Sunday, February 28, 2016

Maternity Fashion Wishlist ♥


I'm at the point in my pregnancy where I'm beginning to feel very uncomfortable in my normal clothes and I think it's time I invested in some pretty maternity pieces as I have just over ten weeks left and this pregnant mama just wants to be comfy! I can no longer put on my lace up boots without a lot of effort and now that the spring has arrived I think it's time to invest in some new pumps too, just slipping them on would be such a help. Let me share my maternity fashion wishlist with you -

1. Mint Green Floral Chiffon Maternity Dress ($51)
I've recently stumbled across a site called Pink Blush Maternity which sells the most beautiful maternity wear. I'm in love with this mint coloured dress with it's floral pattern, it's totally my style and looks super stylish yet comfy too.

2. Jones Bootmaker Gibraltar Ballet Pumps (£24)
As I said above, I can no longer put on my boots without a lot of effort so I really want a new pair of ballet pumps. These patent ones with pretty bow detail from Jones Bootmaker are lovely and will go with everything. Jones Bootmaker currently have a sale on too, meaning it's the perfect time to grab a pair of shoes you love.

3. Asos Maternity Stripe T-Shirt Dress (€30.98)
Most days I just like to look casual and grey is my favourite colour (along with pink), so this grey and white stripe t-shirt dress from Asos really appealed to me. It looks really loose and comfortable and that's exactly what I want from clothing during the third trimester.

4. Maternity Heart Elbow Pyjama Set With Printed Shorts (€30.98)
I'd love a new pair of pyjamas at the moment (is there anything more lovely than snuggling up in new pyjamas?) and as the weather is quite cool still but I can get quite warm in bed at night I think these shorts and long sleeve top pyjamas, which are also from Asos, are the perfect solution. The heart print detail on the shorts and elbow patches are really pretty.

5. Light Blue Neon Floral Chiffon Bottom Maternity Maxi Dress ($49)
I've fallen in love with this floral print maxi dress, which is also from Pink Blush Maternity. The patter is one of my favourites and the mix of baby blue and pink is just perfect for spring and summer.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Gender Disappointment | An Honest Experience ♥

 *Before you continue reading, please take into mind that I didn't write this post looking for criticism or a backlash from people who think my experience stemmed from being shallow or ungrateful. I am very thankful that I've been blessed with two healthy babies, especially after suffering a miscarriage in the past. I wrote this post to share an honest experience of gender disappointment, what it meant to me and how it affected me during my pregnancy. If you search for 'gender disappointment' on Google you will find countless posts from women who have experienced this and I am writing this post to let anyone who may suffer from this in the future or who is currently going through it, to know that what they're experiencing is perfectly normal, we are human beings after all and are far from perfect. Sometimes we can't help what we feel but if we think about things a little deeper we may realise that we simply didn't expect the unexpected and the child that we're blessed to be expecting was meant to be the perfect one for us all along, even if we didn't plan it that way. Please read on without judging me or anyone else who has ever experienced gender disappointment.

If you ask a pregnant woman what gender baby she's hoping to have the most common and politically correct answer will be for her to say - "I really don't mind or have a preference either way as long as the baby is healthy", however, for some pregnant women, that answer can be a mask to hide their true feelings, the feelings which do give them a preference towards what gender they'd like their baby to be but it's seen as taboo to ever favour or have a longing for blue over pink and vice versa.

Gender disappointment is a real thing, something which I'm sure a lot of women and maybe even expectant fathers go through on a daily basis. I have a close friend who was desperate for a baby girl after previously having two lovely boys and sadly for her, the realisation of having a daughter never came true, this is something which I think has had an effect on her and has stuck with her through her life. I once saw a quote that read - "The one thing in life that messes us up the most is the ideas in our head of how it's supposed to be" and I think this quote is quite apt when it comes to describing the reality of gender disappointment

Growing up, I myself had visions of what my perfect future family would be and I'm sure I'm not the only one to have dreamed about my future children and all they would be. I always wanted two boys and a girl, the boys to be older to look after their sister (I myself had always wanted an older brother but or wasn't meant to be, I'm in  fact the oldest), and thankfully life has been good to me in giving me the son I always wanted.

When it came to this pregnancy I had a real longing for one gender over the other and I counted down the days to the private gender scan hoping that I would be told I was having the baby with the gender I was longing for. However, when we got there everything was rushed and the lady doing the scan very blasé told us the gender of our baby (I won't be disclosing what that gender was as we're not announcing the gender until after baby's birth). Immediately I was overcome with sadness, I lay there as she gave another quick look at our baby feeling numb, as if I had been told someone had died (some people have described their gender disappointment experience as feeling grief for the son or daughter which they never had), although this moment was supposed to be one of the most joyous moments of our lives. Looking at me on the screen was our precious, long awaited second child and I felt like bursting into tears, for the wrong reasons...

