Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ten months

Age - ten months

Weight - 20lbs

Height -  29 1/2"

Sleeping habits - She is officially in her own room and in her cot; no more basket. I know it's been 4 months since my last update but this is still a relatively new development. She still ends up in bed with me in the wee hours but it's better than nothing.

Eating habits - Still breastfeeding and she loves fruit and veggie purées. I've been giving her oatmeal (blended up oats) mixed with fruits which she loves too. She is also a massive fan of puffs and rice crackers. We've recently started letting her try bits of things we are eating which is the only real way she'll eat chunky things. Also giving a baby sweet potato fries means you'll get the chance to eat you're own dinner--win, win. She, much like her brother before her, is a big fan of a Scottish morning roll.

baby eating sweet potato fries

Favorite activity - She is all about pulling up and standing up, doing the hand movements to "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and putting anything she can find in her mouth.

Milestones - Well I've not done this for 4 months so probably crawling and standing and other things I'm forgetting. Still no teeth.

Firsts-  Overnight away from Mom when I was in London for work in June, bath with her brother, Fourth of July, pigtails and big girl bath

baby girl fourth of july tutu

baby pigtails

Like to compare/contrast? Well tough I didn't do a 10 month update for Blondie Boy. It's nice to see I'm consistent with my inconsistency. Here's the boy's 9 month update though!

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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Debenhams Summer Soiree

Summer in Glasgow this year is particularly disappointing; I think we've literally had ONE day of summer. It's been grey, rainy and just dreary. Luckily Debenhams brought all of summers best beauty and swimwear trends to Gusto Glasgow to give us that summer feeling. I mean it IS July after all!

Debenhams Summer Soiree

One of my favourite finds was Barebaroque jewellery tattoos. Tattoo bracelets are so on trend for summer festivals but I'd never seen metallic and neon jewellery tattoos like this. They have the requisite delicate, metallic single strand tattoos or bigger statement pieces like the metallic and neon Aztec band I went for.

Barebaroque Jewellery Tattoos

The tattoos are super easy to put on just like you would any traditional temporary tattoos and they last 3-5 days. The sheets of multiple designs are only £6 so you can mix, match and stack the jewellery tattoos for a night out or if you are like me to run to brighten up your Starbucks run on a rainy day!

Gold Silver Tattoo Bracelet

Keeping on the summer festival trend Lorraine Wood Flowers taught us how to make amazing, real floral crowns. Lorraine is known for her innovate wedding flowers but also runs workshops. I miserably failed but luckily Lorraine stepped in to save my crown!

Real Flower Floral Crown

Two Blondes Flower Crown

While we all noshed on Gusto's yummy bites and sipped summer cocktails, we also got to see Debenhams summer swimwear. Neon colours, frills and details were all big. 

Blonde Brunette Redhead Model Neon Bikinis

Swimwear is one of the hardest things for me to find--finding a suit that supports and is cute is damn near impossible. If it supports the girls it looks matronly and if it's cute, it doesn't fit up top. Luckily Debenhams has me covered with Floozie by Frost French suit that not only supports with underwire and a halter neck, but has all the delicate details on trend this summer. Plus it has skulls and y'all know I'm a sucker for skulls.

Skull Retro Swimsuit

What are your favourite trends for summer? 

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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Six Months

Age - six months

Weight - 16lbs 3oz

Height -  27 1/2"

Sleeping habits - She still sleeps through the night but I have to wake up some time (I don't look at the clock) and put her pipka back in 3-5 times in a row. She's also still in her Shnuggle Moses basket in our room but NBH is pushing for her to go in her own room.

Eating habits - We started solids the day after she turned 6 months. I attempted baby led weaning and started her out with a chunk of avocado. She kept gagging and then spewed up all over herself so that was the end of that. I'm sure BLW is great for some people but I can't deal with gagging. So we moved on to rice cereal. She wasn't really sure about it but we'll try again and then do the same as we did with her brother and I'll make veggie and fruit purées.

Favorite activity - Her feet, kicking, petting/stroking people, looking at her brother and splashing in the bath.

Milestones - Is there a milestone about learning to control their tongue? Her tongue is persistently out of her mouth.

Firsts-  solid food, time in a pushchair

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Monday, 9 March 2015

Red Nose Day 2015 #IGiveAShirt

Red Nose Day 2015 is this Friday! Blondie Boy has been collecting all the different noses on offer this year and was super excited when TK Maxx asked if we wanted to take part in special Red Nose Day challenge.

TK Maxx is the official retailer for the Red Nose Day t-shirts and for this campaign they have teamed up with five of the biggest names in fashion Anya Hindmarch, Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Furstenberg, Henry Holland and Matthew Williamson! Each limited edition design is completely unique to each designer with a very special Red Nose Day twist featuring quirky quotes.

Profits from the sale of each T-shirt are donated to Comic Relief to help people living incredibly tough lives across Africa and here in the UK. 

