Monday, 28 July 2014

Spa Day at Turnberry Resort

by Bex

Just a few weeks ago Vikki and I splashed out on a glorious spa day before we end up living even further apart and will find it harder to meet up (especially with the twins arriving).  She was down in Glasgow for the weekend so I had a search for nearby deals and found the Relax & Restore day spa offer at the Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire which I'd heard great things about.  I have to admit, I was a bit more reluctant to book when I noticed it is now a Trump Resort (I'm not a fan of Trump) but it was a good deal and short notice so we went for it.  We got 2 x 25 minute treatments each, full use of the spa facilities and afternoon tea for £85 (+£10 weekend supplement).

I can confirm, it was well worth it.  The spa was lovely and so relaxing!  I've been to bad spas before so was relieved when this one didn't disappoint.  The best bit was probably the afternoon tea but more on that later.  we started off the day with our treatments after a quick change into our cossies, robes and slippers.  I wore my new Mothercare purple tankini (similar spotted tankini here as the purple one is sold out) bought specially for the occasion (and as a spare for aquanatal/swimming).

We had a choice of 5 or 6 treatments and I selected the mini facial and the scalp massage.  I absolutely LOVE face and scalp massages, I find them so relaxing.  This was the first time I've been shown my skin under a UV lamp before a facial, it was really interesting to see the sun damage I knew would be there (I got burnt so often as a child with my fair, freckly skin) as well as dry/oily areas.  My therapist did talk through quite a lot of skin care stuff during the start of the treatment as well as asking about the twins, chatting usually bothers me as I like to completely switch off during treatments to feel utterly indulged (and don't really care about the skin aspect of a facial, I just enjoy them) but I didn't mind as I love talking about the bump so much!  Anyway, she did quiet down before starting the most enjoyable part (after the exfoliation) so I did get to completely relax.

After our treatments we were taken through to a quiet relaxation room where we chilled out for a bit under cosy blankets, munching on delicious dried fruits (I do love banana chips!) and drinking plenty of water (wish it was chilled).

We then moved through to the pool area (no sauna or steam room for me obvs) but there was a lack of free seats/loungers so we perched in the edge of the pool instead.  Without swimming though it got a bit chilly so we made our way back to the changing rooms to get dressed for lunch.  (You can get to the dining room without going outside and they're happy for you to go in the robes but we were a bit soggy after sitting in the pool so got changed.)

Slicked back hair from the massage oil

The dining room for afternoon tea was beautiful and grand with a gorgeous view to the coast with the lighthouse, golf course and out to Arran.

 We were given a choice of many different teas from a gorgeous tea trolley.

After our brewing timers were up, we used the most awesome strainers - on a hinge over a mini pan which catches any drips when you tip it back up after pouring.  So cute and very practical!

It wasn't long before our stand of treats arrived!  After finishing the lower two plates they said they'd bring our scones and teacakes out!  SO much food and it was all delicious!  It included savoury options of smoked salmon with cream cheese & caviar, cucumber & cream cheese sandwiches, egg mayo sandwiches, ham & chutney rolls and coronation chicken on toasted baguette slices.

The sweet desserts on the top were mango panna cotta, pistachio cake, a fruit tart and a cherry & amaretto macaron with a pipette of amaretto!  My only complaint would be that we received one of each of these - plenty of food, yes but very difficult to share if you want to try everything!  It would be better if they made them smaller so we could each have one of every flavour as with the savouries.  As it happens, Vikki wasn't fussed about amaretto and I wasn't fussed about the fruit tart, we halved the cake and shared the panna cotta.  Since it was only about 1ml of Amaretto in that wee pipette, I figured it wouldn't do the babies much harm so I really enjoyed my macaron laced with the teensiest taste of alcohol.  

Once our savoury plates were empty they were taken away and our teas were refreshed with hot water while we waited for the scones.  We thought they maybe brought them out later as they were warmed but we ended up waiting quite a while for ours so either they had cooled or they were just served cold.  Either way, it was again LOADS of food with a plain and a fruit scone each plus a slice of madeira cake and Dundee cake each!  Crikey!  Not to mention the wee pot of clotted cream and delicious jam.  I tried my scones both ways (my jam made a bit of a smiley face when on top of the cream) and when we ran out of cream (as we both like full on creamy loaded scones) we asked for some more which was brought straight over :)

It took us a leisurely 2 hours to eat all that (although we both left the Dundee cake as neither of us is a fan of fruit cake and we were SO full) before we headed back through to the spa.  As I had hoped, since we'd gone to lunch early, the pool area was now completely empty (although every bed/chair still had a towel on it but we just moved them!) so we had plenty of space to chill and enjoy the sunny view over to Ailsa Craig.

We chatted so much my throat began to get sore!  Although I can't go in the jacuzzi, Vikki did and I dangled my legs in :)

As a treat (and since I still owed Vikki a birthday pressie), I had also booked us a surprise treatment in the afternoon.  We both got a special hot wax luxury foot treatment with hot stones and pedicure (£65).  This was absolute bliss although we both said afterwards that hot wax was scarily hot at first!  We were both a bit worried our feet might come out blistered but all was fine, feet are just more sensitive than hands it seems.  The hot paraffin wax solidifies on your feet and when it's cracked and taken off, they're left ultra soft and moisturised.

