Baby clothes haul – NCT nearly new sale

A few weeks ago I went to my first ‘NCT nearly new sale’ and I was so impressed I had to share my buys with you…

By the time I arrived I was pretty much last in the queue so I feared I’d missed most of the bargains but the place was so big I didn’t need to worry – I headed straight for the baby boy 3-6 months section and pretty much had it to myself… in total I spent £23 and here’s what I got….

The top on the right is one of my faves – I love minis! The t-shirt on the left is the worst thing I bought, only because it was slightly bobbly – but at 50p for a Jasper Conran t-shirt I can’t complain!

Jasper Conran T-shirt (50p) and Monsoon long-sleeved T-shirt (£2)

Jasper Conran T-shirt (50p) and Monsoon long-sleeved T-shirt (£2)

 

Next romper suits (£3 for the 2)

Next romper suits (£3 for the 2)

 

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

We’re hoping to get away for our first family holiday in September so it was great to stock up on these shorts – all in excellent condition and cute details e.g. the john Lewis ones have a lovely red lining to contrast with the blue.

 

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

Brand new T-shirt from Tu on the left (50p) and one from Next on the right (£1)

 

R: John Lewis Shorts (£1), tommy hilfiger shorts (£1.50)

R: John Lewis Shorts (£1), tommy hilfiger shorts (£1.50)

Baby’s first coat! I love, love, love this – I think it will be perfect for those rainy Autumn days!

Gorgeous jacket from Gap (i think it was £2)

Gorgeous jacket from Gap (i think it was £2)

I had to get these Next T-shirts…. look at the backs!

image

Next T-shirts (£1.50 for both)

Next T-shirts (£1.50 for both)

Baby’s first shirt… I’m sure we’ll find an occasion for him to wear it to!

Mothercare shirt (£1)

Mothercare shirt (£1)

Some of you will know I have a thing for elephants so when I saw this rucksack, I had to have it – hope he likes it by the time he’s old enough to use it!

Elephant rucksack (£1)

Elephant rucksack (£1)

I also have a thing for bees, so I HAD to have this bee outfit – it still had the tags on it too so another great bargain!

Brand new from Tesco (I think it was £1.50)

Brand new from Tesco (I think I paid £1.50)

The above doesn’t quite add up to £23 – the remaining £5 or so I spent on 3 baby books – with textures, sounds etc.

So what a bargain, I was seriously impressed as I wouldn’t normally buy any designer labels for baby, so at this price the haul was a real treat. The quality on most items is really good, they really are nearly new – there’s only one t-shirt that shows a bit of wear/bobliness.

The next NCT sale in Cardiff is on September 26th 2014 – find out if you have one near you on their website. I was only interested in the clothes and books but they sell pretty much anything that’s baby-related! I will definitely be going to the next one…. will you?!

 

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Weeks 11 and 12 of becoming a mummy

Another busy 2 weeks has passed…… eeek!

Baby W

In terms of development, W doesn’t seem hugely different from the last update – lots of smiles, grabbing and generally being more awake. We did have a big milestone the day after his 12 week birthday – he rolled over from front to back!

Sleep (or lack thereof)

He’s still very content 99% of the time. Sleep is still a distant fantasy for me! As the last few weeks have been so hot, he’s usually been getting his main 3 hour sleep but then been waking up every hour. Then for a couple of nights last week, he wouldn’t settle back down in his basket after his nightfeeds which is unusual for him… again, might be down to the heat and he is starting to get too big for it! One night we had to leave him in his bouncer for a few hours instead so we could all get some sleep!

Looking at the Wonder Weeks app, he is currently in a developmental leap which could explain those funny few nights, he’s calmed down a bit since (and as I write, the weather has cooled down…. hooray!)

We are finally starting a bedtime routine for him today, to see if this helps him sleep through (I’ll keep you posted!)

Me?

I’ve had a stinking cold for a week now – no fun at all with a little one to keep entertained and happy. So, so lucky that we have family nearby to help out!

So what have we been up to over the last 2 weeks?

Sunday – had a lovely family day out at the Cardiff food and drink festival and a trip into the city centre (W slept through most of it)

Monday – went to our first baby massage class (W started ok, then cried for a feed, then cried for a poo and then wouldn’t settle!)

