Month: May 2017

Win a Lamaze Summer Bundle!

Lamaze is one of my all time favourite toy brands. Finlay had a range of Lamaze toys when he was a baby and Emmie is following in his footsteps. I was very excited when I was asked to collaborate with them to bring you this fabulous competition.

All TOMY toys are cleverly designed to develop children’s core skills through play.  Manufactured to the highest standards, this collection of reliable toys continues to be a family favourite, building on the heritage and core values, which parents associate with TOMY.

I’ve teamed up with Lamaze and TOMY to offer five lucky mums-to-be three items from its Clip n Go range, perfect for on the go fun. The prize includes My Friend Emily, Pupsqueak and the Tug and Play Knot.

win a lamaze summer Bundle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily can’t wait to meet your little one and be a first best friend. From her crinkly hat down to her soft velvet feet, Emily has so many wonderful patterns and textures to encourage touch. Baby’s first pet friend, Lamaze’s

Baby’s first pet friend, Lamaze’s Pupsqueak, is multi-sensory fun to explore. Soft to touch and cuddly, with lovely bright colours, baby will love to look at all of the contrasting patterns on his paws and ears, perfect for encouraging eye development and tracking.

Designed with development in mind, the Lamaze Tug and Play Knot is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, pull and tug to build coordination and strength. Baby can explore lots of bright colours, fun sounds and different textures to stimulate all the senses. The vibrant knot includes a baby-safe mirror that helps teach self recognition and offers fun peek-a-boo play. Discover surprise crinkles, jingle sounds, and a squeaker to help stimulate baby’s auditory development.

For your chance to win Comment on this blog post AND fill in the Rafflecoptor widget below

 

 If you were one of my lucky winners, who would you be giving a bundle too?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions
1.Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Southern Mummy blog, Lamaze or Tomy.
2.The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
3.The prize draw starts at 12am on 01st June 2017 and closes at 12am on 21st June 2017.
4.Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Southern Mummy on Facebook, following @Southern_mummy on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, following @lamazetoys on Twitter, visiting LamazeUK on Facebook, Following @TOMYToysUK on Twitter, following tomy.toy.uk on Facebook and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
5.The names of the winners will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
6.Southern Mummy Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
7.By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
8.Southern Mummy Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
9.Once the five winners have been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Lamaze of the winners’ names and addresses and they will then send on the prizes. Southern Mummy is not responsible for any prizes getting lost in the post or arriving late.

For more information on TOMY please visit www.tomy.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/tomy.toy.uk or follow on @TomyToysUK.

 

How to save money on your weekly food shop: Approved Food Review

How to save on your weekly food shop: Approved Food review

As a mum who works part time, I am always looking for ways that I can save money. Especially as I had my hours cut late last year at work and now I’m also on Maternity leave. Every saving helps. A big spender for most families is the weekly food shop. I have recently switch supermarkets which saves us a hefty amount each month. However, I was still keen to see if there were ways I could save further.

This is how I came across Approved Food – an online retailer where you save up to 70% on the RRP of selected items. Approved food specialise in food that is past its best before date (but not past their use by date) and surplus stock.

As a nation, we throw away food on a daily basis, simply because it is past its best before date, some of which may only be 1 day over. Most people presume that once a food has passed its best before date, it’s out of date and unsafe to eat. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Best before dates are about quality, not safety. After this date food may begin to slowly loose flavour and texture (see NHS guidelines)….that’s it! So there really are some bargains to be had and great opportunities to save money buying these goods.

Our latest order

I have recently started shopping with Approved Food and I wanted to share with you some of the fantastic savings I have made. I still do my main shop at our local supermarket for our fresh goods, but I stock up on store cupboard essential, pet foods and treats from Approved Food. Due to the nature of the retailer, you can’t guarantee what’s in stock. However, I have never been disappointed with what’s on offer. A recent favourite bargain was 160 Yorkshire teabags for 50p!

