Tots Bots Element Prints 2017

elements 2017.jpgI have always been a fan of the Tots Bots elements prints, and the latest collection haven’t failed to impress. The set of 3, Whirl, Bee Kind and Rumble, are colourful, bright and fun.  Linking the always popular rainbow colours with popular theme such as bees and rain clouds, I can see these being a hit with cloth nappy users and collectors alike,

We’ve been testing out the EasyFit nappies with Beatrix. At 3 months she fits in birth to potty nappies on the lowest rise.

Absorbency:

These are our first TotsBots EasyFit Stars and I am very impressed with the absorbency of them. They lasted with no leaks between nappy changes, even when in the car seat and her sling for long periods. Beatrix didn’t seem to feel wet or uncomfy when her nappy was due a change either.

Fit:

The fit of the nappy was great and looked more secure and less ‘gappy’ than some of our others. Beatrix is only on the first set of poppers so has a lot of growing room in them. Beatrix is still quite narrow but we found the nappy fitted lovely around her waist.

Cost:

The EasyFit Star cost £17.99 per nappy and are designed to last from birth to potty training, so good value in our opinion

The new prints will be available in Easyfit, Teenyfit, PeeNut and in Wet Bags and Happy Mats. Visit TotsBots for more

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Posted in Family Life

Making Burgers

It’s August Bank Holiday Monday and it’s HOT! This never happens on a bank holiday in the UK but seeing as we seemed to have missed summer we’re making the most of it with a barbecue.

As you can imagine a bank holiday and hot weather means everyone else has had the same idea. So when we got to the shop for supplies there were no burgers, however there was mince so we decided to make our own instead. This is something we always said we would do, make our own burgers and meatballs from scratch, alas time is always against us.

Everyone washed their hands with soap and supervision and we got out the trusty old Jamie Oliver cookbook. Daddy got out all the Jamie ingredients and added some of his own:

  • mince
  • crackers
  • egg
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • onion salt
  • pepper

The boys enjoyed breaking up the crackers by putting them in a food bag and hitting them with a mallet. They then poured the cracker crumbs into a big bowl before adding all the other ingredients. Then came the messy part, with their hands the boys squashed all the mixture making sure it all stuck together.  Next Daddy made the mix into balls and let everyone take them and pat them down into a burger shape.

They are now resting in the fridge ready for cooking later on…

 

Posted in Family Life, Products, Review

Travelling With Cloth

One of the questions I often get asked my nappies is if we use disposables when out and about and holidaying, and the answer is no we still cloth.

I have spoke about this before in my previous post  ‘Can I Use Cloth Nappies On Holiday‘ However the biggest challenge with using cloth when away is how to store them, so how do we manage that. Well first of all when we go away we often only go for a few nights, so this makes things a lot simpler.

  1. How many nappies to take? We always work out how many we would use on a normal day and then times that by how many days we are going away for, including travelling days. We then add a few extra for any eventualities that may happen such as extra poo’s. This is where a big collection comes in handy, but as long as you are organised and wash and dry the day before you leave you should be ok.
  2. How to store clean nappies? As we often travel by car I will either put all my nappies in a bag, we have some lovely Tesco Cath Kidston bags for life, or just use the wicker baskets that we store them in at home. There is really no need for a special way to store them when they are all clean and fluffy. Just keep in mind you may need some on the journey so keep a few to hand.wet bag
  3. How to store dirty nappies? This is often the biggest dilemma for most and it’s simple in a wet bag or bucket, why can’t you take them too. I personally prefer the wet bags and use them at home and out and about rather than a bucket. Anyone using cloth on a full time basis will more than likely use a wet bag when out and about already, so get a bigger version. I love our Tots Bots Kaleidoscope Wet Bag, not only for it’s amazing pattern but also, because it can hold a lots of nappies and is the perfect size for a few nights away

Travelling with cloth doesn’t have to be hard and doesn’t mean you have to change your routine. It doesn’t need to be expensive either my Tots Bots Wet Bag and Happy Mat are available for just £22 on their website. Both get used at home and out and about, so are a great investment.

Posted in Family Life

Wedding Day Fun

When you decide to go from two children to three you make a big family decision, the children now out number adults. This is something I often feel parents of one or two children don’t quite grasp. When we are out and about as a family we can’t watch them all at one time. This is when grandparents are helpful.

