Baby M's firsts, Uncategorized

December Firsts

I can’t believe our Year of Firsts has come to an end! How quickly the last 365 days have flown by, each one with a new experience and learning curve for both me and little bear.

As the year has passed, our milestones have become less, but even in December we managed to accomplish a fair few firsts.

Christmassy firsts:
We had a trifecta of Christmassy firsts on 1st December where we visited Helensburgh Winter Festival for the first time. It’s a great local festival that takes place across one weekend each December, full of market stalls, entertainment, festive food & drink and more. It was here that we took Travis for his first trip to see Santa. Last year he was barely able to see without squinting, never mind be expected to see that it was Santa, so we saved this first for his second Christmas. It didn’t go down well, there were lots of tears and tantrums and one big hug at Santa’s beard. I’ve heard that’s quite common, but it’s pretty horrifying trying to explain to kind strangers dressed as elves and Santa that you’re sorry your child is a Christmas hating weirdo.

A slightly better first from the festival was the first time seeing reindeer. Like actual, live reindeer! It may also have been a first for mum, I’ll need to check with my parents but I don’t remember seeing reindeer in the flesh before. We got to pet them and there was an opportunity to get photos taken with them, but at that point Travis spied some dogs which were far more interesting and of his size, so off he toddled to see them instead.

First time using a fork
This was a big feeding milestone as we hadn’t really let or encouraged Travis to use cutlery before. He was haply to either be spoon fed by us or use his fingers to pick at his food hinself. So we were equally surprised and delighted when he wanted to take my fork off me and use it himself, not prompted by us. Now, in fairness, it can be a fight to feed him as he wants to try and be independent (despite picking things off the fork half the time) and feed himself which is more time consuming and messy than I’d like it to be!

First nursery Christmas party
On Thursday 20th December (bizarrely not a Friday?) Travis attended his first nursery Christmas party! Unfortunately I was really ill so couldn’t go, but I heard he enjoyed eating party food (surprise!) And although he hasn’t been Santa’s biggest fan, he had to sit beside him when he got there and even managed to get a present from big beardie without crying!

First Christmas illness
I’d hoped I’d be able to share “first Christmas dinner” this December, as last year I think he was still only on about 6 oz of milk per feed at Christmas time. However it wasn’t meant to be, as we had our first Christmas illness instead. I think it was related to teething, but he spiked a fever and pretty much refused food except for fruit puree and a few mouthfuls of soup. There was advent calendar chocolate involved at some point in the day but that was as festive as it got. It will need to be third time lucky for first Christmas dinner!

mum life

5 Reasons why Scots can’t do dry January

 

Our New Year keeps goingnew-year-dry-january
So we have our own word for new years eve, but did you also know we also get another bank holiday on January 2nd? The reason for this is primarily because we don’t stop drinking on the 1st, hogmanay is just a warm up go the celebrations

 

 

toast-rabbie-burns-dry-january

You can’t toast our bard without a tipple
Burns night, our annual celebration of the Scottish poet Rabbie Burns, takes place on 25th January each year and involves toasting a haggis. It would just be plain rude to do this without a dram.

 

 

Our cold remedy includes whiskyhot-toddie-dry-january
That’s right, if you’ve a cold or flu coming on, grab some whisky, heat up some lemonade and make yourself a hot toddie. Honey and lemons optional, whisky essential.

 

 

Whisky sauce is a staple food accompanimenthaggis-whisky-sauce-dry-january
Whether it’s Burns night and you’re having it with your haggis neaps and tatties, with your chicken Balmoral or as an alternative to traditional steak sauces, a creamy whisky sauce is a solid part of the winter diet. In fact, when you think about it, booze features in some of the best comfort foods – pass the red wine please!

 

It’s bloody Januarysnowflake-ice-cold-dry-january
Its cold, it’s dark and it’s depressing, so why would you want to give up something that can both warm you up and brighten those long dark nights? Especially if you’ve been given some posh booze for Christmas, it would be a shame not to give it a try!

mum life, Mum time

Birchbox Advent Calendar: Week 3

So obviously advent ended over a week ago now, but seeing as it’s been that time of year, we’ve been a bit preoccupied with all the festivities to share the last week of Birchbox goodies.