Nairns Gluten Free Cheese Oatcakes 135 g £0.50 2 £1.00
Santa Maria Pulled Pork Dinner Kit 405g £0.99 2 £1.98
School Of Wok Jeremy Pangs 15 Minute Singamore Noodle Kit £0.99 2 £1.98
Rowntrees Minis 20 Pack 300g £1.49 1 £1.49
Synergy Health Synergy Health Assure Antibacterial Hand Mousse 50ml £0.17 3 £0.51
Sharwoods Chow Mein Stir Fry Sauce 195g £0.50 2 £1.00
Bonners Finest Kung Po Chilli Stir Fry Sauce 200g £0.50 2 £1.00
Bonners Finest Massaman Curry Paste 200g £0.39 1 £0.39
Vets Kitchen Salmon Cat Food 110g £0.50 4 £2.00
Old El Paso Mexican Street Market Soft Taco Kit Smoky Chicken Tinga 395g £0.99 2 £1.98
Old El Paso Sizzling Fajita Kit Smoky BBQ 500g £1.49 1 £1.49
Nature Valley Protein Peanut and Chocolate 40g £0.33 6 £1.98
Santa Maria Santa Maria Enchilada Kit 460g £0.99 1 £0.99
Kinder Chocolate 21g £0.13 8 £1.04
Coca Cola 330ml £0.17 12 £2.04
MEGA DEAL Ferrero Raffaello 40g £0.10 2 £0.20
Don Mario Penne 500g £0.50 2 £1.00
Napolina Whole Wheat Linguine 500g £0.50 2 £1.00
Kelloggs Coco Pops 550g £1.99 1 £1.99
Kelloggs Corn Flakes Honey and Nuts 375g £0.89 1 £0.89
Kelloggs All Bran Original 750g £0.99 1 £0.99
Ribena Winter Spice 850ml £0.99 1 £0.99
Applaws Chicken Topped With Tomato In Jelly 12 x 70g £3.99 1 £3.99
Gourmet Fishermans Delights With White Fish 85g £0.33 3 £0.99
Sub Total
£32.82
Shipping £5.99
TOTAL £38.81

 

The full RRP this shop would have cost me £89.50 but I paid only £32.82 at Approved Food, that’s a 63% Saving!

With this order I did find a slight error, I had orginally ordered 3 anti bacterial hand gels, but only 2 arrived. This seemed silly to compain about as the offer was 3 for 50p. I then found I had 2 fajhita kits when I only ordered 1, so swings and round abouts! This has never happened before so I will put it down to a one off. I have actually heard great things about their customer service, but is something I can’t comment on personally.

Delivery is £5.99 for one 25kg box or £8.50 for two 25kg boxes. This can push the amount your spending up, and you have to have a minimum basket value of £20.00. However, there are often delivery code coupons floating about. I have secured both free and half price delivery (Currently at the time of print code APFDHALF will get you half price delivery on orders over £40). I find my order usually arrives promptly a few days after placing it. However, you can easily track your package and you are kept up to date with its progress through emails.

I love that with Approved Food I can stock up my storecupboard with a range of items at such discount prices. Items are updated every day, throughout the day.  You can even grab yourself some Mega Deals (items placed on a special offer for a limited time). You can even grab some bargain items for as little as 1p. I love Shopping at Approved Food and I hope you will too!

What are you waiting for? Head over to Approved food and start saving money on your weekly shop today!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. I found approved Food while I was researching how to cut cost and supplement my income. Approved Food was in no way involved with this post. All views are solely from my own personal shopping experience with them.

Family Fever

Today I am……2-Months Old

 

today I am 2-months

Well technically Emmie is almost 3 months old now, but I am catching up on the backlog. Without further ado, welcome to Emmies Today I am series. First up: Today I am 2-months old. You can read about Emmies first month in our ‘Welcome to the world’ post.

2-Months old

The first 4 weeks passed in a bit of a blur, in fact, I don’t know where the last 4 weeks have gone either. I looked at Emmie the other day and I couldn’t believe how big she was. Where did my scrawny little newborn go?

Emmie 2-months

Emmie has become more aware of her surrounding over these last few weeks and I love how much she adores her big brother. As soon as she hears him, she looks about everywhere until she sees him and then stares and smiles. Finlay has still not shown any jealousy towards having a sibling and I just love him for that. He is, however, being slightly more naughty than usual, but I think he is adapting to sharing mummy and daddy and it’s his way of getting attention.

Emmie had her HV check and she weighed in at 9lb 2oz. I was really pleased as it meant she is consistently gaining weight and following the 25th centile, in fact, she’s 25th centile for head and length too. It doesn’t surprise me she is on the smaller end of the scale, I’m quite teeny myself and was scrawny bean as a child so I think she takes after me!

Emmie also had her 6 week check. Nothing out of the ordinary to report, she is one healthy bubba. Although Emmie was born with a gap in her bottom gum. It doesn’t bother her, nor does it affect her latch but I was worried it might affect her teeth eventually. The doctor said it looked normal and was nothing to worry about. I think I might have to keep an eye on this one, possibly get a second opinion as I haven’t heard of any other baby missing a portion of gum before.

Feeding is going well, but I am constantly worried I am not producing enough milk for her. I don’t think this is the case as she appears to be growing well. She feeds every 2 hours or so, I think she likes to take smaller more frequent feeds. It’s quite tiring. Hopefully soon, she will start going longer between feeds.

Sleep wise, we have made a lot of progress since last month. After refusing to sleep in her basket, slowly I began to introduce small daytime sleeps. This has moved on to her now having all her naps in her basket including all through the night, Yipee!! She is also an awesome sleeper (atm and touch wood). I give her a feed about 10.30/11pm and she will go through to 4am, have a feed and then sleep until 7am.

