Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Charming Giveaway from a Fallen Angel

Lovely Emma Louise: From Fallen Angel to Yummy Mummy has made a few changes to her blog recently and as a result has been running a couple more fantastic give aways for her lucky readers. 
There are two currently on, one ending today at 6pm and the second ending tomorrow at 2pm to win an amazing charm bracelet of your choice from a selection at the Charm factory, like the one pictured below:

From FallenAngel to Yummy Mummy: A Charming Giveaway!
To enter just click on the caption and follow the instructions Emma gives you. Good Luck!
Also if you weren't already a follower, I'd recommend having a good browse around. Its the blog I read most often and is regularly updated with fun, interesting posts you can often relate to and at the moment she is having guest bloggers give their view on several topics. 

                                      x - X - x

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Recent Beauty Purchases

Over the past few months, most of my spare pennies have gone on baby purchases, because my god do they cost a 
lot when you realise everything you need when you are bringing one into the world, and also my wage is really not great!
Despite being a graduate, I'm just a lowly band 2 in the NHS, but its giving me experience which will hopefully help me progress to better jobs. 
Reality vs what I'd like
Anyway job aside, I'm not usually the best at saving money, although I desperately want too, as I have a severe lack of will power and a weakness when it comes to clothes, shoes, make up (on a lesser front), buying drinks for anyone and everyone when i get to my very drunk over generous stage on a night out, cheap DVDs (which add up when you buy quite a few!) and god knows what else. Which would probably explain why I run out out of money, as I can't really afford any of this, especially when I was renting a flat on my own, paying all the bills etc.
However since I've been pregnant and passed the anomaly scan stage at 22 weeks, which was a safety mark for me (I wasn't pushing my luck and buying anything until I knew all was ok), the normal desire of window shopping and lusting over things for myself had ebbed away. Possibly due to the fact my bump was starting to emerge, so clothes shopping was no longer the same, I was only buying the occasional thing to allow for an expanding bump, but also because some kind of maternal instinct had kicked in and all that I was interested in buying was baby themed.
Its taken a long time, but I think we finally have almost everything she needs.....for now, so I think signals went off in my brain in the past week that told me I was actually allowed to buy something for myself again (besides larger sized clothes, although I do love the maxi dresses I brought to help accommodate baby and my larger size).

So everyone's been chatting about Barry M nail polish......mainly nail effects or Peach Melba......but I've never tried any of their normal varnishes and ever since I spotted the blueberry ice cream shade, god knows how long ago, I have wanted it, and after a brief browse in Superdrug, also quite fancied the mint green and mushroom shades.
So yesterday, in the scorching heat, I dragged my heavily pregnant self into Leeds city center and to Boots, hoping the 2 for £5 offer was still on, but pretty expectant that it wouldn't be. Sadly I was right, there's now an offer of 3 for 2 on Barry M eye products instead, but I had my heart set on the varnishes and I chose:

Blue Moon, Blueberry Ice cream, Mint Green and Mushroom*
  *All paler looking shades in reality but the pic makes them look different

So I'm looking forward to trying them out, think I'm gonna go for blueberry first, but then mint green for if I am going somewhere since that's meant to be in fashion now according to More! magazine. As I said, I've never used Barry M varnish before so am not sure of the quality but the variety of colours they do in all their make up is appealing and I love their dazzle dusts too.
I also had happened to run out of Black Mascara, and even though I was lucky enough to get a blue Elizabeth Arden mascara for only the postage recently, black mascara is more my staple colour when doing my every day basic make up. Due to a small budget I often go for Collection 2000 mascara for the good prices, and when getting more extravagant ones from Rimmel on occasions I have been disappointed. I also use their shimmering glow, which I was running low on. Sadly they didn't have my shade, so I've decided to try out the mosaic glow, and opted for the waterproof version of the longer lash mascara this time, due to it being hayfever season and me being a bit hormonal......I want to reduce the risk of panda eyes lol. 
As if to make up for the Barry M offer being over, to my luck there was an offer on Collection any two of their products (which I needed to) and get a free Pure Lip Gloss. There were only a couple of shades and I have no idea what this product is like, but I have brought and liked some of their other ranges of lip gloss in the past and I love anything free so I picked one: 

Collection 2000: Mosaic Glow, Waterproof lengthening Mascara and Pure sheer Lip Gloss Shade: Honey 4

