Love Jenuine

 

Finding out your pregnant is so exciting (for most), but once the news has settled in, and your reading up on everything you need to get for your new arrival, it can be a daunting task.

As a self-confessed shopaholic, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to buying new baby clothes, but once i started doing some research i realised, i needed to furnish a whole new room, there were gadgets for everything, from breast pumps to nappy bins, to a nasal aspirator. Where did I start?

Once I had got some advice, from other mums, my own mum and the midwife I made a list of the priority items we needed. However to create this list you still have to answer some questions.

How are you going to get the baby around, will you use a pram or sling?  do you need a carseat? or two?

Where will the baby going to sleep?

Are you going to breastfeed?

I decided we needed some help, so where better to go than The Baby Show – the biggest national baby event, it would have everything under one roof, and we could just take the challenge head on. This also suited my other half, as he could just do it all in one day.

The Baby Show has most of the top baby brands, but it also has smaller stalls for independent brands, which I found better for once you’ve had the baby as then tend to be clothing brands or gadgets you don’t really need till the baby is 6-months+.

The bigger brands will have plenty of offers on the larger items such as your travel system, your nursery furniture. For example we got our Mamas + Papas travel system (pram base, with buggy top, car seat and isofix base) at 30% less than the RRP.

I did my research prior to going, otherwise it can be totally overwhelming due to the volume of exhibitors, and the range of products offered – plus many are the same, so you get bombarded with sales jargon.

Below are some suggestions if you’re thinking of going:

    1. 1. Get early -bird / advanced tickets if you can, this works out 25% cheaper

 

    1. 2. Make a list of the priority items you need with an approximate budget, and try and stick to this list. Our list included:
      1. Travel System
      2. Nursery Furniture
      3. Bottles / breastpump

 

    1. 3. Research which items such as travel systems, breast pumps will be best for you, depending on your needs.
      1. Sign-up to which.co.uk for £1 to look at each product comparisons and reviews
      2. Check-out Mother & Baby awards for top products
      3. Check-out Madeformums.com reviews section – these reviews  are by parents

 

    1. 4. Never take first price, always try and negotiate – luckily my husband is in sales, so he was a pro

 

    1. 5. I would recommend going in your second trimester, as it is a long day, and can be exhausting if you’re late in your 2nd or 3rd trimester

 

    1. 6. Take your mum if you can. I took mine, and she was great at preventing us from buying gadgets that we just didn’t need – we were getting drawn in by lots of sales people!

 

    1. 7. If it’s your first baby, and you do know the gender, be careful not to buy anything that you couldn’t use if you’re planning a second. You don’t want to spend £,000’s on pink furniture or pram, and then have a boy second time around

 

    1. 8. If you really want some bargains, go on the last day. Sometimes they will sell off stock they have there, or they will be desperate to meet a sales target, so you can negotiate.

 

    1. 9. If you do buy larger items, make sure you aren’t expected to carry them around for the rest of the show.

 

  1. 10.Take water and snacks if you can, as it is super expensive, and also the queues are long, and seats few and far between

My best buys:

Medela: This is an american brand of breast pump and bottles – focused on going from breastfeeding to bottle feeding. It is now stocked in the UK so much easier to buy, but their discounts are amazing. I got most of my kit at 50% off, and since it has been used by me, two friends, and i am getting ready to use it again (with new bottles and teets obviously)

Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator: I had never heard of this one, but it was a godsend – this is used to clear a baby’s nose if they have a cold, or are bunged up

Nappy Bin: You can usually get them 50% off at the show – this is an essential!

Travel system: If you know which system you want, you can go in and negotiate off the RRP. I had it narrowed down to two options, and we went and tried each one. Looking at how it collapsed down, could I manage it alone and would it go in the car easily, and most importantly how much room was there for my shopping! Always make sure you get a cup-holder – I didn’t with my first one, and as coffee is staple to a new-mums diet, trying to push a buggy one-handed is no easy task.

Nursery Furniture: I got a Mothercare nursery set, at roughly 35% off. You order and pay a deposit, and then it is delivered 6 weeks before your baby arrives. This is something you could order once the baby is here, as you don’t actually use the cot till they’re 6 weeks +, but the deal was too good.

Feel free to add your best buys, or tips for going to the baby show.

The next show is March 3rd – 5th @ Excel London, or 19-21st May at Birmingham NEC.

Good Luck!

 

 

 

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So I’ve been away for a while, nearly 16-months to be exact, and 2016 has been my most challenging year yet, and here’s why….

On the 27th December 2015 we lost my Grandad to a stroke, in January we had an almighty party to say our goodbyes, and what a fantastic send-off but such a sad way to start the year.

January also brought the news my agency had a lost a large contract, this later led to the agency closing (which i believe was for the best), therefore I was made redundant. Having worked at this agency for 8 years I knew nothing else…but maybe this is the change I needed.

Three weeks before my wedding a dormant cyst on my shoulder became infected and I had to have emergency surgery and was left with an open wound. Not only wouldn’t this be healed by the time I got married but it involved daily trips to the Drs to get my dressing changed, which my husband-to-be had to master so he could do it for the duration of our honeymoon. Plus I couldn’t drive or exercise and struggled managing harry as I couldn’t lift him.

