Wednesday, June 27, 2012

'What To Expect' Series Review and Giveaway!

I will hold my hands up and admit that since the day and hour I found out I was pregnant with Ollie, I have LOVED baby books.  Pregnancy advice, parenting advice.... the whole shabang.  I have a bookshelf full of books to cover every aspect of raising a child!  I don't take them as gospel, I just like to feel informed and reassured!

What To Expect When You're Expecting has been dubbed a 'pregnancy bible' and I have to agree.  There is nothing the book forgets to mention.  It informs you yet doesn't overwhelm you, and its nice to read through month by month as you progress through your pregnancy.  Pregnancy is scary and exciting but full of unknowns... there is so much going on inside your body that you just can't see... I was so reassured to know what was happening with baby.

Once baby arrives.... what's next?  Well, What To Expect have another book to follow their pregnancy 'bible'.... What To Expect The First Year!  What To Expect The First Year covers your baby's development month by month.  It gives hints and tips and answers questions that EVERY new mum will have.

What To Expect The Second Year is a lifesaver too, when things start to get.... interesting.  Topics like tantrums and talking... socialising your baby and when they finally get on the move!  It's also reassuring to know where your kid is developmentally... are they meeting their milestones etc.

All three books offer so much information and advice, but as I mentioned before, it doesn't overwhelm. The books are easy to navigate and cover just about everything you could think of.  If you don't have the books you can check out the website: What To Expect.. packed full of information for mums and dads to be and those who are mums already!  You can also follow What To Expect on Twitter @whattoexpect.

Now I've told you what I think of the series... why don't you find out for yourself.  TWO lucky readers will each win the whole set of 3 books.

Not pregnant/ been there done that?  Enter anyway!  A set of all 3 books would make a lovely gift!

2 people will win a set each of all 3 books!!

Giveaway closes on Saturday 14th July and the winners will be drawn that night.  Winners will be selected at random and contacted via email (please remember to include your email address in your entry!).

1. Please leave a comment on this post.

For 3 extra chances to win:
2. Follow me here.
3. Follow me on twitter @emmaleehughes84.
4. Tweet about the giveaway and include link.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fathers Day 2012

We had a lovely Fathers Day this year.  I made James banana and chocolate chip baked oatmeal for breakfast and we all ate it in bed together.  We had a relaxing morning... James took Dexter for a walk and when he came home we all got ready and went for lunch in Nandos.  We LOVE Nandos.  I honestly don't know why we eat anywhere else... it's delicious.

After Nandos we went to Lady Dixon Park (at Ollie's request) and spent time having a wander, having a swing and playing in the sandpit.  This was followed by icecream at Barnams.  Nate even got to have a little taster.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


James and I have been married for 5 years now and recently (brought on by James recent time away in London) I've been looking into ways to keep the marriage alive and keep the spark going good and strong.  What makes it hard is that James and I are TOTALLY different in terms of personality.  He doesn't understand the need for romance etc whereas romance is something I love!  James doesn't do romance in a way that is stereotypical... chocolate and flowers etc... his way is unique.  I came up with a few things that we could do that weren't necessarily romantic... but that would keep us close and loved up.  So... non-romantic ideas for keeping the spark in a non-stereotypically-romantic marriage.

1. Together Hobbies

We lead very different lives... he with his career and me with my SAHM life... and so our hobbies differ also.  He loves music, anything to do with computing and technology...  I love reading, baking, watching chick flicks etc!  We came up with a few hobbies we could share including geocaching (neither of us have tried this yet but are both eager to try it out!) and watching the top 250 movies on IMDB!

2. In The Bedroom.... (family may not want to read this bit!)

We all know that S-E-X can get fairly routine and lacking in spice, when our lives are crazy full of work and kids... sometimes the last thing you want to do on a weekday is swing from the ceiling after the kids are in bed... much easier to slob in front of the tv with some junk food and have an early night. I like the idea of making things more interesting by instigating a 'no sex in the bed on weekends' rule.  I'll leave that one to your imagination!

3. Married Book

This is a very new one for us.  We have a little Moleskin notebook that we have decided to keep as our married book in which we can write a note to one another... draw a doodle... stick a photo... anything goes, so long as it is directed at the other person.  I thought this would be a nice no pressure way of each thinking of something nice to say to the other person, without the gushiness of saying it face to face (James is not a fan of gushiness!).  We have each made one entry so far and so far we both like the idea of the book.

4. Dating!

James and I had a crazy fun date this month... dinner and a movie.  The meal was amazing, the movie was average... but we had a REALLY good night out together.  We haven't had a date like that in a long time and it didn't matter that the movie wasn't very good... we were out together, alone and it was lovely.  We are making it a monthly thing now.  Dinner and a movie/ something else at least once a month.  Dates don't have to cost a fortune... I know that now.  Even a hot chocolate and a pastry would suffice.

