Sunday, 31 July 2016

Our family in July 2016

July has been a big & busy month for us as a family. 

Lots of changes have happened in the everyday events with our little ones growing and developing lots, we've attended a few family parties which were fab - the kids are definitely party-goers!, the summer holidays have started,  Mr T taking the plunge and starting his own business which is going really well so far. 

We've had times where we've questioned our family dynamics, striving to make sense of the word balance which can be incredibly hard at times with four littles ages 5,4,2 and 15 weeks. Sometimes we are literally collapsing on the sofa each evening at about 10pm where we've not stopped, and just slump into a snoozed state and then I'll be up again doing the night feeds, and Mr T will settle bed invaders. Then sometimes we sit down when the kids have gone to bed earlier without challenges, and really talk about how far we've come together as a family, how we're so incredibly lucky and that also we do need to work on things (hello organising the playroom, better meal planning strategy, decluttering the shite out the house etc.)

Many people say what a great team we are, and ask "How we manage with four". It's something that is our norm now and we are so proud. I mean with each new child thats come along, it's brought struggles but we've equally embraced it. With everything there comes challenges, and even though in a moment of sheer impatience or exhaustion, we still realise that these are 'the golden years' and they're flying by way to fast. Amongst the tiredness, the refusal of any food at all, the super whopper tantrums, or attitude, it comes back ten-fold in a blossom flurry of love, warm hugs, sweet kisses, infectious giggles, witty jokes, bedtime stories and memories made. The good and the bad (well, the challenging) shapes who we are so I think we need to be thankful for both elements when it comes to parenting. 

So this month I :
Have been planning lots for my blog/& photography work.
Enjoyed our family bike ride & picnic.
Have been rather fed-up with my wardrobe options!
Have been feeling a little lost at times.
Also wondering lots about one day moving to the coast.

Has been busy with his new business.
Enjoyed our day at the beach.
Getting more DIY done around the house.

Loving using one of Mummy's old cameras to practice.
Enjoyed our beach day.
Has been giving out lots of hugs.
Loves staying up a little later as its summer holidays.

Loves the truck in the garden.
Enjoyed a day at the beach.
Has been making brushing Mummys hair a three times a day thing. (so relaxing!)

Still loves The Ninja Turtles.
Loves to sing and dance to One Direction's 'History'.
Had spells of whopper tantrums.
Protects his baby sister and so happy that "she likes him".
Loves having the truck in the garden!

Showing signs of teething by chewing lots.
Sleeping quite well.
Has been wearing a mixture of disposable and reusable nappies.
Sucking her fingers lots.
Grabbing lots of toys (and the girls hair when they get too close!)
Getting lighter hair.
We've been enjoying warm evenings in the garden.
These photos were taken from our little bike ride (and bike trailer!) including a picnic, and just an overall lovely simple, fun day.


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Safe in the sun as a family.

Staying safe in the sun is something completely paramount for us, especially since becoming parents back in 2010. Fast forward five and a half years and we have four little ones to keep a watch on making sure the sun cream is applied regularly, sun hats are on, sensible amounts of hydration available, and having some kind of cover up or shaded area.

I find that it's not always the days when the sun is beaming, its the ones you think the rays aren't out in full force is when it can catch you un aware, so applying cream everyday really is the best bet.

