Monday, 31 March 2014

Billy Smart’s Circus is visiting the Midlands

For me Circus is a reflection of your childhood. As long as I remember myself my mum took me almost every year to see different shows. I don't remember what I liked or disliked about circus as a child, but if you ask me now I will say I don't like clowns and certain animals involved in shows.
Couple of days ago I was contacted by a representative of Billy Smart's Circus with an offer to visit their show in exchange for a review, as you can imagine I couldn't say "No" as the show is in Midlands (close to where I live) and I don't recall when was the last time I have been to a circus.

"The BillySmart's Circus UK tour is brimming with a dazzling combination of theatre, music and dance. Our amazing international artistes bring you a sensational mix of acrobatics, comedy, juggling, illusion and aerial feats. There are no animals and quality and innovation are at the top of the agenda for this sensational company of performers".

I quickly picked the day and off we went to see the show. Out of 4 of us (myself, husband and in laws) I was the only one who had an idea of what to expect from the show as I had a sneaky peek of a show on the website.

It took us around 30 minutes to get to Warwick Racecource and you can't get lost as you can see the circus dome lit up from a far. When we arrived a lovely staff member showed us where to park and where we can find a box office. Box office itself was a lit up trailer with a big Smart's sign.

I don't know about others but I was wowed by the entrance into the dome with dressed up staff, sweet carts, pictures from the had a Moulen Rogue feel to it or maybe just something French.. 

As we arrived few minutes before the show started we had some time to look around and to buy raffle tickets- the winner gets one of the cute teddies. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pictures during the show, but if you would like to Circus charges £1 for a camera ticket, which allows you to take pictures, no recordings are allowed though.

This year's artistes include:

The FLYING ACES from Australia - five exciting youngsters on the flying trapeze (We liked them a lot)

The ASADULLIN TROUPE from Russia bring their spectacular Springboard and Russian Bar acts to the UK for the first time (They were quite good as well, but not as good as X-treme brothers or the Flying aces)

The X-TREME BROTHERS, a trio of handsome and talented acrobats from Romania are sure to be a talking point of the show (Wow, wow, wow)

Italian clown JONNY BOGINO brings his whimsical comedy style to the UK audiences for the first time (I'm not a big fan of clowns but I did giggle I little)

Argentinian bolas drumming from GABRIEL CARMONA and partner liven up the proceedings together with the foot juggling skills of GERMAINE DELBOSQ from France (This is for us was the least interesting part of the show, especially we were very appalled to see Germaine wearing a thong, as the show is not just for adults but for kids as well I don't think this outfit is appropriate, but I'm sure men enjoyed the view though)

Caroline, she is the envy of a generation of school children as she swings, plunges and twists with panache and elegance high above the circus ring 

A LIVE BAND, the only one in a British touring Circus, complements the action

Overall, we enjoyed the show and I would certainly recommend to see it, look out for X-treme brothers, The Flying aces and lovely Caroline!

In the end of the show we were given vouchers, which allow us to see the next show in Wolverhampton or Haydock Park Racecourse for a half price. if any of you are interested I am happy to post these vouchers by 1st class post or alternatively you can purchase tickets here.
Disclaimer: I was sent 4 complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinion are my own. Description of the show and few pictures were taken from Billy Smart's Circus website.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Baby Slings & Carriers Wish List

This week it's all about Baby slings (as I think they are more comfortable not just to carry newborn but for breastfeeding as that's what I'm planning to do) and Baby carriers (my budget this week is up to £30)

1.  theBabaSling Lite Carrier - Turquoise (Kiddicare- £29.99, Mothercare- £29.99)
The Peanut Shell Adjustable baby sling- $49.99*

3.  The Peanut Shell Classicbaby sling- $29.99*

4.  Liberty Reversable Cotton Pouch Sling- £27.95

* Please note, this is a USA company, according to their website "The Peanut Shell will contact you via email to notify you of any shipment delays, if we need additional identification for credit verification, or for any other reason that may impact shipment of your order". 