It looks all sparkly and lovely but I don't know what it will look like on, don't want to look like a 5 year old who's raided her mothers make up bag!
 My final reason for going to Boots was to get hold of some Jergens Naturals Skin firming body moisturiser that was mentioned in last weeks More Magazine. During this pregnancy, my legs have got a bit of the orange peel affect which is depressing as they used to be my best feature in my eyes. I can't afford expensive anti cellulite creams and magic potions, so I thought this was worth a try as it promises to 'visibly firm cellulite prone skin' but a few weeks ago I did also invest in a trustworthy body brush to get that circulation going too! As luck would have it, it was on offer too, all Jergens products half price in Boots. So I brought two!
I also grabbed a powder brush whilst I was there, went for the cheaper option of a 17 brush as it was less than half the price of the others,
but I guess that means I can't complain if its not great quality and bristles start falling out. But my cheap ELF one did quite well for several months. On that topic, I haven't treated myself to any ELF products for ages, but some of my purchases from them have been brilliant, in particular I LOVE their face primer and the foundation All Over Cover Stick. I've been a bit heartbroken getting the emails, saying free eyeshadow pallet with your order, knowing I couldn't make an order!
Anyway talking about things I want, my wishlist, is a whole other blog post!! So I'm off to have a bath and paint my nails since I stayed in to rest today instead of trekking around 36 weeks pregnant, wearing myself out!

                                           x - X - x

Sunday, 19 June 2011

A bit of a Rant

I was just talking to someone on Baby Expert about the comments she was getting on the size of her bump, which made me realise I wanted to do a quick post on it ....basically my reply to her, as the kind of comments people think its OK to give during this time has become one of my pet hates!

Many people are lovely when you are pregnant and make you feel good, however there are also a lot of inconsiderate & rude people, who when you are pregnant seem to think its completely normal to say things like "You are huge", "You are massive!" and "Are you sure you're not having twins?" 
Some people at work were saying these things to me, there was one day in particular when it was really getting to me, when in fact the next day at my hospital appointment, my antenatal Dr told me I was measuring a few cm too small!! 

I don't know what goes on in their heads....surely they would realize calling someone massive is not what any woman wants to here, pregnant women in particular I think. Even though this stage of your life may be the one time you are not so bothered about your figure or how big you are, if you are not used to having that much weight or are a bit self conscious about how big you are becoming, careless remarks like that can be hurtful, annoying and make you think you are huge, even if you are not! I'm not sure some of my colleagues actually know what a pregnant women looks like, as lots of other people my stage I've seen are a lot bigger. And when the bloke (complete creep) at work, who's stomach is practically the same size as yours, without him having the same excuse, laughs and says you're bump is huge, sometimes I felt like removing the smile n pretend laugh off my face and say "are you having a laugh?! Look in the mirror...whats your excuse? I've got a baby in here!"

Anyway I've ranted on a bit ....I guess I needed to let off some steam. Anyway don't do what I did and just smile and brush it off and pretend you don't mind, tell people they are offending you and that your size is perfectly normal (as people's size varies hugely when pregnant due to many factors) as it might help all these insensitive people think twice about saying these things.

A lot of people will say don't let it get to you, just ignore it, but I'm proof that sometimes it can get to you, so my advice is speak up and put these people in their places a nice way of course =)
And most importantly be happy and PROUD of your bump and body whatever size you are!


Friday, 17 June 2011

Fantastic Blog Giveaway's

Looking for some great new blogs to follow and some competitions to enter? Then I have two suggestions:

The Product Whore
-This blog features regular useful reviews on many beauty products and are currently doing a fabulous giveaway, which you will be directed to if you click on the blog name above. 

The Fruity Giveaway - win the pictured products

Powder, Paint & Pout
- A blog for those who love their make up, hair and beauty products and everything girly, and the lovely girl who writes it is doing an incredibly generous giveaway to celebrate her increasing number of followers. To access her blog, click the name above.

Fabulous beauty giveaway

So have a browse of both of these blogs, and if they appeal become a follower and get these lovely competitions to enter as a bonus.


Pregnant for the first time? Read on.....

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was a bit clueless about, well, everything! 
I had pretty rubbish or a complete lack of antenatal care for the first half, so a lot of things I had to do and find out or sort out myself, such as blood tests, scans, what I was entitled to, all sorts.
I was lucky though, as one thing I did get help on was what useful sites and clubs to join up to to get free gifts, samples, vouchers and advice. Thanks to my other pregnant or new mummy friends, such as Mel Matthews  Kirsty Croston and Emma Louise 

To help out a friend, who is thinking of trying for another along time after their first, I'm writing a list of the many places I have signed up to (and perhaps also to help myself due to pregnancy brain making me a bit forgetful) and I thought writing a blog would be a good idea if anyone else out there would like some pointers. Plus loads of the sites I will mention do loads of fab competitions which is always a bonus!

