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Member since: 18.02.2009

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    • Morning Sickness / Parenting Issue / 64 Readings / 59 Ratings
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      27.02.2009 22:20
      Very helpful



      An awful experience but worth it in the end.

      Morning sickness has to be one of the worst symptoms of pregnancy! It is a good sign that the baby is healthy as it is caused by an increased hormone level. It usually lasts until you hit the 12 week mark of your pregnancy but continues for longer for many. Calling it morning sickness was a big mistake as whilst it may be worse in the morning many people suffer with it at all times of the day. Woman may suffer with just nausea or nausea and vomiting. These can often me made worse by certain smells or foods. A small portion of woman suffer from something called Hyperemisis Gravidarum, severe sickness. There is no known reason for this although it is common in woman carrying multiples. This is what I suffered from in my third pregnancy.

      In my first and second pregnancy I did suffer from morning sickness, it was mainly nausea but I did vomit a few times especially at the sight of certain foods. At the time I thought it was awful and couldn't imagine it could get any worse. Then I became pregnant with my third child. It started at around 6 weeks and almost instantly I was vomiting every time I ate anything. This then became every time I ate or drank anything. I literally could not keep anything down. I spent a couple of weeks sat on my bathroom floor constantly vomiting, feeling drained and wishing I wasn't pregnant anymore. I neglected my family and children and was very lucky that I had such an amazing husband and extended family who stood in and took care of the children. After a while I was vomiting even when I had a completely empty stomach and was bringing up my stomach lining and lots of blood. I burst the blood vessels around my eyes from retching and lost 1 stone in weight in just a couple of weeks.

      My husband took me to the Doctor who prescribed me some tablets but these came up seconds after I swallowed them so didnt even get a chance to work. I can't even begin to describe how I was feeling. I thought this was going to never end and felt a lot of resentment towards my baby for doing this too me. I dragged myself to the Doctor again which was so difficult as I would have to stop to be sick every 10 minutes. By this time i was being sick at least 20 times a day. Standing in reception I actually passed out and was carried to the nurses room where I took a good 10 minutes to come round. I was then taken to hospital.

      In hospital blood tests showed I was extremely dehydrated. I was put on a drip in the crook of my elbow as my veins in my hands were impossible to get too as I was so dehydrated. I was also given injections of anti-sickness medication. I stayed in hospital for a few days and felt so much better, was able to eat very small amounts there and drink. I was about 10 weeks when i left the hospital and the sickness did improve but I was still vomiting 10 times a day. This carried on til I was 14 weeks at this level but I was still being sick until I reached 20 weeks.

      I lost 2 stone in weight and at the end of my pregnancy I still weighed less than I did before I was pregnant! It really was an awful time of my life and has seriously put me off having any more children ever again! I really don't think I could do it again!

      The only good point is that it does not usually affect the baby, they get everything they need from your supplies even if you are not eating. It is important to stay hydrated though as getting severely dehydrated can be dangerous for anyone.

      One thing I haven't mentioned until now is that my first 2 children were boys and my third pregnancy was actually a girl! I have been told it is more common when carrying girls due to extra hormones but not sure if this is based on fact! I did find it strange that it only happened in one of my pregnancies though.

      I was going to give some hints to surviving morning sickness but when you have hyperemisis there really is nothing that works, its just a case of getting through it. A great support network is essential though and remembering that it is not going to last forever however much you might feel like it will. When you hold your baby in your arms you will realise it was worth it!


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      • Avon Supershock Mascara / Make Up / 48 Readings / 45 Ratings
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        24.02.2009 13:15
        Very helpful



        A super price for a super mascara!

        I use a lot of Avon products but don't tend to wear make up on a day to day basis but this mascara was part of a special offer so I thought I would give it a go!

        The Avon Supershock mascara comes in Black and Black/brown. There is also Supershock Intense which comes in Violet and Teal. I bought it in Black. Its costs £8 but is often on offer for £5 or part of 2/3 for £10 deals.

        The Mascara bottle and wand is very different from any I have used before. The bottle is made of plastic but is quite chunky in size, it is black with a silver band on the lid and the writing in silver. It contains 10ml of mascara. The bottle does look very sleek and expensive.

        The mascara wand is a bright turquoise colour and thicker than most wands, the bristles are very short and made of some sort of soft plastic. This is extremely different from most mascara brushes.

        The mascara coated the wand nicely and I applied it too my lashes, it only took a couple of strokes to fully cover them and the effect was instant. I have very short straight lashes but they looked very long and curled up as soon as I applied the product. The mascara can be slightly clumpy but I just wipe the excess mascara off of the brush before using it. Using just one coat this mascara did give a great natural look but for a more dramatic look try a few coats.

        The mascara stayed on all day and was actually quite hard work to get off again before I went to bed. It isn't waterproof but I didn't suffer with any smudges or smears. I would highly recommend it as it worked really well by lengthening and curling my lashes and lasted all day. The only negatives are that it can be clumpy and isn't waterproof. It is great value for money and a lot cheaper than other brand mascaras but does the job just as well if not better in my opinion.

        This mascara can be bought from Avon Cosmetics through a representative or online at avon.uk.com. You will have to pay delivery costs if buying online though. Avon do offer a 90 day no quibble return policy where you can return items within this time if you are not fully satisfied even if they have been partly used!