1.  Mothercare Two Position Baby Carrier- £24.99

2.  Chicco Go Baby Carrier 2 position carrier (Kiddicare- £14.99)

3.  Max Viz Baby Carrier 2 position carrier (Tippitoes- £8.49)
4.  Baby Carrier 2 position carrier (Tippitoes£22.99)

Disclaimer: I have a written consent from all brands mentioned to use above pictures.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pregnancy update 27 weeks

Visible changes in my body: still no weight gain, and my smallish bump is there, but others still can't see it :-(

Other: today I have an appointment with cardiologist, everything seems ok so far except from my blood pressure jumping a bit, so hopefully will see him next in 6 or 12 months.

How do I feel: started to have horrible pains in my bum area (only on one side)- when I'm sitting down, standing up, trying to move my leg when sitting down and sometimes when walking.

Cravings: still none

Fitness: The same routine- walking every day for max. 25 minutes and swimming once a week

Baby: At 27weeks her nostrils have opened and her lungs are now capable of breathing. Her central nervous system can now control her breathing too. This week,  baby weighs almost 2 pounds (about the size of a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. 

Any recommendations what to do with my pain?

Monday, 24 March 2014

My fitness routine during pregnancy

I can't call myself a healthy eater if fit, but I certainly try to do my best.
I have tried numerous diets, tablets, milk shakes, some of them helped me to shift weight the others were a waste of my time, health and money. My main motivations always were men (unfortunately) or clothes.

I always accepted myself the way I am up until I met someone or went shopping with girls and managed to fit in 1 outfit out of 8 I had in my changing room (maybe that's why I hate shopping).
I used to go to gyms, I even had few different personal fitness instructors, one was paying attention or chatting to others more than me and second one was too handsome (but I managed to start concentrating on my exercise routine than him) and maybe clueless, as I blame him for putting on muscle weight and not loosing weight.

Few years ago we bought a treadmill, which I think to date is the best fitness investment we have made. We placed it under the stairs so that we can always remind ourselves what we need to do some exercising. I have started using it well before being pregnant and continue using it at the moment- instead of running I am now walking on a treadmill every day for at least 20-25 minutes. I'm not on a diet, but after my sickly 1st trimester loosing few pounds motivated me to stay fit throughout pregnancy and to try and gain only baby weight.
I thought that treadmill every day is not enough, every weekend we drive to the park to have a long walk there and once a week we go swimming.

I don't remember if I ever was motivated that much, the fact that I want to be healthy& fit for myself and baby is the best motivation I could think of.
Plus I guess the fact that I didn't have any cravings helped as well :-)

I thoroughly enjoy my new way of life (even though I know it will change when little L comes to the world) and would recommend it to any pregnant lady or her partner.

If you don't have a fitness companion you can try to find one via Friend Finder on C& G Baby Club website.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Travel Systems Wish List/ Baby Registry

I decided to start a new feature on my blog "Wish list/ Baby Registry", where I will post what kind of items I would like to have for my Little L, we didn't buy anything yet so this will help me to narrow down what we actually need to buy.

I would like to start with Travel section and our first feature- Travel Systems (budget up to £350)

1. Hauck Apollo All in One Pram and Pushchair travel System
2. Hauck Colt All in One Pram and Pushchair travel System
3. Hauck Malibu All in One Pram and Pushchair travel System
4. iCanBee Nectar All in One Travel System (can be purchased in Kiddicare)

                5.  Zoom Trio Package from Mamas& Papas
        6.  Mothercare Xpedior 4 Wheel Pram & Pushchair Travel System
        7.  Concord Neo Mobility Set (£349.99 beige set in Kiddicare)
        8.  Cosatto Giggle 3-in-1 Combi Pushchair (£275 in Kiddicare)
When I was drafting the wish list I didn't realise that it will be so difficult to pick just 1 travel system from a huge variety, I have missed a few (which I really like) due to them being slightly more expensive (e.g. Silver Cross, Babyzen Yoyo, Baby style Oyster, Chicco etc).

