Tuesday, 2 September 2014


So I'm trying to get my new blog up and running. I have a lot of posts in draft from I've not had time to finish yet. I'm not sure on the best ways to get my blog out there apart from attempting good SEO and joining tots 100. I've been joining in with some click and chat social media on another blog but after that I'm striking a blank.

I suppose I shouldn't worry too much until my blog is a bit more established post wise so people can get a proper feel of what it's about. It's mostly just parenting posts currently but after a while (more personal posts) I'm hoping my blog will get it's own personality - if that makes sense.

I feel I've aged so much in the 4 years since I started this blog due to personal circumstances....which i don't like....so I'm hoping I can still retain a bit of youth from this one, but with a more mature writing style!


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

New Blog

After a lot of difficult disruptions in my life I have finally started up a new blog. After not being able to carry on with this one and a lot changing I felt I needed a fresh start. I will be transferring a few old posts, slightly edited, but generally all new and a bit of a different direction.

If anyone wants to join me on the new one its called Somewhere In between

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Product Review: Nuby Comfort Manual Breast Pump

I didn't think to get a breast pump whilst I was pregnant, mainly because as I don't have big breasts I was always un confident about my possible breast feeding abilities - I didn't think I'd have enough milk and assumed I'd have to resign to bottle feeding which I was upset about.
Comfortable and Efficient
When Grace was born she couldn't seem to get any milk/colostrum so I put her straight onto formula. However 2 days later my milk came in and I was so happy it was such a relief. Grace however had become accustomed to the bottle teats and got frustrated when breast feeding, although she managed it a bit, and I tried a few times during the first two weeks.
The day after my milk came in Ash went out to get me a breast pump. I'd asked him to get the Nuby Comfort Manual Breast pump as I'd seen that one in Boots and knew it wasn't too expensive and we are on a budget.

I didn't think to take a picture of the box, as the last thing on my mind was my blog or reviews as I had my tiny newborn and was in a magical bubble of joy, magic, excitement and fear of the unknown!
I've stopped expressing now so my pump and storage bottle have been put away, so I have used a stock image from the Boots website.
There was an offer on at Boots to get it for a reduced price of £19.16 which is still on, compared to its RRP of £24.99. That's a 25% reduction.

It came with some free breast pads, which were useful as I didn't think to get any of those in either, and I desperately needed them from here on as I would leak loads!

It did take me a couple of goes to get used to it, purely because I had never done this before! It was alien to me! Once I'd had a couple of tries it was easy to use and comfortable thanks to the soft massage cushion and the adjustable pressure valve. The latter was particularly useful the first day I used it, as my breasts were quite tender from being so full. It molded around the breast well and was very efficient for a manual breast pump.
It was easy to put together and to disassemble and fit in our Nuby microwave steam sterilizer (that we received free from them by sending my 22 weeks scan picture in).

I can't fault this product, for a manual pump it is great and the design and features are well thought through.

Despite the price its not good value
Due to reviewing some products for the Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Magazine awards, I had another breast pump to compare it to. They sent me the 'Babies are us' manual breast pump, which although has a great price tag, I didn't find great value at all, as I thought it was awful in comparrison!
There was no massage cushion so your breast was just against the hard uncomfortable plastic which I didn't find stimulated the expression of milk very well. It didn't seem as efficient and I struggled with it and I didn't like the way it was put together. I 100% preferred the Nuby pump.

Here's what Nuby say about the product:
  • Gentle express mimics breastfeeding
  • Efficient & comfortable expressing
  • Helps combine breast & bottle feeding
  • Soft massaging cushion stimulates the breast & encourages your natural milk flow
  • Adjustable suction valve ensures ultimate comfort, as it allows you to adjust the suction pressure of the pump
  • Set includes:
    • 5 oz/ 150 ml PP Natural NurserTM
    • 8 oz/ 240 ml PP Natural NurserTM with breast sized slow flow silicone teat, screw ring & hood
    • Breast pump standing cradle
    • Silicone storage lid
    • 6 disposable pads
* I would recommend this to anyone looking to get a manual breast pump, and I imagine their electric one is brilliant too. If on less of a budget I would have gone for that:
Nuby Rhythm Electric Breast Pump

 If brought from Boots instead of the Nuby website, you get a saving of over £20 due to their current 25% off offer on Nuby Breast pumps.

