Monday, 19 May 2014

Bank Holiday


Hello.
I'm fully aware it's been like two weeks since the last update. To be fair, i've had this post created and the photos uploaded waiting to write for the last two weeks, but i've just not had the time. I've actually been busy, really busy. I'm not sure whether it's because the summer months are coming up and people do more, or if i'm just (stupidly) filling up all my spare time and still trying to keep a blog up to date.

So remember back to the last bank holiday? That's what this post is about. 


I got to spend the Friday morning making a baby shower cake for my friend for her baby shower on the Saturday. Now not only was it fun doing the cake, but I also managed to sort it all in one sitting because I was at home and baby free! LJ had a trial session with the childminder and it was on one of my days at home. I must admit, I did keep listening out for a non existent baby monitor for a baby to wake from a nap he wasn't having. 

I do a different twist on each cake I make depending on the mummy. My friend has Noah's ark themed bedding in the baby's nursery, so I managed to find this lovely Noah's ark play set from Sainsburys and then I based the rest of the cake around it. The blue baby blanket is supposed to be like the sea and it goes down one side of the cake so that you can still see the nappies on the other side. I filled the middle with my favourite brand of baby bath bubbles - mum and me baby snuffles and my favourite brand of beaker - Tommee Tippee easy drink cup. This mummy-to-be is very well prepared for her baby! So I used size 4 and 5 nappies and I just picked up a couple of things that might not be first on the new baby list, like teethers and Bonjella and hand gel. Not forgetting a handy dummy clip (because the amount of people who had to learn fast to catch a rouge dummy from LJ's mouth while holding him was crazy) and our favourite brand of dummy's - MAM, in the 6m+. 

It's crazy that this time last year, we were celebrating my baby shower and we had the same photo as above but with her hands on my belly! Apparently it's catching...



#sundaymorningmadness 46 weeks. Some mornings, he will lie really still for me to change his nappy. This kinda scares me because this kiddo doesn't stop. (Mummy confession, I sometimes give him a little white chocolate while I change a bad nappy for the sake of my sanity and carpet). So he's still in this photo, that's pretty amazing.

Of course I thought i'd jump on the bandwagon with the May the 4th be with you...


It was the best I could do at 6:30am on a Sunday morning. I thought it was funny... LJ was pretty confused about why he was allowed to play with the green top up charger for 2 seconds.


We spent Sunday at a local forest to us. It was so nice to get out and do something that we haven't done before (or at least not since we were young). I did my usual abandon my pram for a photo creative baby pram on location shot and he was actually awake for once!

Previous pram shots have been the following:


The beach. (3 weeks new)


The park. 


A different park. 


The docks.

and my personal favourite...


(INSERT PHOTO OF PRAM FOG)

I got the idea from a lady on Instagram who would always take a photo of her pram and baby in random places. I try and do a few every so often but there hasn't been many in the winter. If you look on my instagram you will properly find a few more.


We even got some mummy and LJ photos! This is a rare thing, LJ will think he spent all his time with his daddy when he looks back at his photos.


The place was beautiful, I loved how there was straight narrow gaps every so often, it just looked so inviting and made me want to take photos. I'm pretty sure there is a reason for this and I'm pretty sure I learnt about it when I did a forest volunteer day for work a couple of years ago, but I don't remember the reason right now.


We had a great time at a little park in the middle. Ali got told off by a 5 year old for going down the slide because he was too big and LJ was too little. The rebel in him did it anyway and they both had a great laugh!



I also switched from behind the camera to go have some fun with LJ! 


(Plus I had to take advantage of the extra wide adult bottom fitting slide. 


Mummy and Daddy had some fun too... I love a good sunglasses reflection picture.


At the time of this outing, I would say 'LJ's getting really close to walking on his own', that information has changed slightly but i'll save that for the next post. (You may never know at the rate i'm typing!) He has progressed to one handed walking and is very clear on who he wants holding his hand, he is not afraid to shake you off! He made me very sad on this day because he wanted nothing to do with me all day (never mind I was the one who carried you and birthed you and pretty much cares for you 24/7 little man!) he is very much a daddy's boy at the moment. 


