Thursday, 1 December 2016

My 2016 xmas wishes

Merry December everyone! 

As I have a newborn baby there is no way I'm committing to complete Blogmas this year but I've been inspired when scrolling through my twitter feed this morning to write down something christmassy. So, I thought it might be nice to start with talking about my xmas wishes for this year.. not presents, just things I hope to come true during the festive time this year.

1. Minimal stress- I can't honestly remember the last time we had a stress-free xmas and although we have a newborn this year we are doing everything we can to make it as calm and relaxed as possible. My family don't live in Sheffield and rather than us travelling to them or them squeezing into our baby paraphernalia filled house we thought it best we rent somewhere over the festive period. We found a rather Home Alone-esque house on Air BnB that will accommodate (sing in the style of 'On the first day of Christmas')...6 adults...1 baby...2 crazy dogs... 2 cars full of presents.. 1 M&S shopping order anndd a whole load of crappy christmas TV!

2. Nice food- Over the years my family have done alternative xmas dinners, one of the most memorable was an Indian themed meal which, of course, consisted of turkey tikka. This year, we've decided to steer clear of the traditional roast and just opt for a christmas style buffet. Less cooking, more time for drinking and we can pick bits to suit everyone. The girls in the family (bar the baby) have all had access to an M&S and Tesco account over the past few weeks and we've been adding bits and pieces day by day. We've so far covered xmas eve; my brothers girlfriend is from an Italian family and their tradition is to have fish on xmas eve so we've adopted this idea and ordered some rather delicious salmon dishes from M&S to go with mussels and chips! On xmas day we are having cold meats, bread, cheeses, crisps, pigs in blankets and a huge amount of chocolate! Some of you will be quivering at the thought of no traditional turkey and all the trimmings I know.. but think of all the washing up we're dodging!

3. An alcoholic drink- The last time I had a proper drink was at the beginning of December last year.. I found out I was with child the day before xmas eve so I missed out on the obligatory Snowballs and my xmas tradition of cherry Amaretto sours. Although I'm breastfeeding I'm planning on literally expressing my tits off so I can have a few glasses of bubbly over the xmas weekend.  Although.. the thought of being up half the night, slightly sloshed with a crying baby sends shivers through me so I'll see how I get on...hmm maybe granny and grandad might want to do night duties?!

4. Cosy PJ's- Christmas wouldn't be christmas without a new pair of xmas jammies would it?! I've got some cosy ones on the way to me at the moment.. once they arrive of course I'll do the obligatory PJ's, xmas tree and sparkly lights photo over on my Instagram.

5. A happy baby- I know this xmas wish will come true already; I can tell that Aria adores spending time with my parents.. she's so chilled out and relaxed when they are around so 4 days of having their attention will make her very happy. She gets loads of cuddles, plenty of what my mum likes to call botty air time (no nappy on and legs all over the place) and hours of made up songs sung to her! As she's only just about to hit the 3 month mark I think its pretty pointless spending loads of money on presents for her so I've just bought a cute tree decoration with her name and the year on. However, I know Johno thinks I'm being a scrooge so I'm sure she'll get a few gifts from her doting daddy.

Of course, I do love giving and receiving presents at christmas but this year feels different due to having a new addition to the family..all the focus for me is about spending time with the people I love and having a few more pairs of hands to help out with the babe!

What are your wishes for your xmas this year?

ChloBo Gemstone Jewellery

Why gemstone jewellery is back in

There are plenty of jewellery trends emerging at the moment, but the one I am particularly excited about is the fact that gemstones are back with a vengeance, and they have some serious attitude! You can still get the delicate necklaces and pretty charms that make gemstones such a timeless classic, but in terms of changing fashions, this season is all about rough-cut, brightly coloured statement pieces that scream vibrancy whilst delivering some serious impact.

These new gemstone pieces, known as raw stones, can be bold as well as beautiful, instantly giving a lift to all those office party and Christmas outfits you’ll be keeping a look out for. With so colours ranging from bright blue Lapis Lazuli, to subtle tones of Grey Agate, you should be able to find something to suit you. I have always liked gemstones, but for those of you who haven’t really come across this kind of jewellery before, here are just a few reasons why I’m so glad they’re back on fashions radar.

They can fit with tonnes of different outfits

The diversity of gemstones is what makes them so unique and versatile. They can be set into any metal, but also be cut and tailored to complement vastly different looks. For example, you can buy one simple gemstone necklace, and either pair it with an elegant evening dress and some killer heels, or layer up the piece with some more necklaces of different lengths, pendants and a cosy jumper for a day outfit, to create something a little more bohemian.

This is the motto of the beautiful handmade jewellery from ChloBo, who specialise in luxury pieces that convey different moods and personalities. Layering is a huge fashion trend right now, so even if the colour of the stone you love is quite a contrast to your normal style, you can mix it up with different textures and coloured metals to make something that’s completely unique.

They can be totally individual to you

Seen as we’re talking about being unique, the other thing I’ve always enjoyed about gemstone jewellery is they’re the only pieces to truly convey different meanings. Each stone represents a different personality trait or spiritual power, and I think this whole idea makes the process of selecting your own piece all the more fun. For example, you could choose a bracelet that’s made of Labradorite, which is regarded as a calming and healing stone, known for its reputation as the stone of spiritual awakening.

Or instead, you could get a piece that incorporates pink Aventurine, a calming stone helping to bring universal love, or how about adding a touch of Smoky Quartz to your outfit, said to be a protective stone that shields against negative energies. All of this makes gemstone jewellery the perfect Christmas present idea too, as you can pick a bracelet or necklace that says something about your relationship with the recipient.

Have you bought any gemstone jewellery recently or added any to your christmas wishlist? 

