I was ALL about the changing bag last time around, and had a few that I went through with Ethan; one that was a gift, then I loved the Yummy Mummy designs, then I looked for something bigger... what can i say, I love bags!

It's really important to find one that works for you. Whether you want something that's gender-neutral, so it suits whichever gender your baby turns out to be or both you and your partner are happy using it, or you want a changing bag that looks anything but, there's a lot of choice out there so you're bound to find something that works for you.

And until you do actually have the baby, you won't always know which one will work for you in practice, as I found out last time. I even shared my ideas for turning any bag into a changing bag.

This baby around, we actually have three changing bags. One came free with our Cosatto Giggle 2 bundle (a nice bonus, and it matches our travel system too), another is a messenger style bag that bubs likes, and the other is the Land multi-functional changing backpack. I came across it on Instagram and quickly headed to eBay as there's several shops you can buy it from for a bargain price (I believe I bought this one for around £24.99).


So, why do I think that this is perhaps the most clever baby changing bag ever?

Well, every single part of it is designed to make use of space, provide a pocket for everything and to help make your life easier.


Here's what I like about it...


  • It's a backpack - really handy for days out, especially if you have another child, and it won't weigh down on one shoulder the more you cram into it.
  • It comes in a wide range of colours and patterns, and has a wipe-clean finish.
  • The main section of the bag has a frame to it, so you can open up the top and it will hold in place, so you can have a good look inside.
  • The outer pouch has plenty of room for bottles, easily accessed.


  • On one side, there's a pouch for baby wipes, so you don't event have to get the wipes out of your bag to be able to use them.
  • There's a hidden pocket in the back, so you can put your phone or wallet inside and access this without digging through everything else.



  • On the back, at the bottom, there is a zip which allows you to get to something at the bottom of the bag without having to open it from the top - genius! 




Time will tell if we love this bag when we actually have baby and can use it out and about, but I do think it is super clever and would make trips out a bit easier and more organised.

This is where I bought mine from on eBay - may have to buy another print (or two), I just can't help myself...

See what was in my changing bag when Ethan was one year old, and again when he was two years old.



Every Christmas we promise ourselves that we will be organised and not leave all the present-buying till the last minute…

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Yet still, every Christmas most of us end up panicking two weeks before the big day when realisation hits that not a single present has been purchased.

Some people are a lot easier to buy for than others *cough* men *cough*... So it’s always useful to get as much Christmas gift inspiration as you can before you hit the shops.

Shopping during the festive period should be kept to a minimum. Try to make sure its an in-and-out kind of trip to avoid being trampled by frantic and flustered shoppers! Or even better, order online to save yourself any unnecessary stress.

If you’re a grandparent, a mum, a dad or one of the youngsters, buying for your family as a whole is an easy but effective way to kill not just two but a number of birds with one stone! There are plenty of gift ideas out there that all the family will love and be excited by...
Buying a pram is perhaps the most exciting purchase you can make as a parent-to-be, don’t you think? 

In the summer, we discovered that the car seat with our old travel system had been rendered unusable due to how much time we'd  been storing it, so I started looking into what’s available and working out which model offers what features etc. It was SO confusing! And the prices can steeply go up and up from brand to brand, add on to add on.


I’ve always liked the look of Cosatto and came across an amazing offer over the Bank Holiday weekend where we ended up getting the WHOLE BUNDLE for the Cosatto Giggle 2 exclusive Mothercare print (chassis, carry cot, pushchair seat with four reclining positions, reversible foot muff, car seat, raincover AND changing bag) for just £445 from Mothercare, whereas it should have been £644 - WITHOUT the car seat!

As this pregnancy comes to an end (and not knowing if it'll be my last), I thought I'd reflect on the things I will miss about being with child... and the things I really won't miss all that much at all!



Mobile phone bills can be a huge monthly expense. Smartphones are obviously important in today's world, but not if you are saddling yourself each month with a hefty bill, or even worse being one of the 500,00 people who are overpaying for their contracts!

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If you think you might be paying over the odds, you should know that there are ways you can lower it. Here are some useful tips...
So, I've made it to maternity leave! I am 39 plus 3 days pregnant today, and two days into maternity leave, so finding my groove whilst also spending every other minute wondering how much longer I have left...

I'm feeling good, baby seems to be very content, and if anything, getting even more active. I am seeing my midwife later so will find out which way they are facing and to check things are on track, then it's on with the waiting game.

I went into labour three days earlier than my due date with Ethan, then he was born two days earlier - so if this baby follows the same pattern, tomorrow could be the day...

Just madness.

Here's an update on how I have been doing since my 32 week pregnancy update...

How many weeks?

I'm 39 weeks plus 3 days pregnant now, so feel very much like a ticking time bomb and there's definitely going to be a baby here within the next two weeks...


Appointments so far?