Paying for that scan felt like an age. The credit card machine wouldn't work and I had to pretend to be happy when the lady at the desk said - "Well, what are you having?" and I had to reply with an answer I didn't want to give. I was relieved to get to the car and as soon as I shut the door I started sobbing, I couldn't keep in the emotion any longer. My other half looked at me as though I had lost my mind and my son said - "mummy, don't cry" in that sweet little voice he has, but I couldn't help it, my realisation was that I wasn't going to have the family I wanted and I felt nothing but guilt and shame when I looked at the 3D pictures of our baby's beautiful face and felt like I had already let them down by being so upset about something they didn't even choose to be.

On the way home I rang my mother to tell her the news, she could tell I was disappointed by the tone of my voice but pointed out all the great things about having a baby of that gender and I began to feel at ease. I apologised to my other half for my emotional outburst and for ruining the moment for us all but deep inside I was still feeling sadness and the guilt of having a preference in the first place. My other half by the way was amazing, he put it all down to pregnancy hormones and feeling overly emotional and maybe he's half right, I still feel like an awful person about it all though and I don't know if that feeling will ever leave me.

For a couple of days I began Googling stories of people who were told they were having a certain gender when in fact they were having the other, trying to give myself some hope. It was amazing and quite saddening to read about all these women who had hoped for one baby but had another. One thing that really resonated with me though was the fact that they all stated, that looking back they would never change the son or daughter who they had initially hoped would be the other sex, for the world.

After reading those stories I began to feel a lot better and although I still felt quite ashamed by all the ways that I had felt after learning of my baby's gender, I actually began imagining the little baby that was growing inside me and came to the realisation that I was getting my perfect family after all, that this baby and their older brother were all that I had ever wanted and I had let my stupid ideals sway my opinions on what gender baby I should have been having.

Three months have now passed since we were first told what baby's gender is and since then we've actually had conflicting reports of what the gender is, but you know what, I honestly don't mind anymore and am just looking forward to the beautiful, precious baby who will be coming into our lives in May. I have a boys and girls name chosen, gender neutral and some clothes for each gender put away too (I'll donate the ones we don't end up using to the charity bin). Looking back I wish we had never had the gender scan and if I'm ever pregnant again I won't be having one. It seems that so much focus is put on gender these days, people can't wait until the day that they can do their gender announcements, gender reveal parties and cakes are now a thing and from the moment you announce your pregnancy you have the world and it's dog trying to decipher the gender of your baby from how high or low your bump is, how your skin looks etc... These days people can even choose their baby's gender through IVF and other fertility treatments, but after my experience on gender I've decided it doesn't really matter what's between your baby's legs at all.

When I think of our baby I see this adorable little person and it fills me with joy. I honestly can't wait to meet this new love of my life now. My only regret is that I didn't realise how perfect they actually were and how meant to be they were for our family until I was made to think about it. I would urge anyone who has a preference on the gender of their child to really think about the issue and not let any unrealistic ideals fill their heads with notions about 'the perfect child'. A baby girl does not always make for sweetness and pretty things, just as a baby boy is not all about getting mucky and making a mess. It's these gender stereotypes which I think give people false ideals and spur on gender disappointment.

I'm already blessed with one beautiful boy (who hates being dirty by the way!) and whatever gender his sibling may be, I know that it was meant to be this way and that child will be loved beyond words.

Have you ever experienced gender disappointment yourself? How did it affect your pregnancy?

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pregnancy Pillows | Premium U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow With Lavender & FairyBeads Filling | Review ♥

Now that I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy I've been finding it quite difficult to get comfortable in bed at night. Our bed is quite low down, which makes it quite difficult to get out of for those middle of the night bathroom trips and I'm beginning to find it impossible to find a comfy position for my bump. Thankfully, the lovely people at Pregnancy Pillows got in touch and asked if I'd like to review one of their wonderful pregnancy pillows and I of course accepted - my bump was in desperate need of some comfort!

The pillow I chose from their range was the Premium U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow (£40) which comes with a lavender lining and fairy beads filling. The pillow comes in a choice of seven colours and I chose the lovely sky blue to match my shabby chic bedding. When the pillow arrived I was surprised at how long it was, it's the length of my king size bed which makes for maximum comfort at night or when I'm simply relaxing on the bed during the day.

