Autumn Days

This post probably won’t win any exciting post of the year awards but as I stepped into a hot shower the other night I thought to myself, I bloody love autumn, and I really do. My Northern Irish and Scottish roots mean I am pale as piss have beautiful porcelain skin, the kind that gets sunburnt looking out of a window, so summer doesn’t really appeal to me. Autumn though, you still get warm days, but they’re overcast so you don’t have to worry about suncream (so much hate for the stuff), hats, keeping babies out of the sunlight. The nights are drawing in so it’s easier to put children to bed and well, lots more reasons:

  1. Stepping from the cold into a hot shower. I could stand in a hot shower for hours, I ruddy love the heat, not so much the stepping back into the cold afterwards.
  2. Opaque tights. Regarding previous mention of pale skin, for me summer either means fake tanning my corned beef legs or wearing leggings with skirts / dresses. In autumn though, get out those tights! My legs are covered and they also look slimmer. Hooray for hosiery.
  3. Hair removal. The routine for leg shaving can be reduced during autumn until you’re running the winter hair removal program i.e. when leg hairs poke through tights or you’re feeling amorous so try to make an effort.
  4. Red red wine. Nothing beats curling up with a glass of red wine of an evening. The only white I drink is fizzy (my first night out after R I drank too much Pinot and didn’t make it home) but a nice glass of malbec tucked up on the sofa is the absolute best.
  5. Candles. To create some ambience with my red wine, I love a church candle or two. Plus, they add a bit of extra heat into the room, which brings me onto…
  6. HEATING IS ON! Well it’s not because we’re about to embark in the last fortnight before October “discussions” (heated discussions you might say) on whether or not it is acceptable to have the heating on. Working in PR I am however quite good at campaigning to have the heating on pre-October and you know, we can’t have the children getting chilly…
  7. Autumn TV. X Factor is back, aka the Christmas countdown. It’s terrible TV, but I watch it every week, I tweet about it, I turn into a judge on the sofa and I miss it when it’s gone. Plus, Dermot is back this year…
  8. Autumn cooking. Cottage pie, toad in the hole, Sunday roasts, hot soup with crusty rolls, chilli, casseroles with dumplings, fruit crumbles, carbs are in season, and I’m probably not packing the maternity trousers away just yet.
  9. Park life. Watching a toddler run amongst fallen leaves, splash in (muddy) puddles and collect conkers reminds you to enjoy the simple things in life.
  10. Hot chocolates. With whipped cream and marshmallows please. I don’t think I need to justify this point any further.
  11. Autumn wardrobes. Jackets and coats are back, and suddenly you have somewhere to lose put your keys again thanks to pockets, you don’t get many pockets with summer clothes, inconvenient.
  12. Slipper season. Proper warm, fluffy, new slippers season. And dressing gowns while we’re at it, especially during those night feeds brrrr!
  13. Winter duvet. We’ll be taking the plunge this week, it does make getting out of bed all the more difficult but oh my days, the warmth under that duvet.
  14. Partial beauty regime hibernation. Not just relaxing shaving habits but giving those painted toenails a rest. What an effort it is over the summer to maintain those nails for sandals / flip flops (peep toes are ok because I only ever paint the visible nail). I like to say I’m allowing the nail to breathe over the next couple of months….
  15. Christmas countdown. People seem to remain divided over when it is acceptable to mention the ‘C’ word but I’m one of those prepared people that starts Christmas shopping in the summer months, and by the time it gets to autumn I start to finalise lists of who is left to buy for. Only three more pay packets after all…
  16. Days in. Throughout the summer months I always feel pressured to get up and out with the kids, make the most of the nice weather and all that. It is exhausting. I much prefer lazy autumn days when you can get away with a quick trip to the park and then indoor activities, or snuggling up and watching a DVD (usually the fecking Jungle Book).

Are you still with me?!