My special wax filled socks

Finished pedicure (I asked her to use my own new nail polish so I can do touch-ups at home)

We had such a lovely day and I would definitely recommend the spa day offer!  Is it too soon for another one Vikki??!  ;)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Busy times

by Bex

I was planning on making this week on the blog baby free after last week's baby overload!  As it happens, I've just been too busy to write anything and then when we got a fright on Wednesday, it was one of those things I just had to write about at the time.

Today is just as busy but I'm taking a few minutes to watch the end of last night's opening ceremony (as I had to go to bed and apparently missed the best bits, although the fireworks did wake me up - crikey!) so I have time to write a wee update as I'm excited about lots of things at the moment!  I now have only 3 weeks left at work before I go on annual leave (not my choice but it's working out well anyway as I am finding I'm getting more and more pain from working as well as being extra tired) prior to starting maternity leave in September at the earliest possible time.  It's then only 2 more weeks until we get the new house!  It's all happening so fast!!

Until then, my time is filling up pretty fast too.  This weekend we are heading down to the lake district for Nik's brother's 30th birthday celebrations.  As our Christmas gift for last year, my in-laws have paid for us all to stay and dine at L'Enclume in Cartmel, so exciting!  (And I am SO GLAD I have my normal appetite back and am finally able to eat a variety of things again.)  In preparation for this, while Nik sleeps off his last night shift, I will be getting the last facial I saved up from my wedding facial package followed by my first hair cut in 9 months.  My grey hairs have now almost reached bob length after I stopped colouring it 15 months ago (my hair grows pretty slowly) so I will be getting it trimmed right back to almost this level - basically as long as I can still tie it back so I don't have to worry about it when the babies arrive!  (Pics to follow, obviously!)

I'm also extremely excited that I have booked a bump photo shoot!  I always said how much I longed to be able to celebrate my bump in this way and record it in some beautiful photos.  Next week I am taking part in a shoot with the talented Lauren McGlynn.  Since meeting her at Blook Club last year, I've followed her on Twitter and seen all of the lovely weddings she has photographed so beautifully.  When asking Twitter who I should book with, she was the first to be recommended to me and I'm happy to say, we've got a date arranged to take some photos with Nik in the park where we got married!  I was always a little bit disappointed with the portraits of us in our park (my favourite is actually a screen grab from our wedding video) and I can't wait to have some beautiful photos of this next stage in our lives taken under those very same trees, hopefully in some beautiful light (please weather).  After everything, it certainly trumps our wedding day!

Image Source via Pinterest

Another photographer recommended to me was Louise Mallan.  As much as I would love multiple bump shoots while I'm feeling great and the bump is looking good, we just can't afford it at the moment.  With all the twin expenses, moving home and other outlays right now (why are all the car things always due at once?), cash is getting rather tight so I can't justify another shoot, even if it would give me a different selection of photos of another style.  Luckily for me however, Louise has offered to take some photos free of charge to expand her maternity portfolio in exchange for sharing them with you all here, which I am delighted to do!  We're meeting up tonight (which also means I can get some photos before all my hair is chopped off, I'm thinking top knot) and I can't wait!

Image Sources: Left and Right both via Pinterest

More of my fave maternity shots below:

Image sources: Left and Right both via Pinterest

Image Source via Pinterest

Another weekend I am looking forward to is in the middle of August, just after I finish work.  Nik will be back up for the weekend from his new job and we're arranging goodbye drinks with all of our friends up here (and anyone else who wishes to travel to join us) and on the same day we have booked a 3D/4D scan at 25 weeks (well 24+6).  I want to be able to do as many pregnancy related special things as possible to really make the most of this time.  Having wanted to be pregnant for so long, it's really so much fun to be able to book all these things and record as much of this time as possible.  The package we've booked includes 10-20 minutes of scanning, a 5-10 minute DVD movie of our babies, a CD of photos and a 6 A4 prints.  Not bad for £89 at Baby Scanning Glasgow.

I better go and carry on with all the admin and sorting I've to get through before I start making wardrobe choices for this evening!  Wish me luck ;)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The scary day

by Bex

I've had what felt like my most hormonal day today, bursting into tears at least 3 times!  I know everyone is probably watching the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow right now, (as am I, from the sofa) but if I don't write it now I'll forget things.  Even though I've been writing about all the good, exciting, fun things happening lately doesn't mean there isn't still that layer of worry, especially given the trials we had to get here.  I'm sure it's the same for all parents and I expect it will never end.

Basically I haven't felt baby girl kick since the night before last.  I usually only feel her in the evening, when I'm settled and quiet in bed whereas I often also feel baby boy throughout the day.  Initially I thought maybe she was just sleeping at different times and I wasn't feeling her during the day as I was busy but when I still wasn't feeling her by this afternoon I was getting a bit more worried.  Nik was up at lunchtime (he's currently on nights) and we tried jiggling and prodding her and he shouted and sang at her through my belly.  Still nothing and during my afternoon at work it was on my mind more and more so I rang maternity assessment just to see if they thought I should come and get checked or if I was just being ridiculous.  I know it's early but since I had been feeling so much more movement from them both lately I was increasingly concerned at the lack of movement on my left side.