So he pretty much walked all the way around the forest and we had fun investigating lots of different things like the wooden wig wams but LJ wasn't so sure.



I loved the light coming in through the trees in this photo and the one below. It makes his eyes look so even more beautiful. He had fun with pine cones too and we lasted a good 10 minutes before he tried to eat one. 


You'll see i've progressed from pram abandonment to baby abandonment in random locations.


The great thing about bank holidays is more family days together, and even better extended family members usually have days off too. We spent the day in the garden doing some gardening (I say doing, I supervised and didn't really do anything) and LJ got to run riot, which was fitting for his new hairstyle due to his refusal to wear a sun hat and not stay in the shade (Suncream hair, anyone?)


He got to meet his first real frog, the same as the ones mummy is always singing about in the bath. The frog is lucky he escaped because i'm pretty sure LJ would have tried to eat him, he was not scared one bit! On a side note, Ali is great at carefully catching various butterflies, moths, frogs and other small beings, if you ever want to look at one. 


LJ had a pretty good run of the garden with his walker, we have to lug this thing around with us everywhere but our backs are thankful for it. I'm also really impressed that first he learnt to stick his hand in the air to say he wanted help to turn around, he has now progressed to actually turning the wagon himself, which I can only describe as some kind of baby 3 point turn. 


It was a lovely chilled day and we had some BBQ sausages and burgers for the first time this year and it was definitely t-shirt weather. That kind of day doubled with a bank holiday and a 4 day week makes everyone happier. 


We also spent the extra time we had at the weekend letting LJ experiment again with the spoon. I actually got the letter today about his one year review and at least I can say he tries with the spoon... haha. 


There might have been a pasta massacre but i'm sure he had a great bank holiday weekend!

I'm going to try and post again tomorrow to catch up as i've got lots of LEGO updates and someone turned 11 months on Friday and I was only 3 days late with the monthly photos. 

Hashtag winning.

Monday, 5 May 2014

It's all about the apps.

Ever wondered what apps other people use? No? Just me? Well I'm about to tell you my favourites and a couple of newly discovered ones. I'm afraid I'm a Apple iPhone user and so these are all available on the App Store but I'm unaware if they are on other platforms.

First up is - Timehop


I think this app has been available for a long time but these sort of things need a friend to discover and then it spreads through the group. Yes that's right, I've already seen a few of you have downloaded it and are using it! 

The idea of Timehop is it connects to your Facebook/twitter/Instagram/photo files, which ever you choose, and it shows you on a daily basis what you were up to in the last however many years you've been using that social media. Mine goes back to 6 years as that's when I got Facebook (in my first year of Uni because I had to upload a photography project and I had no idea what I was doing!). 


It's pretty cool to be reminded of what (stupid) things you may have been up too and what (ridiculous) status' you wrote. It's a much easier method compared to scrolling back through your media. The only downside is you can't go back and see missed days, unless I've not discovered that yet?


You can even share them via Facebook etc to remind everyone else what you were up too. I prefer to share them via text message to those friends involved, it's a great way to start up a conversation with a friend you haven't spoke to in a while - remember when we thought this looked cool? 

Here's the link to the App Store download - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/timehop/id569077959?mt=8

It's FREE. 

Next up is a newly discovered app - Freeprints


I saw this app through a sponsored Facebook advertisement, normally I would scroll past such an app detailed 'free prints' but I read the quick description and clicked on further. This app is basically a photo printing app but the idea is you get a certain number of free prints each month and then you pay for extra prints or just pay the postage and packaging on the free ones you do order. They give you 45 free each month but if friends sign up using your code (mine is srhind3) and order free prints, then you get give 5 extra prints free for each friend. 

I ordered mine last month and they came very quickly and were good quality considering they were free.
 