S xxx

Bottoms Up: TIM Review’s ASDA Little Angels Nappies

Talking about our baby’s bottoms comes second nature to parents. We quite often joke about how often we talk about poo and nappy ‘situations’, I know I do this a lot. Firstly nappy talk is not just for kicks, you can actually tell a lot about the health of a baby from their poo, but I’ll save that for down the pub. Moreover, it’s a common denominator that us parents have to talk to other parents about, and if you’ve ever suffered from a particularly traumatic ‘poonami’ situation, sometimes you just have to share, parental therapy.

Unless your baby is born potty trained, nappies will become part of your weekly shop. Even with a second baby I had forgotten how many nappies a newborn goes through during one day. I had smugly stockpiled premium brand nappies during supermarket baby events while pregnant, only to see it dwindle quite rapidly. Poo, literally.nappies-review

I have always been a nappy snob (my 20 something self would not recognise my 30 something self) and have always bought premium branded nappies. With Reuben we did actually try one supermarket own-brand but he had an allergic reaction to them, so I have always stuck with what I know. However, they are costly, and with a second baby we are constantly looking for ways to cut back.

The lovely folk at ASDA Little Angels got in touch and offered me some samples, and I jumped at the chance to give them a go – in fact ASDA Little Angels was recently named the number one nappy brand in a recent survey.

I was sent both Little Angels Newborn with Dreamskin Technology (£3.75 for 40) and ASDA Little Angels Newborn (£3 for 44) to review – and both were a success.


  • Both types held nappy contents much better than premium brands
  • The Dreamskin Technology had a nice smell (when new on obviously), I have noticed the premium brand tends to have a chemical smell to them
  • Both have a wetness indicator


  • It’s not a negative, but I did notice the ASDA nappies are more of a snug fit than the premium brand, I would therefore recommend if your baby is at the larger size of the nappy bracket consider the next size up. Finn is a size one approaching a size two, I would definitely have gone for the size two. Just something to be aware of.

I was so impressed with these nappies that we will be actually be switching to them from our regular brand, these are great value for money.

Thank you ASDA Little Angels for working with This Is Me!

S xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent ASDA Little Angels nappies free of charge, but all opinions are my own.

Colic Times: Tips on how to survive them

I have many blogs saved in my drafts that need some work but I’ve not got round to it as I’ve been dealing with a colicky baby for a few weeks now, so it’s been a bit hard fitting everything in. There is however light at the end of the tunnel and Little F seems to be a much happier baby and a lot more settled at night.

What is colic? I’m sure there’s a fancy medical explanation, but essentially it’s a long period of crying for more than around three days per week that can’t really be explained. The crying is fairly intense, and tends to happens in the evening, anytime from around 5pm onwards, so after night feeds and a day fighting with entertaining a toddler, it can be *fairly* hard going. Sometimes I join in the crying, sometimes I zone out, other times I hand him to my husband and we take it in turns feeling slightly crazy trying to soothe him.

I figured I’m not the only person going through this, but a lot of people seem to be unsure about it, so I thought I’d put together some tips on how we try to deal with it:

  1. Tiger in the tree hold – this is an actual thing, but we find putting Finn in this position calms him, sometimes completely, other times enough that he just tiger-in-tree-holdgrumbles rather than full on screams.
  2. Rocking/swaying from side-to-side – “Don’t rock him, you’re making a rod for your own back” oh how I LOVE other people’s unwanted advice. Ignore that, save your sanity. Sometimes rocking is your best friend, it just works, ignore anyone who tells you not to, do what you have to for your sanity and to comfort your small person.
  3. Car rides – pop them into their car seat and take them for a drive, preferably a long stretch of road with no red lights and roundabouts!
  4. Pram rides – if you don’t drive, then pop them in the pram and get wheeling them around, I actually prefer this to a car journey as the crying isn’t as intense in the open. I also think the fresh air and movement is great for settling upset little ones.
  5. Wear your baby – sometimes babies just want to be held really close, try a sling or a wrap to keep baby close to you.
  6. Baby “medicines” – these aren’t technically medicines but try Infacol (from birth) or Gripe Water (from one month old). Sometimes a drop of this seems to be enough to distract them from why they were crying, I’m not really sure how they work if I’m honest. There is also Colief which you add to their milk in a bottle and Nelson’s do a powder called Colica – I’m no medical professional (clearly) so check with a Health Visitor or other medical professional before trying.
  7. Share the load – prolonged periods of crying can be enough to drive anyone a little crazy, so share the load. Swap with your partner, Ben and I are really good at tuning into each other and knowing when we’re at breaking point. Sometimes you just need someone to take the baby into another room for ten minutes – there’s no shame in that.
  8. White noise – just to add to the volume of noise in your house, pop the hoover on and see if that makes a difference – or there are some apps available to download with a selection of sounds. We’re quite partial to our Ewan the Dream Sheep – although we use him as more of a sleep aid than a colic fix.
  9. Ask for help – I mentioned to our Health Visitor that we were going through a colic time, although I felt we had it under control, it’s always an idea to get some advice from a professional in the first instance, they can also check-in to make sure that you are doing ok as well.
  10. Pop the baby down – it won’t do them any harm to simply be set down for five minutes while you step into another room, in fact it will probably do you some good.