When we do have day trips to the seaside, we usually take a pop up tent to make sure of a shaded place to go, considering we do have four very small children but this may even come with us to the local park if there aren't any shaded spots about. We find involving the littles in on the process always helps too, helping each other doing the sun cream application, talking about the reasons why we apply it, and the importance of keeping cool and hydrated too. It's an everyday importance but more so on big days out where shade can be limited if walking about/ or on a seaside trip.
It has also been incorporated into our morning school runs the past few weeks, but as summer holidays are officially here now we will still carry on that process due to lots of time in the garden, on walks or beach trips.
Making sure the littles have sensible sun hats is a key factor too, we were very kindly sent these hats from Jojo Maman Bebe recently along with some wonderful cotton rich towelling pull on's with a kangaroo style pocket. The girls followed their rainbow obsession and chose that print, & Phoenix the dinosaur one. The quality of these are brilliant, especially the softness of the robes, practical and comfortable not to mention the wonderful colours and styles. They have particularly loved having hoods and really found them useful at the beach as it not only shaded them when the sun made an appearance, it also kept them warm when it started drizzling!
Littlest lady keeping safe in her new hat.
I love these floppy sun hats for the girls, they have a built in 50UPF element (98% effective at blocking UVA rays) . The two bigger girls chose their own print, Yvie-Mae chose the 'Navy-dot', Halle the 'Ditsy floral' & for baby girl we got the 'strawberry primrose'.
So our top tips for keeping safe are:
- Applying plenty of sun cream all over and not forgetting the neck & ear area, we like factor 50.
- Wearing hats with great coverage.
- keeping hydrated throughout the day, plenty of water all round, plenty of feeds for baby & why not have a go at making some healthy fruit lollies to keep the little ones cool?
-When playing in the garden, we mostly try and play in the morning or later afternoon when its cooled down, especially as our garden is such a sun trap.
- Incorporating the importance of sun safety into the family routine.

Do you get the littles involved in sun care?
*Thank you to JoJo Maman Bebe. All images and opinions are my own.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Comfortable baby clothing with The Essential One.

I've written before about when choosing baby clothing the most important factor for me is ultimate comfort for baby. That, teamed with putting them in sleepsuits for as long as I can squeeze in as lets face it, theres nothing better than a adorable baby all snug in soft cotton.

A couple of months a go we were very kindly sent a lovely selection of vests & sleepsuits from the lovely people at The Essential One. I'd only ever read about them on social media until then but never really heard of them in comparison to mainstream brands like I've used before (and still do with some). So when selecting our chosen prints, I opted for the 'brights collection' as we were having another 'surprise' with our fourth little bump. This collection comes in an array of stripes, spots, and clouds combined with the sunshine yellow, grey & white theme. These were the colours I was drawn to throughout my pregnancy and especially as we didn't know the gender so the unisex products were the best option for us with the added benefits of the gorgeous colours they had to offer. In all honesty, I thought I was carrying another little boy so when our littlest lady popped out I was definitely in shock, as I had a vision we would have two of each! That being said, along with all of her big sisters hand-me-downs, she definitely suits this wonderful collection we chose so much as they go hand in hand with her 'sunshine happy' personality. They also go really well with our Snuzpod colour (Dove Grey) and the bedding it came with!

The patterns and colours really are beautiful, On some of them you'll see some adorable cloud logos too or little embroidered quotes like 'You brighten up my day' - so cute! The quality of the fabric is extra special though and even after lots of washes in the machine they still come out so soft. Whats great about buying these, is that with each set you buy, they are packaged in little cotton draw-string bags which come in ever so handy with keeping all your little baby bits organised and nearby.

If you follow me over on Instagram, you'll have seen these lovely sleepsuits appear on my feed, when I've snapped her early in the morning 'star-fished' out in the middle of our bed, or just the odd photo of cute baby spam. If you've missed these, you'll see them via the Essential one feed, or tag.

As we've started getting some warmer weather around here the past week or so, our littlest lady hasn't been wearing the sleepsuits as much, but has been relaxing in the vests in the day times to keep cool. These photos were from a few weeks back, and she is only 14 weeks old tomorrow but almost out-grown the 3-6 month size, super Mama-milk!
Such a content little baby.
Super comfy in the 'Land of Nod'.
'Do you mind getting that camera out of ma' face?'

I really recommend The Essential One if you're thinking of buying some for your baby, or even as a gift to another new Mama, Thumbs up seal of approval here!

The sleepsuits retail at 14.99 for a set of two including a little white drawstring bag. The vests come in a pack of three for 14.99 also including a fabric drawstring bag. They come in a lovely selection of colours and prints so I recommend having a browse at them all before you decide.
*I was sent these products for the purpose of this review, all thoughts, words & photos are my own.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Joules meets TotsBots Easy-fit Star.

When expecting our first baby, I didn't even know reusable nappies existed to be honest, I was just about getting my head about the idea of breastfeeding a baby which was completely new to me, but when our second baby was about 6 months old I thought about giving them a go as it was a way to save money, they're  better for the environment, & are much more comfortable for little ones skin not to mention being available in an array of lovely prints. 

