We’re back! Here’s a little post to explain why…

Well, hello. We’re only bloody back!!

As you may remember, back in March I decided to have a little time away from blogging for personal reasons. I was getting a little too involved, spending too much time on my laptop and not enough time with Austin. I’ve had a lovely break and have barely touched my computer, it’s been fab!

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However, I missed you ‘orrible lot!

I have taken a long time making sure I definitely wanted to return and if I were to, deciding what my blog content will look like, how much time I would spend on it and essentially what it’ll mean to me.

I’ve made those decisions and right now I really want to write again. I miss telling you all what we’ve been up to, what Austin has been eating or wearing and the great products I find whether they’re for mum or baby. What I’m not going to do is chase PR companies non stop to try to get involved with tons of reviews, stop looking at my stats every day to see how many views I’ve had, stop getting involved in blogging while Austin is awake and could be being played with – basically I’m going to blog in my own time because I enjoy it. I put too much pressure on myself before to try and make my blog into something big, thinking that stats and blogging non stop was what I had to do to get readers. For me, it took the enjoyment out of it – I thought I wanted to try to turn blogging into a job – I got involved in everything and all it did was stress me out. I now know that isn’t the kind of blog I want, I want a relaxed one with lovely readers who I can chat to and connect with – maybe doing a few reviews/bits of work along the way.

I’m not promising to blog every day or even every week, but I’ll blog when I actually have something to say, or really feel that I want to write. I’m still interested in reviews as they benefit me as well as the brand – everyone loves receiving free stuff and/or payment for writing your opinion, but it’s not going to be my main goal. If I never receive another free item or get paid for writing ever again, that’s OK too. I’ll still be hashtagging on social media like I used to, this brings new readers and does attract PR attention, so if a brand comes to me following a hashtag, that’s a bonus.

I’m not interested in stats this time round, I really do want to write for myself and Austin – of course it’s lovely to know you guys will read it – I do definitely still want readers! Don’t be afraid to comment or ask questions too as I still really want it to be interactive. I just won’t be putting pressure on myself to make it into something more than I want it to be, or stressing out wondering ‘why this post only got half the views yesterday’s post got’.

I may join in other people’s linkys occasionally if I enjoy them, but I won’t continue running my own. I started a linky previously called Weekend Baby Style which was really succesful. Sarah from Knott Bump and Us (soon to be changing to This Mama Life) came on board and took it over when I left the blogging scene – she is still running it but the linky is now called Weekend Mini Style if you want to join in with it in future, go check out her page!

So that’s it! I’m REALLY excited to be back with no stress, pressure, huge to do lists, linky commitments, just plain old blogging and being social 🙂 Come find us on Instagram @hannahaustinuk or Facebook here.

Whether you’re an old, loyal reader or a brand new one – come and say hello!

Thanks for reading – here’s to a new start! ❤

hannah

 

 

 

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Fisher Price Newborn-to-Toddler Play gym review

Even though Austin has been sitting up unaided for around a month now, he’s still a little wobbly. We were recently contacted by Mattel to as if we’d like to review the Fisher Price Newborn to Toddler Play Gym, so the timing was perfect.

There are three ‘grow with me’ stages and even though he is a little too old for the newborn setting, the stage 2 Sit and Play setting is great for his age. It has a comfy mat, plus has lots to do and play with to keep his attention. I’ve found it helps to keep him upright as he has more to focus on and hold on to.

Newborn stage 1 playmat setting

Newborn stage 1 playmat setting

The stand up stage looks good to – Austin will be tall enough to put the balls in the top and watch them roll down the sides – something I’m sure he’ll find hilarious! The dancing lights and great range of music is a fab feature. There is baby-activated short play music, or long play for up to 20 minutes of music. Another good thing to know is that the ball/chute game (if a little clunky and noisy) helps develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance & coordination.

stand up stage 3 toddler setting

stand up stage 3 toddler setting

Austin has had lots of fun testing out this product and I’m sure he’s going to love it for months to come!

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stage 2 setting

 

stage 2 setting

stage 2 setting (large playmat is my own)

How do I rate this item?

This product all-round is pretty good, I’m a fan of the lights, music, soft mat and ball game. There are a couple of downsides for me though….