Week 3 of my advent calendar has brought more treats, partly because it’s actually 3 and a half weeks. I decided that a fourth week would be a bit pointless as there would only be 3 more products to share, so everything has been lumped into the one big festive post!

Birchbox-advent-calendar-3

Wunder 2 Perfect Selfie photo finishing powder
Wonder how some people achieve that totally flawless selfie on the gram? Well aside from filters, Wunder 2 have the solution in the form of an extremely white face powder. Apparently it transforms your skin to become poreless and blemish free in selfies. Ideal for all the Christmas and New year celebrations.

Lumene Nordic Glow Reveal peeling mask
This mask is full of vitamin c, arctic cloudberry and arctic spring water which will magically revive your skin and give you a glowing complexion. It smells so fresh, and Would appear to be the ideal product to follow a night of using the selfie powder product.

PK Prep pumping cream
This Philip Kingsley hair cream should be applied to towel dried hair before blow drying and styling, to and volume and thickness. I can’t say I need either of those things myself right now, although I would have been crying out for them this time last year when my hair was in a poor post-partum mess.

Brush works complexion sponge
No matter how much great makeup you have, you can’t achieve great looks without some good tools to apply it. This sponge is latex free and suitable for both liquid and powder, making it a great all-rounder

Makeup Forever step 1 skin equalizer
This soothing primer is part of makeup forevers range of complexion bases which are designed to smooth the skin before applying makeup.

BB hairdressers invisible oil
Bumble and bumbles heat protective hair primer should be applied to damp or dry hair before styling. This is just the tonic to all the heat damage from styling for various parties and festivities throughout December.

Winky Lux Mermaid Kitten palette – Ursula
This pigment is right up my street, not least because it has the word mermaid in it. The deep purply shimmering shade, which they coin squid-ink-liken, is part of the wider mermaid kitten palette, which I’m definitely interested in.

This Works In Transit camera close-up
Its just as well thus product came much later in the advent calendar as it promises to do the work of three products, as a mask, moisturiser and primer all in one. Ideally, it’s not like a regular mask as it just requires to be massaged and absorbed ahead of makeup application, like any moisturiser or primer.

OPI nail lacquer
As everyone knows, no Christmas look is complete without a good nail colour, so day 23 was a pleasant surprise. The shade And the Raven Cried Give Me More is, as the name suggests (?!!), a deep purple shade which matches nicely with the Winky Lux shade revealed a few days earlier.

Smashbox Always On liquid lipstick
What a way to finish the calendar than with a big brand and something we all need – a lasting lip colour. The shade stepping out is a neutral sort of nude brown which wouldn’t be my first choice, but is a safe staple for many.

 

*Disclaimer: I don’t receive any commission or pay in kind, cash or any other format. I just really enjoyed my advent calendar!

mum life, Mum time

Merry Ginmas!

While most of you are enjoying that lovely limbo in between Christmas and New Year, some of us have had to go back to work (boo!) but it has been made much more bearable by some of the great gifts I received for Christmas. As well as the usual bath sets, pyjamas and stationery, this year I unwrapped lots of gin!

As it’s the drink of the moment, I thought it only fair to give them a taste test and share the gin love. Here’s what I got:

 

Whitley Neil Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
Edinburgh Gin were the first I’d seen to tackle the different flavours like rhubarb, however most of their flavoured gins are in fact only gin liqueurs. This means they sit at around the 20% proof mark, rather than the typical 37-40% of the original clear spirit. However Whitley Neil have managed to perfect the distinct tart taste of rhubarb and ginger in a full-strength gin, sitting at 435 proof. It’s absolutely delicious with lemonade or a light tonic.

Boe Violet Gin
I’d originally tried this out one day, and quickly discovered it tastes like Parma Violets sweets. That may sway you one way or the other, but I loved those sweets as a child so it definitely gets a thumbs up from me. This one is best with lemonade, but will mainly suit sweeter tastes. You can’t beat a bit of Boe Violet gin to remind you of summer on these dark days.

