Ten things you can do whilst holding your baby

Sometimes Harry just wants to be held, and sometimes I just want to hold him! I know this newborn stage is just going to fly by so I am making the most of it and getting lots and lots of snuggling done! He is getting so big so quickly!

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I am one for multi tasking though, and I have found myself doing all manner of things whilst holding Harry. Safety comes first obviously but there are lots of things you can do whilst holding a baby at the same time! My top ten are:

  1. Making bottles (using Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep in my case)

  2. Doing anything on your phone – smart phones really are a lifesaver! Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram, plus the Netmums app are my faves. Books are a no go as they require two hands, so I just read everything on my phone! As well as taking a million photos and videos of Harry – you can never have enough!

  3. Eating and drinking certain items – potentially messy but doable!

  4. Doing your make up (badly)

  5. Watching TV / YouTube

  6. Doing the online food shop (Asda click and collect I love you)

  7. Yoga moves and squats (learned at Baby Yoga!)

  8. Kissing and cuddling and smelling that amazing baby smell. And making funny faces and noises to get him to smile!

  9. Writing this blog post!

Ok that’s only 9 things but you get the idea!

Little Harry is two months old now, and growing up so fast! He is giving us beautiful smiles every day and making the cutest little baby sounds. He is already growing out of some of his 0-3 month clothes, and is really starting to love his toys and his playmat. He loves music and does these huge grins when we are making funny faces at him. He is sleeping well at night and guzzling milk like there is no tomorrow! Part of me wants time to stand still whilst another part can’t wait to see him grow and develop. He has his moments like any baby but he is such a good boy and we are so lucky!

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Love, Laurel

Review: Havaianas from Flipflopshop.co.uk

It’s finally good weather here in Northern Ireland! We are off on our first little weekend away with Harry and Ella tomorrow. We are heading for our caravan in Ballycastle and can’t wait. It’s been really hot and sunny for the past few days and I really hope it stays that way for the weekend.

I haven’t had much time to shop for summer items yet so when Flip Flop Shop kindly contacted me and asked if I would like to review a pair of flip flops I jumped at the chance.

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I chose the Havaianas in navy with a hot pink strap. I love flip flops and have lots of pairs but these are my first Havaianas. I chose the navy colour because I thought it would go with jeans as well as more summery dresses and shorts. I love the hot pink strap – my favourite colour! They are really comfy and mould to my feet really well. I have heard from friends that these are by far the most hard wearing flip flops so I will probably have them for ages.

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Flip Flop Shop have a massive selection to choose from including brands like Havaianas, Quiksilver, Birkenstock, Animal, Roxy, Fit Flop and Reef. They offer free shipping and free returns and are priced really reasonably.

Now I am going to get packing for our weekend away – soooooo much more stuff to pack these days with wee Harry in tow!

Love, Laurel

Baby Buys I Love

Now that Harry is almost 8 weeks old, we are settling into more of a routine. The days are so busy and time comes at a premium, but I am loving every minute with my gorgeous little man.

8 week old

When I was pregnant, I had no idea where to start when it came to baby purchases. It seemed like there were just so many options and different ways of doing things and it took us a while to decide on what to get. We made the main purchases before Harry arrived, but some we made after he was born, when we started to realise what we actually needed!

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine – makes your bottles in 2 minutes flat! Now that we have made the switch to full time formula feeding, we decided this machine was a must have. It adds a ‘hot shot’ of water to your bottle, you then add the powder and shake, and then it adds the remaining amount of cold, sterilised water to give you your bottle at the perfect temperature! So no boiling the kettle or cooling bottles. Highly recommend this product. You can do it one handed as well – very important!

Fisher-Price Rainforest Peekaboo Leaves Musical Mobile – Harry absolutely loves this mobile. Obviously he still sleeps in our room in his moses basket, but he also naps or just rests in his cot in his room once or twice a day. This mobile has leaves which slowly flap up and down and then four little rainforest animals underneath which spin around. There are four music options – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or rainforest sounds. It’s very colourful and holds Harry’s attention really well. It’s also really relaxing and I’ll put the music on when I am changing him. It’s great for getting him off to sleep in his cot or just for stimulating him for short periods while I am nearby. It helps him get used to his own bedroom too.