At the beginning of June we had a big family event happening, my baby sister was getting married. I was a bridesmaid and 39 weeks pregnant, Roran was the ring bearer, Willem was a page boy and Persephonie a flower girl. The day was going to be busy and it would require me and Rob working as a team to make sure that the children were on their best behaviour. Although I had all my family around, the day was about someone else and, for me, I didn’t want to take that away from her by making my children an issue. I also didn’t feel it was fair to ask my mum to watch the children as she was enjoying her daughters wedding and was there as mother of the bride, not nanny of my three.

First of all I don’t expect my children to act like adult they are children and I expect tears, I expect them to be excited and talk and definitely not sit down during the service. However I would have liked it if they were children in a polite manner, that maybe listen and took on board what we were asking. The big concern I had was:

  • Roran would get over excited and not listen
  • Willem would get overwhelmed and want to leave
  • Persephonie would get too involved and forget about using the toilet

20536011_10155418900921221_381781720_oI had to leave earlier to go get my hair and make up done, I don’t normally look that good. Rob arrived around lunchtime and took charge of washing and dressing the children. He then brought the two youngest ones to me so that they could walk down the aisle and took Roran to wait with the groom. Willem and Persephonie had the job of walking down the aisle first, which was a concern as Willem doesn’t like too many people so I felt he may get to the door and turn around. Before going into the ceremony we had a little wait, in that time Persephonie slipped over and cut her hand, getting blood on me and her but no one noticed so was fine. When we walked in both Willem and Persephonie did brilliantly and walked down lovely. It helped that they spotted daddy waiting at the front. They sat down with him.

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During the ceremony Persephonie enjoyed hanging off the chair and flashing her nappy, which we had put her in so she didn’t have an accident in her dress. Willem sat on Rob’s 20524347_10155418902136221_134809418_olap and fidgeted a lot, but both of them were well behaved and didn’t cause any distractions. Meanwhile Roran had been stood at the front with the groom and best man, looking as proud as punch. He was given the important role of looking after the rings and was very pleased with himself. In fact he did such a fab job that he got a sticker from the registrar and everyone thought he was fab.

 

 

 

Next came the wait for food, outside was an area set up for children and they all enjoyed some time playing whilst we could have a drink, orange juice for me. The meal was probably the hardest part as the children had no interest in the speeches or waiting for food. There was a lot of up and down and seat changing. To be honest this would have been the part we could have done with an extra set of hands. Once we had eaten they wanted to go back outside and play, which was fine as it was a nice evening.

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Then came the disco, the part they had all been waiting for, Roran had been practicing his ‘dabbing’ for weeks. They had a little dance but then sat and watched the ‘first dance’, it was now around half 8 and pasted normal bedtime. Sitting down seemed to make the kids all crash and we decided that it was bedtime. Rob took the two little ones upstairs to our room and I stayed down with Roran. We then followed them up about an hour later.

The day had been very long, but we all enjoyed and the children definitely did us proud:

  • Roran had listen really well and was so proud of himself, and everyone loved him
  • Willem didn’t ask to leave and was so brave walking down the aisle first, I know it was a big ask of him
  • Persephonie had several wet accidents when she went back in pants and did stress us out a bit, but these things happen

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Photo Credit: Aaron Storry Photography 

Posted in Days Out, Review

Brixworth Country Park

Today is a nursery day for Persephonie, so it was just me and the boys (plus Beatrix). I booked us onto two events at one of our local country parks, Brixworth.

The first was called Fires and Smores. This event gave the boys the chance to cut up some wood for a fire and then cook marshmallows over it. The boys loved cutting up the wood and Roran was straight there trying as hard as he could to do it first time. Willem needed a little bit of help to get his aim right, but soon cut some up. We then swapped the bits of wood  we had cut up for a marshmallow on a stick. We carefully stood around the fire and waited for them to melt. I dropped two into the fire. When they were ready we were given two chocolate biscuit and made our smores, and they tasted yummy.

