Today was one of those pretty darn awesome days where everything goes so well it makes one feel all warm and fuzzy inside! After a mammoth lie in I ventured downstairs and played with my little prince until Daddy J took him out to the shops. With all this free time on my hands I decided to channel my inner Mary Berry and bake! A couple of weeks ago while we were watching one of my cookery programmes Stuart said to me that he “remembered when I used to make him treats” ha! It occurred to me that it had been ages since I’d actually found/made the time to bake, so I figured there was no better time! And here are the fruits of my labour;

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They were so quick and easy to make so I thought I’d share the recipe;

250g self raising flour

2 eggs

100ml olive oil (or veg if you have it)

4 squishy bananas

100g caster sugar

teaspoon of baking powder

100g fudge pieces & dark chocolate chips.

– Mix the 2 eggs together and add to the oil. – Mash bananas in one bowl. – Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar in another bowl. – Add in the egg mix and whisk together (I used an electric whisk but you could do so by hand if you have the time or patience!) when it’s all mixed up and looks like cake batter, add the fudge and choc chips. And you’re done! Spoon into 12 muffin cases and pop in a 200C oven for 20 or so minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Et Voila! Now, pop the kettle on and enjoy.

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So this afternoon comes along and Mr J springs a surprise on me…an afternoon at a near by spa! To my warm and fuzzy delight he had booked me in for a facial, back, hand and foot massage and it was uh-mazing. Pure luxury. If any of you reading live nearby, I would most definitely recommend The Courtyard in Basingstoke. (http://www.thecourtyardhampshire.co.uk)

The Courtyard

Now, due to my self-consciousness over my bad skin, I’ve had quite a few facials in my time. But I have to say, this was definitely the best I have had. The Courtyard use Clarins products and my therapist Stacy explained to me each of the products she would be using throughout my treatment. As I lay down under the soft, warm covers with towels in all applicable places I let myself drift off on a dreamy massage induced cloud. There is just something about the way each move feels during any treatment like this. The hot towels on your face, the cool eye compresses, the way each movement doesn’t leave the body until the next is initiated. Stacy’s delicate, warm fingers worked a certain magic on my knotted shoulders and it melted away all the strained tension I’d gathered along my way.

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Tonight the hubbo has gone for an Indian with the NCT boys, so I am going to treat myself to a glass (or 2) of wine whilst watching ancient episodes of Carrie and her friends! If Carlsberg did Saturdays…

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It is so true that when you don’t have the money to spend, you want everything in the shops! And when you go to the shops with specific plans to buy something you need you can never find it! With this in mind, and my statutory maternity pay finished my wish list is of course, huge!! Luckily for me Valentine’s day is just around the corner, so hopefully Mr J might just tick a couple of these off!

  • I have been coveting the Mama Mio skin post pregnancy range over the last couple of months, as I have been a huge fan of their products throughout my pregnancy and beyond. There’s just so much I want to try! Next up I really want the “Get Waisted” and “Boob Tube” which always have rave reviews throughout the blogging community. I have finally started feeling like I’ve got my pre-preg body back, but could definitely do with the skin on my tummy feeling tighter. Have a look here for their amazing products; http://www.mioskincare.co.uk/mama-mio.html

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  • With such dreary weather outside, I am yearning for the bright and fresh spring sorbet prints. Not quite warm enough for skirts and feeling a little more confident about my shape, I’ve been looking at some big print trousers to brighten up my look.

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  • I am a huge SATC fan; Carrie’s adventures just never get old! Team that with my shoe obsession you can imagine how upsetting I found it when I saw how uninspiring SJP’s very own shoe range is! With lots of events on at the moment I want to add to my shoe collection and have found some absolute bargains at Matalan of all places! A friend Instagrammed these shoes and I just love them! I also had to buy these Topshop beauties in the sale last month as a parting gift to my shopping addiction.

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  • I have the Clinique Chubby Stick in Plushest Plunch, but it’s just a bit too bright for me for every day wear so I really want to get a more natural shade of this super moisturising lip balm, something like Mighty Mimosa. It’s £17 and perfect for just whipping out of my bag and applying quickly and keeps my lips really soft in this horrible cold weather.

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  • Speaking of keeping my skin soft in this weather, I find my hands get so dry and cracked, especially when pushing the pram around all the time. So my final item for Feb’s wish list is the ultra moisturising, rich, Shea Butter Hand Cream.

