bravado maternity nursing bra

I definitely didn’t look after my boobs during my first pregnancy or whilst nursing. I continued to wear the same old underwired bras I’d always worn and just stuffed them in as best I could. Not ideal. As I have been through each pregnancy and nursing journey I have definitely come to appreciate my boobs. They might not be in the best state now but it’s what I have and I like to make them look the best they can as well as being comfortable at the same time.

I came across a post on Facebook the other day where a group of women were all discussing how pregnancy and breastfeeding had ravaged their boobs and they had been left with flaps of skin or ‘pancakes’ where they used to have perky D cups! It was actually quite sad to read.

Now, during my pregnancies I have tried pretty much every maternity and nursing bra out there but the one I’m currently wearing is a real game changer. It’s from Bravado Designs, I’m sure you’ve heard of them, and it’s the Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra. I have the bra in the limited edition shade ‘Dove Heather’ and have been wearing it for three days straight (I did take it off for bed)! I really don’t want to have to put it in the wash as it’s so unbelievably comfortable and soft against the skin I know it will make my other bras feel like torture devices. The Silver Breeze™ technology prevents the growth of odour-causing bacteria thus keeping the bra fresh and odour-free.

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It has all the usual features of a maternity and nursing bra; for example it has the easy to use nursing clips on the shoulder straps for easy nursing but it also has extra features which I think make it a cut above the rest.

bravado designs nursing bra

For example, the back of the bra has a multitude of clips and fastening which you can adjust throughout your pregnancy and breastfeeding journey and the back strap is lovely and wide for extra support. I love the elasticated band; it’s deep and provides enough elasticity to feel supportive yet comfortable. The bra itself also comes with a conversion kit to convert the bra to a regular bra once your nursing days are over or you can opt to have the straps in a criss cross formation – ideal for all you gym bunnies and yoga fanatics.

And, as you might be able to see, it’s not underwired but it doesn’t leave your boobs as a trip hazard. The bra uses the patented Silverbreeze™ technology to support low impact activity such as yoga or pilates or, if you’re more like me, shopping and getting your nails done. It provides a lovely shape even for my spaniels ears.

bravado designs nursing bra

Adjusting to being a mum to a newborn is hard enough already – give yourself one less thing to worry about and opt for the multi award winning Bravado Designs to keep you comfortable and secure throughout your pregnancy and nursing days. Check out the website as not only is it full of lovely products and images but it has useful information too such as how to fit yourself for a nursing bra.

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sleep tight all night unicorn review

That’s what we all want our kids to do isn’t it? To sleep tight all night? Over the last fortnight we’ve been using the Sleep Tight All Night Unicorn from Golder Bear and it’s really been helping Florence (aged four) to not only get settled and ready for sleep but also showing her when it’s time to get up.

The Sleep Tight All Night characters are currently being hailed as the solution to a good nights sleep – the Holy Grail of parenthood right? As soon as the unicorn arrived Florence befriended it as a soft toy, like every other person on the planet she’s unicorn made right now and is even planning to take it abroad when we go on holiday in a fortnights time. With a squeeze of the tummy the unicorn churns out lots of fun and cute phrases which made Florence smile.

sleep tight all night unicorn review

Inside each character is the Sleep Tight All Night ‘module’ which is so easy to use even Florence sets it herself before bed now. It’s easy to remove and reinsert and stays in place all night. The module provides the soothing sounds and lights which aid sleep. At bedtime we remove the module and Florence sets how many hours she will sleep for, currently it’s 11.  You have the option of leaving on the soothing sounds or turning them off and then you can place the module into ‘lock’ mode so even with the tightest of cuddles in the night the module will remain set. The light on the module (inside the unicorns tummy) glows red for a short time indicating it is time to sleep.

If Florence were to wake during the night and press the unicorn she would see it is still red and this would be a clear sign it is time to sleep. However, once the time set has elapsed the module will glow a soft green indicating it is time to get up and go! As Florence is still unable to tell the time it’s much easier than looking at her clock. We do have other sleep aids for Florence but this one is by far the least complicated and cutest!

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There are other characters available including Iggle Piggle, a puppy and a teddy. From A/W 2017 you will also be able to get your hands on Batman and a dinosaur. The age range for this, I would say, is pretty wide. I wish we’d had one of these when Florence was around 2 years old as we had a few really difficult months of getting her to stay in her bed. I can also see Florence using it for at least another year or two or until she can tell the time with ease.

