Sunday, 15 November 2015

Hotpoint RPD10657JX Washing Machine Review

Those of you that follow on Social Media will know that we recently moved house. Our new rental home came without white goods so we needed to get all new fridge freezer and washing machine. Having never owned either of these things due to them being provided in previous properties I was super excited when we got these ordered. We were able to review the washing machine and here are my thoughts.

The Hotpoint Ultima S-Line washing machine other than being shiny and new has a whole host of features that we think make it the perfect choice for families. Firstly it has a A+++ energy rating making it cheaper to run and less 'juicy'. It also has an enormous 10kg drum allowing for bigger and less loads (we got through 3 wash baskets of backlog in less than a week).

The set up was really straightforward, something neither of us had ever had to do and was just a case of screwing one pipe in and popping the drainage pipe into the tube already in the property. Thanks to Joe's Dad for showing him how it was done!

I came across an issue here though. I read the manual and it said we needed to put the machine through a cleaning cycle first. I filled it up with detergent and pressed the buttons. 15 minutes later Joe shouted from the kitchen and I walked in to find foam spilling out of ever nook and cranny! I had misread the instructions and was meant to put 10% of the detergent I would normally use in the machine....oops! 2 spin and pump out cycles later and the foam had cleared...I would not be making that mistake again!

Anyway, we got a chance to use the machine straight away with a big back log of washing we had been tackling for months. We loved how easy to use it was and the range of cycles are fantastic. Some of the cycles we think work best for our family include...

Baby - This setting washes the clothing thoroughly fighting stains and killing germs but most importantly clears out all detergent residue from the clothing to make it gentle on babies skin.

Bed and Bath - Perfect for bedding and towels, this one kills all those horrible germs while keeping the bedding soft and the towels fluffy. Often people would wash these items separately but this cycle allows for them all to go in at once saving lots of time and energy

Colour Care - You can choose between 3 different programmes for darks, colours and lights. These keep the colours from running and help keep whites bright and darks stay dark (perfect for black jeans!).

Anti-Allergy - This one removes dust, pollen, mites and even cat and dog hairs from clothing.

Duvets - I love this setting, you can wash duvets or pillows that do not exceed 3.5kg. This is brilliant to do when carrying out a spring clean and is perfect for when potty training toddlers...I have lost track of how many times I have needed to clean Ted's duvet!

We also love the Time Saver option which cuts wash time down by up to 50%.

Some other components I liked in this machine were the Antimicrobial seal on the door which kills off 99.9% of bacteria...this is where germs normally hang out in washers, the swivel detergent tray as our old one just had a pull out drawer and the easy to read LED display and controls.

Here is my full video review of the Hotpoint Ultima S-Line.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Halloween Round Up

We are totally embracing Halloween this year. Ted understands it so much more now and has an obsession with all things spooky. As I type he is watching old Alvin and the Chipmunks episodes with Werewolves and Frankenstein in and chuckling to himself. 

We took him to Alton Towers last month and he went on Dual. I was a bit unsure about taking him in but he met the height restriction and really enjoyed it. He was a bit scared in parts but has been talking about 'Stombies' every day since! (unsure how I feel on that still!)

It only seemed right to spend October trawling the shops for Halloween goodies and picking up Pumpkins to adorn the windowsill. I have been practicing my makeup for the parties we are attending and Ted has been planning his costumes for nursery's dressing up days.

Here are some of the fab bits we have picked up or have been sent to try out for this Spooktacular month! 

We have been collecting Pumpkins!
L-R Morrisons (50p), Waitrose (£2) and Asda (£1).

Asda Halloween Costume Frankenstien
Ted was sent a gorgeous costume from Asda for Halloween (£8).
The quality is amazing although he was sent a trick or treat bag and broke it within 5 minutes! Asda costumes are always great value for money.
Halloween Candle Jar Craft
We made these cute jam jar candle holders.

Morissons Photo Booth Halloween
The Morrisons Photo Booth was great fun!

Aldi and Asda Halloween Goodies
Aldi Halloween Goodies - Pumpkin Plate, (£6.99) Ghoul Doorbell (£6.99),
Battery Powered Candle (£3.99)

Halloween Makeup Tutorials
I have also been practicing my Halloween makeup and put it to Facebook to decide which one to film for you. The most requested was my 15 Minute Vampire Makeup and the video is recorded and ready to go but our bandwidth is causing problems uploading. I will keep trying! I also did a Mermaid, Witch and Sugar Skull look which I ran out of time to film but will sort for next year...I know I am a rubbish blogger at the moment but I blame moving house with a toddler!
Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Trying for a Baby - The Highs and Lows

A while back we made a decision. One that would turn our world upside down for the second time. We were going to try for another baby!

