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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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Review: Pink Lining Bramley Tote Bag

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 03-09-2014

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I am addicted to bags. Since having my first son this addiction shifted slightly to include changing bags, and looking at the changing bag market whilst I was pregnant with my second son I saw things had come a long way. Changing bags no longer looked like changing bags. They looked like handbags. This excited me greatly. Now I did spoil myself somewhat after Little Dude’s dramatic arrival and bought myself a rather pricey changing bag which is just gorgeous. Prior to that however I arranged with Pink Lining to test drive one of their famous Bramley Totes.

Pink Lining has been a hugely popular changing bag brand for a very long time. Their “Yummy Mummy” bags must be one of the most instantly recognisable bags on the market, but if I’m truly honest they never really appealed to me. I wanted something a little more subtle from my changing bag, and something a bit less obviously a changing bag. When I fell pregnant with Little Dude I was rather excited at the chance to get a new changing bag, generally ignoring my husbands protestations that we had several in the loft and was I crazy. The bags in the loft were not going to suffice – I had two children now. I needed to carry all those baby essentials around with me – nappies, wipes, bibs, muslins, bottles, milk cartons, spare clothes… – as well as any bits and pieces my eldest might need – sonic screwdrivers, pine cones, interestingly shaped leaves, sticks for daddy… – and occasionally maybe even things for me – purse, keys, phone, headache pills…! You get the idea. There is a veritable mountain of stuff. I needed a much bigger bag.

Bramley Tote bags are very much similar to a TARDIS – yes, I live with a three year old Doctor Who obsessive. It rubs off. Its HUGE on the inside and stores so much more than you might expect. I get insane amounts of stuff in there, and more often than not to the point where lifting it becomes tricky. But that is not a problem thanks to the nifty straps. They attach to the bag with a clip at either end, and you can attach and detach them easily. You can attach them to use the bag as a shoulder bag or, when it gets a little heavy or for pure convenience,  to fasten the bag onto your pushchair. Switching between the two is quick and easy and it is my favourite feature of the bag.

Being a Tote bag it is not technically a changing bag, so it doesn’t come with anything like a changing mat or an insulated space for bottles which you see in most changing bags. This isn’t a major issue for me as I tend not to use included changing mats when I’m out and about as everywhere I go tends to have a dedicated changing area with no need for a separate mat. In the past week I’ve just loaded up my Designer Change Mat from Munchkin and chucked that in my bag. This fits easily, and still allows plenty of room for the boys’ bits and pieces, as well as my own. There’s even space for small bits of shopping.

I’ve used this bag now for about a month. I’ve used it most days when I go out with the boys, whether that be to the shops, the park, the garden centre, or to visit Nana and Pops. I’ve also used it when I’ve nipped to the shops without either child, effectively using it as a handbag. The design which I went for was the Cream Bows On Navy print. Its a truly beautiful bag and one that works fine with or without the children. In fact the only giveaway that it might be intended for use with small children in the distinctive bright pink lining. I’m sure fans of Pink Lining spot that a mile away.

I love my Pink Lining bag, and at £60 I think its very reasonably priced for something so classy, so well sized and so gorgeous!