After I searched around for some, then gaining knowledge about them I was soon into the swing of things - only part time though. For us, we found using disposables outside of the house a lot easier to handle considering we have more than one child, and I am out & about most days with school runs or trips to the park etc. When it was just the two girls, it was a bit easier, we didn't actually try them out until our second daughter was over a year old  (more regular and predictable nappy changes) until she basically self-taught herself to be toilet trained within a few weeks before her second birthday - day & night. I found that using them actually helped with the transition to potty training. Rather than using pull ups, we tried the reusables out now & again always being impressed with the comfort they brought to our children. 

The disposable liners that you can purchase to go with your Totsbots nappies are great for efficiently getting rid of poop and the nappies themselves also wash very well given the correct washing instructions. I love the fact that you can get so many fantastic prints to choose from, that are also fitted with adjustable poppers to meet your baby's sizing. The only thing I would say is that with a younger baby, that is breast-fed, the poop situations can be made a bit harder if very runny, and with the unpredictability of them more so I do sway towards the disposable nappies if this is more the case. 

Recently I was contacted about getting involved in this exciting unveiling of these products, I just couldn't resist. I found it refreshing to contribute to the promoting of home-grown businesses like TotsBots which started with a unique idea from a fellow Mama to four little ones which has flourished to what it is today, and now including collaborations with the likes of Joules.

We are also big fans of Joules clothing, our little ones have a great selection of the stylish items from them and we just love the fun, bright colours combined with well design products. With this in mind and the knowledge of how good the clothing is designed I imagined the bright colours, fantastic prints to be incorporated into the wonderful TotsBots range and I wasn't disappointed. 

Just check out this gorgeous design below named 'Annabella floral'
We will definitely continue to use a combination of reusables and disposables, I can assure you that TotsBots will be one of the brands we will still use along with another great brand we've been trying out. Just to point out, the disposables we use have always been a mix of Pampers, Asda and now recently Aldi. For us though while we continue to try the reusables, to do our small bit for the environment, trying to save money, we will also use the convenience of the disposables when its needed (massive korma leaky poops on the school run!)
Sibling love.
I can't resist baby toes.
This exclusive design is available in the TotsBots Easyfit star design along with another fabulous print which has a wonderful farm theme to it. They retail at £17.99 and are really worth the price as they are definitely built with comfort in mind as well as brilliant fabrics and designs to please the eye.

Please do check out some of the other Mamas who are trying out these fab nappies. you can find them via the #JoulesxTotsBots hashtag on twitter.
Disclosure: I was sent this product for the purpose of this review, all thoughts, images and content are my own. 


Friday, 15 July 2016

Siblings in July 2016

This month has seen our littlest lady go from being a fresh little newborn to morphing into a 'proper baby' with chubby cheeks, chunky thigh rolls and a personality starting to shine through.
The four of them are bonding so much every single day and it is such a beautiful thing to witness as a parent. We do have moments of madness when the bickering starts or seems to never end, but overall you can see how much they love each other. The older three have adapted so well to having a new sibling around, they absolutely adore her and the girls are so excited to be spending more time with her over the summer holidays. Little Phoenix loves to tell me "how cute she is", that "he loves her so much" and that "she likes him". So for all those small moments, or challenging days when they seem to be clashing, maybe its age developments? personalities? who knows, but for the amount of those days, I'm willing to have them full on, just for the simple amount of times that the loving days and moments make up for it.

Our little tribe of four.
A regular occurrence.


Sunday, 3 July 2016

Our fourth bundle of joy - A birth story.

The past eleven weeks have gone by in a whirlwind. In recent weeks, we have been in a better swing of things, settled even. little lady has been sleeping a lot better only waking once or twice for a little feed each night most of the time. She's such a happy and content soul, growing at such a rapid rate, developing chunky rolls, and has the biggest cheekiest grin and most definitely finding her voice in this family by shouting and cooing so much! she seems so much bigger for only 11 weeks old and holds herself so well!