I think it’s quite pricey retailing at just under £50 and I’m also not sure whether I’d want to keep it up in my front room until Austin is walking – I think it would feel like an unnecessary piece of equipment unfortunately. He already has so many items downstairs – a playmat, toy baskets, sensory box, Jumperoo, ball pool, bouncer chair, V-Tech walker – the list goes on. He’s only 8 months but I’m already looking forward to being able to put things like the playmat, Jumperoo and bouncer up in the loft very soon – I have a large house but my lounge and dining room honestly look like a nursery!

I think the aim for a lot of parents is to eliminate big items that take up space as their baby gets older, especially by the time they’re walking. Once they’re up on their feet they are off discovering everything at their new higher level. For me, it’s a chance to clear away the baby gear and get some of my house back! Older children don’t need quite so many huge contraptions – I feel that by the time most people had a toddler, they’d probably want rid of play gyms and such which, for me, sadly leaves the 3rd stage of this product slightly redundant 😦

That is just my take on the 3rd stage though. If you’re happy to have a play gym in the house with a toddler, then it’s a lovely one to choose! Another thing to think about is if they’ve had it since very young and used it through the first 2 stages, I’m not sure that the 3rd stage offers enough to keep them interested. After a year of putting balls down the chute, the novelty may wear off a little. However if you plan to purchase it around Austin’s age then I think your little one would still find lots of fun to be had even at the 3rd stage.

Even though I’ve wrestled with a few of the main selling points – it being a newborn-to-toddler item, plus the size and type of toy still being in your home with a walker, I still think it’s a good product. I’d give it a score of 3/5.

Thanks for reading!

hannah

Buggi Lights review

With the evenings getting darker, pedestrian safety adverts are all over the place – and quite right too! When I heard that a friend of a friend had invented these Buggi Lights I knew I had to get my hands on a set. They are cute, colourful and seriously safety conscious. Designed for prams and children’s scooters, you and your babies will never be missed in the dark again.

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Continue reading

Our first family holiday! Center Parcs Sherwood Forest.

Before we went on holiday I was asked by Center Parcs to write a piece for their blog and I’m very pleased to say it has now been published over on the Center Parcs blog. Have a look here!

Oh gosh what a week. We had a fantastic time and we will always be able to look back on Austin’s first ever holiday with such great memories! Why did we pick Center Parcs you might ask? Let me tell you exactly why… Continue reading

Diet Chef – My hamper has arrived!

Eeeek it’s here! As you may remember I recently mentioned that I will be working with Diet Chef to review their diet plan by doing a trial of it myself for 4 weeks. Yesterday my hamper arrived and it all looks so yummy! The portion sizes are actually quite a bit large than I expected for a diet, which I’m really pleased with as there’s nothing worse than feeling starving whilst trying to lose weight. The packaging is really enticing too, great colours!

I really love the fact that Diet Chef hampers arrive in an unbranded box. A very clever bit of non-marketing there I think. I wouldn’t care less if my neighbours saw a diet box arriving at my house, but then again I’m friendly with my neighbours and am also quite a confident person, so it wouldn’t bother me. However, that’s probably not the case for most dieters. Most people want to lose weight as they might not feel great, might not like the way they look or might have low self esteem due to weight gain, so having your neighbours nose at the fact you’re trying to lose weight could add extra pressure and embarrassment. Fab move to have the box unbranded, so even the courier doesn’t know what he’s delivering. Here it is just opened – have a peek!

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When I opened the box fully layer by layer it seemed never ending! If you’re thinking of trying Diet Chef, I’d definitely make some room in your kitchen as it can take over once fully unpacked!

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You can’t expect anything else though when you’re ordering an entire month’s worth of food to come at once. I was a bit worried about where on earth I was going to store it all once I saw how much there was, but I soon found two worktop baskets and a small shelf. Breakfast and snacks in baskets, then Lunch and dinners on the shelf. Yep, no fridge! All food can be stored at room temperature in a cool dry place, so shelves/cupboards/pantries are all perfect. Here’s a look at my storage solution

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BREAKFAST

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SNACKS

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LUNCH AND DINNER

I chose every single item myself from the huge food range online and will be enjoying meals such as porridge, cookies, crisps, soups, pasta pots, milkshakes, sausage and mash, casseroles, carbonara, paella, shepherds pie, lasagne, curry, popcorn, pretzels, Chinese…… the list goes on, and on!