Review: Tomy TFV600 Digital Video Monitor

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 29-08-2014

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Little Dude is 15 weeks old – can you believe it? Weeks are flying by at the moment. We’re getting him into something of a routine though, like with all second children I imagine, he does have to work around his older brother. In the last week we’ve managed to get him to go to sleep at around 8pm each night in his crib in our bedroom, meaning we get a couple of hours child free each evening. Admittedly we spend most of this time tidying the kitchen, washing bottles, and preparing feeds for the next day, but hey – its progress. Being able to keep an eye on him whilst he’s upstairs is essential for me. When Little Man was this age we lived in a flat to we could easily pop down the hall to see him, and made do with a simple sound monitor. Now we’re living in a house I think a video monitor is much more necessary, so I was rather excited when the team at Tomy got in touch, offering me one of their video monitors to review.
We were sent a TFV600 digital video monitor to review. Here’s all the technical data, courtesy of the Tomy website:
• Frequency Hopping – to minimise interference ensuring crystal clear sound and privacy
• 250m Range – for flexible monitoring
• Night Vision – to clearly see baby in the dark
• Remote Controlled Nightlight with Adjustable Brightness – so there’s no need to disturb baby using the main light in the nursery
• Remote Controlled Lullabies – to settle baby back to sleep
• Independent Nightlight and Lullaby Function – for extended use after monitoring
• Two Way Talkback – so parents can reassure baby from afar
• 2.4” LCD Backlit Screen on Parent Unit – for increased visibility during the night
• Parent Unit Temperature Display – monitors the ambient temperature in the nursery
• Sound Level Light Display – stay alert to baby’s needs even with volumes off
• Sound Activation Mode – ideal for when your baby is that little older and it’s not necessary to hear her every sound
• Rechargeable Parent Unit – no hassle with batteries
• Battery Level Indicator, Low Battery & Out of Range Alarm – for extra reassurance
• Belt Clip – for day to day hands free convenience
• Pager – helps locate parent unit if misplaced

As you can see it has an impressive array of features. The monitor is incredibly easy to set up – you plug in the camera unit and turn it on. You turn on the parent unit – this can be charged or sit plugged in if you’re not moving around – and the image appears pretty instantly. The camera can be adjusted to point in a variety of directions and is fairly flexible. Due to the set up of our bedroom and the position of Little Dude’s crib we had to lie the camera on its side tilting downwards over the edge of a chest of drawers to be able to see him, but this hasn’t affected the imagery at all. We have been very impressed with the image quality, whether during the day or at night. As you can see here, its very easy to see Little Dude who is sleeping beautifully.

Do all babies sleep holding their heads on I wonder?

As you can see the day time image is much clearer than the night time image, but you can see him clearly enough to establish if he’s awake or not. In fact more often than not if he wakes up in the evening before we go to be he turns his face and looks directly at the camera so its VERY obvious he’s awake, and I’m pretty sure if he could wave at me he would.

I am very impressed with this monitor. The parent unit is neat and easy to use, and the belt clip allows it to be carried around conveniently. There is also a stand that folds out from this clip so you can prop it up on the table – as you can see in the first image. I like how the room temperature is displayed on the screen at the same time. We’ve used the zooming function on this unit, as well as adjusting the brightness of the display. The camera unit is great as well – a compact item that offers truly clear footage of your baby whilst they sleep. The microphone on the camera unit is pretty sensitive and we can quite often pick up the sound of Little Man shuffling around in his bed next door, and more frequently the sound of planes flying over the house – the perils of living on the Gatwick flight path! We haven’t used the talking function to soothe Little Dude when he wakes as yet, but I’m sure this will be utilised more as he gets older.

Retailing at £99.99 I think this is a fair price for this piece of equipment. A monitor is something you use for a very long time – we probably only stopped using one with Little Man around the time he turned 3 – so its a good investment for something we’ll use for that long. As he gets older the need for the video monitoring will be less, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching him sleep for a long time yet.

Review: Shnuggle Moses Basket

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 04-08-2014

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A good bedtime routine is, for me, one of the most important things for a baby. I think that if you start with a routine as early in life as you can, you’ll be getting a good nights sleep much sooner than those who don’t. Little Man began with a bedtime routine after a few months and it has served us well. Naps and bedtime have always been relatively easy to maintain – of course there’s been the odd incident – and even now at almost 4 he lives by his routine. As well as a good routine having a safe place to sleep is just as important, if not more so. As parents – and as part of this great blogging community – we are all far too aware of the horrors of SIDS and cot death. Making sure we put our babies, toddlers and children somewhere as safe as we can make it to sleep is vital.

It is recommended that baby sleeps in your bedroom from day one up until they are six months old. With Little Man we had the family moses basket – a large wicker item that had been used for numerous babies over the years, yours truly included. When we fell pregnant with Little Dude we decided we wouldn’t be using it again – its not the smallest of contraptions, and being wicker its not the quietest either. We heard every movement he made during the night, and the basket used to creak with the slightest twitch. So much so that Little Man actually went into his own bedroom at four months so that we could all get some sleep!

