First things first, I love bags. Even before I enjoyed fashion, when clothes were a thing of practicality but little else, I loved bags. And now that I love fashion I really, really love bags! In fact, when I get a new bag my husband groans because he believes I have enough bags (he is wrong).

House of Fraser, very kindly, asked if I’d like to look at their handbags and, possibly, feature one of them. Azii may have had a couple of words to say about it but it would’ve been wrong to say no, I’m sure you agree. Even just the act of looking through all the bags, deciding what brands to look at, what styles and colours to consider, the act of shopping for bags is tonnes of fun, for me, and I spent ages going through the different categories, looking at different colours etc. Thankfully the House of Fraser website is really easy to navigate otherwise I’d have been there for days.

I decided that Azii was, partially, right. I have a lot of big bags so, this time, I wanted to go for a smaller bag (but that’s not to say there won’t be more big bags in the future, haha) and I wanted something that was a good spring/summer colour, that would be easy to wear with lots of outfits. When I found something that ticked those boxes, and it was also from one of my absolutely favourite bag brands, the decision was easy.
The bag I picked is by Ollie & Nic (I already have three of their bags, and I love them, but I didn’t realise they were stocked by House of Fraser) and it’s called the Monroe cross body bag, in light blue. The biggest part of the bag is a, main, zip-up compartment and then it has a smaller pocket on the front which has the metal-work closure to fasten the flap which encloses the pocket.
To say I love this bag would be an understatement. The colour is exactly what I’m drawn to these days, a really pale blue that’s got a hint of green, almost a pale duck egg colour. I love how well made the bag is, how strong it feels, how light it is to wear and I even love the colour of the metal parts. It’s a thing of beauty.
I can, easily, fit a small purse, inhaler, phone, keys, lip products and mirror in there and still have space for some other small bits. I wouldn’t be able to fit bigger things in there but that’s when I’d reach for one of my heavier bags, this is definitely the type of bag you take when you’re travelling light or just popping out briefly.
Ollie & Nic are a brand who pay close attention to the small details, as the picture above shows. The branding is subtle, but distinctive, and the perfect stitching and all the little extra bits come together to make their bags some of the best I’ve ever owned.
I know that the lining is no big detail, you rarely see it, it doesn’t make any difference to your look or the over-all appearance of the bag. But even the lining of this bag makes me happy, I love the polka dots and it just finishes off the bag perfectly.
I didn’t realise how much I needed a bag this size (25cm x 18cm x 7cm, in case you wanted to be able to put it to scale), until I had it. I don’t leave the house a lot, but when I do, I put a lot of stuff in to the changing bag so I only, really, need a smaller bag to put my essentials in. This is, also, ideal for my shoulders. In the past I’ve had to take big bags to make sure we have everything, but they end up causing me so much pain, this little bag is almost weightless and is so much more comfortable to wear.
I know I’m just raving about this bag but I love it. My previous Ollie & Nic bags are great but two of them are huge and one of them is tiny so this just fills that gap. There were, keep in mind, other brands that I looked at during my bag search. There’s many things that House of Fraser do well, and one of those things is definitely bags. There were so so many, I was tempted by; some beautiful  nude options, some gorgeous brighter colours, some big tote bags and some other smaller bags, but this one was just ‘the one’ this time. Always ‘this time’ because, of course, when it comes to bags, there’ll always be a next time.

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This post contains press samples – Please see disclaimer

I really want to get back in to the habit of posting my Birchbox unboxings as they’re fun posts to write and I know that people enjoy reading them too. It can be great to see what other people get (though sometimes makes us jealous when they get a much better box, haha) so I want to get back in to doing this every month. Watch me say this and then it not happen but at least I can try! 

If you love the look of this month’s box, and decide to sign up, then I’d really appreciate you using my link to sign up as it’ll get me £10 worth of points to spend in the Birchbox shop and it’ll get you £5 worth of points too! https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/m6bv3

This box is called ‘For The Dreamers…’ which is a rather lovely title. The box, itself, is really pretty but also came with a huge gimmick (And I do love gimmicks). Two people, this month, will win a holiday via their box as all of the boxes come with a scratch off layer and underneath that layer there’s a lovely pattern, but for the two winners there’s a note to tell them they’ve won, so much fun!