I spoke to the midwife who was surprised I could differentiate between each twin's movements this early on but I explained that one is very clearly left and one on the right and the left had stopped.  She asked if I'd had any pain or bleeding and reassured me that this early on it is quite normal not to feel anything or for the baby to move position and be less noticeable.  She said I could come in and they could check for the heartbeat if I wanted to be sure.  I asked if I could go in tomorrow morning as I was at work and had patients booked in and she said that if I was worried I really should go in now and get it checked.  This instantly made me more concerned but I explained that I had my own emergency patients and no-one to cover today.  She said that I should think of my own health and that of my wee babies.  Cue tears.  I felt terrible!

She said they would leave it up to me but they are open 24 hours so I could go in after work this evening if I wanted but she seemed to think I should be heading straight there.  Up until then I hadn't been overly worried as I assumed I was being over-cautious and it was probably normal.  The more I thought about her words I became utterly upset so called Nik and woke him despite not being able to speak very well through sobs.  He said it's been a day and a half and another hour won't change anything so not to worry and he would come with me when I finished work.

Luckily I had 15 minutes to calm down before my next patient but I suspect a red-eyed pregnant lady doesn't instill much confidence and the girls thought perhaps I should just see my emergencies and cancel the rest.  They managed to get hold of them and get the more urgent cases to come in asap.  Half an hour later I was home and waking Nik again.  Off we went to Maternity assessment (basically maternity A&E) and we didn't have to wait long to be taken through to a bed.  We were then left waiting a wee while as the midwife explained at 21 weeks they wouldn't be able to differentiate between each twin's heartbeats and be able to definitely confirm there were 2 separate ones with the usual monitor so they were waiting for the doctor to come down and do a scan to check the heartbeats.  She said again that at this stage it is most likely nothing to worry about but that it was absolutely not a problem to it get checked out.

The doctor didn't take too long but apologised for our wait.  He was absolutely lovely and ultra reassuring.  They both commented that with all the information, warnings and risks that have been explained to us regarding carrying twins it is absolutely normal to be worried and he said I wasn't being paranoid at all.  He said it is normal for the babies not to be moving at the same time as they might be on different routines and I said that I usually feel our girl much lower down and at different times to our boy anyway but nothing since the night before last, hence my concern.  The midwife had already fired up the ultrasound so he got on with checking and instantly found her heartbeating.  THANK GOODNESS!  Huge relief!  He then briefly checked baby boy who was happily kicking about over on his side.

He then let us watch baby girl for a while, she wasn't moving much but then got the hiccups, stretched her head backwards and started squirming a bit more.  He said he could see her making breathing movements which he commented is very advanced for this stage and she seemed to be very mature for 21 weeks.  He then focussed on her face as he could see her making swallowing movements and showed us her wee mouth from the front, opening and closing.  By this point I was in tears again and the midwife was asking if I was feeling better.  I was just so relieved that everything was OK and I could see them both happily moving away.  She started wriggling around a lot more and we saw her arm waving frantically along her belly at one point.  The reason I can no longer feel her is that  her legs have moved up so she's now lying horizontal and completely tucked into a wee pocket behind her placenta.  (Which may also explain why my belly button has now completely turned into an outie now that her wee feet are tucked in behind it!)  We could see she was all squished in compared to baby boy who was swimming about in lots of fluid in the middle as his placenta is in a different place.  As a result, she is all cushioned and I can't feel her behind the placenta, hence the lack of movement lately.  Cheeky wee girl hiding from us!!  She obviously likes being all tucked up and cosy just like Mummy does!

He said they will always be on either side as the membrane separating them in their sacs is pretty much down the middle so that is why I find it so easy to tell which is which as they are clearly left and right.  Both the doctor and midwife were lovely and happy to reassure us.  The doctor commented that I will likely feel baby girl much less than baby boy until about 24 weeks onwards when they're bigger and stronger.  Both he and the midwife made me feel completely reasonable about being concerned and assured me that even if I wasn't sure and if something didn't feel right I could go right back in, they are there 24 hours and totally aware that just because everything's fine today, it could all change tomorrow and they would rather check than have me ignore any worries.  It may seem like a lot of fuss for nothing but when that fear strikes, it's just a horrendous feeling.  I'd be so devastated if anything happened to our babies and with them being at higher risk of complications it's a very real fear.

We were only in the hospital for around an hour in total so not long at all to wait and obviously completely worth it regardless of how long we might have been there.  I'm so glad we went and everything was well, I feel so much better now.  Thank you so much to the staff at the Southern General Hospital for being amazing and putting our minds at rest!

After such an emotional day (I was already having a particularly difficult and painful day at work anyway!) I am now utterly knackered and off to bed after devouring a curry (yay for being back on curries too) as I was so hungry after just having 3 peaches (still obsessed with them, I've just had 2 more!) at lunchtime and then being too upset to eat.  Definitely time to get me and these babies into bed methinks!  Also, they've just started showing premature babies on TV and I really don't think I can cope with any more tears today!!!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Vote for 10 Mewn Bws (10 in a bus)

by Bex

My lovely friend, Gwen, is currently a finalist in a competition to win a National Lottery Award!  You may remember Gwen from my wedding report about our music as she was our talented harpist!

