The Wild West at Frosts – Woburn Sands

Do you fancy trying a meal at the new and improved Pizza Express Midsummer Arcade? Head over to my FB page for your chance to win a £25 Voucher kindly donated by Pizza Express to one of my readers to spend in their Midsummer Arcade restaurant! (Closing date of 07.06.17 so hurry, hurry!).

Half Pint & Squishee hit the desert sands for a slightly different take on sandy summer fun

34 WEEKS PREGNANT: THE STRUGGLES, THE TEARS AND THAT BEAUTIFUL BONDING SCAN WITH HUMPTY BUMPTY

I can’t believe I am writing this and I am 34 weeks pregnant. Of course I know I’m pregnant but it felt like only yesterday I was 20 weeks pregnant and looking to the ‘future’ of having another baby. It now feels like that future is here and reality now is that our second child could be joining us in only a matter of a few weeks.

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This pregnancy has been hard on me, more so than my first, both emotionally and physically. Last week or so I’ve been extremely emotional and tearful. Maybe that’s because I have a toddler who takes up all my time and energy (I’m exhausted), maybe because I had a cesarean section with my first and it’s caused excruciating pains (adhesion of scar tissue that joined tissues that shouldn’t normally be connected) maybe it’s because of the pregnancy complications that are hanging over our heads once again or maybe it’s just the massive hormone surges that happen when you’re pregnant…

PREGNANCY UPDATE AND WHY MONDAY CAN’T COME FAST ENOUGH

So I thought I’d update you with what’s been happening with my pregnancy since my last post. Last thing I shared was right after I had spent the evening in A&E after bleeding began with me being about 6 weeks pregnant. All tests came back that I was still pregnant and after a physical examination the Doctor assured me that they could not see a miscarriage happening. I still needed a scan and further blood tests at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit but left A&E with two different follow up appointments.

The A&E visit had happened on the Bank Holiday Sunday and when I woke up on Tuesday, the EPAU at Milton Keynes General Hospital were on the phone asking me to come in that morning for a scan. My first thought was “Argh! Why are they calling me in earlier than my prearranged appointment?” which slowly turned to relief that I would be having a scan and hopefully answers and confirmations that the pregnancy was progressing normally sooner rather than later.

I collected Mr LouBou from work and made our way to MKGH (thanks to fab Grandparents who took our little boy for us). Once arrived and settled we saw a midwife who took all my details, like general health, my pregnancy dates and background on my first pregnancy. I then went back to the waiting room and drank lots of water until I was called into the Ultrasound room. I had forgotten how much water you have to drink before a scan and it brought back a lot of memories of my first pregnancy.

I didn’t realise until I was laying on the couch with the ultrasound on my tummy how scared I actually was and how much this was all affecting me. The midwife took a long time looking around and had to keep reassuring and apologising that she had to be thorough before she could conclude anything. I couldn’t see the screen and even if I had, I am sure I wouldn’t know what to look for at this early stage.

Anyway, after the agonisingly long scan (that resulted in having to turn into an internal ultrasound) we had results. I think the way the midwife tried to explain to them to us was that it wasn’t positive and it wasn’t negative, they were just results.

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My ultrasound showing gestational sac and yolk (circa 6 weeks pregnant)

In the scan they found a gestational sac and yolk but they couldn’t find the foetal pole or it could’ve been that they just couldn’t see it or it was too early in the pregnancy to see it. Bearing in mind that at this stage of pregnancy, things change so fast and in a matter of days things can look a lot different than what they do today.

So the midwife explained that another scan in two weeks was necessary to ensure the baby was found and developing the way it should be. So the scan news was neither good nor bad, just lots of patience required for the following two weeks with hope for concrete good news at the end of it.

Less than twenty four hours after the scan I started to bleed again. Again the surge of upset and stressed feelings was instant. I was kicking myself and trying to find a reason for it when there was none. The hospital assured me that as it started and stopped again soon after, that there was nothing to do but wait and be calm, the scan is just around the corner.

I then went seven whole days with no incidents. Fantastic. I finally started to relax a little and thought that was the end of that. Then today the bleeding started again, first when I woke up and again tonight. There’s still no reason to think the worst and I have been told from the EPAU midwives to take it easy and hang tight for the scan on Monday, but seriously Monday cannot come fast enough for me now.

So that’s where I am today. I may only be approaching 8 weeks (ish who knows for sure yet) into a pregnancy but already it’s filling me with enough drama to make the Eastenders writers jealous. I hope for Monday to come quickly and for good news to be shared. I really do hope.

My pick of the best Advent Calendars 2015

The countdown to Christmas is always full of cheer and excitement and an Advent calendar is the quintessential item for doing it in style. I am going to sound really old when I say, when we were kids the only choice was, a basic chocolate calendar (maybe with a fun size bar at the end – if you were lucky) or a modest paper/card one depicting the Christmas Nativity. These days however, Advent calendars can be as extravagant and exciting as the main event itself. Here’s my guide of my most favourite on the market for 2015.

