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ADVENT CALENDARS // 2018

 

The big day is just shy of a month away…. but there is still time to treat yourself or gift a loved one with a brilliant Advent Calendar, from booze to beauty, theres something for everyone! Advent Calendars are a real tradition in our house – it really marks the start of ACTUAL CHRISTMAS! But gone are the days of eating stale chocolate come the 1st December, (unless you’re weird like me and actually really love the cheapest Kinnerton calendar you can get your mitts on!). So, cheapo chocolate aside, here is my pick of the best Advent Calendars that are available online, now.

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ASOS // ASOS Face+Body Calendar //
£55.00
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ASOS // ASOS Grooming Calendar //
£30.00
GINGER RAY // Envelope Calendar //
£12.99
DIPTYQUE Advent calendar
DIPTYQUE // Advent calendar //
£130.00
12 Days Of Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar
ORELIA // 12 Days of Christmas Calendar – Make your own Jewellery //
£60.00

The must-have jewellery advent calendar of 2018, Orelia’s 12 Days Of Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar contains a stunning gold plated necklace and bracelet chain, along with an eclectic mix of charms behind each door, so you can create your own piece, layer up with lots of charms or pick your favourite to wear alone.

They’ve also included a pair of the bestselling gold plated Micro Hoop Earrings, which you can add a charm to or wear alone.

Limited quantities available.

Charlotte's Beauty Universe Advent Calendar - Charlotte Tilbury
CHARLOTTE TILBURY // Beauty Calendar //
£150.00
Food & Wine: Confectionery Neuhaus 2018 Pop-Up Chocolate Advent Calendar
NEUHAUS // 2018 Pop-Up Chocolate Calendar //
£55.00
MIXPIX // Personalised Christmas Playlist Advent Calendar // Available at Notonthehighstreet.com
£18.00

Each door reveals a new Christmas track culminating in an awesome Christmas playlist for Christmas Day. Ideal Music Lover Gift.

Choose any name to be printed on the advent calendar.

Open a door each day and hold your phone or tablet up to the calendar to hear the Christmas hit for that day. Each track plays straight away and after that track, the album that the track is taken from continues to play.

The perfect gift for every Music Lover or to help ease those Bah Hambug’s into the festive spirit throughout December!

The carefully curated tracks have been selected based on the most popular Christmas Hits of all time, including classics such as:

All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid, Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea, Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble etc.

On Christmas Day, scan the Spotify code to listen to all 25 tracks as your Christmas playlist throughout the big day.

made from:

Our personalised advent calendars are made from 350 gsm box board card and comes with a small clip to hang the advent calendar with. Size – A3.

KIKKI.K Stationery Lover's advent calendar
KIKKI.K // Stationary Lover’s Advent Calendar //
£90.00
BuyCowshed 24 Day Beauty Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
COWSHED // 24 Day Beauty Calendar //
Currently, £76.50 at JohnLewis.com

 

 

 

 

 

BuyEdinburgh Gin Advent Calendar, 25x 5cl Online at johnlewis.com
EDINBURGH GIN // Gin Advent Calendar // EXCLUSIVE TO JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS
£120.00

The countdown to Christmas will be merry, warming and aromatic with this Edinburgh Gin Advent Calendar of 25 mini 5cl gin bottles. Enjoy a variety of tastes including clean, fresh and spicy on-the-nose gin. Delighting the palate of gin connoisseurs, hints of juniper, pine, floral, lavender, soft spice and citrus wait behind each calendar window.

  • 5x Edinburgh Gin, 5cl
  • 4x Seaside Gin, 5cl
  • 3x Cannonball Gin 5cl
  • 13 x Fruit Gin Liqueurs, 5cl
  • Suitable for: Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten Free. Does not contain Nuts.
  • Maximum Alcohol content per bottle, 43%.
BuyLEGO City 60201 Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
LEGO CITY // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
PLAYMOBIL // TOP AGENT Calendar //
£19.99
BuyLEGO Friends 41353 Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
LEGO FRIENDS // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
HATCHIMALS // Colleggtibles Advent Calendar //
£24.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BuyAdvent Of Change Charity Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // ADVENT OF CHANGE, CHARITY CALENDAR //
£27.97

Start every December day leading up to Christmas with the joyful feeling of giving. Perfect for the season of goodwill, this Advent of Change calendar reveals a new charity recipient every day that benefits from the purchase of your calendar.