As part of 10 Mewn Bws, she helps to raise awareness of Welsh traditional music, the musicians involved and create a new legacy (yes, I totally copied that from the website!).  I know she would be delighted if you could take a few moments to vote for them to win!  You can see more info in the video below and you can vote here!

Voting closes on the 23rd July so be quick!  :)

Baby record books - Advice please!

by Bex

One of the things I was going to be really sad to miss out on if we never got to have a baby of our own (with adoption meaning we'd most likely have an older child) was filling in a baby book.  I have my own baby book that my Mum filled in and still love looking through it!  When I was younger and the first of my friends started getting pregnant (one at around 22 and then at 27) the first things I bought as gifts were lovely baby books as I always loved the idea of them.  I am quite the sentimental hoarder, much to Nik's great distress, and to have a special book in which to keep all the things like first lock of hair (yep, mine is still there under the yellowing sellotape!) and hospital bracelet, along with all the first pictures, etc., is just perfect to me.

I think Mum had to wait a while for the hair (apparently I didn't have my first hair cut til I was 5!)

I remember Roz tweeting about having ordered one which was quite different to what she expected when it arrived and a few of you recommended your own baby books, I think I remember Gaynor seemed very impressed with hers.  I'd love it if you could please comment below to let me know details of books you rate.  I'll share a few I am considering but these have all been online finds so I haven't seen them in real life yet to be able to examine what's inside!  If you know any downsides to them, please let me know!  Also I will need two to record each baby's milestones and bits 'n' bobs.  Although I know I could probably record everything together, they might want to take their own book one day as I have so I want to have one for each child.

It even has my bravery certificate from Dr L. E. Fant from my operation when I was 5!

Basic requirements are to be easy to fill in with lots of prompts for things to remember (as I doubt I will have much time or brain power for thinking of things and being crafty in those first few months!), pouches and pockets to put things in such as those mentioned above, lots of space for photos although knowing me I will need a huge album as well (and of course the blog will likely be inundated with hundreds of twin photos!!) and space for writing in other things that happen which may not necessarily be the usual milestones.

The first is from a brand I love - The Bright Side.  I often buy their quirky cards, particularly when trying to avoid buying a pink or blue card for a new baby just to be different (this is SO difficult by the way, have you ever tried to look for a new baby card which isn't blue or pink!?), their cards always make me smile.  Their baby book is titled - Lovely little mini person.  £11.21 from Campus Gifts.

Another is this one by Ryland Peters & Small, £10.49 at John Lewis.  The reviews mention it not having sleeves to keep things in though and I have to admit, I don't love the design on the cover but at least it's gender neutral.

This one from Mothercare (£12) is pretty with the grey design and space for a photo of my own babies on the cover which I love!  The 3 star review is to do with delivery time so not very helpful of what it's like - I'm hoping they have it in store for me to have a flick through.  It doesn't say if it has pockets or anything so I need to check it out.

So basically, I'm wondering if any of you have a baby book that you love?  Have any of you seen the ones above and how would you rate them?  I'm extra excited about this baby purchase!  :)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Baby changing bags

by Bex

I suspect most of you who read Olive Dragonfly also read Florence Finds.  Obviously being about 17 weeks behind Rebecca in my pregnancy, she has already covered a lot of baby related things on Florence Finds and I sometimes feel like I might be boring people when I write about the same things (like my buggy thoughts and now changing bags - I swear I didn't copy her with the Cosatto Pixelate idea, I was just excited that one as colourful as that came as an option for twins!)  Obviously my thoughts are different and with twins the buggy options certainly were but I am thrilled that I can get ideas from reading Rebecca's finds as well as all the comments she's been receiving recommending various products!!  (Also, SO glad that I haven't been jealously avoiding her blog for these last few months as would have likely been the case if our IVF story had never worked out!)  Of course, I'm still going to write about these things anyway as this is my story and I'm excited about getting to choose these things too.  :)

So, changing bags.  Florence Finds was actually my jump start into thinking about this particular baby item and she received SO many comments recommending various brands or pointing out things to think about from people who actually had babies and really knew what was needed when making a changing bag choice!  As Rebecca also mentioned, our very own Roz was raving about the options available in TK Maxx and that happens to be where I ended up buying mine as well.  Thanks Rebecca and Roz!  :)  Roz and I went shopping right after my 20 week scan (she's clearly my lucky charm as the 2 previous TK Maxx stores I'd tried had been a total changing bag let down!) since Nik had had to rush back to his on call shift (thanks also to the person who took the bleep for a couple of hours so he could be at the scan!!)

Most of the ones I had narrowed it down to were different to those I saw featured on FF so here were my choices in case you fancy a nosey...

Anna K recommended her bag from babymoov which is particularly designed to be easily accessed with one hand - very handy when juggling one baby never mind two!  This was actually my favourite design - I love the colours and look of the bag, it seemed spacious and had all the bits you might want (buggy clips, changing mat, lots of sections to keep everything organised).  It has good reviews and Nik also liked this one the best of all the ones I pinned and we were planning on trying to find one to have a look at but never actually saw it in 'real life'.  £54.99 from Tesco

Seeing the Skip Hop grey & lime green design amongst Rebecca's choices, it definitely made the list and was a serious contender when we saw it in John Lewis while we looked at buggies.  I loved the bright green lining of course and again, it had all 'the bits' and was very spacious.  It was softer than a lot of the other options too - some of them are very stiff.  The only downside to this one was the lack of cross body strap option, also the buggy clips were only attached to the lining and I would be worried about this tearing when hanging the weight of all the baby paraphernalia required, especially for twins!  £65 from John Lewis.

