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“Beep beep’m beep beep yeah” | I FINALLY passed!

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This time last week I was plodding about the house… already getting nervous about Thursday. For Thursday I would be having ANOTHER driving test. I hadn’t told anyone when my test was (aside from work). Mr Memoirs didn’t even have a clue. I have a terrible habit of getting myself worked up over things. I’ve always been a worrier. More so since having Eli of course, but still, I worry needlessly. Much to my disadvantage when I have an impending driving test!

After all these years of not driving… and not even wanting to drive, to it becoming such a necessity in my life that I was without. It wasn’t just the umpteenth walk up to the ‘local’ hospital for Eli’s physio appointment, or the walk up to Sainsbury’s for the second time that day, for the million things I’d forgotten (and having to cart it all back on the back of the pram)… or the fact I was trekking 2 HOURS every day to get Eli to nursery and back. It’s so much more than that. It’s the freedom to whisk my family away if need’s be. To be able to do things my friends do; and not miss out because the car seat would be a problem. Of course, I really wanted to be without the trek to the nursery. Nobody want’s to walk 2 hours every day in the howling wind and rain (granted, it was a lovely walk when the sun shone, but since July the path has been treacherous to say the very least – thank you Brentwood Council for making a massive pig’s ear of your roads – which in turn, made a massive pig’s ear of the path!). We’re free – as a family. And that’s so exciting.

I honestly cannot believe it. It feels very surreal.

My first drive was the nursery run. I felt liberated and a nervous wreck. I parked 5 minutes walk away in a pub car park because the nursery forecourt is a driving nightmare. Picking Eli up on Friday felt amazing. I did feel like I was an illegal driver however, and it really felt like all the other drivers KNEW I was new to the roads… it’s like they were all looking at me in my car. So very strange. I know they weren’t looking, at all!

The car still feels very big and I must have stalled about 40 times in the 6 drives I’ve done (mostly trying to get off the drive – it’s a hill). But all in all, I *think* I’m getting there. I CAN drive. I AM a driver. And that feels nice.

MM.

NB: I took 5 driving tests. Proof that you shouldn’t ever give up – if you want something, you will achieve it, eventually. Also, Brentwood Test Centre has a pass rate of 36% – they’re ridiculously harsh; to the point that I was failed on my last test because I wasn’t dramatic enough with how I was making observations – the examiner agreed that during the “incident” in question, I “did look”, it just wasn’t “obvious enough”.  I’d failed my previous tests for similar issues. I knew I was a good driver at heart, I let the nerves get the better of me, but this time I wasn’t going to be beaten! Plus my Provisional License was due to expire in October this year and I sure as hell was not going to get that renewed – I NEEDED that Full License! And I got it! DON’T GIVE UP – KEEP ON PLODDING! And you never know, if you’re taking your driving test as a ‘mature student’ like I was, maybe you might have a nicer test centre who appreciate how difficult it is to not be that ruthless and overly confident 17 year old! I will keep my fingers crossed for you. 

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Mumsnet: This Is My Child | Mr Eli has Talipes and Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis.

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I have been looking, with interest, at some of the posts that have been published during the This Is My Child awareness campaign via Mumsnet. We live our life day-to-day as normal. Because THIS is our ‘normal’. Eli is our first born and we know no different. But I suppose, our story is different. I’ve not really highlighted Eli’s Talipes or (recently diagnosed) Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis on my blog before. I have mentioned in a few posts about his Talipes. But nothing in depth. So here it goes!

Everything stems back to when I was pregnant. I had a very tough first few weeks, after a bleed we were told that the pregnancy might not be viable at a 5 week early-pregnancy scan and told to return in 3 weeks time; where we saw the most amazing and incredibly tiny flickering – a heartbeat! PHEW!