Since Ted was born we had planned to try for another one when he turned two but December came and I just couldn't imagine having a newborn and a toddler to contend with. We decided to wait it out until Ted calmed down a little and 6 months on Ted has changed a lot. He is still a bit of a monkey and whizzes  around like a racing car most of the time but I would say 60% of the time he is calm and a joy to be around. Aren't all toddlers like that?

Trying for a baby wasn't an easy decision to come to and I have had so many emotions. I felt....


Of being pregnant again...After my last pregnancy consisted of months of HG and being admitted into hospital at 14 weeks with dehydration I was so scared it might happen again.

Of the unknown...Ted's labour was traumatic. An emergency c-section is not an easy thing to recover from both physically and emotionally and I wasn't sure how I would cope if anything like that happened again

That nobody would understand what I was going through... Last time around Joe really didn't understand my Hypermesis and neither did a lot of my close friends and family. They appreciated I felt 'a bit sick' but had no idea of the struggle I faced each day. It wasn't their fault, just 3 years ago HG was something few people had heard of but with The Duchess of Cambridge being diagnosed with it in both pregnancies public awareness for the condition has raised considerably.
That I would feel alone again. The anxiety that came from being sick or feeling sick on a daily basis. Letting my colleagues down and generally feeling like a lazy miserable cow for several months left me feeling isolated. I know for a fact that I wasn't alone and I had amazing friends and family around me but that feeling that nobody understood how I felt just wouldn't shift.
At the prospect of bringing another child into the world. Growing them inside my womb and creating a new life.

About giving Ted a brother or sister and Joe another beautiful child.

To be Mummy to another child and watching my children bond.

Secretly, about getting to buy baby clothes again and try all the latest products on the market.

About having a bump again! I loved my bump first time round and feeling those tiny little kicks were the best thing ever!


I wouldn't be strong enough to cope this time round.
That it would damage mine and Joe's relationship as last time was so hard on both of us. We bickered a lot back then as Joe didn't understand how I felt or how to deal with hormonal mood swings. I wanted him to be 100% supportive like the men you read about online, running to the shops at 3am to satisfy their wife's cravings for pickles! I had huge expectations that Joe was never going to be able to live up to. Hell, no man could live up to them!
That I could never love the next baby as much as I do Ted.
That our family was perfect the way it was and we would be stupid to rock the boat.
That we couldn't afford another baby.

That our house is too small.

That my c-section would cause problems this time round.
Excited again!
Terrified again!
Worried again...then just content.

I was open with Joe the whole way through and we discussed all the feelings I was having. Joe has always been so broody and I knew his views on the matter but felt as I was going to have to carry the baby he needed to know exactly how I was feeling.
Communication is key in these situations. The reason we struggled last time was because we didn't talk enough and since having Ted we have learnt so much about each other and Joe is my best friend so who better to share my thoughts with?
We realised other people have multiple children and love them all the same. We definitely could afford another child. We would face the HG as a team if it came back. We would talk more and are stronger than we were before. We would get me help earlier if I was sick so that I didn't get dehydrated and we would be more prepared this time round.
So...Content! This is how I now feel.
3 weeks from the day I had my coil taken out. I have been through a roller coaster of emotions. Trying for a baby is something we haven't been through as Ted was a surprise baby. It's different to anything I could ever explain as you are literally making the biggest decision of your life and there is so much pressure.
Once we came to a decision and rolled with it the pressure was off and it was just a case of trying and seeing how we got on. We were going to relax and see how things went for a few months, no testing kits, cycle trackers or stress. Just good old fashioned *whispers* 'grown up time' a few times a week and see what happens.

We are still trying as I write this but will only hit publish when we have conceived so by the time you read this *fingers crossed it is soon* I will be growing a little baby!

An update...

As some of you may know I did fall pregnant. I had a baby for a little while but sadly miscarried a few weeks into the pregnancy. I have recovered really well and despite a few tearful days I am doing really well. We went on a break to Alton Towers as a family and I think it was just what we needed. The second we arrived I felt a huge release and spending quality time with my boys was so special. We are trying again and know that one day we will have the baby we long for, it may just take a bit longer.


