Mellow Mummy: February 2012 : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday 26 February 2012

Cuddledry Change Mat Liner Review

cuddledry changing mat liner
Behold, another little piece of genius by innovative baby product company, Cuddledry. The Cuddledry change mat liner is JUST what I've been on the lookout for - I'm surprised more places don't offer such a thing.

When Lara was a baby I bought a changing mat with an integrated liner - I thought that it would keep her warm and comfy on the otherwise chilly plastic mat. The problems with the integrated liner were numerous and in the end, I more or less gave up using the liner. This time around I have bought a new changing mat with no integrated liner and had decided that baby would just have to live with a chilly back side... that was until the Cuddledry change mat liner came along. These are the reasons why I think it is a genius product:-

cuddledry change mat liner review

  • It is incredibly soft and so certainly achieves what I want from a change mat liner

  • I can buy more than one liner and at £8.99 it is reasonable to do this so that in the (regular) event that baby wees on the mat, you have a spare liner while the first one is in the wash. The problem with an integrated liner is that in order to get a spare one, you more or less have to buy a whole new changing mat

  • An integrated mat with liner usually has a velcro tab to hold the mat in place - this sounds lovely but in fact the velcro is really scratchy when the liner isn't on the mat (ie when it is in the wash) - no problem with this on the Cuddledry liner as it simply sits on top of the mat

  • The Cuddledry change mat liner is big. Much bigger than the equivalent on my old changing mat

  • If baby does wee while being changed then the liner can be quickly whipped away while the change is complete as it absorbs most of the mess

The Cuddledry super soft change mat liner is made with Cuddledry's signature soft bamboo and cotton fabric and I think baby will absolutely love it!

My Beauty Bundle Review

my beauty bundle

What could be a better fit for Mellow mummy than the rather scrumptious combination of pregnancy and new mum products with natural and organic luxury skincare? Well, My beauty Bundle do just that - little monthly bundles of smellies designed specifically for your stage of pregnancy or motherhood.

You can buy a subscription to My Beauty Bundle from £15 a month for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months and each month you will receive a little pampering package of 4 to 5 products tailored to your stage. For me, I like the idea of trying out lots of products I wouldn't normally have heard about and the convenience of having these delivered to me, rather than having to go shopping for them myself.

pregnancy skincare products

In my bundle I received a Bourjois quick-drying nail varnish, Lavera foot balm, Green Baby one-size baby hat and sample sizes of two luxury products - Madara's ecoface organic deep moisturising fluid and Primavera's rose & pomegranate revitalising cream. I had never tried a Lavera product before and the footbalm is so cooling and rejuvenating that since receiving my bundle I have been out and bought more products from the Lavera range. You can also buy full-size versions of the individual products on the My Beauty Bundle shop if you try out something in your bundle that you turn out to love.

I will admit to feeling a little disappointed when I opened my bundle to find the size of the package and some of the samples inside. I know some of the products are seriously expensive but personally I'd prefer to receive a full-sized product of a lower value than a single-use sample of a pricey skincare product. Saying that, I'd probably be even more disappointed if I received a full-sized product that I didn't enjoy using, or wasn't suitable for me so I guess it works out better in the long run and leaves me with the decision about whether to buy more.

Despite this, I think the monthly pregnancy beauty bundle concept is perfect, particularly as a gift (so, if any of my male readers have got this far through the review then consider this a hint to buy your other halves a subscription when the time is right). My Beauty Bundle features some of my favourite natural skincare brands such as Madara and Weleda and the quality of all of the products is high.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Pregnancy Blog :: Week 31

Woo hoo, I am finally healthy again. It took a while but I finally managed to shake the cold that I first caught about 3-4 weeks ago. With my new-found healthiness appears to have come a renewed vigour for life and an inspiration to do my very best at work, and on the blog over the coming weeks. I've also found a drive to get the nursery ready for the baby and finish off lots of jobs that I have been meaning to do for a long while.