Disclaimer: I have a written consent from all brands mentioned to use above pictures.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mother & daughter relationship

My mum was always the main person in my life..She looked after our family, tried the best
she could to raise polite, educated, well-mannered kids, I think she did a great job!
Throughout all these years relationship between us had their ups and downs. When I was small I was always kissing her and telling how much I love her.
During teenage years I tried to be open with her, every day after school I was telling her everything about my day and schoolmates, later this backfired when we had arguments, which meant that I couldn't share things with her and caused me to have little secrets from my mum.

Closer to 18-19 years old when everyone started to go out more, started seeing boys, I wasn't allowed to do that, and when my mum found out I have a boyfriend she was against him, against our relationship. As you can imagine it played it's role on our further relationship- I started hiding more things, started saying what she wanted to hear which was most of the time a lie.
I was always told what to do and what not to, she was always strict, which forced me to find support in other relatives and us to never have relationship as friends.

Looking back at our relationship I'm scared that I could do exactly the same mistakes. I really hope that I will be able to build something much better with my daughter.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Pregnancy through my husband's eyes

I'm sure most of you heard the saying " Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus"?! Well, I think that's true in a way..

My husband and I are very similar character wise, we sometimes think about the same things, say exactly the same things out loud (which still surprises me every time it happens). But when it comes to pregnancy I'm convinced he doesn't even know half of things which are going on with me and my body. I suppose it is my fault as well as we need to talk through about things like that.

Pregnancy announcement- when I told him that I'm pregnant he said- "Great". I wanted a little bit more from him, but he was just so calm about it, fair enough as we planned it.
Walking- when we do shopping it's normally very quick as we know what and where to buy cheaper. I have to remind him every time that I'm pregnant and that we need to slow down and I can't walk fast now. 
Heavy lifting- this is work in progress, he thinks it is fine and nothing is going to happen if I carry/hold a heavy bag or move heavy stuff around house, but I try to educate my dear husband that it is actually not a good idea.
Baby movements- every time I put his hand onto my bump to feel baby move he says "can't feel anything, my arm hurts now" or "it's more important you feel it". 

I'm not trying to say that he is bad or not helping, it's just always funny when I have to remind him that I can't do some things now as I used to and funny how manly he can be.

Was/Is it different in your household?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Antenatal classes dilemma


On my 25th week appointment with the midwife I was told that in our area they are no NHS antenatal classes as such, the only training or support they give is with breastfeeding and it will be 1-1 session.
It's been a week since my appointment and I still feeling very disappointed and let down in a way. If you follow my blog for a while you know how unhappy I am with rare (in my opinion) appointments with midwives and that it makes me feel neglected. Perfect example of neglect is my booking appointment.

I have learnt more from books, internet, other mums (to-be) than from local community. And the fact that due to cuts midwives can't give me enough support and provide appropriate care is appalling.

I'm not so bothered really about breastfeeding and early days with baby as I know my instincts will kick in, as much as I am bothered about labour as I need reassurance and all valuable advice from a professional.

Lovely mum-bloggers directed me towards Mumsnet and Netmums websites, where I could find antenatal classes in my area. I came across NCT, Laizy Daisy and Your birth and babies etc etc.

In the past 6 months I have heard a lot about NCT classes, however I have heard more about people making friends rather than what you can gain advice and support wise. I do appreciate that everyone have different opinion about classes and want different things from them, but I'm more determined to learn new things than to meet new people. I'm not afraid to be alone, I already found lots of support online and 100% sure that when we start going to children centres we will find friends.
When I enquired with NCT they could only offer classes in a town 6 miles away as all classes in my town were booked. The cost of the course is £201 per couple, including one years membership with NCT; £161 with no membership plus you can have 1-1 classes where 1 hours costs £57 (they recommend that 2 hours is enough, but there is no agenda), a discount can be applied if your income is less than £26K. But even with discounts the price is the highest I have ever seen for courses.