Also, my experience of having two children who have had colic is that you will come across a few types of people:

  • Parents whose children have never had colic and seem bemused by what you’re talking about
  • The older generation who have all sorts of useful advice such as letting them cry it out or say “this too will pass” – you won’t want to hear it but they really are just trying to be helpful
  • People with no children who will ask you what is wrong with your baby – avoid these people until it passes😉
  • Parents who have recently gone through it or are going through it at the same time and completely understand your current situation, embrace these people (maybe not physically, it depends on how well you know them)

Finally, you will get through it, this too will pass – ha! Seriously it will, and although you won’t look back at it with fond memories, you’ll really how strong a person you are to be able to handle it. Colic is hard, especially in the early sleep-deprived weeks, remember to go easy on yourself, you’re doing a great job.

S xxx

This Is Me Review: Skinfix Gentle Baby Regimen


Dry, sensitive skin is something I have been battling all my life, lucky me right? When I was younger I used to suffer from horrendous eczema, I remember the backs of my knees would be red raw. Now that I’m older (boooo), I still get the odd patch, and my hands are really susceptible to dermatitis. Because of this, I’m really aware of what I use on my skin, and because I know it can be genetic, I’m even more careful about what I will use on the boys’ skin – Finn because he’s a newborn and Reuben because he’s already shown signs of allergies and skin sensitivity (sorry son).

When the team at Skinfix got in touch to offer me the chance of reviewing the new Skinfix Gentle Baby Regimen – free of fragrance, steroids, tree nut and peanut ingredients, dermatologist recommended and paediatrician tested – I jumped at the chance.

The range launched in Boots on June 17th, we were lucky to get a sneak peak and have been using the Skinfix Gentle Hair & Body Wash (236ml / £12.99), the Skinfix Nappy Balm (60g / £6.99) and the Skinfix Gentle Lotion (236ml / £12.99) for the past month.

The first thing we tried was the Nappy Balm, normally we use Metanium as we find it’s the best product for clearing up sore bottoms quickly, but it does smell chemically and I find it leaves a stain if you get it on a baby grow. The smell of the Skinfix Nappy Balm is lovely, formulated using sunflower and jojoba oils, it is just so much nicer applying it to sore bottoms. I’ll admit I was sceptical about it being able to do the job as quickly asMetanium does but was surprised at how effectively it worked. This is now a staple product on our changing station and I feel so much better about applying something far more natural to Finn’s tiny bottom.

I have been using the Skinfix Gentle Hair & Body Wash on Reuben for a few weeks now. It’s the first time I’ve switched from Dentinox shampoo as even at three he’s quite prone to ruddy cradle cap! I’ve had no issues with Reuben suffering from a dry, flaky scalp, and I love the fact it is a tear-free formula. Hair wash days can be particularly stressful in our house, but he was excited to try a new shampoo, I told him it was magic and wouldn’t sting his eyes, and it was a hit! I’m also a big fan of it being a body wash in one, the less “stuff” I have cluttering up my toy-filled bathroom the better! It also makes the whole bath time routine easier using an all-in-one product. Again Reuben suffers from patches of eczema, but in the four weeks we’ve been using the product there hasn’t been a patch on him, so it’s a thumbs up from me!