Ikea Hensvik Changing Table and Cabinet – this was only £60 and is such a useful piece of furniture. It’s essentially a shelving unit/dresser, with a changing table attachment which can be removed after it is no longer needed. There are four shelves – we use the bottom two for all of Harry’s supplies – nappies, toiletries etc. The top two we use for displaying a few toys, and for a small supply of everything we need to change a nappy. That way everything is to hand. His changing mat obviously sits on the changing table and we can easily reach for a nappy, wipes, nappy bag and other little items like Sudocream or his nose drops. When he gets older the attachment can be removed and we can use the unit for books and toys. A brilliant buy!

MAM Dummies – We always naively said we wouldn’t give him a dummy – that lasted 3 days! At first we bought the Tommee Tippee dummies but Harry wasn’t that keen on them. These MAM dummies however are his preferred choice! They have a silk teat and a better shape for his little mouth. He still isn’t a huge fan of a dummy, but it is useful for when he gets a bit fussy and we don’t want to keep lifting him. It basically pacifies him for short periods and that’s fine with us! No way will he be sucking it for as long as I did as a child – and I’m not telling you how long that was!

Pampers Nappies – pretty obvious but they are the best ones. We tried Asda brand and Boots brand and they leaked far too often! They also weren’t as soft or flexible. There are usually deals on Pampers anyway so we are sticking with them for now.

Muslin cloths – I always wondered what these were really for, they seemed a bit random. Now I must be armed with a muslin and a spare bib at all times! They are so useful as having a baby can be quite a messy job and there have been more spillages and accidents than I expected lol! Muslins can be used for mopping up just about anything, and they will be!

Quinny Buzz Xtra Travel System – this took us forever to choose, but we are really happy with our choice. We got the pushchair itself which comes with the buggy attachment. We then bought the carrycot attachment for use now while he is small. The system holds the Maxi Cosi car seat for shorter walks and journeys. It’s really easy to manoeuvre, quite easy to assemble and store and it’s just a practical, well designed system. Harry is happy and comfortable in it and we have been out somewhere almost every day so we are getting plenty of use out of the Quinny Buzz. We got ours at Kiddicare at a good price.

So those are the main things that I can highly recommend so far! Being a mum is such an amazing experience, but it is a big change, especially at first. So when a product or baby item makes things that little bit easier or more straightforward, it’s worth every penny in my book! Gives you more time to spend just enjoying your baby! Harry is already becoming so much more interactive and alert, and I can tell this time is just going to fly!

Love, Laurel

M&S Glazed Chicken Thighs recipe

I was delighted to be asked to try out one of M&S‘s recipes from their Great British Summer campaign this week. I went to the Forestside Belfast store to get the ingredients and it was so busy – the place was buzzing. It seems lots of mums on maternity leave like myself frequent the store on weekday afternoons as I saw about a million Maxi Cosi car seats and travel systems! There was a lot of food tasting going on which I think was creating a great atmosphere.

marks and spencer chicken

Anyway the recipe I tried out was Glazed Chicken Thighs. I have to be honest and say I am not a huge fan of chicken thighs, however the M&S ones were really big and had loads of meat on them – I would definitely buy them in future. I suppose you might say, ‘these aren’t just any chicken thighs….. these are M&S chicken thighs’!

Ingredients

  • 8 Chicken Thighs
  • 4 tbsp Tomato Sauce
  • 4 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 4 tbsp Honey
  • 4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Brewers Paste

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Place the chicken thighs into a large oven proof dish.
  • Mix together the remaining ingredients with 50ml of water.
  • Coat the chicken thighs in the glaze and cook for 35 minutes, occasionally lifting them out to brush or spoon the glaze over them.

marks and spencer chicken

marks and spencer chicken

marks and spencer chicken

The recipe was so simple and easy to make, and we had it with some salad, coleslaw and chili bread. It was an easy, summery dinner and we were able to make it whilst wee Harry sat in his bouncer watching us!

The glaze was delicious and gave the chicken a great flavour, and the meat itself was lovely. I know you are probably wondering what Brewer’s Paste is? It’s very similar to Marmite actually. It is less thick in consistency, and can be used for marinades, as well as spread on toast which I will definitely try as I love Marmite.

The food tasting in store also had the desired effect on me as I bought a Hog Roast Pie which I had sampled. So tasty! Will be having that tonight I think! Also got some lovely pink roses for my mum which had 25% extra free – a big bunch for only £6.

marks and spencer hog roast pie

Thanks to M&S for letting me try out the recipe!

