Uncategorized

Crafts For Confidence!

Hi All!

A couple of months ago now, I attended the first ever Stockton Soup which I wrote about on my blog. Stockton Soup is essentially an event where people come along, pay a suggested donation of £4 and listen to four pitches from people who want to do some good in the local community. You then get some soup and live music whilst you decide on who to vote for and depending on how many votes a project gets – they go home with a percentage of the money. Its amazing because everybody gets something, and the money raised is matched by another funding source and so for every £1 donated – £2 will go to fund a project in the local community.

 I decided to attend as it sounded interesting and I had seen my friend Emilee promoting it on Instagram. I went that night and was blown away by how much people were doing for the local community and I decided that I wanted to be a part of it.

The real fire was lit under me when I was introduced to a man who asked me what I do. I told him I was a stay at home mum and he replied with “is that all”. I was pretty taken back and in that moment decided that I was going to make my own change.

I quickly decided on setting up a crafts club for a number of reasons. Firstly – crafts are fun! They can be done by children of most ages and generally are enjoyed by all. They can be easily adapted and themes changed to fit different seasons and various people’s needs. Secondly – i’m a big believer that art is good for the soul and is a positive hobby. Thirdly – arts and crafts are a good platform for self expression and is a great way to build confidence within people as in art – nothing is wrong and what you choose to create is entirely up to you. I like to teach the children that nothing is “wrong” and that if they’re happy with what they’re making – then it’s perfect.

I got really lucky with my club. I mentioned my idea to my lovely friend Emilee who just happened to know somebody who was wanting to set up exactly what I wanted – but didn’t quite have the creative skills but she had a venue, children who needed a club and most of all she had the biggest amount of passion and love and just wanted to be there for these kids.

Enter Jenna.

So I met Jenna through Emilee at Stockton Soup and explained what I wanted to do, and that was exactly the same as the ideas that Jenna had been having for a club at St Lukes in Thornaby where her church “The Vine Project” had taken over and was trying to put on sessions for the local kids in the area. Straight away me and Jenna just clicked, but it’s hard not to with her. She is such a fantastic, enthusiastic role model for the kids we work with and she puts her everything into being there for them – it’s so humbling to see. We knew what we wanted to achieve ( a safe space for children to come and learn crafts and also build confidence/self esteem) and within one meeting we had it all set up and had plans to start the following week.

It’s now April and apart from Christmas break, we’ve been doing crafts club every week and honestly there’s been so much change. Those who were quiet and timid now have a voice and those who were loud and didn’t listen now sit patiently waiting, ready to quietly get on with the sessions.

I feel by working closely with these children that we are able to develop their skills and also make an impact on their lives. I love doing this group and hope to set more up in the area including a group for older children teaching not only crafts but life skills too!

I’m now looking to expand my little club and will be starting training with a local organisation called A WAY OUT who support at risk teens, vulnerable families and women in the area. I’m hopefully going to be working with the youth division to run craft sessions and I’m super excited about it all. I’m also open to running other groups or one off drop in sessions so if you know of somewhere that needs help – feel free to email!

I’m so glad I have these groups to focus on. Being a stay at home mum I often felt like my skills were being wasted at home and this way I get to help others whilst also getting to do something which I love. It also gives me a break from being “mum” and although I’m spending my free time working with other children, it feels refreshing to be doing something different. It feels great to feel like you might be doing something worthwhile and giving the kids something to look forwards to. Hopefully I will expand – i’ll keep you posted!

Hannah x

P.s, here are some of our crafts!

  

We made a tree with our hand prints as leaves!

Pipe cleaner tree decorations.

Handmade, painted baubles.

Noah’s arc and the children’s animals.

 

And my fave – our Christmas wreath! All the kids decorated a pinecone and I put them together as a wreath with the message that we might all be different, but we can all come together to make something beautiful.

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baby · home · parenting · plus size · Uncategorized

Becoming “Mummy” – My plus size pregnancy story.

 `Hi all!

Two months ago my little girl Eleanor turned one years old. Those who have followed me for a long time will be just as shocked as I am how quickly the time seems to of flown by. It seems like just yesterday it was just me and Adam in our flat in Fairfield, and now its me Adam & Eleanor in our big family home in Stockton (with a quick detour along the way to an awful streethouse..)

