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FASHION: MENSWEAR PICKS SPRING 2018



I thought i'd show a few menswear picks for the spring. I love the Spring because it's warming up abit but we still get to wear jackets and jumpers. I think the sporty trend is going to overlap into the spring so I think sporty hoodies and jackets are going to be very popular. Why not try pairing a hoodie with a nice pair of jeans and a smart pair of pumps/ trainers.

I've picked out this lovely camel colour t-shirt from River Island, I like the little black detail on the chest and think this would look fab with a nice pair of jeans or tracksuit bottoms for a casual everyday look.

These Boohoo Men jeans are really smart but the washed out look makes them a little more casual so perfect for everyday but not too distressed. I think these are a good all rounder pair of jeans that could be worn with any of the tops / hoodies above

I love this grey long sleeved top from River Island, Clint really likes this too! I think its a great item. It's easy to dress up or down but looks great either way. I love grey right now, It's really on trend.

How amazing is this striped tshirt, it's from Boohoo. I think stripes always make an appearance in the spring and with a nice pair of ankle grazers and some cute pumps, it makes a very Parisian outfit.

As I mentioned before I think hoodies will be very popular this spring so here's a couple of my favourites. The Khaki one is from Boohoo and is very simple so ggreat for everyday and will go with anything. I love this LA hoodie from River Island, Clint actually picked this out as he loves things with American prints on. He's been wearing alot of hoodies right now with a nice pair of jeans and his Timberland boots.












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BEAUTY: MY SPRING MAKE UP COLLECTION


I thought i'd share a few bits from my make up collection. These are a few of the bits i'm using this spring. I'm really loving the blush pink trend that seems to be everywhere, fashion, interiors and beauty is no exception. 

I've been loving the Fenty beauty foundation, it's a build-able,  medium to full coverage foundation. I love the soft matte finish. It's only £26 which I think is really affordable for a higher end foundation, I've had it since Christmas and I still have loads left. I went into Harvey Nichols to get matched up and it's the perfect shade.

I've had this Clarins Ombre Matte Eyeshadow for a little while and really need to start using it more. It's a cream to powder eyeshadow so it's lightweight and easy to apply but finishes and lasts like a powder shadow. 

The Ariana Grande perfume is one of my favourite perfumes, it's a lovely sweet fruity scent. 

I've been using a couple of new mascaras recently. The Benefit Roller Lash mascara is so good and makes my lashes really long. I've also been using the Maybelline Total Temptation mascara which is good for length but also adds volume to your lashes. 

My favourite concealer is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. I've used it for years and love it. I have tried lots of other concealers but this is just such a bargain and such a good product. 

I'm also loving the Soap and Glory Supercat liquid eyeliner and the Fenty Beauty Matchstix shimmer skinstick is such a lovely product. I've been using a beauty blender to apply it and using it as a highlight / blusher. 

Have you added some new products to your make up collection for spring? Whats your favourite make up right now I need to add some new bits to my collection. I really need a new highlighter as I don't really have any right now, whats your favourite highlighter? 



















PARENTING: BOTTLE FEEDING WITH MAM



If you have read my breastfeeding story then you will know that we had intended to breastfeed Amelia but she wouldn't latch. We were combination feeding at first and now she is only having formula. I was reluctant to buy things like a Sterilizer and bottles because I didn't think we would need them but we were very lucky to receive some products from Mam which was a lifesaver when we got home from the hospital.

First up is the Mam 6 in 1 Electric Steam Sterilizer*, it was really easy to put together and set up. We hadn't even got it out of the box but managed to get it set up once we got home with Amelia. Aswell as being a Sterilizer it's also a bottle warmer, Defrost & food warmer and Keep warm function. Amelia is now 12 weeks old so we've been using it everyday for the last 12 weeks. It's so easy to use, you can sterilize about 4/5 bottles at a time, right now Amelia is still drinking from smaller bottles. It only takes 3 minutes to Sterilize and a couple of minutes to cool down and dry the bottles. It's not very bulky so it doesn't take up loads of room in my kitchen and it's a nice simple design. 