Lazy Daisy offers weekly antenatal classes for women only (£54) classes are a combination of yoga-like movement, active birth education and self-hypnosis/relaxation; and couple workshop (£75, which is discounted to £60 if you book women only classes) 4 hour session. The couples workshop goes through everything from the women only classes but you don't practice exercises on the day they will be just showed to you. It is a slightly cheaper option, but I'm not really into yoga and hypnotherapy, a couple workshop sounds like a better option, but still not sure that it is worth £75.

I have also found Bounty webinar which suppose to have online antenatal classes, in reality it consisted of 2 minute videos with mums discussing labour.

In the end I managed to find classes which are not quite local (24 miles) but they offer exactly what I'm interested in (labour, birth, pain management) and for the right price- the first workshop option is free of charge and follow up workshops are £10 each (in total £30), which is brilliant!

Finally, I'm stress free! Hope that my post will help if you are having dilemma with antenatal classes.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Envie de Fraises Maternity nightdress review

I'm sure most of us started watching new season of One Born Every Minute, I'm obsessed with it, but this time for a different reason. I watch it not just for the sake of knowing how the labour goes, what might happen, but also to have a rough idea about what to wear during my hospital stay and baby birth.
In my everyday life or every- night life to be precise (I don't know if it's acceptable or normal in wife's code) I wear a t-shirt with a jumper and trackies as I feel the need to be warm during my sleep rather than be all dressed up for my husband and being cold. Don't take me wrong, I do have fancy night outfits, but I just think when it comes to real life they are not very practical.

Anyway for my (for our) special moment- child birth I decided to look the best I can (pampered and dressed appropriately).

Lovely Enviede Fraises representative have sent me a Maternity nightdress (£34.49) to review, which I hopefully will be wearing during labour and after. 

Enviede Fraises founded by Anne-Laure Constanza in 2006, it is the French leading fashion brand for moms-to-be. The brand has been worn by hundreds of thousands of pregnant women since its launch. Envie de Fraises team of stylists and designers has poured its passion and talent into developing maternity clothing that meets the needs and expectations of future moms.

The nightdress itself  looks exactly like on a picture and definitely suits me. It is quite stretchy and I have a little bit of space to grow due to not so big bump, hopefully I will be able to wear (fit in) it in the next 3 months. It's not just a pretty nightdress it is useful as well as I can use it when breastfeeding our baby. 

As a recommendation I would suggest to expand the variety of sizes or maybe even to consider plus size option. I'm sure some mums would agree we would like not just to browse website, but also be able to order Envie de Fraises's lovely items.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the above nightdress for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinion are my own. All pictures taken from Envie de Fraises website.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Pregnancy update 25 weeks

Visible changes in my body: upper part of the bump is sticking out more, didn't put any weight since my sickly first trimester

Other: had my 25th weeks midwife appointment where they were very concerned over my high blood pressure, after I visited hospital twice they didn't confirm it could be pre-eclamsia so told me to enjoy my pregnancy! I was also told that they are no NHS antenatal classes in my area, that they will only talk through about breastfeeding on one on one session, which is extremely disappointing as a first-timer I have no clue what to expect from labour.

How do I feel: all the headaches and sickness are gone (touch wood); feeling tired quicker, had a 4 hours walk on a weekend after which my back was killing me 

Cravings: still none

Fitness: Walking almost every day for max. 25 minutes and swimming once a week

Baby: At 25weeks Head to heels, baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — 1 1/2 pounds. Our baby can still turn somersaults but it won’t be long until there’s not enough room in there! They will be able to hear loud noises which may cause them to jump, and you may notice extra kicks when you’re in the bath or shower too. 
While your baby is in the womb, their temperature is maintained by the placenta, but by this week they will begin to develop fat which will help regulate their temperature once they are born.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Pregnancy+ app review

When we shared with our close friends and relatives about my pregnancy I have been told that there are all sorts of phone apps which we can download to be up to date with the development of our baby.

As far as I remember I have tried at least 6 different ones, I have kept 1 of them, which still remains in my phone and I check it from time to time.

