Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bump to Birthday Pregnancy Journal

To begin, a heartfelt thank you for all the beautiful responses to both the Six Years and Life Lately posts I wrote. The kindness and well wishes mean so much to Matt and I, we truly appreciate each and every lovely word written. 

Today, I thought I would share a journal I've been enjoying using over the last six months - Bump to Birthday, a Pregnancy and First Year Journal. It has been a new and enjoyable experience for me, as I didn't document my pregnancy with William and Noah, despite my intentions. A few days after our first scan at 11 weeks, where we made the joyous discovery that I was carrying not one, but two babies, I swiftly ordered a pregnancy journal, excited to begin filling it in with our happy news. 

It arrived just a few days after another scan one week later, where we were told the devastating news that there was no amniotic fluid left around one of the babies, and we would lose one, if not both, twins because of it. It was just the beginning of the most traumatic period in our lives. PPROM (preterm premature rupture of membranes) had just entered our lives and instantly turned our world upside down. The three months that followed were a blur of terror, filled with late night calls to the hospital and stays in the labour ward. I didn't write one word in that pregnancy journal. The horrors we were experiencing did not need to be documented, and so it remains untouched on our bookcase. 

For my second pregnancy, I wanted a new journal; I couldn't bring myself to write in the one I had bought for our twins. I was browsing Amazon when I came across Bump to Birthday, a Pregnancy and First Year Journal. I had done a lot of searching and this journal is by far the most beautifully designed hard back journal I have found, filled with vibrant illustrations, beautiful quotes and ample space for scan pictures, notes, and memorabilia. 

Each week begins with 'a bit about you' - an update about the baby in terms of development, and 'a bit about me,' - with room to write about your own feelings, symptoms, cravings, and what you have been up to during that week. As we've been seeing our consultant every two weeks for scans, the journal is already filled with pictures of the baby, but there's still plenty of space left to write about our adventures and include photos of my bump. I've also added a few miniature Cath Kidston cards in envelopes and Docrafts Papermania Notelets to make it even more pretty! 

The journal continues on to document the birth of the baby, and has a section for firsts - bath, outing, words, milestones, Christmas - and ends with the first birthday celebrations. It's the only journal I've found which doesn't end with the pregnancy, so the continuation into the baby's first year makes it all the more special.

It's lovely to flick through and chart the journey of this pregnancy so far, which has been so very different from our first. It will be a lovely keepsake to look back on over the years, and I cherish each week when I get to reflect on the past seven days and document any new developments and symptoms. 



Bump to Birthday Pregnancy & First Year Journal is available to buy from Amazon for £13.39

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P.S. If the rumours are to be believed, GFC will no longer be in use shortly, so follow me on Bloglovin' instead!


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wella Color Recharge Conditioner

I've been colouring my hair for over ten years now, and although the shades I've experimented with have varied from plum to deep brunette and dark blonde, the one problem I always encounter is the colour fading. My hair quickly loses its vibrancy and shine after I've coloured it, so I was keen to trial the Wella Color Recharge Conditioner for brunettes, which has been specifically designed to help protect against fading and maintain fresh and glossy coloured hair.

The new collection features products for brunettes, blondes and red heads, with cool and warm options for each colour group. The lightweight yet nourishing formula maintains the multi-dimensional colour of brunette tones by delivering colour pigments to the areas where it's needed. After using this rich conditioner for a few weeks, I've found my hair is always left intensively conditioned and silky soft to touch. Most impressively, it adds some depth to my colour and takes away any dullness, leaving my locks feeling refreshed and looking brighter.

I've really enjoyed using this product. I hadn't realised something as simple as a conditioner would maintain colour so well, and it leaves me wondering why it's never occured to me to use a product like this before when I've been battling fading hair colour all these years!


Wella Color Recharge Conditioners have an RRP of £11.85 and are available to buy from salons nationwide and www.feelunique.com


Sponsored Post


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Six Years


A year ago today, on our five year anniversary, Matt and I were given the best gift we could ever wish for - a positive pregnancy test. As we laughed and embraced, I shed tears of happiness at the thought of raising a child with my best friend. 
We'd pictured that in a year's time we would be a family. And we are, although in a way we never imagined. We are a family living with the absence of our two sons. It seems unbelievable that this has happened to us, that we should be parents who have lost our firstborns. 

These past six years have been the best of our lives, even though this past year has been unimaginably hard. Today is a day of celebration, yet it is tinged with much sadness, as we mourn the fact that we don’t have William and Noah with us. 

We are so blessed to have one another. Every day, we are thankful. We have always been close, inseparable. But in battling our way through the days and months after the death of our sons, we have a found a closeness and a bond on a level I never could have imagined possible. Every day I reflect on how lucky I am to have such an incredible man in my life. As my husband, as the father of my children. 

He is my rock, my strength to carry on each day. My comfort in the darkest days I have ever faced. It is his arms which cradle me and enable me to grieve, shed endless tears, mourn, or just remain silent. He is the one person who listens to, accepts and understands everything I am feeling. Because my pain is his pain. Together, we are learning to find joy again in a life we never thought we would experience. It is amazing how far we have come. And though we have lost our sons, there is no one else with whom I would walk this road.

As we celebrate six years together, I am blessed to be 24 weeks pregnant with our third child, a precious life who is due to join us in October. Hope and fear, tangled up together.