The other day when my cold was at it's worst, I started to really suffer with back pain. The pain was preventing me from sleeping and, as I mentioned before, I found that putting a memory-foam mattress topper on the bed seemed to ease the discomfort during the night. During the day I tried out a back-pain aid called PosturePlast.

posture plast

PosturePlast is effectively a great big sticking plaster which you apply to your back in such a way that it keeps your back in a safe posture. I've found that the times when I most experience pregnancy back pain in the day are when I am sitting at dining tables. I found that I hardly noticed wearing the PosturePlast most of the day but when I was at the dining table, I was aware that it was pulling me into a position I was unused to - perhaps the position I should be in to prevent this bliming backache! It is designed to support the back and prevent you from injuring yourself by putting yourself into the wrong positions. I can't say that I found it to reduce my back pain, but I was aware of it correcting my posture and pulling against my back when I was walking. I also found the PosturePlast to be pretty tricky to put on - it was definitely a two-person job to apply it in the correct place on my back.

PosturePlast is suitable for combatting many different types of back pain and is also recommended for new mums who are unused to carrying babies and car seats etc.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Cooking With Children :: Dora's Banana Muffins

One of Lara's role models in life is Dora the Explorer and, having been at home with Lara over the past week while she suffered with a cold and infection, we couldn't have failed to noticed the adverts for the new magazine - Dora the Explorer Little Cooks Collection. i will admit that I've struggled to make the connection between Dora and cookery (I've never ever seen Dora cook anything!) but Lara loves to cook so I KNEW this new magazine series would be ideal for her. And then, as if by some divine intervention, Little Cooks Collection contacted us to ask if we would review the series as part of Dora's Cooking Club.

mashing bananas for doras muffins

The first edition of the magazine is all about bananas! It comes with a set of four easy to clean silicone muffin cases and a plastic Dora the Explorer plate. Each edition of the magazine will come with a different small set of products to help your child enjoy cooking, eating and sharing their own food.

mixing doras banan muffins

Inside the magazine there are lots of puzzles as well as learning games and a story. In this edition there were a number of quick ideas for snacks with the featured ingredient (bananas) as well as one main recipe that is easy for children to follow.

This weekend Lara and I tried out the recipe - Banana Muffins. I shan't reveal the secret ingredients here but let me tell you, the muffins were awesome. Bouncy, banana-y and sweet.

adding sugar to doras banana muffins

Lara has so much fun in the kitchen. It is our bonding time together and her eyes light up just at the prospect. Lara was able to use the pictures to tell me which ingredients to fetch for her and then she followed the instructions from the magazine to see what ingredients she had to add next. Even at 2 and a half years old, Lara needed very little help at all from me or Mr. B because the images were clear and the steps were simple.

putting doras banana muffins in silcone cases

When we put the muffins in the oven to cook she turned to me and said "Mummy, let's make some more". I managed to convince her that a diet comprised only of banana muffins wasn't an enormously balanced one and instead we set to with some of the craft activities inside the magazine - colouring, cutting and sticking.

craft in doras little cooks collection

My favourite part of the magazine was a pull-out wall poster of different vegetables. Not only because it is great fun to watch Lara point out all the different fruit and veg that she knows (she struggled a bit with aubergine) but also because the poster has both english and spanish names for each item. If Lara can learn the spanish for aubergine then I think her panamanian uncle might be very impressed!

doras banana muffins

15 minutes later the banana muffins came out of the oven and after a little while cooling, Lara took her first taste of her handiwork. The verdict? Dora knows what she's doing when it comes to muffins!

eating doras banana muffins

The Little Cooks Collection is a bi-weekly magazine and the normal price will be £4.99 but there are introductory offers for the first two editions. If you subscribe, there are some REALLY great special gifts on offer too.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Mary, Mary quite contrary do you shop on line?

Today, let me introduce you to a new website I've discovered called who have a special discount to offer for mums!

When time is precious and lots of us are running around doing multiple jobs there isn’t always the time to browse and shop as we would like, even window shopping becomes a thing of the past. With children to care for, school runs to do and many mums and women working from home lots of us turn to the internet to shop, which offers us a queue free shopping experience in comfortable surroundings.