Couple of weeks ago Health& Parenting introduced me to the new app called “Pregnancy+”. It is a free app (available on the App Store for Ipad, Iphone, Ipod touch) for the first 13 weeks and then you can upgrade it for £1.99.

Key features of Pregnancy + include:
Interactive, full size, high quality images for every week of the pregnancy along with size guides so you can experience the weight and length of your baby week by week
Unique user interface that can be personalised easily
Daily tips and actions including what to eat, how much to eat and what to stay away from, to keep the growing baby safe and healthy
Timeline of important medical appointments including ultrasounds, gender scan and tests that should be scheduled
Organizer to keep track of important doctor visits, to-dos, phone numbers, shopping lists, hospital bag necessities and more than 2,000 baby names to choose from
Kick counter to enable moms to track their baby’s movements, and a contraction counter for when the big day arrives.

Today sections offers you a quick and up to date information about duration of your pregnancy, baby's development, daily Health & Parenting blog posts, appointments, task and much more

I have synced my appointment with my phone calendar and had my first reminder on time.

Play section plays 3d full size image of a baby with information about weight and length.

Fascinating to watch, amazing addition to the app.
Baby section keeps you up to date with Health & Parenting blog; weekly detailed information about baby, your body, health & tips and even information for partners and kick counter.

I may not be too keen on checking daily blog updates, but I certainly check weekly baby development 

Me section includes guides to food, labour, exercise and medical related information, weight tracker, images of growing belly (where you can upload yours to a relevant month), birth plan, appointments (which you can sync with you phone calendar), to do list.

I always have my diary handy where I record my appointment, weight gain, but may not always have it on me, therefore think it is very useful to have everything in one app.

In More section you can pick your baby's name, check what you need to have in hospital bag and what's left to buy, as well as you can save important telephone numbers, count contractions and change app settings.

Baby names have all sorts of name variations (e.g. Canadian. French top 500 names), in case if not planning to have typical English name or born in a different country and want to keep traditions within family; hospital bag is something I was very impressed with as now i definitely know what I need to buy, to put in the bag not only for myself or baby but for my husband as well.

To be honest with you at first I thought that this app is no different to others, but I warmed up to it as I saw lots of useful sections.

Recommendation- Play section is an amazing addition to the app, but you can't fast forward or replay specific sections, the only option is to pause it and if you missed your week you have to go again. That is something which I feel needs improving.

The Pregnancy + App is available free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch or follow the link.

Disclaimer: I have been offered to review the app, Health & Parenting reimbursed me for the full version of the app. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Pictures were used from H&P website and from the app itself.

The post in written in collaboration with guest poster- my other half.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The MADs Blog Award 2014

Dear ladies and gents,

I would like to thank you all for voting for me in The MAD Blog Awards 2014 categories!

As far as I'm aware there would be only few finalists and I would love to make it to the final! But I can't do it without your help, dear bloggers!

If you like reading my blog please consider voting for us here.

Thank you so much!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Online Socialising for parents

When I visited England as a tourist everything seemed different I had work, friends, family I could come back to. Well I still can come back to my native country, but now here in the UK is my new life with it's ups and downs.

Since I moved to England things have changed- first few months I was missing what I had in my previous life, I had to start everything from scratch, get used to different culture, with help of my dear husband I felt move comfortable living abroad.
Now I'm at a different stage of my life, I'm going to be a mum soon..I have millions of questions, concerns or sometimes just require a simple mum (to-be) chit- chat.

I'm not alone, there are lots of other mums/dads or mum (dad)-to-be out there who are trying to find someone to talk to, someone who live close to them due to them being lonely or new to the area, one of the places where they can find support or chat could be online community for parents (mums and dads).

Who knew that my daily socialising routine would be via Internet (C&G Community in particular). That I will chat with people who live in different parts of the UK, that I would be able to find online buddies due pretty much at the same time or living not far from my town.

If you wold like to find like-minded people, share your concerns, help someone else with their dilemma or share your amazing moments please join in C&G Community!