Character wise, she is a sweetheart. So content and so happy, She will give everyone the biggest smile, she very rarely cries (apart from the od colicy bout still about 7pm but shes usually asleep by 8pm now). She has discovered cooing, although not often at the moment. However, when she does, it is the cutest sound!

Physically, her head and neck control are amazing, she is always lifting her head up to have a good nose around. Obviously, takes after my mum! She has plenty of ‘Tummy Time’ as I worry she will develop Flat head syndrome after Finlay’s ordeal as a baby. However so far so good, she has a perfectly round bonce! She has also just discovered her hands and will sit and stare at them for ages.

I have noticed her eyes are turning darker, so she will definitely follow in her brother’s footsteps for eye colour. Her hair is still very dark. It’s very much fluffy baby hair though, so we will see over the next few months if it changes. I dont think there’s much else to report this month, she is still very tiny and spends most of her time eating and sleeping. Its alright for some! Overall Emmie has slotted in perfectly to our little family. There was obviously an Emmie shaped hole waiting to be filled by her all along.

Mudpie Fridays
Real Mum Reviews

 

The Greatest Loss of All

The loss of Milo cat

Love can come in many forms, sometimes it instantaneous, sometimes it creeps up on us without us knowing. There’s the love we feel for our friends, our family and that unexplainable, unconditional love when we becoming parents. Sometimes we love things, sometimes we love places, memories, smells and taste. Love is one of the greatest gifts we have been given as humans, but losing love, I believe is the greatest loss of anything, whatever form it came in.

For me, my first great love was that of my cat Milo. I was 21 when he came into my life a gangly, not so little, ginger kitten. Instantly I fell in love, a deep meaningful love. For all intense purposes, he was my baby, my fur baby. He was all I could ever ask for in a cat. Loving, gentle, docile. He was a doofus, but my gorgeous doofus and it made me love him even more. I never had a close friend, someone to confide in. Milo became my confidant, my shoulder to cry on over the years. His devotion to me never faltered. Not even when my little baby Fin arrived and my attention was elsewhere.

In October I blogged about how I almost lost him to Heart Failure caused by undiagnosed hyperthyroidism. Our Vet, Andrew was amazing and with his help, we were able to give Milo some borrowed time. How much was unknown, but I was grateful for any. Over the months Milo had his ups and downs, but I had always been able to nurse him on his off days, to encourage him to eat when he was feeling a bit down. To pay back the love and devotion he had unconditionally given to me.

Andrew had spoken to us about the end to prepare us, but I never understood how I would know the time was right. Although there were a few occasions where I had questioned if it was time, it never seemed to be. I worried I was missing something. However, in April, Milo took a turn for the worse again. This time I knew, I looked into his eyes and something was missing, I knew this time he wasn’t coming. Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, but it was time for him to take his final journey and for me to experience the greatest loss I have ever experienced. That day a little part of me also died.

Milo was such a big part of my Life and I am so grateful I got to spend a few more months with him. It still doesn’t seem real, I keep expecting him to walk through the door at any time. I have cried a million tears and I am crying as I write this. The house seems so odd with him not here. I felt relief when we his ashes were back, he was home again. I haven’t yet had the courage to do anything with them, in time I will, but for now just having him back is enough. Milo was never a wanderer, it would not feel right to scatter him, he loved being at home with us so that’s where he will stay, for now, his ashes in our home, his pawprints in my heart.

RIP my dear old boy, I’m sorry it had to end so soon.pet loss

Mummy in a Tutu
Twin Mummy and Daddy

 

 

Welcome to the World…..

.Welcome to the World

 

My last Pregnancy update was way back in November when I was 22 weeks pregnant. I didnt write anymore after this as my anxiety took hold and I took a break from my blog. After what felt like the quickest pregnancy known to humanity, I would like to welcome our newest addition to the world (better late than never), Emmeline Isabelle.

Emmeline arrived on the 06th March, one day past her due date via induction due to Gestational Diabeties. She weighed in at 8lb 1oz after a rather quick labour. I will update with her birth story later, but it was an amazing experience led by an amazing midwife. We had decided not to find out her gender and it was such a wonderful suprise as they held her up to discover we had a little girl. Although a boy would have been just as precious, I had really hoped for a little girl. To be honest, I was so convinced I was carrying another boy that even now I don’t think it has sunk in and I have to keep checking!

The First Month

Emmeline slotted into our family perfectly. Finlay adores his little sister even though he was desperate for a brother. He is always ready to help change her and comfort her when she cries, it really is very sweet to watch. So far there is no hint of jealousy. I am  not that naievethough that I don’t expect it to happen at some point.

Chris gets fours weeks paternity leave fully paid!