So we set off on our quest to find the perfect sleeping environment for Little Dude. We wanted something long – Little Man had been a very tall baby, and part of our reason for moving him into his own room was the simple fact that he outgrew his basket. We wanted something that was going to hopefully last us the full six months, giving us the option to keep him in with us for as long as possible. We wanted him to have his own space – co-sleeping has never appealed to us, so we didn’t want anything that allowed Little Dude to wriggle his way over and into our bed. We wanted something washable – would we have a dribbly baby? Would we have a sickly baby? Would nappies be leaking nightly? We needed something where we could clean the structure and not just the bedding. We wanted something affordable. Every moses basket we looked at just wasn’t right, and mostly because of the length. If we had another long baby he’d have grown out of it far too soon and we’d need to buy something else. Something we were keen to avoid. In the end we ended up buying a crib for at home – a simple wooden crib which fits neatly at the side of our bed but also is suitably longer than the average moses basket. Fingers crossed we get plenty more months use from it yet.

Soon after we’d bought the crib I was contacted by the team at Shnuggle. They were looking for pregnant bloggers to review a choice of items – either their new bath or their existing moses basket. Baths I had plenty of – Little Dude already has two so a third seemed excessive. Their moses basket wasn’t one that we’d found in our endless searching and comparing so we took a look at the website and checked out the all important size. “10% larger than other moses baskets” was something we were pleased to read. Comparing dimensions to the baskets we’d already looked out we found this was the case – it was just that extra bit longer, and whilst it was a few centimetres shorter than the crib we’d purchased we thought it would make an excellent spare moses basket to keep at Nana and Pops’ house for day time naps and overnight visits. We were also excited by the claim that it was “almost silent” when baby was inside – something our previous moses basket certainly couldn’t offer. Soon after we received the rather gorgeous Sky Blue Shnuggle basket and folding stand to test out with our new arrival.

It was a few weeks after Little Dude’s arrival until we finally got the chance to test it properly. When he was six weeks old he and I relocated to Nana and Pops’ house for a week whilst some building work was done on our new playroom. Lots of builders, lots of mess and potentially lots of noise are not the best things when you have a newborn, so for five nights Little Dude got to sleep in his new Shnuggle basket. I can confirm that this basket IS “almost silent” and you don’t get the creaking typical with other moses baskets. The moulded and well ventilated “basket” itself IS easy to clean and any extraneous fluids can be wiped up simply and quickly. However it would seem that we had yet another giant baby. Even at just six weeks old Little Dude was beginning to look a bit too tall for this basket, and now at eleven weeks he’s almost filled it. Now this is by no means a criticism of the Shnuggle basket – this would have happened with any other moses basket and more than likely far sooner. Truth be told he’s looking a little to cosy in his crib as well. Sadly I can’t see him lasting the full six months in our bedroom, and we may find him departing sooner than his older brother if he keeps growing at this rate.

Moses baskets and cribs are, on the whole, one of those necessary but short lived baby items. Unless you have space in your bedroom for a full sized cot or cot bed you have to buy one, and for us, the Shnuggle basket is probably the best you’re going to get. It ticked an awful lot of our boxes, and width wise its great – there’s still plenty room in that respect. But unfortunately whilst I continue to grow giant babies the moses basket or crib is just something that will be used for a ridiculously short period of time.

Sex After Childbirth

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby | Posted on 01-08-2014

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This post was originally published on the Yahoo Contributor Network in March 2012. The network has now been closed so I’ve moved this, my arguably most popular post on the network, to my blog. I’d love to know your thoughts.

“In her latest book, The Contented Mother’s Guide, Gina Ford is back providing parenting advice from her wealth of knowledge, in addition to comments from real mums to support her claims. The wisdom which has received the the most attention has been her thoughts on sex after child birth.

Ford states that new mums should make themselves available for sex as soon as four weeks after giving birth, whether we enjoy it or not, to make sure our partners still feel loved. I agree that there can be a wedge driven between couples upon the arrival of their bundle of joy, but that’s about all I agree with when it comes to this ‘expert’s’ latest advice.

