Memory Makers Uk

We collected Oscar’s hand and foot cast by Memory Makers UK last weekend and I absolutely love it. I had Dylan’s done when he was a baby too, so I made sure that Oscar’s were done at the same age. It’s amazing to be able to compare them. The details are just incredible, you can see every little wrinkle and dimple of the skin. I just think they are an amazing keepsake to treasure, and look back on when those hands and feet aren’t so small anymore.

The process is really simple, we booked our appointment online (we had ours done at Mothecare Stevenage). On the day, you arrive and the rep will talk you through how to sit and hold your baby/child so that they have access to the body part they are casting.

They wrap your babies hand or foot in the moulding material for a moment or two and then easily remove it. Neither Oscar or previously Dylan found the process uncomfortable or distressing in the slightest.

You then discuss your options and finalise your design. They give you an order number and a receipt. You can upload photos online at home, if you would like one. They then text you when your keepsake is ready and available for collection.

Tips

  • Feed baby before hand, this will help make sure they are content and have less likelihood of any distress.
  • Have in mind the design you would like, browse the website and know your options.

Memory Makers UK can currently be found in Mothercare stores which, as many of us know, will sadly be closing its doors in the near future. Memory Makers will continue to offer appointments in store until that time comes, and they will continue to make home visits.

They have given me a discount code to share with my followers. You can get 5% off any keepsake using the code INSTA5, when booking an appointment before the 31.12.19.

Note* I paid full price for my product and had absolutely no obligation to write about my experience. Memory Makers saw a post I published on Instagram and kindly reached out to offer my following a discount.

Pumpkin Patch – Canmas Hall Fruit Farm and Tea Rooms

Today, despite the miserable, wet Autumn weather we decided to go pumpkin picking at Cammas Hall Fruit Farm and Tea Rooms, which is situated on the Herts/Essex border.

We started in the tea room for coffee and cake, so we could watch the last quarter of the Rugby semi-final … COME ON ENGLAND!!! The carrot cake was lush, and the portions were massive … you could probably share one between 2 or 3 of you! I couldn’t finish it by myself. Carl had a homemade sausage roll, which he said was really good and Dylan had a gingerbread skeleton.

Next we got our cart and went on the hunt for the perfect pumpkins … I wanted a little tiny one for Oscar and of course, Dylan wanted the biggest one he could find. The prices are 90p per kilo and they helpfully have a display showing a rough guide price for each of the different sized pumpkin. They have a wide selection of all the types of pumpkins and squash you could imagine, in all shapes, colours and sizes.

Then it was off to the play area, which is well equipped with plenty to do including tractor tyre mountains and a gated baby/toddler area). Dylan rode the Quad Berries (electric quad bike) which was £1 a go which I thought was really reasonable. There’s a BBQ hut, that serves alcohol 👌🏻,covered sandpit and a craft marquee too.

We will definitely be back in the summer to try out the 6 acre Maize Maze and to pick some strawberries.

It’s been a while …

Just a little update … Oscar John Anthony was born as planned on 08/07/2019 weighing 8lb 5oz at 11:11am.

So the last few months have been a mixture of a rough recovery, getting through the 4th trimester and becoming accustomed to being a mummy of two.

I will share Oscar’s birth story at some point but for now I don’t think I’m quite ready to put it down on (proverbial) paper.

Eloise x

Hello July

Wow, we made it … I can finally say it’s baby month, in fact it’s baby week! One way or another this little Wriggler is going to be here by this time next week.

As I sit here alone and type this in silence I’m overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions. I cried helping Dylan put on his socks this morning, as I know soon enough the moments shared just between him and I will be fewer, I know he will more than likely struggle with his emotions in the huge adjustment that comes with having to share everything he’s always had all to himself, especially his “mama”. I cried because I never want him to feel like he’s not my baby anymore, or that I love him any less.

I’m excited, I cannot wait to hold my baby in my arms, to feel that rush of love, to breath in his little newborn scent and to see Carl and Dylan with him. To feel that bond, when sitting awake at all hours of the night feeding him, and watching him drift off to sleep, with a full tummy and a content look on his little face.