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Although not strictly for me, I absolutely love these Cath Kidston children’s food trays so wanted to include them on this post. I most definitely want to get one for little Henry for all his different finger foods – although currently I know it would immediately be thrown overboard with his flapping little arms, so perhaps he can enjoy it from afar for the moment!

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What items are you longing for this month?

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I for one am so glad that January is over and done with. It’s like month full of Mondays and it just keeps going and going and going…For me it was a dreary, post-Christmas slump of a month and I couldn’t wait for it to be over and to move on to Feb, a month closer to spring!

It was my first month without my measly statutory maternity pay (It’s not much, but you miss it when it’s gone!) I think it rained & stormed pretty much the whole month, I had to start thinking about work and nurseries and dreaded Aunt Flo came to visit me for the first time in 18 months!!! (TMI?!)

But we all made it through, and I celebrated at the end of it with one of my oldest, bestest friends 30th Birthday. (and reminded myself just why I do not do shots any more – ouch!!)

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February is already off to a great start with our little boy finally finding his way to put one hand in front of the other and crawling!! It is true what they say…now the fun really starts!! Trying to get ready with a very inquisitive little boy who finds mummy’s make up and hair styling wires far more interesting than the smorgasbord of bright coloured toys I lay out in front of him is proving to be very tricky indeed! He seems to have developed so much over the past week or so, making lots of conversation with new sounds and syllables, pulling himself up in his cot, spinning around happily in circles on his bottom and of course, crawling.

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This month I want to take Henry to a lot more group activities as he is now mobile and less likely to be squished by bigger babies. My NCT friends and I went out to the under 18 month session at Active Tots in Stratfield Saye last week  (http://www.activetots.org) and loved how clean it was and Henry got so much more enjoyment out of it than I thought he would. He loved freely sliding down the soft slides and playing with the babies in the ball pit. This week I want to take him to Bouncing Tots which is in Basepoint, off of Wade Road (http://www.bouncingtots.co.uk) . We’re also going to be independently taking him swimming again more, after having had to cancel his swimming lessons due to them falling bang in the middle of his morning nap time. As hard as it is with this weather it’s so nice to get him out every day to one thing or another.

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I love sites such as http://northhantsmum.wordpress.com and www.mumsintheknow.co.uk/basingstoke for finding out all the fun things to do with little ones week by week. I also vow to go to more Sure Start stay and plays which are government funded as I hardly ever go to them and Henry loves to play with the other babies and get filthy at the messy plays!

I’d love to know what things you’re going to be doing with your baby this month and what ideas you have to keep them entertained!