My first, and main, complaint about Gina Ford is that she has no children of her own and, most crucially in this case, has never experienced child birth herself. Labour and birth is an amazing experience, but for a lot of women it is far from pleasant. I was in labour for four (extremely long) days before I welcomed my gorgeous son into the world, and this only happened thanks to an episiotomy and some forceps and a ventouse. The episiotomy resulted in several stitches which needed care and attention for weeks to come, and required a supply of high strength pain killers for the first fortnight after labour.

Needless to say sex wasn’t high on my ‘to do’ list following what was basically minor surgery on that area. I can’t recall how long it was until we had sex after child birth, but I remember any instances for the first eight months or so being painful and uncomfortable, as was the use of sanitary protection.

Newborns are exhausting. The first fortnight does go past in a sleep deprived haze and I can’t really remember much of it. It’s a fog of dirty nappies, a screaming baby and breastfeeding. Occasionally I got five minutes to myself to go to the toilet or if I was really lucky, to go eat. After two weeks you get used to the idea that you’re not going to get a full nights sleep again for a long time. But you have this gorgeous and amazing bundle of joy so that doesn’t matter – mostly!

For most mums things start to get better. You acclimatise. You adapt. You just get on with things, because if you don’t do it, nobody else will. After two weeks dad generally goes back to work and you’re out there on your own. You are exhausted. Do you want sex? You haven’t slept properly since your child was born. You are generally scared that if you do have sex you’ll get pregnant and have to do the whole scary first fortnight again and at this point you couldn’t cope. So no, you don’t.

New mums are scared. We are already under this huge pressure to be perfect mums. We’ve done all the classes, we’ve read all the information leaflets and maybe even the odd book. The baby has arrived and we’ve made it home from the hospital and now it’s just us. We need to do the mountain of washing this small bundle creates, we need to keep the baby alive, we need to worry about whether or not we can breastfeed and the guilt associated with that, we need to make sure we eat as well. We need to do 101 things and we have no time, because every time the baby cries we drop everything.

New mums do not need the added pressure of someone telling them to make themselves available for sex so your partner still feels loved. I never worried that my partner didn’t feel loved because we were a family now, and if he was having problems we could talk about it. I was not about to throw myself at him and, to be brutal, endure sex just so he felt loved. To be honest he probably would have told me to go away because he was exhausted too. He was up during the night too. He did feeds too.

I know a few mums who have read one of Gina Ford’s books and parts of it have genuinely worked for them. Nap times were never a problem, and their child slept for twelve hours from about eight weeks old. For the rest of us it was very irritating, I can tell you. But it was never for me. I accepted advice from midwives, health visitors, doctors and other parents. Basically, from anyone who had ever had a child of their own, because unless you’ve been there yourself, you can never really know.”

New Baby Gifts: Sew Lomax Muslins

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-07-2014

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When Little Man was born almost four years ago there was this huge influx of gifts from family and friends. Money, clothes, toys, blankets and items to cherish forever. With Little Dude’s arrival there was – thankfully – considerably less. Clothes get grown out before you can blink, toys aren’t something we are short of thanks to four years of buying for Little Man, and blankets haven’t been necessary with this immense heatwave we’re living through. Money is gratefully received and put into savings for him, and we’ve had the odd item which will adorn his bedroom for years to come. What the baby gift market seems to be lacking in for me is functional gifts which are also beautiful. Something you can use that also looks great. Something like the new muslins from SewLomax.

Muslin cloths are a serious must have for all parents. With Little Man we opted for piles of plain white ones, whilst with Little Dude we have stacks of them in every colour of the rainbow. They have so many uses and you’ll find them scattered throughout the house. The most popular use for them in our house is when we’re feeding Little Dude. As a baby with colic and a bit of reflux feeding time can be rather messy. More often then not his epic burps are followed by small deposits of milk, and if you’re really unlucky a burp is followed by large amounts of the bottle you’ve just fed him. Needless to say muslins are always to hand at feeding time.