The first couple of weeks were quite tough, but when isn’t it with a newborn. I was breastfeeding and recovering from a 2nd degree tear which was extremely uncomfortable. However, we have been immensley lucky, Chris gets fours weeks paternity leave fully paid, a new policy brought in this year.

A few days after coming home, Emmeline was not gaining weight as she should have been, in fact she had lost 10 – 11% of her birth weight and droped to below 7lb. Although it was not enough to be re-admitted, she would be monitored daily. In addition to weight loss, she decided after passing her meconium she was too much of a lady to go to number two. Her weight flucutated between small gains and small losses and remained relatively static.

 

Welcome to the World - Month 1

The midwives all agreed the problem was a milk supply issue, although I was producing enough to sustain her after her initial loss, I wasnt producing enough for her to grow again and flourish.

In herself she was fine, alert, hydrated and generally quite happy. I was put on a plan of 2 hourly feeds, expressing then feeding. It was hoped that this would increase my supply and she would begin gaining and goin to the toilet. I also saw the Breastfeeding specialist who really helped show me how to get Emmeline to Latch correctly. After 15/16 days it finally worked and her weight began to increase and finally after 9 days of no poo – we had the biggest explosion I have ever seen!

Character wise, Emmeline could not be any different to Fin. She is so content and happy, its unbeliavble. Now, I’m not saying she doesnt cry but its short lived and less ear piercing. She is just generally a very relaxed baby at the moment. She does however need more cuddles than Fin did, like all day but I can’t complain about that. Unfortunatley this mean she will not sleep in her moses basket….AT ALL, so we have had to take up co-sleeping. Although not my ideal choice, I  followed all the guidance to minimise any risk to get some much needed rest.

This month we also began to see some early smiles at around week 3. They definatley were not wind induced smiles. They happened when she was being interacted with and she would look you right in the eyes and smile. Big Nanny, Aunty and I were all blessed to recieve these early smiles. She is very alert and very strong. She has good muscle conrol in her neck, already lifting her head up and having a nose when ever she gets an oppotunity.

There’s not really more to add, the first few weeks are all about feeding, sleeping and growing. I still can’t belive we have a little girl,  – Welcome to the world my darling, Emmeline Isabelle.

I’ve been a Gone Girl!

It’s been a while since my post. Actually 5 months and 26 days ago to be precise. Wow, that is embarrassing. I hadn’t actually realised it was that long. I have been gone far too long!

 life was throwing me Lemons too right, but I was drowning in lemonade!

I would like to take this opportunity to explain myself for my rather abrupt hiatus. Having left, with no explanation why I abanded a blog I had so much enjoyed building.

I’m an anxiety sufferer and that’s the reason. Life just got a bit too much, I buried my head in the sand (I should have been an ostritch!). It started with a few little things, christmas was coming, our team was understaffed at work, my fur baby was poorly (which financially was crippling), I was pregnant, the icing on the cake was being diagnosed with Gestational Diabeties. You know they say if life throws you lemons, make lemonade? Well, life was throwing me Lemons too right, but I was drowning in lemonade!

I only thought about what I needed to think about. If I dwelled too much, my mind filled with negativity, especially regarding the diabeties. I couldn’t think much about anything, so writing a blog post was impossible, I had no thoughts, no ideas. I couldn’t even add to my unfinished drafts. Then the longer I hadn’t posted the more of an issue it became, so I ignored the blog too! To be honest I wasn’t finding enjoyment in many things. I was just plodding along.

I know this probDoing Nothing - Goneably seems like a poor way to deal with things, but for me it works. As pooh states ‘don’t under estimate the value of doing nothing’, nothing for me is definitely a healer. Although I would never advocate ignoring things to anyone. I would say if your mind and body says you need a break, listen to it!

I’m sure if anyone I know reads this, it may come as a surprise how anxious I am and how much it affects me. I have learned nearly every trick in the book to look and act like there’s nothing wrong. I smile, I laugh, I do my hair and make-up (well that can be questionable to some, I try haha). Hiding my anxiety and insecurities from everyone, even Chris most of the time. Why? I do it to fit in, it’s easier, it’s better to act normal than to have to explain something that is so hard for someone else to understand unless they have been through it themselves. The days I can’t act, I hide.To be honest I stopped venturing out, meeting people, staying inside the security and familiarity of my four walls.

I’m happy to say that right now, I’m feeling positive! Things have got better. I am forcing myself back into life. There will be ups and there will be downs, and unknowns, but I know one thing for sure, anxiety will not beat me.  2016 for me, decided to be extra cruel but I’m hoping 2017 will be a lot nicer. I have decided (to try very hard) not to dwell on the things I cannot control and just try to enjoy what I have. I am back now, revamped and ready to kick some blogging butt!

(singing Kelly Clarksons: Since you’ve been gone!)

Mudpie Fridays