I shared a picture of my pillow on my Instagram @fiandtylerlee on the day it arrived and it had a great response with people immediately stating that they had to go and get one for themselves too, well I couldn't recommend it enough for anyone who is expecting and is need of some bump and back support at night or for nap time.

The pillow is super comfortable, it's like lying on a huge beanbag and the fairybeads filling contour to the shape of your head and body too. The fairy beads filling is also anti-allergenic. The U-shape allows me to pop my leg up on the pillow, which in turn supports my bump, the other side of the pillow then supports my back and it's great to have this support, especially at 29 weeks. The outer fabric of the pillow is baby soft and is stretchy too, this makes for maximum comfort for my bump and I. This outer fabric is also removable and machine washable which is great as my toddler loves to lay on it too and has gotten chocolate on it more than once - the horror! The inner fabric of the pillow is lined with lavender which makes for a relaxing aroma, great for sending me off to a peaceful sleep or nap time.

 The Premium U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow offers -
  • Pressure relief to make sleeping on your side possible
  • Alleviates back and muscle pains
  • Can be used as pain relief for symphsis pubis dysfunction
  • Can be used as pain relief for fibromyalgia
  • Can be used as pain relief for arthritis
  • Can be used as pain relief for upper back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Can be used as pain relief for lower body pain
This pillow has been a great support to me during the latter half of my second trimester and now during my third trimester too. It's helped massively with my lower back and hip pain which seems to flair up at night and it really is one of the comfiest things I've ever lay on. I'm going to continue using it after baby arrives too and think it will also be a great support when feeding baby during the night feeds.

You can find the Premium U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow (£40) on the Pregnancy Pillows website where you can also browse through their other fantastic pillow options for pregnancy and nursing.

*I was sent the Premium U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow for the purposes of this review, as always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% my own.


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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Serenity Moment With Yankee Candle ♥

Serenity is not a word I would use to describe my everyday life as a busy parent, even though I would very much like it to be a word I could associate with my life... My days can often be stressful and being seven months pregnant with a toddler in tow isn't easy, but I do believe in making time for myself on occasion, letting myself relax completely, in my favourite room of the house and do some things which are quite simple but which I thoroughly enjoy doing.

I was recently challenged by the lovely people at Yankee Candle to share 'my serenity moment', a moment inspired by their beautifully scented My Serenity springtime collection. The My Serenity collection is comprised of four beautiful candles, all with a fragrance that is bound to invigorate the senses and transport you to a phase of relaxation. I just love the pastel colours of the four candles too, they're ever so pretty and perfect for brightening up the home now that the sunnier weather has arrived.

Peony - This is my favourite scent from the collection. The rich scent of spring's most coveted bloom, the peony, entices with notes of bright sweetness.

Lemongrass & Ginger - A fresh, clean mixture of gentle lemongrass and just-cut ginger, pure invigoration.

Moonlight - A subtle blend of bamboo, woody notes and bergamot, as intoxicating as moonlight on the water.

My Serenity - The definition of calm, warm pear and orange mingle with tropical flowers and soft musk.

 I decided to have my serenity moment once my son was in bed. I filled up the bath with some steaming hot water, made sure there were lots of bubbles and a lovely bath melt to give my skin some pampering. Is there anything more soothing than a hot bath when you're in need of some 'me time'? My lovely other half was putting our boy to bed so I retreated to my room, where my fairy lights and floral lights strewn over my curtain bunting and headboard were turned on, these instantly give a serene vibe to the room.

I lit my favourite candle from the My Serenity collection, Peony, and quite soon my bedroom was filled with the scents of those beautiful pink springtime blooms, it's a scent I'll never tire of, so floral, pretty and sweet.

I'm a woman of simple tastes, it doesn't take a lot to make me happy so my perfect serenity moment was simple - lying on my bed, reading a magazine my mother had brought me (ones I don't usually buy for myself, so it's always a little treat when she passes them on), catching up on some blog reading and watching old episodes of The Royle Family on YouTube, checking my Instagram feed, enjoying a Creme Egg (I think I deserve a little chocolatey treat now and again) and practising some mindfulness with an adult colouring book (I'm quite happy with how my little colourful butterfly is coming along).

Simple, serene moments like this before I go to bed are always treasured. Recently my son hasn't been sleeping well and bedtimes have been quite hectic, with him usually ending up in my bed, me hanging onto the edge for dear life just wishing for a peaceful nights sleep. So the fact that I could enjoy some 'me time', followed by some of the things which enjoy most made #myserenity moment just perfect. The beautiful scent of Peony was the cherry on top of my lovely evening.

