Saturday, 9 July 2016

Mush: Kind of like Tinder for mums

Mush- what's that I hear you say? Well, if you have any small people in your life this is something you NEED to download onto your phone right away! It's basically a free way for mums to meet local mums with kids the same age.  It helps you locate other parent's in your area; chat with them and potentially arrange to meet up for a coffee/shopping/playdates or whatever else you fancy.

I first heard about Mush in the latest Gurgle magazine and was intrigued to try it out; I don't have many worries about going on maternity leave (in 6 weeks!) but I do keep thinking about whether I'll find myself missing adult conversation during the week when everyone else is at work. So, to have an easy way to link up with people in the same situation is a great idea in my eyes.

Mush was started only a couple of months ago by two mums who got chatting in a playground; they hadn't had an adult conversation all day and that got them thinking about how they could help other mums connect using technology we all more than likely use on an hourly basis.  Although they only launched the app a matter of months ago they already have around 18k mums signed up around the UK- wow!
Once you've downloaded the app (for free) from the App Store or the Android equivalent you need to provide a bit of information about yourself to get you started.  You can choose to add-

A picture of yourself
An 'About Me' blurb
Your date of birth 
Your home location (I've hidden mine in my pic for obvious reasons but it basically links into Google Maps and then uses this information to work out how close other parents are to you)
What you like to do section (you can note down stuff like swimming, soft play, reading, outdoors.. the list is huge)
Non-mummy life section (I noted down that I'm a blogger, that I like photography, that I see myself as a career woman and that I'm a foodie)

The more information you add to the 'About me' section the more likely you are to have people contacting you to arrange playdates as its easier to relate to someone if you know a bit more about them and can identify if you have things in common!
Once you've added all of your personal info you can then move to the 'Add connections' section on the main screen; on my homepage screen it says currently there are 30 mums nearby.

 Next to each of the mums names you can see a little picture of them, information about how many kids they have and of what age,their 'About me' information, the distance they are from my location (in miles, not their actual address) and then any of the interest selections they made when setting up their profiles so you can see whether you'd be likely to have things in common. Pretty cool right?

If you then fancy getting in touch with a mum you use the 'Say hi..' function to.. well, say hi! Mush then asks you why you want to connect with this person and you have a few options-

We've met before
We have kids the same age
We live close by
We have friends in common

You then have the opportunity to add personal note to your message and then ping it off to the mum to review and hopefully get back in touch with you! I've sent messages off to two ladies so far but not had a response yet- fingers crossed!
As well as having the pretty nifty locate and messaging function the app also has 'Mush Guides'- these are short articles on all sorts of topics that will probably be of interest to many mums out there. 

This week I've particularly enjoyed reading "5 ingredients, 5 minutes: Delicious slow cooker meals"  and "The Mumsition- embracing mum life"

After having a play about with the app over the last week I wanted to feature it on my blog- I haven't been asked to write this post at all I just think its such a great tool to have as an expectant mum! I contacted Sarah and Katie, the app developers, this morning to ask for some sneak previews of things to come on the app- they said they are working on making the user profiles richer, more detailed and more fun, adding a public messaging facility to encourage larger local chats and also adding the function to be able to ask local mums advice about specific topics such as kid friendly pubs in your local area.  All sounds very exciting- I cant wait to see the user numbers go up and up over the next few months, and of course, start meeting up with others local to me. 

Are you signed up to Mush? If so, have you met anyone through the app?

If you aren't then download it soon and get chatting!!