Some of us are experienced internet shoppers, buying most of our purchases online, knowing the benefit of one click shopping and the excitement of waiting for the parcels to arrive. We buzz around the internet visiting favourite sites often getting carried away deeper and deeper into the unknown by clicking on links and finding a world of great shopping and wonderful websites. Others are more hesitant and have yet to take the plunge into the online retail world but would love to dip their toe and have a go.

Whatever your experience of the internet so far, at you will find a house wares company who are aiming to understand our customers needs, and offer top brands such as Simple Human and Brabantia with a complete shopping experience for the home, we understand that time is limited and often mums are up late working or getting up early to avoid the family rush in the morning, sometimes using this time to shop and browse the internet.

If that’s you, we would like to get to know you and offer you the chance of shopping for your house wares with us using a 10% discount code- mums10 to be used between 10pm-11.55pm when we think many of you are hard at work or having a quick trip around your favourite sites, so why not stop by and say hi.

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Sunday 19 February 2012

Argos Kids Clothing Review

Did you know that you can buy children's clothing at Argos? Well now you do. The realisation that you could buy branded and character clothing in your local Argos store came as quite a revelation to me when I first found out in December last year. As a working mum who gets little time to go shopping, I'm often restricted to just clothes shopping online or in the shops in the small town-centre where I work. Being able to buy children's clothes are Argos helps matters a lot.

Lara has been reviewing some of her favourite items from the current range of Kidswear. Argos stock clothing for children that features some of their favourite characters such as Thomas & Friends, Cars, Hello Kitty and lots of Disney friends. And, much to Lara's delight, they stock Peppa Pig clothing. That's Lara won over then!

argos peppa pig clothes

Lara's sweatshirt and jogger set costs just £15.99 and comes in sizes for ages 2-5. It is a really nice thick tracksuit material perfect for keeping warm at this time of year and it is very durable too. There is a little Peppa label at the bottom of the trouser legs but I think the top is the star as Lara can wear it over the top of a t-shirt or alone.

long sleeved peppa pig t-shirt at argos

Lara's long-sleeved t-shirt is part of a two-pack which costs just £11.99. Lara lives in long-sleeved tops like this so it's great to be able to offer her a t-shirt with her favourite piggy friend on it. These days Lara likes to choose her own clothes and these two tops get chosen first - if they are in the wash then Lara goes searching for them!

I'm happy with the value for money of the Argos clothing range but it is the convenience for me that really wins me over.

Tiddley Pom Organic Massage Oil Review

tiddley pom massage oil
i have decided to get myself well-prepared for baby massage for when baby number two arrives. With Lara, I feel like I started too late and she had already made up her mind about what she did/did not like by the time I first tried baby massage on her. We regularly treat her skin with massage oil, but it never really turned out to be the relaxing, bonding experience that baby massage can be. For that reason I have lifted out my Tiddley Pom 'Baby Cuddles' CD that I first used some time ago and a bottle of Tiddley Pom organic massage oil that we were sent.

The Tiddley Pom massage oil is designed specifically for relaxing baby massage and is part of their 4-step relaxation routine (wash, massage, hydrate... bottom balm if you want a very simplified explanation of the process!). Here are a few of the reasons why I flipping LOVE this massage oil:-

  • Although it is officially unscented, one of the key ingredients is blackcurrant oil which gives it just a tiny bit of tang along with the naturally strong aroma of argan oil. It also contains coconut oil and kukui oil in the blend.
  • The bottle comes with a handy spray-dispenser so that you don't (as I have in the past) ruin an entire carpet by having to pour oil out onto your hand.
  • It is gentle enough to be suitable on both the body and face so you can use it for an all-over massage.
  • The blend of vegetable oils is chosen to offer natural vitamins including gamma linoleic acid, omega 6 and other fatty acids essential for healthy skin. I'm hoping this bodes well for baby number two's skin - here's hoping they don't suffer as much as Lara did.
  • Although the blend of oils doesn't absorb instantly (you wouldn't want it to for a massage), it doesn't leave the skin feeling icky for ages afterwards. It just adds a light shine to the skin and certainly doesn't leave Lara and myself smelling of chip-pans.

organic baby massage oil

I think that this Tiddley Pom massage oil, combined with a relaxing body wash and a mellow room scent is going to help make a great bedtime routine for the new baby.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Pregnancy Blog :: Week 30

So... I'm three quarters of the way through now! Woo hoo. Down to single figures, weeks wise!