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        23.02.2009 21:04
        Very helpful



        I am forever grateful to my NNU as without them my baby girl wouldn't be here today.

        I want to share my experience of SCBU with others as I didn't know anything about it until I had my premature baby and I think it would of really helped me if I had known a little about it.

        SCBU stands for special care baby unit, it is also called NNU - neonatal unit or NICU - neonatal intensive care unit. It is a unit within a hospital which caters for mainly premature babies who are born too early (before 37 weeks is classed as premature) but also babies who may have been born full term but have any problems. These can range from something quite common like jaundice to serious conditions such as heart problems. If your baby is premature you are usually told to aim for your due date as the day you will take them home if they keep improving and progress normally.

        SCBU runs 24 hours a day and is always full of doctors and nurses who are specialised in the care of neonates. There are usually different degrees of care within the unit, Intensive care is for the most unwell babies, some may be on ventilators and the care is one to one so each nurse cares for one baby. Then there will be the next stage down where nurses will look after 2 or 3 babies each who are not needing as much care. The last stage is the nursery where babies are in real cots and nearly ready to go home. There will not usually be many staff here and parents are expected where possible to care for their baby.

        After my daughter was born at 32 weeks (8 weeks early) she was immediately taken away from me and down to our NICU which is in the same building. I was allowed to go down and see her after 3 hours and my first ever visit was a very scary one. You cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to see incubators everywhere containing babies, some so small its hard to even see them under the mass of wires and tubes. There were machines everywhere and constant noise of beeping and alarms going off and allsorts. I was taken to my baby girl who was in an incubator and I was told she was doing well. The nurses were great and explained all the different machines to me. She had a machine connected to her chest which told them her breathing and heart rate. Another one monitored her temperature and another on her foot for her oxygen levels in her blood. She had a canula in her arm to administer medicine through and a tube down her throat into her tummy to feed her through. She was having trouble breathing so was on a machine called CPAP (constant positive airway pressure) which pushed air into her lungs to inflate them as her lungs were not fully developed yet. Despite all this she still looked beautiful to me!

        We were informed of all the rules and routines of the unit. Parents are allowed in 24 hours a day but there are visiting hours for other people and only 3 people were allowed in at a time. No children were allowed apart from siblings of the baby and they were very strict on this as children can carry a lot of bugs which could be deadly for these babies. Hand washing was extremely important and had to be done on entering and leaving the unit and before and after touching the baby.

        It was heartbreaking having my baby there but not being able to hold her and cuddle her like your mothers instinct tells you too. We were allowed to touch her through holes in the incubator. There are no facilities for parents to stay except in exceptional circumstances so I went home the day after I gave birth to my princess but spent every single day in the unit with her. Those first few days were the hardest as we didn't know if she was going to get better or worse but after only a few days she came off the CPAP and was breathing for herself with an oxygen supply running up her nose through a thin tube. Our first cuddle was amazing and very emotional, she felt so tiny in my arms but I never wanted to put her down! We had a few setback as she developed jaundice and had to stay under special lights until it improved.

        It sounds strange but the first time I saw her with clothes on I cried! She had been kept naked apart from a nappy so doctors and nurses could easily get to her but we arrived one morning to find her dressed in a little sleep suit and she looked so cute, just like a little doll! Buying clothes to fit her was very difficult though. The only places I know of they do a very premature baby size is Mothercare but next, ASDA and Tescos so an early baby size which is from around 5lb/6lb. Prem baby nappies are made by huggies and pampers and can be bought in mother care but you may have to ask them as they are not usually on the shelves. I recommend the pampers as the huggies leaked!

        I started expressing breast milk as soon as she was born and she was fed via tube at first. After about a week we had our first breastfeed and she was a natural! She did tire very easily though so we only attempted these once a day at the most. After 3 weeks my baby girl had improved enough to be moved into the stage 3 nursery room and into a proper cot! This was an amazing day for us as we had open access to our baby and could pick her up as often as we liked, dress her and play with her. Just normal things most parents take for granted but we had been unable to do for 3 weeks. We only spent a week in the nursery as she was a great feeder and was putting on weight well. I 'roomed in' for 2 nights which is when you get given a small room to share with your baby so you can get used to their routine and being alone with them before you go home. We were then free to take our princess home! I can still remember how it felt walking out of the hospital that day with her in her car seat thinking she was 4 weeks old and this was the first time she had ever been outside!

        Having a baby in SCBU is a very scary experience and something it is very hard to come to terms with. I still feel jealous of other people who have normal births and get to take their baby straight home with them and hold them straight away but its slowly getting better. I am forever grateful to the skills and expertise of the doctors and nurses as without them my little girl wouldn't be here. She has just turned 1 years old and is perfect! She does have asthma and suffers from a lot of coughs and colds but her development has been amazing and she was walking at 11 months despite being 2 months early! She really is the light of our lives and I would go through all that again to have her here with us.

        I am happy to answer any questions anyone might have or if anyone wants to talk please send me a message. One thing I found is that you feel very alone as no one else can understand what its like unless they have gone through it themselves. It was the hardest thing i have ever done in my life to leave my baby every night in the hospital with strangers and go home, my heart felt like it was being wrenched out of my chest every single time.

        I hope my story hasn't been too long and boring!