We so looked forward to that 12 week scan. The sonographer was lovely, but seemed concerned. Eli was jumping ALL OVER, I thought she was just having difficulty measuring up dates because he wouldn’t keep still. She then turned the machines off and said she was sorry to tell us that our bundle of joy had a “nuchal fold measurement on the cusp of high”. The exact measurement was 3.5 mm. This was indeed the cusp before they offer you further investigation. We needed to know. We were informed that a high NT measurement could mean a multitude of conditions, including Down Syndrome. This was heartbreaking. This baby was so wanted – we needed to know what we were facing. We had ‘counselling’ and I had bloods taken. The nurse then called University College Hospital London and told us they had a referral for the the very next day. We were told we could have a more in-depth scan at the Fetal Medicine Unit; where we would also be offered the option of CVS – which would indeed confirm any anomalies, through a horrendously invasive procedure. After the lengthy scan with several specialists, we were advised that we could either go ahead with CVS there and then, or wait… It had been picked up that there was a lack of nasal bone; another marker for Down Syndrome. Our world shattered. HOW WOULD WE COPE?! We went ahead with the CVS there and then. It was like a whirlwind.

The procedure was horrible. Just horrible. I had soreness and tenderness for a few days after. Not to mention the constant worry and stress of the risk of miscarriage. It was a very very hard time for both of us, waiting for the results. 3 weeks passed and we received a letter confirming that everything was spot on with Eli. He didn’t have any of the common anomalies that CVS tests for.  We were over the moon to say the very least. PHEW!

But this was not the end of our hospital visits. To cut the (very!) long story short – we had a total of 9 scans. Because of the NT measurement, Eli’s heart, organs and growth was routinely monitored. He developed fantastically. At the 25 week scan, it was found our baby had a degree of Bilateral Talipes.  But it was “extremely mild”. PHEW! It was corrective. We were happy. In the grand scheme of things.

Fast forward to almost 42 weeks pregnant, I was just a HUGE pregnant ball; unable to move, pretty much. That little boy was so so squashed up inside my petite 5 ft nothing 1″ frame. I was eventually induced. Which, shock horror was just the WORST thing ever. (Incidentally, I would never recommend an induction. Just bloody wait till the baby wants to arrive!). After 30 hours of labour, Eli was pulled out of me in an emergency situation using Ventouse. He was out, safe, at long last. PHEW.

Or so we thought.

We both immediately looked at his feets. Yes, they turned in, but probably weren’t half as badly affected as we were imagining.

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Again, fast forward to 8 weeks old. We’d not been seen by a specialist. Not even had a referral. At Eli’s 8 week check the GP who was head of the surgery, told me that his feet would ‘correct themselves when he learns to walk’. I wasn’t happy with that. We’d been massaging, manipulating and exercising Eli’s feets since birth, but at about 8-10 weeks had hit that brick wall. They weren’t getting any better. With the encouragement from @BexandMic on Twitter, who’s beautiful son Hugo was also born with Talipes, I kicked off at the Health Visitor. I got a referral to see a Physio about his feet. At the very first appointment our lovely Physio, Jenny, pointed out that Eli’s head was tilted to the left. I couldn’t understand what she was referring to, he just couldn’t hold his head up yet… She explained it looked like he had something called Torticollis. Possibly from being so squashed up during pregnancy, possibly from the trauma of being pulled out so quickly. I was given exercises to do with his neck regularly, after a week, his head was straight! I still to this day can’t believe we didn’t notice it. Looking back at photos, his neck is completely to his shoulder on every single one. There was still tightness after a few sessions with the Physio and more manipulation on our part. We eventually saw our consultant, Mr Tuite at Broomfield Hospital on 31st October. Eli was almost 14 weeks old. Worryingly, most children with Talipes begin their treatment shortly after birth.

We were devastated when Mr Tuite said that Eli would in fact require plaster casts to begin the correction process. Mr Eli was pretty mobile at 14 weeks old! He was used to his bedtime routine and his bath. We knew the casts were for the best though. We had to do it. We were told Eli had really mild Talipes, again, so would require 2 weeks worth of casts…

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6 weeks later Eli was still in casts. It was incredibly tough.