I've really begun to notice the weight of the baby now. It is having an effect on the way I walk and move and makes going up the stairs at work feel like climbing a mountain. I've also noticed over the past couple of weeks that my pelvic floor muscles are shot - dammit, I really thought I'd got away with it after Lara's birth despite the traumatic experience and the damage it seemed to have caused my nether regions!

So I've made myself a promise that from now until baby arrives (and for some time after), I'm going to concentrate on strengthening those pelvic floor muscles so that I'm in control when it comes to the important things like pushing babies out and going to the toilet without little accidents. My first step was to download the new 'My PFF' app from Lights by Tena. I've reviewed it over on FamilyTech and I'm hoping that it will kick-start me into regularly perfoming pelvic floor exercises.

Friday 17 February 2012

Nursing Tops and Cleanser - This is how I rock!

When online fashion and beauty shop, Zalando asked me to review my choice of lovely things from their website I briefly entertained the idea of a piece of luxury women's clothing but then came back down to earth with a bump... quite literally. My 31 week pregnant body is not ideal for clothes shopping. Right now I'm dreaming about floaty summer dresses and smart work outfits but what I really need is nursing tops and comfy, stretchy t-shirts.

Thankfully, Zalando stock a small range of maternity clothing including a number of nursing tops. I chose this long-sleeved nursing top by Noppies.

Noppies nursing top

The Noppies nursing top is lightly ruched around the waist so it can just about accommodate my bump but it is really designed for use after birth. The top has a v-neck cross-over design with discreet access for breastfeeding. I'm really happy with the quality of the fabric and I think the simple design means that this will become one of my staple wardrobe items in the coming months. The long-sleeved Noppies maternity top costs £34 at present.

In addition to this, I had a quick browse through their range of premium beauty products and what did I spot? Zalando stock Lavera natural cosmetics - a brand I only recently discovered thanks to My Beauty Bundle so I thought I would try one of their facial skincare products, a facial cleanser, to see if I was as impressed as I had been by their foot lotion.

lavera facial cleaner

The jury is still out on this one - Lavera's facial cleaner seems like quite a functional product and the scent is a little disappointing but it seems to be kind to my skin ( I chose the version for dry skin) and at £5.95 for 100ml, it is really good value for an organic and natural facial skincare product.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Cake Maternity & Nursing Lingerie - Plum Pudding

cake maternity nursing bra
It has come to the time in my pregnancy when I need to start thinking about maternity lingerie and nursing lingerie because my early pregnancy lingerie simply doesn't fit any more. The very first place I thought of looking was lingerieplease because I knew they stocked one of my favourite brands - Cake Maternity.

I was looking for something incredibly sexy and yet comfy during these later stages of pregnancy so I went for the Plum Pudding nursing bra and matching briefs which are currently on offer so that if you buy the bra (also reduced in price in their sale) then you can get the briefs for half price.

Lingerieplease have a wide range of maternity bras from the totally functional to the really sexy. Most of their maternity bras are also in fact nursing bras so they are great after birth too (although you may need a different sized bra in the weeks just before and after birth).

cake maternity plum pudding lingerie briefThe Cake Maternity Plum Pudding bra is a full-cup underwired nursing bra. The wire is a flexible one so suitable for use during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. the deep red colour is very feminine and the fabric is soft with a slightly silky touch. I found the feeding clip to be instinctive to use and easy to release.

The Plum Pudding brief is a low-rise square-cut shape designed to sit just below your bump. I found the thick waistband to sit a little high on me at present so it curled under the bump but the briefs were very soft and the lacy pattern extremely flattering. I think the set looks amazing together and is incredible value for money right now.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Comvita Anti-Ageing Daily Spa Body Wash Review

comvita daily spa body wash
For reasons I can't quite put my finger on, I rarely think about anti-ageing products for my body - I've used Comvita anti-ageing skincare on my face before, but never body. The Daily Spa Body Wash by Comvita is a luxurious yet gentle body wash suitable for daily use because its natural ingredients won't dry out your skin.