        I wanted to share this poem which really touched me, i have been unable to find out the author though despite searching on the internet. Hope its ok to post it.

        Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

        "Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint ... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity." Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie."

        The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
        "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."

        "But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.
        "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."

        "But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
        God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness."
        The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?"

        God nods.

        "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says 'mama' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see - ignorance, cruelty, prejudice - and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

        "And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.

        "A mirror will suffice."


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          23.02.2009 14:11
          Very helpful



          An awful start to life but she is worth every second.

          I have decided to share my experience of premature birth as I hope it could help others going through the same thing or help prepare parents to be if it does happen to them. I wish I hadn't skipped the section in all my pregnancy books about premature birth thinking oh that wont happen to me!

          My first 2 pregnancies went without a hitch and my first son was born 2 days after my due date and my second son 3 weeks early but perfectly healthy and a great weight. My first birth was an uncomplicated water birth lasting 7 hours and my second lasted only 45 minutes with no pain relief! How was I to know my third would be so different!

          The minute I became pregnant with my third child the problems began! I suffered with severe sickness and was very unwell. This passed at around 5 months and this is when I found out I was expecting a baby girl, we were overjoyed! From around 4 months I started experiencing very strong Braxton hicks, these are pain free contractions which are very common in pregnancy. I was experiencing these every day throughout the day and they were not really painful but very uncomfortable. My pregnancy continued and we were planning to have a home birth, I wanted my family around me and a birthing pool with candles and soft music! I wanted everything to be perfect for my little princess's entry into the world.

          The nightmare began when I woke up on the morning of the 25th January 2008 with tightening that were slightly more uncomfortable than usual. I was 32 weeks pregnant and still had 8 weeks to go. I just put it down to me being tired and Braxton hicks and dropped my children off at school like usual. I was standing in the playschool talking to one of the teachers when I doubled up in pain. The tightening were starting to hurt. I tried to ignore it and pushed any thoughts of being in labour to the back of my mind as it was too early. After leaving the playschool I told my husband we best go to the hospital just to get everything checked out to be on the safe side. I went home first and picked up my hospital bags (I have no idea why I had already packed them so early, maybe subconsciously?) and phoned up my family to sort out getting the children picked up from school just in case we weren't out by then. At this point I didn't think for a second I was in labour.

          We arrived at the hospital around lunchtime and I was taken into a room on the labour ward. After speaking to the midwife for a while she told me it was most likely I had a urine infection which can set off 'fake' contractions. I had all the normal tests - blood pressure, urine dip, etc. but everything seemed normal. By this time the contractions were becoming more painful and the midwife decided to give me an internal examination. Her face dropped and she told me I was 4cm dilated and the baby was definitely on its way. I went into shock at this point. After a scan to check baby was head down and not breech I received an injection to try and stop the labour and more to mature the baby's lungs, I was told I would need another one 6 hours later for them to actually work. I never got to have the next injection.

          The labour progressed quickly and was nothing like any of my others. I was strapped to monitors and had to sit up on the bed and keep still! This was impossible for me as I had birthed both my previous babies on my hands and knees and had very active labours. I refused any pain relief including gas and air and just concentrated on getting through each contraction, I sang, screamed, counted backwards from 100 and god knows what else! My husband had called my Mum to be there with us as she has been all my children's births and I couldn't do it without her.

          After two and a half hours I was fully dilated and the midwife broke my waters. I had 2 midwives in the room and 2 doctors from the neonatal unit set up around the resuscitator which was scary. I pushed for 10/15 minutes until, my baby girl was born onto the bed. She was absolutely beautiful with a mop of dark hair and lovely olive skin. She let out a loud hearty scream to tell us all she was here! The first thing I asked was is it definitely a girl as I had been so worried the scan had been wrong and everything I bought was pink! She weighed 4lb 3oz which is actually a good weight for a baby born at 32 weeks. She looked very tiny and vunerable though. Just like a little dolly!

          They took my beautiful baby over to the resuscitator and checked her all over before wrapping her up and putting a little yellow hat on her head. I was allowed to hold her for less than a minute and have a precious photo taken before the put her in an incubator and rushed her off to the neonatal unit. All I wanted to do was hold my baby close to me like it should be. My heart felt like it had been ripped out of my chest and taken with them. I was still in shock and no tears fell.

          After a shower I was taken up to the ward full of mums and newborn babies which was so hard. I just kept thinking I should be sat here with my little bundle of joy surrounded by visitors. My first visit down to NNU to see my baby was so scary and she was needing help with her breathing and having to be fed via a tube. She was covered in wires and monitors and shut away in a little incubator surrounded by machines. I was sent home the next morning but continues to visit my baby in NNU every day until she was 4 weeks old and we were finally allowed to take her home! I have decided to write all about our experience of the neonatal unit in a different review as this one is getting a bit long!

          My baby girl is now one years old and doing well, she has got asthma and suffers from a lot of coughs and colds all of which is very common in prem babies. I wouldn't change her for the world but my plans for a big family have been destroyed as I could never risk having another premature baby and putting myself, my family and my baby through that again. I know I am lucky as she is alive and healthy and I am grateful for that every day but I will never forget the fear, pain and emptiness I felt.


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            22.02.2009 21:01
            Very helpful



            Some great bargains and lots of fun to be had!