The second event was called Kelly Kettle Challenge. This event required the boys to trim wood shavings off of some wood to go onto the fire bowl so that we could boil the ‘Kelly Kettle’, and make a cup of tea. We started with a talk about knives and how the boys should never play with them, it was just the two of them and the previous group with older children had talked about how to use and hold them safely. We were also shown all the different ways we could make fire. We then cut up some wood ready to make our shavings. Once cut up we were told to draw some marker lines on the wood, and then shown how to safely shave the wood, The boys both needed some help, and Roran loved the chance to use the knife.  We then went over to the fire bowls and how the ‘Kelly Kettle’ worked was explained to us. Willem got to use the fire starter to get the fire going and then we all helped put wood shavings on to get the fire burning. When the kettle was boiled we all got a hot drink for our hard work

In between the two events we enjoyed a walk through the woods looking for gnomes and finding all sorts of different wooden structures. The routes were all very well sign posted and although I had Beatrix in her wrap I could have used the pushchair around there. We also had lots of fun in the play park which has equipment suitable or both younger and older children. However Roran spent most of his time trying to run up a wet hill and then slipping back down.

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The boys had a fantastic day, both them and their clothes were muddy which is always a good sign they have been busy. They enjoyed both events, especially as it was something they wouldn’t normally do. They had lots of space to run around and burn off all their energy  They both fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Facilities – We took our own picnic so didn’t try out the cafe facilities. We did use he toilets and baby changing and found them in a good clean condition.

Cost – The events were priced at £2 per child or £5 per family. Parking is £3 for the day, however we have an annual pass for all the local country parks which was £49. So in total we spent less than £10 all day.

For more information visit: Brixworth Country Park

Posted in Family Life

Hello Baby…

It’s been a busy month for us all. We had my sister weding, lot’s of family birthdays (including mine) and a new arrival.

That’s right baby Hughes number 4 is here and keeping us very busy. I have so much to share with you about how our family has changed. I will be sharing my birth story and some amazing photos with you soon.

Until then don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram @mummytothehughes and on Facebook – Mummy To The Hughes

Posted in Family Life, Products, Review

Real Nappy Week 2017 – Can I use Cloth Nappies on Holiday

Holidays abroad are not really our family thing, in fact we usually settle for a nice lodge somewhere in the British countryside. So when my husband’s family suggested a big family holiday to Menorca I knew there would be some challenges. The biggest one in my mind was nappies for Willem, who would be nearly two at the time of the holiday. Oh yes and the fact I was expecting again so we would be taking a newborn with us, who will also need nappies. I was also told there was no guarantee I would have access to a washing machine, great! Now I love my cloth bums and although I am not against disposables just think about how many cute photo’s I can get of them on holiday with a pretty nappies on. So I started looking at my choices.

gnappiesI already used gNappies with a gCloth for Willem, in fact they are the only ones his nursery have managed to get on with, but I had never tried the disposable inserts. This looked like a good option so I did some research to see what people thought. The power of Facebook is amazing and there are several cloth nappy groups around, including a few designed just for gNappy fans so I joined them and asked my questions. I got mixed reviews but overall most people though it was a good combination, especially for holiday. One person even explained that when she went away she would just hand wash the pants and pouch and because of there design they dried super quick. This was great as it meant I didn’t have to overstock. I searched around for some bargains but soon learnt that most of them sell pre-loved for near new price so in fact buying new wasn’t really an issue cost wise.

I did my sums and bought one pack of Medium to Large disposables for Willem, as he would be in the pool most of the time and didn’t need as many nappies as his sister, and our new gPants as he already had four and he didn’t really need any more but I couldn’t help myself. I brought Persephonie two packs of small disposables, although I didn’t think she would need them all it’s better to have too many than too little, and she ended up with nine gPants which was plenty. I put one of each pack of disposables in each hand luggage bag to spread the weight, although they weren’t really heavy and with the pants packed was ready to go. I had also put some in my handbag for the flight, and a clever tip I learnt: get a zip lock food bag to put your nappies in. I had two, one each, with spare pants, spare pouch and spare disposable inserts. This worked great on the aeroplane. No need for searching through my bag in the small toilet, just grap the bag and it’s all together. We also used this trick with spare clothes

So what were the results…

Practicality20150620_085805 (800x450)

We all found the system easy to use, especially seeing as many places didn’t have a changing table so we had to do a lot of fast changes on the toilet lid or floor, with a changing mat of course. Even my mother in law worked them out straight away, although she had to check every time that she had put the pants on the right way round. They were great for my daughter to just lounge around in to help keep her cool. They also worked as a great addition to an outfit for her, I admit to buying certain tops to match her nappies.