Another brand mentioned in the comments was Sophia & Matt, £85-£129, this was one of the pricier options and although they are a British brand and very well thought out with what sounds like excellent customer service and very good quality products, none of the design options really appealed to me.  This purple spot one was my favourite but doesn't really go with my colour choice for the buggy (I am a bit weird about things matching sometimes).

So the one we ended up with from TK Maxx (although I do think I want to see the babymoov before deciding whether to ultimately keep this one, I now have 28 days to decide) was by Lassig, an award winning German brand and the only one I liked from the choice in store.  Similar to Roz, it wasn't a brand I'd heard of before finding it in TK Maxx.  $119.99 from Babies R Us (obviously the US site, I can't find it in the UK).  The picture below really doesn't do it justice as the colours look much nicer in real life!  I've included some pics of my own underneath.  It has cream and teal which will match our buggy as well as lots of other nice bright colours (including an ALMOST olive green!)  I got mine for £37.99 reduced from £83 in TK Maxx!  We do love a bargain!

It has LOADS of different sections with all the extras too.  A decent sized changing mat, an insulated bottle holder which clips in and out, a removable pouch, cross-body strap and buggy clips.  There's also a wet pocket and lots of little sections to keep all my bits organised and the outside feels like oilcloth so it should survive being out in the rain.  It has anti-microbial properties and is made with sustainable fabrics.  You can see it in much more detail in this Youtube review.

The 2 main pockets are really easy to get into with zips that go almost to the bottom, there are plenty of internal pockets too and pouches for mobile phone, sunglasses, etc.  It's a great size for everything I think we'll need for the twins as well as my own stuff!

There's a pocket for baby wipes which gives access to them without having to take the packet out, making it easier to get one out without having to use your other hand to hold the pack down.

Nik also loves it which is great as I don't want him to feel self conscious when he's out and about with it and the twins.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Gender Reveal!!!

by Bex

Wow, 4 posts from me, 4 days in row - check me out!  lol

Soooooo, we know what gender(s) the twins are!  I know lots of you are dying to know, which is really exciting, I love that you care so much and I am super excited to share the news with you all!  :)

First of all, here are the pictures from our 20 week scan.  It was so amazing to see the twins in so much detail and the pictures were so clear (much clearer than the snapshots we have below) - we saw everything from the individual vertebrae of the spine, the ribs, the kidneys, bladder, even different parts of the brain!  It was also very cool to see their wee hearts beating away - seeing all 4 chambers, each ventricle and atrium and then to see the blood pumping through them - so awesome!!  They were both little wrigglers and as before, Baby 2 was better behaved than Baby 1!

Twin 1, a bit blurry due to excessive wriggling!

Everything looked normal, they seem perfectly healthy and no problems were found thank goodness!  Twin 2 had quite the pout when they were checking the lips/nose for clefts, so cute!

So, as for satisfying your curiosity.  When I asked people to guess, the overwhelming majority was for one of each - statistically the most likely result with a 50% chance and a 25% chance each of being 2 girls or 2 boys.  Totting up the results (from the blog and others that I can remember) there were 31 votes for boy/girl twins, 10 for boys and 14 for girls.  I have to add that Jo Torr was very specific and even added which she thought was which.  And she was absolutely right!

(Photo taken by me in Khao Lak during the 'nausea phase' at 6 weeks!)

We're having one of each!!!  How superbly wonderfully exciting!  We really had no preference, obviously we are just utterly delighted and feel so lucky to be having any babies but getting to experience being a Mum to both a boy and a girl is going to be just fab!  Especially since this will most likely be our only pregnancy, given everything it took to get here, there will be no chances for different genders again.

Now we just have to settle on some names!  We do have lists for both and one is longer than the other (we have found more girls' names that we like) but it's exciting to think we get to choose one from each category!  Although it won't be any easier as we can't just discount one of the lists to narrow it down now!  Hehe.

If you know any lovely Indian names (Nik is Indian if you weren't already aware from our wedding and we've decided we want them to have Indian names) - please do make your suggestions in the comments below - there could easily be some we haven't heard of yet!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Buggies/Prams/Travel Systems - Our choice

by Bex

So, we've finally decided on a pushchair!  I've previously mentioned the Obaby Zoom, Cosatto Supa Dupa Twin, Bugaboo Donkey Twin and Mountain Buggy Duet.

Some were recommended in the comments or on Twitter and I am so grateful for all the advice we've received from those of you more experienced with prams than we obviously are!  Initially we were really interested in the tandem Obaby Zoom.  We loved the idea of having the twins able to face each other or face either me or the world without one being stuck right in behind or below the other.  We liked that it would be thinner as they're not side by side so might be easier to get through doors and along pavements.  We still haven't managed to see it in real life however as nowhere nearby has it in stock.  I have heard from Vivienne, who has seen it, that due to it's extra length it is quite a beast and tricky to manoeuvre and get through doors despite being thinner.  It's also quite heavy at 17.9kg so lifting into the car boot might be hard.  It might actually be more tricky to steer and tip up onto kerbs as well as fitting onto public transport, etc too so we've now ruled this one out.