            I thought I would add my top ten websites to this list as I have found it useful to look at other peoples and have found great websites that I had never heard of before! Hope someone finds these useful. They are in no particular order.

            1. www.moneysavingexpert.com

            This is a brilliant website for saving money. I am on here every day searching for special offers and great deals. It is run by Martin Lewis a famous money saving expert and there are section are sections on saving money on everything from mortgages to home shopping and credit cards to holidays. There is also a forum which is jam packed with tips and advice on everything you can imagine. I have saved a fortune since using it. It's free to join and you can choose to receive an email every week full of money saving tips.

            2. www.next.co.uk

            This is my favourite website for clothes mainly for my children. They sell men, women and children clothes. They also sell electrical items, gifts, furniture and home ware. I have been buying my children's clothes from them for the last 7 years and find them brilliant quality and a great range. They last for years and wash really well. The prices aren't the cheapest around but still affordable. You can order online but have to sign up for a catalogue which comes out twice a year (plus 2 extra ones at Christmas and summer).

            3. www.bounty.com

            I have been using the bounty site since I became pregnant with my first child and find it a mine of information. It contains information on pregnancy, birth and parenting plus competitions and a newsletter. The best part is the forums which cover every imaginable topic! There is a great bounty community and everyone is very friendly. Watch out for the odd troll though!

            4. www.netmums.com

            Netmums is a brilliant site for parents which is specific for the area you live in. You can enter your postcode and register for your area. You can them view local events going on around you plus find other parents to meet up with. There is also the coffeehouse which is forums on all different topics and the find a friend board. I have made some great friends through this site.

            5. www.secondlife.com

            Second life really needs its own whole review to tell you about it but basically it is a virtual reality 'game'. You create a person and basically live a second life - you can do just about anything in second life that you can do in your real life! People from all over the world play here and you can interact with everyone. Some people take second life very seriously though so it's best to read up about the general rules before you start playing.

            6. www.onepoll.com

            I am a member of a few survey sites but this one has to be my favourite. You join up to the site and give them basic information about yourselves. You can then log in as often as you want and fill in surveys that are waiting for you. Surveys usually pay around 10p or 20p but occasionally they can pay 50p or more. The only downside is they don't pay out until you get to £40 which can take a while but I am already at £10 and have only been a member for a month or so.

            7. www.kidspyjamas.co.uk

            I buy all my kids pyjamas from this site. They sell character pyjamas for very low prices. They usually stock ages 6 months up to 15 years and feature characters such as Ben 10, Scooby Doo, High School Musical and loads more. A pair sells at around £3-5 which is amazing compared to the retail price. You do have to add postage on top though.

            8. www.facebook.com

            Now I couldn't forget facebook could I? I'm sure everyone knows what facebook is but for those of you who don't, it is a social networking site. You can produce a page all about yourself including photos and then become 'friends' with other people. You can then post on each others pages and use facebook chat to chat! I love facebook as it enables me to keep in regular contact with people who I wouldn't usually. It is also a great way of informing people about campaigns and charity events.

            9. www.thebookpeople.co.uk

            This is a website selling books surprisingly! I have bought loads of books from this site at very low prices and the books are great quality with a great service. I buy Birthday and Christmas presents here as you can pick up some amazing bargains. Before Christmas I bought a cute little bag with peppa pig on it containing 8 peppa pig books, the retail price for this is £31.92 but they are selling for £6.99! At the moment you can buy a box set of 50 Thomas the Tank engine books worth £125 for only £30 and 12 Usboune books worth £60 for £9.99!

            10. www.dooyoo.co.uk

            I am new to Dooyoo but so far am really enjoying writing reviews but enjoy reading them even more. I always consult dooyoo before I buy something or if I can't make up my mind between a few brands. It is great to be able to view so many people's honest opinions knowing they are not influenced by anything or anyone. I am always wary when viewing reviews and star rating on a website that is actually selling that item as you cant imagine them publishing a review saying how awful it is can you?!


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              22.02.2009 20:02
              Very helpful



              Great value for money wipes that do the job.

              I purchased these cleansing wipes from Avon a few weeks ago as they were on special offer. I don't usually use facial wipes but thought I would give them a try as they looked a lot easier to use than cotton wool and make up remover!


              The wipes come in a small packet which has a resealable sticky tab which covers a hole which the wipes are pulled through. I have found that the sticky tab actually stays sticky unlike other brands and the wipes don't dry out at all. The packet is very strong and couldn't be easily torn. It is plain white with some small print on the front - Avon solutions, completely clean, Revitalising cleansing wipes. There are 25 wipes in a pack.

              The Wipes

              The wipes are easy to pull out of the packet and only one comes out at time, I have had a problem with other brands of wipes all pulling out at once! They are white, square and a great size - 8 inches by 8 inches. I find this is just the right size to take off my eye make up and use the other side to cleanse my whole face too. They are thick and wet to touch but not dripping. They don't have any scent at all which I suppose is a good thing for people with sensitive skin. They feel quite foamy too if you rub them.

              My opinion

              I have been using these at the end of every day to take off my eye makeup and cleanse my face before bed. They feel great on the skin and take off make up really well. They left my face feeling cleansed and smooth and my skin didn't take long to dry after using one. I do use them to take off my eye make up but the packet states avoid contact with eyes. I haven't had a problem using them around my eye area but its best to avoid using them too close to the actual eye. I suffered from no skin irritation or redness afterwards at all. After using you can actually see the dirt that accumulates on your day during the day on the wipe which is interesting!