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I don’t think I’ve ever really told the story of how Eleanor “came to be”, and I always get asked online by other plus sized women how I managed to get pregnant and really I had no secret. I only had unprotected sex once and fell pregnant. Me and Adam had had a pretty average Christmas but both felt like something was missing. After a long chat on Christmas Day we decided that when we came back from our little getaway to Edinburgh we were going to try for a baby. At the end of January we stopped using any contraceptives and it happened first time we tried (if the dates are correct!). I’m not sure how Eleanor managed to cling on for those first days because I had an MRI scan whilst not knowing I was pregnant and also went to an event in London where I wore a tightly bound corset all day and drank!

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I found out I was pregnant quite quickly. I thought I was having the period from hell and I remember being at the gym about to go swimming and my boobs were like rocks and so I had to wear a crop top in the water rather then a bikini top because they were so sore. I remember swimming along with my nipples like marbles and the freezing cold swimming pool just made them worse!

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The thing that really made me realise I was pregnant was my sense of smell went crazy. I’ve never liked coffee/the smell of coffee before and it was just getting worse and worse to the point of it making it unbearable. What really pushed me over the edge and prompted me to wonder if I was pregnant was somebody at work was cooking popcorn which is usually one of my favourite snacks but at this time I couldn’t stand the smell at all.

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My first test actually came back negative, but my second had a very faint positive line and my third was really dark and so I knew for sure I was pregnant. I rang my doctors straight away to book in for a blood test and had it confirmed that I was pregnant that same week. Next I had to have my “booking” appointment with the midwife which was my first proper appointment.

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With me being a student when I moved in with Adam in the flat, I never ever swapped doctors and so my appointments were always still at my doctors near my mums. My first appointment was a no show, then she turned up randomly 2 days later but I of course wasn’t there (and was working!). Finally we rearranged for the Friday and she finally showed up…nearly 2 hours late. As midwives over my pregnancy went. they were very hit and miss. Unfortunately she wasn’t one of the good ones and she banged on for over an hour about how breast is best and how breastfed children have higher IQ’s and achieve more.  She also went on to tell me that women should be the one to feed a baby so the baby associates feeding with her mum and how it certainly should not be  getting fed by the father. Needless to say – there was much eye rolling on my part.

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Apart from morning sickness, most of my pregnancy went swimmingly and sailed by. We found out we were having a girl, agonised over names but settled on Eleanor – which we chose after I read out the name and Adam started singing a Biffy Clyro song he loved – and started buying clothes second hand off eBay. We also moved house when I was around 4 months pregnant so that we were close to family and in a “proper” house. We soon regretted this decision as the house was just a damp mess which ended up full of various problems such as holes in the floorboards in the stairs, crooked tiled in the kitchen which we stubbed our toes on, a pipe in the bath was held together with a rag, the bath wasn’t draining properly which made our yard stink etc etc! We ended up moving out when Eleanor was 5-6 months old because the damp was consuming the house and making her ill and the house was going to have to get half ripped out to fix!

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I said my pregnancy mostly went swimmingly, but I did have a few hiccups along the way. When we went for our gender scan, Eleanor would not co-operate at all and kept wrapping her legs around the cord so we couldn’t see what gender she was! The poor nurse tried for over a half hour and had me in allsorts of positions. Finally, on her last attempt she managed to see as Eleanor moved that she was going to be a girl. I was so relieved that we got to find out – I cried. I also found myself in hospital on a few occasions, once to a bleed, once due to a fall, once due to fake contractions (where after a few test I found out I had group b strep which I was glad I found because it can be problematic if undiscovered) and once due to a fall.

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I ended up having a week long stay in hospital after going in with stomach pains which I feared might be pre-eclampsia. I went in and due to the sound of my breathing they were convinced I had blood clots in my lungs which could of put the babies and my life at risk. In one day, I had an ECG, x ray, nuclear x ray, a camera down my nose, an ultrasound, various blood tests, urine tests, half hourly blood pressure tests and more. I was exhausted and just wanted to go home. I moved wards 8 times during my stay, including being put on the labour ward which was terrifying and spending a night in intensive care which was even more terrifying and extremely uncomfortable. They have these beds which constantly move to stop bed sores as people spend so much time there. I HATED it there and couldn’t wait to leave. They wouldn’t even let me go to the toilet alone and begged me to use a bed pan. No.

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I was finally allowed back home after being diagnosed with sleep apnea and given the all clear about my lungs. I did get plenty of scaremongering  chats about my weight which ruined my pregnancy a little if I’m honest. Nobody would take the time to talk to me and ask what i’ve been doing or would check the records to see I’d actually been losing weight – I just got a lecture about dying young or harming my baby.

