#ItsInTheBagBaby – What I Can’t Leave Home Without

#ItsInTheBagBaby – What I Can’t Leave Home Without

I have had lots of change bags and, as the number of children I have multiplies, these bags have got larger and larger. I always have my change bag ready and waiting to go so we can dash out the door as quickly as possible. It’s one less thing to sort out when trying to argue load 4 small people into a car or pushchair. My current change bag is a Pink Lining Twice As Nice which I absolutely adore. It’s just the right size for carrying all my stuff around.

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When we go out I do look more like I’m packing for holiday than just popping to the shops. I like to make sure I’m well prepared. But, what do I have in my change bag that is so essential?

1. The Obvious
Nappies and wipes for 3 of the children plus the associated bum related paraphernalia (nappy cream, nappy sacks, mat etc).

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2. A Change Of Clothes
I learnt very quickly after having my first that carrying a change of clothes for all small people is essential. We had a very traumatic trip out to a restaurant where our lovely first born filled his nappy and sleepsuit! He spent the rest of the meal wrapped in a blanket. Also, check the change of clothes every so often to make sure they still fit.

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3. Snacks
I always carry a small stash of emergency snacks as they can sometimes save the day in difficult situations. I usually have small packets of raisins or other dried fruit which last ages and can easily be whipped out when an appointment runs late or you’re stuck in traffic.

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4. Toys
I carry a pack of trump cards and a few toy cars for the same reasons as above. They have saved a few full blown restaurant meltdowns. I try to make sure it’s a toy they’ve not seen before or are not allowed normally so it still has a bit of excitement.

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5. Mum Essentials
Emergency tampons, anti-bac hand gel, lip balm, paracetamol, plasters, change for trolley/parking gift vouchers. These are hardly ever used but do occasionally have their uses.
I got lots of vouchers for my birthday and now always carry them with me as you never know when you might stumble across a beautiful pair of shoes!

6. Camera
I know all phones have cameras in them these days but my phone has a tendency to be full and if I go out with my parents, they have no idea how to take use my phone. Old school is best!

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Do I go a little over the top with my change bag? Yes, probably! But, I was always taught to be prepared!
This article is my entry to be a Pink Lining brand ambassador at http://pinklining.com/uk

Setting Myself Some 30th Birthday Challenge

Setting Myself Some 30th Birthday Challenge

I’ve just turned 30 and apart from getting married and popping out 4 kids in quick succession, I’ve never really done much that’s terribly exciting in my life.

I’m a complete daredevil and very rarely get to challenge that side of me. I’ve always spoken about doing a bungee jump or a skydive but speaking about it is usually as far as it goes.

Today that stops. I’m setting myself 2 challenges for my 30th birthday year.

My first one should be relatively easy to achieve. We have a gliding club over the road from us and I really want to give it a go. They usually have a open day in September where they do trial flights and this year I am going to bite the bullet and go.

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Ever since my Grandad used to take me to airshows as a child I’ve wanted to get my pilots licence. It’s one of my ‘things to do before you die’ items but it’s stupidly expensive! Trying out gliding would be a step in the right direction.

My second challenge requires a huge amount of hard work before I even qualify to do it. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but it has a very strict weight limit so signing myself up to do it would be my reward for reaching my goal weight.

I want to do a wing walk. Yes, you did read that right! I want to stand on top of an aeroplane while it flies through the sky!

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This has always appealed to me and my inner daredevil for some strange reason.

I need to lost 21lbs first though. I’m hoping having this as a reward for reaching my target weight will spur me on to lose it.

I will keep my blog updated with my progress on both my challenges. I’m hoping to have completed them both before my 31st birthday in April.

Running in Lavender
Mummascribbles
The Slim Fast Challenge – Final Weigh In

The Slim Fast Challenge – Final Weigh In

Well 14 days of the #slimfastchallenge are up and Monday morning was the final weigh in. I have held off weighing myself all week so this week’s weight was a surprise.

I jumped on the scales and was really disappointed. I’ve lost 4lbs in 2 weeks. Normally I wouldn’t moan about losing 4lbs but I’m disappointed as I weighed myself on day 5 and had lost 3lbs. For an additional 9 days of dieting I was expecting more than a 1lb loss.

I’ve followed the diet to the letter and even tried harder with my exercise for the past 2 weeks. I was expecting to lose more than 4lbs on such a low calorie diet.

