Friday, October 28, 2011

The Angry Birds Birthday

My wee guy has just turned 3!  How exciting!  My husband and I were reminiscing about the long weeks we spent in NICU doing Kangaroo Mothercare with this tiny 4lb (give or take half a pound) baby lying on our chests; it felt like an eternity and we wondered if he'd be tiny forever.  But as sure as the sun rises, our little man has grown into a tall 3 year old who is still into noisy toys, balls, and the new obsession: Angry Birds.

The wee guy has learnt to play Angry Birds both on my iPhone, and on my mother-in-law's iPad2.  He could play for hours if nobody was watching!

Someone's ready to go with spoon in hand!
To celebrate this little obsession I decided to theme our little family celebration for his 3rd birthday.  Each year we try to catch up with friends who we spent weeks with in hospital (the NICU), and have the immediate family and godparents to join us.  My mother-in-law organised the cake which was uh-MAZING (and if you want the email address of the lady who made it, leave a hollaback (comment) at the bottom of this post).
The decorations were loads of fun to put together, even though as per usual I hadn't much time or energy.  But they looked fab!

1. With a bit of inspiration from this Pin, and an obliging husband to help stick bits on the balloons, we made some Angry Birds balloons to hang from our dining window.

2. I bought some red tinted cups at The Warehouse and used up a bunch of white 'Introducing...' hospitality stickers someone left at my house and came up with these red Angry Bird cups.

3. I scoured the house for boxes which hadn't made it to the recycling bin (and emptied out a few almost empty cereal boxes) and covered them in brown postal paper that I'd drawn wood patterns on with a felt tip pen (inspiration from this Pin), and then drew 'greedy piggy' faces on to more of our collection of green pit balls (when I came up with that idea apparently I was the best mum ever!), and used them for the backdrop for our food table.  Add in some rubber duckies, some clear display stands and a couple of other props and we were set!

4. Using lime jelly in ramekins, decorated with random green/white jelly ovals and cut marshmallows, soft licorice and wine gums, I made some 'greedy piggy' jellies.

5. I made up my own recipe for blueberry and licorice cupcakes and using this Pin I made a much quicker (and WAYYY less food-colour-y) version of the blue birds cupcakes.  It was just basic buttercream frosting decorated with cut marshmallows, soft licorice and wine gums.

So there we go!  Some quick, easy and affordable ideas for an Angry Birds birthday that was a real hit for my 3 year old birthday boy.  And a week later, the balloons are still up and the leftover cups are still being used!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lab Rat Series 2: Womama Birthing Wrap Dress

37 weeks pregnant

In 2010 whilst pregnant with my second child (aka the new kid, Mr B) I was asked to trial the new Organic Cotton Birthing Wrap Dress from Womama, a local company who make practical and beautiful (reeeeally beautiful) maternity lingerie and clothing.  The BWD is designed for wearing in pregnancy, birth and during nursing, and I loved it. (Check out the link here.)

I chose a black BWD (a LBBWD if you please!) in a size small – I usually wear a size 10-12 when I’m not pregnant and although I thought a medium would be a better fit, it was too loose across the shoulders and bust.  I wore it for the last few weeks of my pregnancy teamed with a singlet and short leggings underneath (not to mention the pelvis and back supports!) and a cardigan for colder days.  Not to mention my favourite pair of pretty Havaiana jandals.  Living in one of the windiest cities in the world, I was relieved that although light and breathable, the superb quality organic cotton was a heavy enough knit to stay down and not blow up to flash my (legging-clad) thighs whilst waddling around with a toddler in tow.  The crossover design kept my bump nice and cosy warm, and even though it was a size small there was plenty of material to completely double over my 41-week pregnant belly.  The ties on the inside and outside of the dress are generous in length, and they have the added benefit if giving a bit of separation between breasts and belly – compared to some dresses I wore which literally looked like sacks once they were stretched over everything!

Not only did I feel great wearing it, but I had plenty of compliments on the dress, and how flattering it looked... and how non-maternity-wear it looked too.  I was only too happy to pass on where I got it from - a great Wellington local business!

(Also… late in my pregnancy one of my friends thought it might be fun for a group of us to check out a pole-dancing fitness classs.  Just for fun.  I went along and yes, the LBBWD was mighty comfortable to wear for the short time I participated in the pole-dancing class!  However at around 36 or 38 weeks pregnant (I forget which!) and with an achey breaky pelvis, there are just some things you can’t do when you’re pregnant.  Like climb poles.  And swing around them.  And whip your hair, whilst swinging around a pole.) 