May arrived and our wedding was amazing! It literally flew by, it was worth all the stress and chaos. We had an amazing day, we got very drunk with all of our favourite people. Our honeymoon was the trip of a lifetime, we flew to Hawaii (This place truly is paradise) , flew back to LA, drove up the west coast in an open-top-mustang to the Big Sur, and on to San Francisco. Couple of days sightseeing, and then back to our little boy.

The first four months of the year had been totally overwhelming, and not until we went on honeymoon had I stopped, then did I realise I didn’t have a plan….I always have a plan…..sh*t!!!

After 4 weeks at home with Harry, an opportunity came up a stones-throw away from home (well in comparison to my previous 90 minute daily commute), it was part-time and right up my street. However things can never be that simple…..Not long after my second interview I found out I was pregnant (we basically got pregnant the weekend of our wedding, not part of my ‘non-existing plan’ –  whole other post coming!).

So, I went for my third interview, but I couldn’t walk-away without saying something. I was shaking I was so nervous, but that proved to me how much I wanted this role, and I couldn’t go ahead unless I was 100% honest. I dropped the bombshell and left them to discuss, and later that day they offered me the job,  it was a 6-month freelance contract but with the opportunity to go back once the baby was born! AMAZING!!!

At our 12 weeks scan we got high-risk for Down Syndrome again, we opted for the harmony test, which Wrexham NHS offered for free (Only some NHS offer this service FOC – and only if you’re high-risk).  Thankfully we got the all clear.

As we are soon to be four, we definitely needed a new house. Our house has been perfect for our little family and a great first home, but with a fourth member on the way, we need more space. We found an adorable cottage (that we had to fight off lots of other people for) that has been extended to more than double the original size. Its just what we were looking for – something full of character, but with lots of space! Its perfect, and fingers crossed we should be moving in January 2017 – a great start to a new year.

This year has been beyond challenging (though I wouldn’t change anything about it) with the above being a very very brief summary of my ups and downs, but there’s something I haven’t mentioned in here, that has had a huge impact on my life and that’s anxiety and depression. This I need to write about in my next post so stay tuned…

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New YearI have never really sat down and thought about New Years resolutions, but for some reason I thought a lot about them in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve. Perhaps I am growing up, or it’s because I’ve had such a challenging but amazing year from having a baby, being off work for 10 months, to going back to work to a far more challenging job, I now have a lot more to juggle.

So I have come up with four resolutions, these are long-term, with no specific end point like quit smoking or stay sober for January, they are more lifestyle changes.

1a. Plan more, capture more!
As a family, we’re not great at planning things to do on our weekends, and I am always seeing pictures of my friends on weekends away, or at the theatre, the park etc. most of the time we are just glad it’s the weekend. Now I am back working five days a week, I want to makesure our weekends are filled with cool activities, creating memories and going on mini adventures.

 

1b. Make the most of family time
As mentioned above, now I am back at work five days a week, I want to make sure every moment we have is filled with fun (not totally realistic, but I can try). 2014 has shown me, family comes first, and doing things together should be my priority, and this year it will be.

 

2. Exercise is essential
The Christmas holidays for me have been stressful, and when talkin to my best friend about it she said “why don’t you get back on your treadmill” , probably knowing I have not had an ounce of time to do any exercise for weeks, she was totally right. New Years days, I jumped on that treadmill, and half hour later I felt like a new person! This made me realise how much I had missed exercising. Before I went back to work I was exercising 4-5 times a week. I aim to plan a weekly (realistic) exercise routine around my work and family life, and rope my other half in too.

 

3. Investment pieces
I’ve worked really hard over the past ten years, so that I could treat myself to the luxuries in life, but I never actually do buy luxury items. I spend my money on an item or two from Zara, or River Island, because I always think “I can’t afford £150 for a necklace or £300 for a bag”, but being on maternity, and surviving on a lot less than I am used to, I realised, I can afford those things now. So I have decided I will make a wish list of all the things I never thought I could really afford, and try to just purchase one luxury treat each month (or every other month, depending on my list), instead of just buying lots of little things. Plus I am sure at some point in the next few years another baby will come along, and there will be no more treats!! Plus these items will be great investment pieces.

 

4. Prioritise my blog and my book
I haven’t blogged for a good two months, and I have missed it so much. I know this will be the hardest of my resolutions to keep. As I am now, writing on a Sunday night (full of flu, and stuffing my face with xmas after eights), I want to try and dedicate Sunday’s nights to blogging. I’ve started a topic list, so fingers crossed this will keep me motivated. I also received a book called ‘one line a day’ where you record a memory each day of the year, for five years. I am determined to complete this book. I just have to remember to do it each day!

That’s my four!

One final thought, which isn’t really a resolution, but something I learnt from my aunty (who sadly passed away way before her time), life is too short and you only get one go at it. No regrets, don’t stress, and make the most of each day, as you don’t know when it will be your last.

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