Reliability

There were a few leaks, but on both occasions my son had spent most of the day in the pool and drank a lot of drinks in the evening, so I believe it was just his vast amount of fluid intake. We had no leaks with my daughters nappies. They were both at time in my Boba Wrap and our Rose & Rebellion carrier and we had no compression leaks.

Containment

My son does not react well to heat it gives him diarrhoea, but I was pleased at how well his nappy and especially the pouch kept it all in. No need for clothes changes with his gNappies. My daughter being 8 weeks old still has wet poo and again not once did it leak, we had the occasional pants change but no need for an outfit change.

Night Time

This was a big one for me as my son wears a two piece bamboo nappy with a charcoal boost to bed and still on occasion leaks. However I was very surprised that the system work great at night time for him, and lasted the whole night. My daughter was the same no issue with her nappy lasting the night. Please note: By night I mean 10pm until 6am, my children don’t do lay-ins no matter how late they go bed!

matchingCuteness

Well it wouldn’t be about cloth nappies if I didn’t say how cute they were. I love that we had matching sets but unfortunately my son doesn’t stay still enough for a cute photo, but I did manage one photo.

Overall

I was really pleased with the system and I actually carried on using it once back at home with left over inserts I had. A few weeks on my little girl is still using her gNappies, with a cloth insert, on a daily basis as she is now too big for her newborn nappies but not big enough for her birth to potty ones. I am also now looking at getting some mediums so that I don’t have to wait for her to grow in to her brothers larges. I think my only real disappointment was that I had no where to compost my wet inserts which I feel is one of the great benefits of the gNappy disposable system compared to many other. I will defiantly be using the system again.

sleeping gnappy

This blog was originally posted on my Nurturing Knowledge website in 2015
Posted in Family Life, Products, Review

Real Nappy Week 2017 – Bambino Mio Solo #UltimateNightNappy

When it comes to night nappies we’ve had a go at quite a few: disposable, prefolds, Mio Solo, Little Lambs, Lollipops and Bamboozles… and now it appears we’re back to Mio Solo’s.

My little boy has been dry in the day for over 6 months now, but at night he is nowhere near ready. However he’s a chunky boy and at the weight limit of most standard cloth nappies out there. So we’ve had to try a few different brands with him to get a good fit and if I’m honest we just accepted that he was going to have damp pyjama bottoms in the morning. Then I saw a tweet from Bambino Mio about Mio Solo being a great night nappy and I tried to think why we stopped using it at night time, but couldn’t come up with an answer so we have decided to try again.

Mio Solo – my pros and cons

Likes:
It’s reliable – I always use one in the day on car journeys or days out
It’s easy – these are what I send to nursery and grandparents/aunts
It’s width – they seem wider than other brands which I like
It’s height – yes they are bulker than other brands but I like the high rise
Prints – well who doesn’t like a nice print to flash

Hates:
They stain – nothing major that the sun can’t get out, but you need sun
They go stiff – again nothing that a bit of rain can’t fix and they soon soften back up
The mioboost width – these are fine as my boys got bigger, but when younger (under 8 months) I found them a bit too wide, so used a different brand.

What happened…

Night 1:
My son was very pleased at getting to wear a blue nappy tonight and was happy to put it straight on, which is unusual. I had the common call for the toilet about 10 minutes into bedtime, but as the nappy is an all in one, there is no struggling to get two parts onto him, he knows wriggling takes longer and means later to bed. The fit is great on him as well, no struggling to get it around his hips/waist as I’ve had before with some two parters. In the morning we had dry pyjamas, no leaks, and his skin was dry, no dampness. Also there wasn’t a strong morning nappy smell that we often get with other brands. Success!

night nappy

 

Night 2:

The night started well, nappy on, bed, toilet call, the usual. However, when we it came to our bedtime and moving him from our bed to his own we discovered a major leak. He had soaked through the nappy in just over 3 hours! Unsure why, but I suspect it was put on too tightly as my husband has a habit of doing that. We quickly grab another and changed him, this was an easy process as no messing with nappies and wraps just one simple change. The next nappy lasted the night fine and again no wet pyjamas or skin and no next morning smell, so a semi- success.