Being the age Eli was, we got a lot of stares. You could just tell people must have thought he’d been dropped and had broken legs. When people asked what had happened, they didn’t understand. They made me feel like the story I was telling was a pack of lies. It was just a horrendous feeling. We did however have luck on our side, in the fact that it was Winter when Eli was in casts. It wasn’t hot, he would have been so much more uncomfortable if it was! He spent a lot of time in long socks and snow suits! In hindsight, I wish I’d been more confident with his casts. Embraced them more. Decorated them, even. The casts did not hinder Eli in any way, he was rolling over in them and they were SO heavy and awkward. He kicked his legs up and down and bashed the casts to bits! He was so brave – he didn’t sleep at night, but hey, he doesn’t now either!

The Torticollis would occur when Eli seemed to meet new milestones. It wasn’t constant. It was irregular. His neck tilted for around a week when he started rolling, sitting up and crawling. But also seemed to coincide with teething too. We continued to repeat the exercises and manipulations.

Mid-December 2012 and Eli went into Ponseti Boots and Bars 23 hours a day. He got an hour “free” where we gave him his bath and he had a kick about afterwards. This was a huge relief. We could get back to normality somewhat. We hadn’t even thought about the visual  impact the Boots and Bar contraption would have on other people. After our journey, we had just accepted what we had to go through.

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In the coming weeks, I had an array of comments and conversations about his B & B’s.

“They’re funky boots” “Thanks! They’re to straighten his feet” “ohh… I thought they were just fashion accessories! I’m so sorry. Didn’t realise your son was ill”. “He’s not ill?”

“Does he have broken legs?”

“Does he have broken hips?”

“Is that a contraption to stop him wriggling away from you?”

“Do they make him taller?” “WHAT?!”

 Etc. Etc. Etc.

We had a lot of nasty glances. A lot of nasty sniggers. I’m REALLY not thick-skinned at all. Like I say, I’d completely accepted that this was his treatment. It did not bother me. This was normal to us now – this was part of our every day lives! Until someone pointed his feet out, or made that eye contact, that’s when I’d think. Then it would upset me. But, I needed to get through that for him. It was in his very best interests. He wouldn’t be able to walk without it! Had we just been too blasé about the entire thing?!

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Eli wore his B & B’s for 23 hours a day, for 6 months. Most children wear them for 23 hours a day for just 3 months, then hours are dropped throughout the day until they eventually just wear them at night time. To our surprise, Eli went straight down to just nights at our next review. This was just insanely cool. It was just magical seeing him so free. His feet look PERFECT! We’re so so pleased. We’re also convinced though, that Eli struggles at night time because of his boots and bar. He’s free all day long, then come bedtime he’s confined. He can’t move with ease. It’s uncomfortable and heavy. He will sleep for 2-4 hours at a time. Then I will need to settle him. There has been nights where I have taken his bar or both his boots and bar off, and he’s slept soundly. I’m sacrificing my sleep so he can walk. Easy decision. I do worry it’s not good for him, the broken sleep. But what can I do?!

At 10 months, he started pulling himself up and cruising around his play pen. I can’t tell you how proud we both were. It was just so special; still is! SUPER PROUD PARENTS!

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Not long after Eli started standing up, there was an afternoon where Eli was particularly miserable. Anyone who knows Eli knows he is a jolly boy. Barely cries. He’s only ever grumpy in the night! He was super grizzly. I put it down to teething. Then he projectile vomited. His neck was tilted. He went floppy in my arms, the colour drained from usual his rosy cheeks, his eyes rolled back and he seemed to pass out. I was beside myself. Naturally. I rang my OH who calmed me down. I’ve never been so frightened, it was seriously scary. This had happened previously, but I wasn’t there. Another bout of sickness and drowsiness and I let Eli sleep. We then recalled another time when he projectile vomited (he was never a sicky baby so could recall these occasions clearly). Within in a few hours, his neck was back to its mid-line straight position. Without any manipulation. We worked out that they all coincided with his neck tilting. Could the Torticollis be causing this?