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My pregnancy went on and so did my cravings. Thankfully I didn’t crave anything “too” wild – apart from loving the smell of ice and crunching it and the smell of old dusty boxes. I craved normal things like bags of tangerines, grapes, vol-au-vents, jacket potatoes, tuna and sweetcorn pasta. I even started liking things I wasn’t a fan of originally such as pizza, orange fanta, trifle, cheesecake and chicken – strangely all the things that Adam absolutely loves.

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By the end of my pregnancy I was pretty much crippled with SPD and ended up using a wheelchair to get out of the house which was awful. So many places are so unsuitable (I got stuck in the middle of the road in Manchester) and people truly see you as a second class citizen it was disgusting the way people shoved in front of me or tutted at me or just gave me filthy looks. If poor Adam wasn’t so kind as to push me round places, I wouldn’t of gotten out at all. I was pretty miserable with it and climbing our stairs 5-6-7 times a night to pee was killing me. I also developed gestational diabetes triggered by steroids I was given in the hospital so I was injecting insulin my last few weeks. This concerned the doctors who thought my baby would grow to be huge and wanted to give me a c-section at 37 weeks.

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As you can imagine, I wasn’t best pleased by this as I wanted to go naturally. They told me I’d be too tired to push and would probably end up needing a c-section anyway so it was best just to choose to have one. They set up the surgery date for Tuesday 13th October (which I pleaded with them for as 13th is superstitious) but they wouldn’t change it.

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A few days before I was due to go in and have Eleanor, I had to go for my pre assessment where we’d chat about a few things and talk about the c-section. When I got there, I was super anxious and as a result of this – my blood pressure was sky high. After the high reading, they refused to let me go home and said I had to stay in until she was coming which sucked as it was my cousins 21st at the weekend and I still wanted to do some bits at home etc. I finally accepted that I had to stay after more scaremongering chats about me having a fit and after having to have the worst injection in my leg for Eleanors lungs to develop – I got settled in my side room. I’d been there since 11am and got settled by 9PM – yet between all this time I hadn’t even been offered a glass of water or anything to eat.  By Sunday I was bored, fed up and pissed off at the lack of food. Some how they kept missing me on the lunch runs or people would be in the room when orders were taken so I ended up with what was leftover or more often – nothing. GREAT way to treat a pregnant woman. However, nothing pissed me off more than a doctor popping in on sunday and asking why I was still there and that I had been allowed to go home for the weekend. I was livid!

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The only good part about hospital was Adam. He really looked after me and made sure I got out and about and brought me food to eat and fresh PJ’s and drinks etc. He tried his hardest to make it a positive experience for me and spent as much time as he could at the hospital with me. He even painted my pump for me in my little en-suite bathroom because it was on my “bump bucket list”.

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Soon it rolled round to tuesday and it was time to go down to theatre to have my little girl. I was so scared and nervous but also so excited to meet her and finally not be pregnant any longer!

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My “birth story” was quite traumatic so I’m going to write about this in another post so keep an eye out for it!

Hannah x

baby · fashion · food · home · Uncategorized

Putting on a party! Mums 50s 50th.

Hi all!

As my mum was about to turn 50 years old we decide to throw a party for her. With my mum being a fan vintage dresses and afternoon tea it seemed fitting that we threw her a vintage tea party. We, or rather I decided to do the decoration ourselves so that I could make them exactly what we wanted but also to save a lot of money.

Venue

We decided on a local venue called the Normanby pub. As this was not the most up-to-date venue decoration wise, I knew that it was going to take quite a lot of imagination and lots of decorations. The first thing that I made was over 100metres of bunting to transform the walls. I used fat quarters which I bought on sale at hobby craft as well as some bits I already had in my craft drawers For speed and to conserve fabric, rather than sewing two pieces of fabric together and bagging it out I just used one piece and pinked the edges. Pinking the edges is great because it stops any fraying and it also looks very cute and kitsch.

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I also made  paper bunting from floral craft paper by drawing around a foam heart stencil and cutting it out with my pinking shears. I then threaded all of the bunting together with twine.

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I love paper bunting because it is so quick to make and looks beautiful because of all the patterns. It can also be made into any shape and is quick to cut out if you use a stencil.