Stay tuned to find out my starting weight, progress and meal photos. I can’t wait to start later this week. Bring it on Diet Chef!

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Merino Kids swaddle and gown review

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A few weeks ago a beautifully wrapped parcel arrived at First Time Mummy HQ from the lovely people at Merino Kids. It contained the Cocooi swaddle and gown bundle which I couldn’t wait to try! The swaddle came in the ‘Turtle Dove’ blue colour and the gown came in the ‘Banbury’ blue colour. Perfect for my little boy Austin to try out!

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swaddle

gown

gown

Ever since Austin was in hospital he has loved being swaddled. He has always been a very easy baby and sleeps lots, but his Moro reflex constantly wakes him up. The Moro reflex (also known as startle reflex) is an infantile reflex normally present in all infants/newborns as a response to a sudden loss of support, when the infant feels as if it is falling.

My main concern after leaving hospital and swaddling him at home was the heat. It was the middle of July and the Gro-Egg in our bedroom was reading 28.5 degrees! We had a large fan on at night times to make it feel cooler, but deciding what to dress Austin in was a constant worry. However, after chatting to the Merino Kids team, I found out that their special products made from Merino wool actually regulate the baby’s temperature, meaning they are kept cool in the heat and kept warm when it’s cold. For me and Austin in this heat it sounded like a miracle!

The clothing came in really attractive packaging, cute little branded muslin bags and also had fantastic instruction leaflets and care labels. After emailing Merino Kids to ask some questions, I was extremely impressed at their response. They could not have been more helpful, offering amazing advice, reassuring me about swaddling in the heat, sending links to video tutorials and offering to chat to me on Skype to show me the correct way to swaddle and to chat further. Amazing customer service!

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After talking to them I got to straight to it, wrapping Austin up in the beautiful turtle dove swaddle for a daytime nap. I set him down in the moses basket and within seconds he was sound asleep and had no disturbances from the startle reflex. He slept perfectly for the next 4 hours – I was sold!!

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Most importantly for me, was his temperature. The day we first tried the merino swaddle, our thermometer in the lounge read 27 degrees. To wrap him up in this way seemed insane, but the merino wool really did what it said on the tin. I tested Austin throughout his sleep and he didn’t once go above 37.5 degrees. I know the merino wool was what was regulating his temperature and keeping him stable as previously I had used blankets or muslins which caused his temperature to go to 38 degrees or above before I removed them.

I have used this swaddle every night since it arrived and I now can’t live without it! Two days ago I tried putting him down at night in a regular baby grow but he wouldn’t settle as his arms were loose. As soon as I wrapped him in the swaddle he fell asleep for the night. Perfect product or what!? The only downside is that I only have one of them – sometimes Austin is sick in his sleep at night and if lots of sick goes on the swaddle, it needs to be removed and washed. I need to get myself a second one for these situations pronto!!

Now for the gown…

The gown is made from the same material and can be worn underneath a sleeping bag during sleep times, or just as a mini outfit itself. I tend to use it during the day when Austin isn’t swaddled (I only swaddle him at night so that during the day his arms get to move around freely). As it’s been so hot, having a piece of merino wool clothing for the daytime is a life saver. He lies around in it happily – his legs are not restricted and he is still able to kick around inside the gown and all the while has a stable temperature. Once Austin is big enough to use a sleeping bag I plan to dress him in the gown and then put him in the sleeping bag. Here is Austin enjoying testing out the gown!

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Overall both products have been absolutely perfect, especially in the summer as it can be very easy to worry about newborns getting too hot. I also know that when winter arrives, they will be great for keeping him nice and warm too!

I cannot recommend them enough. I was too worried to continue swaddling due to it making Austin’s temperature rise, but now I have a merino one I have no worries at all. It means he can sleep soundly and it enables me to relax.

Click here to take a look at the Merino Kids website and the huge range of gorgeous products they sell.

I will very soon be reviewing their GoGo bag sleeping bag, so watch out for that post too – I’m certain it will be just as much of a hit in our house as the swaddle and gown have been. Austin can’t wait to try it!