If your like me and take a bunch of photos on your phone and they never make it to a physical copy - this app is for you! It's so easy to select which photos you want to choose and your fre prints limit refreshs every month, so it's great to order last months photos at the beginning of each month. 

The hard part is choosing! If your shocked by my camera roll amount, that's it deleted down...

The link to download from the App Store is here - 

It's FREE.

An old time favourite (and even more of a favourite after baby brain striked) - keeper.


So I have a million different websites that in signed up too and logins and passwords and it all gets a bit hard to remember, especially if you haven't logged into that website for a while. So my solution is password keeper! It's an app on your phone that you set a password to get in too and then you can list all the different folders, stuff like websites, work, cards and then you can store your user and password and it even has a jumbliser feature to jumble it up for you so even if someone made it into your app, they couldn't work it out.

Now it depends how suspicious you are of things like this. I'm a little suspicious so I just put a reminder of the password for myself. For example, if my password was sunshin659 I might put sun dad as in the word and then dads year of birth. Same with the user, I just put the domin email that I've used to sign up with, like me.com or gmail.com. 


I'd say I use this app at least once a week, usually twice. I discovered this app back in my apple reseller shop years, maybe a customer told me? I can't remember. (This is why I NEED this app.)


This is FREE unless you sign up to the back-up feature at an extra cost. 

A few baby related apps now...

BabyCentre - my baby today


I used the BabyCentre - my pregnancy app while I was pregnant and even though I'd already read up on most of the content, it's great to get expectant daddy's to download too so they can keep up to date without asking you everyday what they should know. You input some data about your baby and it gives you a day by day timeline of what might be going on with your baby or games you can play. I don't use the my baby app as much as I did the pregnancy as it's hard to remember sometimes! I check in every so often and read the few days behind and ahead of today's date. 

I first found the app when my friend was pregnant and it was all very confusing to me the whole measuring in weeks and how long she had to go etc. I downloaded te app and put in her due date and understood a bit better on where she was at. 

You can download the pregnancy app here -


And the my baby app here -


They are both FREE. 

The wonder weeks app is a similar concept to the my baby, but it follows a different theory to wondering what is up with your baby. The wonder weeks explains baby's temperament based on them going through 'leaps' and it's all based on their due date, rather than their birth date.  

This is a chart of the whole year - the storm clouds are weeks you can expect baby to be grumpier, more upset, grizzly. The sunshine blocks are when baby is likely to be more settled and happy. 

The storm clouds are when baby is going through a 'leap' and learning something new. I'm a big believer in this being true, there was a few weeks when LJ was very young when he was very unsettled, and wonder weeks informed me he was getting better eyesight and therefore his whole world as he knew it was changing and this scared him and he'd cry more. 

I don't go totally by it but it's interesting to log in and see what leap is upcoming and what skills baby is learning and how this might affect them. As you can see, I'm good for the next 2 and a bit weeks and then I've got a storm coming my way! (When my baby should have been coming my way last year - if he hadn't been late!)


Each leap is detailed and it's actually really interesting stuff that is usually left out of the traditional baby books. 

The link to download is here - 


The app is £1.49. 

My LIFESAVER app - sound sleeper


You may or may not know that babies like white noise. It calms them, it makes them fall asleep, it keeps parents sane. 

I started off with the Mothercare app that has 5 different white noises that are a minute long and you can loop them on repeat. This was great but obviously there was no stopping it, we spent the first 4 nights or so falling in and out of sleep to the sound of the ocean in our bedroom. Lovely for a bit but makes you feel like you need to go pee even more. 

I think I discovered this one through the BabyCentre birth board that I used to go on after LJ was born. The beauty of this app is it has a time limit! With the free version, you can set it to 30 minutes and after that it reduces the noise level gently and fades out. A LIFESAVER. It also comes with a huge range of sounds that opens the world to white noise listening. 


LJ's favourites were the hair dryer and womb noises and then eventually the rain. I used to pop it on my phone and tuck it in to his carseat and rock him if he was having a meltdown out and about. He's be quiet in an instance and everyone was always amazed. My pregnant friend laughed at me once when I got out my phone and popped on a hair dryer noise but as soon as I put that phone next to my screaming baby, he stopped instantly and fell asleep! It was safe to say she downloaded that app there and then! 

