Thursday, 8 November 2018

Rocky Horror Our Way!

Every year for as long as we have been together we have celebrated Halloween with a Rocky Horror. In the past we have traveled to places to see Sing-A-Long version on a big screen but with our latest addition and no local screenings around Halloween we decided to watch it at home.

In 2011 we attended the showing at Leicester Square's Prince Charles cinema just the two of us dressed in the outfits from the 'Don't Dream It, Be It' scene. All the details are here.
2013 we were in London as Party Goers with Brad and Janet. Details are here.
2014 we attended as Party Goers again in London, details are here.

Since then we have been to showings in Sheffield and Wolves.

Dressing up for our home showing was still required.....

We had from left to right: Bisbee the Party Goer, (me) Coulmbia, Sam as Janet, Annabelle as Brad, Sara and Otis as Party Goers, Kate as Frank n Furter and Laura as Eddie.

The benefit of watching the film at home was we could eat a feast beforehand as we weren't working to timescales.

Laura whipped up Meatloaf (or Feetloaf) for main with Hot Patootie potatoes and we had Rocky Road for dessert. A perfectly themed feast for the evening!

Laura had also organised a goodie bags with all the vital props required - bubbles as the confetti for the wedding, newspapers for the 'car breaking down' scene, a latex glove for Frank n Furthers creator moment, party poppers for the 'coming' moment and cards for sorrow and our phone camera torches for the 'there's a light' song.

I love my wife all day, every day but this is her time of the year. Seeing her planning and thoughtfulness come together to put on this wonderful evening for us and our friends was amazing.

The memories we are creating are ones we will be able to share with Annabelle as she grows. Her first appearance as Brad made my heart melt.

And I can't wait for more family pics as she grows up

We didn't intend for Annabelle to stay up and watch the film but this girl suffers from serious FOMO, if we have people over she really struggles to stay asleep and this night was no different. We gave in and let her stay down and she was mesmerized with the music and moving pictures - a RHPS fan in the making! (Although hopefully it's a few years before we have to explain what some of it is about :D).

Do you have any Halloween traditions you do with your family?

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Baby Blogging: Review- Snufflebabe For Baby Colds!

So the saddest experiences with Annabelle so far have included watching her have blood takens and her first cold. While the blood tests were neccessary (she has low cortisol levels that need sorting out :( ) watching her suffer with a cold was just awful and felt unfair for someone so young.

I know it's just a cold and everyone gets them but it was horrible. In fact we read that babies often get 7 or 8 colds before they are one, but it's still awful. Watching Annabelle struggle to breathe and not being able to explain that it'll pass was difficult. Trying to lay her down to sleep was almost impossible. Comforting her was a struggle. The snot.....OMG all the snot was awful. All in all it was not a pleasant experience.

It also didn't help that Laura and I were also full of the cold so were not functioning on 100%. Add in a night of sleeping sitting up to support Annabelle and I'm sure we weren't even making sense a lot of the time.

For those of you who sent us helpful tips on Instagram - thank you!

Our poorly baby
After the first two nights of very little sleep we went on a mission to find any remedy that would help Annabelle and Snufflebabe vapour rub was top of that list, due to all the recommendations (thank you anyone who messaged).

What we found was that alongside the vapour rub the saline drops really helped. The full Snufflebabe range actually includes the following:

We will also be trying the vapour oil as listening to Annabelle trying to breathe at night was hard. We frequently jumped up to roll her on her side to stop her coughing and had her crib tilted slightly to help but a degongestant vapour would have been really useful. 

It turns out that Snufflebabe are actually the UK's number one baby nasal decongestant range and the vapour rub is award winning. If you want to check out the range click here, it also includes how and when to use it. We found this useful as we didn't realise that babies under 3 months couldn't use certain things. Thankfully Annabelle had just turned 3 months. 

What we have learnt from this whole cold experience is just how stressful it is, for everyone. I was practically force feeding Annabelle to keep her fluids up and 'flush' the cold. Laura was ever present with the thermometer, soothing hugs and a tissue. In fact we were both ready to catch snot whenever, wherever. We just wanted Annabelle's nose clear so she could breathe easier. Also pro-Mum tip - cotton buds! Who knew a cotton bud up the nostril, quick twist and there you have a massive boogey! TMI I know but super useful. 

All the snuggles!
What we can share based on our experience is stock up. I know that sounds obvious but we often run out of things and forget to restock. In this case we didn't know what we should have, so had nothing....a rookie error. For whatever reasons colds always seem to start late in the day and get worse into the evening. This happened with Annabelle's cold. It started with a few sneezes late afternoon and by 8pm she was so blocked up. It came on way quicker than any of our colds. It was too late for us to head out so we tried to comfort her as best as possible. By the next morning we were all way sicker. In hindsight if we had some of the decongestants that night would have been way better. 

Sleep was actually the best way for Annabelle to power through so we tried to keep her asleep as long as possible. The saline drops were really useful for that! Oh and warm baths with plenty of steam. 

We aren't looking forward to her next cold but I think we are more prepared. Fingers crossed it won't be as bad.....for anyone!

We are so glad to have our happy, healthy, cold-free baby girl back!

Here's to a healthier, cold-free winter!

Disclaimer: We were provided with Snufflebabe samples but were not paid to review the products. All views are our own.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Baby Blogging: The Two Week Wait - What We Did to Help Implantation!