              I would definitely recommend these wipes as they work well and are very good value for money at £4 regular price but can often be found on offer for as little as £2. As you get around a months supply when using once a day they are cheaper than other brands. They can be bought from your local Avon representative or the Avon website (you will need to pay delivery online).

              Avon also offer a 90 day guarantee where if you are not completely happy with the prduct you can return it within 90 days even if it has been used for a full refund no questions asked!


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              21.02.2009 21:49
              Very helpful



              A very useful item but no replacement for a parent!

              I never used a playpen for my first 2 children but with my 3rd i had 2 other children to deal with and was unable to give my daughter 100% attention 100% of the time!

              When my daughter turned 9 months she started crawling and all of a sudden was into everything! Now my house is as babyproofed as you can possibly make it but it is physically impossible to make it 100% safe. I would never even consider leaving her unattended even for a second and so i came to the conclusion i needed a playpen!

              After looking at the very small selection of playpens available i couldnt believe how tiny they all were! We purchased a Lindam one which can also be used as a stairgate or a room divider. It is made of metal and a hexagon shape with a padded insert available seperately. My baby girl hated it! She couldnt crawl around as it was so tiny and she kept banging her head on the metal bars, even a few toys wouldnt console her.

              In the end we decided to check ebay for anything different. We ended up buying a second hand one which we went to collect. I have never seen anything like it for sale in the mainstream shops but there are a few on ebay. It is very large with a wipe clean proper floor and made of wood. It is a rectangle shape and actually looks quite attractive! We attached loads of toys to the bars and my daughter loved it! She can walk around in it and play with bigger toys such as her walker and dolly pushchair.

              I have found it to be a lifesaver for us, i can now pop to the downstairs toilet for 2 minutes or answer the door knowing she is safe. Have you ever tried signing for a parcel with a wriggling toddler in your arms? If i need to do the hoovering or help my son with his homework i can pop her in it for 5 minutes. I really dont know what i would do without it and my little girl is 13 months now and still really enjoys playing in it.

              It is also great if you have a puppy or small dog who likes to jump all over baby and play with her/him. A friend of mine also puts her newborn baby in the playpen in its bouncy chair to keep him away from an inquisitive older brother!

              Playpens should be used in moderation though and i can imagine some people may see them as an easy option to put their baby in there all day with a few toys and leave them too it! All babies need stimulation and human contact so i would only advise it to be used when necessary. It is also no replacement for adult supervision and babies shouldnt be left for a very long time alone, my maximum is only a minute or two when i have been out of the room.

              The disadvantage is that they take up a lot of room and cant be folded away anywhere. I would reccomend looking around at second hand ones as they can be very expensive new and not very well designed as i have found out!If buying second hand though please make sure if conforms to recent safety standards and give it a thorough check for loose/splintered/cracked bars etc. A wipe clean floor is a must or at least a machine washable one.

              If buying new a playpen will set you back around £80 but can be picked up second hand for as little as £15-20.


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                21.02.2009 12:11
                Very helpful
                1 Comment



                A pretty bouncer but not very good value for money

                I happened to buy this bouncer by accident!I first bought a pink bouncer from toysrus from their own brand but it was awful quality and the seams gave way so i was offered this as an alternative.

                The chair is gorgeous to look at and very girly pink with a flowery design. It has an easy to use harness for baby which does up around their tummy and comes with a fleece cushion for their heads but this can be removed. The seat is quite deep and looks very comfortable but it only has one position so cant recline completely flat which is a disadvantage. It does state is is suitable from birth but i think a newborn baby should not be left in it for too long as they are meant to lay down flat to avoid any damage to their growing spines. The other thing is its a bouncer not a rocker and i found my baby preferred a rocking movement as the bouncing is quite jerky.

                The toy bar is great and features 2 detachable butterflies and a big flower in the middle which plays music when the handle is pulled. My little girl had great fun with this but i did find the butterflies come off very easily and she kept pulling them off all the time. As she got bigger the toys were very close to her face so we didnt use the toy bar very much. It is sutable for up to 11kg.

                The chair does vibrate, this requires 1 D battery which is not supplied. My baby girl hated the vibrating so we never used it but i know other babies who love it! It is quite a strong vibration though.

                The cover is machine washable which is definetly an advantage as ours was constantly getting covered in baby sick! Some seat covers are not removable so it is an important point to remember. I used the chair when i first attempted weaning too as it is quite upright and most highchairs are not suitable until baby can sit up alone.

                The chair does not fold away like other chairs on the market and is not very easy to dismantle so i do not reccomend it if you are planning on taking it about with you or need something you can keep tucked away somewhere! It is very light though.

                The bouncer costs £37.99 from toysrus and £39.99 from mothercare. Personally i think it is very expensive and is not very good value for money. By 6 months most babies will no longer be using it and there are better chairs available for less money. It is the most attractive chair i have seen though so i imagine this will influence a lot of peoples decisions!

                The chair has good points and bad points and you could easily get a chair of the same quality if not better for half the price.