The first 8 weeks were amazing but equally tiring - physically & emotionally. When you have more than one child, time is very limited and having time to try and enjoy those small moments can be cut short when seeing to everyones needs and sometimes forgetting your own. plus feeling mama-guilt for not being as active or energetic with your littles. Despite that though, we've tried our best to embrace the madness and welcome our littlest girl into our tribe. I was hoping to have posted so many of my draft posts by now but as mentioned above - time is limited.

So here is my birth story if you fancy a read, like with my previous three babies, it was a fast one so not leaving me a long ride up to the story but what I can say is that after three attempts (I gave birth too quickly to get chance!) I FINALLY got my water birth!

So here it goes...

 Thursday the 14th April was like any other overdue day. 7 days overdue to be precise. I had so many niggles gearing up to the time of being 'full term', and this did sometimes make me think that baby would come early, as my braxton hicks were stronger than ever, the pressure from baby's head was so intense at times that I thought it would fall out any minute, but knowing this was my fourth baby in five and a half years, my muscles were completely broken and my body felt a little tired i knew it was just those things combining to make me feel this way, and with hindsight on my side - I knew this baby would really be overdue like the other three. They were 3, 5, & 9 days past their date (estimated due dates - how pointless are they anyway, baby will come when it's ready!)

That morning at 11:30 I had an internal examination from my midwife, the same midwife who i've seen with all four of my babies and who understands the way my body works in pregnancy - so I felt at ease being in her care each time. The appointment was booked for a 'stretch & sweep', but after doing the examination, she told me that my cervix was getting ready but very posterior meaning not S&S was able to be done really. By this point, baby was also in fully back to back positioning, this made me feel a little on edge as I knew the difference in pain as Halle came out unknown back to back. I managed her one hour labour pain-free but comparing her labour to the other two and I can honestly say her stung a bit more. Not only this, I just wanted to not have any negative obstacles on my mind prior to giving birth for the last time. I'm not suite sure why a back to back labour is deemed to be 'a nightmare' as for me I felt it went well, but being told something isn't the "easy" or "correct positioning" for a baby's head to come out would make anyone feel uneasy right?

After the appointment, we decided to grab something to eat to see if things would kick off. Other than period type aches, there was nothing to report so we went home. Later that evening, the little ones had gone to bed, Mr T & I started watching crap like Eastenders on the tv while I was still pottering about every now & again with mild cramps coming over me, but nothing out the ordinary as I'd been aching for the previous few days. We then watched a bit of Celebrity Juice (this has fast become our Thursday night thing to watch together, and lets face it - it is stupidly hilarious) after the first half, I decided to go up to bed as the cramps were regulating, but not necessarily painful.

Is this the night?

At around 11:30 I started to count my contractions on an app on my phone I only downloaded that day luckily, usually I just do pen and paper but this was helpful as I just thought I would be heading up to bed to go to sleep once more. After half an hour of contractions - ones which were coming every 6 minutes and lasting around 40 seconds. The app kept alerting me 'Get to hospital now', I just snoozed this and carried on timing, contractions are a funny thing really as in between them, you are just your normal self, I was anyway, I go into a calm mode when labouring so I thought I was kidding myself. The only thing I knew was certain was that they were fast becoming more intense. By 12:15 we decided to ring our second birth partner (my sister in law) and Tys Mum who was planned to watch over the kids. I carried on counting the contractions which were every 4/5minutes and lasting well too. Still remaining calm, but knowing how fast I have previously laboured - we knew it was time to get checked. We headed off to the hospital which is luckily a 5 minute drive from our house, the contractions still tricking me as they were so fierce in one moment, yet a sense of calm was over coming me each time and in between.

We're having our baby!

We got to the midwifery-led unit at roughly 1:10am on what was now Friday the 15th April. We were then met by a lovely midwife called Charley who took us to an observation room on the unit. each time i've come up to this level I get a huge rush of emotions going through me as i've given birth to YM & P there (Not Halle as planned as she came super speedy downstairs!) but I walked through the doors calmly, knowing full well that this is the morning I would bring our little baby into the world even if it was going to be a few more hours yet. Powerful memories flooding back to me when looking down the corridor to the room I gave birth to the other two, which now had a birthing pool in it. So back to the observation, I was quickly checked by the midwife to which she told me I was 3cm dilated. My sister in law then piped up and said, "She may look cool, and calm, but this can be deceiving and the next thing the baby will start crowning!", The midwife said "Is she really like this all the way or screamy towards the end?", to which my sister in law said, "no she really is this calm, I wish I laboured like her!"