The link to download is here -


The app is FREE but extra features are additional cost. 

Finally it's my photo editing apps. 

I don't normally do a lot to my phone photos, but every so often I need to tweak the contrast on a photo or I might add a filter. I'm not a big fan of the filters on Instagram, so I use this app instead.

Afterlight. 


I discovered this one through someone I followed on Instagram who was testing the app before it was released back in 2012. When it went live I downloaded it and since then it's had some great updates. 


It has loads of pre-made filters and it's easy to navigate through the app. When I did my pregnancy photos each week, I used the filter 'captain' to make all the photos look like they were part of a project. 

It's got all the basic editing features and then lots of extras and fine tuning. It's easy to save to your camera roll or you can share directly to different media platforms. 

Here is the link to download -


It's £0.69

A beautiful mess


This app was made by someone I had been following for ages on Instagram and who has an awesome home DIY blog. They went to number 1 download in the first week it was released. 


It has loads of cute doodles and boarders if you want to jazz up a photo. You can put text over the top top in a number of colours and fonts. 


I tend to use this one for fun every so often. 

The link to download is here -


The app costs 69p and has in app purchases for further content. 

Lastly, PicFrame

I use this one if I'm featuring more than one photo in one upload. 


Lately I've been using this to group together my #100happydays project (which I'm aware I'm behind in sharing but up to date in happy days)


There are loads of frame combos and in various photo sizes. You can also add some basic filters to your photos while they are in the frames and some background colours and patterns to your frame. 

It's great to make you feel better about choosing which photos to share but fear of uploading 'too many'. 

The link to download is here - 


The cost is 69p.

So there you have it! These are the apps I use on my iPhone. I have to say I used to have loads of apps downloaded but since having a baby, I just don't have the time! I have more blog webpages home pages now than games and such. If you want to read more about any of the apps then click on their links and read up. When I was finding the links I couldn't even remember which ones I'd paid for and which were free. I downloaded all of them based on just reading about them and it's great they were all fab apps! 

If you have a cool app you use that you think I might be interested in then throw a link my way! 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

10 months.


Dear LJ,

You are 10 months old and mummy was two weeks late in taking your photos. 

What's new this month?

You learnt to point your finger and do so at every thing you see. 
You found a love for Postman pat and remain the stillest I've seen you while you watch.
You are nearly walking on your own but you still prefer to hold my hand. 
You discovered you can pick and choose the food you want to eat.
You have got worse at going down to sleep but better at sleeping through.
You now have FOUR teeth and more coming.
You jumped a whole weight bracket at your latest weigh in.
You eat too much cheese, that's properly why.
You love strawberries and eat them all without dropping one.
You had your first taste of chocolate and LOVED it.
You cry when mummy OR daddy leave for work. 
You love trains and cars and will push them around the floor.
You give flirty smiles to everyone and then hide away all shy.
You have a favourite toy and it's a green train.
You lie back in the bath when daddy tells you to 'kick back'.
You still get excited at everything and circle your wrists and ankles.
You throw a tantrum if you don't get your own way.
You now get up at 5am every day.
You are generally a happy boy and everyone tells me so.

Oh and Mummy loves you 10 times as much! 


So I was a little late with the monthly battle photos, I knew it was too good to be true that I'd done the previous eight and nine month photos on time. I thought I was being clever and took the chair downstairs to the conservatory for bigger opportunities for distraction out the window while I took the photos. In reality all this created was a harder floor for LJ to try and face plant.


I tried my usual tricks of holding an interesting object up above my head while attempting to take photos with the other hand. I even had postman pat playing on the iPad in the background but all I got were leaning photos on the side as he attempted to watch past the camera. 


I actually think I had too much light in the conservatory because I was also getting stressed at my camera and the settings. 