SewLomax muslins come in two sizes. The traditional small squares and the larger size which are a fabulous 100cm square. The team at SewLomax sent Little Dude a pack of their large blue muslins to test out recently and we’ve loved finding uses for them. First of all though I must tell you how gorgeous they are. They are made from 100% cotton and each pack features 3 patterned muslins in either blue, green or pink. One features an all over dummy print, another features an all over safety pin print, and the third is plain except for a large safety pin print in one corner. I love the patterns which make them stand out from the plain muslins, but also look classy enough for them to be a great new baby gift.

sewlomax muslin cloths sussexmummy

Being so large makes these muslins super versatile. They have been ideal for swaddling Little Dude in this heatwave. He loves to be cuddled and wrapped up but we are keen to avoid him overheating. Being wrapped in one of these makes him feel secure without getting him too hot. Similarly they have made a great lightweight blanket during the hot weather, and have been ideal for use in the car. Of course they have also been used for the inevitable messy feeding times, as well as wiping up seemingly endless dribbles from his mouth. A – thankfully – brief cold meant lots of nose wiping so the muslin became a giant soft tissue for him as well. The bright contrasting colours make them lovely for Little Dude to look at and he can sometimes be found with one held tight in his little hands when he’s napping. Peekaboo is a fun game to play behind one of them too, and sometimes I lie him down on one on top of his play mat in case of dribbles or phantom milk deposits. It also occurs to me that these larger muslins would make a great discreet breastfeeding cover up – sadly no breastfeeding for us – and could also be used on a cold changing mat to make it a little more comfortable for baby.

At £26 for a pack of three these cloths are of course more expensive than your usual plain muslins. The quality is great however and I adore the cute patterns. They wash really well which is essential with muslins – my washing line is permanently adorned with bright coloured cloths – and have a seemingly endless list of uses. The muslins come in a stylish branded box and for me they would make a brilliant new baby or baby shower gift. The range of colours – blue, green or pink – means you can easily find one depending on whether you know what gender you are buying for or not. Smaller muslins are also available – £12.50 for 3 at 50cm square – as well as other items with similar patterns on. I think a gift set of SewLomax baby items would make a gorgeous present for any new parent.

You can find the complete SewLomax Baby Range here, and you’ll find them on Twitter @SewLomax.

Review: Almondella Baby Box

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-06-2014

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I’ve reviewed a few beauty monthly subscription boxes on here and been a big fan of the concept, as well as the contents. The arrival of Little Dude has given me the opportunity to test out a new kind of monthly subscription box – the baby box.

I was recently sent a brand new Almondella box to test out. Almondella originates from Finland where new mothers get a box of products when their babies are born – something which I must say appeals to me!  – which includes clothing, washable nappies, bedding, towels and other care products. You might recall that Prince George received a box from the Finnish government when he was born. The empty boxes are even used as a bed for baby, which certainly saves on buying moses baskets. Almondella decided to give people to get their own taster of this box by providing a monthly box which fits in with the age of your baby, starting from when they are in your tummy right through until they are 3 years old. If you become a subscriber you get a preview of the contents each month and so get the option to skip a box if you wish to.

We were sent a “Newborn Box” to review, which contained items for Little Dude and for me. Our box contained a Lifefactory Glass Bottle for feeding, a packet of Imsevimse Washable Breast Pads, some Love Boo Bosom Buddy breast firming cream, a pair of Moi Leggings and a Darling Clementine Note card.

almondella subscription box contents

This box is clearly geared up for those early days of seemingly endless feeding, and even comes with a leaflet about bonding with your baby through breastfeeding. Now unfortunately for me, despite my best intentions, a slightly traumatic birth and subsequent problems have meant that breastfeeding was pretty unsuccessful from day 2. Little Dude enjoyed about a 36 hours of being purely breastfed and that’s brilliant for me, considering the chaos that ensued. Despite this I think this box and its contents are pretty cool.

I love the colourful breast pads – who says they have to be plain and white – and I’m sure these would have been great fun to use given the chance. The breast firming cream smells really fresh and absorbs nice and quickly which is crucial for any kind of beauty regime nowadays. I adore the leggings which are a great gender neutral grey shade with a distinct black bird pattern across them. These are sized 0-6 months so we should get plenty wear from them, even if a bit of rolling up the legs is required at the start! Personally the idea of a glass feeding bottle is a bit scary – I do tend to drop things pretty regularly – but the silicone sleeve on this bottle will provide a degree of protection. Being made of glass also makes the bottle more dishwasher friendly without the danger of picking up strong odours and colours which often occurs with plastic bottles. Finally the note card is probably the vaguest part of this box, though I guess it would make a cute Thank You card for those baby gifts that you receive.