 

 

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butlins minehead review

Earlier in 2016 we were delighted to be chosen as Butlins Ambassadors. Neither Matt nor I have ever been to Butlins and, for some reason, we both assumed it wouldn’t really be our kind of holiday. When the kids found out we were visiting for February half term they were absolutely thrilled; they’d seen the adverts on TV and were counting down how many sleeps we had left!

We stayed at Butlins Minehead for three nights from Friday-Monday. It’s a fairly short drive from where we live in Gloucestershire which was ideal with three small people in tow. The weather upon arrival, and for the whole weekend, was pretty glorious!

Instead of describing our trip in a chronological order I’ll break it down into the key areas to ensure you get a clear picture of our break and to try and stop myself rambling!

Check-in & Accommodation
We arrived at Butlins Minehead around 3:15pm and were immediately directed to the West Lakes Village Reception at the back of the resort. Our booking included a stay in one of the West Lake Village chalets and we were excited to see what they were like in real life as they looked stunning online.

We parked the car and headed into Reception to check-in. We were greeted by a very friendly lady who provided us with our chalet key, resort information also explained that the kids could hire scooters for the entire weekend or just for a few hours – what a great idea on such a large complex. Scooter hire is available up to the age of 6 (approximately).

We drove to our parking space outside our chalet – there was plenty of parking, specifically for the West Lake Village residents, and walking distance to each chalet was minimal. The first thing that struck us was how peaceful it seemed, we hadn’t seen another soul and you couldn’t hear anything other than the occasional duck quacking. We entered the accommodation and were immediately blown away by how clean it was – it looked pristine, as if we were the first people to ever stay there. The chalet had three bedrooms; a double, a twin and a bunk bed. The lounge and kitchen are adjoined and opened on to a sizeable balcony over the lake. The sun was shining and it was just stunning.

butlins minehead review

The cot was already set up for Elsie which meant one thing less for us to worry about. There were also two small packs of toiletries in the bathrooms, a clean tea towel, mini washing up liquid and three dishwasher tablets. The kitchen was well equipped with a microwave, dishwasher, fridge/freezer and kettle with complimentary tea and coffee. You can see a tour of our chalet on my You Tube channel.

butlins minehead review

The maid came in daily to make the beds, clean the floors, refresh any towels which were dirty and tidy up – they even did any washing up left by the sink. It was lovely to come home to a clean chalet each day.

butlins minehead review

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Food
Our holiday came with a premium dining package which meant we had the choice of two buffet restaurants on site for morning and evening meals; The Deck and The Yacht Club.

Lunch was not included although there are plenty of establishments on site to buy food.

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Finnigans chippy was a great spot for lunch!

After we’d settled into our chalet and found our bearings on site we headed for the restaurants. We chose to eat in The Yacht Club the first evening and I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. Although we had the choice of where to sit we inadvertently sat under a large, loud air conditioning unit which made it difficult to hold a conversation over dinner. The decor was lacking and certainly didn’t feel premium upon first impressions.

The table was clean and laid up ready for diners, there were plenty of high chairs available but sadly, after asking for a pouch of food for Elsie the best they could offer me was one aged for babies 4+ months. Well, Elsie was almost nine months and so I popped to the other restaurant just next door and was able to get a pouch nearer her age range. We ended up making do with suitable finger/soft food from the buffet for the remainder of the trip. The facilities for those travelling with babies however are, on the whole, good.  A microwave, disposable bibs and plastic cutlery and crockery are all available freely.

butlins minehead review

Matt and I both had fish and chips and I would say it was average at best. Matt did make a comment along the lines of “how many days have those chips been sat there?” as they were a little shrivelled and cold but the fish was lovely and chunky with a crispy batter. The kids were happy with the never-ending ice-cream and the puddings looked pretty good although I was far too full to try any. Whilst Matt and I finished our meal the two older kids played outside the restaurant on the climbing frame which as viewable from our table.

Breakfast was much more along the lines of what I had hoped for. We chose to eat in The Deck Restaurant and it was decorated in a more modern style and the buffet selection was larger. The breakfast was one of the highlights of our break – it was delicious. The hot selection was of great quality and there was plenty of fresh fruit, pastries, cereal and yogurt – I’ve never seen the kids eat so much breakfast!

I have to say the remainder of the meals from The Deck restaurant were lovely; there were themed nights such as Indian and Italian as well as an ice cream station on the last night which was basically a kids dream; a whole array of sprinkles and sauces and you can visit as many times as you like!

butlins minehead review

butlins minehead review

So, what is there to do?