They all look a little blurry to me and not sharp enough but of course this could be down to the time I have to take a photo before he tries to jump off the chair. I was even crazily thinking of continuing the monthly photos for the rest of his life (or until he hates me for them) and then I thought, lets get to 12 months first.


The fan worked but was in the wrong location.

10 months is waaaaay too close to having a 1 year old for my liking. I'm still very much in denial that he will be one soon (43 days to be exact). I've only considered the fact I need to sort something out to celebrate him turning one as it's going to happen whether I can deal with it or not. We do have his birthday presents sorted though! I won't give it away yet but Ali and I are pretty excited to see his face when he sees them. I love that you can see he now has preferred toys to play with and his favourites developing, it means we can get him things he will really LOVE. 

Yes, I'm totally aware I will enjoy his birthday more than him.


I got my latest #sundaymorningmadness photo while LJ was watching Postman pat. I'm a little sad most of our Sunday morning madness photos haven't been in bed lately. He doesn't really do staying in confined spaces anymore, especially since we stopped the breast feeds completely last month. Once he's done with his bottle, he's off climbing the window sill or hitting daddy in the back and trying to nose dive off the side of the bed. 


45 weeks. 


Don't you just love a newly awake baby in the morning (OK, maybe not too early in the morning). He is also sporting more Primark pjs, they are actually 12-18m but I just turn them up. As much as I love him in the onesie pjs, he can't walk around in them or even crawl as he ends up with two legs in the body part, so I opt for pjs as it makes things easier. 


Oh, something I left off the above list - You learnt to stick out your tongue. 

So after 10 months of being a mummy, I've been venturing out the last couple of weeks to social events on my own (as in without baby, not alone). I'm torn with how I feel about it, on one hand it's great to be just me again and do things I would have done pre-baby, but on the other hand I feel like I'm missing a part of me when LJ isn't with me. 


We all headed out to celebrating my friend's Hen do last week. It was a FULL day out, I went to a spa, had a lovely neck, back and shoulders massage and then went out for dinner. I think it's the first time i've been away all day on my own, I have been out before but Ali has always been with me and my mum has had LJ. So it was a first for daddy to have him all day and a first for me to be out without my boys (How has he managed to dodge that one for 10 months?!) It was a really great day! I loved my massage, even if I could hear how bad my shoulders were, I guess that's what you get for laying down and feeding a baby in bed every morning for all those months and making sure you don't squish them. 


It was so much fun going back to my friends in-between the spa and meal and getting ready together and very much like old times. I did have a big case of mummy guilt - more so that I had the option to go home in-between but I chose not too. I just figured if I go back then I'll get involved in bedtime routine and that's very unpredictable. I missed LJ like mad but I laughed so much my cheeks hurt at dinner.


I may have also had some wine and cocktails and then because I hadn't been at home all day, LJ decided he needed a mummy cuddle for an hour at 2am. The two or three times I've been out for a drink and then came home, I have always been greeted with LJ in the night keeping me awake. Now I'm not saying this is true to everyone (don't go out drinking and then expect this to work) but I've not suffered from a hangover in the morning. I may be extremely tired but no hangover, I guess not sleeping after drinking means no time to get hungover. 

This week I took a theatre trip with the girls from work to see Blood Brothers and have dinner. It was a great show but if you know the story line then you know it's not a great show to go watch when you are thinking about feeling guilty about missing your baby at home. 


I also did some overtime at work and plan to again next week. I'm torn between feeling like I'm not at work enough hours to get everything done and feel on top of things and then obviously I don't want to have less time with LJ. I figure every so often that doing some overtime and getting some extra money won't hurt too much. I do notice the difference when I'm away from LJ for a long time because when he does wake in the night, he doesn't want me to let him go, he can look in a deep sleep but the minute I go to put him down in his cot, he throws his arms in the air and cries and climbs up to reach me. 

It breaks my heart.