The Almondella boxes start from 45 Euro a month for a 12 month subscription – that’s just over £36 at today’s exchange rates – with the price increasing slightly per box for a shorter subscription. Trial boxes are also available from 30 Euro and one off gift boxes are 59 Euro. Now according to the enclosed leaflet the contents of my box retails at 85 Euro (just under £70) making the 45 Euro price tag seem a pretty decent saving. Whilst I wouldn’t personally pay £70 for the contents of my box, I think £36 would be fairly reasonable, especially when its being delivered and sent internationally. All the products are of a great quality and they are all something that little bit different that you probably wouldn’t find in stores. Almondella boxes gives you a great insight into baby brands and products from across Europe and for me that’s another interesting feature.

Almondella subscription boxes are available from their website. You can also find them on Twitter @Almondella

Review: Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Product Reviews | Posted on 15-04-2014

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Discussions about pregnancy always seem to talk about how amazing it is, and how its a gift, and how lucky we are, and how wonderful it is. Yes, being pregnant is an amazing gift and a privilege that not all women get to experience. And I am lucky to have gotten pregnant twice in my life and I am SO looking forward to Little Dude making his big entrance in the next few weeks. I’m 35 weeks pregnant this week and whilst its hardly been plain sailing – borderline cholestasis, actual anemia, two infections, potentially breech baby, two trips to labour ward so far… – I appreciate how lucky I am. What people rarely talk about however is how uncomfortable pregnancy is!

Feeling those first flutterings is amazing, and as the pregnancy continues they turn into definite movements, and towards the end they turn into fairly brutal jabs where it feels like baby is trying to make and early exit by any means possible. Sitting down is fairly comfy as long as baby is asleep and not beating you up. Lying down is just insane however. You’re encouraged to sleep on your left when pregnant which is fine. If I lie on my back I get cramp in my legs and end up in a beached whale scenario, much to my husbands amusement. However whichever side I lie on makes baby drift that way too, and just this morning I woke up with what I believe was a foot making a beeline for my hip. And then there’s my legs. Whatever I seem to do with them I end up with one dead leg. So all in all not much sleep is happening, and hasn’t been for a while. Whilst I appreciate the comments “Well its all good training for when baby arrives and you won’t get any sleep then…” its not wholly helpful when I have a three year old to look after and I can’t spend the day in bed.

I’ve tried a multitude of pillows in bed to make my life a bit easier and sleep a bit more likely. Wedges, more normal pillows, full length body pillows, you name it, I’ve tried it. I even evicted Daddy from the bed – mainly because there was no room with all the excess pillows… – but sleep was still evading me. I turned to the internet for help, as I often do, and found the Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillow. The pillow is designed to encourage sleeping on your left, and to prevent you rolling onto your back. It has long pillow at the front as you lie on it that supports your bump and curves between your legs to ensure your hips are comfortable and to reduce the likelihood of waking with a dead leg. There’s a section of fabric that you lie on, and then a smaller pillow which rest in the small of your back. This provides support and effectively holds you in place so you are less likely to roll over. If you do want to roll onto your right hand side however you can, and you simply use the small pillow as a bump support and the curved larger pillow will still sit comfortably between your legs.

DreamGenii Pregnancy Pillow SussexMummy

The team at Dreamgenii were kind enough to send me one of the pillows to review. It was more compact than I was expecting which was great as it meant Daddy didn’t have to sleep on the air bed down the hall, and it didn’t feel like I was being swamped with pillows and supports. The best way I can describe the feeling of sleeping with the pillow is like being hugged. I was comfortably held by the pillow, my legs were supported but relaxed, my lower back was held, and my bump was in a position that meant I wasn’t capsizing. The first night of using it was one of the best nights sleep I’d had all pregnancy. I used it every night for a few days, and then spent a few nights not using it just to compare. Since then I’ve used it most nights. During particularly warm nights it can be a bit overwhelming using the pillow too as I find myself getting even warmer than usual. Pregnant women tend to run somewhat warmer than everyone else, and if I’m too hot I do sometimes remove the pillow altogether, or I just use the longer part between my legs and keep the rest out the way. Its really versatile that way, and one of the many reasons I love it and wouldn’t be without it.