This is my serenity moment - simple, relaxing and oh so lovely for a mum like myself who needs a little quiet time from time to time. You can view the My Serenity fragrance collection here if you fancy a little moment of serenity for yourself, I promise, you will not be disappointed by the scents, they are heavenly.

*I was sent the My Serenity collection candles for the purposes of taking part in this challenge, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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A Host Of Golden Daffodils... ♥

"I wandered lonely as a cloud, which floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils..." - William Wordsworth

I have always loved poetry, ever since I was a child I loved reading a learning new poems and one that has always stuck in my mind is I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth, in fact, I'm able to recite the first verse without prompt since I learnt the words in primary school. As I mentioned in my post about Spring Days With My Spring Babe, daffodils have always been a favourite flower of mine, I just love the yellow, they're so cheerful.

We always visit Blarney Castle in February and had wanted to go on Tyler Lee's third birthday to capture some beautiful snaps of him amongst the daffodils, but sadly it was bucketing down on the day. Once I saw the gorgeous sunshine yesterday and the bored look on my little boys face (is there anything sadder than a bored child?) I knew we had to get out and about and Blarney Castle seemed like the perfect destination.

There were so many beautiful blooms dotted around the gardens, including these lovely yellow and white flowers. I have no idea what they are, but they were too pretty not to capture on camera and they were next to a sign which said leprechauns are protected in the gardens so how could I resist?

We told our boy that there were fairies amongst the daffodils and he went off in search to find them. I was amazed by how carefully he moved through the flowers, taking care not to stamp on them or flatten them down. It's so lovely to have a little nature lover for a child and his gentleness does surprise me sometimes as he can be quite boisterous.

I loved seeing him interact with the flowers, peeking into each one to see where the fairies were and he even stopped to give a 'love' (kiss) to the flowers too. It was adorable to watch.

He even sat down between the yellow blooms for a little rest and to await a lollipop - his favourite treat at the moment. I had wanted to capture some pictures of him in 'daffodil avenue' as I call it, the place where we took his second birthday pictures, but sadly the daffodils there were already dying. They seem to bloom earlier and earlier every year.

It amazes me how grown up this little boy of ours is looking at the moment, he's only just three but seems to have a sense of being older in both how he looks and how worldly he is. I never want to stop capturing pictures of him, he's growing up so quickly and it's lovely to have these pictures and this little blog to document our lives together. The fact that he'll have a sibling to join in with this pictures next year just fills me with excitement.

I was so pleased to get he him out and about and to let him stretch his legs. A friend of mine commented to me that we always go on lovely adventures and that was such a great thing to hear. I never want my son to be a child who just sits in front of the television, I want him to be out and about, discovering the nature around him, getting some fresh air and burning off some of that amazing energy he has.

The face of a little boy who can finally go on the swings, or the 'see-saw' as he refers to everything in the playground as. I sat on the swings with my boy as Jacek went and took some pictures of the sun fading behind the castle. Tyler Lee was so happy swinging next to me and I loved this simplest of moments between us too.

We had a lovely afternoon together in the spring sunshine. The gardens at Blarney Castle are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen and they're always one of my favourite places to photograph.

We'll never stop being a family of adventurers.


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28 Week Pregnancy Update | Baby #2 ♥

This is my last day of being 28 weeks pregnant, I honestly can't believe how quickly the last few weeks are going by. It seems as though the days are all melting into one another and I feel as though I'm rushed off my feet trying to get organised, keep on top of the blog, get the house in order and look after Tyler Lee, who's going through a difficult stage at the moment. Thankfully my energy levels have perked up again and I'm able to get through the days without a nap again.

I got the results of my glucose tolerance test and thankfully I don't have gestational diabetes, but I was quite sure I didn't have it anyway. I've gotten out and about quite a bit this week and have gone on walks with my boys, it's been great to get out and get some fresh air, although I think all this walking has brought on Braxton Hicks contractions too.

I never experienced these in my pregnancy with Tyler Lee but the crampy, pain in my stomach, wanting to throw up feeling reminds me of the start of labour and I don't know what else it could be apart from the Braxton Hicks. At least my body is practising and getting me prepared for the actual labour.

I must admit I'm absolutely terrified about the prospect of labour again. I suffered terribly with a very painful thirty-one hour labour with Tyler Lee, who was in the O.P. position and I didn't think it left a lasting effect on me but I was wrong. I now worry about it before I go to sleep at night and I think the anxiety of it all will just make it so much worse once the time actually comes. I want to stay at home as long as I can this time around before going to hospital because the long stay in hospital last time made me refuse a second blood transfusion, something I greatly needed and I'd rather labour at home this time and be accepting of the after care, if I need it, instead.