Sunday, 3 July 2016

Rush Hair York

 A few weeks back I was invited to go and check out the new Rush salon in York city centre. I'd never actually heard of the hairdressing chain so was intrigued to nip in for a trim and check out the services they provide.  The new salon, based on Market Street, is actually just round the corner from the office I work from when in York so I opted for a late afternoon appointment- you can book online here
On approach to the salon I noticed how clean and neat it looked on the street; the old bank building scrubbed up well. 
Inside the salon everything looked rather sparkly and new- the salon had actually only been open a week or so! The front reception area housed a large collection of Kèrastase, L'oreal and Redken products which are used during customer cut and colour treatments. 
The seating areas throughout the salon were really comfortable and the chandler lighting gave a feeling of space and glamour. 
The area of the salon I found most impressive was the hair washing room; one of my biggest annoyances about hairdressers I've visited in the past is that when I'm having my hair washed I want their full attention; not too demanding ehh! I enjoyed having a separate room in which they focused on my hair, the products they used and also the rather lovely head massage I got at the end! The ambient lighting in the washroom also helped to relax me after a long day at the office. 
Once I'd had my hair washed, Jessica the franchisee of the York Rush salon introduced herself and talked me through the products that had been used for my hair wash and condition; those were the Kèrastase Bain Satin 1 for slightly dry hair and the Lait Vital moisturising conditioner from the same range. Both products left my hair feeling so soft and smooth without adding too much of a strong scent. 
After the product chat Jessica then asked what cut I was going for. I let her know  that I wanted my hair at a more manageable length, some of the weight taken out and also some of the layers sorting as I was finding it really hard to straighten due to the number of different layers I'd got at the back of my head. 
Jessica spent time talking about my haircare routine and asking about the products and styling tools I use day to day. I stressed that I wanted something low maintenance as, at the moment due to being pregnant, I haven't the energy to sit straightening it for 45 mins after drying. My poor back wouldn't be pleased at all!

Jessica kept me chatting throughout the appointment, talking about hair products, baby stuff and just life in general which was nice, nothing worse than a silent hairdresser in my opinion!

The cut itself only took around 40 minutes including the drying and styling- pretty good if you want to pop in on your lunch break or after you finish work- the salon is open 7 days a week:

Monday to Friday- 9am to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 6.30pm
Sunday 10am to 5pm

So, my finished haircut...

It's a lot shorter than I've had it before but I really like it.. it's easy to manage and the layers are more evened out now so I don't have to spend ages sectioning it out to straighten. After the cut it looked sleek, shiny and in really good condition. Of course, without having the products they used on my hair (or the skills!) it looks slightly different when I blow-dry and straighten it but I am happy with the end result. 

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience of visiting the Rush salon in York, Jessica and the rest of her team made me feel welcome and relaxed as soon as I walked through the door. I loved seeing how passionate she is about her new business venture and how driven career people can make their dreams into reality!

As the salon is relatively new there are some offers on at the moment for the cuts and colour appointments- 

To book an appointment at Rush York click here.

To find a Rush local to you click here.

Also, make sure you check out the Rush shop- the product's they used on my hair are available at lower prices than if you were to buy them from the brand websites!

Have you been to a Rush salon before?


*Although I didn't pay for my haircut my opinions are 100% honest as always

Sunday, 26 June 2016

30 week pregnancy update

I decided this evening to do an update on my pregnancy and I've just realised the last time I did one was at week 18-  oh how time flies!

So, 30 weeks pregnant... it really is crazy how fast time has gone. We've started counting down the weeks now rather than up too which really makes things seem a lot more real.

I know this post won't be everyones cup of tea but I thought it would be nice to document how I'm feeling right now so that I can look back on it in years to come and remind myself of all the little details of pregnancy I've experienced.  So, in this post i'll be reflecting back over the last few weeks, around weeks 25-30!

General symptoms
Weeks 25-28 I didn't really have any symptoms to mention thankfully; a nicely growing midriff of course but thats expected around these weeks of pregnancy.

Over the past couple of weeks however, a few symptoms have started to creep in; back ache, indigestion and tiredness but nothing I cant handle.

Swollen ankles are a daily occurrence now; I find if I have a really busy day at work and forget to get up and move about a bit they balloon up quickly. They also seem to balloon up when I'm on my feet a lot too so basically theres no winning but thankfully having fat ankles doesn't hurt they just don't look great with my skinny maternity jeans!!

Food cravings
Sweet stuff, cake, ice-cream. I've been really naughty the past few weeks and just let myself scoff so my aim for this week is to cut out the crap and replace it with fruit and yogurt. Although... I have baked a chocolate brownie cake today.. help help!

Getting more difficult by the day now; completely okay with the waking up at around 4am to pee but I'm finding that I wake up more often throughout the night, either because of baby kicking me or the Mr rolling me back onto my left side (and my side of the bed!). Although the DreamGenii pregnancy pillow was great earlier on in pregnancy I find its making me more uncomfortable now as my tummy doesn't fit in the gap of the pillow comfortably so I've just purchased the Mothercare Pregnancy Wedge to help support my bump.

Up until about week 28 I seemed to be doing okay in terms of my emotions, but I've really struggled the past few weeks to hold myself together when I'm tired. I seem to be able to cry about pretty much anything to be honest. However, a lot the last few weeks have been happy tears; thinking about how life will be when she arrives, picturing her in the house, making plans of things I'd like to do during the 12 months I'm taking off.. its all so overwhelming but lovely at the same time.