Well, just about everything you can think of! The fairground was a firm favourite with us – the kids loved being able to go on rides time and time again with only a few minutes wait for each. There are height restrictions for most of the rides so an adult will need to accompany the younger guests but, to be honest, I think Matt enjoyed the rides just as much as the kids!

butlins minehead review

We also spent a good deal of time playing in the arcades; we all enjoyed a go on the 2p machines and it was exciting for the kids to exchange the tickets we had won at the end of our stay.

As the weather was so fantastic we made good use of the outdoor facilities including hiring a family bike and using the adventure playgrounds. One of the playgrounds was a particular favourite as it was located so close to the pub – everyone’s happy!

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Of course, you can’t come to Butlins and not visit the Splash water world! Now, I’m not the biggest fan of indoor pools they take me right back to my school days but I was pleasantly surprised. There were plenty of changing rooms available although I’d have like to of seen more family changing rooms as it was a little difficult trying to get five people dried and dressed when split between three changing rooms! There are high chairs and change mats available for babies which helped us be a little more hands free to help Logan and Flo get dried and dressed.

The pool area itself was clean and large. The kids had a blast and loved floating around the lazy river. Elsie was able to go almost everywhere in her swim ring which made for a lovely, inclusive family experience.

During the evenings we were able to relax whilst the kids watched one of the many shows put on by the fantastic entertainment teams. The first night we watched The Wizard of Oz, the next evening was a show produced by Justin Fletcher and the final evening was an adaption of Dick Whittington. The kids were engrossed in all the shows and sat right at the front. With the redcoats keeping an eye on them we felt comfortable sitting a little further back and enjoying a drink.

butlins minehead reviewOn Sunday morning we found our seats in the Skyline Pavillion to watch the Teletubbies show. Once again the kids sat at the front and Elsie sat with us – she was absolutely loving it and even did her first ever wave at the Teletubbies! It was the cutest thing!

If we’d have had another day we could have taken the kids bowling, go karting or on the zip wire. There were also lots of indoor activities such as crafting or learning to play the drums but as the weather was so great we made the most of it! There really is plenty to do come rain or shine!

butlins minehead review

Service & facilities

There really isn’t any need to leave Butlins during your stay. The site has numerous food outlets and shops to buy everyday essentials and the swimming pool stocks all the things you might need for yourself or the kids e.g. swim nappies, swimming costumes and float aids. There are cash machines on site if required which charge £1.25 per withdrawal, however, I do believe that cash back is available on site if you spend over £5.

In terms of facilities for babies I was really impressed. Baby food is readily available in the restaurants and we also found a microwave, bottle warmer and more baby food available in Bar Rosso in the Skyline Pavillion. Butlins really have tried to make it as easy for parents as possible.

We don’t tend to need baby change facilities as much nowadays as Elsie is getting a little older but I did stick my head in the baby change room in the ladies toilets located at the theatre and the facilities were spotless! I completely forgot to ask Matt to see if the gents had one too.

butlins minehead review

The staff we came into contact with her certainly a credit to Butlins. They were friendly, helpful and in good supply! There was always someone to help you out if you were lost, or keep your kids entertained whilst you waited for a show to start. One member of staff which really made us smile was the restaurant greeter at The Deck and Yacht Club – we didn’t catch his name but he made the kids laugh every morning. The staff in the restaurant itself made an effort to chat and keep the tables clear.

The buffets in the restaurants were always clean and tidy and everything felt hygienic and as clean as I would expect it to be.

Overall experience

Matt and I both agreed that Butlins far exceeded our expectations; from the accommodation to the facilities and food. There’s no denying that we all laughed from beginning to end and were completely exhausted when the time came to check out but this wouldn’t be a real review if I didn’t mention the few items which I felt could have been improved upon.

A few things I’d like to see improved are; the quality of the decor and atmosphere in The Yacht Club (it needs to feel premium if people are paying extra for it), the quantity of family changing facilities in the Splash centre and a mirror provided in the en-suite bathroom of the chalet.

In an ideal world Butlins could introduce some kind of cashless system whereby extra meals or purchases on site are charged back to your room.

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Butlins for choosing us ambassadors. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Butlins Minehead – it was the total opposite to what we expected and provided us with much needed family time. I’d recommend it in an instant and would love to see how Bognor Regis and Skegness compare!

If you’ve been to Butlins let me know what you thought in the comments below!