Total price = £788.96 (including 2 carrycots and 2 car seat adaptors) from Mothercare.

We really don't like the other tandem designs, some of them make no sense to us like this iCandy Peach (here with seats) or this Stokke or Oyster where you can hardly access the lower baby and they just have a view of the bottom of the other seat/carrycot.  Some of them like the Oyster max double and the Baby Jogger City Select twin even have the option to have seats facing when the twins are older but seeing them in the shops it looks like one toddler could literally be kicking the other in the face!

So we've settled on a side by side option.  We had ruled out the Cosatto after all the blog comments recommending one that can take car seats for short trips out but then after seeing Steff (who actually has twins) we considered it again.  It folds easily and can take them from birth with the head huggers up to age 3 or 4 without having to change between car seats, carrycots and seats.  The seats recline with a one-handed action.  It comes in great, brightly coloured designs but you can't face the babies towards you when they're young.  It's pretty light at 13.8kg but in the end, although we probably would manage fine without the car seat option, it would be handy if I needed to pop out for something in the car so we've also ruled this one out as well.  (Although I do think I would buy it when the twins are older if I wanted to replace the bigger option we've chosen.  I really love the design of this one and not just the awesome colours!)

Total price = £288 from Kiddicare (no bits to add makes this the cheapest option).

The next option we were seriously considering was the Mountain Buggy Duet.  Pros for this option includes the price (they even have an offer currently on a pre-release new model at half price in return for feedback although only in the red colour), the thinner width and it converts to a full travel system with car seats and carrycots.  It's also a bit lighter and folds smaller than some other options.  The things that put us off include the metal foot rest which I would imagine getting very hot in summer and burning toddler legs!  Its narrowness also means there is much less space for toddlers when they get bigger.  It's also the most boring option as it comes only in red or black.  Red is definitely not for me as although I am not a fan of baby pink, I will be making the most of dressing the babies in green until they can argue ;) so they would clash (Christmas stylee) in a red pram.  We also didn't like the feel of the handle, I could easily imagine getting sore hands and possibly even blisters due to the rubber grip with ridges, not comfortable at all.

To recline the seats you need to adjust 2 strap toggles for each seat which was all just a bit fiddly, especially when bending under to get from flat to upright again.  It also looked and felt like a cheap option, the edges around the straps were raw so you could see the foam padding and I can imagine it getting quite tatty after a lot of use, you can also feel the hard plastic poking through if the cover moves a little bit.  The ultimate reason we ruled it out though was that when folded down, it doesn't lock.  Every time I tried to pick it up to test the weight (15.5kg) and ease of transferring into a car boot, it kept unfolding making it very awkward to lift.  The shop assistants were confused about why it didn't lock and we all checked the manual and concluded that it just doesn't lock.  Silly.  

Total price = £699 (including 2 car seat adaptors and 2 carrycots) from John Lewis.

Obviously the one I really liked in the end happens to be the most expensive option, typical!  (I was googling high chairs the other day and clicking on my favourite before knowing any of the prices - ridiculously expensive, how do I do it?!)  Gaynor recommended the Bugaboo Donkey and when we first saw it at the Glasgow Pram Centre, we weren't convinced as it seemed so big and bulky but it was the first twin pram we saw in real life.  Anyway, after comparing it side by side with the Mountain Buggy in John Lewis and taking them both for a spin, we decided this one felt lovely to 'drive', had a comfy handle and was easy to fold, locking automatically and easy to unlock and rebuild.  It wasn't actually that much wider than the Mountain Buggy and feels really good quality.

The seats recline easily to multiple positions with a one-handed lever handle, the seats can face either way - meaning that even though they're side by side, the twins could still face each other with one forward and one back so it can still be sociable for face to face chats as they get older.  It is quite heavy to lift the frame (15kg) but not a lot more than the Cosatto and actually lighter than the Mountain Buggy.  Although I think they all have adjustable handle heights, this one is really easy to change and goes nice and high for us both since we're tall but can go lower for MIL if she takes the twins out for a spin :)  It also has air filled tyres and good suspension so should be good for the countryside where we'll be living.  (The downside of this being puncture risk but I can take the pump in the basket just in case.)

This one also makes me happy as I can choose the colour(s).  There are SO many choices for single buggies out there and a few green ones (which I would obviously love) but none of the twin ones seem to come in green.  The bugaboo has a petrol blue fabric which is more like teal if you ask me and would be my preferred option.  I've seen so many mums with stylish buggies and would like to have one that I actually like to look at since I'll be pushing it around a lot (and most likely much less concerned with my own personal style when caring for 2 babies)!  I like the idea of having 2 colours and the combination of teal and off white looked pretty good on the Bugaboo website when I put my choices in.

Total Price = £1270 including car seat adaptors, 2 carrycots and 2 seats from John Lewis.  

As you can see, this one is about £400-500 more expensive than the other travel systems we've considered.  In the end though, we did agree that it was our favourite and should last us a few years.  As we're also moving house and I am not earning as much at the moment (work is very quiet unfortunately!) and having to finish work earlier than I would have planned, we're really trying to watch spending.  As a compromise we've decided to try to buy a second hand Bugaboo but I am allowed to personalise it with the colours I want if the second hand one isn't petrol blue.  