Tuesday – yoga class (W slept through it)

Wednesday – went to Jellybabies mother and baby group where my friend helps out so great to catch up with her, and met a mum with a 6month old.

There was a free taster of a sign and sing class… W slept through it (are you seeing a theme developing here!?)

Thursday – work were having an afternoon out in the park so I took W down to say hello… he slept all the way through

Friday – took him for a long walk to the nearby village of Llandaff and its cathedral while the cleaner was here (he slept for most of the way through)

Stopped for a feed on a secret bench overlooking Llandaff cathedral

Stopped for a feed on a secret bench overlooking Llandaff cathedral

Saturday – a friend came to visit with her 2 little ones and we all went to St Fagans outdoor museum nearby – great fun with her little 2 (W slept for most of it!)

Sunday – a couple of hours in Roath Park with friends and their infants, including a friend who was back from Canada for a couple of weeks

Monday and Tuesday – mummy had a stinking cold so gave W to his nanna for a few hours both days!

Wednesday – family funeral – thankfully W slept through the service. The men were wearing pink shirts (breast cancer) so I enjoyed putting W in a pink giraffe print babygro! (the least girly one I could find!)

New elephant/ pink giraffe print babygros from Marks & Spencer (Instagrammed)

New elephant/ pink giraffe print babygros from Marks & Spencer (Instagrammed)

Thursday – auntie Shell popped over for cwtches, then we went for an afternoon tea with an Indian twist at Chaiholics, Cardiff with his auntie Sioned followed by a long walk around Roath Park, lovely day! If you’re in Cardiff, I highly recommend a trip to Chaiholics – I thought it was ace!

My first ever Chai latte at Chaiholics, Cardiff

My first ever Chai latte at Chaiholics, Cardiff

Friday – we popped into town to see some work colleagues that we hadn’t seen yet

Saturday – daddy’s birthday! We went to our usual Swimkidz swimming lesson and daddy got to go underwater with W to see what he looked like which was cool to watch – apparently he scrunches his face up :) We spent the afternoon picnicking and chilling in Roath Park – perfect birthday for daddy!

Our view upwards in Roath Park

Our view upwards in Roath Park

The weather has been scorching, and as you can see I’ve mentioned a few parks etc – this weather (and being on maternity leave!) has made me fall in love with my city Cardiff again! I’ll post about it separately at some point but I just love all the free parks and green space :)

As I said, glad it’s cooling down a bit now and I’ll keep you posted on the sleep situation!

Purchases and presents

As well as those babygros earlier, I bought a couple of t-shirts in the Tesco sale, his auntie Clare bought him a cool checked shirt from Next and also a very special present – ‘baby’s first year’ book based on baby favourite ‘guess how much I love you’ – we’ll have fun filling that in!

I was also given my push present – a Pandora ‘baby boy’ charm for my bracelet.

And we also given some knitted goodies from my family – my mum, nan and auntie knitted these for him….

Knitted gifts from my family

Knitted gifts from my family

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REVIEW: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual breast pump and bottle

I always hoped I’d be able to breastfeed, and express when baby came along. I remember researching breast pumps while I was pregnant and I decided that I would go for an electric pump instead of a manual one as they sounded easier, more comfortable etc.

But as the saying goes ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’ and a member of a Facebook group I’m in for mums due in the same month, kindly send me a Tommee Tippee manual pump, as she had already had one but had been given another as a gift.

When it came to giving it a try when baby W was 7 weeks old, I was quite nervous – breastfeeding had been entirely painless but now I was staring at a contraction that looked like it could cause pain… and actually when I tweeted that I was about to use it for the first time, a few people said they’d had a tough time using it….

How I got on

So after washing it, sterilising it and getting my head around it, off we went…. after a few minutes of pumping, milk started dribbling through and in my first session I managed to pump over 100ml of milk – I was so pleased!!

First attempt at expressing milk

First attempt at expressing milk

I used this pump for another week or so before moving over to an electric pump. Personally I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the manual and electric pump in terms of output- I prefer using the electric one now as it’s lazier – I just have to hold it whereas with the manual one, you need to keep pumping to keep the milk flowing.