This year TK Maxx have also launched their #igiveashirt social campaign. Lily Allen has launched the shirt spin challenge and Blondie Boy, Baby Girl and I decided to give it a go!

Blondie Boy and his sister both went for the Anya Hindmarch tees (you have to love the Oscar Wilde quote) and I decided that Diane von Furstenberg was more my style.

Then it was time to spin!


Even Baby Girl gave it a go!

Will you say #igiveashirt too and take part in this Red Nose Day challenge? It's an easy and fun way to show your support and if a 5 year old and 5 month old can do it so can you!

Taking part is easy:

·         Put on your new TK Maxx Red Nose Day T-shirt
·         Film yourself spinning it 360°
·         Share your video online using #igiveashirt
·         Challenge your friends to prove they Give A Shirt too!

Red Nose Day tees are available at TK Maxx starting at £5.99 for children and babies (with at least£2.50 going to Comic Relief) and from £12.99 (with at least £6 going to Comic Relief) for adults.

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Breastfeeding and Working

Almost two months ago I went back to work. Baby Girl was 3 months old and exclusively breastfed. We weren't having any issues breastfeeding so I had no intentions of stopping and luckily my work has been extremely accommodating. I have my own little mini-fridge to store milk in during the day and access to a private room only I have the keys to so I can express during the day.

Even when you have a cooperative work (legally they have to be!) you are going to need some additional things to express while at work. This was all new to me but after a month I think I've got a good system worked out. Here are the products that make breastfeeding and being a working mom work for me.
First and foremost my Medela Freestyle Double Breast Pump. I literally could not be back at work with out it. Since I'm separated from Baby Girl while I'm at work I need to express to remind my body to keep producing milk and so she can have milk to drink when I'm not around. The Freestyle is small and compact with a rechargeable battery and comes with a complete set for the storage, cooling and transport of breastmilk. The 2-Phase Expression Technology is based on the natural sucking rhythm of the baby: Short, stimulating patterns are followed by longer ones, ensuring an optimal milkflow. Its faster let-down and maximum milkflow reduces pumping time significantly and you can express more milk in less time.

I've used the pump now at home, at work and even on a train. The Freestyle comes with a specially shaped freezer pack that will keep breastmilk cold while you are travelling. The bottles are BPA-free and can be used to store milk with the provided lids or with the Calma teat to feed your baby.

This is the only breast pump I have ever used but is the only one I'd want to use. You can adjust the suction to the strength that works best for you and it holds a charge for a really long time. I didn't need to charge it while I was away for a day for work in London and  I only really need to charge it once a week when I'm using it at work. I've had so many friends complain about their breast pumps but I couldn't be happier with the Freestyle. If you are going to be expressing on a regular basis I really suggest the Freestyle as it's sturdy and reliable.

Also it's worth noting that Medela's customer services team are amazing. If your pump malfunctions or a part breaks they are quick to help you sort out the problem or provide you with a new pump part as needed. Considering it's an essential (and expensive) bit of kit it is great to know they have you covered.

With my Freestyle I use a Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra. My best-friend recommended this pumping bra to me and I'm so glad she did. It means I don't have to hold the pump and can check emails and use my hands while I'm pumping. It has a velcro back and an extra zipper panel so it will fit any size. I was a bit dubious since I'm a 34J (I know it's ridiculous) and my friend is a 36B but it really is adjustable. It's not something you'd wear all day long but it makes such a huge difference when you are expressing two to three times a day. I personally can barely sit still staring into nothing for 2 minutes let alone 15-20 and it really helps that I can read work articles or check emails, too. I like it so much I got one for my sister who just had twins, too.

Once I'm done expressing I need the wash everything so I'm ready to go again later in the day. I got a large tupperware box from TK Maxx which has been invaluable. It is how I store and transport my pump parts, but is also what I wash them in. No offense to my office mates but I'm not really comfortable washing pump parts with everyone's dirty plates. I fill up the tupperware box with soap and water and then use a bottle brush I also got at TK Maxx and keep in my mini-fridge. I put paper towels on the lid of the box and set parts out the dry and then dry out the box and put everything back in. Parts then go in the fridge (a tip my BFF taught me again so you don't have to sterilize at work) and are good to go for your next session. I was able to wash my bottles and parts on the train down to London using the same technique--it's a sink and storage box in one.

Most days I wear my "normal" bras to work but if I know I'm going to be going straight to get Baby Girl and will need to feed her I wear the Anita Underwire Nursing Bra. As I mentioned before I'm up to a 34J so traditional nursing bras don't provide the support I really need. I have a really comfy Bravado bra I wear to sleep in at night, but it doesn't provide a very flattering shape. The Anita gives me the support I need but also means I can easily feed Baby Girl in public. I really struggled to find an underwire nursing bra so I was happy to learn about Anita. 

