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!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Make Bath Time Count!

If you have read our blog for a while you will know that one thing Laura and I can't agree on is a bath vs shower. Laura is a shower fan while I am a bath lover. If you want to see our reasons check out the post here. It also includes fun facts about both ways of washing!

The reason for bringing it up now is because we were recently contacted about trialling Venus's new razor and on reading the email I was reminded just how much I have missed baths since the arrival of Annabelle.

I knew becoming a Mum would mean comprising certain things that I had taken for granted and it turns out baths were top of that list....okay baths and time to myself. If I get in the bath now it either includes a baby, a dog or is super shallow so I can quickly shave my legs. It certainly isn't a relaxing experience and I miss it. 

So I took the opportunity to try the razor and close the door and relax this weekend. With Annabelle well taken care of and Bisbee asleep I snuck upstairs and ran the bath. It was amazing. I soaked. I think I may have napped. The result was a refreshed me. I also took the opportunity to do some maintenance. What helped was the new razor, is it shameful to admit that I don't remember the last time I bought a new razor?! I had been persevering with a fairly blunt razor meaning shaving my legs was a fairly time consuming task. With a new razor the task was far quicker, easier and rewarding- in fact the Venus with Olay moisture bars was amazing. It did two jobs in one. The bars moisturised my legs while the new razor meant I could shave far quicker. 

And I'm not just saying this but I can see why Venus razors are best selling - after the cheap supermarket versions we have tried that only last for a few shaves - it was great to be using a a quality razor again. 

So if you want to pamper yourself and save time during half term.....or any time and you want to try the Venus & Olay razor you can find them at Superdrug or Boots!

Are you a bath lover? Or all about the shower?

*Disclaimer - we were provided with a sample razor to try, all opinions are our own. We were not paid to write this post or for this trial. 

Sunday, 21 October 2018


Okay so you may remember a few days ago we shared our review on BUCKT, a subscription box that provides you with activities to do in and around Birmingham. If you didn't get a chance to read it click here!

Or check out the website here.

Anyway we have good news, if you read the post and though hummm that seems like a good idea maybe I should give it a go well here is a reason to not hold back....

75% OFF

That's right between the 22nd and 29th of October if you order using SARAHPLUSLAURA625 you will get 75% off the value of a duo box. So if you sign up this week you will pay £6.25 instead of £25 for 5 activities for TWO people!

I mean if you live in Birmingham and know someone else - a boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, wife, husband, old friend, new friend, a random you want to make friends with, someone you play sports with, work with or someone you just met. Whoever you want to share an experience with this offer is worth taking up right????

I can't think of many date experiences that you can do for £6.25 so even if you only have time to do a few it's worth a try.

Check our last post here for details of how to book.

Any questions drop us an email: sarahpluslaura@gmail.com

Annabelle's Naming Day Ceremony!

What's a naming day ceremony is usually the first question we get asked when we mention that instead of a christening we opted for a Humanist Naming Day.

The answer is simple, it is a simple, heartfelt, personal ceremony where the child, Annabelle in our case, is officially named in front of family and friends.

For our Naming Day the ceremony included the following:
  • A Humanist Celebrant, Blake, who lead the ceremony and had helped us come up with what to include
  • Readings by Sarah's sister and close friends Allie and Anita
  • Introduction of the Guideparents (think God parents without the religion)
  • Time for the Grandparents to place handwritten letters to Annabelle in an envelope that we sealed and will open on her 18th birthday
  • A ceremonial rose planting from Laura and I
  • Parents promises to Annabelle
  • Bracelet warming
In total the ceremony lasted half an hour and we were lucky enough to have a stunning, autumnal, sunshining day so were able to have it in my parents back garden surrounded by loved ones. 

With a selection of chairs placed on the lawn we started the ceremony. Thankfully Annabelle slept through the entire thing. Laura and I were emotional from the very beginning and cried more than a few times. By the end we were being told it was far more personal than any christening anyone had attended. And at least half the attendees had shed a tear.

Annabelle wore a dress we had been gifted and a cardigan I had worn at my Christening, knitted by my Mum. 

We had met Blake a few weeks previously to talk through the ceremony and listen to his suggestions about what to include. We combined these ideas with our own touches. For example the bracelet warming was just like our ring warming at the wedding. We placed the bracelet/rings on a heart and passed this amoungst the guests. Each guest had to pass on positive thoughts and wishes whilst holding the bracelet/rings and then pass it on. It is a lovely way to include everyone. 

The readings we chose included a more general one about our hopes for Annabelle as she grows - strength, compassion, empathy, love, laughter and a million other things that will make her into a well rounded person. 
Allie and Anita did a reading - they have been super supportive since Annabelle arrived
The second readings were lyrics taken from Jason Mraz 'Have It All'. It was the song Annabelle arrived into the world to and will always be special to us. We mentioned it in her birth story here. The lyrics include:

May you have auspiciousness and causes of success
May you have the confidence to always do your best
May you take no effort in your being generous
Sharing what you can, nothing more nothing less
May you know the meaning of the word happiness
May you always lead from the beating in your chest
May you be treated like an esteemed guest
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath
And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow
Well here's to the hearts that you're gonna break
Here's to the lives that you're gonna change
Here's to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here's to the good times we're gonna have
Here's to you always making me laugh
Here's to the fact that I'll be sad without you
I want you to have it all
*Tears rolling just writing this*

The Guideparents were all chosen for different reasons. When asking each person we had created a box that included the reasons we were asking them. From being thoughtful, charming, 'all in', empowering, strong, generous we gave reasons we wanted Annabelle to be like them. Unlike God parents this wasn't about asking them to teach Annabelle about God, it was asking them to guide her as she grows. 