At first it feels like a strange sensation, but I quickly got used to this. I don’t think it should feel uncomfortable – perhaps if you’ve tried it a few times and it still hurts then for whatever reason it’s not the pump for you?

Tommee Tippee manual breast pump

Tommee Tippee manual breast pump

Closer to nature bottle

This bottle comes free with the pump, it’s what you use to catch the milk before adding a teat on to it to feed baby. Again, I was nervous about how baby would take to a bottle (if at all) after 6 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding and I’m delighted to say he took to it straight away and we haven’t tried any other types of bottles since so that we don’t jinx ourselves!

I believe these bottles/teats are supposed to be good for mums who are still breastfeeding, as the teats are supposed to be quite similar to the nipple thus making it easier for baby and reducing the chances of ‘nipple confusion’

My verdict?

I think this a great, value for money product. The RRP is £29.99 but I think it’s quite often half price in places like Mothercare which makes it even more of a bargain, so if you’re on a budget this could be the breast pump for you!

It’s very easy-to-use and I found it comfortable – I quickly got into a rhythm and learnt how to do it one-handed etc! You’ll know from my breastfeeding story that I have a plentiful milk supply, so I do think that helps with this pump – and I recommend you use it just after feeding, or when you feel that milk has come in – this will make it easier to use and you will get more milk that way! With that in mind, I wouldn’t bother buying this or any other breastfeeding products until you’re in ‘established breastfeeding’ i.e. been doing it for a few weeks!

As well as being easy-to-use, it’s very easy to clean and steriliser as it’

Another huge plus is the bottle you get with it – again, before rushing out and buying a huge set of bottles you can try this one and see your baby gets on.

The pump also comes with a steriliser travel box, milk storage bottles and breast pads but the girl who sent this to me had quite rightly kept those for herself – shame, as the steriliser travel box sounds really handy and I’m sure I’ll end up buying that!

When you add it all up, I think you get a lot for your money (especially if you can get it on offer!)

Any cons?

I honestly can’t think of any other than you have to do the work yourself by pumping – so this is not suitable for lazy people :)

 

Was this useful? Did you try this pump and find it as good as I did or did you struggle with it? Leave a comment to let me know, thanks :)

Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review this by anyone, I was given it as a gift and wanted to share my thoughts!

 

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Mummy’s new wardrobe – Oasis haul

As you know, I packed away my maternity clothes a few weeks ago. My staple uniform since little W arrived has been the stereotypical breastfeeding mum uniform of jeans and loose/comfy T-shirts. (Or sometimes my PJ’s/dressing gown if I’m not leaving the house!)

So I was very excited to try and find some new things to wear from my favourite clothes shop, Oasis. The aim was to look a bit more yummy mummy (and a bit less frumpy mummy!)

Although I was excited, I was also slightly nervous – I didn’t know what size I would be and whether things would fit me properly like they did pre-baby. And I’m not great at clothes shopping at the best of times – I tend to stick to plain, classic stuff.

So here’s what I bought…

1 – Stripey vest

Bit of a safe bet this one (I have a few stripey tops!) but the best value in terms of getting wear out of it – I’ve worn it with jeans for a few of our days out already. Because the bottom half is a little bit loose, it’s great for breastfeeding! It also has 2 layers – a thin navy vest layer underneath (again, great for feeding as it could mop up some spills although this hasn’t happened to me….yet!)

Stripey racer back vest top from Oasis

Stripey racer back vest top from Oasis

2 – Floral blouse

I haven’t worn this yet but love the fabric, print and shape. I think it will be lovely for a summer’s evening with a pair of jeans and heels or flats. I could wear it to work when I go back too. As I’m petite, these small prints tend to suit me.

Flower power blouse with gold buttons from Oasis

Flower power blouse with gold buttons from Oasis

Extreme close-up of the blouse fabric

Extreme close-up of the blouse fabric

3 – Palm print dress

Bit of a random one, and the photo doesn’t do it justice but I love the palm print stuff and this is a really flattering fit. The fabric is also nice and comfy, quite thick so again perfect for a summer’s evening. Not sure when I’ll get the chance to wear it but I do have a girl’s day/night out in August.. and hopefully our first family holiday in September :)

Palm print dress from Oasis

Palm print dress from Oasis

4 – Coral blouse

I normally stick to quite plain, dark colours so to move me out of my comfort zone I went for this coral blouse and I love it! I think it’s perfect for summer and is a nice cheerful colour. I’ve worn it with jeans and gladiator sandals a couple of evenings out already and paired it with a new skirt (below). I love the buttons and ruffle details on it. it’s a bit see-through so got to wear a vest underneath it!