Our marriage is by no means perfect... but most of the time it runs smoothly and happily... it is evident though that a marriage really does take effort.  Effort to keep things fun and interesting and to leave no doubt in a spouse's mind that they are indeed very much loved.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Picture Perfect

My dad is a press photographer and it has always come in handy anytime I want a photoshoot done PROPERLY... seeing as though I'm not quite as good with a camera yet.  Below are my favourites out of the recent set that he did.  I love black and white.  I don't print off a lot of the photos that I take, but these are definitely going on the wall.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nate is 5 Months

At 5 months old Nate is:

Chatting!  It's the cutest sound
Still has blue eyes
Is no longer bald!
Pretty much fits 6-9 month clothes
Is still enjoying weaning....
...and prefers sweet fruit rather than savoury food
Loves smiling at his big brother
He is the most ticklish little boy ever
Still learning to sit up
Is a chubba bubba!
Doesn't really like his dummy much anymore...
Still wakes in the night for a full feed
Stands with assistance
Is so so sweet 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ollie's 4th Birthday

We celebrated Ollie's birthday properly on the Sunday before his actual birthday on the Tuesday.  Sunday was the day of his party so we figured we would do the whole shabang that day for him.  He woke up and we wished him a Happy Birthday and we went downstairs where he opened all of his presents.  He got a spiderman costume, a Bruder fire engine, Jake and Cubby from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, 2 Usborne lift the flaps books, a couple of Spiderman figures and a couple of other bits and pieces.

After the presents were all opened, James took Ollie to the cinema to see The Avengers, while I got the house tidied and started to prepare the party food!

When Ollie got home he changed into his Spiderman costume... pretty much his favourite present out of the lot!

He had a lovely (small) party.  We had Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and just a couple of our friends over for it.  I put out some lovely food (mango and avocado salad, cocktail sausages, baked potatoes with all the fixings....) and for dessert I put out a Minecraft Creeper cake that I made myself (SO PROUD!)... Ollie loved it.  He is a super fan of Minecraft at the moment.

Everyone left before bedtime except his cousin Conor who spent the night.  Ollie's first ever sleepover. The boys were totally hyper before bed but the sleepover went well... they had so much fun!

I can't believe my firstborn is 4!!  Holy crap, how'd 4 years go that fast??

Pickie Park Fun!

Ollie's birthday fell on the Tuesday that James had to leave for Norway (for work), so we made the most of the weekend instead.  On Saturday, we enjoyed a day out and on Sunday, we had his birthday party and he opened all of his presents.

Looking at the boats in Bangor Bay
The weather was looking good so, we decided to head to Bangor for the day.  They updated their Pickie Park recently and we had never been so decided to go there, to do something new!

As well as a playground, they have a few things to entertain kids including a splash park (too cold for that though), water zorbing, a tiny steam train, swan boats and go karts.  Ollie had a go (or 2) at everything except the water zorbing and the splash park.  He went on the train twice... and LOVED the go karts.  He got the hang of it very quickly!

Ollie and I on the steam train
Ollie on the go-kart.  Look at his concentration face!
James and Ollie on the swan!
James and Ollie on the train.
After spending time in the park we went for lunch in The Rabbit Room.  It is a quirky little pub that has a restaurant upstairs in the evening.  The food was delicious!  We each had a burger... Ollie enjoyed his, I think it was the first proper burger he has ever eaten.  Mine had a mushroom, caramelised onion jam and brie on it.  Mine came with sweet potato fries and we ordered a side of sesame onion rings and some calamari.  Delicious.

Such a fun and memorable day out!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Fun Bucket List Link-Up

Please add your own lists to the linky below!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The First Moments...

I remember the first moments with each of my boys very differently. The pregnancies were different but so too were the births. In fact, they couldn't have been MORE different.

Ollie I don't really remember a lot of the birth and I don't remember the moment he came out. I remember the tug (he was a forceps delivery) and gush and vaguely remember him being placed on my chest for a moment before being taken to the baby table to be looked over. He was then placed into an incubator. James took some photos... I sat there in awe and shock. It was a traumatic birth and I think this really affected our first moments. I remember he looked huge, and had blue feet. I felt so sorry for him lying there in his incubator.

Nate was a water birth... I was the only person to touch him during his delivery and the only person to have touched him in his first 20 minutes of life. I remember he looked tiny and had a really squishy little face. I remember almost every part of his birth whereas with Ollie, it's a puzzle and lots of the pieces are missing.

My first hours with Ollie again, are a blur. I remember them bringing me toast etc once we got up to the ward but I wasn't feeling great so James ate it!! The midwife took him away to the nursery after James had gone home, I think I was still showing signs of shock and they figured I needed to rest. I zonked out. I woke at 5am... with such a massive EMPTY feeling.... I suddenly missed him SO much so went to the nursery to get him... it wasn't until the moment I saw him again, that my MASSIVE love for him came flooding from nowhere.

Because Nate's birth was a lot easier (obviously horrendously painful...but quicker, more straightforward etc) my mind was a lot clearer when he was born. Because I had not needed pain relief apart from the gas and air and there was nothing traumatic about his delivery, I remember it all so clearly. I remember being stitched up, exclaiming how I couldn't believe that it had been SO quick! It was 3 hours 25 minutes from the moment my waters broke until he was born. It felt surreal and I felt like SUPERWOMAN.

The first days as a first time mother went by fast. James and I looked at Ollie in wonder... snuggled... caught sleep when we could.... ordered takeout.... had adventures such as the first time out for a walk together, the first time out for a drive together... we had visitors.

The first few days as a mum of two went even faster. I spent the days (and still do) feeling like the most crazy lucky lady that ever lived. Two perfect, healthy, handsome, happy, little boys. It was nice the second time knowing how to do everything. There wasn't the same nervousness and unknown as the first time. I knew how to dress a newborn, hold, feed and burp him.

I can't believe I have a 4 year old and a 4 month old. I don't think the surreal feeling of having carried two children and given birth to them both will ever go away. I look at them both and can't believe they are mine and that they're mine forever!

(Re-posting this as I guestblogged for Hollybobb!)