We've been pretty keen with the baby shopping but we are so excited we cant help it! Our biggest purchase so far has been the Snüzpod co-sleeper crib and bedding to match. We love the idea of having her so close to us during the night but still being safely in her own space. Once the co-sleeper is in our room and attached to our new kingsize bed we've ordered I'll do a more in-depth post about it. We've also been stocking up on newborn clothes as we realised we'd purchased 0-3 months but nothing for the earlier weeks.. ooppss! I've got a few posts lined up over the next few weeks featuring some rather beaut clothes so keep an eye out for them.

Bump progress
As you can see from the photo at the top of this post I am now fully looking round around the middle! I love seeing my tummy grow week by week; it amazes me that there is a little human in there.
Her movements started around week 25 as kicks and were occasional but now I can feel her twisting and moving more often throughout the day. She's into a routine now with her movements; when I wake up in the morning she's already having a wiggle party in there and then she slows down once I'm up and getting ready for work. She then seems to go to sleep for most of the morning and then wakes up just in time to move around whilst I'm eating my lunch (such an odd feeling whilst eating). Then during the afternoon she's back to sleep and gets more active again just before I'm going to bed.

Things I'm looking forward to over the next few weeks

*Putting up shelves and pictures in the nursery- we've set up the furniture but thats about it so far.
*Starting our baby classes at our local hospital
*Attending more pregnancy yoga classes- forgot my class last week :(
*Receiving a bundle of baby and maternity clothes from my auntie
*Getting things organised for the baby shower at the end of July
*Starting maternity leave in 7 weeks- wow,thats not long at all!!

I'd like to start doing more regular updates now that we are counting down the weeks, hopefully you'll all enjoy reading them!


Thursday, 23 June 2016

My garden makeover wishlist

As the weather gets (slightly) better week by week its got me thinking about how I want to get our garden looking a bit more fancy and make it into a more useable space.  At the moment all we have out in the back garden is some decking, a few plant pots and some slightly uncomfortable garden chairs.

 Next week my parents are coming to see me to help me plan out how to make the garden a bit more private as, at the moment, when I hang my washing out, I feel like the whole neighbourhood can see my smalls! So, once we've tackled the issue of getting some higher fencing up its all about the  sprucing it up with garden furniture and accessories!

I've always wanted a nice comfy outdoor sofa, the one in the collage above looks perfect.. I'd so get myself comfy on the right hand chair and use that footstool to make it into a lounger. I'd kick back on  it  on lazy Saturday afternoons and drink a nice cooling summer mocktail.  The cushions on this Fishpools seating set are designed to be on the rattan seats all year round too so no having to pack them away at the end of a relaxing sesh. 

Come the evening time I'd love to have the Chiminea blazing away to keep us cosy whilst snuggled up under a blanket.  The parasol I've included has built in LED lights, I bet it would look so perfect! On the grey plant stand I'd have a selection of succulents  and terrariums and possibly some strawberry plants. 

Watermelon Candle £10 | Parlane Jar with LED Lights £7.99 | Parlane Garland Bulbs £25.99 | Grey Skandi Lantern £4.99

 Of course, no garden set up would be complete without a few cute lighting accessories- above I've pulled together some of my faves.  I'd have the watermelon candle and the jar on table of the sofa set. The garland lights wrapped around the stand of the parasol and the lantern on the decking near the sofa set too.

I love eating outdoors in the summer time so I'd choose the rather bright, slightly mismatching collection of stuff above to give the over all set up a pop of colour.  The cutlery caddy looks super handy to save repeat trips indoors to collect napkins and serving spoons!

I'd really like to get the garden looking great and being a more useable space over the next month or so; I think its a shame to essentially have another room to the house that we rarely use.. lets just hope the weather gets a bit nicer come July!

Are you planning on giving your garden a makeover this summer? Which piece from the collages would you choose?


*This post was sponsored by Fishpools but the words and lustings are 100% mine

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Fifi Lapin X Mamas & Papas clothing and giveaway

As you probably have guessed if you follow me on Instagram, my weekends now tend to be filled with baby related stuff; from looking at nursery decor items to wish listing cute outfits I'd like to have for the baba!

Can you imagine how excited I was to receive an email from Mamas & Papas offering to send me some clothes for the baba? I think I squeaked a little bit to be honest.

