Thursday, 20 September 2012

Memory Quilt.

It's been a while since I last blogged; but whilst getting Riley's room ready to share with his baby sister, I came across this and decided to start sharing again ...

Riley's finished memory quilt.

This is a memory quilt that I had made using some of the clothes from Riley's first year; the ones that weren't so special I didn't want cut up but also ones that I didn't want to give away or chuck out. I would have loved to have made a quilt myself like this but my impatience, I wanted to get one made as soon as possible, and fear of destroying the baby clothes led me to ask about on a Facebook page called Crafty Bums and Lisa from Monkey Sew Monkey Do got back to me; Lisa makes absolutely beautiful quilts so I had no doubt that, although mine was the first memory quilt she was to make, it would be brilliant like the others she makes. 

Lisa was in contact with me every step of the way, telling me her ideas, asking for any input I might have and updating her page with the photographic progress of my quilt. What I absolutely LOVE about this quilt is that unlike others I have seen, Lisa isn't simply cutting the clothes out and patching them together, she cuts little characters from the clothing and appliques them on to the quilt and adds her own decorative touches, such as cutting Riley's name out of his clothes for the quilt. There is so much more thought and care put in to the making of the quilt and this really shows in the quality of the finished product. In fact, the quilt is so brilliant that it is sadly stored away as I don't want Riley ruining it - however by blogging about his memory quilt, I now get to share it with everyone!! 

 This patch is made up of 3 different babygrows and the character and kite have been cut out from another outfit and appliqued on to the quilt.

Riley's name cut and stitched on to the quilt with the addition of buttons from another item of clothing sent. 

Prices begin from £100 for cotbed size quilts (this is the size Riley has) and includes postage costs and any extra materials added to your quilt, the sashing for example.  

These are the clothes that I sent off to Lisa at Monkey Sew Monkey Do.

... And this is what she did with them!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

1st birthday party planning ...

Riley's 1st birthday is fast approaching, a whole year has almost passed to my utter disbelief, and so I have began planning his party. I absolutely LOVE planning things so I'm completely in my element at the moment. We decided that hiring some soft play equipment for the day would be great fun for all the young children we will be inviting to Riley's party and I found this great company - Bugs Soft Play, that unlike so many others, offer so much equipment and for the WHOLE day. We have chosen the Bugs Standard Package priced at £99 (for the day). We had to pay a 40% deposit to secure our date and the rest will be payable on the day. The only problem I found is that May 19th (Riley's birthday weekend) was booked with 3 different companies!! I have therefore settled for May 26th. 

 Images belong to and are taken from,

Before I hired the equipment I called the local Church to see if we could hire the hall and use the gardens, as if it rains my Mum's front room won't accommodate all the soft play equipment and there is the bonus that the Church garden is bigger. Church halls, it turns out, are a great place to have children's parties ... £8.50 an hour; BARGAIN!! So, we now have the option to hold the party outside if we are blessed with a nice day or indoors, if in typical Great British style, we have a gloomy day. 

I haven't yet got around to placing an order for a cake but I do have an exact idea of what I would like. I have also got ideas for things like plates, cups, napkins etc. At the moment my next plan is to start looking into party invites as I would like to send out personalised ones to Riley's guests. 

My final big idea, is for the children to have a teddy bears picnic, whilst they sit down and eat, where we will give each of the children invited their own Build-a-Bear. I have so far purchased a couple but plan to buy a few each month, to spread the cost, up until the party. This will be the childrens' party favour as very young children can't have a party bag. 

Two of the bears I have already purchased.

Though Riley won't remember his 1st birthday party, it will be a lovely opportunity for all of our friends and family to celebrate his first year with us and for the children, a great day to play. 

What did you do, have planned or are you currently planning to mark your little one's 1st birthday? 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Record Books ...

Riley has been doing a couple of new things in the past week, which I thought I should record somewhere in his record book; I'm usually so bad at remembering to update it! So I though I would share some of the pages from his record book on my blog. We have Eric Carle's Very Special Baby Book which retails at £12.99, however we got ours form Amazon for just £7.26, with FREE delivery! This is a lovely hardback book that comes in a presentation box, to keep it looking nice. The illustrations in the book are bright and are taken from different Eric Carle books. 

The front of the book has a little window where you can attach a picture of your little one. 

The book has several different sections and though it doesn't have everything I wanted in a record book (month by month pages for example), it was the closest to what I was looking for. I think so many books have too many sections. This book is comprised of the following sections; 

1." Before you were born", which has pages for all about Mummy/Daddy, Mummy's family and Daddy's family, waiting for you, thoughts and feelings. 

 These are some of the pictures I put into this section of myself and James in the years before Riley was born. 

These pictures are of both of our graduation ceremonies in 2010 ... little did we know we would be pregnant with Riley a couple of months later!

Some pictures I took of Riley's scans. 

2. The next section is titled "Welcome"! and has pages for your child's birth story along with space for both Mummy and Daddy's version of events! There is then some space for pictures, hand and footprints, birth announcements and an envelope to store hospital bracelets and other keepsakes. This section ends with a page to document what was happening in the world. 