Finally I have to mention Freida's Pantry Feeding Food bars. Needless to say working full time with a 5 year old and 4 month old can be a bit stressful. Depending on what my week is like my supply has suffered. I've had friends who bake cookies that up your supply or make special oatmeal but honestly I just don't have the time. Luckily Freida's Pantry make bars that not only increase your milk supply but are easy to toss in your bag and eat on the go. When I read the ingredients and I saw fennel I honestly thought I'd hate the bars but they are actually quite tasty and most importantly they work! I've been lucky to have a fairly good supply but the bars have helped me keep that up even when I'm stressed and busy.

I've only had one problem breastfeeding while working (more on that in another post) and I really think that is down to having a good system in place. I'm grateful to my BFF for her recommendations and tips as well as having a pump that works efficiently and effortlessly. Did you breastfeed while working? What are your top tips?

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Transatlantic Blonde were provided some items for review but all opinions are our own.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Hidden Egg Challenge Allergy Testing

Blondie Boy was diagnosed with an egg allergy just shortly after his first birthday and he's been having yearly allergy tests at Yorkhill children's hospital since then. This year he tested positive but his reaction was less than previous years so we were referred for a hidden egg challenge. I'd never heard of a hidden egg challenge or read anything about it so I thought it might be useful to other allergy parents if I shared our experience.

A hidden egg challenge sounds like a cool Easter egg hunt but it is really just an extended form of allergy test. While his yearly tests consist of a droplet of egg being placed on his arm, this would use cake to see if he could handle well cooked, hidden egg--things like cakes, cookies, dried pasta, etc. It was almost two month from the allergy clinic giving him a referral until we got had his appointment for the challenge. Of course we woke up to the most snow we'd had in years the morning of his appointment but after really bad road conditions we made it.

The test itself took place on a ward in the hospital; Blondie Boy was weighed when we arrived and given a hospital bracelet and was not allowed to leave the ward until the testing was done. It was the same ward he had his original testing in over 4 years ago. After asking us some initial questions and listening to his chest (he had a cough and they needed to check it wasn't in his chest) we started the challenge.

First up he got cake plastered to his arm:

BB was actually a bit anxious about this but I told him the worst that would happen was his arm might get a bit itchy and he was a lot better. The nurse literally stuck some cake on his arm and covered it with a clear dressing. Then back to the waiting room where there were all sorts of toys, colouring in pages, a full size play house and more. Blondie Boy was also offered a Nintendo DS to play with and could have watched a DVD on a portable player if he wanted (bad Mom and Dad forgot the iPad in all the snow craziness) as well.

He didn't have any reaction on his arm so we moved on to the next stage which consisted of the nurse rubbing cake around his mouth:

Why is it that boys always have the darkest, longest lashes? It's not fair but I digress. It seems so silly but it is what is done. He continued playing with a mucky face until the nurse came back to check and again he had no reaction so we moved on.

From here he was given small bits of cake to eat in increasingly larger portions. I don't have any pictures but all the bits of cake could fit on a spoon. I'd say he probably had 4-5 rounds of cake on a spoon but I can't say for sure because I was alone with BB (who was a super star) and Baby Girl (who was not) so I didn't take notes.

After he had the last bit of cake (and by this point he didn't want any more) he was allowed to eat and drink as normal and we entered a 2 hour observation period. They gave him a cheese sandwich, yoghurt and crisps (again bad Mom and Dad forgot the lunch we were supposed to pack). The two hour wait is rough; it probably wouldn't have been so bad if it was just me and BB or if NBH had been with us the whole time but alone with a cranky 4 month old it was rough.

There were a few other children having testing at the same time for different allergens; one little girl had a reaction and basically if that happens they give your child their medicine, you have to wait for an hour and then you're done for the day. At one point one of the nurses thought BB had had a reaction but I was convinced he'd just scratched his face. Luckily they retried him with the same amount and he had no reaction so the test kept going.

It's a long five hours but the staff at Yorkhill are all really lovely and being a children's hospital they are set up to cater to children. There is a whole huge closet full of games, toys, markers, DVDs--all sorts of fun stuff to keep your child entertained so it wasn't that big of a deal when we forgot to bring the iPad. Also the nurses were really nice and showed me to a room when I wanted to breastfeed Baby Girl and there was baby change facilities in the disabled bathroom.

Since BB had no reactions at all he is now allowed well-cooked egg; 48 hours after testing you are allowed to introduce two new items at a time like cakes, cookies, pastries brushed with egg, dried pasta, Milky Way bars, etc. He is still allergic to eggs and can't have egg but that he can now have a bit of birthday cake at a friend's party is just amazing. I'm really hoping this is a sign he is growing out of his egg allergy.

We let him choose his first hidden egg treat and he's a boy after my own heart--he went with a chocolate donut. When you've not been allowed one for 5 years it is perfectly acceptable to eat it in the car on the way home.

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