Monday, 20 October 2014

My baby shower!

by Bex

As I mentioned last week, Gemma & Bella threw me a baby shower this Saturday and boy did they put in a lot of effort!  They had arranged an olive green and yellow colour scheme to match the invitations, organised baby vest decorating with stencils and fabric paints, an amazing afternoon tea spread which everyone brought along some baking for and basically spoiled me rotten!

Unfortunately a lot of people couldn't make it due to various illnesses, distance/cost issues and poor sick babies but we didn't let that spoil the day and I had a thoroughly amazing time with those who were able to make it!  Plus is was quite nice having a small group as I was able to chat with everyone easily.  My in-laws had driven down for the weekend to join in and see the house for the first time, my Mum is obviously still here (and arranged the most amazing favours which I had no idea about either!  Sneaky!), Bella & Gemma came early to banish me while they decorated the house and then Laura and Katie turned up (with the most adorable and youngest guest, Megan)!  Nik and his Dad had planned to go out but since we had so much cake and plenty of spare everything, they decided to stay and join in the fun :)

I wore the purple Seraphine maxi dress Dani so kindly sent to me a few weeks ago.  Roz was devastated to not be able to make it down so I thought wearing an abundance of purple would help add her spirit to the occasion ;)  I added gold accessories for a bit of glitz.


Gemma and Bella banished me from the house in the morning and did an amazing job decorating our half-finished dining room using the paper pom garland I'd kept from my wedding (albeit a bit squished after 3 years in the attic) as well as some fresh gorgeous ones they'd made themselves and some fab green chevron paper straws!  They bought me a beautiful cabbage bouquet as well as roses for the mums!!  They then utilised my many (still homeless - a dresser has been ordered!) platters and cake stands to display all of the amazing food and baking people brought for our lovely afternoon tea.




Mum had sneakily bought loads of individually boxed bone china dragonfly mugs to use for the tea and for people to then take away as a party favour which I thought was such a sweet idea!  She even bought me a special green one!


I used my green one for tea and switched to the other when everyone had pink fizz (I had Melonade).

Since there were only 4 guests including Bella & Gemma, it means there are loads left so it looks like I have a fab new dragonfly mug collection!  :)

As for the baking, Laura's macarons and cheese scones went down a treat and Mum's lemon drizzle cakes (one with blueberries) were also very popular as was the fancy Maison Blanc chocolate cake MIL brought (as she couldn't bake close enough to the day).




We actually tucked into all of the delicious food last after catching up, pressies and then a tour of the new house of course, including the nursery which meant they all got a special secret sneaky peek at the twins' top secret initials as they'd just arrived that morning and I couldn't wait to add them to my newly designed gallery wall!


The twins and I are extremely lucky and although I had made sure that the girls knew no presents were required nor expected (as per American style showers), everyone brought us some truly beautiful gifts and I had a lot of fun opening them!!

Laura gave us some beautiful limited edition prints she felt would 
look gorgeous in a nursery/playroom.
Plus, check out the fab chevron wrapping and cute card!

I think I love the trampolining one best but I keep changing my mind!
They'll definitely be up in the playroom (the nursery walls are full now!)

Katie gave me some lovely bump treats and the twins a super cute bunny called JoJo and some cute (& very soft) 'Born in 2014' outfits!

(I forgot to take a picture of the bump products as I already put them in the bathroom!  
The sleep mist smells lovely!)

And Bella & Gemma MADE the most gorgeous little bowl set with dragonfly designs
 and 'The little dragonfly' written in French and Spanish!

I am SO impressed with Gemma's drawings!

I even received some gifts from some of those who couldn't attend.

Linsey (aka the queen of crochet!) sent some beautifully crocheted booties and hats in
olive green & cream with the most adorable wooden dragonfly buttons!



Roz has bought us the most beautiful print (which hasn't arrived yet but she sent me an image of it) which is just perfect and made most of us misty eyed!

This will also be in the playroom :)

And the wonderful Penski sent a huge Lavender tree which smells amazing and came with such a lovely message!


It's currently on the front step so we smell it as we brush past into the house :)

Katie and Laura had to leave around 5 but Bella and Gemma were able to stay on a bit longer to take part in the baby vest decorating!  I was honestly SO impressed (watching from my chair of exhaustion as I was) with everyone's designs!  Bella made an Elmer vest, Gemma a colourful parrot and MIL a bookworm inspired by the ones in the Nursery.  Mum was in her element helping everyone with crafting ideas and using her special machines/supplies but we have loads of vests left over too so I'm sure Mum and I will have fun designing some more ourselves over the next few weeks!