I did get sent an electric breast pump by Ardo to review a couple of weeks later but never got chance to use it.

Sadly I didn't manage to express for more than 3 weeks as I would never get time. I shouldn't have had so many visitors and it does make me sad that maybe I would have been able to do it for longer if I had made people wait to come.
When visitors had been I would be busy looking after Grace and trying to keep on top of house work (although Ash was great whilst he was off work, which did help considering I had to recover from giving birth and had some painful stitches) and when I finally got some free time I would be too tired. So in that case I'd reccomend getting the electric one as I'm sure I would have managed it then despite the tiredness.

Useful links:
Will you be expressing breast milk? What brand of pump are you thinking of investing in?

                                                             x - X - x

Friday, 23 September 2011

10 Day Friend Challenge: Day 3 The friend you have the most fun with

I think the most fun times of my life were probably my university days. Particularly before I became unwell, as after that I have never been the same or been able to be as care free, but I have still had some very fun times since.
There are two contenders for this one....although I do have loads of fun with a fair few people, I think the top two are Lauren and Alessandro.

Freshers year, Lauren and Me

My Disney 21st. Katie, Han, Me, Helen, Jen, Lauren
In my first year of university at Liverpool I lived at a student halls campus Carnatic and it was brilliant! You got to know so many people so quickly and so well from all living in a little neighborhood. I am so glad I did otherwise I would have really missed out. 
I was friends with a lot of the boys, as I think we were outnumbered and also I find them easier to get on with sometimes, but I think we all felt that way as besides us the other girls in our halls (Morton) didn't seem particularly pleasant. So I became close to four girls in the first year - Lauren, Helen, Katie and Hannah, and then the next year Jen, when all six of us moved in together.

2nd year Carnage: Helen, Jen, Lauren, Me

Kt & Me rocking out in Lozza's room
 We got up to plenty of mischief and Lauren, like Karen is one of the funniest people I know. When she was drunk she was much more likely to do silly things with me, I didn't need much encouragement as I had got over my very shy stage. We also had much fun winding up our friend and block buddy Russell (all in good humour) such as trying to get him a Russian bride. There were many drunken adventures. Katie was usually involved too or would be my other partner or crime, or Laurens.

Lauren, Me, Katie A night out

Me & Katie
 I remember Katie and I going to Tesco in our pj's at 4am one night (which may be common for some scousers but wasn't for us) only to find it was closed, and going clubbing in our pj's to raise money for charity.

Lauren is someone its so easy to feel comfortable around and we can have fun just jumping around the kitchen to cheesy dance or trance music eating peanut butter on toast as well as random adventures into other blocks (Morton had 6 blocks) or getting drunk and being silly. Just talking to her is fun as she has a great sense of humour. I really miss her these days!

Me & Lauren - a meet up after our uni years

Alessandro was in our neighboring block. In the first year I spent most time with an ex friend called Connor who was so much fun and a great friend, until the next year when he got into drugs and turned unstable and into a really nasty piece of work.

Dave, Me and Sandro on a night out, last yr of uni

The last two years I then spent alot of time with Sandro and he is the funniest guy that I know. He comes out with the most ridiculous things and as I hung around with the boys a lot, there was always pranks going on, which I did love as I still loved to embrace my inner child!
No nasty or over the top pranks, just pretty harmless things. He was also a great friend.

A meet up 2 years after uni, my 24th birthday. Raj, Me, Sandro

I don't get to see my university friends very often now, as we all live in different areas of the country sadly, and I really wish we were all just down the road from each other like we used to be. They have given me some great memories. I only hope to have the chance to have some more.