Although our pain and sadness over losing William and Noah can never be erased, this new pregnancy has already brought us much happiness. Each kick and turn is savoured and brings a smile to our faces. One of life's sweetest joys is feeling your child move inside you. I'd missed it so much.

We don't know if we will get to take this baby home, alive and healthy. We can only hope. But whilst inside me, we will treasure every second of this cherished new life.


Ineffable love.




Monday, 17 June 2013

Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies


I stumbled across these delicious looking cookies on Pinterest and knew I had to try them myself. It is so quick and simple to whip up a batch of these, which means it's all to easy to find yourself having eaten the whole lot in one sitting!

You Will Need:
Betty Crocker Chocloate Chip Cookie Mix 
(If you prefer to make your own cookie dough a good recipe can be found here)
Frozen Rolos

To create these heavenly, gooey cookies, preheat the oven to 190'Cmake up your cookie dough and then roll into balls, popping a frozen Rolo in the centre and ensuring it's completely covered. Place them on a baking tray and bake for around 12 minutes. I prefer to eat these when they're fresh out of the oven so they're still warm and soft. The caramel combined with the chocolate is such a delectable combination - currently my favourite indulgence!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sunshine & Picnics






After a long wait, sunshine finally arrived in the UK (although it's now disappeared just as swiftly!) and Matt and I have been enjoying every opportunity to bask in the rays. I've lost count of the amount of picnics we've enjoyed together over the last month or so. There's something so quintessentially English about unfolding a chequered blanket and opening a wicker basket to indulge in the delights of pink lemonade, sandwiches, pork pies, olives, potato salad and fresh strawberries for afterwards. The photos above are a collection from our visits to Rushcliffe Country Park, Sherwood Pines Forest, Clumber Park and most recently, we returned to Whatton Gardens, where our wedding reception was held. It's still one of my favourite places to go. So completely peaceful and serene. It was lovely to reminisce over our special day and stroll hand in hand around the beautiful gardens. The sunshine seems to bring a sense of joy and tranquility to the soul, if only it was around more.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Life Lately

It has been seven months since I gave birth to William and Noah and became a mother to children I would never bring home. The speed at which life continues after the death of a child is startling. I cannot believe it has been one week. A month. Almost eight months. A year before we know it.

In so many ways it feels as if it just happened yesterday. I recall the smell of the all too familiar hospital. The feel of Matt's hand in mine. The clothes he was wearing. The physical pain of my twelve hour labour so inconsequential in comparison to the insurmountable pain of knowing each contraction was bringing our sons closer to their death. To give birth to them meant an end to their life. Holding William in our arms as he died is a moment that will live with me forever.

The night we left the hospital and returned to a dark and silent house, with only a memory box and a feeling of emptiness inside, stays with me. We are different people now. Our world is fragile, we know it will never be the same again. It took three months after William and Noah died before the fog of shock cleared and the stark reality set in. Suddenly it became a struggle to get up, to eat, to dress. To breathe. At times it still is. You do not get over the death of your children; our grief and pain will be there forever.

There are still more days with tears than days without. Not an hour goes by when I don't think about our sons. Each day I look at the photo of their precious little faces and wish I had them here to hold. Some days strength abandons me, some days the physical ache returns. These days of raw grief come out of the blue, you can never predict when they will arrive.

Living without your children requires endurance. Death is forever. It is so huge it is incomprehensible. Sometimes the overwhelming endlessness of it all completely consumes us. It never goes away, it just shifts position with the passing of time. But we are still surviving. We live a life we wish we didn't have to, but we'd rather have known William and Noah for a brief time than never at all. We can live with this life because it means they will always be a part of us.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Loves Lately - Tassimo T40 Coffee Machine





A coffee machine is always something Matt and I have lusted after but never got round to actually buying. So I was delighted when I was offered the chance to review the Tassimo T40 Coffee Machine. With a fresh, contemporary design, the T40 looks stylish whilst remaing compact and easy to use. As a newbie to coffee machines, I was wondering how simple I would find the set up and everyday use of the coffee machine. It was just a matter of plugging the machine in and using the cleaning disc a few times before the machine was ready for use. 

It's fool proof to use - making a drink simply involves inserting a disc into the top of the machine. The barcode is then read and the drink poured at the touch of a button. It truly could not be any easier. One of the main advantages I found is just how quick the machine is to use. I no longer have to fill the kettle and wait for an age for it to boil, a complete drink is now made in around one minute. The height of the cup stand is also adjustable so depending on whether you'll be enjoying an espresso, a big mug of tea, or a latte, the height of any cup can be accommodated.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of tea and coffee, (although Matt has been enjoying the espresso for energy boosts), so I've ordered the Carte Noir Caramel Latte Macchiato and Suchard Hot Chocolate discs which sound delicious and have had great reviews. I'm also tempted to try the Cappuccino discs on offer.

The coffee machine has been a welcome addition to our kitchen. Our kettle has been relegated in favour of the quick fix the Tassimo T40 gives and we've been enjoying it daily since it arrived. I'd recommend it to any lover of hot drinks who wants a simple and stylish coffee machine to make their lives easier!

Tassimo T40 Coffee Machine is priced at £99.99 and is available to buy from Amazon

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

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