 These are a couple of Riley's first pictures. 

 Riley's footprint.

Riley's hospital wristband x2 and belly button clip. 

3. "Coming Home". This section has space for, "Bringing You Home"; where you can record what baby was wearing and what you did in that first week. There is picture space for family, and a page to document visitors in those first few days. 

This is Riley's Bringing You Home page. 

4. "Your Firsts & Favourites". There is a page for firsts including; sleeping through the night, smiling, rolling over, sitting up, waving, crawling, standing, first words, holding a spoon, holding a bottle and first steps. There is also a first haircut page with an envelope to store a lock of hair. There is then a page for favourite things like toys and plenty of photo space in this section of the book. 

This is a picture from Riley's first football match and kit. He was only 11 days old for the Champions League Final. 

Riley's First's page.

4. "Playtime". Favourite friends, toys and picture space for playtime with both Mummy and Daddy. Bathtime rituals, bedtime rituals, favourite stories and toys baby sleeps with. 

5. "Special Days". Holidays; this is an American book, I realised, so Holidays means Christmas, Halloween, Easter etc. There is some space for pictures, though with the amount I have, I don't think the picture space is adequate! A first birthday page, with plenty of picture space. 

6. "Milestones". An age, height and weight chart. A keeping you healthy page, with space for recording first doctor visits and immunisations etc. Teeth, so you can record which ones come through and when. Finally there is space for letters from friends and family. 

I love this record book and think because of the quality of it, it will be lovely to look back at in years to come. This would make a great present for someone you may know who is expecting a baby ... I would have loved to have received something like this as a gift. 

Do you have a record book? Which one? Why did you choose that one? 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

How to be a good mother ...

If only it were as simple as following a manual, or even watching a T.V programme; being a good mother. My "early" night turned into a late one when I decided to stay up and watch "How to be a good mother" on channel 4 wednesday night, This documentary was fronted by Sharon Horgan who spent some time with six mums, who think their ways of parenting make them good mothers'. Some parts of this documentary had me laughing with how ridiculous/extreme some of these mums views on bringing up their children were; while other parts infuriated me as to how some mums, who think they have got it so right, view other mums, so much so it impelled me to blog.

We see this kind of thing, good parenting, debated all the time, in the news with results of research, saying we are harming our children and hindering their development; if we do or don't do certain things. Then there are other mums, who openly judge your choices and make you feel as if you're not a good mum, because your choices don't mimic their own. There are two points that I really took issue with, the first from stay-at-home-mum Daria who came across as quite ignorant; if you are not parenting her way, you in her mind are not a very good mother. Daria believes that women who go back to work do so because it's easy, easier than staying at home and bringing up your child. I'm due back at work in a couple of weeks and believe me I'm not going back because it's easier. I'm sure most mums will agree with me when I say, I'm going back to work for financial reasons. I would love to stay at home and raise Riley however, if we want to buy our own home and for our son to have the best, we need two wages to be coming in. I also think a little separation is good, for us both, being a mum isn't all there is to being me, and that doesn't make me a bad mother for saying that. It will also give Riley a little independence and will prepare him for the school years, when I can't be with him. I will be working part-time and will therefore be with Riley 24/7 for the majority of the week. I don't think that by working this makes me a part-time mum. 

Well that is rant number 1. over, now for number 2. Lynnea, who is placenta mad might I add, runs her own placenta baking business. What really frustrated me with Lynnea, was her suggestion that people that don't give birth naturally (caesarian section) don't have a bond with their child. How ignorant is this! What are women supposed to do if there are complications that mean this is the only viable option? I'm sure anyone who has had a caesarian section will not have any less of a bond with their child than someone who hasn't, and no woman should put another down for needing one. Her ignorance infuriated me!!

But this got me thinking about another issue that really frustrates me; pain relief. Some women seem to think that unless you give birth with the aid of only gas and air this has made them and their birth so much more triumphant than someone who needed more. Personally I think giving birth, with whatever "help" is an amazing feat. We don't have the exact same pain and experience during birth as each other, everyone is different. So to make someone feel as if they didn't achieve what you did, is awful. My birth plan was natural, natural, natural, NO! to Pethidine and Epidurals ... perhaps I was one of those people, pre-birth, that held that notion and being my first time, I was naive and didn't know what was in store. Fast forward to my birth, the most agonising pain I could ever imagine or even begin to explain. I was panicking and was only 2cm dilated and I needed to calm down so I was given Pethidine; this made me drowsy, it didn't stop the pain in any way or make the birth of my son any easier than someone that didn't have Pethidine.

How to be a good mother, is about doing what you think is right and I don't think it is anyone's place to be saying their way is the right way. After all, we have all been brought up differently and place emphasis on different morals and values, which we try to teach our children when raising them. Since becoming a mum, I've learnt to not take any notice of what anyone else is doing with their children. Ultimately, myself and Riley's dad know him and his needs better than anyone else, therefore so long as we are happy with: how we are raising him, teaching him to be a good citizen and how he is developing as a result of this then I think I'm being a good mother. It's not about if I breastfed or not, if I went to Antenatal classes, how he was born, if I work or don't work, if I take him to baby classes, or what clothes and possessions I buy him.