My merino swaddle is amazing at keeping Austin sleeping peacefully for longer. However I have recently purchased a special baby sleeping pillow, which when combined with the swaddle means at 4 weeks old Austin now only wakes up once at night! To find out what my super newborn sleeping combo is, stay tuned for the pillow review soon!

Do you own any merino wool products, or have you tried Merino Kids?

 

*****If you can’t see where to leave comments, click on the heart at the top of the post. Thank you*****

 

*Merino Kids sent me these items for review purposes, but that in no way reflects my write up. Views are entirely my own.

Dylon machine dye review

At 32 weeks pregnant I’m starting to nest. As I was folding away clothes in the nursery this week, I noticed we have so many plain white baby bits and white just doesn’t do it for me when it comes to boring things like muslins and vests. I had a look on You Tube to see how easy it would be to dye them myself and it turns out, very!

I love dark colours, especially as we’re having a boy so off I went to Amazon and purchased Dylon machine dyes in Antique Grey and Navy Blue. I couldn’t wait to get colouring!

dylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye

Once they arrived, I took the instructions out of one of the boxes and read very carefully – I didn’t want to mess this up! I needed rubber gloves and salt – lots of salt.

dylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye

Luckily we already had a huge 1kg box from the cash and carry, so I weighed out 500g in a bowl and looked at the next step to continue.

 

  • Wash the items you plan to dye thoroughly – even if brand new to remove any residue (I did a 40 degree machine wash)dylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dyedylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye
  • Remove items from machine after washing and pour the packet of dye directly into the drum (not the detergent drawer)dylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye
  • Pour 500g salt into the drum, covering dye powderdylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye
  • Put damp, prewashed items in drum, unfoldeddylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye
  • Run a full 40 degree cotton cycle – NOT a short cycle, half load or pre rinse etc and watch the dye get to workdylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye
  • When that cycle has finished, leave clothes in machine, add detergent and run another full 40 degree cycle to remove excess dye
  • Remove items and put out to dry
  • Add more detergent to the empty machine and run another 40 degree cycle to fully clean your machinedylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye
  • Wait until dry and admire your items!dylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dyedylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dyedylon, diy, machine dye, muslins, dye your own muslins, dye baby clothes, washing machine, bosch, rubber gloves, navy blue dye, grey dye

Once I’d repeated these steps with both colours and saw just how easy it was, I have since ordered Intense Violet and Velvet Black (I love babies in black). I can’t wait to try them and see the result – I’m especially looking forward to bright violet muslins!!

These machine dyes really couldn’t be simpler and you don’t need to get your hands dirty whatsoever. The dye comes in a powder and the gloves are a precaution, I got no marks on them whatsoever. One day very soon I’m going to get a hand dye and see what fun I can have with that….I’m thinking of experimenting and trying my hand at tie dye!

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**I was not approached or paid by Dylon for this review. I purchased this product personally and chose to review it myself**

Family Fever

Bumbo floor seat cover review

bumbo, seat cover, baby, baby seat, review

 

This week I purchased a Bumbo floor seat from a local second hand selling site on Facebook. I decided to buy one from there after looking online and seeing that a brand new Bumbo would set us back around £25-£35, which I think is rather a lot for what it is! I know they’re great little seats, but in all honestly it’s just a bent bit of rubber with a brand name on and with everything else you have to buy for a baby, we’re starting to learn how much you can save by shopping around!

The second hand Bumbo was only £5 which made me wonder if it would be a bit battered since they usually seem to pop up on that selling site for around £12. I was right, but for £5 can I really complain?! The Bumbo had some superficial damage – some discolouration and a few tiny little holes on the outside. It was OK, but if it is going to sit out on show in my lounge I’d rather cover it as it looked a bit old and shabby. Off I went to Amazon in search of a Bumbo cover and luckily they exist! Only a few patterns available on that particular site, but I found a blue one with sea creatures on for £9.99. I pressed order and it arrived the next day – good old Amazon!