Hortus Plum and Cinnamon Gin liqueur

I’d never heard of this gin let alone flavour until I unwrapped it on Christmas day. Turns out Hortus is Lidl’s brand of gin, and has actually beaten loads of more expensive gins in blind taste tests! So I’m looking forward to trying this gin liqueur and possibly adding it to a prosecco to ring in the bells!

 

Gin-themed Gifts

I also received some great gin-themed gifts, allowing me to transform my tipple, and even make my own!

Gin Mixers
In the absence of a flavoured gin, or just to switch things up a bit, these are the ideal replacement. I got a mixer set which I think is from Debenhams containing flavours including lime, raspberry, elderflower and rose water. Also perfect if you want to get in on the gin trend, but don’t actually like the traditional kind.

Make Your Own Gin Kit
This kit contains all the botanicals you need to make 8 batches of your own gin, using various berries and spices to make flavours you love. I only usually get through a couple of bottles of gin a year at home, so this gift could certainly last a while!

mum life

My Christmas Eve routine now I’m a mum

Ask me what my Christmas Eve routine consisted of just a couple of years ago and the answer would have been work up to the button, dash home to do last minute wrapping, get ready at the speed of light and head to the pub. While I can’t say much has changed in terms of rushing about, it has certainly changed dramatically in terms of what I get up to.

Here’s how Christmas Eve goes these days:

Work

If it’s a weekday it’s a work day! Hoping for the boss to get into the festive spirit and send us all home early, work on Christmas day is usually full of excited boys and girls who’s workload isn’t that full for some reason.
This year I baked some gingerbread cookies and Christmas cupcakes to share with everyone. My icing skills leave a lot to be desired – Mary Berry I am not – but it was good to try and make work a bit more festive!

Last minute visits
No matter the year, the day Christmas Eve falls or how far in advance I’ve bought gifts, there’s inevitably a dash to visit people and drop off presents at the last minute.

I also took a last minute trip to the shops (something I haven’t done since I worked I retail at Christmas) to buy a card for my other half as I’d shamelessly forgotten a card for my other half (shh, don’t tell him!)

Praying for a regular bedtime

As Travis is still so little, we don’t quite have the battle of wanting to stay up late for Santa, but by god I swear this child knows when something is going on in his parents life. Whether it’s wanting a bath post-bedtime, the chance to tidy up or just finish wrapping those presents, he has a sixth sense and either won’t go down to sleep or will wake-up frequently. This is why we’ll be going through our regular routine and praying for a normal bed time!

Present shifting
Before Travis, I could just wrap Christmas presents and leave them under the tree in the leas up to the big day.
Now we have to wait until Travis is in bed and shift everyone’s presents from the hiding place to the tree. I don’t envy Santa at all, that’s a shift in itself for one household never mind millions!

Bath time
Once everything has been done, finally a bit of mum time can resume. As any parent will tell you, much craved you-time must be used wisely, especially if your child is in bed! So this Christmas Eve I plan to cram absolutely everything into bath time; the usual routine (my legs will finally feel the chill of the cold Scottish winter), a cheeky gin, face mask, nail painting, blog reading and some catching up with friends.

Christmas specials
There are loads of Christmas specials on around this time of year and with a baby and a million other things to do, its not always possible to catch them live. The Last Leg, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Would I Lie to You have all been on this week and I’d like to catch one or two to get into the Christmas spirit!

Early bed
In the pre-baby days I would have never gone to bed before midnight on Christmas, but now, every minute of sleep is precious so I’ll be in bed as early as all the other things on my list allow! I’ve always been an early riser on Christmas, notoriously annoying my brother even into our 20s when we would come home for festivities, but it’s different waking early on your own terms rather than someone else’s.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Lists, mum life

Birchbox advent calendar: week 2

Another week in December has flown by already, and with it I’ve had another great batch of Birchbox treats from my advent house. This week has seen another mix of practical and fun treats appear behind the drawers. Here’s what I uncovered in the second week of advent:

Birchbox-makeup-advent-calendar

Amika soulfood nourishing mask
If there’s one thing your hair needs as the temperatures drop to freezing and below, it’s some TLC to protect against the harsh conditions. This soulfood mask provides the nourishment hair often lacks with lots of heat damage at this time of year.