Coral blouse with gold button detail from Oasis

Coral blouse with gold button detail from Oasis

5 – Floral, knee-length skirt

As I said, I live in jeans so I wanted to get something different for my bottom half and I’m not sure I would get away with those pyjama-style trousers that everyone’s wearing. I have short legs (and my thighs are large in proportion to the rest of me!) so I tend to avoid skinny jeans and very short/long skirts which make me look shorter. So this skirt was perfect in terms of length for me :) Again, being petite I tend to go for smaller prints, so it ticks that box too. Oh and I plan to wear it with tights in the winter – perfect for work!

Black and white print skirt from Oasis

Black and white print skirt from Oasis

Close-up of the skirt from Oasis

Close-up of the skirt from Oasis

I teamed up the skirt with the coral blouse (and gold gladiator sandals) for the girly lunch I went on last week. I’m not entirely sure they go, but I thought it looked ok… and it was SO nice to dress up a bit and peel myself out of my jeans!

Apologies for the awful selfies – I need practice and I need a full-length mirror! (And to learn how to crop photos on wordpress.com!)

 

A bad selfie of my new outfit from Oasis!

A bad selfie of my new outfit from Oasis!

Another bad selfie of me in my new Oasis outfit

Another bad selfie of me in my new Oasis outfit

I have purposefully forgotten how much these add up to as I paid full price for them, but you’ll be pleased to know that most of these are in their sale now!

So there we have it – mummy’s new wardrobe. They met my brief of glamming me up a bit and making me feel a bit more yummy! Did you treat yourself to anything new once baby had arrived?

 

 

 

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REVIEW – Philips Avent Comfort Breast Shells

In all my shopping for baby and motherhood, I’d never heard of these bad boys… a friend told me about them when I told her I had an abundant milk supply. She suggested these as an easy way to ‘catch’ excess milk, so I thought I’d give them a shot.

Review: Avent Breast Shell set

Review: Avent Breast Shell set

What they are: basically a plastic ‘shell’ (with silicone backing) with a hole in them for where your nipple goes…. you pop them into your bra and et voila, you can catch milk as it leaks!

I see faces...

I see faces…

How did they work for me?

I decided the best way to use these is to pop one in your bra while you’re feeding off the other breast (when I get the most leakage).

The first time I tried this, most of it leaked and I was ready to write a scathing review!

The second time I tried it, I managed to catch a load of milk without leakage! (I’d say 10-20ml)

The third time, I caught a load of milk but I spilt some as I was moving around too much!

Milk caught in the Avent breast shell

Milk caught in the Avent breast shell

I’ve used them plenty of times since, and honestly the leakage only happens if you manage to fill the shell; if you move around too much and/or if you’ve positioned it slightly wrong.

I should add that you need to wash and sterilise them before and after using. I should also add that I don’t think you would catch much by wearing them day in, day out. You need to be ready to pop one in when your ‘let down’ is about to start so maybe as your breasts start feeling hard and full!

My verdict?

I think these are fab! I haven’t precisely measured how much they can catch, but based on the milk storage bags I use, I’d estimate around 20ml each time.

So this is a really easy way of getting milk for your fridge/freezer supplies and topping up expressed milk – it’s practically effortless!

Because of the silicone backing, they’re comfy and you can easily forget you’re wearing them (although I feel a nice, funny sensation when the milk starts pouring in – not sure if that’s normal :)) The silicone helps them to almost stick to you – they don’t move around (or shouldn’t!)

Obviously these only work if you have a good, active milk supply. If you do, like me, these could also save you a bit of money on breast pads and cut down on how often you need to wash (or buy new!) bras!