And finally, I have to mention the most popular guest - Megan!  She was an absolute dream (seriously, I hope my babies are as happy, sociable and chilled out as she) and I was concerned that Katie might have a fight on her hands to get her daughter back off my Mum before the twins arrive!!



As you can see, we all had an absolute ball and I am so grateful to these amazing ladies for throwing such a special party for me and the twins!  Thank you so much!!  xx

Not such a neat bump when I sit down!!  ;)

Thanks also to Gemma for taking LOADS of photos on my camera!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Twin baby prep update

by Bex

I had a bit of a spree at the weekend - determined to tick more off my twin list and get my hospital bag sorted as although we have an elective section booked, I wouldn't be surprised if these twins tried to be tricky and appear early!  They feel SO heavy now!

Anyway, I had an ebay and amazon session so I have finally ticked off the following:

Medela Swing breast pump on ebay - 2nd hand, hardly used (we checked the sterilisation details first but since you can hire them from hospitals, figure you can get them perfectly clean) and so much cheaper at £60 with extra teats and bottles incl. postage instead of £129 for the basic package.

Twin feeding pillow on ebay - Again, 2nd hand, hardly used with washable covers, suitable for tandem breast or bottle feeding.  £18 instead of £89!

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I've bought one Ergobaby carrier (as recommended by a few folk on Twitter after I asked, thank you!  The reviews look great!) and am still watching a couple on ebay (I'm after the grey one with stars next).  This one was new on amazon for £82.59 rather than £104.95 everywhere else I looked plus I got a further £15 off (for spending over £60 on baby stuff) by joining their family club on a 30 day free trial.


Another thing was a high sided changing mat (as recommended by Roz), as we'll hopefully be doing some changing on the Hemnes chest of drawers so it should give a bit more security if the twins are very wriggly.  The one I picked was a bit more expensive than the plain white ones I saw elsewhere but is much thicker with higher sides and looks better quality too (I read a few reviews about seams splitting on the others I found) as well as being bigger, prettier (it's green!) and has a non-slip bottom!  ;)

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I'm sure I mentioned a while back about seeing an Eames 'inspired' rocker for just £69 instead of £400+ for the actual designer one.  In the end I found one for just £41.99 on ebay!  It looks great in the nursery :)

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I found Rebecca's list of essentials and the additional comments very helpful (especially since she had a caesarian too!) so have stocked up on a few of the items she mentioned including big pants for the weeks after (I already had maternity pants and pads) to avoid rubbing on the scar which I bought from M&S along with accidentally finding just the nightie design I was looking for for the hospital (although I have worn it for the last few nights already, it's so soft and comfortable if a bit tight on the hips) for just £12.50 (and I had a 25% off voucher).


Rebecca also reminded me of pram sheets which I'd been having trouble finding to fit the Bugaboo Donkey (they're all for the Chameleon!) so the link to good old John Lewis was very handy and I bought these cream fitted round end sheets which fit perfectly!  I thought the use of disposable changing mats was genius to save washing the thick pram mattresses which could get easily soiled through the pram sheets due to sick or these crazy poo explosions I've been hearing so much about/witnessing recently!!  (I honestly had no idea nappies leaked poo so easily!)  Rebecca mentioned using the Pampers ones but that you can get them in many forms.  I don't know if she meant different brands but looking closer, they reminded me of incontinence pads we used in theatre and after a quick search I found these to be much cheaper.

Back to more fun things to shop for and I had a ball choosing from all the dribble bib designs at Funky Giraffe!  Having 2 babies with likely multiple daily changes depending how drooly/sicky they are means it was easy to choose over 10 in order to get them at the cheaper price of £2 each (normally £4).  I especially loved the Christmas designs and now having heard from Gaynor that they are great and still fit her 2 year old, I shall be heading back for more including their fab Halloween designs, at some point.


Another thing this week was the nipper clipper, £9.95, invented by Tom Pellereau who won The Apprentice a while back.  The thought of trimming the twins' nails freaks me out - I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about if I nicked their wee fingers by mistake so when I spotted this little nail clipper with a window (so simple!) to see exactly where you're cutting I had to get one!


