Saturday, 22 June 2019

AD | Clothing from Cookie Dough Kids

We were kindly gifted these personalised tops from Cookie Dough Kids. They offer a huge selection of choices, but we chose the initials. 

The quality of the T-shirts are fab, and wash up really well.  

Go and check them out:

If you do order, be sure to use code: craigfamily for discount 

Thank you so much for reading. 

Make sure you subscribe! xxx

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

"Your babies having an eating disorder"

"Your babies having an eating disorder" ...Yes, that’s the words that the speech and language therapist said to me, when she carried out a home visit when the boys were 10 months old. 

I'm writing this post to reassure any parent that might be going through the same things we did. Whilst we were in the NICU the boys were in their words "sicky" but were adamant that they would be fine. A day before we were released, they removed their NG tubes and switched them to bottles. 

Of course when we got home and they were on monitors laying on their tummies things went from bad to worse. They were projectile vomiting EVERYWHERE. Going through 8 plus outfits each a day. Muslins everywhere. I was pumping like crazy to try and put back what was coming out, and they literally cried every minute of the day. They would sleep around 3 hours in every 24 (obviously not together)! It was utter hell. 

At 6 weeks old my mum knew Gav and I were at breaking point. She took them overnight with the outlook that she just wouldn't sleep. Of course I still set an alarm to pump, but it was glorious! I woke to an email from my mum deeply apologising. She wrote that she had no idea it was THAT bad. She explained that after having 3 children and being a childminder for many years, it wasn't normal. She couldn't believe that I had mentally and physically coped with them on my own whilst Gavin worked nights etc.

The idea started to be thrown around by the doctors that they had a milk allergy. At that point I decided to give up on expressing. I literally felt like I should cut of the middle men and throw my liquid gold on the floor, bed, sofa.... By the time I'd pumped, refrigerated it, cleaned and sterilised the machine, I'd need to feed one twin (which took 45 mins for 45mls, plus winding). Then I'd need to feed the second twin (another 45 mins plus winding). Then the process would start all over again. 

My health visitor was amazing, and she realised that we were struggling and continued doing home visits rather than sending us to the clinic. She advised that she was powerless with meds, and we needed to speak to a doctor. My mum came with me, and instead of listening to me he offered me antidepressants. I was furious! He then suggested they had a dairy allergy and gave us a prescription for Nutramigen.  My health visitor visited the following day to weigh the boys (they weren't gaining) and went crazy. She left and went straight down to my doctors surgery. She wanted them on Omeprazole ASAP. We got an appointment and we were given Gaviscon. It barely made a difference. Her next visit came around and she went crazy. She told us the only option we had would be to sit in A&E. I was desperate, so thats exactly what we did. They took bloods, and urine samples. They eventually prescribed Erythromycin, and sent us on our way. The health visitor came over and went bonkers. I didn't know, but it's antibiotics. She explained that premature babies are so susceptible to infection, that taking it when it wasn't necessary was ridiculous. She pushed for an expedited Paeds referral, which we got. She started the boys on a CMPA milk (Neonate), along Carobel. Carobel works like a thickener to keep the milk down.  Almost instantly we noticed an improvement. Of course I still didn't know what "normal" was, so they would still puke up, just not quite as much. 

When they were around 5 months I mentioned to the doctor that the colic symptoms still hadn't subsided, and nighttimes were horrendous. They prescribed us with Gaviscon again. Again we noticed not an improvement to their colic, but the sickness reduced a little more again, so continued using it. They wouldn't do tummy time, roll over etc, as they were clearly uncomfortable.

At 6 months we tried weaning. We thought that because purees were thicker than milk that the sick would stop, but instead it got so much worse. We were then advised to switch to BLW. They would hold a cucumber stick, and as soon as it touched their tongue, puke would be everywhere. I'd have to clearly carry the highchair tray to the sink and pour the sick away. At that point I started keeping a food diary. It became so frustrating. One spoonful of puree, and that plus the milk from the prior feed would come back up. 