Downsides

I don’t use them as often as I could as I’m quite often bra-less around the house so the only downside I can think of is that you need to wear a bra to use them! :)

At first I thought they were a bit pricey at £12 for essentially bits of plastic – but I don’t think anybody else makes them, and I do think they’re worth the money as it’s such an easy, lazy way of catching milk. Although I just said they are just ‘bits of plastic’ they are high quality and strong – I think they’ll last a long time if not forever!

Other info

They also come with 2 shells with ventilation holes in them to soothe cracked nipples by avoiding chaffing, but I didn’t use these as I didn’t need to. Once you add those in, they become even better value for money!

Was this useful? Let me know in the comments below and if you found it useful, why not share it with a breastfeeding mummy? thank you!

Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review these by anyone, I bought them myself and wanted to share my thoughts!

 

 

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Week 10 of becoming a mummy – the case of a missing shoe

Last week was busy. Daddy was going away for work for a few nights so we decided that baby W and me would go and stay with my parents for 3 nights…

Sunday – spent the morning emptying my boot and packing the car (who knew I had so much space in my boot when all the random junk is taken out?!), hit the road about lunchtime and travelled across half of Wales to get to my childhood home in Mid Wales, calling with my auntie then my nan on the way – lovely to see them as always and they absolutely loved seeing how much W had grown but it was a tiring day!

Homeward bound - a reservoir in the Elan Valley, mid Wales (instagrammed)

Homeward bound – a reservoir in the Elan Valley, mid Wales (instagrammed)

Monday – after yesterday’s marathon drive and visiting session, W and I had a nice relaxed day watching Tour de France while my parents were both out. W had a long afternoon nap (3-4 hours) which was funny to see as he has long naps when we go out in the day (sleeps very well in the pram/car) but didn’t know he was capable of them indoors too!

Tuesday – we all went to nearby beautiful, Georgian Aberaeron and had a delicious lunch in ‘Hive on the Quay’ before a short walk around the town where we lost one of W’s shoes (I’ll come back to that later). We caught up with a friend and W fell asleep about 8pm in my dad’s arms which was a lovely treat as he’s normally a bit grouchy around that time in the evenings!

Aberaeron harbour (instagrammed)

Aberaeron harbour (instagrammed)

Wednesday – caught up with another friend before heading home to Cardiff, daddy arrived home shortly afterwards so we were reunited and had survived our 3 nights apart and W’s first overnight stay away from home!

Thursday – as it was ‘strike day’ W and I went for a big family lunch with his nan, great auntie, auntie and cousins – lots of cwtches and behaved like a dream in the pub before his long afternoon nap, and nice and chilled again in the evening :)

Friday – this momma went for a girly lunch an hour away in Swansea to celebrate the start of a friend’s hen weekend. We had a lovely lunch in the Grape and Olive (I treated myself to scallops then lobster!) and it was great to dress up a bit and be something other than a mummy after a busy few days with W! Daddy was out Friday night and I’m not sure if W was missing him or annoyed with me for going out in the day but he was back to his usual grouchy-ness and didn’t go to sleep til 11pm! I actually used a dummy for the first time to calm him down which did help a bit – haven’t needed to use it since :)

View from Grape and Olive, Swansea

View from Grape and Olive, Swansea

Saturday – As Daddy had gone out the night before, I took W for his usual Swimkidz swimming lesson and I spent a lovely half hour with him in doing so, however when it came to it I couldn’t dunk him underwater like his daddy does! And then…. chill!

The missing shoe

So we lost one of W’s first shoes in Aberaeron. It was funny – I posted it in a local Facebook group a couple of days later and it had been spotted by 3 people on a windowsill but by the next day it had disappeared again so it really is lost now… I’m not a particularly emotional or sentimental person but losing the shoe did make me feel a bit of both…. his first shoe…. gone….. I guess it got me thinking about how quickly he is growing, how many of his little first things we will lose along the way as he kicks them off and throws them… how he will never wear that shoe again! It got me thinking about what items we’ll keep and what we won’t… these shoes we definitely would have kept…. they were so cute…. and his FIRST shoes!

W's first shoe - has anyone seen the missing one?

W’s first shoe – has anyone seen the missing one?