After being checked over, she agreed it was safer to stay at the hospital for a while to see how things go, I asked if I could be checked soon as my body seems to progress very rapidly on its own. I also really efficiently asked for the birthing pool to be filled up as its been a wish of mine with all three previous births but never had enough time to get in. As the pool was starting to be filled, we then go settled in the birthing room, contractions in full swing, but managing them quietly & confidently each time, walking around and rotating my right foot (something I've done with all three, maybe a distraction?!). The lights in the room were dimmed, and the atmosphere was really relaxed which was exactly what I wanted. The contractions were coming every 4 minutes by this point and I was questioning whether I wanted to lay down on my side, or remain standing and mobile. I had a weird feeling that if standing, the baby would fall out, but laying down was uncomfortable. So I remained standing for those few contractions before the pool was ready for me. The midwife then said to me that because of my previous PPH with my first birth, and the fact in this pregnancy I had such low iron, that i needed an infusion and the general risk factors of the previous blood loss (even though I had the same type of births with my second & third but didn't lose much blood at all) that I needed to have a canula fitted just as a precautionary procedure. That if all of a sudden things went pear-shaped, then I could be safely transferred to observation once delivered the baby. If I didn't agree, then I wouldn't have been able to stay on the MLU, or have the water birth I so desperately wanted to have after three attempts!

At 2:10am had my canula fitted, I was a lot braver than the last time when it was rushed into my hand once things went pear-shaped, so with this being planned and relaxed it felt better. It wasn't until I asked the silly question if my hand would bleed, to which she replied, "sometimes it ....ooops there it goes" - my hand was squirting lots out, I felt it dripping over me, and on the floor and I almost had a moment, but I just kept holding Ty's hand, looking into his eyes and tried to stay as calm as possible as we all knew this was the best thing for us if we wanted to birth we planned. 

I tried a bit of the gas & air as the contractions were coming stronger but each time i've tried this it hasn't lasted long as I just don't like the feeling of dizziness and a dry mouth! so I continued with what I felt was best and that was deep breathing, & keeping in mind that each surge was one step closer to meeting our baby.

Our first water baby.

At around 2:15am came the time came to get into the birthing pool, as soon as I got in, I instantly felt a lot lighter, less exposed (like baby was going to fall out!) and just more peaceful. Ty was leaning in front of me outside the pool, and my wonderful sister in law had agreed to try and photograph and film the birth. She has caught the most precious photographs with all of my births and this time we wanted to add that bit extra and try and film seeing as this is our last time doing this. we are eternally grateful for these memories captured by her!

The surges were powerful and at times, and sometimes I didn't know if I was doing it right. Within a few contractions I started deep breathing and started having urges to push. I had a couple of moments when baby's head felt like it was going back up but this was just her turning the right way (thank goodness as she was back to back hours before in examinations!) I think by this point I was nervous thinking baby would be back to back, even though Halle was born this way in less than an hour start to finish, it definitely was more stingy than the other two. Not only this, I just didn't want anything jeopardising a chance to have a relaxed water birth. 

Our lovely midwife kept saying she had never seen a birth like it, just so relaxed and calm. The buoyancy of the water was wonderful and I'm so glad I stuck to my thoughts to get my water birth. She continued to guide baby's head with each push, then informed us that she would pass baby through my legs in a short time allowing Ty to help too (his face dropped as he felt excited but equally scared as he had it in his head that baby would swallow water or something) but with the calm words, and within 8minutes 42 seconds and being in the pool for no more than a total of 15 minutes came the last push, there was our baby swooped up through my legs, up to Tyrone and my hands and on to my chest at 2:29am.