What style did you go for? 

Let me know in the comments section!


*This post is sponsored

Monday, 28 November 2016

Our most used baby items (November 2016)

Now that we are 11 weeks deep into parenting I thought I'd share with you some of the items we've found most useful so far. Of course, as Aria gets older these items will change and I plan on doing one of these posts every few months.. maybe our insight might help other parents out there when thinking about things to purchase for their babe!
Medela Swing essential pack- Before I had Aria I knew very little about breastfeeding; I thought it would be a walk in the park and there'd be no need for any of the gadgets I'd seen in Mothercare. How wrong I was... Aria lost about 12% of her weight in the first few days so I needed to ensure that when she wasn't feeding I wasn't losing any of my liquid gold milk to a breastpad. I'd already got a manual hand pump but after using the Medela pump in the hospital I knew going back to using a clunky low tech pump would be painfully time consuming. Four days after Aria's birth we nipped into Mothercare in town to buy the Medela Swing pump pack (£139)- I've used this near enough every day since and cannot recommend it enough. Personally, I wouldn't want to exclusively express but for times when I fancy an evening out having this gadget has meant I've been able to leave some milk for the babe.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

CrossEyes Sheffield

Bored of your visits to standard high street opticians? Uninspired by their selection in specs?
If you answer yes to either of these questions then carry on reading!

A few months back CrossEyes opened a brand spanking new branch here in Sheffield on Divison Street. 

Printed on a focus wall in store is what CrossEyes have to say about their concept and service...

"CrossEyes is a Danish chain of opticians where the core values are Danish lifeblood and hard work. We value intimacy and trust and our ambition is to create an eyewear concept filled with attractive products and the best possible service. 

CrossEyes work in an environment where design and creative people flourish.

Hundreds of custom made designs in every store make CrossEyes appealing to everyone of all ages.

A cornerstone of the concept is that you always get your money's worth. There are no extra costs or fees, and our glasses are always the same high quality- this is CrossEyes."

CrossEyes offers an alternative to your standard high street opticians; focusing of fashionable lenses  at affordable prices.  There are currently 11 stores across the UK- find out locations here.
The pricing structure CrossEyes offers is simple and transparent; no hidden extras, eye test included and all the frames you see in store are all the same price, the prices just differ depending on the strength of lenses required.  For me, this was an instant selling point; in the past I've been put off getting new specs from usual highs street opticians as they seem to add on extra costs for lens coatings and try to up sell on unnecessary extras. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Brunching with Craft and Dough

I'm always on the hunt for a good place to brunch here in Sheffield; although we have some great eateries around the city very few have hit the spot for me when it comes to a good mid morning treat.
So, when I received an invite to go and sample the new brunch menu at Craft and Dough on Ecclesall Road I was excited to see what they had to offer.
 Craft and Dough is just down the road from us so we popped in last Monday morning for a nice treat on Johno's day off.  
The new brunch menu is served between 10am-1pm Monday- Friday at the Ecclesall Road branch and only at weekends at the Kelham Island branch. 
Once settled at our table we ordered some drinks to start with; Johno went for the ever so healthy pint of coke and I opted for a decaffeinated latte and an orange juice.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Nobody told me....

If you are a follower of my blog you'll know that I recently had a baby. My personal journey over the past 6 weeks since having her has been the most challenging thing I've ever been through. Of course its been bloody fantastic too but my god, theres so much that people didn't tell me about having babies!

Around a week after having Aria my friend Sally dropped off a surprise parcel for me; a book called 'Nobody told me' by Hollie McNish.  I'd seen one of Hollies poetry videos go viral a few months back about breastfeeding (watch it here) and loved her honesty about societies views on breastfeeding and how it made her feel as a mother.  I had no idea Hollie had a book out and couldn't wait to get stuck into it as I thought I might be able to relate to it.

Our Birth Story

6 weeks ago we welcomed our little baby girl into the world; as a way of remembering the experience I wanted to share our birth story on my blog.

Throughout the whole of my pregnancy I was extremely lucky; I hardly suffered with any morning sickness and my only complaint was swollen feet in the last trimester. I really did think that because I'd been so lucky throughout that I was destined to have a frustratingly long and painful birth.. but oh how wrong I was!

My due date of the 2nd September came and went with no signs of labour beginning and for the next week I patiently sat and caught up on Bake off, Netflix documentaries, cheesy rom-coms and daytime tv. I'd nested my heart out already so everything was ready in the nursery so I just took the time to relax.

On the 6th September I went to see my midwife for a sweep; something I'd been petrified about in the days running up to it.. but I kept telling myself that the quick slightly uncomfortable feeling I was likely to experience should be the least of my worries with the birth due to happen in the very near future.

As a result of the sweep my midwife found that I was in fact 2cms dilated and 100% effaced; she was  pretty shocked that I'd not felt any contractions already. She confidently said to expect labour to start in the next 24 hours and that I was likely to experience my waters breaking- something that not all women actually experience contrary to what you see in the movies. I waddled out of the doctors surgery with a huge smile on my face and feeling rather pleased that my body had managed to get me to this point without putting me through any pain!

For the next 2 days I again rested up on the sofa, conscious of every twinge/ movement and hoping everything would begin before having to go in for another sweep the following week.

By Friday morning I'd given up hope of anything happening off the back of the sweep so decided to get myself showered and dressed in preparation to head off into town to do some shopping. As I stepped out of the shower I felt a gushing sensation... but, being over 9 months pregnant I couldn't work out whether it was just a bit of an accidental wee or whether my waters had actually just gone!

Just as a precaution we decided to head up to the hospital to be checked over; at this point I was convinced that I'd just pee'd myself to be honest so hadn't got my hopes up.