We battled on for a couple more months, and the boys starting refusing food. At 9.5 months old I decided to mention it to them at clinic. Every health professional (except my health visitor) has made me feel like such a drama queen. One doctor said "you say projectile? Do you think they could hit my door 3 meters away?" Because they always suffered the same, everyone thought I was just not coping. This time I decided to imply Harry was worse. They sent round a speech therapist within a couple of days to review me. Yes ME! They thought I was showing my frustration and Harry was picking up on it. 

She arrived and almost instantly stood in one of the many wet puke marks on the floor. I obviously apologised, and pointed them all out to her to keep away from. She was really nice, and asked me to feed them. Checked for tongue ties etc. She then starting to quiz me. I completely unloaded on her. She then stopped writing and said those words "well your babies have eating disorders". I initially panicked. What had I done? But then she explained about learnt behaviours. She said that weaning products tend to be pureed apple, banana, tomato based. She then said, can you imagine eating something and within a short space of time bringing it back up? She said the acid alone would be enough to put you off. I'd obviously told her about the improvement with Carobel and Gaviscon, and she then proceeded to tell me that the level of sick she'd witnessed was not an improvement. I could only say from where we were, to that point it was better. She told me that she was going to get us referred back to Pads urgently. We were also allocated a nurse to carry out regular home visits for the boys sleeping issues etc. As I kept explaining over and over. They aren't awake because they want a cuddle. They didn't even open their eyes. They would scream in agony. Knees up, fists clenched. We'd have to try and get that trapped wind released, and comfort as much as we could. I took the decision to stop weaning until things were sorted. 

By fluke at 11 months we went to pick up their prescription of Gaviscon and there was a national shortage. I'd had a full meltdown with my parents. It was already bad enough with it. How would I cope without it? After calling everywhere in Hertfordshire, I contacted a GP. She was pretty shocked that we were on Gaviscon anyway, and said that it wasn't the 'usual mix' with Carobel. She told me to scrap both for now, and prescribed Ranitidine. When I got home, I googled it. Turns out that Gaviscon is also a thickener, so they were both doing it. They would've been creating HUGE tummy ache issues. Can you imagine wanting to be sick, and actually having two products keeping it down? 

Anyway RANITIDINE... IT WAS A MIRACLE DRUG. Day 2 of being on it... they only woke twice that night. Why hadn't we been given this before?  We then got the paeds referral through. I explained to him that the sickness had improved. He increased the dose, and organised allergy testing. 

At 13 months we began their weaning journey again. They were still having milk 8 times a day. We were dream feeding them at 10/11pm

Between 12 months - 20 months they seemed to pick up illness after illness. Chicken Pox, Rotavirus that lasted 12 weeks, ear infections leading to sepsis... It was bad. We have always said that they just weren't that interested in food.

At 28 months they both got very poorly, and Ollie began to look quite frail. I was genuinely quite concerned for him. His rib cage was horrible to look at. We changed our usual balanced approach for as full fat, calorie filled as possible. I started them with Angel Delight and Hot Chocolates, and went from there. I don't know what clicked, but then they started eating more. Now in the past we have joked, and after two days of good eating they would barely eat for a week. But this time they just kept on eating. 

They are still on Ranitidine and very much reliant on it. On Thursday 6th June Ollie Weighed 12kg and Harry Weighed 12.2kg. I know to most that's the weight of a child much younger, but for us its HUGE. LET THE EATING CONTINUE!

Anyway, to anyone who's battling with the "neurotic mum" label, please follow your gut and keep pushing. If I'd of pushed more, maybe we would have had a lot more sleep in that first year. 

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Our Bedroom - The Big Reveal (YAY)

After 4 months of being in our house our bedroom is finally complete and we have moved into it.

As mentioned previously we had to remove wood chip wallpaper, then had the whole room completely replastered, including covering the dreadful artex ceiling. 

The room only had two single plug sockets, so we had to get an electrician in to install new ones. It was a much bigger job than anticipated. The poor guy was here until very late!

We then painted everywhere, including the built in wardrobe and main door, so everything is a clean white look. 

We have gone for a feature grey wall behind our bed. It is a lot paler than we were expecting, but it'd fine. 