Beauty Pro black peel charcoal mask
If your hair feels more dry and damaged in the winter, imagine how your face feels! There’s nothing quite like a charcoal mask to draw out imperfections and provide some much needed deep cleansing.

Tangle Teezer brush
Tangle teezer products are so handy for anyone with long hair. They are perfect for popping in your bag if you know you’re going to be out braving the wind and all sorts of other hair-tugging weather. I also like to use mine on the shower to remove tangles and ensure conditioner spreads right through my hair properly.

Pixi skin treats glow tonic
A glow can often be lacking in skin at this time of year due to late night partying/wrapping presents, harsh weather, central heating and over indulging in food and drink. So a lovely skin tonic is just what the doctor ordered!

Sank and Sky Australian Pink Clay exfoliating treatment
Sand and Sky products have featured in Birchboxes before, so I have a rough idea of what to expect with this one. Exfoliators are always needed at this time of year to get rid of dead cells, and what better way to do so than in a powerful mask form. The mask takes just 5 minutes to work its magic, using macadamia seeds to exfoliate while the pink clay clears your pores and Australian finger lime adds a freshness and glow to leave your face completely refreshed.

Nuxe Paris beautifying scented body lotion
This body lotion has a smell like you wouldn’t believe. The “Prodigieuse” scent is a beautiful blend of orange blossom, magnolia and vanilla, and leaves the skin bright and moisturised with a satin finish. I think I’ll definitely look into the full size version of this once my advent sample has ran out.

Lord and Berry Couture Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
This eyeliner is exactly how I like them – black as my soul! Although I prefer a liquid liner for eyelids, you can’t beat a bit of kohl for a quick fix and for that bottom lash line.

*Disclaimer, this is not sponsored or paid in any way, just doing it to share the love!

Lists, mum life

Top 6 Food & Drink Christmas Gifts

There are far too many great food and drink Christmas gifts out there to choose from, with many long-standing brands bringing out various specials just for the season. However, I’ve come across a few that are sure to hit the right spot with almost anyone this Christmas. Well, almost anyone in my family at least!

Ellis Gin

I discovered this gem at Helensburgh Winter Festival earlier in the month. Ellis gin is handmade in Glasgow and in small batches, with only a couple of flavours currently available. I opted to buy the bramble gin in a bauble for a Christmas gift, though they had plenty of choice in terms of bottle size and gift packs, with the option of a small bottle and glass, or gin and mixer combos. I love trying new things and supporting local makers so this is a no brainer if you like to give unique gifts that are made with love.

Johnnie Walker White Walker Limited Edition

If you’ve any Game of Thrones fan friends or family (over 18) then this will be sure to warm up their winter. The show has partnered with Scottish whisky Johnnie Walker for this limited edition collectors bottle named White Walker. A homage to the White Walkers on the show, this brand new whisky is best served straight from the freezer.

Dean’s Glitter Shortbread

Dean’s Shortbread is a fabulous, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread brand from Huntly in Scotland. Their traditional shortbread rounds can be found in many supermarkets, and they offer a great festive flavour range. However, their glitter shortbread adds some much needed sparkle to Christmas, without steering away from the traditional flavour. This one is sure to go down well with nans and for those ever expanding gifts for teachers, coaches, lollipop men/women, and anyone else society has told us we should be gifting at this time of year! With a £2.99 price tag it’s a perfect add-on for a bigger gift too.

Peaky Blinders Rum/Whisky/Gin

 Well Sadler’s Ales have gone all in with a range of Peaky Blinders spirits. Fans of Sadler’s and of the TV show will appreciate that there are several different gift options on offer, with variations of their spiced gin, spiced rum and whisky available to purchase. If you want to pay homage to the show and Thomas Shelby himself, then the Peaky Blinders gin is the ideal choice.