Oh and my twinification of the bath went down well on instagram with a few people asking about the sticky dots (which Roz has now purchased too along with the cute squirt toys!)


The anti-slip bath dots (I bought 2 packs, £4.95 for 6) are so colourful and the red ones double up as warnings spelling out HOT if the water is too hot.  I got all of the bath stuff from Precious Little One as they have great prices (and they offered me a 5% twin discount on my cots, although I ended up finding them cheaper elsewhere with 10% off) and a huge selection of baby stuff!  The squirt toys were just £4.95 for 10 really cute designs.  (I do kinda want these ones as well just because I love the turtle and octopus but they're not as much of a bargain at 5 for £3.95!)

The bath toy caddy was just £3.50 and they list the pink and blue separately (on some websites it's pot luck which colour you get according to reviews).  The reviews also complain about the suction cups not sticking even without toys in.  We have very flat shiny tiles and they stick perfectly fine.  I stuck them dry first and one did pop off after I put the toys in so I wet them all and it's been up (with a full caddy) for a week now.  The baby bath support sponges were £6.95 each and can be used in the sink or the bath (depending if I'm bathing one or two babies at once - depending if I have help of course!) so I'll see how I get on with them instead of a separate baby bath as I'd have to fill that twice anyway.


The squirts, toy caddy and dots are all by Munchkin.  The duck family was a gift from Mum & Dad, the tupperware boat was mine as a baby and the other rubber ducky is also a water thermometer from M&D.

Oh and there's our cute new lampshade in the nursery - just £8 from Asda, it's quite small but perfect for our new lower ceilings.


As you can see, I managed to get some great bargains (but splashed out on the changing mat) and I'm definitely feeling more prepared for the imminent arrival of ALL THE BABIES!  Eeeeek!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Round & About our new village

by Bex

When I started writing this post I only had good things to say about our new area.  I've discovered so many fab things about it already!  I suppose it will now be a more realistic post though as I have one bad thing to add.  If it was totally idyllic here you might not believe it all, although I did already mention the spiders!  ;)

cup

As this is still sitting in my drafts, I've even more to add about our new village so I better get this finished before it ends up another epic post!!

I think I'll get the bad thing out of the way first before I rave about everything else :)

So, the BAD thing:

Uckfield Pool!
I have started writing a separate post about places we've discovered in Uckfield (our nearest town) so I will reserve moaning about the pool until then but you can read my review on Yelp.  Suffice it to say, Mum and I were very disappointed and plan to try other pools instead, despite this one being so handy!

And seriously - the spiders!!!  (We've got some skinny pale ones which I don't mind so much, even the larger ones but the bigger hairy ones have started appearing now too!  Eeep!)

So, on with the good:

Wildlife, brambles & views
We live on the edge of the village and have great views across fields full of horses (well, 2 or 3) and lots of hedgerows and trees round about.  It's lovely seeing a variety of birds through the window that I remember from growing up near woodland.  We've had blue tits, coal tits, thrushes, blackbirds, robins...  Much more interesting than the usual pigeons and magpies in Glasgow.


I've already spoken about the brambles right across from our house and if you follow me on instagram you will have seen this squirrel and his buddies who love to run along the power/phone line by the hedges.



Oast Farm shop & tea room
We have a lovely little path nearby which runs downhill to a local farm which has a farm shop (selling a huge selection of apples at the moment along with delicious breads and various other things) and tea room.  They do pick your own fruit at various times throughout the year depending on what's in season (currently apples and autumn raspberries) and they have a carp fishing pond (the fish have to go back).


We've bought a few things from the shop and I love having a selection of local apples to choose from.  They were also very handy when I needed a bramley apple for my recent Autumnal crumble!  Of course Mum and I have tried the tea rooms too.  We went along for a cream tea when Uncle G came to visit and it was lovely!  I had a slice of blueberry & lemon cake, a raspberry milkshake and some apple juice (the milkshake was a bit too sweet so I was still very thirsty) and Mum and Uncle G had the cream tea.





Jane
Jane is a lady who has lived in the village for 50 years!  She sells flowers & fruit grown in her garden pretty much all year round, depending on what grows.  We had planned on getting some of the flowers anyway (you just take them and knock on her door to pay) but happened to meet her as she was replenishing with fresh bunches one day after lunch at the pub (see below).  We chatted for quite a while and she is very excited about us having the twins!  She's absolutely lovely and told us about a lady who often walks past and buys her flowers with a young baby.  A couple of days later she popped round with a note for us having met the lady the very next day after meeting us so quizzed her and got her details to pass on to us!  Turns out her baby's 4 months old, she's a GP and lives just up the road so I plan to head round and introduce myself soon.