With my last three midwife appointments, I ended up being referred to triage at our hospital, twice, as the midwife took three high blood pressure readings in a row and it's standard practice, to ensure nothing is wrong or there aren't signs of preclampsia to pick up on.

My last visit, three weeks ago, I was more prepared for having been referred before and then finding out that everything was ok. I went home first and packed some food and things, just to be on the safe side, and headed into a quiet ward at 7pm. Three hours later, I was home. I was taken care of by around six midwives in this time, as they weren't busy and were very attentive, and had bloods taken, a trace done on baby's heartbeat and several blood pressure readings; all of which came back fine. The only thing that was a concern was traces of ketones in my urine, which can be a sign of diabetes I believe. I'd had a busy day and didn't really eat well, or drink enough, so this could have been a cause - so they fed my up with sandwiches, tea, orange juice, fruit and yoghurt (I thought I was going to burst!) and took another sample to make sure the reading came down. And it did, which was a relief as I would have had to stay in overnight otherwise. All was well, and I was told to take better care of myself.

Noted!

Baby bump has measured right on the middle line each time and they have a nice strong heartbeat, so all indications show that they're doing what they should be doing. Let's hope it's the same when I see the midwife today!

How's baby?

Baby is almost fully grown now, anywhere from seven pounds by anyone's estimations, and according to my app, they're skin is getting nice and soft. The development stages are all pretty much complete, so it's just how long they want to stay in there for.

They really do like having a wriggle, and are still very predictable so I know when to expect their movements. In the evenings, they have a full on party in my tummy from around 7pm for one to three hours, with pronounced movements and jabs. Sometimes I think they're doing jumping jacks, other times a lump pops out near the top, to the right as I see it, which I think my be a foot.

They still get hiccups as least once a day and respond well to my voice.

How am I feeling?

I'm glad to be on maternity leave now. I was feeling heavy and the routine of school runs and work did take its toll some days. But I knew I had to keep on going, it's just my way, and now I can relax knowing we've made it to December, that lots of things have been sorted out and we are as prepared as we can be.

I have been continuing my pregnancy yoga, although had to miss a few over the past couple of weeks due to being away or not getting home in time, but the techniques have made a real difference, mentally probably as much as physically, and it's been nice to meet other expectant mums.

Every ache, twinge, cramp, movement etc. has me wondering. As I type this, I can feel a real pressure lower down. But when anything like this happens, it seems to pass quickly and I just think it's me being hyper aware of every little thing. Because there's no way of knowing how long we have to wait, everything I do every day has me wondering if it's the last time I will do it before baby comes - last time I paint my nails, last time I fill up the car at the petrol station, last time I drop Ethan off at school with a bump and not a baby... last blog post??

Any symptoms?

I get up at least twice in the night to go to the loo, and can be awake for a while before and after, but I think the pregnancy insomnia is starting to ease off.

Sitting in the armchair or on the sofa, in the evening in particular, can be really uncomfortable for me now - there's just nowhere for bump to go! Lying down is by far the most comfortable position for me, still using my pregnancy pillow and wedge to support bump and my back, and to keep my hips aligned.

Heartburn has come back, day and night, and I have one Rennie a day or so when it gets too much.

Around three weeks ago, I noticed that there were some stretchmarks on my tummy that were turning red, as my skin stretches even further. I also spotted about two weeks ago horizontal stretchmarks, red / purple in colour, at the top of my bump, as I look down. I think my skin hasn't got much more to give! My belly button is flat and I think the bump is getting lower, just under the weight of it all.

Thoughts, ideas and plans

The nursery is complete now. I went to see my parents last month, and whilst away, hubs freshened up the paint in the nursery and put the cot bed back together (we have a changing station that sits over it, so needed it to be set up, and the inside is proving a good space for us to store Christmas presents and the hospital bags).

Yes, the hospital bags are packed and the car seat is even in the car! Although, the bags have been packed for a few weeks, so much so I keep thinking of things to add so I might have to bring them in again to check and repack!!

We moved the wardrobe round in our room to make room for the Snuzpod 3, and this is all set up too in our room. I bought a cot organiser in grey to match on Amazon, which has more useful storage pockets than the Snuz version, and was half the price. There are now nappy supplies / caddies all over - in our room, the nursery, the lounge, the car - so we have all bases covered!

Baby's clothes are sorted in the cupboard, we've added some new decorations to the nursery, we've bought the last few things like a baby bath and a birthing ball, so we really do just need a baby now.

And that is the strangest thing. I cannot get my head around the fact that we will be a family of four soon, possibly really soon. I can't imagine what they look like, how they will feel, what it will be like.

Ethan is very excited, still. He hugs bump, talks to baby and seems to be excited for their arrival. He's very affectionate and tries to help me too, offering a hand when I try to get out of a chair. It's going to be an adjustment for everyone and who knows how Ethan will really feel when baby arrives, but we are as prepared as we can be and with the Christmas holidays coming up, we should have a bit of time to adjust to baby, whilst Ethan is still at school, and then quality time all together over the break, to get used to our new family unit.