Mamas & Papas kindly sent me five items from the Fifi Lapin range to add to our growing wardrobe for the babe- who, might I add, is a girl. I'm not sure I've even made that announcement on my blog actually... how did that one slip my mind?

One of the items they gifted to us is way too cute to sit in a draw for the next two years so I have decided to do a giveaway at the end of this blog post.. stick with me!!

Fifi Lapin is a cute bunny who shot to fame in 2009; selling t-shirts at ASOS, UO and then launching a range of xmas cards in Topshop. Being the international it-bunny that she now is she's been given the opportunity to release the cutest clothing range in collaboration with Mamas & Papas

First up is this totally adorable two piece legging and dress combo.   The 100% cotton dress is going to be ideal for early spring/summer next year; the dress has a little underskirt attached but still remains light and airy.

The leggings to go with super cute with gathered detailing on the legs- I imagine this outfit is going to be teamed up with some little sandals and a hat. Or, if she fits into it whilst the weather is still a bit cooler then I could pop a long sleeved dark blue top on underneath the dress. 
I love the detailed piping on the different sections of the dress; the pink, black and yellow really compliment the Fifi bunnies on the main fabric of the dress.

Next up are these amazing chino type trousers; aren't they just gorgeous?! I'm not a huge fan of too much pink so this really light pink tint works well for me..
Again, these are 100% cotton and feel really light; great for the spring/summer. I imagine her wearing these with a plain white t-shirt tucked in and maybe a bow/headband on. Ohhhhhh she is going to be such a fashionista!
These chino style trousers are £14- pretty reasonable I think. Love the print of the fabric too.. I'm already thinking what we could refashion them into once she's grown out of them..  maybe I should do a patchwork blanket with all of the gorgeous clothing pieces to remind me of how adorable her wardrobe was as a new baba?!

Next up is a cardigan with a Fifi bunny popping out the pom pom lined pocket- anything with pom poms on wins my love immediately. 

The buttons on this piece give it a pop of colour  and ohh its so soft and snuggly feeling! This cardigan is £19.  This piece is in age 2-3 so we are going to have to hang on a while until the babe can wear this but at least we have a few nice bits stored away eh?

I really love all of the pieces that I've been sent by Mamas & Papas- it makes me so excited to think about dressing her up in such stylish outfits.. she's going to be dressed so much better than me at this rate! Which piece is your fave?

Last but by no means least is the item I have decided to give away to one lucky reader....

This cute summer dress is ideal for your 2-3 year old babe over the next few months in the warmer weather we will hopefully be having. 

! I love the detailing around the neck and the tassels on the arms and hem line.  The dress is worth £24; i'll be sad to part with it but would love to see a picture of the winning babe in it!
Of course, the focus piece of the dress is the little Fifi Lapin bunny, she's just so chic.

The dress is age 2-3 and you can enter by completing the form below-

*Competition rules-
1. Winner will be chosen at random
2. Competition will close on 27 June 2016
3. Winner must provide me with address to post to within 3 days otherwise another winner will be chosen at random
4. I will post the prize within 3 days of receiving the postal address (I am paying the postage costs of this)
5. You must complete one or all of the requirements on the rafflecopter form. This will be checked when drawing winner. 
6. Only open to UK entries. 

Good luck!


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Upcycling with Rust-oleum

Ever had a piece of furniture that you love but it doesn't quite fit with the colour scheme of your room? Well, fear not, there is an easy way to re-style your furniture using Rust-oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint.
Earlier this month Rust-oleum sent me 2 pots of their chalky paint in Chalk White to try out around the house; I decided to paint some shelves we are going to be putting up in the baby's room.

The paints come in a variety of colours and finishes; check out the options here.

The shelves I painted started out their life as display crates for xmas decorations at a DIY store- as a member of staff my dad managed to get his hands on them just before they were going to be binned and then he sent 2 sets to us. They came in really handy in our last house; just the right size to store loo rolls in! It might be worth heading to your local store and asking about display crates but if not, there are lots of similar crate displays available Ebay.
The great thing about chalk paint is that whatever the surface you are painting there is no preparation required; who wants to have to sand furniture down before giving it a new lease of life eh?
I've used a very popular chalk paint before and can honestly say that Rust-Oleum does the job to the same standard; it covers well, doesn't give off any fumes (great for us preggos) and makes painting jobs quick and easy. I think the shelves look rather lovely when painted- they are going to go either side of the window in the nursery and display little items,possibly shoes and general nicknacks that need to be out of baby's reach. I'm picturing them loaded up with some cute succulents actually...