Chemist Direct Review

I was recently asked if I would like to try out the UK's number 1 online pharmacy, Chemist Direct. I have never really purchased toiletries and such online before so was interested to see if the prices were better than buying on the high street.
The website was really easy to use, the navigation was smooth and well laid out. Special offers included discounts across the Summer Essentials and Get Back to School Ready which included lots of children's health products.
I didn't need anything in the form of medicines as we are quite a healthy bunch really despite the odd bottle of Calpol or Ibruprofen which are quite cheap to get in supermarkets anyway. I also work with Dispensing Doctors practices in my 'day job' so find it very difficult to shake my opinion that medication shouldn't be prescribed without a GP/Pharmacist assessing the patient face to face. Perhaps someone could change my mind on this but for now I think I will stick to seeing a human being before being prescribed medication.
I decided to take this opportunity to stock up on some new products I haven't used before and stocked up the first aid kit too. There was a range of top brands and some I hadn't heard of before which was interesting to have a look at. I went for a bit of a mixture so that I could see the full range of items on offer.
Here is my order...
Chemist Direct Order
(I didn't photograph duplicates)
 Garnier Ambre Solaire After Sun Skin Soother 200ml

Malibu Protective Lotion SPF50 200ml

Malibu Continuous Lotion SPF30 Aerosol Spray 175ml

Chapstick Tropical Shimmer  

Garnier Simply Essential Cleansing Milk 200ml

Fast Aid Antiseptic Kids Tattoo Style Plasters 15 Plasters

Blistex Raspberry Lemonade Blast Lip Balm 4.2ml

Blistex MedPlus Cherry Berry Lip Balm 4.25g

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Soothing Gel Cream Wash 150ml

Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Makeup Remover 50ml 

Right Guard Women Xtreme Invisible 72hr Anti-Perspirant Deodorant 150ml

Nix STYPTIC PENCIL Saves Face 5g

Steroplast Holiday First Aid Kit

Palmers Cocoa Butter Ultra Moisturising Dark Chocolate and Cherry Lip Balm

Sudden Change Anti-Wrinkle Under Eye Lift 1.18ml

Dr Johnson's Antiseptic Spray 100ml

Garnier Ultimate Blends Shine Revitaliser Dry Shampoo 150ml

Garnier Ultimate Blends Silky Smoother Dry Shampoo 150ml

Regener8 Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo 250ml

Garnier Moisture Match Goodbye Dry Toner 200ml
As well as my order there were a few samples of anti-ageing cream and a couple of promotional leaflets.
I must admit the order took a while to arrive but I didn't need anything urgently so it didn't bother me too much but I could totally understand this would be frustrating for other customers. The products were well packaged and all in good condition on arrival.
The Products
The Garnier Toner and Cleansing Milk's are great, I use these every day now and I also really liked the majority of the lip balms except oddly the Tropical Shimmer Chapstick. It smells like Pina Colada which is great but is so sparkly that you end up looking like you have fallen in fairy dust in a matter of minutes!
The Garnier Dry Shampoo smells fab but doesn't really work. I found it didn't make my hair look revitalised and clean like it promised and know there are better products on the market.
I loved the Tattoo Style Plasters and the small First Aid Kit is really handy to have about the house along with the Antiseptic Spray.
Now the Summer has left us I have little use for the Sun Cream and Aftersun but these will go unused into my cupboard for next year or passed on to family members for their holidays.
Overall I am impressed at how much I got for the £50 credit I was given and would definitely be checking back again for any special offers. I noticed they do a lot of baby products so with any luck we can pop back for them soon!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Coolest Ever Bond Gadgets

I am not the biggest Bond fan, I am far more of a Disney lover than manly action movies but I will admit the gadgets used in the films are pretty cool. There has been many a time in life when I wish I had owned a Bond-esque gadget. Here is a round up of the coolest ever Bond gadgets. I wonder if your favourite is up there?

*In collaboration with Morphsuits.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Dream Baby

Dearest Dream Baby.

It doesn't quite feel real. One day I was about to become a Mum of two. Ted was going to be a big brother and we were finally going to be a family of four.

The second that test result appeared I saw you. I saw my bump steadily growing. You entering the world. Ted meeting you for the first time and our whole life was mapped out before me.

I dared to dream.

Perhaps because I wanted you so bad I convinced myself that that faint cross of a positive test was because my hormone levels weren't high enough yet. A cross was a cross right?