I just remember that euphoric feeling hit me once more. Our baby was finally here, all fingers and toes, that lovely first sound of her cry, then to see her all snuggled and relaxed when I was holding her against me in the water waiting for the cord to stop pulsating. I was being observed carefully as it was still unpredictable if I would start to lose blood or not. After the cord was cut, the short time spent in the pool was cut short as the pool slowly started to turn dark red which is normal to some extent, but given my precious blood loss with my first the midwife wanted to monitor me very closely. So baby was handed over to Daddy, I then carefully climbed out the pool with the help of the midwives (doesn't your balance and body go like jelly once given birth, such a weird feeling) then all of a sudden I felt something literally fall out of me and onto the floor, I looked and shouting oh my god what's that, it was a huge lump of bloody my oust thing which the midwives said its okay, it's your body clearing out but we need to check you properly. So off onto 'dry land' so I could be observed  and get warm as my body has sent itself into an adrenaline shock it would seem, shaking uncontrollably (it did this with the other three but not this bad ) I felt fine in my myself but couldn't stop. I remember saying "I am okay, I just can't control this shaking!"..I then had the active management injection to help speed up the placenta, and I birthed it within the next contraction. 
So after being checked over and starting to have fluids hooked up to my drip they realised I would need a couple of stitches where my last scar was. I felt a bit annoyed as with any of them I never thought I needed any but it was literally due to their sizes. There was a second midwife assisting the drip and she may have been new as she was a little unsure what was going on as she almost ripped the Canula out and injected me directly into my arm before the midwife set her straight. I just remember not giving her my arm for a moment! Needles aren't my strong point! I was also losing a fair amount of blood too which needed attention by the doctors which meant leaving the lovely midwifery unit.
(Thank you to my amazing sister in law for capturing these moments as she did in our other three birth stories!)

Thankfully, after being hooked up to the fluid drip upstairs, and also now the hormone drip (which helps your uterus contract - and what they use to induce labour!), all was fine and my lovely midwife came back to reassure me she saved me a private room after I was finished downstairs in observation. It was then time to see to those couple of stitches that I needed, and the doctor needed to press down on my tummy while doing an internal prior to starting - and this HURT. I remember saying to her "PLEASE STOP!". Legs up in stirrups, dignity out the window and i was just looking over at Ty holding our baby girl just trying to distract myself. My poor sister in law got a pinch in her arm as she was sat with me and i remember us giggling as i apologised if I hurt her - giving birth and all the things that go with it surely bring out the strength in you don't they! I never knew I was so strong! so after about 20 minutes it was over, Ty & his sister left so they could get back home ready to tell the little ones when they woke up. It's funny really as he told me the next day that Phoenix had woken up while we were gone and said to his Grannie "Grannie you go home now, Daddy home!". After all that, it was then time for baby girl and I to rest, and in my case - have my 'after birth tea & toast'. Now I know hospital food is usually pretty awful but there is something about the thing you eat after giving birth, the tea and toast had never tasted so good. By this point it was about 4:38am and i was waiting for my drips to finish so that I could get back upstairs and rest properly without leads hanging everywhere.

Off we went back upstairs at around 7am, and I was hoping I wouldn't bump into anyone as we had to be wheels up in the public lift and I hadn't got the time to put my dressing gown on! Thankfully we didn't and I held on to my baby all snuggled in tight then we were left to it in our little room. I was then waiting on breakfast again as I was just so hungry, this wouldn't be until after 8:30 but it still tasted great. While baby girl was laying in her little cot still remaining nameless I couldn't help but sit and stare at my battered tummy, just like I did with my other babies but this time is was even worse and felt so tender. but you know what? despite my tummy looking and feeling like a war had gone on I was also feeling extrememly thankful and glancing over at our healthy baby girl I just felt that feeling all over again like I had done three time before.

 You know that feeling of sheer pride, happiness, wonder all rolled into one? exactly that.

Baby girl still remained unnamed and I was eagerly waiting until my little trio came to meet their newest sibling face to face. Halle was the only one out of everyone who said our baby would be a girl, she also decided that she couldn't possibly be a boy so it was a no brainer of course. Us on the other hand were still so shocked to have another little girl, over the moon but in sheer disbelief as we just had feelings of having another little boy, as our last baby was one. I remember saying to Ty at one point "Do you think he will be sad that he won't have a brother? - I got so emotional about it thinking he would be mad at me!