What I didn’t realise until the pillow arrived was that you can use it after baby arrives too, as a feeding support pillow. The longer pillow sits round your back supporting you, and the fabric that connects the two pillows is there to hold baby. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding baby will be in the optimum position, and held there and supported by you and the smaller pillow. Now obviously I haven’t had chance to test this out just yet, but I love the idea of being able to use the pillow after pregnancy as well as during.

Dreamgenii Pregnancy Pillows retail at £45.99 with spare covers available too starting from £9.99. You can also purchase a Dreamgenii Lite Travel Pillow which is just two small pillows and the connecting fabric for £19.50.

Preparing For Baby: Bedtime

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby | Posted on 04-03-2014

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Since finding out at our 20 week scan back in early January that we’re having another boy we’ve been full throttle buying bits and pieces that we need and transforming what was our office/dumping ground into a nursery. Little Dude will be spending his first six months in a bedside crib in our room, but we’ve got his bed sorted in his own room too, as well as a chair for those night feeds and drawers and shelves full of things.

We were big fans of swaddling with Little Man. He slept really well wrapped up securely in giant muslin cloths and cellular blankets, and its one thing that we said we’d definitely repeat with Little Dude. This time around however we are going to be testing out Gro-Swaddles from The Gro Company. Gro-Swaddles make the act of swaddling even easier. The swaddles are shaped cotton jersey wraps. There are no buttons, ties or velcro patches involved, they are simply just wrapped comfortably and securely around your baby, obviously without being too tight or restrictive. The swaddles are suitable for use up to the age of 3 months (or around 14lb/6.5kg) and can be used to recreate the feeling of being in the womb which your baby will be used to when they are born. The Gro Company sent us three swaddles to test out and I bought a couple more at the recent Baby Show at Excel as I am already in love with them. They look and feed so comfortable and cosy and I’m sure Little Dude will be happy to snuggle into them when he sleeps.

Gro Egg Gro Swaddles Egg Shells Sussex Mummy Gro CompanyAnother product we are testing out for The Gro Company is their famous Gro-Egg Room Thermometer. The Gro-Egg works as a room thermometer so you can keep and eye on the temperature and ensure your baby is appropriately dressed at nighttime. Monitoring the room temperature is very important for newborns especially, but you always want to ensure that your baby doesn’t overheat or get too cold. What I love about the Gro-Egg is that it glows a different colour depending on the temperature. For example, if the room is too cold it glows blue. If its too hot it glows red. This means that with a simple glance you can establish whether you need to act, and it means that you can eliminate the need to think – something I don’t do well at 3am! The gentle glow also acts as a subtle nightlight. During a recent shopping trip we have bought an Egg Shell for our Gro-Egg – a super cute cover which sits on the top of the egg and makes it look like a monkey. Little Man was very keen to help choose this and preferred this design to the others two on offer – an owl and a penguin.

As well as these review products we also have Gro-Bags that we used with Little Man washed and ready for when Little Dude outgrows his swaddles. We are big fans of The Gro Company and have always been thrilled with any products we’ve bought or received to review for them in the past, and I’m sure the Gro-Swaddles and Gro-Eggs will be no exception.

Preparing For Baby: Breastfeeding

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Pregnancy, Preparing For Baby | Posted on 30-01-2014

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I’m now 24 weeks pregnant. Can you believe it? We found out at the start of this year that we’re having another little boy. Admittedly I did want a little girl – I’m sure all mums do – but I’m really excited to meet my new Little Dude in May, and we’re having a lot of fun getting things ready for him. Having a boy already, and being organised enough to keep a lot of things “Just in case…” our shopping list isn’t too long this time around. There’s a few new bits and pieces we want, but we’ve been lucky enough to dig out a lot of good stuff that we kept, and we’ve been sent a few key items for review. Obviously I can’t review any of them properly yet, but I can preview them now and do a proper review once we’ve used them in May.