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For centre pieces I decided that we would have jars of mini flowers as my mum really loves flowers. At first I was going to collect different sized jars but then we decided to purchase some from eBay which were hexagonal and really cute.

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To decorate them, I wrapped them with a piece of hessian and lace and finished them with a twine bow and hot glued it into place.

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Next up was filling the jars. Originally, my mums boyfriend was growing the flowers but unfortunately there was an infestation of caterpillars at his allotment and we lost all the flowers. So, for plan B me and my cousin Carley went to a few Aldi’s to pick up flowers. I can’t recommend Aldi enough for flowers – there’s a great selection of really cheap but beautiful flowers.

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We filled Carleys boot with flowers and took them back to mine. Thankfully Eleanor was out for the day because making 28 bouquets was hard enough without having a baby getting involved too! After trimming, de-leafing and separating flowers, I set about putting them into the mini bouquets. I used a good selection of different flowers in a variety of colours so they looked really kitsch.

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I tied the bunches with twine and sat them in the jars. We later filled these with water beads. We also used the water beads to fill bowls which we lit from the bottom with waterproof LED candles and floated flowers on top of. We put the bowls and jars of flowers in the middle of the tables on top of patterned doilies and scattered handmade heart shaped confetti -which I made from the paper scraps left over from the paper bunting cut out with a heart puncher – around them.

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We thought about photographers for the party and thought a photo booth might be fun way to get some great snaps. With hiring one being so expensive – again we decided to go down the D I Y route. I raided eBay, a few pound shops and the wardrobes of friends and family and ended up with two boxes of props to work with. My cousin Craig really excelled with the photo booth and built a fully light up fake 50’s style jukebox to step inside and take photos in. This was a huge hit at the party and we got some great snaps inside.

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Perhaps the hardest thing to find for the party was my mums dress. My mum can be quite picky when it comes to her clothing and with it being her 50th she wanted to make sure she looked extra special. With it being a fifties party, choices were limited and mostly online. My mum and I searched through the online offerings and my mum chose a dress, however when it arrived it just wasn’t like the picture and just wasn’t right – online shopping is always a risk! We were arranging to go away for the day to dress search somewhere bigger, when I popped into an alternative shop by the off chance and noticed it had a good selection of vintage style dresses that I thought my mum would like. After a visit to the shop together, mum found her perfect dress (at a bargain price too) from Hell Bunny.

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I also looked online for dresses but couldn’t find anything that was special enough to spend money on when I have already had a wardrobe full of dresses and settled on a collectif dress I’d had a while.

I did however order Eleanor a new dress! I managed to grab one of Lindy Bop’s baby range of dresses in their mega sale for £5 and accessorised it with a cheap head wrap from ebay!

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To accessorise my dress, I got a pair of Mary Janes from New Look which were reduced to £7 but scanned through the tills at an amazing £1 and I managed to get a £32 for £6 in Topshop.

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As I knew we were going to be busy arranging and decorating the room, I booked for us to get our hair done at All Dolled Up in Normanby and our makeup done by Kim Blair MUA and was so glad that I had. We were both pleased with both services and felt super glamourising.img_1460

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My hair and makeup was still perfect when I headed to bed at half five the next morning which was a testament to how great of a job both ladies did. I’d definitely use both again!

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(I went to bed so late the sun was out!)

All our hard work was worth it and we had an absolutely fantastic night which developed into a great weekend as we had a family barbecue the next night. After another late night, we were all wiped out on Sunday – I think it took me all week to recover afterwards!

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I really enjoyed all the work that I put in to my mums party and the effort was definitely worth it as the party was a great success and enjoyed by all. It was so much fun getting dressed up and seeing all the costumes and effort that people had made – it really made it all come together and made for a really memorable night which is just what my mother deserved.
Hannah x

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food · review · Uncategorized

FabFatMama reviews! – Creams Cafe Middlesbrough

Hi all!

A few weekends ago me, my mum, Adam and Eleanor went out for some dinner together in Middlesbrough. As my mum was having Eleanor for the night, me and Adam decided to try out a new dessert place together and spend some time together before going home.

Middlesbrough is erupting with new places to eat/drink and we’re really spoilt for choice whenever we head out. I knew however that I wanted to head to Creams at some point and was glad when we decided to pop in.

The interior is gorgeous.