I will reserve judgement for another week though as I suffer terribly with water retention and bloating once a month. The perils of being a woman mean that most months I can put on several pounds which disappear a few days later.

I haven’t minded doing Slim Fast as I’m so busy during the day that grabbing a bar or shake is easier than fixing a meal. I’ve not really felt hungry and I’ve enjoyed creating evening meals for under 600 cals.

But, I did feel like I was consuming quite a lot of sugar. The shakes and the snack bars had very high sugar content and I was permanently left with that strange taste in my mouth that you get when you’ve eaten too many chocolates!

Maybe because of the disappointing weight loss I’m feeling that Slim Fast wasn’t great for a quick fix diet. I’ve done both Weight Watchers and Slimming World in the past and have lost more in the first 2 weeks of being on those plans. I also feel they promote better eating habits and sustainable weight loss. I fear my 4lbs lost is going straight back on again!

Thank you to Slim Fast for giving me the opportunity to try out the #slimfastchallenge.

Babywearing Through London

Babywearing Through London

We were brave and took the plunge taking 4 small people on public transport into London for the day.

Hubby thought it would be easy. Strap the 2 babies into the pushchair with the older 2 walking and off we go. What he didn’t factor in was 1. our double pushchair is massive so couldn’t really be kept up on the tube and 2. our destination (Oxford Circus) had no step free access. We could have planned our journey using only step free stations but at just 2 years old, O struggles with walking long distances.

The only answer to this dilemma was to use my baby carriers. This was no problem for me as I love carrying my babies but hubby has always been reluctant. He still brings up the cost of my double pushchair everytime I mention I’ve used the carrier!

I have 2 baby carriers. I bought a stretchy Calin Bleu wrap when the girls were first born. It was fab and I even mastered putting both girls in it. Eventually though, I got bored of time consuming wrapping and I decided I needed buckles. A Rose and Rebellion soon arrived and I was in love. It was so much easier to put on and the kids didn’t get bored waiting!

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We kitted up on the train just before we arrived into Finsbury Park Station. I took the wrap with our smaller twin. It wasn’t going to be ideal as she’s probably too heavy (16lb 7ozs) but to be honest, now she’s bigger, I found she fitted better. I felt like it was tighter on her but that was probably just my poor, beginner wrapping skills! To be fair, my wrapping skills haven’t improved to much!

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Finsbury Park station is all steps down onto the underground and this would have been our first major challenge. Instead, we managed to get all 6 of us down onto the underground platform fairly quickly. The only drawback hubby mentioned was not being able to see the stairs as we went down with a baby strapped to his front and guiding a toddler.

We got on and off the tube with ease and, to my shock, people even offered us seats on the train!

We arrived at our destination probably more sweaty than if we had the pushchair but a hell of a lot less stressed! It made the whole day out so much easier and the boys were superstars.

The biggest drawback was not being able to run through Kings Cross station. It was touch and go but, after dragging 2 very tired boys across the station, we made our train home with about 10 seconds to spare.

This little trip has thrown up some revelations. My wrapping can’t be too bad as I was really comfy all day and Daddy has discovered that he loves carrying as well. I fell asleep on her Daddy almost as soon as she went in the carrier and he loved having sleepy snuggles. He loved it so much that he’s wanted to carry her since and has even agreed I can buy another buckle carrier.

Now to decide which buckles I want next. I love my R&R but willing to try anything. Any suggestions?

Mami 2 Five
Mummascribbles
Father’s Day

Father’s Day

It’s Fathers day today and time to spoil Daddy and show him how much we all love him. We do this every day of the week anyway but, convention dictates that you must buy a card on this one day of the year!

We’re taking Daddy on a surprise day out as chosen by the boys. They are going through an obsession with steam trains and love the local narrow gauge railway so of course have chosen that as their destination. I’ve written about it before here as we go quite frequently.

The boys have been working hard and have made their own cards for Daddy. They are so proud of their cards that the eldest asked if I could “show the world” his card on my blog!

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An alien family from B.

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Inspector Gadget from O

The girls are far too small to be doing crafts and I quite honestly can’t deal with the mess so they had to make do with a shop bought card.

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It’s very true though and sums up how we all feel about him. He really is our superhero!