We got made to measure mirrored sliding door wardrobes from @spaceslide. They are a local company to ourselves. We only got the doors from them. Once they fitted them, Gavin and my dad shelves it out. It's better than I could've imagined. The 4 doors, plus fitting came to £1,500. It was going to be another £1,000-2,000 for shelves. We have managed to do it for less than £300. 

Our carpets are from Marshalswick Carpets. We got quotes from John Lewis and them, and they came out cheaper. The brand is "Cormar Carpets" in polypropylene, which is recommended for bedrooms. 

Our bed is also new from @bensonsforbedshq. It is the Atlas Ottoman in Oyster. We wanted a new bed as our old mattress was very old, and we only had a double. We wanted a kingsize with lots of storage. This bed offers that, plus a solid base. Therefore much more durable, as I didn't want to be fixing slats!

Our bedside tables are from Ikea. They are the Malm range at the bargain price of £30 each. On them are our bedside lamps, which are from Costco. I only have to touch the base to turn it on and off. 

We have a blackout blind at the window, especially as Gav often works nights. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

AD | Whipsnade Zoo

On Thursday we visited Whipsnade Zoo, and had the best time. We were super lucky with the weather, which was a relief after the forecast predictions. 

We arrived at 11am and parked in the main carpark. There is the option to drive inside for an additional cost, but I was happy to walk. 

We walked the park in a anticlockwise direction. The boys decided they didn't need the buggy, so we bravely left it in the car. It was a lot bigger than I had remembered as a child, and Gav's apple watch registered 15000 steps even before we left, so you can only imagine their tiny little legs.

You can watch our vlog of the day here:

As well as all the animals, they have a fantastic play park with a huge amount of activities suited for all ages. They also have a soft play, which in busy times you need to book. We were lucky to have visited on a weekday/ term time. 

There were plenty of eating establishments dotted around, with loads of picnic tables. We always tend to take a picnic on days out, to guarantee that the boys eat, and it saves us money too. 

We all had the most amazing day and seriously couldn't fault it!

This trip was kindly #gifted in return for an honest review.

Thank you for reading xxx

Saturday, 8 June 2019

We got approved πŸŽ‰

House Update:
As soon as we moved in, we got in contact with an architect to work with us to put our vision onto paper. If you have followed us for a while you’ll know that both our old house and new house are on the same estate. The estate sits under a covenants, meaning there are firm rules about changing the look of your property. Simple things like a loft conversion anywhere else would go through on permitted development, whereas we have to apply for full planning. Which we did on our previous house and got refused. After a long emotional battle we won it on appeal.

Due to our dramatic history I had been kind of dreading going through the whole process all over again, but in order to achieve our dream property, it was a step we needed to take.

We didn’t hang about. The drawings were tweaked a couple of times before quickly submitting. Our neighbours were contacted, and given the opportunity to raise their concerns, and signs were placed up for surrounding neighbours.

The 3 months have felt like a lifetime. We have been in a bit of a limbo not being able to get stuck in to certain tasks, before knowing the next. Our neighbours have been really supportive and excited for us, which was a huge relief.

Finally on Wednesday at around 5.30pm (after checking the online portal most of the day) the message changed to approved! We’re over the moon.. and a little shocked!

We now need to get structural drawings, but I thought I’d show a sneak peek of our plans...

The front of the house will be undergoing a BIG transformation. We are bricking up the existing open porch to the front, and adding a pitched roof to make it look aesthetically better. The existing garage area will become our future kitchen, and the new garage will be added to the side. The rear of the ground floor will add to our existing living room/ dining room area. I can't really picture the space in my head yet. Our existing kitchen will then become our utility room. 

The second floor will eventually become our master bedroom with ensuite. We are realistic enough to know that we are quite a way off of actually affording to do it. 

Our plan is to project manage the whole build. It will probably take us longer, but should save us some money! I hope you will continue to follow our journey. Be sure to subscribe to us :) 

 Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

The Craig's Visit... Shepreth Wildlife Park

Last Tuesday we visited Shepreth Wildlife Park. Now I’m not going to over egg it, it’s no Woburn, but it’s a good day out for parents with toddler age children.  There’s no glitz and glamour, but Ollie and Harry loved every minute!

