Monday, 23 February 2015

A year on and a lot has changed!

Oh my now haven't I been a truant from blogging!
Well it's kind of had it's good reasons and I'm pleased to say we are no longer a family of 3 anymore...... We are a family of 4. 

Shortly after my last blog post in November 2013; we finished the front room rennovation and swiftly got Joe into a good bedtime routine. That new freedom in the evenings meant Chris and I could 'reconnect' as a couple and it wasn't long after Joe's 1st birthday that i found out I was pregnant. I'd really like to keep the story for another blog post as well as the birth so in short, Heidi was born on 19th November 2014.

She's now 3 months old and making herself known! Even looking at her photo above it's amazing how much she's changed in that short time.

We it's ciao for now and I'll be back very soon xx

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Back for Good

Hello my fellow followers and how are we all?

I know you were all wondering where I had got to and the truth is I was abducted by aliens........  Ok so maybe that was just a rumour.

Life just seemed to take over during the front room renovation and things have pretty much just got back to normality.  So much for my 2 week absence! Anyway the stress and upset that it caused has now gone and our house is habitable again.  I promise to post some nice pics when I have a good tidy up and the last piece of furniture is installed (we still haven't found a suitable console table).

So in my absence Joe is now 9.5 months old and cruising around all over the place.  He's a right little chatterbox and teething is still ruining our sleep but the last of those damn little teeth are starting to appear so hopefully we will all get some better sleep soon.

On another note ITS NEARLY CHRISTMAS and for us its extra special this year as we will be spending it as a new family and it wont be as much of a dry occasion on my part as it was last year.  I tell you there is nothing worse than being tee total at Christmas but it was totally worth it for the end result which followed shortly after.  Although I am still breastfeeding; Joe only feeds in the evening until morning so a little tipple at lunchtime will be perfectly safe *insert happy dance here*

So what are you all up to?  Are you especially excited for this coming Christmas?  Id love to hear what you are all getting up to.

Stay cool for now



Friday, 11 October 2013

So little time.....

Why is it when you seem to get a good routine going something happens to disrupt it?  I'll be very happy when all my front room renovations are over and I can get back to normal.  Living in the upstairs of a 2 up, 2 down terrace is very trying.

So that's my excuse for being absent from blogging again.  Everything is packed away and even nap times have been consumed by cleaning and just trying to keep on top of the mess.  With any luck it'll all be finished by next weekend.  We have tradesmen coming in all week so it will most likely be quiet on the blogging front until then.  I have to thank all my regular readers and followers for bearing with me but I promise I will make more of an effort to blog once we have some calm in the house again.

I have a fantastic blog article to share on my friends adoption baby shower.  I can't upload pictures at the moment though so it will be 'better late than never' but well worth a read.  Not only will it have some lovely ideas and tips but it will also give you an insight into the UK adoption process and what's involved.

I'll also be documenting our journey through 'Treasure Baskets'.  It's a course provided by our local children's centre and is aimed at creating a little basket of explority items to stimulate the senses of your child.  It's a 4 week course so ill report back at the end of the course and share our treasure basket with you all.

Now all the above is very exciting news and then I find myself on countdown for my return to work.  I can't believe how quick it has come around.  Joe will be starting his introduction sessions at the childminders and I don't know how I feel about that.  She's a lovely lady and all the children and parents rave about her but I guess it's just a natural feeling to be nervous about leaving your child in someone else's care.  I doubt he will be bothered though.  He's quite a chilled out little chappy and seems to enjoy a couple hrs away from mum from time to time.

So that's my week ahead.  If I can get a sneaky post in between now and the weekend i will.

Don't forget to wrap up warm, it looks like autumn is finally here!

PB & J xx

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Autumn Harvest

I don't know if I mentioned before but Mr PB & J and I have an allotment which we use to grow our own produce.  We acquired our allotment in 2008 and as with any new venture we started out with great enthusiasm and did some really good work on improving our growing space and eventually chickens.  Sadly the recent growing season has seen very little happen on the allotment due to the little man arriving but that's when I'm thankful for  the good old perennial plants (that means comes back every year to any non gardeners).
From this....

To this.....

To this!!

So this morning we have picked our first harvest of apples and in an attempt to make something baby friendly I have hit a wall.  I mean I cant really make a traditional apple pie or crumble that's appropriate for an 8 month old can I? 