In hospital, in labour, with wireless transponders on my belly.
The day I checked into the hospital Delivery Suite, in labour, I was wearing my trusty Womama Birthing Wrap Dress.  The birthing room is warm, so I only needed to wear that and my underwear and I was perfectly comfortable.  Due to my individual circumstances I had opted to be continually monitored, so the wireless transponders were strapped to my belly while I was standing up – and again, thanks to the crossover design I didn’t have to strip off or flash unnecessarily – and there was enough material to keep me covered.  Even if I had wired transponders I would still have been able to keep my modesty by feeding the wires through the crossover wrap dress.  I’m not a short person so occasionally when I was lying down on my side, I did feel a little exposed to whoever was at the foot of the bed when the dress rode up a little, but as I spent most of my labour on my feet it was no great issue.  My choice of pain control was acupressure so it was simple enough to have a birth support standing behind me with my back covered and not worry about a hospital gown gaping open.

One tired mama... and bubba!
(edited Nov 2011) Mr B's entrance into the world happened in a huge hurry; it was all so rushed I wasn’t changed out of my LBBWD into normal whitewash hospital attire, but the wrap dress gave the hospital team ready access to my big bump.  Again, thanks to the crossover design, I was able to access ‘the girls’ to give Mr B his first breastfeed with minimal effort and fuss. 

In the weeks after Mr B’s birth I wore the Womama BWD almost daily as it was comfortable, didn’t have any waistbands pressing near my sensitive belly, and made for easy access when back at hospital with post-birth complications.  It made for easy breastfeeding, and kept me comfortably cool over the summer months – and if we had company I could quickly pull on my leggings or maternity jeans to cover up my legs which hadn’t been shaved in wayyyy too long!

Initially I had felt that the RRP of the dress was a little steep.  However I got sooo much wear out of it, and after dozens of washes it is still black and not a faded browny-black colour, and still holds its shape beautifully!  I am happy to recommend that it is worth every dollar.  (and at the time of posting it's on special for a cool $89.95 - quickGo and buy one for yourself!  Or a baby shower combined gift!  Or whatever!) My friends are always offered my old maternity clothes to expand their pregnancy wardrobe but I’m afraid this is one item of clothing that I’m not parting with.  Sorry ladies!

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Womama, the dress was fabulous.  If there's ever any hint of a #3 baby I'll be buying one in blue I think...  haha!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

PHB: 30 days hath September (Days 272-301)

For Project Handmade Baby in September I decided to do something a little different as I was getting a little bored with the old format!  There are a few new PHB garments that have been added to the mix, but here we go: a lovely wee montage care of the fabulous PicFrame app on my iPhone!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Lab Rat Series: Nutrimetics Restore Set

Welcome to the new series!  Lab Rat Series.  I toyed with the name Crash Test Mummy but it just didn't quiiiite fit, so Lab Rat it is!.  Occasionally I get the opportunity to take products for a road test and feed back to the folks who either created them, or sell them.

Image source here

Sooo... I figured I'd share the love!

I have a wonderful friend Trish who is a Nutrimetics Consultant, as well as having a team of ladies under her wing who do the same.  She asked for some faces to test the new Restore skincare range.  You can check it out a bit more on her website linked here

This was a bit of a blind test for me: I was given three clear containers which were unmarked (except for a little sticker saying which was the cleanser, the toner and the moisturiser) and asked to use it morning and night for a week.  Here's what I found:

My Skin: probably what you'd describe as combination ... or perhaps even extreme combination.  I have reasonably sensitive skin which will be dry (like scaly dry) on my forehead, neck, and between my eyes, oily on my nose and normal on the rest of the face, but I am very prone to hormonal spots around my chin and blackheads on my jawline.  I also inherited high colouring so it doesn't take much to make me look pink!

The Cleanser: you only need to use a teensy tiny bit of this and apply to a wet face, or add a little water to your palm and work up into a soft microfoam.  It smells delicious, it feels gentle yet effective, and I continued using it after the week's trial time was up.

The Toner: thicker than all the other toners I have used in the past.  It is a rich formula which Trish recommended I water down by putting it on a wet cotton pad (instead of straight on a dry pad then straight on the skin).  Smelt great and gave a good tingle, but was a little too harsh for my skin - even using it really watered down would leave my skin very red for around an hour after using it. 

The Moisturiser: light and easy to apply.  It spread thinly over my skin and dried quickly, without leaving any extra shine or residue feel.

After the week was out I evaluated my skin... the wrinkles sadly hadn't subsided magically (don't worry, am just joking!) my skin was clean and similar to when I had begun the test.  The biggest change I noticed was that the dry, scaly forehead I started the week with, which had been thick and dry for a couple of months, had magically become smoother and noticeably softer.  Great result!

Who would I recommend it to?  Probably ladies with normal skin and dry (but not sensitive) skin.  After finishing the trial I checked out the website and saw that it is intended for normal or normal to oily skin.

There we go.  Lab Rat Series has begun!  Tune in next week where I review Womama's Organic Cotton Birthing Wrap Dress.  Long name, short dress, absolute Godsend.