This week...

Baby is the size of a - tropical coconut, according to my Ovia pregnancy app.

I'm looking forward to - getting the baby's room ready next month, we're just waiting for Jacek to finish his exams and then we can get organised.

My favourite moment was - going to Blarney Castle with my boys. The weather was beautiful and we captured some lovely pictures. It was great to get some fresh air too.

I've been feeling - quite energised this week, makes up for the exhaustion of last week. I've been getting organised and it actually feels great.

I've been buying for baby - I bought two more vintage Peter Rabbit outfits for the baby on Ebay and I also bought a custom car seat from a friend on Instagram, which will hopefully arrive today, I can't wait to see it in person, but I've now put myself on a spending ban and I'll be sticking to it.

I'm missing - a glass of Prosecco or white wine, these sunny evenings are spurring on my lust for a tipple even more.

I'm craving - still no real cravings, baby is so quiet too and doesn't kick much either so I'm looking forward to getting to know their personality more when they arrive because in utero they're giving me no clues to what they like, etc.

I'm loving - getting organised somewhat. I finally went through all of Tyler Lee's old clothes that have been sitting in vacuum bags in my wardrobe for the past two years, sorted what we could keep and washed them all. I also donated the clothes we couldn't use to the clothes bank.
          
I've been meaning to - I actually haven't been meaning to do anything at the moment, I just still need to get the paint for the baby's room but that will all be done after the second week of March.

I can't wait for - my next hospital appointment on the 29th. It'll be good to get my results on the Von Willebrand disease and my GP wants me to bring up the issue of my gallstones and jaw with the hospital too.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Recent Competition Wins ♥

When I was pregnant with Tyler Lee I did lots of comping, mainly through blog giveaways and Facebook page giveaways and I was quite lucky. I don't know why, probably lack of time, but I gave up comping shortly after his birth, but recently I've gotten back into it (it must be a pregnancy thing of mine!), mainly entering Twitter RT to enter competitions and I'm delighted to say that I've actually been quite lucky!

After my first weekend of comping, back in January, I actually won two fabulous prizes and I've won a few more since then too. I only enter competitions for things I'd genuinely love to win and that seems to be the key to my luck. Hopefully it'll continue!

I thought I'd share my wins here on the blog just to help me keep track of how lucky I've been and because I genuinely love to read posts like this on other people's blogs too.

My first win was a £50 Amazon gift voucher from We Value Any Home on Twitter, this came in very handy as I bought Tyler Lee's retro trike out of it for his main birthday gift.

I won this beautiful ChloBo heart pendant bracelet from Mococo Jewellery on Twitter, RRP £70. I absolutely love it as anything with a heart is a favourite of mine.

I won this stunning crocheted bouquet of roses from Inked Hibiscus on Facebook. I just love the cream and blush colour of the roses, they fit my shabby chic style perfectly.

My first win in February was for a €100 Brown Thomas voucher from HerFamily on Twitter. I'll be going straight to MAC with this when it arrives and will be picking up some new makeup for myself.

I also won this sweet little heart pendant necklace from Life Charms on Twitter, RRP £14.99. This is so lovely and the packaging is just perfect too, love the vintage feel it has.

I also won this bundle of The Art of Mindfulness colouring books from Michael O Mara Books on Twitter, RRP £31.96. These will be perfect for some quiet time in the evenings.

I was delighted to win this shabby chic style frame from Florence & Amelia's on Twitter, RRP £3.99. This will be going in my room to add to the shabby chic decor.

I was both surprised and delighted to win a three month Birchbox subscription from Birchbox UK and Laura Bermingham on Twitter, RRP £30. I can't wait to receive my boxes as I've never tried a beauty box subscription service before.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Days With My Spring Babe ♥

Spring is my favourite season. I always thought I liked each season equally, loving the various elements and special events of each one, but I was lying to myself, spring is the one for me. Ever since I was a child I have fond memories of spring, the weather always seemed to be lovely once February was upon us, I loved seeing the yellow and white blooms everywhere, celebrating my birthday, St. Patrick's Day and Easter - spring was a joyous time.

Now I love spring because it inspires me to get out and about once again with my son and the new life sprouting up around me makes me want to capture it all on camera. Spring is a season of new life, rebirth and rejuvenation and it really does give me a new lease of life when the cold frosts of winter melt away and make way for pretty things and sunshine once again.