I took Eli to the doctors – who were, USELESS. He googled Torticollis and told me what Wikipedia says… He said he’d seen just one other case of this and to go back to the Physio if I was concerned. Hell yeah I was concerned. We didn’t know if it was underlining with something else. I went to Portugal for 4 days. Eli had another bout of the sickness and drowsiness with the Torticollis. Again, his neck had straightened up itself by the next morning. It was all definitely linked.

I went to the Physio again after my trip. She was lovely, she explained that the condition was Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. This variation of Torticollis comes in waves, or ‘attacks’. The attacks can last anywhere from minutes, to hours, to days and is accompanied by vomiting, pallorataxia, agitation, infantile migraine, unsteadiness of gait upon learning to walk, general malaise and nystagmus. All sounded about right. The periods in which the child’s head is tilted and other symptoms appear can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, with a frequency of anywhere from two per year to two per month. Looking back at the frequency of the attacks, we’ve found they seem to happen at the beginning of the month – every month, so far. It seems to surround teething, more than milestones now.

So now we know.

But what to do about it. Well, we’ve been told my several doctors and the physio (as well as Google) that Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis is something that Eli will grow out of, probably by school age.

His most recent attack was on 6th August, his 1st birthday. His neck didn’t straighten up quickly this time though, it’s taken a good 10 days this time.

The additional care that Eli requires surrounds his Talipes and his Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. We don’t know when he’ll be out of his boots and bar, could be at his next appointment (28th August), could be when he’s 3 or 4 or 5. We also worry about relapse; there’s also cases where the feet have been over-corrected so they point outwards. We also do not know when he will have another attack of Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis, or the severity. I have to carry dozens of muslins with me, just incase he projectile vomits. I often worry it’s just going to come out of nowhere. I also worry about when he goes to nursery – are there people who are going to be able to look after him if he has an attack? Luckily, at the minute, I can work from home. But he will need to go into nursery sooner rather than later, for him to be able to socialise with children his age, more than anything else.

We currently do not receive any help, support or funding. I do know of people who have been granted Disability Living Allowance for their children with Talipes.

I’d absolutely LOVE to hear from others who have experiences with Talipes or Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. The latter being quite rare, so not heard or seen anyone else who has had a child with BPT.

Would we have had it any other way? Ideally, I’d love to have Eli without all the discomfort and challenges he’s faced – of course I would. But my goodness me, he’s a brave boy. He’s SUCH a character. And frankly, it’s made me and my OH better people. We’re stronger. We understand.

Worry, worry worry – isn’t that what all parents do?

MM.

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Mr Eli turns ONE!

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This was us, a little after 9:43pm on Monday 6th August 2012. I cannot believe our beautiful baby boy is now ONE! This year has just flown by. Mr Eli has been so so brave throughout all the challenges he’s faced – he’s the happiest little boy, with the cheekiest grin!

To celebrate his birthday yesterday, the three us of took a trip to Colchester Zoo. It was just brilliant. We had the BEST day! Colchester Zoo is just 45 minutes away from where we live; and after a recent trip to a farm we knew animals BIG animals would go down a treat with the birthday boy! He loved seeing the elephants, zebra’s, rhino’s and of course, all of the different types of tortoises! Can’t lie, OH and I enjoyed it thoroughly too. We made lots of “woah” and “ahh” noises throughout the day.

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Just a perfect way to spend the day reminiscing over Eli’s first year on the planet and how this bundle of joy has grown into such a handsome chap.

Happy very FIRST birthday Mr Eli. You’re our absolute world and we love you more than anything.

xxx

 

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Oh hello, it’s been a while…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I know, I know. It’s been a canny while. Life has been pretty hectic to say the very least.

SO MUCH has happened since I last properly updated.

– Mr Eli has been in and out of plaster casts for his Talipes treatment. He’s currently in full time B & B (Boots and Bars). I’ll do a proper update on this too.

– We’ve had our first Christmas together, which was AMAZING.