We've also been using the Mam bottles. We were kindly sent a pack of 3 Easy Start Anti Colic bottles * and we got 2 in the Sterilizer aswell as a couple of small bottles that we were given at The Baby Show. I had a couple of other bottles just incase Amelia didn't like the Mam ones but she took the Mam bottle right away and we haven't had any problems at all. She was only taking 3 ounces for a while so these smaller bottles were perfect, they fit in my changing bag really easily, shes now taking 4 ounces so we wont be able to use these for much longer so we need to pick up some of the bigger bottles. I think they are really affordable and Mam do so really great bottle sets where you get a good selection of different sizes. They have kept really well and look brand new even though we've been using them for 12 weeks and they have been sterilized alot. 

We also use a soother with Amelia, again we use the Mam ones and she took to these really well. I didn't want to use a soother but wasn't completely against the idea. We didn't use them for a couple of weeks but I found Amelia would cry out for food and she would stress herself out and scream so much whilst she was waiting for us to sort out her bottle and cool it down etc where as the dummy would soothe her whilst she waited for her bottle. We've found she likes the dummy to soothe her at bedtime too. They have lasted well and still look brand new. 

We picked up the Mam powder box in Boots for when were out and about. It's really handy and easy to use. Each compartment can contain up to 40g of milk powder, which means it is also suitable for storing a variety of snacks, soothers and bottle teats. Again it fits easily into my changing bag. 

I'm loving all of the Mam products we've tried so far, as I mentioned above we need to get some of the bigger bottles for when Amelia starts drinking 5oz so I've been keeping an eye out for those and I might grab her a few new dummies too. 






* This post contains pr samples

FASHION: SUNDAY STROLLS



JUMPER: PRIMARK
JEANS: NEW LOOK
RINGS: PANDORA
BRACELET: PANDORA
BOOTS: TRUFFLE
COAT: H&M

We went for a lovely Sunday stroll yesterday. We took Amelia to our local park, we had a nice stroll around the duck pond, she was asleep (obv) but it was a lovely way to spend our Sunday afternoon. We went to my moms for our sunday dinner

I'm so in love with this jumper from Primark, it's such a gorgeous colour and I love the lace detailing and it was a bargain when it scanned through at £5. I bought some new black jeans, these are the supersoft super stretch jeans from New Look. My maternity jeans are now too big but i'm not back down to my pre-pregnancy size so needed to grab a new pair. These boots are old but they are really sturdy and i've seen studded boots have made a comeback

It was bright today but very chilly so I popped my H&M coat on, I'm super excited for the summer.
I can't wait for picnics and walking Amelia around the park in the sun.

I'm hoping to be back blogging more regulary and now the weather is brightening up I will drag Clint out to take some more outfit photos, even if they are just of my comfy mom outfits.








LIFESTYLE: MY BREASTFEEDING EXPERIENCE


Today I thought i'd share my breastfeeding experience. The whole thing has been abit of a whirlwind and I wanted to document it for next time we have a baby and to share my experience with others who are considering breastfeeding.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed Amelia but I was very open-minded and knew it would be hard but I would try everything I could to breastfeed.

I wanted to breastfeed for a number of reasons, I felt it would create a closer bond with my baby, money - I thought breastfeeding would be a more affordable way to feed my baby, the health benefits for baby and having milk on demand and not needing to worry about carrying bottles around, how I would heat milk up etc.

Amelia was born weighing 6lb 5oz and was considered small, because of this they had to monitor her blood sugars meaning she needed to be fed. We did skin to skin and Amelia was fine, pretty chilled and wasn't really crying for food but they explained that she needed to ideally be fed within the first hour so they could check her sugar levels. I tried to get her to latch for a while and the midwives helped but stressed that she needed to be fed so I agreed to give her a bottle. Once I was moved from the labour suite to a ward I knew I would want to give breastfeeding another try but I didn't really know what to do and how often she would need feeding etc how long to do it for? I gave it another shot and was given some more help from another midwife to try and get her to latch but she just screamed and screamed. I felt so bad and just gave her another bottle. Everytime she was due a feed I would try and try to get her to latch. I had help from the midwives to get her to latch but she still wasn't able to latch and was getting herself really worked up and stressed out. A midwife then gave me some syringes to try and get some milk by hand expressing. Again I didn't really know what to do but I tried and managed to get a little bit but I found this difficult because it took a while to get a decent amount and I just wanted to sleep. I was happy that i'd managed to give a little bit of my colostrum to Amelia even though we didn't manage  to establish feeding. We were kept in over night because we hadn't managed to breastfeed, I decided to just give her formula and thought we wouldn't be able to breastfeed anymore.