Second hand ones seem to be about £700-800 which would save us the difference between this and the cheaper options.  I was a bit worried about a buggie that's been pre-puked and pooped on by other babies but we would obviously examine it prior to purchasing and I think most parts are removable to clean (as you don't want your own babies lying in their own pukey, poopy pram anyway).  We've actually seen an off-white twin one with all the bits we need for £750 not too far away so we're going to see it this week (although we don't want to buy bulky stuff before we move - we're not going to pass up a bargain!).  We're thinking anyone who's bought an off-white pram must be pretty clean!?  It seems that they have a pretty reasonable resale value as well so if/when we decide to switch to a different style of buggie, we can also sell it on again at a decent price.

So hopefully in a few months, you'll see me trudging around Sussex with this beautiful teal and off white Bugaboo number with our twins!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Nursery plans for the twins

by Bex

Aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh, today we have our 20 week scan and will find out the sex of the twins!  So exciting!  Regardless of the outcome, it won't change our plans at all as I'm not a fan of gender stereotypes anyway (particularly for girls), it'll just make choosing names easier!  All of my nursery ideas have been gender neutral for years and our final decision is also.  I originally thought I'd do a nursery in an underwater theme with my own fish and other underwater pictures on the wall with lots of aqua and bright sea life in corally colours with white.  Our new plan is different but just as brightly coloured, if not more so...

So you know the twins' room will be like an attic room as it has half slanted walls and velux windows with a normal window at the end opposite the door.  I plan to have the cots on either side of this end window sticking into the room along the walls.  The walls will be grey and the furniture white.  The colour will be added in the form of rainbow colours!  Basically, as bright and cheerful as you can get :)  We first decided this was probably going to be the colour scheme while in Thailand I spotted some fab fairy lights at a market and asked Nik what he thought of the idea and getting the lights (obviously much cheaper over there at about £2) and was rather surprised when he agreed!  (Especially considering we were only 5-6 weeks pregnant at the time!)

Similar on Etsy

I've already got lots of ideas to incorporate areas of colour.  One being on the chest of drawers which can double as a changing table.  I plan to get the Hemnes 8 drawer chest and change the drawer knobs to colourful ones like these from Etsy but without the pink ones, regardless of sex I am not a fan of baby pink!

I also plan to make paper poms (like the green & white ones I did for my wedding) in rainbow colours and hang them in a cluster from the ceiling.  I will also be incorporating 3 of these rainbow striped paper lanterns from Tiger into the bunch as I couldn't resist them at only £1 each!  I've since been back with Nik and we bought some hot air balloon shaped rainbow ones which are about 3-4" long on cocktail sticks which I plan to remove and convert them into a mobile (they're not on the website).

The big rainbow you can see above was a recent discovery made by a German company I just love, Grimm's Spiel und Holz Design!  Sadly it's around £50 on Amazon so Nik won't let me buy it (hint hint Mum!) but it's a great toy for the twins as well as being a gorgeous display item for one of the shelves.  It is expensive but makes a great tunnel as well as being a pretty stacking toy...

I actually love a lot of their products as well as their ethics:

Wood is an ideal material for a baby's first sensory impressions, as it has many different sense experiences. Bacteria cannot breed on wood. This is especially true for non-varnished wood. 
Made sustainably in Germany by Grimm's Spiel und Holz Design, a small company who have been making natural wooden toys since 1978. All Grimm's toys are made from sustainable alder, lime, maple and cherry timbers, hand finished with non-toxic and water based stains (unvarnished), and treated with pure food-grade vegetable oil. Grimm's Spiel & Holz uses green electricity sources and minimal packaging.

I found some more of their products for sale in the UK on Love To Be Natural.  Nik has agreed that the Bead Grasper looks great and is a better price but I think we'd need one for each baby and there's only 1 in stock on Amazon at £12.99 but they're £30 on ebay!

I also love the idea of having a little wigwam in the room for cosy storytime.  I used to love making dens with my brother out of sheets (in fact I still love being all cosy wrapped up in a duvet and sometimes make a wee den in the bathroom where I can listen to the shower to relax) and I think an indoor tent would be totally cool!  I reckon I could probably make one myself but have seen some nice ones on Etsy, it could be taken into the garden in summer as well.

We already have the dragonfly wall decoration which I bought years ago and used to have in our bathroom before we re-did it.  Since then they've been in storage but will definitely be putting them up in the nursery!  I can easily make the cushion and rainbow garland myself and I'm not sure we'll need a chair in the nursery as we'll have the Hemnes Daybed but if we were to get a rocking chair I've found a replica of the Eames one for £69 or there's the comfy Ikea Poang.

I love the cloud light but it's a bit too expensive (£125).  I included it as inspiration as I might find something similar for the wall.  The blue cloud light is just £16 from Ikea and would tie in nicely with the rainbow theme as well as being a handy lamp next to the daybed.  The rainbow ammonite is another German wooden toy (I'm obsessed with them).