Yummy home grown apples!
I'm a right stickler about sugar and as soon as I started weaning with Joe I haven't added any sugar (or salt for that matter) to our cooking.  Actually apart from a bit of ice-cream and biscuit he hasn't had any sugar from me but that's not to say he hasn't been given it by other family members.

My recipe books are a little old (even the baby ones as they were given to me) so what can I make?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

PB & J xx

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Clingy Baby

Evening everyone I hope you've all had a better day than me today.  It seems something happens to these lovely contented babies when they turn 7 months.  They are still the sweetest little things until you try and detach them from your body and then they create like you've just done the worst thing imaginable.  So because of this I haven't really achieved much at all today apart from make some new twitter friends.

Being a first time mum I have never had to deal with this before but I think I was also a bit na├»ve (or stupid) in my expectations of being a parent.  I kept saying "I've looked after all my nieces and nephews, I know what its like to look after a baby".  Maybe so but add in sleep deprivation and no real rest or relaxation since giving birth and you have a recipe for a very grumpy mummy.  I'm not saying I am not enjoying it but there are days when I just want to have some peace and quiet and not have to worry about running around like a lunatic tidying up when Joe has a nap.  It sparks a lot of guilt some days because I start to feel bad about wanting my own time.   I know its a very normal feeling and every mum will feel like it at some point but I did think it would get easier but at the moment its getting harder.

Sadly I haven't yet found the solution to keeping Joe entertained for more than 10 minutes or so before he's asking to be picked up and I haven't even started on leaving the room without him.  I thought I would be a bit tougher but I don't like to hear him cry or make him feel like he's been abandoned.  I guess this is a very short phase given than in a few months time he will be exploring his independence and wont want to be picked up or be glued to me all the time.  So for now I guess I should suck it up and relish in all the contact and snuggles we do have.

In other news I have now figured out how to add Twitter and Instagram buttons so please give them a click and follow me.  I hope to have a Facebook page set up soon too.  I do have a personal page but I prefer to keep that to personal friends and family plus I would need an eternity to remove all the embarrassing photographs!

Please also check out my latest review on the Graco Symbio B pushchair.

Have a lovely evening

PB & J xx

Graco Symbio B Review

As soon as I found out I was expecting a baby, my first thoughts turned to what pram / pushchair / travel system was I going to have?  I mean where do you start? There are so many brands, styles, functions and not to mention the huge differences in price.  I had a fairly modest budget and knew that getting what I wanted was going to be a challenge.  So to make it easier for me I made a list of what was essential and what was desirable.  My essentials were;

1. It had to fit into the boot of my 3 door, 2004 ford fiesta (anyone with this car will know it has a pretty modest boot)
2. It had to be affordable
3. It had to be parent facing
4. It had to be light and easy to lift

Everything else in my eyes was a desirable feature.  So I started on my search for the right pram.  I did a lot of internet searches as well as a LOT of window shopping.  I kept finding myself returning to the same travel system, The Graco Symbio B.  I had seen the earlier model (Symbio) a year before in a shop and quite liked it so I was excited about seeing this newer model.

The Main Features
The Graco Symbio B stroller easily converts from a luxurious lie-flat pram to stroller, avoiding the need for a separate carrycot and reducing storage requirements. The unique reversible handle flips in an instant, with one hand, to change your child's position

• Comes complete with padded luxurious baby nest and fully removable padded mattress for ultimate comfort
• One-Click travel system allows you to team with the Logico S HP 0+ car seat
• Spring suspension and pneumatic tyres
• Includes raincover and footmuff 
• Reversible seat and handle
• Logico S HP ICS Adaptor
*The above description was taken from Graco's website

*click* I bought my pram!

A week or so later the Symbio B was delivered.  I have never been so excited!!  I purchased the stroller in urban but its also available in boysenberry (exclusive to BabiesRUs).  On arrival there was very little assembly involved, in fact the only assembly needed was putting the inserts into the baby nest to make it rigid.