We got home and I thought that was it, I did try to get Amelia to latch a few more times but she still just screamed and got herself so worked up that it was quite distressing for me. I had the Medela Harmony breast pump  *already so I decided to try expressing and I was so excited when milk actually came out, and it was a really decent amount of milk too. The hand pump was really easy to use and I liked that it was quiet and discreet. It was also really easy to use. From this point I was expressing when I could which was very difficult as we were having alot of visitors. I was managing about 3 times a day which I was very happy with, so we were combination feeding for a couple of weeks. It's actually alot harder to pump than I actually thought it would be. At first I think the adrenaline helped but it quickly became harder and harder. It wasn't just physically hard but also mentally. I felt a bit pushed out because I would hide in another room to pump away from my family or I couldn't really hold Amelia whilst I pumped so I felt like I was constantly trying to put her down when all i wanted to do was hold her. It was draining because I was feeding Amelia her bottle, changing her and getting her to sleep and then I would sit and pump for an hour and then do it all over again. We bought the Medela Mini electric breast pump and this made pumping easier, it was quicker and easier, the only thing I didn't like about the electric pump was the noise. It's quite loud and again meant I would sit in a separate room. I started to find it really difficult to find the time and motivation to pump and then I got Mastitis which btw is HORRIBLE! I had flu-like symptoms, I was exhausted and my boob killed. I went to the doctors and was prescribed antibiotics and it started to clear up. I was told that I could continue to give the milk to Amelia even from the infected side and then she broke out in a rash and was so unsettled. She was still drinking her milk and her temperature was fine so the doctor wasn't concerned about her but this made it so much harder as I was just drained and exhausted. I made the decision to stop giving her the milk until the antibiotics were out of my system. I continued to pump but was even more un-motivated once I wasn't even giving it to her. It did clear up and then it came straight back. My milk supply was very low so I decided to stop expressing and my milk supply very quickly dried up.

I do think that Amelia was just too small and just found it hard to latch and I don't think I could have done much more. I had hoped that i'd be able to express all of her bottles and eventually get her to latch but once I had got Mastitis this wasn't an option anymore and I really didn't expect pumping to be so hard!

We have still had some issues with Amelia's feeding. She has always drank her formula really well. She is still only drinking 3 ounces (90ml) which for her age isn't alot but shes still only 7lb15oz so it's about right maybe a little under average. Shes always been quite a sicky baby, even when she was drinking the breastmilk she was sick alot of the time. I had mentioned it whilst in hospital, at midwife appointments and when we took her to get weighed but shes always put weight on so it's not been a concern. We got her weighed a couple of weeks ago and although she had gained weight they were not happy with where she plotted on her chart so we had to go back the following week, they were happy with her weight gain the following week which was good. We actually had our 8 week appointment and jabs that week so i'd mentioned her being quite sick and we've now been prescribed Gaviscon. I haven't given it to Amelia yet because shes not been too sickly this week but I will try it because I think she might have reflux as sometimes she pulls faces like she has a nasty taste in her mouth. The doctor did explain to us that some reflux is normal so this made me feel a little bit better.
I'm finally feeling more confident with Amelia's feeding (just 10 weeks in) i'm hoping that she continues to put weigh on nicely. I want to write updates on Amelia to document her first year so I have it to look back on.

A few other products I used during breastfeeding and pumping included Boots Ultra Slim Breast pads which honestly were rubbish, the sticky bit isn't very sticky so they kept falling off/ out of my bra when pumping. They were free by signing up for the Boots parenting club so I can't moan too much.

I had a couple of Nursing bras that I used, first up was the Panache Sophie Nursing bra in the black lace. This was really comfy and because it's bra sized it fitted me really well. It is also abit prettier because of the lace detailing on the cups.

I also used the Theya Fleur back fastening comfort bra * which is very popular for nursing and during pregnancy. It's such a soft material and such a comfy bra. The bra is also really smooth so you can wear it under anything, even a t-shirt. It is also perfect for those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, epidermolysis bullosa and ichthyosis because of the soft material it's made from. I found it easy to use as the nursing clips are easy to unclip. 

I wore nursing bras for a few weeks whilst I was expressing as I found my boobs were fluctuating and I found the non-wired bras were the comfiest.

I also used the Haakaa silicone breast pump, this is a portable pump which you don't need to pump yourself as it pumps the milk itself. I found the milk came out really slowly but I would put it on the side I wasn't pumping to catch any milk that would otherwise be wasted into a breast pad. 