I’m terrified, full of what ifs. What if I don’t remember everything? What if I don’t feel the same way as I did with Dylan? What if he’s not as easy as Dylan was? What if I do it all wrong? What if Dylan hates him?

Most of all I’m grateful, grateful to have this amazing opportunity to be a mother again, to share my love and to help raise another tiny human, to watch him grow and become whatever he chooses to be.

Pregnancy update

So I’m 29+4 weeks and officially in the third and final trimester. Last Monday, we had a growth scan which showed that the little wriggler is growing perfectly along the 50th percentile. It also showed that my placenta is moving away from my cervix, which is really positive. They said they’ll check it again at 32 weeks to make sure it has completely moved away, but they are confident that it will have.

We also had a consultant appointment and after much deliberation and research and from speaking to other mums I came to the decision that I would prefer an Elective Caesarean. I think this is based upon lots of positive stories from some of you, about a much better recovery than an Emergency, as well as it being a calmer experience overall. I also just get really anxious when I think about going through labour and it ending in an emergency situation again, so would rather reduce the risk of that being an option. I wasn’t expecting it, but we were booked in there and then and we now have the date for our little mans arrival.

This is of course really exciting, but at the same time nerve wracking too. We are still on the hunt for a house and so far two houses we have really loved, have unfortunately fallen through. Hopefully it will be a case of third time lucky!

Working Mum Fun

So after a hectic morning, I just about remembered to put a wash load on this morning before I headed out the door to work.

A busy day at work, as the end of term is drawing near and there’s a mountain of stuff that needs to be done before we finally get that long awaited two week break.

I head home for a quick half hour before I have to go and pick up Dylan from Football training, I think to myself I’ll hang the washing out and have a quick cup of coffee. I stick the kettle on and open the washing machine door, put my hand in only to be greeted by dripping wet clothes, great! I close the door and think “f**k it, I’m having the coffee.”

Off I go to pick Dylan up, I’d of course forgotten that he’d kicked his own football over into the neighbours garden (for the third time this week) and the first thing he said to me was “we need to get my ball back from the lady next door” … well hello to you too sunshine! So we get home and the neighbours not in, cue a melt down, complete with tears with him saying how he’s “never going to get it back” and “did I know it’s been 24 hours!?!?”

I eventually convince him, that they will probably be home soon, and to get out of the car and to come inside and play with his kinetic sand (great idea smart arse!). I then trot off to the kitchen to sort the washing machine, armed with one towel. I open the filter on the washing machine, not even thinking that the washing machine is still full of water, until I’m ankle deep in water. I shout to Dylan, “towels Dylan, get mummy all the towels.” His reply “errr mum, I’ve made a bit of a mess.” So I run upstairs and get the towels myself, ignoring the bright green glittery sand all over my cream carpet!

Then my phone rings, it’s Carl his first words “hey baby, what’s for dinner?”. Which as you can imagine did not go down very well. Anyway I’ll cut to the chase, despite all of this chaos, I had fixed the washing machine, cleared up the water, hoovered my living room including the window sills (yes, somehow the kinetic sand was on there too) and still managed to have dinner on the table for 6.20pm. Admittedly it was a KFC that Carl brought home, after receiving an earful of abuse, for daring to ask me what was for dinner whilst I was ankle deep in a flooded kitchen.

Just call me Super-mum (for once!)

Ohhh we’re (slightly over) Halfway there!

Well it’s been a long old while since I did a blog post … and a whole lot has happened. We found out in November that we were expecting Baby number 2.

We are currently 23 weeks in and recently discovered we will be welcoming another boy to our growing family. According to one of my many pregnancy apps, Baby is the size of an Aubergine or a Maltese puppy! It definitely feels like I’ve got a lively little puppy in there at times. He is very active, especially at night and it feels like he likes to stretch out and scrape his feet along the wall of my stomach!