The rose planting was symbolic as we have a rose planted for each of our Mum's, (my Mum is red, Laura's Mum is yellow) our wedding (white) and our anniversary (pink). We chose an apricot rose for Annabelle. The sentiment is that as Annabelle grows so will the rose. We will help her take care of it, as we will help to care of her. My Mum has had roses she takes with her whenever she moves house, we plan to do the same (if we ever move). 

We set our parents the biggest challenge as we asked them to write a letter of advice, of lessons learnt, of things they want her know. It meant the world to us that they put so much time and effort into the letters and look forward to reading them with Annabelle.

We also explained why we had picked the name, Anna = graceful, Belle = beautiful. We also liked the fact (that unlike Sarah and Laura) Annabelle can be shortened to different names. We actually picked it at the 20 week scan when we found out she was a girl and I was wearing a top that said 'tu est Belle'. Her middle name Robin, is in tribute to Laura's Mum who is battling cancer.

Our guests had travelled from Scotland, Brighton and tons of places in between so we also asked each guest to sign a puzzle piece and add a note so that when Annabelle is old enough she can play with the puzzle and see who was there on her naming day. 
After the ceremony we had 'Annabelle's afternoon tea'. Laura had made scones, that we added clotted cream and a selection of jam to. We also had a Victoria sponge, other nibbles and a Bellini bar! 
The ceremony was even more perfect than we could have hoped and the memories made are ones we look forward to sharing with Annabelle as she grows.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Review: Buckt - A Great New Way To Explore Birmingham!

When we were told about Buckt it's fair to say we were a little intrigued. A monthly subscription box that gives you 5 local activities to try? And how do you even pronounce the name of the company? (It's like 'Bucket', not like 'Booked', as Laura initially thought!) The concept was all new to us.

All I can say is, we are so glad we tried it.

Buckt is currently the UK's only ticket and activity subscription box and we highly recommend it if you are based in Birmingham, for these three simple reasons:
  1. It takes away the stress/ time/ effort of having to come up with date night/day activities
  2. It's a great way to discover new things to do / more about the city you live in or around
  3. It's really cost effective
Each box has a different selection of activities so you never know what you are going to get, although the website gives you insight into the type of activities available. Possible activities include:
  • Brewery Tours
  • Butterfly Farm visit
  • Tribute band night 
  • Go-Karting
  • Laser Tag
  • Museum guided tours
  • Cocktail Masterclass
  • Drifting (car) Passenger Experience
  • And loads more.......
Our duo box (for 2) included:
  • A meditation class - where we discovered Birmingham has Peace Gardens!
  • Rage Room - did you see our videos on Instagram Stories? We loved it.
  • Guitar lessons - Laura made the most of these to learn a song she wanted to serenade me with (aww)
  • A night at the Bingo - which included two extra passes to take two friends
  • A film at the Mockingbird Cinema
A summary of each activity we got to do is below to give you an idea of what to expect.

A single box is £12.50 - that's it! A dual box is £25. That's right, as a couple, your entire month's dates could cost you less than a dinner. Plus, if you use our code SARAHPLUSLAURA you get 50% off your first box. Oh and you can get them as gifts if you want to make someone's Christmas. It's on our wish list :)

So here's the process:

And if you are ordering it as a gift:
Or check it out here
And here's our experiences review:
Meditation Class: We were expecting a yoga style class what we got was a Kadampa monk talking us through a process to create space in our minds and learn to relax. By reading from a book, the monk explained how those with a more grateful heart are happier and how we should focus on things we can be grateful for. It was a strange experience and not one we would rush back for but it was nice to take some time out from our hectic lives. For us, the highlight was discovering a whole new part of Birmingham, we had never even heard that there were peace gardens here! We will definitely be back to wander around those. As for the meditation, if you are someone who stresses easily or needs to relax we would suggest a visit to the centre. The people there are lovely. We also found some parking in town that's free after 6pm #winning!

Rage Room: A room where you can smash up a selection of things. From throwing glasses against the wall to smashing up keyboards with bats, this is a great way to work out frustrations or just work out! You can listen to your own playlist - so we went for 90's pop rock, think Green Day / Rage Against The Machine / Blink 182 etc - and it was great. You are walked through how to 'smash' things and then left to it. We loved it! You may have seen our Instagram story at the time, one of us was better at smashing things up than the other (who, it turns out, is a weakling) but it was so much fun that didn't matter.

