyway there he was purring across my tummy and I am sure I felt two little nudges, Perhaps its the start and I will begin feling more movement this coming week.

Apart from all this, I feel in very good health. It has been so different from my last pregnancy. There is no sign of any bleeding which is great and no sign of any other nasty things I suffered with. I feel a bit more energized this week and my appertite has gone overboard. I havent had any crazy cravings, but Chocolate has become a good friend…..I write this and think perhaps theres a link between my blossoming tummy haha! I also devoured a box of picked green chilli peppers, but I love them anyway so not a craving.

I still havent got anything organised. I havent really thought about maternity leave, sorting baby clothes, telling HR, stocking up. I think it still doesnt feel that real. Last time everything was about the baby, but this time its still about that baby, but he now a toddler and so much more demanding, everything else takes a backseat!

Finally, it’s only a week until our 20 Week scan, how has that come round so quickly? I thought I had ages to decide if I wanted to find out the sex, but I am still undecided. Everyone has different opinions as it seems I do too. Chisn’tisnt really bothered either way. He would be happy to find out, but If I dont want to, then he will happily wait. I really don’t know. Did you find out?

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#MySundayPhoto – Bathtime Fun

Bathtime Fun#MySundayPhoto – Bathtime Fun

Bathtime will always guarantee smiles in this house. I was scrolling from some of my pictures over the last few months and this one made my heart smile. I won’t lie, parenting Finlay over the last few months has been such a struggle. He is so headstrong and independent and has really started pushing the boundaries. Every day is a power struggle filled with tantrums, screaming, hitting and spitting. The slightest thing will set him off most of the time, but I know I need to remain strong and consistent, and hopefully this phase will pass sooner rather than later. Still, it doesn’t stop me questioning if I am a bad parent!

The smiles, laughter and love are what get us through, and in between the monster that erupts, we have the sweetest,funniest little boy. Finlay loves bathtime and it will always guarantee half hour of fun and laughter. I captured this photo a little while back unexpectedly. I think sometimes the unexpected pictures make the best ones. Finlay loves to smile for the camera, but his smile pose is very cheesy. I love how this picture is so natural, his smile, his eyes. This picture is pure happiness and fun. It makes my heart smile and reminds me, the hard moments are just that, moments.

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