 

Night 3:
This time my little boy choose a cola cube nappy, he likes getting to pick a colour. On it went and to bed he went. The next morning, he got up asked to go to the toilet and was able to take his nappy off himself. No leaks, no damp skin and no smell – another successful night!

My conclusion?

Overall we’re pleased with the results and how well the nappy held up overnight. We did boost it with two mioboost each night and felt that this many was need for our son, but it’s nice to know we can alter that as he becomes dryer at night.

This blog was originally posted on my Nurturing Knowledge website in 2014
Posted in Family Life

Birth Story – Persephonie

bump-photo-165x300At 40 weeks I had thought I would still be pregnant for at least another week or two, but it turned out that my little girl wasn’t going to wait as long as her big brothers had. It was my estimated due date and as normal for a Friday I was running around all morning. However around lunchtime I popped to bathroom and was surprised to see I had had a show. Although this had happened before I was more surprised as with the first two I had also been having slight contractions and at this point I wasn’t even having twinges. I decided to ring Rob just to let him know it would be a good idea to make sure he was up to date at work, just in case.

That evening we went out for dinner, just the two of us. We discussed that she may arrive that weekend, so made the plan to make sure first thing Saturday morning we would blitz the housework and get prepared. We arrived home said by to the mother in law and after a long day I was in bed by half 9.

I woke up at 10.45ish with an ache all in my hips, just like the beginning of my first labour which lasted several hours. I took some paracetamol and decided to get some sleep, but after 15 minutes of trying to get comfy I decided I’d like a bath. I was a little worried that this may slow things down but felt it was the best choice if I was going to get some sleep. I lit my vanilla candles, I love the smell of vanilla and find it a great birth anchor for me as it always helps me to relax. I turned the hallway light on so that I could sit in the bathroom in the dark, but not pitch back. As I got into the bath I instantly felt better and could rest, I went into ‘my zone’ began to relax listen to my breathing and let my body do it’s thing. After a while I could feel the contractions, rather than the ache, and tell that they were regular but not really that long – about 30 seconds. During the contractions I found my breathing was enough, and during the intervals I would use the mind body scan which I teach in my MummyNatal classes this gave me a chance to concentrate on me, help my body relax and notice that the intervals were getting shorter.

Around midnight I decided that this was happening tonight and made the effort to get out of the bath to wake Rob. I announced that he needed to get up and tidy the dining room, he didn’t seem impressed but knew there was no point disagreeing. I went back to my bath.

Around 12.30 I needed to move, and I decided to go down stairs to sit on my ball (now it had been tidied up). I noticed the pressure had changed and was a lot more intense than before so I suggested we call labour ward. After the third/forth time of suggesting we call, Rob asked me if I had been timing the contractions and that he thought we should do that first. After around 10 minutes Rob suggested we call labour ward and was straight on the phone. I told him I was going back to the bath and that he was not to let the midwife in without gas and air. The pressure had become very intense and I felt I needed something extra.

The midwife arrived just after 1.30, she came into the bathroom and sat down. She did all of her obs that she could while I was still in the bath, for which I was very grateful. She asked if my ‘waters’ had gone I told her no, and she asked if I had a birth plan. Now birth plans or preferences are a topic I discuss in my MummyNatal classes and how they are an important factor in gaining the birth that you would like, however it is just as important to actually print it off your laptop as well – oops! So I did a quick debrief of what we had planned and told her Rob knew everything so if she wasn’t sure to ask him. She then explained that she was unable, due to it’s shape and where the shower was, to examine me in the bath so asked if we could go to the bedroom. I had originally decided that I didn’t want any vaginal examinations during this labour, but I had changed my mine and decided I would consent. On examination the midwife explained I was 4 cm dilated, to me that didn’t seem right with the strength and pressure of my contractions, but she then told me my membranes had broken – I think it happened in the bath. This made me feel a lot better as I knew from my last labour that I reversed dilated after my membranes had broken but still gave birth within the hour.