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It’s clearly part of a chain and is immaculate an really sticks with a black and purple theme. There are various styles of seating such as booths, tables with tub chairs and tables with normal chairs so there’s really something for everybody’s comfort

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There’s so many icecreams on offer and you can get cones, tubs and custom sundae’s. There’s also a menu full of ready made combos including crepes, waffles, milkshakes and other drinks. We sat for ages trying to decide but finally decided on a sundae each.

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I went for the classic banana and toffee split. If I’m honest I was slightly disappointed. The banana was fresh and the cream and sauce was lovely, but after that it was just whipped ice cream from a machine – I would of much preferred real scooped ice cream as the whipped stuff got a bit samey. The wafers were lovely and it was great to see the branded wafers which added a nice touch, however the tiny fudge pieces were quite hard and took some chewing. I don’t think I’d order this again and would probably go for the scoops which looked much more interesting.

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Adam went for the choc fudge hot’n’cold volcano which looked amazing and which Adam really enjoyed. Adam loves a hot and cold contrast and this sundae was full of hot chocolate fudge cake and hot toffee sauce mixed with the whippy ice cream – perfect for him. It was absolutely stuffed with cake and sauce and I was a little bit jealous watching him eat his.

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I think next time we go I’d try one of the waffles which come with various toppings and the whippy ice cream on the side, or a custom sundae with the delicious looking scooped ice creams. I really fancied the pistachio!

There’s a little bit for everybody’s price range here, from single cones to something called “the crowd pleaser” which is a huge platter of ice cream, waffles, cream and other bits. I’d definitely love to get a few people together and dig in! It’s definitely a nice place to go with the family and all the staff were warm and welcoming – plus they have disney movies playing!

What more could you want?

Hannah x

baby · parenting · Uncategorized

A Spot On Ride. – Venicci 3 in 1 Travel System Review.

Hi all!

Today I’m bringing you a review which has been a very long time coming! This is because I’ve only really got into the third part of the travel system in the last few weeks. Finally – I’m going to talk about my pram.

When I found out I was pregnant, my mum told me she would like to buy my pram which was an amazing help as prams are expensive. If we were buying our own, we’d of got something second hand  but mum wanted us to have something new as Eleanor was going to be her first grandchild.

I initially decided that I wanted a Cosatto due to the bright colours and prints, but we just couldn’t decide on a print we both liked and so I had to look at other options. I ended up going to a local pram shop and telling them I wanted a sturdy 3 in 1 system for less than £600 which also included the car seat and they gave me a few options.

They suggested the Venicci to me and I loved it from the first second that I pushed it. I toyed between the salmon pink or the white polka dot and ultimately went for the dot as I know patterns are good for babies brain development.

I love the polka dot pattern. It’s so very me and I’d not seen the pram anywhere else which also attracted me. I was also attracted to the fact that absolutely everything you need was included such as mosquito net, raincover, changing bag and even a drinks holder. The main attraction to me though was the chassis. It’s so easy to fold, it has a large zip up bag in the bottom, a slot to host a drinks holder but best of all – it bounces. The way the chassis bounces has been absolutely brilliant and helps bounce Eleanor to sleep. It’s also great for going up/down steps and curbs as the chassis takes the impact of the movement and so baby doesn’t feel a thing. The handle is one continuous leather handle which I love – I specifically didn’t want two separate ones. Pushing the pram is so easy (I often push it with one hand) due to the wheels which swivel in all directions (but can also be locked). The wheels also have the added bonus that they all come off with one click which makes putting it in small boots a lot easier! It folds down so easily by pulling two triggers whilst pushing a button and can be put back up by pulling back a tab that keeps it together and simply lifting the handle. I struggle to lift things but find the chassis easy to lift and maneuver when folded. I love the fact that all three seats co-ordinate in colours and just click onto the chassis by sitting them into the slots and then can be removed with the push of a button which has touch memory so no fumbling to push two at once! Finally, the chassis handle has a place to hang your bag which is so helpful as it makes it so much easier when you’re looking around in your bag for items.

Car Seat

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The most used portion of our 3 in 1 travel system is definitely the car seat as it is just so convenient. We decided against getting the expensive Isofix base as we knew she would be in other family members cars quite often and just belt the seat in each time which takes around 20 seconds.

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The car seat clicks straight into the chassis so you don’t need to fuss on changing the baby from car seat to pram – perfect for when they’re tiny or napping.

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The straps have lovely padded covers which also have the dots so it’s comfortable for baby. The car seat came originally with a baby insert (which we’ve not long removed) so that you get much longer use out of the seat. The straps are adjustable at the back and are easy to loosen/tighten as needed. The car seat and cover all click off easily and can be washed which is a god send with it being white!