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                • Car Boot Sales / Discussion / 34 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                  20.02.2009 15:51
                  Very helpful



                  Cant think of anything better to do on a sunday morning!

                  Car boot sales are my favourite thing to do on a sunday morning! You will not believe the bargains you can pick up and what other people will sell for next to nothing. It is also a great way to make money and i actually really enjoy doing them. There is something very satisfying about getting rid of all your junk and making money in the process. Bootsales are usually held on a sunday morning but sometimes in the afternoon or a saturday. They are held in a field, carpark or other large space. Some of them have toilet facilities and most will have food vans. These are usually vans selling burgers,hotdogs etc. Sometimes the ground will be very uneven so please be aware of this if taking pushchairs or wheelchairs. They are usually advertised in local newspapers. Most have a small charge to get into them usually between 20p - 50p per adult. To sell at one you will pay between £4-£8 generally.

                  Bootsales vary in size and i have been to very small ones consisting of just a few cars to giant ones which have literally hundreds of tables. Some bootsale also have markets attached to them selling fruit, veg, clothes, meat and other goods. Tables are usually laid out in aisles with tables running down each side. I will share some of my best tips when buying and selling...

                  When buying..
                  *Make sure you wear comfortable shoes - you dont realise how far you will walk.
                  *Decide on a route beforehand so you cover all the stalls especially if there is a strange layout.
                  *Make sure you take big bags, carrier bags or even a pushchair to carr your purchases in.
                  *Come prepared with loads of change as sellers may not have enough change with them for notes.
                  *A bottle of water or other soft drink is an essential especially if its hot.
                  *As is a good sunhat and suntan lotion.
                  *Haggle!!! Most sellers will add a bit to the price they actually want as haggling is a big part of bootselling.
                  *Check games and puzzles to make sure everything is complete.
                  *Electrical items are risky - you have no way of knowing if they work.
                  *Be friendly, bootselling is generally a friendly community and being nice gets you everywhere.
                  *Watch out for dodgy sellers selling multiple items all the same, copied dvds/games/cds or very valuable items. Remember bootsales are often used to sell stolen items.
                  *Dont be afraid to buy second hand clothes especially for children, most have hardly been worn. Shoes shouldnt be bought used though for children as they mould to the shape of their feet.
                  *You should also never buy a second hand carseat as it may of been in an accident or cot mattress as it increases the risk of cot death.

                  *Make sure you get there very early!
                  *Ensure you have got good quality tables that arent going to fall over.
                  *Lay things out in order-- so books together, dvds together etc.
                  *If possible hang clothes up on racks, they are easier to look through.
                  *Make sure you have got a couple of large waterproof sheets in case it rains to cover your items.
                  *I didnt bother pricing items apart from books and videos and dvds but some people like to price things with sticky labels.
                  *Have a rough idea of how much you want for things before you go.
                  *Make sure you take a big pot of change so you can give people change and have somewhere to keep the money.
                  *Keep an eye on your table at all times! Their are dishonest people around and its easy to turn your back for a second.
                  *Take someone with you for the reason above and so you can go and have a look around too!
                  *Its a good idea to take some snacks and drinks with you.
                  *Be open to hagglers,its all part of the bootsale experience.
                  *It is a good idea to have a look around at other peoples prices, you may need to adjust some of yours up or down.
                  *Dont think you will never sell that, one mans junk is another mans treasure!
                  *Dress for all weathers- you know what the british weather is like!
                  *Its a good idea to use offers such as books at 20p each or 6 for £1. Encourages people to buy more.
                  *Is a nice idea to take a bowl and some water for dogs even if you dont have one. Is a nice touch as a lot of people bring their dogs with them.
                  *Have a box of 5p or 10p items for children to rifle through. They love being able to pick items and it gives parents a chance to look at the rest of the table.

                  People sell allsorts at bootsales but it is especially useful for buying books at 20p-£1 each and toys very cheaply too. If you are expecting a baby or a new parent bootsales are great for baby items, clothes,toys and more. Childrens clothes are a great seller too. Antiques are also sold and occasionally people have been known to pick up a very valuable item for pennies so keep your eyes open!

                  Some of my best bargains have been a brand new unopened electric breast pump worth £80 for £1.50 and 500 pokemon trading cards for £1. I have also picked up hundreds of books for 10/20p each and as new baby next clothing for 20p an item. A baby girls ralph lauren dress for 50p and nintendo ds games for £5.

                  I hope this helps and if you have any questions about bootsales feel free to ask! I have been attending them since was about 2 years old and am a regular at all my local ones and some others too.


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                  • More +
                    20.02.2009 14:15
                    Very helpful



                    A cardboard box would be much more fun!

                    I bought this for my son for his 3rd birthday as he loves peppa pig. I paid abour £20 for it and is available in most toy shops. After taking out the packaging and putting together which was easy i was very dissapponted with the quality. The house is very flimsy plastic which opens up and 2 floors can be slotted into the house. There is also 4 peppa pig characters included and some furniture - sofa, table, tv, chair, table and chairs, bath, bunkbeds and staircase.

                    I watched my son playing with the house and noticed that it kept falling backwards all the time! As soon as any pressure is put on it, it topples over. The floors also fell off easily and are very narrow so the furniture only just fits onto them. The characters can not actually go in the house as its not big enough and the downstairs dosent actually have any floor to put the furniture! There was a playmat included which soon got creased and torn as it was not very good quality. I assumed it would all be able to be kept in the house then put away but the house dosent close unless its practically empty!