Everything was accessible to them at their height. 

There’s a choice of two soft plays, a huge outside play area and sandpit. And obviously the animals. 

We went midweek in term time, and it was very quiet. There’s plenty of picnic benches scattered around the park. You can buy food on site, but we always tend to pack a picnic for days out. It ensures the boys definitely eat, and saves us a lot of money.

The gift shop at the end sold the boys favourite pick N mix, so we got sucked into buying 10 for £3.50 (which I don't think is too bad).

Monday, 27 May 2019

AD | Reviewing Footer Socks

*DISCLAIMER - if you don't like reading/seeing anything gross, stop reading now!*

Over the past couple of years I've seen exfoliating socks posts floating around social media, but the reviews have always been either absolutely amazing, or absolutely rubbish.

I have been embarrassed of my feet, particularly my heels, so was super excited to put the Footer Socks to the test. 

Firstly you have to sit with them on for an hour, so I did have to wait for the boys to be completely settled, so I could sit down risk free. 

I decided to use them as part of my Friday night pamper ritual. They have quite a strong medical type smell, and for about 5 minutes I felt my feet tingle and then nothing. 

After the hour was up I washed it off, and went to bed. The next day my feet just felt incredible dry. It's very important not to moisturise them as it can slow down the process. 

3 days passed and nothing. I have to be honest I was gutted, and cringing at the idea of having to write a bad review. Then Tuesday morning I was in the shower and I noticed a bubble form on one of my feet. By the afternoon more small bubbles were forming. After the disappointment on the Monday I had watched some youtube reviews, where people mentioned that they had made themselves sore by picking at them too early, so I kept my socks on overnight and hoped they would also catch any loose skins 😷. 

The next morning it was everything I had hoped. I was the most satisfying thing to do! I could literally pull off massive chunks. The boys were my typical commentary "oh no mummy! YUCK!"  I needed to share the satisfaction with all my family, so photos and videos were shared A LOT!

The complete process for me took two weeks. I love my baby soft feet, and it's something I'll try and do every other month. 

Although my item was gifted to me, in return for a review. Since sharing the photos/videos with my family, my mum, dad and sister have all purchased them through Amazon. Get yours here!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 6 May 2019

AD | GoBoat Day Out

Last Sunday we had a fantastic day out in London. We were kindly invited by Go Boat to experience their 2 hour self-drive powered boats. We were able to take up to 8 people, so we took along Nannie, Papa and Auntie Hannah (especially for extra hands on childrenπŸ˜‚). 

When we arrived the boys were fitted with a special baby size life jacket, and then we were given a tutorial of how to use the boat. Gav was the appointed captain. There are adult life jackets on board, if you so wish to wear one.

The experience is perfect for all ages. The boys really enjoyed pointing at everything along the way. You even see the warthog at London Zoo! 

There is a really handy placed M&S a stones throw away, meaning you don't have to lug a picnic around London beforehand. Even the Prosecco was only £8 per bottle #winning!

We were so lucky with the weather, but they do think of everything at Go Boat, and there were even umbrellas on board! I'm hoping we will visit again when the sun is shining, and sip Pimms rather than hot chocolate!

Thank you Go Boat for an amazing day! #gifted

Monday, 29 April 2019

Let’s talk nappies!

Over the past 2.5 years it’s safe to say we have tried pretty much every nappy on the market.

When the boys were born they were tiny! Unfortunately we had very little choice but to buy Pampers size 0. Once the boys started to gain weight we were able to move onto the supermarket equivalents. Initially I loved Aldi’s and were such great value for money. We tried Sainsbury’s which were so poor I actually returned them! And Asda and Tesco were a middle of the road option.

As time went on and the fog of twins began to lift I became much more concerned about the sheer amount that we personally were putting into landfill. I knew reusable nappies weren’t an option. I was struggling to function at the best of times, and the boys allergies, reflux and then the 4 month stint of the rota virus meant I’d never keep up.