Saltire CandySaltire-candy-christmas-gift-food

Another great discovery from Helensburgh Winter Festival was Saltire Candy. They make all of your old fashioned boiled sweet favourites, all beautifully packaged forany occasion. They also had some flavoured fudge which we tried (the Hebridean sea salted caramel fudge was my favourite) and a few varieties of the traditional tablet and macaroon which looked like the perfect stocking filler. They were only a couple of pounds for each little bag. Plus you’re able to personalise many of their gifts too, for that extra special touch.

Fry’s selection box

A great gift for any chocolate lover in your house. It’s a collection of the three Fry’s favourites – chocolate cream, peppermint cream and turkish delight. Obviously the latter isn’t to everyone’s taste but I think Fry’s creams are fondly remembered by some of the older generation in our family for sure. I first found this gift in B&M but have since seen it pop up in a few stores and supermarkets, and it’s pretty inexpensive as far as Christmas gifts go – around the £2-3 mark you’d expect to pay for a selection box.

mum life, Mum's finds

Birchbox advent calendar: week one

First week of Advent calendar goodies!

Now the first week of Advent calendar madness is over, we have a toddler that I think has gained about a stone (he has FOUR advent calendars. Much to my dismay!). But we also have a collection of great new beauty products, thanks to my Birchbox advent calendar.

I always have good things to say about Birchbox, and their advent calendar is no exception. I previously missed out on these as they always sell out so quickly, but I was well prepared this year! I can’t comment on previous years but this year’s has definitely impressed me so far. Here are the first week’s treats:

Benefit roller lash
One of the many reasons I love Birchbox is that they regularly send out Benefit products. I’m a big fan of their mascaras so was delighted to find roller lash behind drawer number 1. Not only this, birchbox also tucked a little discount card inside the drawer offering 10% off any full sized products found in the calendar.

Pure papayacare papaya lips
Who doesn’t need a good lip balm at this time of year? Birchbox have got it spot on with their product choice, as it’s something I’ll use all month, thanks to the change in weather. It’s a really good lip balm, totally nourishing, and of course comes with the added bonus of smelling like papaya. Good job papayacare!

Rituals – the ritual of ayurveda hand balm
Again, I couldn’t think of a better choice of product for the current climate. The skin on my hands had actually started to break and bleed in November with the minus temperatures (I have since located my gloves thank goodness!) so it’s fair to say I was in desperate need of a good hand cream. The fragrance is Indian rose and almond oil which means the scent into too in your face, and the ingredients are also actually really soothing.

Birchbox-advent-calendar-2018

LOC – creamy eyeshadow stick
Now we’re getting onto some of the more fun items (not that the others aren’t fun, they are just more practical!) The eyeshadow stick is great for a daytime look and is easy to top up throughout the day. The shadeitwelf is also pretty neutral so I can see it working with a lot of different skin tones.

Caudalie – SOS thirst quenching serum
I personally always rely on the same moisturiser all year round, but am always keen to know of any other products which can work for my skin, especially in winter. I’m not normally one for seems but this is just the treat my face needs in this weather.

Chella – ivory lace highlighter
Everybody loves a good highlighter, no more so than at Christmas when everything is shimmering and sparkling. This handy highlighter stick is perfect for popping in your bag and taking along on that Christmas party night out.

Jiinju- exfoliating face pad
And last but not least, week 1 was rounded off with this beauty. What is the one essential we all need, no matter the makeup we use? That’s right, cleanser and makeup remover! I’m all for reusable cleansers, exfoliators etc, so this exfoliating pad is right up my street. Grab this little Korean beauty miracle and take it in the shower if you’re short on time.

mum life, Unlikely mum makes

Unlikely mum makes: gift boxes

I love Christmas so much, so there’s really any excuse to make something festive in this house. All the more so if I make it, and can recycle/upcycle at the same time.

A couple of years ago, I decided to try and make use of my Birchboxes, which were just lying around gathering dust after I’d removed all the fab products. I didn’t want to throw them away as lots of them had lovely cute patterns on, and I felt they could be used for something else, I just wasn’t sure what… until Christmas came around!

My bright idea was to turn them into festive gift boxes which would hopefully look better than the badly wrapped parcels I give out, which tend to look more like fish suppers than gifts!