Love the pattern on this month’s leaflet, and the contents of the box is pretty nice too. 
And here’s what I got. 6 products, one of which everyone got, spanning a good few types of product and with a nice mix of recognised brands and new (to me) brands. 
Everyone got a Spectrum makeup sponge which we were allowed to pick the colour of (though I never got the email, I’d have definitely picked purple but it doesn’t make a big difference either way, they’ll both work the same). I’ve become a huge Spectrum fan since getting one of their brushes in a previous box (and then buying a set myself), so more than happy to see a new product from them in the box. 
Next up I got a pack of Ole Henriksen wipes. I’m not a huge fan of wipes but I’ve heard some pretty fantastic things about these particular wipes so I’m rather pleased to be able to get the chance to try them. There’s 10 wipes in the pack which, when you consider a full size is 30 wipes, and it costs £12, is a pretty good sample size. 
As always the teeny perfume samples are a lot less exciting, but when it’s an added extra to 5, bigger, items I definitely don’t mind so much. The sample is ‘Live Irresistible’ by Givenchy which is a mix of fruity and floral scents. It’s not a perfume I’d pick, too floral for me, but I do like the sweeter notes and it’ll definitely work for some people. 
I’m never averse to getting Philip Kingsley in a box, they’re a brand I really like. I’ve not heard of the ‘Prep Polishing Balm’ before but it sounds like a really interesting product; you apply it to dry or damp hair to make it look smooth and conditioned. I don’t have particularly fly-away hair, now that it’s short, but could definitely do with my hair looking healthier. The sample is 20ml but as you only use a small amount of product each time I can imagine this will last a good amount of time, 
The penultimate item is by Puriskin which is a brand I’ve not heard of before. This ‘Resurfacing Cream’ is supposed to help with super-dry skin, scarring or blemishes so it sounds like the sort of thing I’d happily use. The little tub contains 15ml of product which will be fine if it’s only used in smaller areas. It has a very very subtle smell that I definitely won’t notice after applying it, 
And, lastly, my favourite product, other than the Spectrum sponge, is this mascara by Eyeko. Another brand that I enjoy, I’ve never tried an Eyeko mascara. The sample is a 4ml one, so not huge, but then I rarely finish a mascara before it dries up anyway as I have so many to try at once. A nice sample to get in a box as most beauty lovers will use a mascara of some sort and it’s not colour reliant such as a lipstick or nail polish. 
Not the most exciting box I ever had but a good selection of prodcucts, none-the-less. As always, looking forward to seeing what next month has to offer and, remember, if you sign up, you can use my link at the top to get us both points to spend. 

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I think it goes without saying that, before having Oliver, so many things went through my head in terms of allowances we’d need to make for my mobility and health issues. The moment I got those two lines on the test I was thinking over the things I could do to make our lives easier, adaptations I could make in order to be able to be the best parent I could be, whilst keeping my limitations in mind.

 

I had, though, never heard of anything like a Snugglebundl (Cutest name ever? Quite possibly), a product designed as a solution for so many parenting issues. It’s ideal for those who might struggle to lift a baby; be that a Mum recovering from a c-section, someone with mobility problems or someone who’s more elderly. But it’s also great for the able bodied as it is great for transferring your baby between different places without disturbing them. When I was asked if I wanted to trial this product I, quite simply, had to say yes.

 

The Snugglebundl is suitable for babies from 0-6 months and it is, essentially, a cuddly blanket with handles. It comes in a variety of designs; a plain red, or a plain neutral as well as a bright polka dot design and, my favourite, a grey colour with stars. The fabric that the blanket is made of is beautifully soft and snug and you can tell from the outset that the product is incredibly well made.
The premise of the blanket is that you can lift the baby using two arms, rather than needing to use two, and it also means that you can take your baby out of their car seat, whilst still snuggled up in their blanket, and pop them straight in to their cot. It, also, has a little tie so that you can keep them cocooned in their blanket without it coming unwrapped and a head rest to keep the baby secure and still whilst you’re lifting them.
As you can see, Oliver is more than happy in his Snugglebundl. As you can, also, see he’s a rather big baby. This picture was taken when he was around 10 weeks old and he already fills it but the lovely team assure me that the blanket is safe even when their feet pop out of the bottom as the balance is still maintained.
I’ll be 100% honest with you, nothing is ever going to make lifting my baby easy. My back is one of my worst pain areas and my arms are a source of real weakness, it was never going to be easy, especially as I seem to make rather large babies! But does it help to be able to lift him with both arms? Absolutely. In an ideal world I lift him by holding him close to my body, but on a day when I can’t lift him with just one arm then I have the Snugglebundl which makes me feel like he’s just that little bit safer.
I can imagine that this product makes an even bigger difference to those with milder health issues, and it must also be great for those recovering from a c-section because, although their pain will be high still, this allows them to lift their baby without holding them close to their body and knocking their section site.
And, if you were wondering what we do with the Snugglebundl when it’s out of use? It’s fab for storing toys in between uses, his stuffed toys are currently tied up in there whilst he plays on his mat and, then, if I want to lift him with it after I can dump them all out and put it to use.
At £34.99 it’s not the cheapest baby item you’ll get, you can find the shop page here, but if you have need for it then it’s totally priceless. And because it’s so well made I feel comfortable passing it on to any of my spoonie friends who have a baby in the future.

 

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This post contains press samples – Please see my disclaimer

‘The Gro Company‘ is a company which, I’d expect, most or all parents are familiar with. When you think about baby sleeping bags it’s Grobags that spring to mind; it feels as though the other companies follow where Gro have taken the lead. 

I used Grobags when Ethan was a baby and Oliver has inherited those. But when Gro asked if I’d trial one of their products I was really excited as they’re a company I really enjoy and who make unquestionably good products. 