I attempted to try and do some sleep training a couple of weeks back and the first time we did it we got to 9 minutes and he fell asleep. The second time I tried it he was still going at 20 minutes and I was at breaking point. I'm just not a strong enough person to put me and him through that, I don't care how many people tell me to stick at it and get through it, it doesn't work for us and I'm OK with that. I may complain about being tired and getting up and now even bedtime can be a long drawn out process for us but I will do it as long as it takes until we can work on something better when he understands more. At the moment, all he thinks is I'm being abandoned and sometimes that's what I feel I'm doing. 

Everyday is an emotional roller coaster being a mum. It's all so worth it though, especially when you get to see the excitement on your baby's face when you get his bunny rabbits out for cuddles. We celebrated Bonsai's 2nd birthday with cuddles and a nail clipping (he can't say we don't spoil him!) and LJ just gets so excited to see them. I'm loving the warmer weather and being able to get outside in the afternoon and hang out with the bunnies or cruise around the garden decking, the summer can't come quick enough. 

I did make Ali proud this week and to be honest, I was quite proud myself... 


Mini figure mystery pack from 2012 found in the clearance aisle for 60p a packet. 

Now i'm not a bargain hunter and I HATE sales with a passion, I find them chaotic and I don't have the motivation. So when I stumbled across this find while I was looking for a pen to buy because i'd been disorganised and didn't pack one in my work bag ready to write the thank you card to LJ's nursery, I was quite VERY impressed. Sitting at the end of an aisle in a little box that said reduced to clear - 60p was 5 lego packets. 

Obviously I bought all 5 and ended up using the lottery pen to write in the card.


I then dropped LJ off for his last ever nursery day (we found a childminder, she is lovely, LJ gets on great there and i'm hoping to feel a lot better about it all from now on) and was brave and didn't cry, even though he did and I practically ran into the office to open these up before too many people got in. 


I text Ali to inform him he had the best girlfriend ever and then told him I was going to open ALL FIVE packets when I got to work. I kept him in suspense and texted him a picture as I opened each one and it certainly made my Monday morning more fun.


It's cool that we got more lady lego and some funky characters too. Ali really wanted the man robot lego as we have a lady robot at home (and who doesn't like a love story?) and he also wanted the bandit. 



I didn't get him the bandit but I did get five different lego mini-figures, which I didn't think was too bad considering for the first time ever I just counted how many packets were there, did the math and then dumped them all in my shopping basket. 


We called this one sleepy logi bear but i'm not sure why as our son is never sleepy (and isn't much of a fan of a bear). 


So I worked away happily on Monday with my proud purchases looking at me and feeling pretty impressed with myself. We now have lots of Lego people ready for future play time! Although Ali got the box down today to put a new one in and LJ spotted it and got excited and zombie crawled over very fast and jammed both hands in only to be told by his daddy that he was being too rough with them and he had to wait until he was older to play. Cue upset tantrum and a flash forward to 15 years and hearing the same phase being repeated to LJ - will Ali ever let him play with them? That is the question. 


Maybe that will be another thing mummy and LJ do while daddy is at work, like when I give him a little bit of chocolate to stay still during a nappy change and we don't tell daddy about it. 


So who else has discovered the new mini-figure sets out in the stores? 

We did and got excited and then disappointed very quickly. Sorry all, we aren't fans of the new Simpsons mini-figure set. They just look so weird and cheap, not that it didn't stop us feeling all the packets and guessing who was in all of them (If your looking for a certain one then let me know, we'll find it for you!) but we got one anyway, funnily enough Ali said the only ones he was interested in getting were itchy and starchy, the cat and the mouse and we ended up getting the packet that we were clueless about and it was the mouse. So after some googling on the mini-figures website, we read up that the Simpsons aren't a one off on the side release, they are the next series that will be current for the next 4 months. Boo. What does everyone else think about them? If you have kids that collect the lego, are they excited for them or is this totally aimed at the big kid adult collectors?

So i'm glad that I found my series 12 lego people because it makes up for a very unexciting 4 months to come for lego updates. I guess i'll have to keep searching for clearance lego because it sure was an exciting find.