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The handle has nice hand shaped grooves so it’s much more comfortable to carry. It can also be clicked back so that you have better access to baby/baby can see more.

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We’ve had good use out of this car seat and will probably get another few month out of it before we have to go on to the next stage.

Pram Base

Another piece to the travel system is the pram attachment.

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If I’m honest, I didn’t use the lay down section as much as the car seat because of the convenience of not having to swap her from car seat to pram and disturbing her, but when I went out on my own I used the pram base. It felt lovely to push a “proper” pram and It had to many great features too. My favourite feature was probably the vent, which made sure air could circulate around baby whilst she was snuggled in and toasty. I also liked that the cover clipped up onto the handle so It gave a bit more coverage and was great when It was windy. The handle and hood on the pram is super easy to fold down with two small buttons and the whole base collapses into itself when you want to store It. The pram has a lovely padded mattress in which makes it super comfy for baby and it also has a mechanism under the mattress to make it sit up slightly so baby can see more.

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Eleanor is propped up here. After a few weeks she didn’t really take kindly to laying flat on her back and so being able to prop her up was great. She doesn’t even lay flat t0 sleep and screams when you lie her down so this stopped a lot of tantrums. Once again, she was obsessed with the dots on this and would roll over and try to pick them off or would sit chatting to them. With the pram having a proper mattress, it could be used as a mini travel cot and was handy for long days out/visits to family so that nap routines weren’t messed up.

Pushchair Seat

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I’ve only recently moved into the pushchair seat but I really love how easy and comfortable it is for Eleanor. It’s also really beautiful and a pleasure to push it around – I’m like a proud peacock with a beautiful pram and beautiful baby to match.

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The seat in this is adjustable via a large clip at the back and can be pulled right down flat for baby to sleep. It then has a semi sat up and fully sat up position. The hood on this is large and sun blocking with UPF 50+ fabric and alike the pram attachment, it has a vent. There’s also an extra mesh bag where the seat adjustment handle is for extra storage. I think this would be handy for snacks or things you want to quickly grab without rummaging through the nappy bag.

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It also has an extra zipped section for when the seat is laying down so you don’t have excessive hood but still have full coverage when baby is laying down. The 5 point harness clicks in really easily and can be moved as baby grows to continue having the best fit. The straps are soft and padded for comfort.

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The bumper bar has a lovely soft finish and can be detached from both sides. My only gripe is that it’s not adjustable height wise as a the moment it is nowhere near her and she can’t reach her buggy toy.

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As with all the seats, this seat can be put onto the chassis either facing you or facing away. For now I choose to have her facing me as she likes lots of eye contact and to chat away to me, but I’m sure as she grows I will change it to facing out.

Extras

As I’ve mentioned earlier the travel system comes with a few items. It comes with a mosquito net which I haven’t actually used but think I will over summer as there’s an area that’s lovely for walks but is absolutely plagued with those tiny little flies so the net will protect baba from them. The rain cover I’ve used and is easy to pop on and has a vent to talk to baby. It also folds back down easily and doesn’t take up loads of room like some covers do. The bag is excellent. Not only because it clips onto the handle but because it is compact and attractive. It has a slot either side for bottles and two internal pockets to pop items in. The bag, alike the foot muff, covers, hoods on all seats are machine washable and come out gleaming white again. I was unsure of the white at first but the ease in which it can be stripped off to wash changed my mind. There’s also a parasol which matches the travel system which I will be purchasing as summer is coming up and I want enough sun protection for bab as she absolutely hates the sun being in her eyes.

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In conclusion we love our Venicci and we are so glad the man in the shop recommended it to us as I possibly wouldn’t of picked it out myself. It’s a great price for everything that is included and is a dream to push. When I was ordering my pram my friends told me I’d be rid of it and onto my second by she was around 6 months as a lot of mums like to swap/change prams as they get bored but I still love mine as much as the first day that I pushed it. I hope Venicci extend their range into some compact strollers but keep a lot of the same quality features – I would definitely purchase one! Oh and next level car seats too as this one has been excellent.

So here’s to many more days pushing my Venicci with my happy, beautiful baby inside. If you’re thinking of purchasing a travel system – Venicci is the way to go.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

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From drab to fab – My office overhaul!

Hi all!