                    I wouldnt waste your money on this, ours has been delagated to the bottom of the toybox! A lot of improvements need to be made to make it worth £20, you are basically paying for the peppa pig brand. I dont know if the deluxe version is any better? A very bad buy.


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                    • Desserts / Recipe / 23 Readings / 18 Ratings
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                      20.02.2009 13:49
                      Very helpful



                      Might take a few tries to get it right but worth it!

                      Chocolate Brownies - these are very very yummy and great with cream or ice cream, the recipe is actually taken from the BBC website but I was given it by a friend after tasting them at her house.Is the best recipe for brownies I have ever tried. She served them with cream and strawberries which tasted fabulous. Definetly best served warm and can also be used as part of an ice cream sundae which my children are big fans of!

                      275g/10oz plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
                      275g/10oz unsalted butter
                      85g/3oz pecans, broken into pieces
                      85g/3oz milk chocolate, cut into large chunks
                      85g/3oz white chocolate, cut into large chunks
                      175g/6oz plain flour
                      1 tsp baking powder
                      4 large eggs, lightly beaten
                      1 tsp vanilla essence
                      325g/12oz caster sugar

                      1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas3.
                      Line a 30x20x3.5cm/12x8x1½in tin with greaseproof paper or foil.
                      2. Put the plain chocolate and butter in a large bowl, place over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt.
                      3. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla essence. Fold in the flour, nuts and chocolate.
                      4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be firm but the inside should feel soft when cooked. Allow to cool in the tin. Remove the brownies from the tin and cut into squares and serve!

                      Chocolate brownies are my favourite dessert but are quite tricky to cook as if done for slightly too long can go a bit hard. The key is to get them soft on the inside but a crisp layer of chocolate on the top. I usually cook for 20 minutes but I have a fan oven so keep a close eye on them and adjust the time accordingly. Other nuts can be used as well as or instead of pecans, for example almonds. I have known other people make them with chocolate chips, peanut butter, cherries. You could also add coffee for coffee flavoured brownies or make them with entirely white chocolate. My children prefer them plain with no nuts at all. For a variation you can use mint or another flavoured chocolate to add a twist.

                      They are great served with any types of cream but especially clotted cream. A good quality vanilla ice cream is my favourite! Another point to remember is the more expensive the chocolate the nicer they taste. They are very sickly though and filling so a small piece is sufficient.



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                      • Take A Break / Magazine / Newspaper / 20 Readings / 19 Ratings
                        More +
                        20.02.2009 13:10
                        Very helpful



                        A great read at a bargain price!

                        Take a Break is a great magazine and great for all ages too. My nan buys it every single week and passes it on to me so i can have a read too! It comes out once a week and costs only 78p which is a bargain compared too a lot of other magazines. It usually has around 70 pages and is filled with true life stories, competitions, puzzles and loads more. They also have a website which is really interesting and you can join their campaigns and also submit a story for which you get paid if it is published.

                        The magazine includes..
                        Take a break street - photos readers have sent in
                        Real life stories - from the funny, the sad, the happy to the downright horrifying!
                        The brainwaves Roadshow - Hints and tips on just about anything
                        Heartbeat - A section on health
                        Readers Reality - Smaller 1 page readers stories
                        Liz Wildes Beauty sos - beauty questions and answers
                        Fashion pages
                        Travel pages- focuses on a different destination each week
                        Readers magic moments
                        Denas life stars - horoscopes
                        Katie Frasers Take a buddy - problem and advice pages
                        The grumps - Something different reviewed each week - usually food or drink
                        Coffee break fiction - a one page fiction story
                        Readers letters
                        Cookery pages - recipes

                        There are also around 15 puzzles including crosswords wordsearches etc. in each mag which are all competitions. The magazine includes a coupon to fill in your answers and send off with your chance to win some amazing prizes including holidays and 1000's of pounds. My nan does these every week and has won a few times so is definetly worth doing.

                        Take a Break also runs campaigns such as Britains love rats, Masectomy Pride, Chums for mums, Mums army, Take a buddy, Toyboy pledge, Mums4justice, Breast reduction Alliance. More information on these can be found on their website.

                        I always enjoy this magazine and find the stories are always interesting. Some of them are very sad but there are an equal amount of happy and funny stories.It is easy to dip in and out of which is great if you have kids and can catch 5 minutes here and there. At 78p is definetly worth a read!


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                      • More +
                        20.02.2009 12:04
                        Very helpful



                        One of the best inventions ever!

                        I think Grobags have to be one of the best inventions ever! I have used them for my children and never used anything else until they were older. I will start off with the basics..

                        Grobags are basically a baby sleeping bag with holes for the head and arms. They have poppers on the shoulders and under the arms and a zip all around the bottom for the 0-6 month design. The over 6 month designs have a zip all the way up the front which opens from the bottom so toddlers cannot undo it easily, they also have a zip guard inside and a tab at the top to prevent the zip from rubbing.
                        They come in sizes...
                        0-6 months (76cm length)
                        6-18 months (94cm)
                        18-36 months (112cm)
                        3-6 years (128cm)

                        They also come in different tog ratings so they can be used all year round and on holidays...
                        0.5 tog - very hot weather and abroad
                        1.0 tog - warmer weather
                        2.5 tog - standard

                        Babies must weigh over 7lb to use them. They are all lined with cotton and available in different fabrics such as organic cotton, fleece, velour and more. They can all be washed at 40 degrees and tumble dried on a low setting.
                        They are available in loads of different designs- 22 available at the moment - for girls, boys and neutral. They have some great brightly coloured stripy ones which i love!