It took me a minute or two to work out which way the cover went on, what with all the bumpy bits on the seat but I got there in the end. The cover has elastic at the bottom and is made of a breathable fabric. I stretched it around the seat with a little difficulty and I must say, it wasn’t as tight and neat as I’d have liked. I would have hoped for the material itself to be much more elasticated so that it settled around the curves of the Bumbo snugly. Instead, when fitted the cover is a little baggy in places and it definitely doesn’t look as neat as it could. Still, it covers up the marks on mine and makes it look very pretty so I’m pleased!

bumbo, seat cover, baby, baby seat, review

To conclude, the Bumbo floor seat cover is a lovely colourful item which definitely brightens up a room. It is a really fantastic product for people in my situation who have an old stained/discoloured Bumbo that doesn’t look top notch on it’s own – it provides a great looking cover and no one would know it’s less than perfect underneath. For people with a perfect looking or brand new Bumbo, I’m not sure why they’d want this cover – maybe if they simply want to liven up their seat with a bright, funky pattern or maybe if they keep the seat in a conservatory and want to avoid discolouration from the sun. The Bumbo itself is made of a wipe-proof material meaning any water, milk or food wouldn’t stain, so no need for a cover for protection of spills. If for any of the reasons I’ve listed, or for your own reasons you’d like one then the cover is fab – just be prepared not to get a totally snug fit.

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Binky Linky

 

Free Prints – photo printing app review

It took me literally DAYS of google searching, review reading and app testing to finally find a perfect and cheap app for printing and delivering photos. I tried the Tesco app (good app but have to collect in store), Jessops (app is a mess and didn’t deliver what I wanted in any way), Snapfish (webiste version is great, app is hideous – doesn’t upload, crashes etc) Then, there it was – Free Prints!

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I’m someone that likes to keep things old fashioned (she says, writing her blog from her MacBook Air). Honestly though, I like writing with a pen and paper, talking to people face to face instead of texting etc. The main problem of mine is that everything is turning digital so quickly – mainly photographs.

When we were kids, my parents had a big basket full of photos in their paper/card envelopes, complete with negatives in the front pocket. I loved getting them all out every few months and spending hours on the carpet looking through pictures of all of us as babies, my parents as babies, trips we’d been on and family gatherings over the years. I hate that my kids will now have to look at photos of me and my husband, or themselves as babies through a computer screen, tapping buttons to get to the next one or watching some hideous slideshow. Unless you organise your photos into albums monthly, surely they’ll all get lost in the world of your Facebook newsfeed or in the mirky depths of your iPhoto library. I love the look of the old fashioned envelopes, and having the actual photos there to touch – in real life. I loved it as a child and hope my kids will love my photo collection too – it really will seem old fashioned to them in their digital era!

I wanted to find the simplest way of getting photos printed. Nothing fancy, just standard 6×4 but without having to trek to town and wait an hour. I searched for apps but they were all terrible. I then came across Freeprintsapp.com, downloaded it and it was a breeze. You can search through your phone library, Instagram account, Facebook albums and many more options. You simply tap the photos you want and it creates an album. If you accidentally shut the app everything is still saved. You can delete photos from the album quickly, change the sizes of the pictures and lots of other user friendly, easy and quick options. It’s such an easy app to learn and use and I highly reccommend it!

I have decided that since I take so many photos on my phone and especially with the baby coming along very soon, I don’t want to miss any photos being printed. I have used to app for the last few months and will continue to do so from now on. At the end of each month, I go on the app, quickly choose 30 or 40 photos taken since my last order and press send. My card details, address and all info are already stored from my first order, so a couple of taps and I’m finished. They arrive very quickly to my door in the post and I love opening them up and remembering which ones I picked to print. Free Prints also send you a slip that gives you the option of receiving a free larger 7×5 print free too, so I tend to look through my pack, decide which is best from that month, nip onto the website and get that one sent free.

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The best part of all is the price. You get up to 45 6×4 prints per month (up to 500 per year) absolutely free!!!!!! The only thing you pay for is postage which starts at £1.49 and is never more than £3.99. Other than that, charges only apply if you want larger sized prints, or multiple copies of the same photo. I’m not bothered by those options, so I get 45 6×4 prints delivered to me each month for £3.99 max.

I think that’s pretty cool and I’m very excited to be building up a big photo basket just like the one my parents had, for my children to look through when they’re older. I can already imagine them laughing at mummy’s clothes or daddy’s haircut all the way back in 2014.

I was not approached or paid by Free Prints to write this review, it was my decision and all views are my own.

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