There's a freshness about spring that no other season can compare with, although I do love summer days sitting on the beach watching the waves lull by too. I've shared my love for Sundays in spring on the blog before and it's a time of year when I love to see my son interact with the nature around him, whether it be picking dandelions for the bird bath, pretending a twig is a pair of glasses or picking a little snowdrop flower for his Mummy, it's lovely to see him take an interest in nature again after all the rain, muddiness and cold of winter has passed.

My son and I are spring babies and I think that's why it'll always have a fond place within my heart. These pictures I captured of our lovely yet blustery spring day are what spurs me on. This little boy of mine, with his beautiful eyes, big wide smile, curious nature and cheeky expressions are what make my days adventurous and worth waking up for. Spring days are the best, especially when you have a little adventurer in tow.

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Difficulty Of Choosing The Perfect Baby Name 2nd Time Round... ♥

Growing up, names were always something I took an interest in, I loved discovering new and unique ones and quickly decided which ones I loved and which ones I thought were just too plain and uninteresting. As a teenager I even wrote a letter to myself, which I opened on my 21st birthday, which included a list of names I loved and funnily enough the names Tyler and Lee were included on the list, although I don't remember being particularly besotted with either of them, I guess it was just meant to be...

Jacek actually chose Tyler's name. He was meant to be Taylor, the name a reference to Corey Taylor, lead singer of one of my favourite bands Slipknot, but we were both put off it when everyone began commenting that it was in fact a girls name and we were expecting a boy. We then opted for Tyler, after the character in Fight Club, who was everything the narrator of that film wanted to be - intelligent, handsome, carefree, etc. and Jacek wouldn't budge from the name, even though I had wanted to call him Samuel, Sam or Sammy for short. His middle name was supposed to be Lochlainn, but again we received criticism for the name, with people declaring they hated it. It was only an hour before he was born that the name Lee came into my head and we decided on Tyler Lee just before he made his appearance into the world. It all seemed to fall into place and I didn't really have to put any effort into choosing his name at all as Jacek wasn't budging from Tyler.

This time round it's my turn to name the baby and to be honest, I'm having an awful time with trying to find the 'perfect' name, if there's such a thing of course. Before I fell pregnant I kept on having dreams about a little girl and a name I loved kept appearing everywhere in my daily life, which I found bizarre as it's not a very common name. We don't know the baby's gender for sure as the umbilical cord was in between their legs when we tried to find out so I'm searching for both a boys and a girls name.

I seem to change my mind on a daily basis, letting other people's opinions and the fact of whether someone I know has already called their child that already, influence me in my decision. I also don't want to name my child something that's overly popular but sadly every name I love seems to be loved by many others too - I guess we all have great taste!

As this baby is going to be born in the summer I'd love them to have a beachy/surfer name if they're a boy and a pretty/flowery or nature inspired name if they're a girl.

The names I currently love and am considering for the baby's first and middle names are:

 Boys -

Beau - of French origin it means "beautiful" or "handsome".

Bodhi - of Sanskrit origin it means "enlightenment" or "awakening" which relates to a Buddhist concept, wherein Bodhi is synonymous with the state of nirvana, being freed from hate, greed and ego.

Fionn - of Irish origin it means "fair or fair-haired", the same as my own name.

Samuel - of Hebrew origin it means "name of God; asked of God; heard by God".

James - of Hebrew origin it means "he grasps the heel. Supplanter".

Tristan - of Celtic origin it means "tumult" or "outcry". In Arthurian legend Tristan was a Knight of the Round Table and tragic hero of the medieval tale Tristram and Isolde.

 Girls -

Meadow - of American origin it means "field of grass".

Siofra - of Irish origin it is believed to mean "changeling or fairy child".

Posey - of English origin it means "a bunch of flowers".

Blythe - of English origin it means "happy or merry".

Rose - a Norman form of a Germanic name it's associated with the rose flower.

Blossom - of English origin it means "fresh".

Belle/Maybelle - of French origin meaning "beautiful". I like Maybelle too as a fun take on Mabel for a May baby.

Fawn/Fauna - of English origin it means "young deer". The Greek mythological deity of fertility and nature was Fauna. She was famous for her chastity.

I'm so undecided but I do really love the names above. I honestly don't know if some of these will actually end up being the baby's name, only time will tell.

How did you chose your baby's name? Do you like any of the names I've listed above?