It was written in the stars I say, our big girls have their little sister, our little boy has now become a big brother to that little sister that he will without a doubt protect and guide, and as a foursome I'm pretty sure they'll be unstoppable & unbreakable.

I had no doubts this little baby would fit in like a dream regardless of gender, watching how much love they hold for one another already really is the best feeling.
Here's a little film of our pregnancy, birth & first day with our fourth bundle of joy.
*change the setting to watch in HD :)

Here's a round up of previous pregnancy related posts:

A maternity style challenge with Bonprix. 

 'Believe you can, and you will' - My tips for a positive birth experience. 

Comfort in pregnancy, Featuring Bravado Designs silk seamless nursing bra.

Pregnancy Essentials: What i've found useful in four pregnancies in five years. 

Hello Third Trimester

Our 20 week scan, gender & rollercoaster news.

Ten worries I have for my fourth pregnancy.

20 weeks pregnant in our fourth pregnancy.

Hello second trimester.

Expecting our fourth baby, poorly months & huge reassurance.

Pregnancy ramblings - Diastasis Recti in pregnancy.


A garden for butterflies.

When it comes to growing in my garden wherever I have lived, its always been something I've had an interest in. Ever since I was a little girl, I would love to see how my Dad tended to his garden (and how he still does), building his bird avery, pond, and making sure there was a place for each plant. Its also something that has stayed with me in more ways than one as I now tend to my own garden, but with this I have those fond memories of growing our own and listening to the stories of when my Dad used to watch his 'green fingered' Nan adored and took pride in keeping her garden at a high standard.

When we moved to our home last April, the garden was in such a state. This came as a shock to the system as at our previous home we cared for our small sized garden including growing our own herbs and strawberries along with lots of flowers and even our tiny apple tree that grew precisely two apples. We've started from scratch once again, which does seem lots of work at times but it's nice to see that it would be a project in itself to create a space which could represent the seasonal changes and all that comes with it.

I've recently written about our sunflowers we're growing, and how this is something I also did as a little one but I am now doing with my own small children. This is the second time as a Mama that I've attempted to grow our own sunflowers and so far so good. We're hoping they are going to make a nice contribution to our garden fit for butterflies.

When the lovely people at B&Q got in touch I knew they would have an interesting project lined up seeing as I worked with them last year making our own bird box to encourage more birds into our garden and around Christmas time talking about our decor and choice of tree. B&Q are in partnership with the wildlife butterfly conservation charity to help their customers become more knowledgable of how to help the butterflies and other pollinators.

They have mentioned that "Butterflies are important indicators of the health of the environment. By helping them, gardeners can help create a better home for wildlife, especially beneficial insects such as bees that play a vital role in pollinating wildflowers and many crops."

With this they are encouraging people to create butterfly friendly gardens and this is exactly what we've done by using the suggested pollinator-friendly plants then throughout the year we will be keeping a count of the butterflies who visit our garden by doing the butterfly bingo survey. I knew right away that this would be a great opportunity for us to do as a family and especially as our bigger girls are forever searching for butterflies in the garden, creating little perfumes with different smelling flowers and trying out the delicious herbs.
Lavender has got to be one of my favourite smells, and I also love it for the therapeutic factors. Wherever I have a garden, there will forever be lavender blowing gracefully.
Part of this project included us being sent a box of caterpillars to look after & watch them grow into butterflies ready to be set free. This has been a wonderful to watch and show our little ones, the bigger girls have been learning about 'life cycles' at nursery & school so the project has fitted in just in time! I'll be updating on this very soon including an amazing video clip of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis which i'm still so chuffed about capturing!

Future garden projects include:

Continuing to grow this years sunflowers.
 Plant pot painting - (We've done this once before and is always a great activity to do with little ones in the Spring or Summer.) 
Creating a GYO patch.
Brightening up the childrens playhouse.
A mud kitchen & fairy garden.

Do you GYO? Why not have a go at creating your own butterfly friendly garden using this tutorial. You can also check out some plant ideas from this Pinterest board. 

I'll be posting soon about our little butterflies, how we've found the growing process and the day we set them free. This will also include the butterfly count in our garden this year.
This post is sponsored by B&Q. All images, thoughts and opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.

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