Final Firsts

Final Firsts

I love babies. If we were rich and didn’t keep doubling everytime I fall pregnant, I would keep having babies. The twins are most definitely my last babies though. They are already an added addition to my “last baby” that I had nearly 3 years ago so, definitely no more.

The realisation that there are to be no more squishy newborns in our house also brings with it the sad realisation that we are seeing our final firsts.

The twins are 10 months now and in the last week, the baby of the house has sprouted her first tooth. With the celebration of the fact she wasn’t going to be gummy forever also came the crushing sadness of never making this discovery again. All my children have teeth now and this is another milestone we won’t be seeing again.

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It’s for this very reason, selfish as it may seem,that I am in no hurry for my babies to grow up. When B was born, we couldn’t wait for him to sit up, crawl and learn to walk but this time we are so happy to wait.

How can I feel so sad when I know we are going to have so many more exciting things to look forward to as the children grow up? I’m looking forward to first days at school, first school plays and our first family holiday. But, my children are growing out of the phase where they do something new and amazing every day. The fast learning of a baby is disappearing and they get more independent and need me less.

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I am definitely going to be one of these Mums that gets ’empty nest’ syndrome. With all my children so close in age this could happen all of a sudden!

Why can’t these little people stay small forever? The twins are at such a lovely age at the moment. They smile for everybody, entertain themselves but are still happy to play with you and, the biggest one, they don’t answer me back!

In the meantime I shall have to hope I get some nieces and nephews in the near future so I can still have those lovely cuddles and remind myself how lovely my kids used to be!

Mami 2 Five
The Slim Fast Challenge – Day 5

The Slim Fast Challenge – Day 5

Today is day 5 and I’ve yet to fall off the wagon! I’ve actually found doing Slim Fast a lot easier than I thought I would.

I haven’t suffered from any rumbling tummy and have enjoyed everything I’ve tried so far. I am totally in love with the snack chocolate bars. They taste like you’re having a Mars or a Snickers but are a fraction of the calories.

I’ve enjoyed some really nice balanced dinners some of which have come from the recipe ideas on the Slim Fast website. My boys really liked the fish finger pie and for the first time in ages we had a dinner time without a single complaint about the food!

My only complaint so far is that I feel like I’m constantly eating sugar. The shakes and meal replacement bars have really high sugar content. Having 2 of these a day is nearly your recommended daily allowance of sugar straight away.

The bit you’re waiting for though. I got on the scales for the first time this morning and so far 3lbs have disappeared which I’m really pleased about.

The Slim Fast Challenge – Day 1

The Slim Fast Challenge – Day 1

The big day has arrived. Last night I enjoyed a big roast dinner and a glass of wine as my last supper! A meal like that isn’t going to fit in my 600 kcal dinner allowance.

I’m going to be brave and admit that this morning I stepped on the scales and I weighed 13st 9 lbs which makes my BMI 29.9. Not fantastic by any means but that’s the reason I wanted to give Slim Fast a go.

Breakfast
This mornings breakfast was a bit different from the normal toast and marmite. I had a banana shake about 9.30 and made sure I planned a busy morning of baby clinic and visiting my parents to take my mind off any hunger.

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I picked banana this morning as I’m not a huge fan of banana milkshake and wanted to get it out the way but I really enjoyed it. I expected them to taste a bit powdery but it was just like any normal banana milkshake. I downed it in secret so the kids didn’t try to steal any and flew out the door. Having a shake for breakfast is an awful lot more convenient than my usual breakfast choice.

Lunch
We had lunch at about 1ish as we’d been out all morning. I’d packed one of my snacks to have during the morning but was too busy so I added them onto my lunch.
Lunch consisted of a bag of cheese bites and a chocolate peanut meal replacement bar.

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The crisps had plenty of cheese flavour and were lovely and crunchy. They certainly made up for not having my lunchtime bag of crisps.

The meal bar had plenty of chocolate on it which sorted out my lunchtime sugar hit and certainly gave my jaw a workout with how chewy it was. It tasted great.

I had a snack mid afternoon of barbecue flavour tortilla crisps. They had plenty of flavouring and were certainly a great afternoon pick me up. Unfortunately the kids spotted me having these and wanted to try them. They enjoyed they as they came back for seconds!

