Friday 28 June 2019

Review of the GroClock

Since the clocks sprung forward we've really battled with getting the boys to stay in bed until a reasonable hour of the morning. After speaking to a couple of friends, I was recommended the 'Gro Clock'. We've had their Egg and Bags since the boys came out of special care, so I was already aware of the brand and a lover.

It’s a simple concept, of the owl image showing blue when it’s sleep time and yellow when it’s tome to get up. Of course you set the times that work for you and your family.

We've had it for 4 weeks now. It took them about 3 days to get used to it, and then it really clicked. Then we had them poorly for a week, and then we were away on holiday for a week, so we've had to readjust since getting back. 

Overall I think it's brilliant. It’s fairly priced too. It's so funny how 6.55AM and 7:05AM can make such a mental difference. At the beginning the boys were getting up at 5am, and now we’re at 7am. I now just need to find a product that keeps them asleep during the night now!

We were kindly gifted this product in return for an honest review. My views are my own.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Legoland Review

At the beginning of the year my mother in law had saved up vouchers from the times newspaper. It meant that we could go online and gain tickets for £10 each. We had to select a date then and there. Of course, as soon as we set a date for anything, something goes wrong.  Of course both myself and Harry had tonsillitis. He was battling a fever and was crazy tired. The evening before Gav had tried to message and call them, but it was past working hours. Everyone we spoke to thought we’d have no trouble moving it. Unfortunately when we finally got to speak to someone 10am the following day they said we’d need to pay a transfer fee of £15 per ticket. Obviously that made no sense paying more than the ticket price, and knowing our luck we’d have issues on the next date. 

We decided that even if we went for an hour, and Ollie and Gav could do stuff we’d try it. We had an emergency doctors appointment for Harry at 10.40, so we didn’t even get to the park until afternoon. 

Firstly it’s £7 to park the car 😳 then we walked in and walked the park anti-clockwise. We got on the spider spin, and then walked to dragons apprentice, knights quest, pirate falls, Lego ninja.. all were closed for maintenance.  Thankfully the next one wasn’t closed otherwise we were on the brink of a full on toddler and mummy breakdown. Unfortunately it seemed quite the theme of the day. The rain didn’t start until around 3pm so it wasn’t for weather reasons either.

Harry was an Angel. We knew he was poorly when he chose to stay in his buggy 🙁 He did get out at the rides, and was carried on and off. They had a good time on the things we could do. 

My favourite was the Atlantis Submarine. We got the pod to ourselves, and honestly I was expecting it to be screens. Gavin’s favourite was the coastguard HQ, and the boys adored the 3-5 L-Drivers. I think Gav and I were stunned that they did it. 

Between the weather, feeling poorly and a lot of the rides being closed I came away feeling ripped off. If I had of spent £50 per person I would have gone mental! Maybe one day we will return to check out the rides that weren’t accessible, but I’d certainly be looking for vouchers! 

Check out our vlog of the day...

Thank you for reading ❤️

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 have 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 🎉

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!