Although you can buy specific paint brushes designed for chalk painting I decided not to and just went for a multipack of brushes (find the ones I used here).With Rust-Oleum chalky paint I found that I only needed to do one coat to get a good coverage but I did go over with a second coat just incase.
The beauty of chalk painting is that you don't need any prior painting experience- you just go ahead and slap the paint on and really you don't have to worry about your painting technique; the shabby chic look is just how I like it!

If you are painting a piece of furniture that gets a lot of use it is worth investing in some Rust-oleum Finishing Wax.
My next project to work on is going to be my chest of draws in our bedroom which I use the top of as a makeup station. I chalk painted it 2 years ago with another brand of paint and although it looked great for a few months it quickly became a bit grubby due to all my makeup residue so it's in desperate need of a refresh. Once I've painted the chest of draws I'm going to purchase some of the Finishing wax. The wax comes in either clear or dark polish that helps to protect your furniture once you've painted it. This type of wax is really easy to apply; all you do is apply it with a brush or rag and it dries leaving a velvety sheen. It helps to ensure the paint finish is water-repellent and seals it against stains and marks- just what I need!

I'm so pleased with the results of the paint; I would choose Rust-Oleum paint over other brands of similar paint now that I've tried it out. It costs £12 for 750ml (works out £16 per litre) and can be found purchased online from Homebase and B&Q or find your local stockist here.

We've already started working on the nursery for the baby so once the shelves are up on the wall and have some pretty things on them I'll do an update on how they look- of course I cannot wait to do a full nursery tour too!

Have you used chalk paint before?
Tell me about your next DIY project!


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Bravado Designs- Yoga Nursing Bra

As the week's of my pregnancy quickly fly by I've been more aware of the necessity for comfy, well fitting bra's. You know that feeling most women get of needing to take their bra off when they step in the door after work? Well I'm now experiencing that feeling ALL day every day!! So when Bravado Designs contacted me asking if I'd like to try out their Body Silk Seamless  Yoga Nursing Bra of course I wasn't going to say no!
Bravado Designs are an award winning brand who have been around for over 20 years. Their bra's are worn by mummas around the world, including some celebs like Beyonce and Jolie!

Bravado was created by two mums, some fabric, a kitchen table and sheer determination to ensure that all expectant mums and nursing mums can be comfortable as well as feeling great in their undies. Bravado continuously test their products  with real life mums to ensure they fit in with everyday needs. They also combine this insight with information from lactation consultants so the bra's are suitable for nursing and beyond.

As of course I'm not nursing yet this post is primarily reviewing the bra as a maternity bra- I also started pregnancy yoga last week so I'm planning on wearing this to my next session as its advertised as a yoga bra too! The bra comes in 2 colours; pink and grey, which cost £34. I think is pretty reasonable for a bra which will see you through pregnancy and a good few months/years afterwards. I'd see it as an investment to make nursing easier when out and about.

The bra comes in a variety of sizes, from small to extra large- Bravado have provided a sizing chart on their website to help you work out which is best to go for.  This model of bra is specifically designed to fit into an active momma's lifestyle and can be worn during low impact training such as pilates, yoga and taking many walks through the park to get the baby to sleep.  The information on the website describes it as having Silverbreeze technology that helps to prevent the growth of odour causing bacteria whilst keeping the bra fresh and cool- of course this is ideal for those times when you have the energy to be active.

Just from looking at the bra before I tried it on I could tell it was going to be comfy; as well as being wire- free its 4 way stretch fabric allows the bra to change with my ever changing shape and sits comfortably at the top of my bump without adding additional pressure. This is going to be great when I start nursing as of course my body will change shape day to day!
The bra has removable pad inserts and also a handy clip feature that allows you to unclip the cup to allow for breastfeeding when your baby requires. The bra also comes with a handy converter kit for once you've finished nursing; all you do is attach one of the bra loops and cut off the guide strap and you've got yourself a handy sports bra.  The straps are also adjustable and can be worn as a criss-cross bra if you fancy.

Overall, my experience so far with this bra has been nothing but positive; I've found it comfy,non restricting, soft and just what I need right now. I like the thickness of the band around the bottom of the bra; this will allow me to wear it well into the run up to baby's birth as I expect to get a lot bigger over the next 12 weeks.. can you believe thats all I've got left to go!?

Have you ever used a Bravado Nursing Bra?
Check out Bravado's range of bra's here or find this yoga nursing bra at the John Lewis website here