What I use them for:

  • Gift boxes for smaller items like makeup and cosmetics
  • Alternative selection boxes
  • Christmas eve boxes

How I do it:

There’s literally 2 steps in this! Though there’s probably a fancier way of doing it that would look super professional but I’m a – not super professional and b – a novice craftsperson, so this is my max talent at the moment!

All you need is:

  1. Wrapping paper
  2. Sellotape
  3. Scissors
  4. Label/nametag or similar

Part 1 – Wrap the gift box

All you have to do is wrap the outside of each part of the box, taking care on the edges and the inside to ensure the paper doesn’t bunch, preventing you from closing the box!

Handmade-christmas-gift-boxes

Part 2 – decide how to label and decorate the gift box

The first year I did this, I opted to use regular gift tags for my boxes. Last year, I used a sheer paper and simply wrote on it with a silver pen. This year, I’m opting to paint some wooden letters and stick them on to some boxes, and use bows and string to decorate others.

The beauty of this is that you can decorate the boxes however you like. In fact, you don’t even need to go for a festive theme, meaning they are the gift box that keeps on giving!

Baby M's firsts

November firsts

Now we’ve past a year old, so there’s no new days he hasn’t seen before. This means there are quite a bit less firsts than most other months. That being said, there are still a lot of things the wee man hasn’t experienced yet, some of which he tried out for the first time in November…

First bonfire night
Since Travis was one in October, he’s clearly already been around for one bonfire night. However he was so young and we were still getting used to the lack of sleep thing so we didn’t bother going to watch any fireworks or anything. This year we went to the local display in Dumbarton on the 5th itself. It was a relatively mild night (though had been raining earlier in the day so everywhere was a swamp!) So we were quite fortunate. Travis loved the light show it got a little confused as the bangs echoed behind us after the fireworks went off, looking behind us to see what else was going on!

First hot chocolate
It’s pretty much tradition at bonfire night to have hot chocolate right? I thought “why should Travis miss out on that?” and decided to share a much milkier version of my hot chocolate with him. It went down an absolute storm, and in place of his usual night time bottle, meaning we didn’t have to do a bottle when we got home either- result!

First trip to fruin farm
Fruin Farm is a farm/restaurant close by us on the way to Helensburgh. We had heard great things about the place so when friends had suggested brunch there we jumped at the chance. It was great for the adults, no doubt, but Travis had a ball playing with the toys in the dining area (launching them across the floor mostly!) And also pointing out all the (ornamental) parrots that were dotted around the room.

Though as the name suggests, it’s a farm so there are animals outside too! We got to go down and see the goats and llamas, and even some big black piggies on the way out. I’d definitely recommend Fruin Farm if you’re meeting up with friends with younger kids, as the food was fab and there’s lots to keep the wee ones entertained.

First toddler sense
I’d heard a lot about baby sensory classes and how great they were when Travis was only a couple of months old. I ended up not taking him along as he was already doing so much, like baby massage, baby yoga, bookbug, hartbeeps and swimming! I didn’t think we could fit it in or that he’d get the benefit if it at that time. Fast forward to over a year old and he’s now classed as a toddler, which I thought would rule him out of sensory classes. Not so – there are just different classes with different activities for the toddlers!
We went along to try it out on 12th November and it was great fun. But we joined in during the middle of a block so I think we will wait til the new year and see if we can join a block on a date and time that’s right for us!

First children in need
Children in Need always runs on the third Friday in November, and it’s something I’ve always traditionally watched, got involved in or fundraised for when I was growing up. So imagine my delight when nursery announced they were having a whole week of activities for children in need. They all involves dressing up and the like, and if you want to find out more you can read my post about it here.

First fat lip
Not a first I thought I’d have to share but one that was going to happen eventually with a boisterous little toddler. On the last day of November, I got a phonecall from the nursery telling me not to worry (well love, I am worried because you’re phoning me and you don’t normally do that!) That Travis was fine… but that he’d also just burst his lip. Ran towards another kid, tripped and headered one of the cots apparently. We were told to expect a fat lip but that they would keep an ice pack on it for us. Cue picking up a baby Mick Jagger, who wasn’t bothered in the slightest by the way, which resulted in mum guilt and upset for leaving him where he could get hurt.