– New Year came and went without a hitch.

– Started feeding Eli proper, actual, proper food! Which he LOVES.

– We’ve been here, there and everywhere visiting friends and family.

– I finally overcome some very difficult decisions and feel a ton has been lifted from my shoulders… albeit, it has been replaced with a wee bit of stress. But I’ll reveal all later! It’s all a bit hush hush right now.

– I’ve FINALLY started driving lessons! It’s only taken me 10 years.

Think that’s all for now. Will catch up again VERY soon!

MM.

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #6.

Today is the final instalment of Mr Eli’s Mini Boden Adventure! Today is Outfit #6.

It is absolutely FREEZING today. I can’t believe how chilly it is, even in the house! So Mr Eli got snuggled up in this incredible Winter jumper and cosy cords. We’ve already decided that this just has to be Eli’s Christmas Day outfit – how cool is this for a Christmas Day jumper?

So what is Eli wearing today?

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper (Snowflake), Red, £24-26; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Cord Trousers, Cadet Blue, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk

As I mentioned, this jumper is just awesome. It’s the perfect Christmas Day jumper. But with a twist… this is a COOL Christmas Day jumper! Like the other Winter jumper from my previous post, this one is also cashmere blend so is super cosy and warm. The bright red is a great colour and the snow flake pattern gives it the true festive feel. Mr Eli particularly enjoyed eating the rolled up cuffs for some reason… but the rolled up cuff does mean you can make this style shorter if your little one still has space to grow into it. Unlike traditional knitted jumpers, this one is not itchy against your little ones soft skin, so you can be safe in the knowledge they’ll be having an excellent time wearing it! As opposed to when we were kids and HATED wearing knitted jumpers for that reason alone! This style is a definite must-purchase for the festive season, your child will be so warm and look beyond adorable in it; plus it will make for a conversation piece, as you all reminisce over festive jumpers from years gone by.

I would suggest you get your order in soon mind; because I just know that this jumper will be flying out!

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper (Snowflake), Red, £24-26; from Boden.co.uk

MM.

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #5.

Today we played in the garden and displayed some signs of ‘post Halloween blues’. Today is also Mini Boden Outfit #5 Day*

Eli enjoyed his pumpkins so much yesterday that we took them into the garden today 🙂 It’s a pretty chilly start to November, good job Mr Eli was suitably dressed!

So what is Eli wearing today?

Click here to purchase>>  Jersey Duffle Jacket, Navy, £22-£24; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper (Snowflake), Red, £24-26; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Simple Trousers, Blue Ticking Stripe, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk

I’m going to focus on the amazing Jersey Duffle Jacket for this post! I’ve always wanted my little boy to have a cute navy duffle coat and this one from Mini Boden is just perfect. While this jacket is made of jersey, it is quite a nice thickness, great for layering up on chilly days. Eli is wearing another Mini Boden Winter jumper underneath his jacket here; it’s cashmere blend so it kept him so cosy whilst we played outside! Mini Boden keeps this style traditional with a hood, wooden toggle fastening to the front, as well as front pockets and cuff detailing. Again, Mini Boden make sure that childrens’ clothing is kept interesting by adding the stripey lining, which can be seen when the jacket is left unfastened and of course from the inside of the hood too.

 

MM.

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #4.

Today is Mini Boden Outfit #4 Day* and today we have a poorly boy 🙁 Boo 🙁

Mr Eli had his 12-week immunisations this afternoon, so is enjoying a well deserved nap. I’m pretty jealous that Mr Rex is getting all the cuddles mind!

So what is Eli wearing today?
Click here to purchase>> Cosy Romper, Grey, £18; from Boden.co.uk

This has got to be the cosiest romper ever! So ‘Cosy Romper’ is definitely a very fitting product name. First of all, I liked this style because it’s nice and bright… but not *too* bright. It’s a trendy and grown up romper that is great for casual days out and about. I love the cute kangaroo pouch at the front, which is finished off with a contrast navy top-stitch. The poppers on the leg inseams make for easy nappy-changing access, while the cuffs all extend which means your little one will get quite a lot of wear out of it, before they’re too big. Best of all, this romper is fleece lined so I know that Mr Eli will be all cosy and warm when we’re off out for walks on those chilly days!