And then the day came when I brought my baby home and put him in his pram for the first time.  The baby nest was well padded and suitably proportioned for a newborn baby.  However, this lovely environment became very snug in only 6 weeks.  I might add that Joe was a normal sized baby at 7lb 9.5oz but very quickly gained length and weight.  
Joe looking a little snug in the baby nest at 8 weeks
So from this point I was reluctantly using the stroller seat.  I was very nervous at having to harness Joe in but he seemed completely oblivious to the straps and they didn't appear to bother him.  The positive element of using this seat is that it has a full recline feature using a central pivot mechanism enabling Joe to remain flat as recommended for his age.  Still he did look very small to be in a stroller set-up but when its lying flat it doesn't look so bad.
He looks small but not lost
Joe in the stroller seat.  Shown sitting up for photo purposes
Making good use of the lie flat function
We also had the option to use the adapter for the car seat and this came in particularly useful when he was napping or I needed to make a quick journey.  The adapter just slides on and the car seat clips straight into it enabling me to push Joe around the shops without disturbing him.  A great feature and even better when the adapter is included in the price.
  As the weeks have passed Joe has filled out the stroller nicely and we enjoy many walks looking at each other and chatting away which makes good use of the parent facing option.  With a quick switch of the handle I can change his position however, I do feel that having the swivel wheels to the back makes for tricky steering.  I prefer to change the seat position instead of the handle so the swivel wheels are always at the front but I think that's more personal preference then a negative attribute. Having the larger wheels to the front actually proves useful when on the beach!

Joe at 7 months

Collapsing the Symbio B couldn't be easier.  After removing the seat unit you pull the use the numbered levers on the base so when baby brain kicks in you don't forget the sequence!  I use the shopping basket to store the rain cover and sometimes this gets in the way of the swivel wheels but a little wiggle of the wheels sorts that problem out and I must add that it collapses perfectly when the basket is empty.  The whole unit is very light to lift in and out of the car and most importantly IT FITS!!!!

It fits!!!!
I have experienced one mechanical problem with the pram and this was the brake on the handle.  I pulled the lever up one day and the brakes locked as expected but when I released the brake the wheels would still not move.  I called BabiesRUs and they offered to fix the problem but when Mr PB & J came home he had a fiddle and noticed that I just needed to push the entire lever unit down manually.  It seemed something had become loose or stretched and it prevented the brakes from automatically releasing.  I have chosen not to have this looked at for the moment as its not affecting the daily use of the stroller.  The only other problem I have had is a punctured tyre (damn hawthorns) but this was easily repaired and replacement inner tubes are available from most bike shop suppliers.  As with any item with inflatable tyres you need to expect that punctures do and will happen.

Other than those couple of hiccups the pram is still in good working order.  It has got a few scuffs here and there from bashing it through the front door or lying it on its side to put it in the boot but again this should be expected.  Another expectation is the size of the shopping basket.  I've seen a few reviews detail that the basket size is disappointing however, on viewing the Symbio B online or in person its very easy to see that the basket is very small.  I do think that the access points to the basket could be improved to allow larger items to be placed inside with ease.  This is a particular problem when the seat is in parent facing and the swivel wheels are to the front.
Small scuffs are expected
A very modest shopping basket
Overall I would say that I bought the PERFECT pram for me.  I get many compliments on its style and manoeuvrability.  Its light, affordable, easily cleaned (no discolouration or shrinking when washed) and has some fantastic features.  It's not the best pram for woodland walks but it negotiates cobbles and mild uneven surfaces easily.  If your looking for style without the price tag then this is the pram for you.

PB & J

Further information on the Symbio B and other Graco products can be found their website.

Disclaimer: I received no payment or incentive for writing this review.  All words are my own. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Home Sweet Home

I cant tell you how excited I am about my new front room!  I've spent the last week or so living in absolute filth after we decided to knock all the plaster off the chimney breast.  However, it's uncovered a real gem of a fireplace dating back to when the house was first built.  This renovation project is partly responsible for my lack of posts recently and I think it will continue over the next few weeks until everything is back in order.

An original 1890's fire place
Its funny to think that Mr PB & J and I used to quite happily get stuck into home improvements before Joe came along but how things change when you have a baby!  The level of work that's involved means its just going to take too long to finish and with Joe edging closer to crawling every day; we've had to get the professionals in.  Cost-wise this has about doubled our budget but needs must and I'm a demanding girl when it comes to it!  Work is starting on Thursday and I'm going to keep a photo diary to share with you all when I'm back in the land of technology.  There will also be some exciting upcycle projects to share with you.

So what's coming up soon?  Well my review of the Graco Symbio B is almost finished and I will be writing a few posts on my breastfeeding and weaning journey so far.  My return to work is also creeping up so ill no doubt be looking for a comforting shoulder to cry on!

Must dash before Joe wakes up from his nap.

PB & J xx