For me, the beauty of this product is it's non-drying cleansing effect. I love a good shower gel or body wash but sometimes I have to sacrifice my skin for a nice-smelling or luxurious feeling gel. With this one, theoretically I get the best of both world. The Daily Spa Body Wash comes in a great pump-action dispenser which looks really smart on my bathroom shelf and the body wash itself is a lovely texture... light and silky and yet it provides a good level of foam (given that it is SLS free).

Comvita products generally feature their special Huni-XA manuka honey as an active ingredient that offers anti-ageing properties such as increased elasticity to the skin and this body wash is no different. It also features kumarahou flower extract. The scent is very light indeed, and not as floral or sweet as I had hoped for, but still quite pleasant.

I'm enjoying using this body wash, especially at a point in my pregnancy where I need products which are as gentle on my skin as possible. It leaves my skin feeling soft after use but not 'pampered'; I think it is the lack of a strong scent really that makes me think that way more than the feel of my skin.

You can buy the Comvita Anti-Ageing Daily Spa Body Wash from for around £17.

Gwdihw (Goody Hoo) Twinkle Toes Foot Balm Review

Gwdihw (pronounced Goody Hoo) is a welsh brand of skincare balms and remedies that can be found at

Gwdihw twinkle toes foot balm

Made in northern Wales from locally grown herbs, each balm has a different benefit and use. I chose to try the Twinkle Toes Foot Balm because I know that in the late stages of pregnancy I will be looking for anything I can lay my hands on to relieve my achey swollen feet and offer them that little lift.

The Gwdihw Twinkle Toes Foot Balm is recommended for relief of dry feet - not something I massively suffer with but they do get dry around the edges so I like to give them a nourishing treat occasionally. The balm seemed very hard and took quite a lot of rubbing and warming to become pliable enough to apply easily. The balm is primarily made with beeswax, olive oil and coconut oil but key active ingredients include marigold flowers and lavender essential oils during the infusing process which give the balm a gentle, natural scent.

The balm doesn't have a big impact like some of the salon brands of foot lotion I've tried but it does leave a lasting feeling of relief. One night after work I tried it on one foot only and the difference in feeling between the two feet was really noticeable.. the one on which I had applied the balm felt alive and ready to take on a whole new day. This is good news for those last days of pregnancy! I have yet to notice any improvement in the dry skin around the edges of my feet though.

The Twinkle Toes Foot Balm from Gwdihw costs £4.49. You can find out more about Gwdihw on their own website.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Pregnancy Blog :: Week 29

Well, the pregnancy has just ticked on this week but I've been feeling rubbish too. Managed to pick up ANOTHER cold which, combined with a general level of pregnancy-related discomfort at nights, contributed to one entirely-sleep-free night this week. Trust me, I do not work well without sleep.

Thankfully my parents came to the rescue and I took the day off work. They also brought with them a memory foam mattress topper which managed to make me comfortable enough that I could catch up on the missed sleep while Lara was out at nursery.

Hopefully I'll be able to shake the cold soon and get on with being pregnant!

Thursday 9 February 2012

Hipp Organic Stage 1 Weaning Products

If there is one part of motherhood that I am really looking forward to going through all over again, it is weaning. I loved it. I loved introducing those first tastes and textures to my baby and seeing how her adventures in food progressed. As you'll know if you've followed me for some time, I didn't sign up to any particular approach to weaning, we just went with the flow in true Mellow Mummy stylee. Hipp sent us a selection of their new range of Stage 1 weaning products to sample and so, with a little help from the army of Mellow Mummy reviewers, here is our verdict.

100% Fruit Pouches
New to the Hipp Organic range are these pouches of 100% fruit puree. These were our favourite items from the range and we particularly rated the Apple, Strawberry & Banana flavour which we would never have managed to keep fresh for more than a couple of minutes if we had made it ourselves. The focus here is on convenience and the large screw-top means you can re-seal leftovers for later. Each pack contains two portions of fruit for a baby.