                                                           x - X - x

Thursday, 22 September 2011

My Birth Story

On Tuesday morning the 26th of July, I woke up early (like I had been doing every morning due to needing a wee - my poor squashed bladder), with what I thought must be braxton hicks, quite strong ones, like bad period pains.
I'd had some similar pains before on the two previous Fridays, one night was very painful but both had turned out not to be anything as the next couple of days I would have no signs, until weak period pains would return about 48 hours after each occasion.
Due to this I assumed this was just practice again, although with it being almost my due date and the regular weaker pains I'd been getting - like a build up, it did make me wonder if it could be starting. I got out of bed when Ashley had left for work as it was too uncomfortable to sleep. I went about a normal routine, having breakfast, writing a post on here, all whilst getting these pains. After a while they then seemed to have mostly worn off so i went back to bed for a couple hours later on thinking they wouldn't come back. I'd even told my sister I'd speak to her the next day after my sweep, as nothing was going to happen in the hours between then.

I was very wrong!

I can't remember when the pains started again, but I'd been getting on with household chores and had been planning to make Butternut squash risotto (after being on the Hipp site and thinking i could freeze most of it for ready meals for when baby came). I didn't realise how much of a challenge sorting out butternut squashes would be! It was hard, especially due to being a massive 40 week pregnant whale and I began to get back ache.
I assumed it was because I'd been stood up too long doing it all, but after I'd been cooking for a while, the backache started to get worse and I was getting cramping pains, and it was getting really hard to do it.
I still didn't think i was in labour though! It was in the back of my mind but I was slightly in denial.

I think it was about 8 in the evening when I realised I was getting regular contraction like pains and I was kind of excited but also thought that they'd wear off just like the other nights (but then they'd not been so convincing as this). When I noticed they were coming every 10 to 15 minutes and they were getting quite painful, it started to kick in that it was pretty likely that i was in labour. I hadn't showered or painted my nails during the day like I planned and I didn't want to go in a mess (which may sound silly) so I realised I had to go get that done. I told Ash, (who was busy playing on his xbox) I was doing so, just in case we had to go to the hospital ....so I was still not 100% convinced - I think I knew but I just couldn't believe it was actually happening. Its hard to describe how I was feeling.
It turns out its not so easy shaving your legs with contractions!! Then when Ashley saw I'd done my make up he laughed.

After then they were getting closer and closer in a very short space of time and stronger so I knew it was labour and called the delivery suite. It was about half ten by then (I think). They were 5 to 6 minutes apart but it was confusing as I would get two or three in a row, which i think is why I'd been unsure since 8pm whether it was real labour, as i never knew you could get more than one contraction at once (always thought it was just one and then the minutes in between then the next and so on).
The midwife I spoke to told me I didn't need to go in until they were 2 - 3 minutes apart and to try paracetamol and a have a bath. I was quite upset then as they were getting pretty painful and it was hard coping with more than one at once. I told Ash he may as well go to bed as I was thinking of my friend Mel who had been up all night in pain until she had progressed to that point, so I thought I would be the same and not be going anywhere until the morning.
He said no though, as I think he thought we would be going to the hospital soon. So he knew better than me!

We started timing them and he was trying to help me get through them and they were 3 minutes apart within no time at all. I couldn't believe it at first, and the multiple contractions were still confusing me, but in quite a bit of pain I then rang the hospital and they told me to come in, it was actually happening!
I'm not too sure if i was excited anymore by then though, as I had already been crying because of the pain and because I knew this was by no means the worst of it! 

We had to get a taxi in as neither of us drive or have a car (yet) so that was fun sitting in the back trying to keep completely composed during contractions! I didn't want to freak the taxi driver out and make him think I was gonna give birth in his car!
It was about midnight, just after when we got to the hospital and delivery suite. I was put on a little ward area when we got in, as they don't let you go into a delivery room until you're in established labour, although in the end i went in before that.
She checked me when we got in and found i was 2-3 cm dilated already, although  because of the pain and wanting something for it, I was hoping it would be 4cm, but it could have been worse! If it had been 1cm dilated I think i would have lost my mind! I didn't realise or had forgotten you couldn't have pain relief until established labour (and I can't have Codeine as I'm allergic) so I was upset as the contractions were very painful now and she told me that getting a few in a row was normal and called coupling. Its bloody awful. I guess everyone probably gets that but i had no idea!

Putting it into perspective they hadn't got that painful until i started throwing up because if how much it hurt. She said its because of your stomach being close to your contracting uterus but I'm so sure it was the pain!
Anyway as they were so strong and coming constantly my midwife got a bath run in one of the delivery rooms (the baths are great, so massive) and so I was off the mini ward which was a relief.