The 2WW (Two Week Wait) from implantation until being able to test for pregnancy can seem like the world's longest time. Waiting, hoping, wondering, wishing, there is so much emotion that goes into it, and it's so hard knowing there isn't much that you really can do to determine the result.

Of course, after throwing so much time, money and heartache into IUI and/or IVF, you'll likely try any old wives tales, any advice going, that may help. So here's what we did before our positive pregnancy test - disclaimer of course, none of this is at all proven to make a difference.

However, it can't hurt, right? So here they are!

1. Pineapple core

Purchase a whole pineapple, and divide into 5 sections. Eat one section per day, starting on the day of implantation (or day of insemination if you aren't doing IVF). The core of the pineapple is most important to eat, this is said to promote implantation.

2. Brazil nuts

Eat 6 Brazil nuts per day for 6 days, starting on the day of implantation. Brazil nuts are an incredible source of selenium, which is a mineral that helps to thicken the uterine wall, and a healthy lining aids implantation. If you don't like nuts, as my wife doesn't, I recommend grounding them up and adding to smoothies - she barely noticed them! Which brings me to my next point- 

3. Smoothies

Green smoothies! We packed those babies with the pineapple and brazil nuts as above, as well as a half orange for Vitamin C, banana for potassium, spinach for iron, oats and chia seeds - we got as many nutrients into Sarah as possible per day, and actually continued making and drinking smoothies for her whole pregnancy to try to grow a strong and healthy baby!

4. Rest

Shortly after implantation, within 2-3 days, I couldn't stop Sarah from sleeping if I had tried. She would nap anywhere, anytime. We quickly adapted so S could nap whenever she felt the need - after all, your body needs lost of rest and relaxation to grow a baby in general! So we would recommend doing as much sleeping as possible.

Some of the naps feature in the funny video we put together you can see in this post.

One thing that had come up a lot in our research was that it was a good idea to keep the womb 'warm', and to keep blood flowing to and through it as much as possible. So we channeled that advice into our final two points, 5 and 6:

5. Fertility yoga

It's a thing! We found some fertility yoga videos on YouTube and did them daily throughout the TWW. The poses are catered to not put stress on the body, but to instead 'warm' the womb, stretch and relax you. Well worth it, and a fun 20 minutes to set aside all day!

6. Womb dancing

And finally, we would dance around the kitchen together to George Michael's 'Faith' (his documentary had just come out, and it seemed relevant!). It was lots of fun and made for wonderful memories later on, the dancing (Sarah made sure to do some hip rolls!) helped warm the womb, and best of all, it made us laugh, which is so important during this often stressful time.

The TWW is a time of anticipation at what's to be and excitement, but also of anxiety and stress, and it can seem to be the slowest two weeks of your life. As well as the above to help implantation, we found making the most of that time to be the best way to get through it. Plan date nights or days, go on family walks, pamper yourself, read a new book - distract yourself from the impending date, and make some fun memories on the way.

Did you do anything more or different than the above to try to get that baby to 'stick'?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Baby Blogging: Visit To A Pumpkin Patch!

We love Autumn.

We love October.

We love doing Autumnal things in October and visiting a proper Pumpkin patch is one of those things. For Laura it's a bit of America in the UK. For me it's the novelty of wandering around a field comparing pumpkins and carrying them back in a wheelbarrow.

To be clear when I say a 'proper' pumpkin patch I mean one where the pumpkins are grown. Not just a shop with pumpkins in stacks or laid out in a field.

We found Cattows Farm on Instagram. It had everything we wanted:

  • A large field with lots and lots of pumpkins
  • It was dog friendly
  • An easily accessible car park
  • Things to see beside pumpkins
  • Hay bales (are you really in the country unless you have sat on a hay bale?!)

It was actually way better than we had hoped. Driving up the grins spread across our faces. Those grins remained for almost the entire trip (we had a baby crying challenge at one point....more on that in a bit). We left happy as we got 5 pumpkins for less than £10. The sunset was spectacular and our camera was full of wonderful memories.

On arrival we collected a wheelbarrow, packed up the buggy and headed to the field. Our first plan was to get some pictures of Annabelle before she went for a nap. As we started setting up a picture we had forgotten how sharp pumpkin stalks could be so had a few initial 'ouch' moments. Anything for a pic - right?!

The cutest ghost and shark we've ever seen :)
We had all of 10 minutes before Annabelle decided sitting on the ground was not for her and the mini photoshoot was abandoned due to tears. I took her off for a feed while Laura and Kate (our best friend from Oz) continued to explore and select pumpkins. Bisbee was running free and having a great time.

The time time flew and before we realised we had been there an hour. With the sunsetting we made our final pumpkin choices and headed back to the shop. En route we stopped at the hay bale pyramid for some more pics.

As we were there on a Friday night it was fairly quiet and we had the opportunity to enjoy the place without too many people. We particularly enjoyed the photo opps they had set up!

The staff at the farm were super friendly and even though we had stayed passed closing they didn't rush us out. In fact they were happy to tell us how they decided to model the pumpkin patch on the 'American' way after a visit there. They were pleased to hear from Laura that it was very authentic.

If you are based in Birmingham it's a 45 minute drive as it is in Leicestershire. The Pumpkin Patch opens the 1st of October and is open 7 days a week. There is no entry fee you simply pay for your pumpkins by weight.

If picking pumpkins isn't your thing the farm has plenty going on including animals to visit and a lovely farm shop so it's worth a visit any time.

We will certainly be heading back!