Guitar Lessons: These are actually music lessons so you can pick an instrument of choice but we went for guitar as Laura actually owns one. The teacher was calm, endearing and set the lesson pace for us. As Laura reads music and played viola we moved quickly through the activities. Great for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone or trying something completely new.

BJ Bingo: This has got to be the bargain in the box. 4 passes to play Bingo with dinner and a drink. We ended up having 10+ games of Bingo and it was a whole evening's worth of entertainment. We were a little overwhelmed walking in with numbers being shouted out quickly but we met some lovely ladies who showed us what to do and by the end we were loving it and saying we will definitely be back. 

Mockingbird Cinema: located in Digbeth, in the Custard Factory, this place is more than a cinema - it's dining experience too. Just like an old fashioned cinema you are welcomed to a kiosk and depending on how early you either directed to the restaurant or the cinema. There is only one screen so you can't get lost but it does mean you are limited to showtimes/days so it takes a bit of advance planning. Unless of course you are wandering around Digbeth and fancy catching a film! It is a much more intimate experience than a normal cinema and perfect if you want a more chilled night out.

I can say with certainty that we wouldn't have done any of these activities without Buckt. In fact, we wouldn't have even known about at least two of the activities!

Another benefit is if you want to take an extra person along to an activity you can 'Bring A Friend' with a one off pass ordered via the website. 

Oh, and if you think it might be tight fitting all activities in within a month, good news you actually get 6 weeks for most of the activities. You just book dates once your Buckt box turns up. Or if you like a plan, depending on where your activities are, you can always do two or three activities in one day. 

If you want to know more, check out the Buckt website here.

We would highly recommend checking it out.....the only downside is it is currently only in Birmingham!

*Disclaimer: We were not paid by Buckt to trial the subscription, however we were provided a box to try at no cost to us. The feedback is our own, based on our personal experiences.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Laura's Disney Themed 30th!

Okay so just a heads up the next few posts will be photo heavy review posts because we have had a busy few weeks and I want to document the events before they become a distant memory.

  • First - this post - a look back on Laura's 30th birthday celebrations.
  • Second - Annabelle's Naming Day, a non-religious celebration of Annabelle to officially welcome her into the world.
  • Third - 4 years of Bisbee. We can't quite believe it but our furry daughter is a whole 4 years old!

So on the 6th of October 2018 Laura finally turned 30. We always say finally as Laura has always seemed the older of us, more mature, more sorted, more capable. Most of our friends are in their 30's and if anyone knows our 'how we met' story they may remember that Laura said she was the same age as me. So yes finally Laura turned 30!

My tribute to her was shared on the day here.

With more than a little help from friends and family the party prep had all happened the week before. A marquee had been put up in my parents garden, a trip to Costco had filled the fridge and freezer and costumes were prepared. Our lounge had become an arts and craft zone with Hobbycraft making a small fortune from us. I had the idea to turn my parents dining room into a fairy tale castle complete with stain glass window, chain-link castle door, bunting and fire torches hanging from the wall. It would be where Laura's birthday cake would sit and where people would come for the food.

The marquee was decorated with banners, balloons, more torches and fairy lights - so many fairy lights and Laura's very own Disney Castle. Okay this was a 6ft cut out version but it was Laura's castle.

If it hadn't been for the collective effort of friends from across the world it would never have happened. Kate had flown in from Australia on Wednesday and threw herself into the prep, Mike (Kate's brother) arrived on Friday from his European travels, Alison arrived from Norway on the Saturday and we met Wally who arrived from Brighton at my parents. The whole gang went to work and the result was better than my vision....and better than I could have achieved.

My parents had kept the team well fed with fish and chips and after the house was decorated it was on to everyone getting themselves getting ready.

Everyone who came dressed up. Laura's parents had flown in from the USA and with Laura as Elsa her Mum had chosen to be Elsa's Mum in Frozen. Her Dad was the beast.

My parents stayed true to their British roots and opted for Mary Poppins and Bert.

Laura's brother and my Sister and boyfriend went for a Toy Story theme as Buzz, Jessie and Woody. Cute as they are Annabelle's Aunt and Uncles.

The effort put in on costumes was amazing, all the Princesses were there - Belle, Alice, Ariel, Cinderella (in a furry form) Sleeping Beauty, Snow White....and Elsa.

There were a few villains including Ursula and Creulla. Sebastian ad Dory found their way from the sea, as did Captain Jack Sparrow.

A few 'true' Disney characters - Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, Pinocchio, Popeye! And so many more. The effort everyone put in made Laura's night. Plus the photo opps were endless and anyone who knows Laura knows she loves a good photo opp.

The cake that sat in the castle room was made by Laura's good friends Allie and Anita. It was surrounded by delicious cupcakes in different flavours.

The other star was a delicious taco dip made by Kate, it was so good people queued to get some, and a few just pulled up chairs to eat what they could.

The night also included pass the parcel and a pub quiz - mainly Laura and Disney themed so there was something for everyone.

What my parents neighbours must have thought as the party ended and everyone streamed out to taxis is yet to be heard.

We can't thank those who attended enough. It was a dream come true for Laura and it was a magical evening that we will remember forever!