I opted for the adorable ‘Little Dino’ grobag in 0-6months in a 2.5 tog weight. When I decided upon which product to get, it was before Oliver was born, and I have to admit I felt a little bewildered as I couldn’t remember how to decide which bag we needed. This is why we ended up with the 2.5 as I read up that that’s the ‘average’ weight that works all year round. As it happens, though, our house tends to be quite warm so we’ve not been able to make full use of the bag because it’s been too hot. 
That is, of course, totally my fault, and it’s been so so nice to use on the times that we have been able to.
I, absolutely, love the dinosaur design on the bag, it’s just so cute. The fabric is plush and soft and just feels super, super comfy which is exactly what we all want for our little ones. 
Another reason that I went for the dino design is that came as a ‘travel’ bag which meant that it has a small place in the back in which you can insert the lower part of a 5-point-harness meaning that you can use the bag in a buggy or a car seat; something you can’t normally do with sleeping bags. 
Once baby is big enough for their head to not fit through the neck hole of the sleeping bag (when it’s zipped up) a baby sleeping bag is one of the safest ways for a baby to sleep. There’s a lot of ways that we can try to keep our babies safe, when they sleep, and one of them is so stop them getting too hot – With a baby sleeping bag they are warm and snug but they can’t move themselves underneath the covers and they can’t end up with them over their faces. 
As well as this, the bags are really practical because they mean that the baby can’t kick the covers off and get cold. I, also, really feel like Oliver sleeps better in his sleeping bags and I put this down to the snug, safe feeling that they get from being, almost, cocooned in the bag.

These photos were taken quite a while ago now, it’s taken me far too long to get this post together (due to the reasons mentions in my previous post), but you can just see how comfy he was in his sleeping bag. This was the first time he was in it and straight after taking these photos I put him in my lap and he snuggled up and went off to sleep. 
Until he’s much, much, bigger Oliver will always be using sleeping bags and Gro will be my go to company for them because they are innovative, super well made and delightfully cute to look at. In fact, I think I’m going to have to decide which one to get for Oliver, next, soon because (at almost 3 months) he’s going to grow out of his 0-6 month bags very soon! As sad as it’ll be to pack away his smaller bags, at least I get the fun job of deciding which adorable design to get next!  

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This post contains PR samples – See disclaimer here

Time after time I say ‘Sorry I’ve not been around … has happened, I promise I’ll  be around more soon’. And time after time something else goes and happens and the cycle repeats. My health was bad, my pregnancy was tough, I was looking after a newborn, all of these things are why my blogging was more sporadic last year and even more so in 2016. 

And that’s not the end of it (of course, why wouldn’t there be more!). As if all my health stuff wasn’t enough I, now, have developed a drooping eye, mouth and face coupled with blurred vision (and associated headaches), worsened weakness in my limbs and a number of other symptoms. This has left me feeling pretty rubbish, not able to use my arms too much and not able to read, or look at screens, as much as I used to. Thankfully I saw a very understanding gp a couple of weeks ago who has referred me for an urgent neurologist appointment and, hopefully, that’ll give me some answers. As such I can’t promise I’ll be around more, soon, but I can promise I’ll do what I can!

That’s not been the only reason for absence but that’s been the reason why blogging has been even harder than normal, and even harder than I’d anticipated it to be with a newborn to care for. It still makes me very sad to write about it, but we lost someone we loved very recently, someone I hadn’t seen for a few years due to my not being able to travel but who Ethan used to go and visit a lot; his Great Grandad. Although that didn’t, literally, stop me from blogging, it has made us all very sad and, of course, it’s much harder to feel motivated when you’re feeling that way, as I’m sure you’ll all understand.

Thankfully there’s been plenty of good things happening, too. Ethan turned 6, Oliver’s been an absolute delight (for the most part, I don’t enjoy the poop and the sick, who woukd!?), I have a brand new (very tiny) little nephew, my littlest brother and his beautiful fiance got married and it’s been decided that we’ll remain living here for the longer term so we don’t have the stress of moving out next year and the boys get to continue having their super close relationship with their Grandparents. 

Oliver is 10 weeks old, now. He’s been smiling since he was 4 weeks, and laughing since he was 5 weeks. He’s, currently, going through a bit of a ‘no sleep’ phase but ordinarily he sleeps well between his feeds (but still feeds every 4 hrs in the day and about every 5 at night). He loves lights and sounds, he loves singing silly songs and he loves cuddles. He is, honestly, the sweetest little baby (I know I’m biased but it’s true). 

So the good really does shine through, even on the days when I can’t even lift my phone, I have an awful lot to be thankful for. I can’t promise to start blogging regularly, again, but I will do my best. And, hopefully, the neurologist will have some fantastic way to stop these symptoms and then I’ll just have my normal health issues to battle rather than all of this additional stuff! 

Whilst I’ve not been around as much I’ve been working on my Instagram a lot more as it’s a much smaller scale way to keep sharing things but without using as much energy. So if you want to keep more up-to-date with all of the good things and the things that make me smile, then follow us over there and say hello: https://www.instagram.com/petitmoi_bigworld/

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