So for those of you who are in a similar position to what I was, or already got a little one and looking for some more useful sites to join up to, here's some useful lists linked to the sign up pages: 

Mother and Baby Clubs:
  •  Tesco's baby and toddler club -they save you money by sending you lots of handy vouchers, for example one for 50% off Johnsons baby starter pack and also a mother and baby parking permit so you can use the spaces close to the store up to your child's 3rd birthday. Selected Johnsons products are also buy one get one free currently.

  • Boots parenting club -another club to send you lots of handy vouchers for money off products and also start out by giving you an amazing free changing bag with separate compartments, a changing mat and a bottle warming pocket. Not only that but for every baby product you then buy, you will get 10 points on your Boots card for every £1 spent, instead of the regular 4 points. Bigger Boots stores have a wide range of baby products including a lovely clothing range, which has a 2 for 1 deal on selected items currently. With the use of one of the vouchers they sent me, just for buying a Philips Avent product i got this: Future mother must haves free!

  •  Toys R Us Mother and Baby club  - Babies R Us have a fabulous range of products and often at cheaper prices than other baby product retailers, so this is a great one to sign up to. If you don't already have a Gold card (which will get you loads of points from your purchases, and points mean prizes! Well vouchers for money off toys, which lets face it you will need with children) you will be signed up automatically when joining this club. They send you vouchers off Babies R Us products or money off when you spend a certain amount in store and keep you up to date on their latest offers, which often involve half price goods, which is pretty handy when babies cost so much to stock up for. I got three half price bedding sets from here (two for the cot-bed and one the crib) and my fisher price baby bouncer at £10 cheaper than other retailers.

  • Sainsbury's Little Ones - I've only just joined today. Found out about it on the Huggies forum. It offers a free gift of baby goodies worth £9.99, money off vouchers and they have loads of handy healthy recipes on the site. Looks like a good one.

    Hospital Linked Clubs:

    As long as your midwife isn't totally useless like my current one, she should offer you either the Emma's Diary Magazine or the Bounty magazine which also acts as a pregnancy diary. Both are full of useful articles and advice, vouchers and cards to get your free packs from them at different stages in your pregnancy:
    ED 3 Free Packs 
    Bounty 5 Free Packs 
    I got Emma's diary from my first midwife, so I asked at my hospital antenatal department about Bounty and they gave me my first free pack there. The cards then generally ask you to go to Argos, Lloyds or Boots to pick up your packs depending on which club. 
    The magazines are very useful, but also its a good idea to check out their websites as they have competitions, give you a chance to talk to other mother and mums to be and help you keep track of your pregnancy, giving you detailed updates appropriate to your stage, if you select which week you are on their time lines. They also have fun apps such as baby name generators or suggestions, if you are struggling in that area and advice on relationships, managing money and useful information on labor and giving birth.

    Nutrition Clubs:

    •  Aptamil Baby Club   As well as receiving a free cute cuddly polar bear for your growing bump/future bundle of joy, you will receive plenty of advice on nutrition and pregnancy. Their site is very informative and you can talk to someone directly if you need to. They advise you on baby and toddler nutrition, and your own diet as well as useful articles on morning sickness and regular emails updating you of your stage in pregnancy.

    • Cow and Gate Similar to the above, except you get a free cuddly cow (although I did have to ask for mine as it didn't turn up to begin with) and a free pregnancy diary. Also apparently money off vouchers. Now I know these companies produce formula milk, but they are not just for those bottle feeding. They give great advice on breast feeding, do follow on milk and other baby and toddler food products and give handy nutritional, pregnancy and parenting advice and support if needed.

    • Hipp Baby Club  For advice during your pregnancy and after for your growing baby, and free food samples, and occasional competitions, this is another good one to join.

    • Heinz Baby club Money off vouchers, free samples, advice and competitions and a friendly looking easy to use, informative nutrition site.

    • SMA baby club You will have probably seen the adverts for this. I'm going to join today as I've not got round to it yet, but it looks a great site and with free recipe ideas for weaning etc I'm thinking its going to be pretty useful!
    *Most of these companies also have FB pages so have a look and join.