*Sighs* So to cheer myself up I’ve bought him exactly the same pair, in the White Company sale (£12) but the only size they had left is 6-9 months… and turns out they’re slippers not shoes! Obviously it won’t be the same as if we’d have found his first shoe, but at least I will think of every time he wears his new slippers :)

In other news…. W continues to get cuter by the week with his smiles, coos and chats. He’s now grabbing toys in his playgym. He loves….. smiling and chatting to the owl in his bouncer….. being held so that he can see what’s going on…. still loves his teddy/comforter… trips out so he can nap…..

So over this last week he’s definitely been more chilled in the evenings, despite last week’s update suggesting I might need to use some medicine, there was no need this week! The nights are still tough – he is still waking up every 1hr 30 – 2 hours although it has been absolutely boiling in our room! On the plus side, I essentially ‘dream feed’ him through the night, he doesn’t wake up properly so no tears or screams! (I do this so well that at 5am the other morning by OH (sleeping next to me) said ‘wow has he slept through?!’ and I was like ‘no, we’ve been up 3 times already!’ It would be nice to get some more sleep though – any ideas?!! Oh, he also did his first proper ‘up the back’ poo – I was actually secretly proud (!)… not so much so when he did it for the second time a day or two later :)

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Weeks 8-9 of becoming a mummy – weight gain, jabs and yoga

Our little baby W turned 9 weeks on Saturday and as usual we’ve had a fab, busy few weeks: W’s development

  • At his 8week weigh-in, his first for over a month he weighed in at a whopping 11lb 14 oz…. He’s jumped from the 25th percentile to the 75th! The doctor checked his reflexes etc and everything’s good… We were all chuffed with his weight!
  • Last week he had his first jabs, the nurses were fab… One on each side while I held him and they were very quick and soothing! He cried for a minute or so then slept for hours!
  • We started using his jungle play gym for the first time last week…. It’s fab seeing him looking up and around at all the various toys, and he’s sort of trying to grab stuff

Hiding in the fisherprice jungle play gym!

Hiding in the fisherprice jungle play gym!

  • Talking of grabbing, he has a teddy/comforter that he now loves to bits… So cute how he holds on to it while sleeping, feeding, playing and trying to use it to cover his face when he’s tired!
  • We’ve started chatting! When he coos, we coo back at him and it turns into little chats… Again, so cute!!
  • Sleep? Generally he sleeps for 3 hours between about 12 and 3am, then wakes up every couple of hours, but only for short feeds (about 10 mins) so hoping this means he’s getting closer to sleeping through… And he always has a big feed about 10-11pm. A couple of times he’s slept for 4 hours so I think we’re getting there slowly…. Not entirely sure if he’s hungry in the early hours as the feeds are quite short or whether he just wants comfort so not sure if a dummy would get him back to sleep just as easily?
  • Every evening he has a grouchy hour or two when he cries whether he’s feeding or not… The health visitor suggested I might be a bit dehydrated and he’s crying when feeding as he’s not getting what he needs…. I’ve tried drinking more but doesn’t seem to have made a huge difference. His wind is at its worst this time of day too so I’m tempted to try something like infacol but haven’t succumbed to it yet. Any tips anyone?!

What else we’ve been up to…

  • We went to our first mother and baby yoga group last week and loved it… My back’s been in bits for weeks so enjoyed the stretches, which we did over our babies so tickling them on the way up/down… Much fun! We did some moves on our little ones… I was mortified as I don’t the know the words to any of the nursery rhymes they use! The other 4 mums there were lovely and it’s in a perfect location (beautiful insole court, Cardiff) so I will definitely go back :)

Lovely view from our yoga mat, Insole court, Cardiff

Lovely view from our yoga mat, Insole court, Cardiff

  • He still goes to Swimkidz every Saturday morning and on his 9week birthday he was let go underwater twice... Eek! He’s very calm in the water which is a great start!
  • Lots more trips out… Shopping with mummy and aunty in the local designer outlet (cr*p celeb spot: Daniella Westbrook!), family day out to Margam park for the first time (lovely, defo will go back!), a coffee with mummy’s boss, his nanna’s retirement drinks in a busy pub on a Friday after-work… And he slept through all of these!!

Purchases

  • New clothes for me from Oasis (post to follow!)
  • A haul for W from a NCT nearly new sale (post to follow!)
  • 100 thank you cards from Vistaprint!

 

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