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For months I have been meaning to blog about little Henry’s nursery! I wanted to show how we decorated it and what ideas included. It is definitely a work in progress as I am always finding new ideas and styles I like and want to incorporate, but anyhow…here it is!
Whilst I was pregnant I decided that I didn’t want a cream/beige nursery which seems to be the inevitable option when you don’t know the sex of your unborn child. So, after thinking about it I realised that because little one wasn’t actually going to be in their own room for a good few months anyway I could actually wait until we knew the sex and then decorate it…However, I actually think that it’s pretty unisex after all!! But I am still really pleased I waited.
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I absolutely love green, it features in quite a few of our rooms at home, so I decided to instruct Mr J to paint the walls this colour as a base so we could mix it up with pink & peach florals for a little girl or boyish blues for a little boy. We went for white furniture and a dark laminate to contrast with the furniture. After shopping around for AGES I realised I wanted to get normal sized furniture rather than the children’s furniture as I found they came up really small. Because we have a built in wardrobe in the room all we actually needed for clothes storage was a chest of drawers which I bought from Homebase and matched the colour to the rest of the furniture. It had really old fashioned handles so I bought some crystal ones from Ebay and gave it a more modern feel.
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We decided to go with a free-standing change table instead of an over the cot one, and I am really pleased we did as it provides heaps of storage, we got ours from Mamas & Papas. I found these green and white baskets in Tiger which allowed me to organise everything into easy to grab, mid nappy change, sections! It is a life saver for bad backs as you can stand up rather than having to bend over to change the many nappies Henry goes through! A friend of mine bought us the changing mat, also from Mamas & Papas.
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I fell in love with this “Mia” sleigh cot bed from Mamas & Papas, but completely underestimated how huge it was! I think I could quite comfortably sleep in it! It meant we needed to change the layout from what we had planned but now I love it being tucked away in the corner of his room to leave plenty of room for him to play in the rest of the nursery.
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Daddy mid-build.
I knew I wanted to use wall stickers to bring some animation and excitement to the walls for little Henry, and this means we can change them when he grows out of them without having to re do the whole room if we don’t feel it necessary. I really love the look these bring to his sleeping area, I figured who couldn’t fall asleep amongst the clouds?! – Turns out Henry! But that’s for another blog!
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I remember the Owl and the Pussycat from my childhood and I wanted to include this traditional feature in Henry’s room. I managed to find this brilliant wall sticker from notonthehighstreet.com and it is by the Brighton based Koko Kids – which I looooove!!!! It’s a fabric sticker which was so easy to apply and Henry gets so excited when we look at the whales and talk about the rain falling and waves splashing. Take a look at all the other beautiful things they do! http://kokokids.com
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After our 7 months of no sleep we decided on trying a black out blind to help Henry along with his naps during the day, and having already got a blind and curtains I found the Gro Company did a “Gro Anywhere” blind, which we suckered onto the window which is so effective at blocking out all of the daylight. It is absolutely huge and of course, mobile so perfect if you need to take it on holiday or away for the weekend.
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Personally I knew I didn’t want all matchy matchy in terms of the accessories and so I searched loads of different websites for unique things to include in the nursery. I came across this great company who make these prints and they were kind enough to make me one up to document Henry’s birth details. You can decide on your own colours and themes and they are sent on high quality paper and I bought a chunky white frame from Ikea for it. You can get your own – for any occasion from http://www.elliebeanprints.co.uk
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My friend Lucy also had this lovely, 3D birth picture made for us which ties in with the bunting and owls we have in his room.
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This is a horrendous photo but it kind of lets you see most of the room altogether!
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Some homemade bits…
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Bunting!!
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The next thing I want to make are 3D hot air balloons similar to these stickers to hang at the end of the cot amongst the clouds!
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Well, there we have it! I love his room and love adding to it when I find new things and there’s lots more I can’t wait to get. I am making the most of actually being able to choose what he has before he wants the whole thing football themed!!! What did you go for in your little one’s room?

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The days when Henry would fit into his freestanding baby bath are long gone (sob!) especially as he is such a happy splasher! The bathroom floor would be covered in water by the end of his time in there happily flapping and whacking around. I was given a Tippitoes baby bath at my baby shower which had a nice soft head cushion and moulded support for Henry to rest into. It saw us through for about 3/4 months and we have since moved on to a bath rest, but now that he can support himself he sits in the bath playing with his toys and making even bigger waves.
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It took me a long while to start using products on his delicate skin because it was just that. I knew I wanted to use products which were extra gentle on his new skin which is why I am so grateful Urban Retreats got in touch to sample the truly wonderful eco-organic products of Estelle and Thild. It is a Swedish brand created by a mother who also wanted only the best for her 2 little girls. It is sourced from botanical, organically grown raw materials and developed with both dermatologists and paediatricians. And has the most beautiful pastel designed packaging making it an all round winner in my eyes!
As Henry still doesn’t have much hair (this doesn’t stop Mr J and I excitedly pointing out most days recently that we think it’s grown just a smidgen more!) we’re currently only using the body oil which can be used in the bath and after to lock in the moisture, but will definitely be stocking up on the shampoo/conditioner when the time comes to need it.
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All of these beautiful products are available from Urban Retreat; www.urbanretreat.co.uk/beautique/brand/Estelle_Thild.aspx?p=0
I also found a wonderful brand, Green People, back in the summer (remember that?!) when I wanted an organic sun block for Henry’s delicate skin, and they also do a fab baby wash which is so gentle and scent free. Pioneers in the organic baby care sector, they have won so many awards for their huge range of products, but you may not have heard of them so I would definitely urge you to check them out; http://www.greenpeople.co.uk or at John Lewis and Ocado. They do super sweet sets which would be perfect for baby shower presents too.
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If your little one is more of a bath time screamer than they are splish splasher then aside from bath toys, why not try taking a bubble machine in with you to make it more fun for them and distract their attention from the fact that you’re washing them, or for older children who have decided bathing is no fun any more how about coloured dye to turn the water or take they’re favourite doll or toy in and wash them first to tempt them in. Remember it’s not just a job to get them clean, make it fun and enjoy that quality one on one time yourself. Stuart nearly always bathes Henry now as he is home so late from work, like most Daddies, so it means he gets to enjoy some fun time with him before bed and I get to listen to all the cute (one sided!) conversations he has with him from downstairs.

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