My 20 week scan didn’t quite go to plan, but a second attempt let us know everything was fine with baby and all the necessary checks were finally completed. That being said, I did find out that my placenta is covering some of my cervix and is low and anterior. The sonographer didn’t really mention it, just said I’d need a scan to check it at 32 weeks.

I stupidly came out and googled what it meant and managed to scare myself into a right state, with thoughts of bed rest, emergency c-sections and premature delivery racing through my brain. Thankfully after a chat with some lovely fellow IG mummy’s and my midwife, I learnt that it is in fact common for this condition to correct itself by the later stages of pregnancy, so fingers crossed it will do so and it won’t be a problem.

Due to Dylan being a small baby (6lb 0.5oz born at 40+5) and the fact that he was born via emergency Caesarean, I am being monitored and am under a consultant. This means I’ll be having a 28 week growth scan (on the 15th April). So I’ll probably do another blog post and update you all then.

I hope I haven’t bored you all to tears and you’ve enjoyed reading this. Please let me know in the comments if you have any pregnancy related questions, I’m an open book, so ask away. For now enjoy this hilarious attempted bump photo, that was taken in gale force winds!

The Story of Dylan – Part 2

The realisation that I was about to be taken for an emergency caesarean had about 0.5 seconds to sink in. All I remember about that moment is someone telling me “there is about to be a lot of people, don’t worry they are all here to help you and your baby.” I was then wheeled to theatre. I developed the worst shakes I’ve ever had, I could feel my entire body shaking to the point my teeth were chattering and my hands just would not stay still.

It was overwhelmingly bright and noisy and I remember feeling claustrophobic because of the sheet thing they put up. I couldn’t tell you anything anyone said to me, but I do remember how strange it was that I could feel my body being pulled around from the inside, a bit like someone doing the washing up in your belly🙈!

Then I heard a little cry and just like that I was alert, wide awake and with it. When Carl brought our baby over to me, it was honestly as though time stood still, and amongst the chaos, we were the only three people in the world. I know it’s cliche, and I’m sure other parents will agree there really is no other feeling that will ever measure up to that moment. Carl is not an emotional person in the slightest (unlike me who will cry at a children’s film) so to see him so overwhelmed and crying was a massive deal to me.

Dylan James Richard Sims was officially born at 15:02pm and weighed 6lb 0.5oz and the midwife who weighed him was amazed at how well he scored on the Apgar scale, they had expected him to be poorly. The next thing I remember is them saying I was all sewn up and done.

I was then wheeled to a recovery room, where we had to stay for a few hours to be closely monitored, before being moved up to the ward.

The ward was loud and not long after arriving Carl was asked to go home as it was 8pm. It broke my heart, we had literally just become a family and he had to leave us. I remember sobbing and a midwife coming over and rather than comforting me, just pulling the curtain around me and leaving me crying. I was still completely numb from the waist down and Dylan had been put in the bassinet, so I couldn’t even get him out by myself, I felt utterly helpless and so alone. I had to use the call bell to get someone to hand him to me, when he cried or to change him.

The next day, I was in a lot of pain. It surprised me to see some of the other women on the ward who had had a c-section the same day as me were up and about. I had my catheter removed, but going to the toilet was agony, I could barely shuffle and needed a nurse to help me (by this point dignity was already well out the window 😂).

My blood pressure was really low and so I was hooked up to an ECG machine and my heart rate was really low too, so I wasn’t allowed home as they had to do tests to find out why. They started me on antibiotics as it was likely to be an infection of some sort. After lots of blood tests and urine samples they found out it was an Urinary Tract Infection caused by the catheter. I spent 5 days in hospital, which felt like forever (so dramatic, but it honestly did).

Everyday I was told I could potentially be going home, I had to wait for a consultant to do rounds to find and out, and everyday the answer seemed to be no. So the pure relief when they finally said I could leave was unreal. It was the best feeling to leave the hospital to finally start our journey as a family of three!

The story of Dylan – Part 1

I’ve never really thought about sharing this before or even how writing it down might make me feel. Especially as we are now after 6 years, thinking about trying to conceive our second child. But as tomorrow is the first day of September and my baby will be 6 in three weeks time, I find myself replaying it in my mind, so why not write it down!