Fruit Pots
Hipp make a range of fruit pots, fruit & cereal and fruit & yoghurt pots. They are better for babies who you know will eat the whole pot all in one go. There were some of Lara's favourite snacks as a weaning baby.

The range includes a couple of first cereal products, including baby rice. Banana & Peach breakfast was a hit with our reviewers but please note that it does include milk powders, whey powders and added vitamins, some of which don't come from organic sources.

Hipp have a massive range of stage 1 jars of food. I've never really been one for jars myself so its hard for me to judge them but our reviewers particularly liked the Banana Custard and the Sweet Squash & Chicken. Pretty much all of the ingredients in the stage 1 jars are organic.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

My 100% Natural Lemon-Flavoured Cold and Flu Remedy

After a particularly ranty comment the other day on one of my Sterimar posts, I rummaged around in my bathroom cabinet to find a lone sachet of a well-known lemon-flavoured cold and flu remedy which I bought about 10 years ago. These days I always prefer to try and avoid a drug-based remedy to a sniffle (not only do I find it more effective, but during pregnancy it's a must). Having looked through the ingredients on the back of the packet (paracetemol, phenylephrine hydrochloride, a whole host of colouring E-numbers, SLS and caffeine among other things) I'm rather glad that I am the meister of the Honey, Lemon & Ginger Tonic at bedtimes.

There are few things in life quite as comforting as this tingly, soothing elixir. Best made with fresh ginger and the juice of a fresh lemon but just as effective with long-life ingredients, here's how I make my 100% natural lemon-flavoured cold and flu remedy (and if I REALLY need to, I could always use it to wash down a paracetemol!).

If I'm feeling sniffly then I like to make my Honey and Lemon tonic with Manuka Honey which is becoming more widely available. A good quality Manuka Honey like the New Zealand Honey Co.. A Manuka honey is quite a thick, light-coloured honey with high anti-bacterial properties. If you're looking for something to ease an upset tummy (or for a good hangover cure) then I'd recommend a more runny honey like a good clear English honey or The Beech Forest Honeydew from the New Zealand Honey co not just because of the colour and texture but also for pre-biotic qualities to help aid digestion.

The ginger in this tonic also helps aid digestion and the lemon, of course, is packed full of vitamin C.

Honey, Lemon and Ginger Tonic Recipe

You will need:-
A 2-inch piece of fresh root ginger peeled and sliced thinly or 1 level teaspoon of ground ginger
The juice from half a lemon or a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice
About two teaspoons of honey (or more to taste)

The secret to the tonic is to place the ginger in the bottom of the cup then top up, almost to the top of the mug with cooling boiled water. Give it a stir and then allow to steep for about 4 minutes and then, if you are using fresh ginger, remove the pieces now.

Stir in the lemon juice and the honey to taste. Allow it to cool a little more before drinking but while you're waiting for it to cool, why not breathe in the lovely lemony, gingery steam to help clear a blocked nose?

Do you have a drug-free, pregnancy-friendly remedy you'd recommend to others?

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Gruffalo's Child DVD Review

The Gruffalo's Child is released next Monday the 13th January on DVD and Blu Ray. It is, in my humble opinion, even more stunning than the animation of the prequel - The Gruffalo. Lara was too young to appreciate the first Gruffalo animation but she has been totally entranced by the magic of the Gruffalo's Child.

The Gruffalo's Child is a rhyming, wintery tale of the exploits of the little Gruffalo who, against her father's wishes, goes in search of the Big Bad Mouse who, in the prequel, built up quite a reputation. Her travels take her through the snowy woods and into contact with many familiar faces from the first story although, I think that my daughter's fascination shows that you don't HAVE to have an intimate knowledge of the first story to appreciate this DVD.

Some of the most amazing visual elements of the Gruffalo's Child are in the icy and snowy scenes. I am in awe of anyone who can animate a snow-flake or an icicle with such skill and the quality of the animation really adds to the experience when you watch it. I have always found the story and text behind the book of the Gruffalo's Child to be a little disappointing compared to the original, but the animation definitely makes up for this.