So I think that's it for now, we were planning on waiting until we moved to buy all this kind of stuff but considering our closest Ikea (Croydon) will be over an hour away from the new house, we might go to the one here as it's only 10 minutes from our flat and we can leave stuff flat packed to come down in the lorry as there are quite a few pieces we want and we might also have to hire a van to do it in one trip down south.  Here we can make multiple trips easily and we'll be paying for removals anyway.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Place your bets now!

by Bex

So, tomorrow afternoon/evening we will find out the genders of the twins!  (If they co-operate of course!)  Knowing me, it won't be a secret for long so place your predictions in the comments below.  I'd love to know what you all think we'll be having!  ;)  Please comment here on the blog (rather than Twitter) so Nik can see the guesses too and I can keep track of them all!  (Parents and in-laws, that includes you too!)

Sunset picture taken by a very nauseous me in Khao Lak on our trip to Thailand in April!

I'm almost too excited to sleep!


Baby centric updates

by Bex

I'm so glad Roz has shared her happy news here at last (it's been killing me not to post about gorgeous little spiky haired Aaron but it wasn't my news to share!).  So you may have noticed it's all become a bit baby centric round here!  It was bound to happen really when Roz and then I became pregnant, we do write about what we're up to and what we love so obviously that has changed somewhat for us both recently!  I do have some half written new house posts, a spa review and anniversary dinner to finish writing about too so it's not ALL baby related I promise!

However, with regard to my pregnancy updates, exciting things are happening!  This week I felt the babies kicking much more obviously and at 5am one morning (during another random middle of the night awake session where I got super hungry at 4am and heated up some leftover spag bol - yum!) I felt Baby 1 kick from the outside!  Of course I immediately woke Nik and the baby stopped.  Typical.  Luckily, the next day when I was drifting off to sleep, I noticed the same baby was giving it some welly again so I called Nik and this time he felt it!  In fact, he put his lips to my bump to make funny noises at the twins and he got a big whack in the mouth, hehe!

On Thursday Nik and I both had the day off so after sorting out some boring stuff (mortgage, MOT...) we headed into town for some lunch and to look at more buggies.  We've now decided which one we want and I've started a post all about the buggies we've considered and why we ruled them out/chose them.

When we got home I was looking at cots on the Ikea website and started exploring the other kids' stuff.  I love so many of their things and they're so cheap.  Also, they seem to have lots of fab green things at the moment!  I started a wee twin shopping list on Pinterest if you're interested in what I want to buy.  It's also been added to after discovering a fab toy company which you'll be able to read all about tomorrow in my post about the nursery plans.

Yesterday I had a fab day catching up with friends who moved to Birmingham when we moved to Glasgow.  We met at the Riverside museum and I had a great time, especially meeting their gorgeous toddler Maisie.  She's super cute with little blond curls and I was even granted a couple of hugs and deemed good enough to carry her for a while, I almost melted when she reached for me from her Dad's arms!  :)  After that I popped into Ikea to get a few of the little bits we'd seen online and in the carpark I ran into the lovely receptionist from our IVF clinic.  I heard my name while I was loading the car and looked up to see her smiley face asking how I was doing.  Obviously I showed off my bump and had a quick chat before she headed inside.  It was so nice of her to come over and lovely that she'd remembered my name as they must see so many couples, although I guess we were there quite often with all our unusual issues!

I spent the rest of the day napping, eating and watching films.  Bliss.  Today is a chilling out at home day too but I promised Nik I'd get a start on sorting our filing cabinet while he's at work so I'll be sorting old paperwork and most likely doing lots of shredding in front of the telly.

Pregnancy update:

How far along: 20 weeks!!  Officially half way (although I've probably passed halfway already).

Size comparison: banana

Weight gain: - 1lb  It's been almost a month since I last weighed myself and I thought I would have put on much more than this by now.  Since I lost 8lbs at the start with all that sickness and minimal eating, I'm now almost got back to my pre-holiday weight of 185 lbs.
Although I LOVE my over bump maternity jeans, sometimes I want a bit more colour than my maternity wardrobe allows.  I've discovered that my coloured skinny jeans still fit me (the non-stretchy ones have to have the top button closed with a hair band, but still) so I've been able to wear some more colourful outfits like I used to now I care how I look again since I've been feeling back to my usual self!

Green skinny jeans (menswear at H&M)

I also found this great tunic (only £7.99 now reduced to just £3.99 in a variety of colours/patterns!) in the non-maternity section of H&M which fits over the bump with loads of room (and will still be a nice beach cover-up after pregnancy) to add a bit of colour to all the blue, black, white and stripes of the maternity fashion world!  It also looks great with the beads I bought in Oxfam last year.

Cravings: still nothing major and no weird demands from the babies as yet, unless you count spag bol at 4am when I got hungry during one of my insomniac moments, but as I frequently eat leftovers for breakfast when not pregnant it wasn't that strange for me!  I'm just a bit fussy and still off onions, fish and spicy things.

Symptoms: very sore hips especially if I walk even a short distance, belly button starting to stick out already(!), kicking babies!!  :)

I hadn't taken any bare bump photos until Thursday when my belly button was starting to pop out so I thought I'd record it.  After all, I am trying to remember everything about this pregnancy since it will most likely be my only pregnancy.  This won't be a regular occurrence but here it is...

I really love my bump!

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