It seems to me, parenting is just another way for women to put each other down, when really we are all in the same boat; trying to be as good a mother to our children as we can.

What do you think? 

Friday, 30 December 2011

My bargain Diesel baby clothes ... thinking ahead to the summer

I know Christmas has only just passed and that we haven't even seen in the New Year yet, but this hasn't stopped me from thinking about the summer! I'm particularly excited about this one as we will be going on our first family holiday! I've been buying a couple of bits and pieces, already, for Riley and received my latest bargain this morning. 

These were reduced to just £12.30.

These baby Diesel shorts from Cat and Mouse, were £41 reduced down to £12.30! I thought that they would go nicely with a couple of Diesel bargains I picked up a few months ago; 

Navy and pink t-shirt with my bargain shorts.

Lime and white t-shirt with my bargain shorts. 

Both of the Diesel t-shirts pictured are from and cost £8.50 each, both were reduced and were originally priced at £20. 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Finding Neverland ... Personalised jewellery.

I've been saving this post for a while, well just until Christmas had passed, as the product I am about to blog about was a present. I found ANOTHER great Facebook page, this time belonging to Clare Birkby who makes personalised jewellery that incorporates your child's handprints, footprints, drawings, fingerprints and even scan pictures, There are a fair few websites that also sell these products but, Clare's prices are by far the cheapest I've come across (quality is NOT sacrificed for this) and the customer service you receive from Clare is beyond any I have ever received ... I even received an email Christmas card from her!!

So what did I buy? Well, despite coming close to ordering myself a neckless, a charm for my Links of London bracelet and countless other items, I ordered a keying for James inscribed with 'love you daddy' with Riley's handprint on. I emailed Clare who sent me out a handprint pack for £5 so that I could take Riley's handprints/footprints and then take a picture to email to her so she could get to work.

This is what I sent to Clare:

Riley's handprint taken on October 30th 2011 (5 and a half months). 

Once my print had been sent and my invoice paid, I waited for Clare to work her magic and for Riley's Christmas present to his daddy to arrive; delivery is 21-28 days from when payment is received and costs £5, though I think Clare does have an express delivery service (which is charged, understandably, at a higher price). 

You can see my reflection in the keyring, unfortunately I couldn't get a better picture. 

The box it came in, there is also a care card/leaflet with it. 

When you look closely at the keyring and the print I sent to Clare, you can see this is Riley's hand, exactly; the splodge on the thumb, the bent in little finger, the circular make up of the fingers and the little dents depicting the lines on his hands in the outer shape of the hand. As far as I can tell, James was very happy with his personal keyring from Riley, so much so he doesn't want to use it and ruin it! 
I LOVE how personal this jewellery is and I have already picked (and told James) which pieces I would like from Clare. I'm a bit late for my birthday but Mother's day isn't far away!! 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Highchair Review - Cosatto Hiccup Highchair (Lime Zing) RRP £60.

We finally got to the point, a few weeks ago, where feeding Riley in his bouncy chair or Bumbo was just no longer working ... it was time to buy a highchair. We chose the Cosatto Hiccup highchair in Lime Zing which has a rrp of £60.

The Cosatto Hiccup in Lime Zing. 

In typical "Rachel" style, I picked this based on how it looked; modern and minimalistic/non-fussy. I did not think to consider any other factors such as, size, comfort, ease of use etc. When the highchair was delivered, it arrived in a smallish box and took no longer than about ten minutes for James to put together; everything just clicks into place. 

We were a little surprised when the highchair was up, at how small it looked in comparison to how we had envisaged it from the pictures online and on the box. This prompted a massive wave of indecision as to whether we should keep it or not. There was also the fact the Cosatto Hiccup is a non-folding highchair to consider. However, after putting Riley in the highchair and attempting to convince ourselves that we should keep it, we began to see the positives this highchair has. 

The Cosatto Hiccup is small in comparison to other highchairs on the market, however Riley fits snugly into the highchair as the seat cocoons him. Though it looks small, there is plenty of room meaning Riley won't outgrow the highchair too quickly; the box also had older children advertising the Cosatto Hiccup, which was reassuring when we were trying to decide whether it was worth keeping. Without the tray attached, the highchair fits around the dinner table as a normal chair would, meaning it doesn't matter that it doesn't fold down as it really doesn't take up a lot of space. It also means that Riley can sit at the table (when the tray is off) with the rest of the family, properly, which he absolutely loves ... though we have to be careful he doesn't grab food off our plates. Its modern and simplistic design also means that we don't mind keeping it up as it looks good. 

Riley at the dinner table in the Cosatto Hiccup.

Though it doesn't look as comfortable as other highchairs, the plastic seat just wipes clean and therefore cannot be stained with baby food, drinks or dribble. I also think the fact this highchair doesn't fold up and down means that it will last longer than the average highchair as mechanisms cannot break and parts cannot come loose. I would definitely recommend the Cosatto Hiccup and I am glad that we didn't send it back based on our initial reactions to it.