Love, Laurel

Harry is one month old!

Little Harry is now one month old! As of last Sunday actually. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed, and it has been full of so many special moments. The first few weeks were pretty crazy, but now we feel so much more confident and settled and are loving our new life as parents!

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Harry is just adorable and we can’t believe he is ours. He’s really funny and some of the faces he pulls are just hilarious and so cute. I could just stare at him all day!

Unfortunately I don’t have time to do just that though – little Harry takes some looking after haha! It’s a big life change and very busy but I feel like I have got into the swing of things now and I feel much more confident. My husband went back to work about two weeks ago. I was a bit worried about how I would cope without him (he is amazing with Harry and a really hands-on dad) but I have to say I am getting on fine now! Some days are a bit more chaotic than others and some days it’s just fun and things feel under control!

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Having a newborn is such a special experience and it really changes you. Yes, we are still the same people, but suddenly so many things don’t seem that important anymore and your number one priority becomes this tiny little person. Harry is a really good baby (I think anyway!) and we are so privileged to be his mum and dad!

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He is wearing 0-3 months clothes now. He wore this size pretty much from the start as he is a big boy! He weighed 8lbs 9.5oz at birth and is now around 11lbs. He is a very hungry boy and eats every 3 hours, almost like clockwork! He does eat less at night thankfully, more like every 4 hours. The odd time he will sleep for about six hours during the night so hopefully he is heading in the right direction sleep wise!

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As for me, I am feeling fine and less sleep deprived than I expected! We have been spending lots of time with family and friends and I have been really enjoying this stage of life! I just know the time is going to fly in so I am really trying to make the most of every day.

We are still waiting on our first smile (that isn’t just wind). This week he has really found his arms and legs and loves kicking and punching and thrashing about! He loves being bathed and enjoys his bouncy chair and cot mobile. His playmat is growing on him! He loves looking around and is really alert and inquisitive. His favourite thing of course is to be held close and given lots of cuddles. We are doing lots of that obviously!

So happy and so thankful to have him here!

Love, Laurel

Baby Harry

He’s here! Our beautiful baby boy Harry arrived into the world on Friday 17th April at 4.14 am. He weighed 8lbs 9.5oz and was 21 inches long!

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I had to be induced in the end and Harry arrived exactly 14 days overdue – but he was well worth the wait and all those days waiting around and trying all the techniques under the sun to get labour to start now seem like a distant memory!

I knew and hoped the moment he was born there would be an amazing bond and rush of love like I had never felt before. Well he didn’t disappoint and I have been totally besotted with him from the moment he was placed on my chest immediately after being born. It truly was the most amazing moment (after all that hard work!) and I will treasure that memory forever.

We stayed one night in hospital and then we made that all important journey home! Harry was introduced to his big sister Ella the Bichon and they seem to like each other ok so far!

Harry is 9 days old today and it has been a crazy time and a steep learning curve for my husband and I, but slowly but surely we are becoming more confident. We love being Harry’s parents and are so privileged to call him our son. Becoming a mum really is the best thing ever! The love you feel for your child is like no other and I am so lucky. Thank you Harry!

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Love, Laurel

It’s a Boy Cupcakes

I made these ‘It’s a Boy’ cupcakes for my Baby Shower a few weeks ago. They were very nice and so easy to make. The little rice paper toppers were really inexpensive – about £2 for 12 from eBay. And obviously you could choose whatever colour or cupcake topper you fancied! Great for parties and I will be making these again!

It's a boy cupcakes

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 110g/4oz softened butter
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 110g/4oz self-raising flour
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

For the buttercream icing

  • 110g/4oz softened butter
  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • Your preferred food colouring (I used this one from Tesco)
  • Your prefered decorations

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin/cupcake cases.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs in 2-3 stages and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Fold in the flour, adding the milk as needed. Spoon the mixture into the cases as neatly as possible until they are half full.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
  6. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Then add the remaining icing sugar with milk as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the food colouring and mix until well combined.
  7. Spread the icing on top of the cupcakes – or use a piping bag. Because I don’t have a piping bag and because I had the rice paper toppers, I just spread my icing on! I actually prefer this because it means you don’t get too much icing on each cupcake; I find the icing can be a bit sickly if there is loads on there.

its a boy cupcakes recipe

The cupcakes went down well and were nice and buttery, but not sickly or too big. My sister made little gingerbread men as well which were lovely!

Love, Laurel