I am hoping to breastfeed with Little Dude. Things didn’t entirely go to plan with Little Man – the fact that my breasts didn’t grow at all during pregnancy should have been my first indicator – and we struggled with a poor milk supply, a very hungry baby and a small appendicitis incident rather early on. We combination fed Little Man from day 3 and whilst I’m not going to get stressed if we end up doing that again with Little Dude, I am determined to give breastfeeding a go. Little Man was purely formula fed from 15 days old – I was a little busy in hospital having my appendix out at this point – so I hope to achieve at least two weeks breastfeeding with Little Dude, and any more than that will be a bonus.

We have a couple of bits of kit ready for breastfeeding. The main thing I was thrilled to find tucked away in the loft was my Tommee Tippee Electric Breast Pump. We bought this 10 days after Little Man was born after wrestling with a manual pump for a week. I wanted to try and encourage my milk flow and make it that Daddy could do some feeds. That’s really important to me – and to Daddy – again this time. I want Daddy to do some feeds during the week, especially when he goes back to work, so he has that important bonding time with his new son. Hopefully he’ll be feeding expressed breast milk – my breasts have certainly grown this time so fingers crossed – but if its formula so be it. I only got to use this pump for four days before being rushed down to A&E so I didn’t really get much experience using it, but I’m optimistic I’ll get to test it out properly this time.

cantaloop tank top tommee tippee breast pump sussex mummy

Something we’ve been sent to review for both during my remaining pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding is a Tank Top from Cantaloop. I have great plans to wear this top later in the spring when it gets a bit warmer, and then certainly during the last few weeks of my pregnancy and hopefully throughout a warm summer, but I did try it on when it arrived just to make sure I’d chosen the right size. The top has a built in bra for support, and adjustable straps to ensure the correct fit. Comfort is essential during pregnancy. The top fits really well and there is plenty of room around my bump for growth, as well as a bit more space in the cups for any extra growing my breasts do. The top has super easy clips that unfasten so make breastfeeding easy and discreet and overall it is very comfortable so far. I can see this being my go to outfit for most of the summer!

What other things do YOU think I need to make my breastfeeding experience easier? I’m considering a scarf or cover of some kind. What would you recommend?

Review: Original Toe Stretchers

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in New Year New You, Pregnancy, Product Reviews | Posted on 14-01-2014

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I know lots of you have started 2014 with a resolution to get fit. There’s been lots of people jogging on my Twitter feed, going to fitness classes and generally working out. Working out is not something I do. Ever. And now I’m pregnant again, it’s not the time to start. But with all the exercising that you’re doing, how many of you are exercising your toes? No, I’m not crazy. Did you know that exercising your feet can help improve posture, restore that natural spring in your step, and also correct and help a host of problems like sciatica, varicose veins and bunions? I hurt my back several years ago and it got that little bit worse when I was pregnant with Little Man. Back pain happened much sooner in this pregnancy so I’ve been on the hunt for something to help ease it as medication is pretty much a no no. Bump bands are helping support my growing tummy and easing the pressure on my back but when I was recently offered a set of “Toe Stretchers” with the promise it would help I thought I’d give them a go.

Toe Stretchers Sussex Mummy
I tweeted a photo of these when they arrived and received several “What on EARTH are those…?” replies. Once you see them in use though they make a lot more sense. The easiest way to put them on is in the bath. Getting them wet makes them stretch over your toes, and after the initial – and perfectly normal – feeling of stretching, they sit in place. As you can see I tested them out in the bath and was surprised how pleasantly comfortable they felt.

Toe Stretchers In Bath Pedi Sussex Mummy

There was no discomfort at all, and the initial stretch was a brief sensation but in no way painful. Now of course you can wear them out of the bath, when you’re sat in front of the TV in the evenings or when you’re at your desk at work. For me though they are a great addition to my relaxing in the bath, and I have noticed an improvement in my back pain.

These Toe Stretchers come in one size which fit from a size 4 right up to a large size 12. They are currently available from JD Harris for £14.95 a pair and come with a lifetime money back guarantee which is pretty awesome.