 

MM.

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #3.

Today is Mini Boden Outfit #3 Day* – and Mr Eli is dressed for Bowling!

I had ‘craved’ going bowling right throughout my pregnancy. Obviously, there is some danger attached to bowling, so this was off the cards for the duration. We had a free afternoon today so we decided to go to Hollywood Bowl! Beyond ecstatic, we arrived but soon realised how absolutely loud a bowling alley is…. not to mention the booming music from the speakers at each lane… the pins being hit sounded somewhat supersonic! We stood in the queue and debated whether this place really was *too* loud for a 12 week old baby. Then noticed that nap time was approaching! Eli was falling asleep, we couldn’t believe it. He slept the entire afternoon in there!

So what is Eli wearing today?
Click here to purchase>> Breton T-Shirt, Green, £12-£14; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Chunky Cord Dungarees, Red, £24-£26; from Boden.co.uk

How cool are these cord dungarees? The answer is TOO COOL! I absolutely love them. When we found out we were having a baby boy we said we’d just love him to wear red dungarees and stripey tops and Converse trainers! We had that entire ‘dream’ nailed in one outfit here! The dunagrees are made using a chunky cord and are lined with an awesome jersey star fabric; again, perfect for the colder days we have yet to come! The dunagree’s are easy to take off with the traditional workwear straps, but  Mini Boden have gone one further and added poppers for easy access when nappy changing too! These dungaree’s are definitely durable and great for anyone who likes a bright colour! Better still, I know these dunagrees will last Eli a while, thanks to the adjustable straps too!

MM.

 

 

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #2.

Today is my OH’s birthday 🙂 His first birthday as a Daddy and this is also Outfit number 2 of a week with Mr Eli and Mini Boden*!

As you can see, Mr Eli is holding up his birthday card, which he obviously wrote out himself, for his Daddy.

So what is Eli wearing today?
Click here to purchase>> Breton T-Shirt, Green, £12-£14; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Cord Trousers, Cadet Blue, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk


I love this casual outfit. The Breton Stripe t-shirt will go with everything I have for Autumn and Winter; it’s perfect for layering. It’s a nice cotton style, which would also work for Summer too. The chunky cord trousers are so lovely, as a trouser, they’re a heavier and thicker fabric – which I just know will be brilliant on those colder Winter days that we have to come. As you saw yesterday, I do enjoy a turn up! This style is so cool with it’s bright red contrasting lining.

Keep checking back to see what Mr Eli wore next!

MM.

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)

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Mr Eli and Mini Boden: Outfit #1.

So let’s kick off a week with Mr Eli and Mini Boden*; today we start with Tuesday 23rd October.

I take Eli to be weighed at a local centre every fortnight. The past few times Eli has gained weight, but not as much as we’d ideally like. This week Eli had gained 11 ounces, which is spot on! I was both relieved and over the moon. Eli was both a little bit too excited and very cosy in his first Mini Boden outfit!

So what is Eli wearing today?

Click here to purchase>> Winter Jumper, Grey, £24-£26; from Boden.co.uk

Click here to purchase>> Lined Simple Trousers, Blue Ticking Stripe, £16-£18; from Boden.co.uk

The Winter Jumper is absolutely beautiful. It is made using a super soft cashmere blend; which also means it’s beautifully cosy. I love the cable knit and button detail to the shoulder. The simple trousers are just great, an absolute wardrobe staple. These trousers can definitely be styled for a casual outfit or for somewhere smart. You can also turn these trousers up to reveal the contrast green lining – this is how I styled them on Eli.

Keep checking back to see what Mr Eli wore next!

MM.

* I am partaking in a Boden Bloggers competition. Head over to the Boden Facebook page to vote for my blog posts as your favourite :)