      • Made for Mums - the website linked to the fabulous Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Magazine.
      • Ask A Mum  - the website linked to the very useful & informative Pregnancy & Birth and Mother & Baby Magazines
      • Baby Expert - the website linked to the brilliant Prima Baby and Pregnancy Magazine
      These first three ^ are probably my favourites, along with the middle two of the ones below
      Most of these are fantastic websites which along side tonnes of great competitions, host forums where you can chat to other mums and mums to be and have your say or ask any questions you need to, write and post your own pregnancy blogs (Baby World etc), find out about local events, get advice on your pregnancy, labor, birth and baby's/toddlers stages, get advice on breast feeding and weaning and handy recipes, expert advice if you are trying to conceive, handy reviews and product suggestions and more! Baby world also have some fun games you can play to pass the time.
      So they are well worth signing up to! 
      I recently won a 200ml bottle of Clinica stretch mark tissue oil from and I never win competitions, so that's worth a look too! 
      Again Many of these have Facebook pages, so keep a look out! All of these sites and clubs ask for your babies due date so can send you pregnancy stage updates which are nice to read to see how you and your womb dweller are doing and developing.

      Huggies Club - A fun site to join, with amazing competitions, such as the massive Early learning center bundle available to win now. Also features pregnancy journal, one of my favourite forums, a due date calculator and fun things to print off for your child.

      Facebook Groups/Pages:
      • MAM UK  - A well known brand who have fabulous products such as orthodontic approved soothers and self sterilizing bottles (which were recently on special offer at Mother Care), so obviously they have their own website. But for a chance to chat to other mums and enter weekly competitions they have this Facebook page. 

      • Bizzie Baby - Again they have their own website as well, both the site and fb page are fab for reviews on baby products, so you are well informed before your buy and know what other people think. You can also sign up to be a product tester/reviewer yourself, which I will be doing once my baby is here and old enough to try things out =) They also regularly post details of any other baby/child/pregnancy related competitions which you can enter, e.g this weeks Hauck competition to win one of their fabulous pushchairs. I was lucky enough to also win with Bizzie Baby, coincidentally another Clinica tissue oil which I received today =)

        •  Nuby UK   - check out their website for their award winning products, and their Facebook page for fabulous competitions and friendly chatter with other members. I was lucky enough to get a free microwave sterilizer and three bottles from them for participating in their baby scan program and simply commenting on one of their posts.

        • Baby Swap or Shop - this and Rascal Babies both have their own websites and FB pages. They are fantastic sites which allow mothers to sell or swap their previously used or unused baby products from prams to toys, cots to clothes, bouncers to maternity items and therefore other mums and mums to be to get discounted affordable items in great condition, often like new. With how much gear your little one needs, especially if you are a first timer, or if you are on a very low wage like me, or are just money conscious, these sites are a life saver. Whats even better BSOS have regular competitions and allow you to sign in through facebook to save any extra hassle of signing up.

        Comp Prize: Mabyland Bunny&Kitty Peg Rattles. 
        • Mabyland - check out their website to see their gorgeous products, with four main characters, doggy, teddy, kitty & bunny, friendly, soft and colourful, your baby is bound to love them. They do regular competitions on their Facebook page and somehow I won with them too. All my life I win nothing then win several at once! This baby must be a lucky charm! Although I have entered hundreds of baby comps over the past few months, so I think i was owed at least a win or two. Back on topic I won two of their lovely peg rattles, which I will be doing a mini review about soon, then another once my baby has had her chance with them. 

        So as well as those that I have mentioned there are other FB pages including one for Mamas and Papas and multiple other baby retailers and gift shops.

        My final mentions for today will be Mother Care who I wish I could buy everything from (inc their early learning center section) who do have a club but you have to spend a fair amount of money for the vouchers to be of use to you, but if you have the money then sign up! I have brought several things from there however and right now they have a massive sale on.
        Also Philips Avenand Tommee Tippee also have their own fb pages (only fair since i mentioned MAM and Nuby, and also have the Philips Avent newborn starter pack ....was half price in Asda's most recent Baby Event).
        Also Asda who do gorgeous, extremely good value baby clothes, towels etc and my above mentioned friend Kirsty's little business Princess Millie's Boutique, if you click on her name at top of the page it will take you straight to her. Also Mel and Emma's names will take you to their blogs.

        So if you have managed to hang in there and read through all of this, or even just note down the site and club names, I hope you check them out and that this has been useful to you. I'm off to go have a bubble bath as after being sat at the computer for all this time, I'm a little achey!

                                                           Lots of Love
                                                             x - X - x