The animation is so enchanting that my 2.5 year old gets carried away and shouts at the television every time the Gruffalo's Child is approaching a new animal in the woods. In fact, I think she finds it a little haunting... which, after all, is the point of the story.

You can pre-order the DVD from amazon.

gruffalo and child

Sunday 5 February 2012

Sunbuster Blackout Blinds Review

sunbuster blackout blind

The beauty of a Sunbuster Blind on a snowy day like today is not only that it helps my 2 year old to stay asleep despite the bright morning light but it also helps to insulate her bedroom from the chilly wintery weather.

These Sunbuster blackout blinds are very different to the roller-blind I currently have fitted in the nursery, and also totally different to the adjustable travel-blackout blind that I sometimes use in Lara's room (when I can be bothered to fight with those annoying suction cups). The fact that the Sunbuster blinds don't have suction cups immediately makes them more attractive to me - it took me seconds for me to fit the blinds to Lara's window by peeling off the backing from the sticky gel and applying them straight to the window (the instructions assure me they won't leave any sticky mess on the window). I'm also pleased that, unlike my roller blind, there are no dangerous cords dangling in Lara's room.

We chose the most simple design of Sunbuster blinds - plain white with a tiny pink label - but they do come with a small range of coloured tabs along the bottom. The blinds are made from a thick, fleece-lined fabric which creates the insulating effect and blocks out the light.

sunbuster blackout blinds

Sunbuster Blinds are tailor-made to your window. Admittedly this means they can only ever be used on one set of windows, but it does guarantee a very close fit to offer maximum blackout coverage. It was easy to measure the size I needed (the instructions on their website were very clear) and the blinds come right out to the edge of the windows. There are small velcro tabs at the bottom of each blind to hold them nice and close to the window to reduce any possibility of light coming through.

I should point out that in both my photos the blinds look a bit creased. While this is contributed to by the opening and closing each day, it is also a symptom of the fact I was really lazy and didn't bother ironing the blinds before putting them up (me and irons don't get on).

During the day, instead of pulling a cord, or un-sucking the blind, all you need to do is fold the blind upwards. The blind stays in place using a strip of strong magnets. The magnets are just about strong enough to hold the blind in place when double-folded (to allow in more light) but I found this tricky to get right.

The Sunbuster blackout blinds are of a really high quality and I've found them to be one of the very best products I've tried in Lara's room. I'm extremely happy with them and, when the time comes, I intend to put some in the baby's room too.

Our blackout blinds cost approximately £52 to be tailor made, including delivery.

Huddle & Bliss Labour & Birthing Shirt Review

huddle and bliss birthing and labour shirt
Just before Christmas I was looking for a maternity nightie - something that would accommodate my growing bump. It just so happened that I was asked to review the Labour and Birthing Shirt from Huddle and Bliss which I think makes a perfect maternity nightdress too.

My h&b birthing shirt is just about the single most comfortable item of clothing I have ever worn. I could quite happily live in it! It is a cool sleevless shirt made from a premium soft cotton with a series of press-studs which allow (relatively) easy opening for breastfeeding.

I loved the fact that the shirt has a big scooped shape at the front. It felt weird when I first tried it on during my first trimester but now as my bump grows, it all makes sense. The scoop means that even with a great big bulge, the hem will sit at a decent height at the front.

The shirt comes in two sizes - petitie for sizes 8/10 and regular for sizes 12 to 20. I would say that as a tall woman, the shirt is only just long/decent enough for me to want to wear it walking around a hospital maternity ward. I also find the neck, when fully buttoned to be a little restrictive.

Despite this, I really love this birthing shirt and I am thinking of buying a matching one in black. Even if I don't use them during labour, I'll be very comfy at night during my pregnancy!

At present H&B have an offer on - a pack of two birthing shirts costs just £42 (normally £29 each).

Saturday 4 February 2012

Pregnancy Blog :: Week 28

Week 28 is another eventful week in the pregnancy calendar. A diabetes test, an injection and a regular midwife appointment.