1/2/18 - Amelia has now started drinking 4 ounces and is so much better drinking her milk. She's still quite sicky but not as bad. She's putting on weight well and at her last weighing was 8lb 8oz which is fab.  









* this post contains pr samples

LIFESTYLE: HOW TO SPOT GOOD QUALITY CLOTHING?


Today's post is going to take a look at how we can go about spotting quality clothing. I think its good to have a selection of quality pieces in your wardrobe and that it’s smart to spend a little bit extra and buy staple classic pieces that will last. If you go for materials that wash well and last longer otherwise you will just end up replacing these items every few months.

I've been taking a look in to what makes up a high quality garment and I believe these are the three most important things to look out for.

Fabric

Fabric is without a doubt the most important part of any piece of clothing. Regardless of the quality of the construction etc. if the fabric used is a cheap polyester blend or something which really isn't suited to the item, the whole piece will be let down. When looking for quality fabrics, you need to check the hand feel and to see if any treatments have been added to help with things like durability. If you pay a little more and go for organic cotton, you're guaranteeing that the fabric hasn't been harmed by pesticides.

Construction

When it comes to construction, handmade is always a great start because it means that someone has actually stitched the item themselves and with that comes a degree of pride. The first thing to take a look at is the stitching to see if there are any signs of unravelling, missed stitches, loose stitches, snags, crooked lines or other imperfections. After, you should try and lightly pull the fabric on either side of a seam just to check that it doesn't pull apart. Don't pull too hard of course!

Trim

It's no good buying an item that's been constructed beautifully from high quality fabrics if the trim like zips and buttons are going to degrade and even worse, fall off. The quality of the trim is just as important as the quality of the fabric. Plastic zippers are harder to zip up also, so always look out for metal zips and if possible, branded ones. You'd be surprised how much development companies like YKK put in to making their zips durable enough to stand the test of time. If you look out for high quality zips, you'll avoid a world of headaches.

I spoke to Rob Williams, a Director at Hawthorn, a clothing manufacturer based in London about what he believes is the most important thing to look out for. He said “from experience, the composition of a fabric plays a huge part in determining the quality of a piece. Lower quality brands tend to only think about their profit margins and will use fabrics like polyester blends where there is no need. On the other hand, those brands who really care about quality will go the extra mile to make sure that their products will stand the test of time. 100% natural fabrics are superior to man made fabrics generally, however there are some exceptions when it comes to speciality clothing like active wear.”




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LIFESTYLE: WAYS TO STAY POSITIVE THIS YEAR


In today's post I want to talk about staying positive and ways in which I think you can stay positive and increase your productivity in 2018. I'm going to include a few products to help you stay organised and things you can do to make 2018 the best year yet!

First up it's the 18th of January so you should all have a brand new diary and calendar, if not you need to go and get one. I think writing down things really helps me stay productive and I like to tick things off and this keeps me on track. I also keep a note of any appointments etc, coffee with friends so i'm super productive and know what i'm doing from one day to the next. If I have a free day then I can use this for blogging and i'll usually write a list of blog posts I want to write or write a list of products I need to review so i've always got something to write about. I also use the calendar and notes on my phone but I find actually writing things in my diary and on my calendar works better for me. There's lots of lovely planners around like The Happiness Planner and these ones from Dot Creates and so if you work from home or like having a big diary I think they are great and have lots of sections to keep you organised. 

Next up why not invest in a new wardrobe, get yourself some nice new clothes that you will be proud to be seen in. If you work in an office get yourself a nice new jacket or suit. This will make you feel really confident, and ready to get that promotion this year. If you are self-employed even though you don't wear a uniform appearing clean and professional is a good way to get new commissions, work etc, even if you just invest in a new dress, pair of jeans or a new coat. 

Having a positive mental attitude is going to boost positivity and productivity this year. Why not join the gym or start going for a run, I find exercise a really good way of thinking and i've come up with some really good ideas whilst i've been out for a jog. Exercise can also help you sleep better which is another benefit and another way to boost your positive attitude. 
Start doing yoga, have a massage, go for a walk around a park, just take some time out for you. Personal well-being is very important and looking after yourself should be a priority this year.  

Healthy eating is another good way of staying positive, I always have a 'lets do this' attitude when i'm eating well. I'm always very motivated to do well. Sugary and fatty foods can make you feel sluggish and can leave you feeling tired and irritated.  







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