We couldn't contain our happiness and told our loved ones including Ted. He kissed my stomach that night. He held me and whispered "ah baby". I felt my heart burst with pride.

The next day my heart broke.

Two days. Just two days and I went from feeling the happiest I think I have ever been to feeling completely and utterly broken.

How can I feel like this? I was 6 weeks along if that.

Were you even there? A 6 week old foetus has a heartbeat but was I really 6 weeks or was it just a couple of weeks and a bundle of cells?

I will never know but it's not the contents of my womb I am grieving for. It is the dream. The dream of a child that would never be.

The world is moving on around me. People walk past and all I can think is how they just don't know what is going on inside my body. I don't begrudge them for that. Life must go on and my head tells me I need to be strong, dust myself off and soldier on through.

I am always fighting a losing battle with my logical mind and my emotions. This day is no different.

I learnt today that I am great at putting on a brave face. I manage to hide my pain deep down where nobody really knows it's there. I smile, make jokes, act like everything is normal but it isn't. I am still bleeding, I don't know how long it will take for my body to be back to normal. I feel tired and sick and I am taking each minute as it comes but I smile on.

I cuddle Ted that little bit closer, I try to show him everything is ok and that Mummy is alright because it worries him to see me cry.

I hold Joe that little bit tighter because I know he is hurting as well. He had those dreams too.

I know it will take time and we will come out of this and we will keep trying. One day we will add to our family but it wasn't our time.

It wasn't your time.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

8 Potty Training Essentials

Our experience so far...

Potty training is in full swing! Ted has been doing so well and with it being a bank holiday we thought it was best to make the most of 4 days with us all at home to finally crack it. We did attempt to get him to use the toilet and scrap potty's altogether but it didn't feel right for him so a potty in the living room is what we settled on.

We decided to leave him without anything on his bottom half so that he could feel when he needed to go. Last week I tried him with the potty training pants from the Asda Little Angels Range. He liked them but they made him feel like he still had a nappy on and he was happy to wee in them rather than head for the potty. We want to keep them on hand though for car journeys and short trips 'just in case'.

Since having his nappy off this morning we have had both a wee and a poo in the potty without having to prompt him. Of course we checked every 15 minutes or so to remind him and see if he was ready but when he felt he needed to go off he popped and called us when he was done. He is so happy with himself and we take him to the toilet so that he can flush it away himself!

Here are our '8 Potty Training Essentials'

Potty Training Essentials

A Potty - Of course, unless you plan to use the toilet in which case a toilet seat (specially for toddlers) and a stool will be perfect. We got our stool from Ikea and the seat from the Aldi Specialbuys.

Potty Training Pants - Should you decide to use these, as mentioned before we just have them for car journeys etc.

Bed mats - These go under the sheets for added protection at night time. We actually used these before Ted started potty training in case his nappy ever leaked.

Spare pants and trousers - Once you have reached the stage where your toddler is ready to wear pants you might find there are still accidents. Keep a stock of pants and trousers close by and plenty in their nursery bag too!

Potty Training Books - It really does help for a child to be able to visualise the potty training process and how it works. Our Pirate Ted's Potty book was brilliant and helped Ted to get excited about learning to use the potty.

Wipes - Toilet roll isn't the easiest thing to use with potty training, there are a huge amount of specialist toilet wipes on the market but why waste your money. Keep your regular wipes to hand for teaching them the 'front to back' technique and you will need them for those times when they don't quite make it and operation clean up is needed! We usually use the Aldi Mamia wipes because that is where we shop on a weekly basis but I actually like the Asda Little Angels wipes which have recently been supported by Mumsnet and are just as good.

Hand Towel and Soap - For good hygiene it makes sense to train your child to wash their own hands after using the potty. Making hand washing an important part of daily routine can be a fun thing for a toddler. We got Ted some special fun hand wash which is Bubblegum scented and I am off to get a Palmolive Aquarium bottle soon with a little turtle in which he will love. The Cuddledry Bamboo Hand Towel is a lovely little gift to make your toddler feel special and you can rest assured it is soft on their skin and antibacterial. We will be featuring a full review on the blog this week!

Finally one thing that is definitely needed is time and patience. This could take anything from a few days to a few months to get into a routine but keep at it and always remember to praise your child, they will be so pleased with themselves knowing you are proud of what they have achieved.

 *I have featured products I was sent as samples in this post but all opinions are my own