After the first examination she'd said she'd check me in 4 hours, I was horrified, 4 bloody hours, to see if I was in established labour, and before I could have any pain relief.
So we were left in my delivery room and i was in the bath and my contractions started to get horrific, she'd taught me to breath through them, but some were so bad i actually had to kind of scream. Only a few times, but i kept telling Ash I couldn't do it and said it was the worst experience of my life and to make it stop! He was so good looking after me though. He'd helped me sort myself out when I'd been sick a few times on the ward and was holding me and stroking my hair and helping me as much as he could by comforting.
I ended up getting out the bath, I couldn't take the pain and I was a bit hysterical I think. I begged him to get the midwife to take a look at me because I really needed at least gas and air and needed to know how far gone I was, I was sure I must already be pretty well established. So after a bit he got her for me (using the and she checked how far i was which KILLED as it set off another majorly strong contraction, I'd just had one before that had made me scream.
She was very shocked and told me I was 8cm gone already!

She finally gave me gas and air but the pain was still awful, and even though I'd got through almost all of it with nothing I begged her for diamorphine (Leeds don't do Pethidine anymore) or even an epidural (which i had been adamant about not wanting, but i was desperate and hysterical i think....otherwise I'm sure i wouldn't have asked).
She wasn't gonna give me any with being 8cm but the Dr said it was ok, but I don't think they realised or had I by then that I needed to push (and how soon my I'd be giving birth), so I had started doing...I couldn't stop it, so i must have gone to 10cm if lightening speed but i didn't know so didn't click I was now starting to push my baby out.

My body was starting to make me push really hard, so hard at one point all this fluid came rushing out, but I didn't know if it was my waters or i'd wee'd lol, turns out the latter! 
Ash briefly left the room not long after...I don't know why as the Dia morphine made me practically fall asleep in the time between each contraction (such a relief). I think he needed a wee too haha! In that time my waters actually finally did go.....right last minute. I then was pushing really hard again and then thought I'd poo'd myself! I asked to go to the toilet and then I hadn't so was confused, I hadn't realised that the feeling was my babies head popping out into the birth canal, the midwife didn't realise this either ....and after a bit looked and said...you're baby is right there! She thought it might take a while to push out but after a couple pushes she was coming out, but the midwife told me I had to stop pushing (which felt almost impossible) and just breathe her out, as I was tearing.

And then really quickly she came out.

She made a little cry but then stopped and she looked blue, they had put her on my chest briefly but then took her right off because she wasn't breathing. It was terrifying.

 A load of doctors came in and took her over to this area in the corner of the room and were trying to get cries out of her and doing checks whilst I had to deliver the placenta. My midwife (Juliet - she was wonderful) was going to pull it out using the umbilical cord, but that snapped so she was asking for someone else to come in and assist (besides the other person who had to be present at birth) but then I pushed it all out that second so shocked her again! It was huge, i'm sure almost as big as Grace.
The doctors had her for a while and I was so so scared and kept asking if she was ok, even though they told me she was. It was because I'd delivered so quickly after the diamorphine which they weren't expecting. I eventually got her back which was such a relief and she was a normal colour and I had my baby girl in my arms!

:) Shortly after they had to do my stitches, so Ashley held Grace. I had a 2nd degree perineal tear and a couple of other lacerations. However I can't remember feeling any pain pushing her out (that had been the bit I was most scared off ....I just couldn't see how it was possible) and even though the pushing sensation is so strong, it is such a relief from the contractions
I think the girl who did my stitches was still a bit unexperienced as it took her ages and another midwife had to help at one point and seemed a bit annoyed at her. I just wanted it to be over!

Here are some of the first photo's after Grace was born:

Grace Lily Olivia Dykes 7lb10 oz Born: 27/7/11 4.03am

Holding my baby girl properly for the first time <3

Proud Daddy <3
Later on that morning they did quite a few checks on my heart because I'd been having more palpatations and tachycardia. It all seemed fine, but then we had to stay in hospital overnight as the paediatrician detected a heart murmor in Grace that afternoon in the post natal ward.
I was very upset about it and that we had to stay in. Ashley had gone home to get some sleep but came back and my sister and my nephew came over and were the first people to meet her. 
The murmur was still there the next morning so we were told we would have to take her for a scan in about 6 to 8 weeks. She still has it but its an innocent one thank god, so she is perfectly healthy.