 

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Most people begin blogging as a bit of a hobby, a way to document their life or perhaps share something they have experienced. I’m not quite sure why I started.  Work was pretty stressful at the time and with two young children I felt like I needed a release; somewhere that was just mine.

I never envisaged my blog would have grown in the way it has and it has certainly opened my eyes to what’s possible from blogging. I remember, a few months after I started blogging, I came across various social groups online and realised people were making decent money from blogging. It was a total revelation to me.

There’s no denying it’s hard to get yourself out there; you spend hours online and your friends and family might think you’ve turned into a social recluse. After a few years slogging away at this myself my best advice would be to listen to the professionals.  They know their stuff and they’ve done the hard work for you.  Have a read of Blogging Your Way To Riches – a recent release from two ladies who have collaborated to bring you everything you need to know about blogging from pitching and pricing to content and marketing. Even if you’re not a newbie blogger, this book will help you refocus and evaluate what is and isn’t worth the worry when it comes to your blog.

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I find this book, and it’s authors, very relatable. Both Emma and Lynn are mum’s just like me – they’re normal people who had day jobs in accountancy and teaching. However, blogging is now their full time career and they’ve stared the highs and lows of their experience in the book.

It’s very easy, when you first start out blogging, to undersell yourself as inexperienced compared to others but as Lynn notes in the book; this is one of the biggest lessons she has learnt along her journey. Great content is worth something whether you’ve been blogging for two weeks or two years. And, if you have been blogging for two years and already earn from your blog there’s always room for improvement! I guarantee Lynn and Emma will improve your blogging game no end.

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Last weekend we were invited* to visit the ‘Enchanted Christmas’ event at Westonbirt Arboretum and it sounded like just the thing to get us all in the festive spirit. We booked a 6-7pm slot and headed off on Saturday night wrapped up in our scarves and bobble hats. It made a nice change to do something out of the ordinary and the kids were excited to be going out instead of getting ready for bed. Just getting cosy in our winter gear felt festive!

The drive to the arboretum was lovely, Tetbury in particular was stunning. We couldn’t miss the arboretum entrance as the trees were illuminated in beautiful, bright colours. The clear skies that evening made it even more spectacular. The kids were fascinated and Florence loved the ‘sparkly’ tree in the car park. At this point I was thankful for my wellies as we were parked on a field and I should imagine, come the final weekend, it will be rather muddy so consider yourself warned!

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It soon became apparent that the event was extremely popular which made me even more excited to get inside and see what all the fuss was about. As the event is ticketed and time slots are booked for each evening the ticket processing was quick and we were soon on our way through a large marquee which housed a hog roast (the smell was amazing), hot chocolate, mulled wine, burgers and sweeties! It was lovely and the steam from the food billowed through the air whilst Christmas carols could be heard in the distance.

The kids spied a carousel and we promised them a go once we’d walked through the illuminated trail. I guess we bribed them! Initially the trail was very busy and it was a job to see the kids amongst all the people. I was probably annoying everyone as I stopped at almost every single tree to take a photo. Each one was stunning in its own way. Some were lit from the ground, some were lit from various other angles, some had disco balls hung inside them and some had lanterns or projections cast across them. The kids favourite tree was ‘disco tree’ which had a huge disco ball and bubbles falling from it.

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By the half way point we were ready for a short break. Elsie also needed a feed so we were pleased to see a few benches and we perched, under lanterns, enjoying the scenery.

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There were a few areas which are interactive such as a bike which, when pedalled, illuminated a large display of lights across the floor and also a pad which you jump on to clear the leaves on the screen in front of you. All of these sorts of things were a hit with the kids – you’ll just need to be prepared to wait your turn.

westonbirt arboretum

All in all the trail took about an hour for us to walk around (including a 15 minute break) and the kids must have enjoyed it as we didn’t have a single complaint of ‘tired legs’! The trail was suitable for our pram and I think Elsie enjoyed looking at all the colours as it was well past her bedtime and she was wide awake!

At the end of the trail the sound of Christmas carols comes back into ear shot and there are chestnuts roasting and arts and crafts for the children to take part in.

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We spent about two hours at the arboretum and we left feeling rather festive. I think if I were to go again I would buy some food there (we ate before leaving home) and use the opportunity to soak up more of the atmosphere.

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Enchanted Christmas runs from 25th November to 18th December and tickets can be booked via the website.

 

 

*We were invited to attend this event in exchange for a review.  All opinions of this event are my own.

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