The Christmas decorations are up so I am looking forward to a festive family hibernation period when baby does decide to come. I am in no hurry but I am also so curious too. Torn between wanting to soak up these days, as it could be my last pregnancy and I do love having my bump, and then dreaming of what our bundle will be like.

Somebody pinch me - it doesn't feel real at all.




We have lived in our house for over 12 years now and there's lots we have changed in that time, but a fair few things that we haven't - including the old fashioned brass numbers on our porch door! The front door and porch is the first thing you see when you come to our home and it's important to make the right impression.

We had the opportunity to review a customised house sign, courtesy of UK Sign Shop, and I loved the idea of adding a special touch to our home.

There's a large range of house sign styles and materials to choose from, so it could actually take you a long time to make a decision! Hubs and I agreed that we liked the slate signs the most, but I still wanted a bit of a modern edge. I chose a rectangular design with a nice flourish / floral detail to it, then kept the font modern so it would be bold and clear to see from the street. It's the Bluebell Slate House Sign (£28.99) and features a deep engrave highlighted in silver, to combine the traditional slate material with a contemporary finish.


Way back in the day, I used to love NBA Jam on the SNES. Its super-fun, arcade pick up and play approach to basketball – a game not often seen in the UK back in the early 90s before the internet and cable TV – meant it was a firm favourite when friends came over and didn’t require in-depth knowledge of the rules of basketball to play – in fact, everything I know about the rules of basketball now started with NBA Jam. I put a hell of a lot of time into NBA Jam, less so for the sequel, and then didn’t play any basketball videogames for years and years.



Then, a few years ago, I bought myself NBA 2k13 in a Steam sale which, unbeknownst to me at the time, is far more of a basketball sim; I remember doing the tutorial which was so long that by the time I’d gotten to the end, I’d forgotten what it told me at the start. With no arcade alternative on the market, I gave up hope of ever playing something as fun as NBA Jam was.
Then, last year, 2K games released NBA Playgrounds. Immediately I was intrigued; cartoony basketball stars, more immediate, arcade gameplay and basic controls meant it sounded like it was right up my street. However, the game didn’t do so well critically, so I never took a chance on it.
Cut to today: I’ve been given the opportunity to review NBA Playgrounds 2 for Xbox One (or Xbox One X in my case) and I’m happy to say it totally scratches that NBA Jam itch.

*Updated* I've been making my list, and checking it twice, to bring you my round up of some of the best places in the Midlands to see the man in red this Christmas, 2018. Whether you call him Father Christmas, Santa or jolly ol' St Nick, this is one place you can find information on the best grottos in and around Birmingham and the West Midlands.


It's a tradition of mine, just like decorating the tree and singing Christmas songs, and this is my fourth bumper guide to where to see Father Christmas in the region. It takes time, but I love doing it and find that my past posts on grottos are some of my most popular - so I really hope it's useful.



This is going to be my BIGGEST SANTA GROTTO ROUND-UP YET, with new info and locations added as and when I have it. Now, some are so popular, they sell out long in advance, but I hope these links help you find out more and choose a fun festive day out for your family.

Enjoy, share and let me know if there's anywhere else I should be adding to my 'nice' list... 


I will keep this post updated with new events, and every attraction featured is based on my own research and no content has been sponsored.
Christmas is a time that sees the family coming together to spend quality time, eat, drink and be merry - and play games! It's tradition, isn't it? As Ethan starts to get into computer games - and to be honest, he's getting pretty good - we've been thinking about games we could play together this Christmas, from traditional games (like Guess Who?, his current favourite) to computer games that all of us can play together.


I am not a gamer AT ALL, so my skill set and patience is quite limited and if I'm going to get involved, it's got to be something easy and fun to get into. Which is why I was keen to try out the new Carnival Games, as it's all about classic games you would see at a fair, from bowling to shooting targets. Just the kind of thing that you can dip into and anyone can pick up.

I think this is a fun and colourful game and something to have to hand to bring the family together over the Christmas break. As I say, I don't know a lot about games, so having something to dip into is all I am looking for, which is why I think this is worth a look.

To Become Dad, however, is a BIG gamer, so if you know your stuff and want to know the full ins and outs of the game, read on...

I’d like to say I’m good with money, but what I really mean is I’m good at spending it. I do have a good handle on my finances and have kept a really detailed budget sheet for many years that helps me log all the incomings and outgoings in a given month so I know where I stand. But I do like to squeeze every little bit out of my monthly salary and enjoy looking ahead so we can budget for holidays or special occasions or the next thing we are working towards in our house - or perhaps even preparing to have this baby of ours!

Because there’s always something, isn’t there?

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