My partner, Carl and I had moved in together, exactly a year after becoming an official couple. Six months later I woke up one morning and vomited after drinking a glass of juice. I didn’t think anything of it, and told Carl on my lunch break, I came home that evening to a pregnancy test on the table 😂.

When I saw the words pregnant 4+weeks, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling a little bit like “oh shit!”. We’d literally always been careful and having only slipped up once, I can pin point the night we conceived to the day. As soon as it had sunk in, we were both over the moon. We always tell Dylan he was the best surprise!

I always say I had a pretty straight forward pregnancy. I did have morning sickness (I would love to meet the person who named it this, as I’m yet to meet a person who only suffered in the morning 🙄) pretty much throughout, along with horrendous heart burn in the evenings. But I genuinely loved being pregnant, I loved my bump, I loved preparing for his arrival, I loved seeing the excitement from both of our families.

Anyway, Dylan was due on the 16th September. On Monday the 17th September I started having contractions, I had a midwife appointment that day, so I went and she told me I was 1cm dilated and that she would give me a membrane sweep. So she did that and then sent me off home, telling me to take paracetamol if I needed to and to get some sleep as hopefully my baby would be here soon. The contractions continued, they were very irregular and the pain was manageable.

I remember the next day, my mum and sister coming and taking me out for a long walk, and my sister pissing herself laughing every time I had to stop for a contraction. That night was really uncomfortable, but I managed and the contractions didn’t become anymore regular or anymore intense, I was pretty fed up though. Wednesday was the same.

Thursday morning, the contractions, became more regular and by now the pain was getting hard to manage, the midwife told me to come in to the maternity ward. She measured me and I was only 2cm dilated, so she gave me another sweep and sent me home again with 2 paracetamol for my troubles 🙄 I was in real pain by now and the only relief I could find was sitting in the bath and spraying the shower on my bump and back. I had a strange feeling in the bath, like I’d maybe peed myself, but that wouldn’t be anything strange at this point I had actually pissed myself twice in the last few weeks, once whilst having a coughing fit and the other whilst being sick. After attempting to sleep, yeah that wasn’t happening, I got up to go to the toilet and while wiping notice I’d lost my mucus plug, but it was bright yellow and I remember thinking it wasn’t quite right. So of course I rang my mum at 2am in the morning, who said she was coming to pick us up.

When I got to the hospital I was in agony, I had been contracting for 4 days, barely slept and had quite literally had enough. After a long wait and full on swearing at the top of my voice in the middle of a packed corridor, they finally examined me. I was 4cm dilated and the yellow mucus meant I had meconium (basically faeces) in my waters, at this point they didn’t really explain what this meant.

I was taken to a delivery suite, where I immediately begged for something stronger than paracetamol, and was subsequently given a morphine injection. Hallelujah, finally I slept for a couple of hours, I was pretty much out of it, hooked up to the monitor.

After I came out of my morphine high, I remember the midwife looking at my trace (the paper print out of the monitor) and leaving the room without saying a word. She came back a few minutes later with another midwife, and they stood whispering and looking at the trace. I knew immediately something wasn’t right. I asked them “what’s wrong? Is something wrong with my baby?” To which they responded with “no everything’s fine.” and then left the room. In my heart though, at this point I knew there was.

The morphine had completely lost effect by now and the contractions were coming hard and fast, so I had a go on the gas and air. Oh god, I still cringe inside at what the gas and air made me say, they don’t call it laughing gas for nothing, I think my other half and my mum nearly wet themselves laughing at me. I was chatting complete rubbish, saying how it was like a hoover sucking the pain away, and it was like being 15 again and smoking a big fat joint (my poor mum, I bet she was dying of shame bless her).