I have recently moved house and have been having the fun of doing all the rooms up to our taste. Having a three bedroom house with only one child meant that we had a spare box room. As I am a keen crafter/machinist I decided to take over the room as my craft room/office which will be useful when I start making baby clothing to sell! It’s good to have your own space and be able to leave work out and just close the door behind it.

The room was a mess when we first moved in. The walls had holes, there was a built in bed which was filled with rubbish, half a carpet and a badly boxed in staircase. This room initially became the dumping room whilst we sorted  the more important rooms out and so it got put on the back burner for a few weeks; however once we got the ball rolling with the room it came together pretty quickly.

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The first thing we had to do was remove the bed. The room is pretty tiny so it had previously been used as a child’s room with a bed built into the space. We removed the bed which came out in small chunks and unfortunately couldn’t be salvaged and given to somebody else like we’d hoped.

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When we removed the bed we found out that only half of the room had been carpeted and so we would have to think of something to do with the floor such as a new carpet, laminate or stripping back the floorboards. We also found a ton of old lego, toys, rubbish and general dirt. I got the lovely job of cleaning this up!

Once the bed was ripped out it left a huge hole in the wood that was boxing in the stairs. Adam decided he was going to rip the rest out and rebuild it so that it looked better and was bigger so I could use the area as a built in pattern cutting table/place for storage.

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Next, we decorated. I have an obsession with flamingos and knew I wanted flamingo wallpaper. I looked at a few different styles but settled on this amazing collaged flamingo blown vinyl paper by Albany from Wallpaper Direct. The Flamingos have all sorts of different peach, pink, grey and black tones running through the paper and it’s so gorgeous.

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I made the decision to just wallpaper one wall as it is such a busy pattern. The other walls we painted in a deep grey in a matte finish called Storm Cloud. I’m a huge fan of grey, I think it always looks really modern and always sets off other colours well. I have grey in almost every room in my house in various different shades to support the feature walls. I think grey looks nicer and Adam paints magnolia/white every day at work so wanted to steer away from those colours!

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The final really cosmetic decision to make was what to do with the floor. I was keen to sand and paint the floorboards but Adam wasn’t as keen on this idea as some of the floorboards were uneven/gappy, however they were fine after being sanded down and nailed in properly.

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Adam mixed the colour for the floor himself which is a very light grey and goes beautifully with the rest of the room. He made this from using white undercoat mixed with dark grey undercoat. Adam sanded down each floorboard, painted it and then sanded it again so it now has a super soft feeling to it and is lovely to walk on.

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I had most of the furniture for my office already but needed a few bits just to finish it off. I bought this chair from a massive warehouse charity shop called Daisy Chain which helps children and families affected by Autism. I paid £6 for this chair and at the time it was a pine colour. Adam found the paint in a bargain box in b & q for £6 and he upcycled the chair for me. He put around 3 coats on the chair and sanded it between coats and after. He finished the chair off by adding some felt pads to the bottom of the chair so that the floor won’t get marked.

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Another piece of furniture I bought from the charity shop was this vintage tea tray. I bought it for two reasons- one being that it’s beautiful, and one being that moveable storage is a great thing to have in such a small room. I’m using it to stack all my storage boxes and it’s working out great as I can have it right up against my desk, then put it back against the wall when I need space.InstagramCapture_f9a457af-a4dd-4cdb-947b-f1cfe2372325

These are my storage boxes. I recovered them in leftover wallpaper so that they would go with the room. I decided to do this after not being able to find anything at all online that I liked. It also saved me money not having to buy new ones! I’ll pop a tutorial on how to do these at a later date.

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I added some bits for decor such as this amazing flamingo light bought for me by my brothers lovely GF Verity!

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And a frame wall with a mix of photos, prints, handmade items and a few plaques.

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And here it is with my furniture in! My desk is of course from IKEA and has been with me since we moved into the flat in 2012! It was pretty cheap and has always been used as my sewing table so has taken quite a battering with pins/machines etc but it’s still in great quality. My record stand was actually built by Adam from some leftover spindles and offcuts of wood which he assembled together and then painted. I’ve always loved it – not only because it’s a super handy bit of furniture which fits records perfectly, but because it’s one of the first things Adam ever did/made for me and it reminds me of our early days.

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So that’s my office transformation! I think it’s a pretty dramatic change and I absolutely adore it. I just need a few finishing touches such as the right lamp shade and some touching up on the skirting boards, but i’m practically there! It’s so nice having my own little room I can keep all my crafts in and have to my taste. When you’re a mum you sometimes feel like you lose a bit of your identity and so it’s great that I can make sure I keep a little piece of myself.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah x

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Baby on a Budget – How I furnished our Nursery!