We then headed downstairs to my ‘birth room’ which was set up ready with my candles, lights, birth ball and yoga mat. Rob went to ring my mum to come sit with the boys, they were both asleep upstairs but our youngest is a very light sleeper. I used my breathing and birth ball to get into ‘my zone’, while the midwife sat quietly in the corner and just left me alone. Around 2am we heard a very familiar sound the pitter patter of tiny feet, Willem was awake! He stood at the top of the stairs crying and we knew he wouldn’t go back down easily so Rob went up to him in an attempt to get him back to bed, my mum hadn’t arrived yet. At around the same time my pressure change, I let out a different sound than before and the midwife immediately looked at me, ‘that’s changed’ without the need for any type of physical examination she knew it was time. I changed my position so that I was leaning on the birth ball and could immediately feel baby descending, I tried to concentrate on me but kept getting distracted by Rob being upstairs, finally I got my focus and got ready for that magical moment.. Rob obviously knew it was close as he came down before getting Willem back to sleep and was there in time to see our first daughter arrive into the world, with a few breathes a bit of gas and air and a lot of relief.

I had told our midwife we would like a physiological third stage, and my placenta arrived naturally 10 minutes later all by itself. We waited until the birth of the placenta before Rob cut the cord, by this point Willem had come down to join us. He took one look at his new baby sister and asked to go watch Thomas the Tank Engine. Our second midwife arrived 15 minutes after the birth and my mum 5 minutes after her. From the when I noticed my twinges/contractions started to the arrival of baby Persephonie it was just less than 3 ½ hours, the midwife arrived 45 minutes before the birth and left around 2 hours after with the second midwife. By 4.30 I was and bathed in my own bed, ready to face a new chapter in my life.persephonie-300x165

This blog was originally posted on my Nurturing Knowledge website in 2015
Posted in Family Life

Birth Photography

We DSC_8181copyhad always said that we wanted around 4 children, so for this reason have made the decision that bump will be our last.  While part of me is happy to know our family will soon be complete, it is also sad to think this will be the last time my body gets to do this amazing job. For these reasons we have decided that this time we are going to embrace the joys of pregnancy and birth with photography.

This decision has so far led to two main responses; either ‘wow how exciting/amazing’ or ‘your going to let someone take a picture of your foo’. First of all it’s a vagina and secondly we haven’t actually decided on the angle or details of the pictures. However, it is amazing and exciting and we can’t wait.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make I admit and I’ve had my doubts and concerns about it. First of all I had to find someone who was willing to do birth photography. I found a lot of people who did maternity and newborn shoots, but only one advertising birth captures. So I contacted her and she came back with all the details and information, we had quite a long chat over messenger but something didn’t sit right. First of all she was a good 50 minutes away so I worried she wouldn’t make it if it was rush hour. Then there was the fact she did wedding photography, which would take priority and I am due in June, wedding season. Even more something didn’t feel right and I felt like she wasn’t the right person for me, and I need her to be as she would be there in my most vulnerable moments. So I looked again

A local friend was running a Mother’s Day event nearby and I spotted that she had a photographer there, Little Birds Photography, so thought I would send them a message and ask if she did births. Julietta explained that she would love to but hadn’t had the opportunity yet. So I explained to her what I was looking for and we arranged to meet. Meeting up was an important part for me as not only did I need to know I would be able to get on with them, but also I need to explain what it was I wanted and something it is easier to do it face to face instead of over a phone or Facebook.

Ironically when I met up with Julietta I realised we already knew each other, we had done baby massage together 5 years ago with both our first babies. This helped immensely as we already had a connection so I felt more at ease. We spent a good couple of hours catching up and discussing what are thoughts were and discovered we were on the same wave length. As it was to be her first birth capture Julietta explained she would have to go home and look at the logistics and everything else before she could offer me any form of agreement I left our meeting feel very positive and in my head it was a definite yes.

A few days later I got an email from Julietta, and it was a yes from her. She explained how it would work from her end and what she would need from me. I had also told her I would like a maternity and newborn shoot with all the children so she gave me all the details for that to. It’s all very exciting bit now a bit of a waiting game.

I did meet up with Julietta at a local shoot recently for an upcoming baby show, La Faire Bebe, and had a few shots taken which are beautiful. I will be having an outdoor shoot with bump and the children in the next month so will share them with you soon