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Unusual Teeth Whitening Innovations From Around The World ♥

You may have heard about the recent crackdown by the UK government on who can offer professional teeth whitening treatments and those who train the people to carry out these procedures, but have you ever wondered about getting your teeth whitened somewhere else in the world? Let’s take a look at some of the weirdest and most wonderful places where you can get pearly whites abroad.

 Smile Bar 2015, Hong Kong
The Smile Bar Experience : Sirinart
Posted by The Smile Bar - Hong Kong on Sunday, 26 July 2015

Imagine sitting in what can only be described as an egg-like pod while an LED plasma blue light glows from a terminal in front of you. Well, that’s pretty much what you get if you visit the brand new Smile Bar in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Sleek, white and modern this minimalist teeth whitening bar looks high-tech before you even sit down. Smile Bar utilises patented Swedish technology that offers advanced and painless teeth-whitening in comfortable surroundings. Plus, the experts will assess your teeth and ensure your teeth are clean before you begin the treatment, as well as provide a Nano Seal to avoid future staining. We’d always recommend seeing a professional for a teeth whitening treatment, however we must admit, Smile Bar does look pretty snazzy.

The Vitality Show 2013, London 

The Vitality Show was a long-running tradeshow held at London’s Earl Court until 2013. This annual event was one of the country’s biggest showcases of everything beauty, fitness and spiritually related, targeted at British women and although only the best industry-leading products and services were showcased here, we couldn’t imagine having our teeth whitened in the middle of a tradeshow as shoppers stroll past. Could you?

West Hollywood Pride Festival 2008, CA, USA

Ever considered getting your teeth whitened in a tent in the middle of a park fayre? Well, that’s exactly what Blue Magic, an LA based teeth whitening light company, offered revelers at the West Hollywood Pride Festival back in 2008.

Over the last decade more than 30 US states have brought in laws preventing non-dentists from completing teeth whitening treatments, however there is little mention of ‘where’ these dental professionals are allowed to carry out these treatments. Whatever this provider’s training, we’re not sure we would have our teeth whitened in a pop up like this. Would you?

Have you seen teeth whitening offered in a bizarre place while holidaying or even here in the UK? We’d love to hear all about it.

If you’d prefer a quality teeth whitening treatment conducted by a professional in the comfort of a dental office, learn more about The Smile Dentist by Dr Rob. Call free on 0333 577 7273 to arrange your free smile consultation.

*This is a guest post written for Dolly Dowsie. 

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Friday, February 19, 2016

5 Tips To Save Money On Home Renovation ♥

Whether you’ve recently moved in or have spent years enjoying your home, renovation is essential for refreshing your house or flat. The main fear for homeowners is that the cost of home renovation will leave them with little to no savings. 

Deciding when to make bigger purchases and when you can save by doing it yourself is tough. To help you make the right call, we’ve collected five big and small ways to save when doing home renovation.

Check Your Budget First 
Look realistically at how much you can willingly invest and where you can splash out a little on fixtures and fittings. 

Also be aware of how much time you have to do the work yourself and when your deadlines are. Buying new lighting is a weekend job, but getting new kitchen cupboards could take a couple of days and will put your kitchen out of commission. 

1. Rearrange Rooms & Throw Away Extras 
Sometimes you don’t need to make a big change, or even pay for one, to make your home feel renovated. By rearranging the furnishings in a room you can make it feel like new. This is something we have done this past weekend and it feels great to have more space.

Try making small changes, like moving a chair near a window for reading, or completely rearranging all the furniture in your room. Experiment for a day or a weekend with new homes for your belongings. Move your kitchen table to the middle of the room and see if you end up with a more engaging communal eating space, or shift your bed and drawers to one side to give yourself a workout space. 

When rearranging look for anything you don’t need and haven’t used in the past year and then throw it away! Preferably by recycling or finding a good charity shop to give it to. We have a lot of our things and some unused toys of our sons to a charity shop at the weekend.

Cost: Nothing but a few hours of your time.

2. Paint A Feature Wall 
Repainting a room is a great way to create a new dimension and change the vibe of the space. But painting a whole room is time consuming, especially as you’ll have to do multiple coats to get a defined colour. While paint isn’t necessarily expensive, even a small room could require several pots. 

However, if you want a quick and cheaper way to repaint a room, consider painting just one wall. Create a feature wall by choosing a single vibrant colour that suits the mood of your interiors, for example a rich red for a bedroom or cool aqua for your bathroom. 

One 2.5L pot of paint will cost around £25. You’ll need about 2L to paint a standard wall and will need to do two coats in order to make a dynamic colour look great. That will cost you approximately £50 and take you about a day - with drying time. This leaves just enough paint left over for touch ups as and when.