The Skinfix Gentle Lotion, made with 98% natural ingredients has been the perfect treatment for the little patches of dry skin on Finn that newborns seem to get. Also, I have been using this one myself! After years of using steroid-based ointments I try to use lotions until I absolutely have to switch to a hydrocortisone cream. I find some creams can sting a bit on my skin but I’ve had no trouble with this one, and it’s left me feeling moisturised. There is an Eczema Balm available, which I am keen to try for my next ‘flare up’ and they also do a hand wash, which given how often I wash my hands currently I think is definitely worth trying out.

I’ve really enjoyed trialling these products, as mentioned I can be wary of putting anything new on my skin for fear of a reaction, I much prefer the idea of putting something natural on my skin, so this range get full approval from me!

Skinfix is available to buy from Boots online and in-store now.

S xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent Skinfix Gentle Baby products free of charge, but all opinions are my own.

West is Best… Things I Love About the West Country

When we made the decision to relocate to the West Country two years’ ago, for me, the decision was easy. I was born in Wroughton (ok, Swindon), but grew up in a small town between Bath and Salisbury. I went to university in Bournemouth, and after a couple of years in a PR agency in Southampton decided to take the plunge and move to London. Returning ‘home’ was always on the agenda, but it had to be when the time was right. I had a ruddy good time in London, I was very much a country bumpkin in our capital city. There was the time I asked someone on the Central Line which carriage the toilet was in, and then the time I was sent to an event by the River Thames only to return to the office two hours later having not been able to find the River. The less said about that better. If I’m being really honest, those two snippets are just the start of my seven years in the Big Smoke.

After having Reuben, the time felt right for us to move back, so we have settled in a small town between Bath and Bristol. From walking through the door two years’ ago it’s always felt like home. Ben is originally from Buckinghamshire, he is adjusting well to West Country life, although I think he is both amused and bemused by the West Country culture. Here are some of the reasons why I love the West Country:

  1. The people – and I include myself in this. The people here are so friendly, although I think a rabid dog is probably friendlier than London commuters. We say things like “good morning” when we pass each other in the street, we thank cars with a polite wave who have stopped to let us cross a zebra crossing (one of the things that amuses Ben). We know our neighbours, not just next door either, but we know the name of everyone who lives in our street, sometimes we even hang out.
  1. Driving – I only ever did a couple of driving trips in London, that’s all I needed to do to confirm I should leave it up to the experts, and took cabs or the tube (the carriages don’t have toilets you know). I don’t blink when we’re stuck behind a tractor on an A road, I even tolerate what I think is a very West Country thing whereby if a car has to give way at a junction, a car with the right of way stops to let the car that has to give way out. That has blown Ben’s mind.
  1. The language and accent – where we live is a real mix between posh West Country (a Bath accent with a mild twang, usually when someone says “alright”) and broad Bristolian. When I went to university and subsequently London I was very aware of my accent, so worked hard to try and sound less bumpkin, more London PR dahhhhling. I’m not sure if I ever convinced anyone… However, now I’m back, the old twang is becoming more broad with Ben shouting “turnip” at me every time I say something or drop a consonant (which I am forever correcting Reuben on as it goes e.g. wheresat – where’s that. Whassat – what’s that).
  1. The view – while I am aware that other areas of the country have fields, I stand by my belief that none of them look as nice as the rolling hills of the West Country. There
    balloon spotting

    Hot Air Balloon Spotting

    are areas surrounding Bath that I love driving through just to take in the view, and smell the lingering smell of manure. We’re fortunate where we live that we’re surrounded by fields where hot air balloons land and take off from, particularly ace during the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