I then trialled the Kit & Kin nappies by Emma Bunton. They were biodegradable and had such promise. They were more expensive, but would make me feel less guilty. My goodness the were rubbish! They didn’t really fit around the leg, they frequently leaked, and sticking my washing machine on 6 times a day probably was counter productive.

I decided that I had to return to my previous options. As the boys became toddlers, their already skinny bodies got skinnier and no longer got on with the Aldi nappies, which meant Pampers size 4’s have been our go to for a long while now!

UNTIL we were asked to review Mama Bamboo’s biodegradable nappies. In all honesty I really was hesitant to risk the boy’s bedding, so I started with them during the day and not in the car seat! They held up really well. Then I braved an overnight. It held up to 13 hours with no leaks! I was actually really sad when the pack finished... but half as gutted as the boys, who adored the panda on the front!

If you are looking for a guilt free alternative to reusable cloth nappies, give these a try! I’ve just had a browse on their website at the subscription options:

Disclaimer: some of the items mentioned above were #gifted to me, in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Bargain Easter Treats Haul

Check out our recent YouTube Vid for some Easter Basket inspiration. ..

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Daddy Makes A Mud Kitchen

Gav and I have been joking around about making one of these for a while. To be honest I didn't think he was remotely capable πŸ˜‚
With all the deliveries we have had recently, we had a few spare palettes hanging around, so he thought it was worth a go!

He started off by cutting one in half. One side would be the kitchen top, and then other was separated into pieces to fill in the gaps.

Then the 4 cut off supports he used as legs. 

He then used a jigsaw to cut out spaces for the sinks. Yes plural! We knew the arguments would be too much otherwise πŸ™„

He was concerned that the wood would give them splinters, so he gave  every surface a good sand. 

Then he thought he would add on a few extras. Handles for knobs. A couple of switches, and some thin slices of a tree stump we had recently cut down. He then personalised it with their names πŸ˜€

I can't believe how amazing it looks! I'm so proud of him. This took him 2-3 hours to create, and the only things we brought were washing up bowls. I can't believe people charge £200+ for these! I love that they can say "my daddy made that!" (When they eventually talk😝)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 30 March 2019

AD | Our Favourite Family Meal

Meat is a huge part of our diet. Each day we try to vary the type of meat we use in our evening meal. A simple Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm favourite in our house. My basic recipe doesn't tend to vary, but I try to use recipes that can be flexible to throw in other bits to prevent any food waste.

Spaghetti Bolognese

5% fat Beef Mince - (Tesco 750g £3.79 / half pack used)
1 can of chopped tomatoes - (Tesco 28p)
1 tbsp Tomato Puree - (Tesco 50p)
1 heaped tsp of garlic paste - (Tesco £1 per jar)
Schwartz mix - (Tesco 50p)
Dried Spaghetti - (Tesco 20p)

1 Carrot (grated) - (Tesco 6p)
6 Mushrooms (sliced) - (Tesco 95p per pack)
1 Onion (chopped) - (Tesco 10p)

Cheddar (grated) to serve!

All that for less than a fiver 😊

Did you know?
Beef provides eight essential vitamins and minerals that support good health and well-being (Niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, plus iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus). It is so important to me that I'm providing my children with a nutritional balanced diet.

This post is an entry for the #MeatMatters Challenge, sponsored by Simply Beef and Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of cooking and eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here!

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Our Potty Training Journey (Phase 1)

I've been apprehensive to start potty training too early, as many moons ago I worked in a day nursery. Parents had been known to try and potty train their children way too early, and then the child would end up getting so disheartened by the continuous outfit changes and negative comments, that they would end up being fully potty trained much later than the other children. The boys will be starting nursery in September, so I know by then they'll need to be dry in the day. 

In preparation I'd done a little research online, and it's recommended that you introduce the potty to your child for a while before, to ensure that they aren't alarmed by something new. Maybe just leave in the bathroom, or their play area. 