She was so well behaved in the hospital. All the other babies were screaming on the ward but she just wiggled a lot and whimpered a lil bit if she wanted something. She didn't have a proper screeching cry at first, like the other babies on the ward, just this cute little wah sound, which finally came out when she had her first bath! Before then it had just been a one off noise, not continuous. However now, as every baby she has a very loud cry when she is not happy about something.

If you are due to give birth for the first time, don't be scared. I used to be terrified of it before being pregnant, but then was less scared when I was as I had the baby to focus on.
It was very painful, but I was lucky and had a relatively short labour (although I do wonder if I started dilating a couple weeks in advance) and despite the pain and having to cope with stitches for a couple weeks after, I would do it again. It was the best experience of my life giving birth to my baby girl and we are so lucky to have her.
 Everyone says you will get through it, and you may doubt it but they are right and it will be one of the happiest times of your life. Good Luck to anyone expecting.

    •                                       x - X - x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

New Baby!

Congratulations to Ellis over at EllyBellyBaybee Blog for having her beautiful baby girl Tehya Summer.

 She's Gorgeous!!

x - X - x

Monday, 19 September 2011

10 Day Friend Challenge: Day 2: A New Friend

This should have been 'The friend that knows the most about you' but that was too tricky for me because I have moved about a lot. I've been to five different primary schools and lived in Stockport, then Plymouth, then Liverpool, then Stockport again and now Leeds. So it meant it was hard for me to stay close to anyone for more than a certain amount of time. Different people have been closest and know more about different stages of my life.

So I changed it to this: A New Friend

I've made quite a lot of new friends in the past 14 months and also changed boyfriends - all due to moving to Leeds and starting a new job. But one person who I've talked to for a while but only just recently met in person is Mel Matthews!

The two years after uni that I was in limbo unable to work due to illness, I started chatting to people on the More Facebook page and made quite a few lovely online friends on there, who during that time were there for me more than some of my 'real life' friends.

Emma Louise & Cameron

Then when I became unexpectedly pregnant there was one girl I confided in one of them as she had been in a similar situation. That was Emma Louise, and it was such a relief when I felt I couldn't tell anyone else about it at the time.
Just before I found out I was pregnant Mel announced on Facebook that she was, and at after I'd got my head round things I told her I was. I feel I bonded with her due to us sharing out pregnancy 'journey's' together. It was great to have someone else to chat to about things and more exciting too.
I'd always thought Mel seemed really nice - really funny judging by the comments she used to write on the More fan page, and I'm glad I've got to know her a lot better.
Everyone was so excited the day she went into labour and we were all texting her to see how she was doing as it was so exciting. She had a gorgeous baby girl called Neve 25 days before I gave birth to Grace.
When I'd given birth I was waiting a while to announce it as I wanted to be able to tell my mum before putting it on Facebook (however I wish I hadn't bothered - she still hasn't met her granddaughter!) so my sister was the only person I'd told until Mel text and I let her know.

Its weird how someone you've never actually met in real life can seem like a close friend.

I'd never yet met any of the 'Moreo's' as we had been branded, but luckily got the chance to meet Mel, Neve and Kev as her family home is up here and she came to visit.
I was really excited but also nervous as I get a bit like that when meeting new people (even though we talk most days on facebook!) but had a lovely time meeting her. Ash came along with me and Grace met her BFF Neve.
Some pictures from the day:

BFF's meeting =)


Lovely Mel with my baba Grace

Neve not happy mummy is holding another baby!

Ash holding gorgeous Neve =)

Me & Neve =)

Kev, Neve, Mel

I wish we could have spent a bit longer with them but we had to rush off and buy Grace some special baby milk before the shop closed =(.
The milk turned out to be the worst one we'd tried so that was a waste of time!

I'm hoping Mel gets to move back up here and when I've got some funds I really would like to meet Emma Louise and her little boy Cameron, as well as some of the other girls at some point.

                                                               x - X - x