The Village Shop
Our village shop is so handy!  It's not just a shop but a post office which is open 7 days!  (8-11am on Sundays even.)  The shop itself has a huge range of products, despite being small, they even have my favourite brand of frozen pizza!  They can order meat from the nearby butcher or bread, cakes and pastries from a local baker.  It's ideal for a little village as even if you can't drive, you can still get everything you might need!


Village Hall 
Right next to the shop is the village hall.  There are so many activities going on here which are all listed on the noticeboard outside.  Some local ladies run a 'pop in' every Tuesday morning which costs 50p and includes a cup of tea and a biscuit.  They have various exercise classes like Thai Chi and Yoga, Art classes and even a fish & chip van which parks outside on Tuesday evenings (we've yet to partake as the first time he'd packed up early as it was so quiet so we missed out and the second time had placed our order but then he had a problem with the gas so we missed out again!)

Nik and I did head along to the pop in last week though as he had Tuesday off.  He made me walk in first (meany) and I was quite nervous as we haven't met many other people from the village apart from Jane and our neighbours but luckily as soon as I walked in I spotted Jane and she grinned at us before coming over to take me by the hand down to the tea station to meet her sister and get a cuppa and then led us over to some seats at a table where she introduced us to everyone sat nearby.  It made it so easy and everyone was very welcoming, dying to question the 'new people' in their village.  It was a lot busier than we'd expected with probably around 20-25 people there and not just old ladies (although most of them were grandmother age).

Our pregnancy was obviously an easy topic to ask about once they had our basic info - which house do we live in, what do we do, where did we come from , etc. - and all the ladies sat nearby were delighted - we even got a round of applause!  Major beamer but it was lovely.  I now know once the babies are born, if I'm a bit frazzled and just want a hot cuppa, I can pop along on a Tuesday and hand them out to very willing grannies for some cuddles while I sit down and chill for an hour.  ;)

Jane also brought over another woman for me to meet who runs a Mother & Baby club in the next village every Monday.  Three of the members are from our village and often walk there together via country lanes as well as meeting up at each others' for coffee so she's given me their names and details of the group including a drawing of how to get there and where to park.

Our neighbours
We've met all of our closest neighbours now (quite a few of them on the day we moved in in fact) and they're all lovely!  One in particular knew I had no car for the first few days so offered me a lift to the local GP (not walking distance, especially at the moment!) to get registered asap as I'm pregnant and had to get midwife stuff and hospital referral sorted.  It was great to be able to get that done as soon as we moved in as all the paperwork and referral takes time!  She just sat in the car with her crossword to wait for me :)  She also makes blinds and curtains and has helped us out a lot with supplies and guiding Mum and I so we can make our new blinds ourselves (and has also quoted us for if we decide we need her to take over!)

I'm looking forward to being more settled in the house (i.e. building work, decorating and twin prep all done) so we can invite them over to get to know them all better.

Local pub
Our local pub, The Pig & Butcher has been very handy for those days you just want a break, especially back when we didn't have a fridge!  It was taken over about a year ago and we've heard mixed reviews from our neighbours about it although all agree that the local beer they serve is the best!  (Dad and Nik seem to agree!)  We've actually eaten there a few times now and although it's certainly not gastropub fare and nothing amazing, we've all enjoyed our meals there, particularly the Sunday roasts!


I've tried a few different meals there now but the lamb hotpot was amazing!  We also like their roasts having tried both the beef and chicken (Nik had lamb but I can't have it pink, they cooked my beef a bit longer for me).


Dad and Nik have both had the burger covered in melted blue cheese and both loved it.  Mum and I have had the pork in cider special which was also delish and served with nice creamy mash.  Apparently the fish & chips is pretty good as well and you can see the portion sizes are great!



The desserts (all £5) are a bit expensive for a local pub and we're pretty sure not all homemade - the sticky toffee pudding is lovely but we suspect bought in (and the one Mum was once served on a different day was definitely a syrup pudding, not sticky toffee).  I loved the homemade spiced traditional rice pudding!

I think you can tell we really love it here!

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