We brought the BabyBjorn pictured below, and placed it in our bathroom. To our surprise the boys were instantly intrigued by it, and wanted to try it out. We placed Ollie on and he did a wee. It was tiny, and probably a fluke, but my goodness he was proud of himself. This instantly ignited the competitiveness in Harry, and he pulled off the same the following day. 
They began squabbling over who would sit on it, so we brought another in blue. We'd ask the boys morning and night whether they fancy trying. We quickly realised that we needed a physical reward, so we introduced skittles (sweets)! One wee, equals one skittle. Within a couple of days the boys were able to squeeze one (or multiple) out to order. Then to our surprise Ollie squeezed out a HUGE poo. We knew that needed more than a skittle, so the rule now is a poo gets you a Chocolate Coin. 

We have been kindly gifted some wipes from Kandoo that are flushable. The boys love pushing the button, and pulling out a wipe.  I would highly recommend as it makes the whole process exciting. 

We have also been kindly gifted a reward chart from Sally @totsup which the boys adore. We have been using this for more than just potty training.  

I can't believe how many photos I have on my phone of wees and poos, but I'm just so super proud. They issue we have is that they don't have the communication skills to ask, so we have to continually nag them to use the potty. We haven't braved outside the house yet, but it's definitely steps in the right direction. Watch this space!

Monday, 25 March 2019

AD | What's in my changing bag (grab bag)?

This is our grab bag within our Onco changing bag. Bepanthen has been an essential in my changing bag from day one. I was bought a tube as a part of a brilliant maternity leave hamper my colleagues put together. The mummy's told me it would be my most loved item. Pre-motherhood I wasn’t sure, but now I know exactly what they mean. We pop a little on at most nappy changes, and every night after their bath and they thankfully don't seem to get nappy rash. 

Here's my beautiful hamper πŸ’™πŸ’™

This post is an entry for the #BepanthenProtects Challenge, sponsored by Bepanthen. Learn more about how to protect baby’s sensitive skin on 

Disclaimer: Bag, nappies, wipes and cream were all gifted to me, but the opinions are all my own.  

Saturday, 9 March 2019

House Reno - Our Bedroom

This is our 'soon to be' master bedroom. Whilst that is being done, we are sleeping in the soon to be boys room. 

The walls were covered in wood chip wallpaper, and Artex on the ceiling. 

We ripped off the skirting, as we will be replacing with a slightly taller version. 
After removing all the wood chip *sorry, many, many, many hours removing wood chip*, we got  a plasterer in to skim the walls and ceilings. 

Plug switches are few and far between in this house. We got an electrician in to add a few more either side of the bed, and some where out television will be going. 

We have painted the walls and ceilings. We now need to rub down and paint the door, built in wardrobes and window sill gloss white. 

We also need to order carpets, and built in wardrobes. 

We have ordered a new bed, which is due for delivery in April. 

I'm super excited to get our space right.. but as soon as we have finished that room, it means its the boys room to do next! 😱AND MORE WOOD CHIP!

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

House Reno - The Back Garden

The garden has to be one of the areas that went through the most significant change over the first couple of weeks of moving in. 

When we moved in that garden hadn't been touched for years. I think the mower had been thrown around for the viewing back in September, but that was it.
It was heavily over grown with an empty pond. After removing a lot go trees and shrubbery, we realised that it was in fact two ponds, connected by a waterfall.

It had a greenhouse, that we listed on Facebook and someone came and dismantled and took away for free. 

All our family mucked in with cutting back. We had to purchase an incinerator to keep up with the sheer amount of garden waste we were creating daily. 

Although we haven't quite dug out all the stumps yet, the boys have so much more space to play already.

Last week we got the patio doors replaced. They were really old, and I really struggled to open them. We now have beautiful white uPVC sliding doors, and I'm so happy with them!
The garden is on a gradient, which we would like to flatten as best as we can. We have taken advice and it seems the best way is to first remove a large amount of soil, and then create different levels.

Long term, we ideally want to create a larger patio area. Raised flower beds around the outside edge. Then astroturf the lawn, so the boys can play outside all year round. I've also heard that you can hoover it. If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know in the summer I frequently vacuum my patio, so why not the whole garden. But for now that's all a dream!