Hi all!

Some people think that it breaks the bank to have a baby and so far, it’s not been the case for us. I am a very frugal person who likes to find the best price for every purchase as the more I save, the more I can buy!

When we first looked into the nursery items we were a bit overwhelmed by the prices of some of the furniture sets and decided that we would see what other ways we could get the pieces we needed.

We’ve had two nursery’s now

Cot

We were lucky enough to be given a cot by a friend of mine. You’ll soon notice when you have a baby, people will give you allsorts!

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We decided that to make all the furniture we bought/were given match that we would paint them with a baby safe paint in a grey tone. We painted the cot after giving it a good sand down and it came out great. I then got this net from eBay for £2 to finish it off. The cot was originally from IKEA which was helpful as we could go online to find the instructions for assembly as it came to us in pieces.

Storage 

Babies have so many different things – bibs, vests, blankets, socks etc! We knew we were going to need loads of storage and started looking into ideas. We decided we liked the look of the IKEA Kallax units as they could be changed around so much with different inserts etc in the future. We went online but postage was quite a lot from IKEA (and I wasn’t sure if they’d fit in my car) so we looked at eBay and Gumtree and managed to grab two sets for less than the price of one new at the time – we paid £25.

Once we got them home we sanded them, painted them in the nursery colour, braced them together and then attached them to the wall with a bracket for safety. If you’re going to have big heavy furniture in your baby/child’s bedroom please anchor it to the wall as they can easily fall on-top of a wee explorer!

Finally we actually went to IKEA and grabbed the matching storage boxes in alternating colours for a fun look. I love how this turned out and it actually stores so much stuff.

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Another form of storage I used was actually spice rack holders – they’re only £3 each and can be used for so many things. They can be even used upside down as a cute way to hang baby clothes. We initially used these for holding little shoes but we later swapped this to books when we realised we had far too many shoes! After painting these too match we mounted these to the wall with small screws.

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I decided that in such a small room wardrobes would completely close off the room. Instead, I opted for an IKEA algot system to hang her clothes on which I don’t have a decent photo of here – however I have photos from her second nursery when we moved. Oh yeah, I failed to mention that we put all this effort into her bedroom and she never ever slept in it as we moved when she was around 4-5 months old. The algot system cost us around £60 – bargain compared to wardrobes.

Changing Table

You’re probably sick of me saying “I got it from IKEA” but….I got it from IKEA and painted it. It was cheap at £25 and some ones I was looking at were extortionate. I put a padded side mat on it to stop baby rolling, added a cover and mounted pots on the wall for my nappies/wipes/various ointments. I love the pots, they make life a lot easier and probably cost less than a tenner for all of them including the rail.

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Nursing Chair

The last real piece of furniture we got was this rocking chair from eBay but is originally from IKEA. It was originally over £200 but we paid just £15 to a wee old lady who had had it in storage for a while.

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The chair was a light brown with cream canvas seat. Adam quickly painted it to match and I dyed the covers. My mum finished it off by buying us some cushions (IKEA of course).

I know it’s a lot of IKEA stuff but it’s out go to place due to affordability and the stuff we’ve had over the years has lasted us well. We can’t afford to pay £200-£300 for a coffee table, not when we can pay£16 and have it serve the same purpose. We also love to buy second hand where possible and really love DIY projects to really make things our own. Including the algot system which isn’t pictured, we probably spent around £150 on all the furniture in her room. Some people spend that on a chest of drawers!

Nursery – Take Two!

As I mentioned above, we actually moved house before Eleanor could even use her room! Here’s how we arranged the same furniture in her new (and much larger) bedroom. We did away with the sage green and chose a ditsy print floral wallpaper which was a pain to get on but it so cute.

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The room isn’t quite finished here, we later put up her pots at the changing table and the bookshelves, but this was how it looked after one baby free night of hard work!

So yeah, it’s definitely not super expensive to sort out a nursery. Find out what you can get given, scour second hand services such as eBay,  gumtree and charity shops. Don’t be afraid of a bit of DIY – a lick of paint can really bring new life into an item and paint is a great way to tie a theme together.

Eleanor has since been sleeping in her bedroom after we moved into this house and sleeps soundly straight through the night so she must be a fan too!

Hannah x