On Sunday night I had to fast from about 8pm until the following morning. Exactly two hours before my glucose tolerance test on the Monday morning I had to drink a lemon-flavoured glucose drink. It was weirdly tasty and nowhere near as bad as the midwife had made it sound. 2 hours later we were sitting in a packed hospital waiting room twiddling our thumbs. In the end we were only 3 minutes late but I was beginning to panic that we'd missed the critical time slot.

I had two blood samples taken, one for the GTT and one for... who knows what. I had to trek across the hospital to hand in the blood sample and then trek back again for another appointment, this time for the first of my Anti-D injections. The injection was uneventful other than that the hospital midwife seemed a whole lot more competent (and cheerful) than any community midwife I've ever met.

After an hour passing time in the cafe and twiddling thumbs in the waiting room again, I was given the all clear. No gestational diabetes.

On Wednesday I had my regular 28 week appointment with my midwife who told me I didn't need to have bothered seeing her because I had seen a midwife on Monday for my anti-D appointment. I had pointed this out to both the surgery and the hospital before, *sigh*. Anyway, this means I can skip my next 34 week appointment with her too and so I won't see her again until 38 weeks. Eek.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Yay! Floppeze is reborn

Almost exactly two years ago I blogged about our friend, the Floppeze nursing pillow and this weekend we celebrated the rebirth of our good friend Floppeze thanks to a brand new cover from VUP baby.

floppeze nursing pillow

The VUP in their name stands for 'Very Useful Products' and I can state, without a single atom of doubt, that the Floppeze nursing pillow is a very useful product. Our Floppeze pillow became a central part of our family from the very first day that he arrived in our house. I used him at every feed, having found the cushion more comfortable and supportive than the doughnut-shaped breastfeeding pillow I had bought. We used our Floppeze pillow as an aid to Lara when she slept and to help her to learn to sit.

floppeze pillow

When we lifted out our Floppeze pillow from the loft in preparation for the new baby, it brought back loads of great memories. I was certain that this time I wanted to get a new cover for the cushion. You can buy the floppeze pillow covers from VUP baby (currently reduced to £10.67 in the sale). The covers come in several different colours and designs (from plain blue and pink to brightly coloured cartoon designs). When I first got the Floppeze I thought the cartoon design was a bit garish but I've grown to love it and wouldn't have wanted any other cover than the bright blue equivalent to breathe a new life into our cushion. It is going to be so handy to have two covers, not only to make the cushion feel like a new one, but also so that when we have the inevitable accident or dribble, we can put the cover through the wash without having to stop using the cushion in the meantime.

floppeze pillow as a sitting aid

The Floppeze nursing pillow cover is scrumptiously soft and is really very easy to put on and take off for washing. We love the little floppy ears and the tail! It helps to cheer a nursing aid up with a bit of fun!

And as a special treat for Mellow Mummy readers I have a discount code that you can use at VUP baby for the near future that will get you 15% off the price of any of your non-sale purchases. Just enter JM15 at the checkout. They also offer free delivery if you spend over £50. The Floppeze nursing pillow costs £29.99.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Pregnancy Yoga Videos

I am frightfully aware that as a full-time working mum with an unhealthy obsession for blogging, I am not doing anywhere near enough exercise during my pregnancy this time. I'm not sure a quick walk for a sandwich at lunch time or a half hour swimming lesson with Lara each week counts, does it? So when do I find the time to exercise huh? Well, with these handy yoga videos on youtube I can do a little whenever I find a spare moment at home with no need to worry about signing up for a class or having to drive to a local gym or town hall in my evenings. Genius.

These are a set of 3 pregnancy yoga videos from Philips Avent taught in a class style by Uma Dinsmore-Tuli. There is a warm up, a main routine and a relaxation routine and they can be done together or watched individually.

The lighting quality is a bit fuzzy but I think they are just as fab as any yoga video or DVD I've owned. The thing I like best about them is that for each of the routines you can follow one of three different women who are in different pregnancy trimesters to make sure that the exercises are appropriate for your own stage of pregnancy.

I hope you find these videos useful. The warm up routine is below but you can access the main routine and the relaxation routine on youtube. Enjoy!

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