  1. Cider – I bloody cider. I don’t mean the cheap stuff you get in 2L bottles that I played Power Hour with as a teenager (why, just why). In fact, I am quite snobby about my cider choice. I am not overly keen on the Irish or Swedish stuff that you drink with ice, that won’t do. I prefer a nice cold glass of the West Country stuff – proper job. In fact, Somerset company Brothers recently sent me a cheeky tipple to try out. Brothers has just launched Brothers Hop Cider 4% ABV, which is a blend of apples and pears. I’ll

    Cider I Up!

    admit I’m not hugely keen on pear cider after overindulging at Glastonbury one year, it all got messy during an Orbital set and ended up with me being told off by the Green Police for weeing in a hedge. However, it was a good few years ago, so I thought I’d give pear cider another go, with everyone else’s’ best interests at heart, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t have that horrid overly sweet taste some of the other fruity ciders have. The ones that tend to give you a headache after a bottle following the sugar crash. It’s a refreshing drink, best served cold, you can put it over ice if you like, but I do judge people who do that. Brothers Hop Cider is definitely going to be featuring in my summer drinks selection. Thanks guys!


S xxx

Disclaimer: I was sent some Brothers Hop Cider free of charge, but all opinions are my own.


Father’s Day Feels

Ben is without a doubt my rock. Since Reuben was born and particularly the past few weeks since Finn came along I’ve realised just how much he does for us all. 

When a new baby arrives there’s much fuss about the baby and the mum, who are both showered with gifts and support. While all these are lovely (and always welcome) behind the scenes in my house Ben has been a tower of strength, the most patient person and a super dad to both children in what has been an understandably bonkers few weeks with a newborn and a near three year old.

He’s helped me get dressed, made me laugh/occasionally grimace, cooked, cleaned, entertained children / visitors, bought me “feminine products”, given me cuddles, dealt with my hormones (medal deserving on its own), ensured there’s always chocolate in the house, done all of the washing, cleaned bottles, changed nappies, helped with night feeds and kept a cool head in the process. 

When both children were born he told me how proud he was of me and I don’t think I’ve told him that I’m just as proud of him. The boys are lucky to have him as role model, he’s Reuben and Finn’s hero and he’s also mine. 

Thank you for being brilliant Ben. Can you pop the kettle on?

S xxx

Welcome Little Finn!

We welcomed Finn into the world on Tuesday 31 May, he weighed in at 6lbs 15oz (take that “are you sure it isn’t twins?” haters!).  

Finn was the name I had actually chosen for Reuben but Ben preferred Reuben. However, three years of nagging seems to have worked. That and Ben’s reluctance to pick up a baby name book (quite common I hear).

Finn was born early by an elective c-section that was quite late in being decided but actually I’m really pleased with how it went and we made the decision to go ahead with it. Reuben was born by an emergency section and the two births, and subsequent week after, could not have been any different. 

Finn was born into a calm environment, within five mins of surgery. After delayed cord clamping I  got to hold him skin to skin – I didn’t hold R for the first hour after he’d be born and having had the contact this time I really believe it makes a difference having that early bonding opportunity. 

The atmosphere was so calm, and I felt really looked after by the whole team who kept reassuring me it was going well. My main concern was bleeding to death so they were good at keeping me informed that I wasn’t, although I did lose more than normal so I get to take iron tablets for a while. (Black poos are a little weird if I’m honest).

We stayed overnight for the first night and they allowed Ben to do the same, again something that didn’t happen before but it really helped us all to bond. Primarily it meant that Ben could help me with Finn as I was still bed bound until around 7am when they got me up. Wowzer. Then they gave me some more painkillers and life was good again.

We were discharged 24 hours after Finn was born and have been enjoying some time as a family of four. Reuben is besotted with his new baby brother, he won’t stop kissing him and offering him toys. Long may that continue… Ahem. Reuben seems to be punishing me a little which is fine, it’s all change for him and he’s quite an emotional boy. I just keep offering reassurance and bribes. Grade A parenting.

So far Finn seems pretty chilled but I know this can change. I’m certain it’s to do with his birth being so relaxed, which in turn has made us all relax (well the painkillers have made me relaxed if I’m honest). I’m just so happy he’s with us and although it’s only been four days it feels like he’s always been here.

S xxx