Dinner
I was really looking forward to dinner. I struggled cooking the kids dinner as it was making me so hungry. I literally ran down the stairs and did the quickest dinner we had in the house. Dinner consisted of a tuna steak, asparagus, cous cous and leftover barbecue corn on the cob coming in at just under 600 kcal.
I saved my final snack of the day for after dinner as I always like to have something sweet. I swapped a Slim Fast snack for a Muller Light yoghurt. Anything counts as a snack as long as it’s under 100 kcal.

Exercise
I took the twins to baby clinic so walked just over a mile and a half with the pushchair.
Fitbit steps today – 7265

Dad Zone – Keeping My Family Safe – Buying New Tyres

Dad Zone – Keeping My Family Safe – Buying New Tyres

So here we go again. Our annual visit with Mr MOT for our second car and all was well – kind of. The car passed but had advisories on 3 tyres.

I am often mocked by friends about my tyre purchasing habits. When we bought our family car, it came with budget tyres. To make it worse, the rear tyres were not circular anymore and had developed a flat spot that caused a really irritating drumming noise. Being a family car, used for transporting my army of kids daily, I felt it only right to change them. An obscene amount of money later, my car had new treads.

Given that tyres are a hot topic in our house, I thought I would use my first guest post to tell you the 5 things I look for when buying new tyres.

1) Brand and model
Look at what your car originally came with. If your car came out the factory with Pirelli P6000s, think about sticking with it. Car manufacturers spend millions developing cars to perform and handle in a specific way. Some of this is attributed to the tyre choice. If you like the way it drives from the factory, go for it again.

2) Tyre size
Check you’re putting the correct size on your car. When I bought my first Focus, it had smaller tyres with a lower speed rating than designed for the car. I can only presume the previous owner thought it looked “sportier”. What they didn’t consider was the impact this has on a number of safety and driving factors. A smaller tyre means your speedo is out. In my case it was 7-8% lower than what I was actually doing. This was also decreasing my fuel efficiency which nobody wants!
To make things simpler, websites like Point S help you search and buy tyres by just entering the UK reg number. So even if you don’t know the size, speed and load rating it doesn’t matter!

3) EU Tyre Rating
Just like buying a fridge or washing machine, tyres are required to have a rating. There are 3 ratings given to tyres for fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise. Fuel efficiency and wet grips are scored A to G with A being the best and noise by 3 bars, the loudest getting 3 bars. The AA give a good explanation of the ratings.
Personally, both my cars have nothing less than a B rating for wet grip and fuel efficiency and the noisest have a 1 bar rating (70db).

4) Reviews
These are vitally important. I always read through many consumer reviews and professional test drive reviews on a specific brand of tyre before deciding.

5) Price
Very obvious but shop around. Companies often have offers which make the individual tyre price cheaper the more you buy. Also, check cashback websites like Quidco for offers on top of the original discounts.

I hope this helps explains what to look for when buying new tyres for a safe family drive. I always like to remind myself that the tyres are like shoes for the car. The better they are (not always the most expensive) the less likely you are to lose grip and fall over.

The Slim Fast Challenge – Introduction

The Slim Fast Challenge – Introduction

I have lost an awful lot of weight in the 10 months since my twins arrived. I weighed myself on the morning of my c-section and to date have lost 6 stone 7lbs. Some of that was baby weight but most was there before I fell pregnant.

While pregnant I had gestational diabetes so had to modify my diet significantly. I have kept up with this healthier eating since having the babies and also added in exercise at least 3 times a week.

In the last few months though, my weight loss has stalled and as the pounds have stopped coming off, my motivation has faltered.

When offered to opportunity to give the Slim Fast Challenge a go, I jumped at it. I’m hoping it will give me the kick start I need to get back on track. I’m also due back at work next month as would love to walk back into the office looking a million dollars and making them think I’m excelling at parenting 4 small people plus looking after myself!

The Slim Fast 3-2-1 plan sounds perfect for me. The 3 snacks, 2 meal replacement bars or shakes plus 1 meal of 600 kcal should suit my busy days where I sometimes struggle to sit down to eat. It also still allows me to have an evening meal with the Mr and secretly put him on an evening meal diet too!

I will be starting Monday morning and I’m quite looking forward to trying all the different flavours of shake and the snacks. Some of them sound really yummy and still allow me to have a hit of chocolate!

If I can get down into the next stone bracket, a place I don’t think I’ve been since I was about 5 years old, I’ll feel that Slim Fast has been a success.