Cost: £50 and a few hours of your weekend.

3. Reupholster Furniture  
Furniture doesn’t always deteriorate as fast as the patterns and designs may fade or stain. Couches, armchairs and even dining chairs can become limp and scuffed but will remain entirely useable - but not as aesthetically pleasing. 

So rather than splashing cash on brand new furniture, why not do some home reupholstering and get new furniture without the price tag. Granted you’ll have to look up some DIY reupholstering tips but the skills are fairly basic. 

You can easily sew a new cover for a sofa or re-pack a chair cushion to breath new life and style into well loved furnishings. If you are willing to spend on an upholsterer who already has those skills, you’ll probably be able to find someone locally who is willing to do it for a fraction of the cost of new furniture. 

Cost: £200-350 for a couch with labour costs or less if you’re having a go yourself.

4. Invest In Granite Kitchen Worktops 
Granite kitchen worktops are an investment. They look great and last a long time but come with added cost. While materials such as wood and linoleum come in grades that have their own advantages, they are all prone to damage over a few years. Granite will last lifetimes. 

To afford a granite kitchen worktop you may need to save a little more in advance. But with suppliers offering free quotes and huge ranges, you can afford to take the time to get it just right.

 Cost: £1000-1500 (average) depending on your kitchen counters size and one day.

5. Buy New Artwork 
Last but not least, you can renovate your home by picking up some new art to adorn the walls. Whether this is paintings for your hall, pictures for your bedroom or family photos for the kitchen. 

Buying art is as much down to your taste as your budget. You can find unique artistic renderings of bowls of fruit for hundreds of pounds or tens. However, if you want to save money on your home renovation with a personal touch why not grab a multiple picture frame. Include family pictures, postcards and favourite quote clippings to make a personal decoration for your home. 

Cost: £50-5000 and as much time as you can spare.

Have you done any home renovations lately or have any planned?

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Can Lipstick Really Make Your Teeth Look Whiter? ♥

Last summer Louise Redknapp and her cosmetics company, Wild About Beauty, announced they had teamed up with oral healthcare product provider Listerine to launch a range of lipsticks that would make your smile look whiter and brighter, but can a lipstick really trick the naked-eye into thinking your teeth are whiter than when you’re bare-lipped?
The Science Behind the Optical Illusion | Rednapp chose three shades from her collection: berry, bright fuchsia and a subtle pretty pink. Why these three? Well, deep colours create contrast and can reflect off your smile, boosting your teeth’s brightness. Dark berry shades are ideal for this because they are rich in colour but have cool undertones. Avoid dark brown lipsticks though, as these will bring out any yellow tinges. Soft pinks are a great choice, not only because they work seamlessly with pretty much any look, but because the cool pink undertones also minimise yellow hints and make your smile look whiter. Lastly a bold, in-your-face fuchsia creates such a dramatic difference from your natural teeth colour (plus its blue undertones, of course) that it will frame the mouth and emphasise the contrast, making your teeth appear whiter. Avoid corals or any lipsticks with yellow or orange undertones, unless you want your teeth to appear discoloured!

Our Favourite Lipsticks for a Whiter, Brighter Smile | So, now you know the science behind faking your way to pearly whites, take a look at our favourite lipsticks. Here are three of our go-to shades for emphasising our smiles.

MAC Insanely It Watermelon Pink Sheen Supreme lipstick (£17.50) – MAC is known for its luxurious, high-quality lipsticks and this one is no different. This colour-rich lipstick has all the shine of a lip gloss without the sticky texture. Lightweight and easy-to-apply we love this out-going and vibrant shade.


Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss #31 (£5.49) – Created and endorsed by legendary model Kate Moss, this high-intensity lippie is great if you’re looking for a long-lasting lipstick that can get you through a busy working day or a hard night of partying. Plus, its black diamond infused formula reflects light beautifully.


Nars Dolce Vita Sheer Lipstick (£20) – Another well-respected makeup brand loved by makeup artists, Nars sheer lipstick gives wearers a soft conditioning treatment with a dose of subtle colour. Long-lasting and translucent, it offers an understated shine in a lightweight, hydrating formula.

*All colour swatches and lipstick images taken from each brands’ websites

If a stylish lipstick just won’t cut it, then brighten your smile with a professional teeth whitening treatment from The Smile Dentist by Dr Rob. With a 5 star, VIP treatment and 100% guarantee, The Smile Dentist is the perfect place to enhance your pearly whites.

*This is a guest post written for Dolly Dowsie 

 
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