Soon the midwives we’re back and this time with a consultant in tow. He checked the trace and then explained that the babies heartbeat was dipping and that if I didn’t progress soon he would need to do a procedure called a Foetal Blood Sample (FBS), to check the babies blood for oxygen loss. He gave me an examination and I think I was 7cm, although at this point I was pretty panicked and my mum was trying to calm me down. From here, in all honesty it was a bit of a blur, I think that has something to do with the adrenalin or maybe the fact I was so exhausted, but Carl tells me it’s exactly the same for him. But time had no meaning and the order of things is not clear in my brain at all.

At some point I asked for/ was offered an epidural, and it was inserted, all I recall is signing something and freaking out that I’d move and end up paralysed. I was examined again and was 9cm. Shortly after, the consultant came back, and asked if I minded some students watching as he needed to carry out the procedure, at this point dignity was out the window and I agreed. The room filled with people, and I remember thinking “why did I agree to this.” I was asked to lay on my side and had to put my leg up in a stirrup thing, while they inserted a scalpel into my cervix and cut my unborn child’s scalp to take a blood sample.

The next thing I know, Carl is standing there in scrubs, my mums being told to leave and I’m being wheeled into theatre….

Lasagne Recipe

So on this rather wet and rainy bank holiday, Dylan decided he wanted to help me cook dinner.

Lasagne is always a winner in our house and it’s a meal I have grown up helping or watching both of my own parents enjoy cooking. It brings back great memories of a time when Sunday’s meant Daddy (my dad) was in charge of dinner, as my mum worked weekends in Habitat (god I loved that shop). I used to love watching him enjoy cooking and adding a bit of this and a bit of that, to spice it up a bit.

My recipe has been adapted over the years and much like my dad, I’ve trialled adding different bits and bobs to perfect my own version, which goes down a treat and is a go to meal when we (rarely) entertain friends or family.

Today Dylan basically cooked this all by himself, with my guidance and supervision … so proud. Our kitchen is really tiny, so the only space he has to help is sitting on the counter top, bless him.

Ingredients

For the meat sauce

    Minced beef (I use Morrison’s lean steak mince, but any will work fine)
    Large onion
    Large carrot
    Red pepper
    3-4 garlic cloves
    2 beef oxo cubes
    Half a tube of tomato purée
    Carton of passata or chopped tomatoes (depending on your preference, I hate tomatoes so use passata)
    2 bay leaves
    Basil
    Oregano
    Good splash of balsamic vinegar
    Salt
    Pepper
    Half a teaspoon of sugar (a Sicilian told me to do this as it it enhances the sweetness in the tomatoes and balances any acidity 🤷🏻‍♀️)

For the white sauce

  • Heaped table spoon of butter
  • Heaped table spoon of flour
  • Pint of milk
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • For preparing
    • Lasagne sheets
      Fresh mozarella

    Method

    1. Finely dice carrot and add to a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil on a medium heat
    2. Finely dice the pepper and onion add to the pan and cook until carrots are softened
    3. Add mince
    4. While the mince browns, add garlic, salt and pepper, bay leaves, basil and oregano
    5. Once the meat is browned, add oxo cubes, tomato purée, Passata, balsamic vinegar and sugar
    6. Turn heat to low and cover, leaving to simmer, stirring intermittently
    7. Add butter to a new pan, allow to melt
    8. Add flour and combine with the butter, cook for a few minutes on a medium heat
    9. Add milk slowly, whisking as you go
    10. Once thickened, add half of the cheese and allow to melt into the sauce
  • Now you are ready to assemble your lasagne. Everyone has a different way they like to do this, but this is my method.
  • Cover the bottom of your ceramic serving dish in a layer of the meat sauce, now add a layer of lasagne sheets, add another layer of meat and top with white sauce and fresh mozzarella, then another layer of lasagne sheets (I do it the opposite direction to the first layer, it seems to hold together better this way), add the rest of the white sauce and spread the cheddar and mozzarella all over, finally a good twist of freshly ground black pepper and you’re good to go!
  • Cook at 180 degrees or gas mark 5/6 for 45 minutes, serve with a side salad and garlic bread for the perfect bank holiday weekend dinner.
  • Enjoy!
  • Eloise X