For the super tiny and young ones

Vtech Baby Toot-Toot Drivers Advent Calendar RRP. £24.99

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Suitable from 12 months plus, this is actually the Advent calendar I have purchased for my 14 month old little boy and I cannot wait to sit down and open it with him in December. One little toy for each day of Advent including, a Toot-Toot drivers sleigh, Christmas decorations, a mini book and tons more. In a season rife with chocolate I think this toy Advent calendar will be just as cherished as any gift on Christmas Day.

For the slightly older and creative young ones RRP. £14.99

Play-Doh Advent Calendar

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Suitable from 3 years. Behind each door on this Advent calendar is a different surprise including festive moulds, Play-Doh, tools and a useful play mat, this is sure to be cherished by your creative little ones.

For the guys

Lego© Star Wars™ Advent Calendar RRP. £24.99

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This is quite simple. If you have boys in your life of ANY age, they are sure to go nuts for this Lego© Star Wars™ Advent Calendar. With the latest film due to come out just before Christmas, Star Wars™ fever is going to be boiling over everywhere and what better way to countdown not only to Christmas but episode 7 will be with this Advent Calendar.

For the girls

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar RRP. £149

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Hey! A girl can dream, eh? At £149 this is by no means an affordable Advent Calendar. Packed full of treats from Liberty’s beauty hall, with luxury brands like Decleor, Kiehl’s and Trish McEvoy. Every day of Advent will be filled with joy (and pampering). Gentleman, take note. If this happens to appear on the 1st December to the lady in your life, I am almost guarantee that you are going to have a very, Merry Christmas.

For the chocoholics

Lindt Bear Adorable Advent House 250g RRP. £9.99

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For the traditionalists who demand daily chocolate nourishment (Nom!). Then this Lindt Advent Calendar is pure chocolate heaven. Filled with chocolate reindeer, bears, Lindor truffles and Christmas Napolitans. You will be counting down the days until Christmas with a very happy tum and a smile on your face.

Life, 12 months after giving birth

As my baby boy turned one this week I can’t help but be reflective on how the past 12 months have so drastically changed my life.

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For the nine months I was pregnant, I always knew there were changes coming. I had a constant feeling of never being alone, and endless planning on what I wanted to do when our baby was here. In reality though I really didn’t have a clue what life was going to be like day-to-day, after he was born.

Of course there are things I miss pre-baby, I am only human and I don’t profess to be perfect. Waiting until I was thirty-one years old before starting my family meant I had many years of living life selfishly and was used to certain freedoms. Going on holiday whenever I wanted, random late night drives, adventures and nights out with friends (or more, the days to yourself to recover afterwards).

What I have found however is the immense, passionate, amount of love for another human being I never thought could exist. This little boy came crashing into my life with no instruction book and we’ve had to learn together. It hasn’t been easy and at times I’ve cried myself stupid wondering how I will cope for the next eighteen or more years, whilst feeling so clueless at what and how to do the best for him.

Now a year has passed I can look back and finally gain a little perspective. What is in front of me is a fantastic little boy who is courageous, loves to play and is eager to learn. I may not be the perfect baby magazine mum who breastfed, purees and blends pure organic baby food, has every expensive baby toy and gadget to hand, all whilst humming lullabies and attending every baby group going. I still feel clueless but it’s becoming a good feeling of clueless. We are a family, and however confused we may feel, distraught, exhausted or insecure, we have the smiles, the laughs and the new experiences; they can’t be replaced or replicated by anything.

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The next twelve months? Oh, yeah I’m absolutely bricking those. This little boy isn’t a baby anymore. He’s a climbing, jumping, screaming and now, full of tantrums, toddler… HELP!

10 things you weren’t prepared for after having a baby

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1. Before you had a baby you used to sit in judgement with lots of head shaking and tsking when you heard a baby screaming. Now you can sit with a screaming child next to your ear and even start blocking it out completely.

2. You no longer need to actively diet. Time to eat in general is long gone. You’ll be lucky to remember what you last ate or even if you’ve skipped a meal. 

3. You thought your partner was a hog of the TV remote. He was an amateur. Now you can’t even find it. Baby has managed to magically transport it into the washing machine.

4. Nights out nowadays involve sharing photos of your baby regardless of whether you have a captive audience. Granny pants is a must and you’ll be yawning by 10pm.

5. A sudden realisation you had a missed calling and should have been a professional wrestler or maybe a rugby player? Have you ever tried to change a nappy on a 9 month old?

6. Your beautifully pre-baby, interior decorated, magazine worthy looking home is long gone. You consider it a good day when you can find a clean mug. And by clean you mean, not mouldy.

7. Nowadays 7pm is the target goal of every single day. A new cherished, sacred time known as bedtime. Normally involving a glass of wine as a reward.

8. You always thought baby talk was for losers. Now you catch yourself doing it in public places on a regular basis. “Hewwwoo, peek a boo!” or more commonly “Have you done a poopy-woopy in your nappywappy?” Without expecting an answer or even caring who hears or sees you.

9. Extreme smugness when using the child parking bays at the supermarket. And standing in judgement of all who use them without children. (Blood boils!)

10. Leaving the house becomes a full-blown military operation. Nappies, check. Milk, check. Snacks, check. Spare clothes, creams, toys, pushchair, the list is endless. You’ve gone on week-long holidays with less stuff.