                        Now for my opinion..
                        All my children refused to sleep with blankets and used to end up waking up in the night crying as they had kicked all their covers off. These were a lifesaver for me as baby cannot get out of them and they keep them warm. They are used INSTEAD of blankets and sheets and must never be used with them. Depending on the temperature in the room baby should be dressed in a vest or vest and babygro as well as the grobag. They do come with a thermometer which tells you the temperature in the room and what your baby should be wearing which is a handy little extra.

                        Most babies feel very safe and secure in these and they are great when on holiday or staying away from home as they give your baby a sense of security. Grobag also make some of there bags suitable for travel, they are the same as the regular grobag but have a hole and a 2 way zip for straps to be threaded so it can be used in the car or pushchair. This is great as it means a sleeping baby can be moved from the carseat to the cot without disturbing them.

                        Grobag also work in close contact with FSID (Foundation for the study of infant death) when designing their products. One of the factors for cot death is babies overheating and pulling covers over their head and wriggling underneath them. Therefore when used correctly with the right tog and size, Grobags can help avoid some of the contributing factors to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

                        The price of a Grobag is £25-£30 but they are often on special offers. They can be purchased from many places including mothercare, toysrus, amazon, kiddicare, john lewis and argos. Grobag is the original maker of the sleeping bag and i personally think is the best quality but other brands are available at a cheaper price.


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                        • Teenage Pregnancy / Discussion / 23 Readings / 20 Ratings
                          More +
                          20.02.2009 11:13
                          Very helpful



                          Please dont tar us all with the same brush!

                          I am writing about teenage pregnancy from a personal viewpoint as i was a teen mum myself and would love to share my story just to prove that all teen mums shouldnt be tarred with the same brush. I think people just assume all teenage mums are from a rough council estate background, single mothers, who just get pregnant so they can get a house and live off benefits. I can assure you this is not always the case.

                          I was with my boyfriend for 6 months when i fell pregnant, i was 16 and he was 17 years old. I was from a middle class family living in a lovely area with 2 full time working parents one of which has a degree. I worked very hard at school and had 11 GCSEs at A and B grades. I was the last person anyone expected to get pregnant! I was very scared but i dont agree with abortion so knew i would keep the baby. After telling my parents they were very supportive and promised to stand by me and help all they could. The same for my boyfriend who my mum allowed to move in with us.

                          I had to deal with a lot of rude remarks when pregnant which often reduced me to tears. I dont know how people can be so judgemental but i found much older people were the worst for it. I had my little boy and we continued to live with my mum until our little boy turned one. I attended college part time and my boyfriend was working full time and we never claimed any benefits or asked for a house.

                          Fast forward 8 years and i am now married to my boyfriend and we have had 2 more beautiful children and are privately renting. My husband works full time and i am currently studying and hoping to start university in September. We have been together for 9 years and 2 months!

                          I just wanted to share my story to let people know not all teenage mums are chavs that get pregnant for a house and benefits!


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                          • What's In Your Bag? / Discussion / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
                            More +
                            20.02.2009 10:50
                            Very helpful
                            1 Comment



                            Make the most of leaving the house with just a set of keys whilst you can!

                            Well i actually have two bags, my handbag and the changing bags which i never leave the house without!

                            My handbag is a gorgeous brown leather storm bag, heres whats inside...
                            Mobile phone
                            Matching purse with cards and no money :-(
                            Packet of tissues - essential item
                            Keys of course
                            My sister in laws spare key so i can feed the dog when she goes into labour (any day now!)
                            A packet of polos
                            My diary which i couldnt live without as i have the memory of a fish!
                            A notepad
                            A pen with tinkerbell on it from disneyland, Florida
                            A comb and hair tie
                            A lipsalve
                            A photo of my 3 gorgeous children
                            A pair of earrings (not sure what they are doing there)
                            A nail file (despite having no nails)
                            A handful of coupons!!
                            Some gift vouchers i got for xmas
                            My ipod

                            My changing bag is pink with tinkerbell on of course, inside...

                            Nappies and baby wipes (pampers)
                            Nappy bags (ASDA)
                            Metanium nappy cream - the best
                            A spare change of clothes for my baby girl
                            A muslim cloth (useful for everything!)
                            Jar of baby food and spoon
                            Baby cup - Tommee Tippee pink
                            Inhaler and spacer as my baby girl is asthmatic
                            Baby menthol chest rub
                            Sachets of calpol (cant go anywhere without these)
                            Ashtons and Parsons teething powder
                            Few toys
                            Changing mat
                            Baby record book

                            Thats about it! Cant believe how much i carry around with me. When you have children you cant go anywhere without carting loads of stuff around with you. As well as the bags i would need pushchair, carseat, baby coat,gloves,hat and scarf, blanket, more toys, milk.... the list goes on....


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