With this one simple purchase you will be making a donation to 24 amazing charities – helping the environment, endangered animals and even improving the lives of children.

Each of the 24 perforated doors represents a £1 donation, and will reveal:

1. The registered charity recipient for that day.

2. How your contribution can be used, showing you how you’ve changed the world for the better.

With 85% of the sale price going directly to charity, Advent of Change serves as a thoughtful conversation piece and the most meaningful gift for family, friends or, of course, yourself.

Open up to change this year and help 24 charities to make a difference, this Christmas and beyond.

Each calendar is wrapped in a biodegradable potato starch film and manufactured in the UK using FSC-certified paper, vegetable oil-based inks and biodegradable glue.

Advent of Change is a not-for-profit organisation, and gives £24 of the sale price directly to charity. The remaining £3.95 is used for production, operational and fundraising costs.

When you choose Advent of Change, you’re making a donation to the following 24 amazing charities – to see full details, take a look at the John Lewis & Partners product page, here. 

SMIGGLE // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£25.99
BuyJelly Belly Advent Calendar, 440g Online at johnlewis.com
JELLY BELLY // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
BuyWine Advent Calendar, 4.5L Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // Wine Calendar //
£70.00
BuyMorris & Co. Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
WILLIAM MORRIS & CO // Beauty Calendar //
£40.00
LISA ANGEL // Personalised Wooden Train Advent Calendar // Available from Notonthehighstreet.com //
£39.00

A beautiful wooden advent train, personalised for the festive season! Use year after year!

A fantastic alternative to the usual paper advent calendar to be used for years to come, this amazing wooden train engine with two carriages has with black, white and gold paint detailing as well as fixed shiny round wheels. Each carriage features 12 drawers (6 on each side) ready to be pulled out and filled with sweets and tiny trinkets!

All 24 drawers are labelled with the numbers 1 to 24, so every day is covered over the advent period until Christmas day.

The carriages and engine are connected via small metal hooks and can be linked or left separate depending on your preference, and each drawer can be removed to rearrange if you want to create a search game for the kids!

Personalisation:

A name of your choice printed in black on one train, with ‘Santa Express’ to follow on the other train. We can allow up to 10 characters, including spaces and punctuation. Your font size will be adjusted accordingly.

This train is a decorative item and not a toy.

made from:

Wood

dimensions:

Engine – width 13cm x height 13.5cm x depth 8cm

Carriage – width 15cm x height 10.5cm x depth 10cm

Inside of drawers – width 3.2cm x height 2.4cm x depth 3.1cm

Christmas Advent Calendar (Image 1)
TWININGS // SEASONAL ADVENT CALENDAR //
£21.99
BuyHotel Chocolat The Ultimate Advent - Dark, 125g Online at johnlewis.com
HOTEL CHOCOLAT // DARK //
£12.50

 

HONEST BREW // Craft Beer Advent Calendar Crate //
£89.00

Mixed case of 24 craft beers, by the team at HonestBrew.

Feast your eyes upon a seasonal selection of 24 festive brews that will light up the life of any self-respecting beer lover over December! Containing a range of beer styles, from light and hoppy, to dark and roasty, there’s a beery surprise each day. Tis the season to be jolly… and drink great beer.

After selling out in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the HonestBrew Craft Beer Advent calendar is once again back & better than ever before.

24 beers, 15 styles, 12 countries, 7 exclusive beers, plus free standard shipping! Guaranteed fresh & on time.

Only the best breweries go into our advent calendar. That means award-winning, quality-driven and innovative producers from 12 countries behind every door. This premium selection includes 7 exclusive beers, limited edition collaborations, and seasonal releases for a festive journey across the craft beer landscape.

Expect a wide range of beer styles to sample. Including: IPAs, Pale Ales, Saisons, Pilsners, Porters and Stouts. Breweries include Magic Rock, Cloudwater, Northern Monk, Buxton and many more!

made from:

Beers come in glass bottles & craft cans.
All beer is made from mighty fine ingredients (water, malt, hops and yeast) and some love.
Packaged in recyclable cardboard box with protective packaging.

BuyCoppenrath Victorian Christmas Houses Advent Boxes, Pack of 24 Online at johnlewis.com
COPPENRATH // Victorian Christmas Houses //
£15.00
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CATH KIDSTON // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£40.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hope this gives you some idea’s for the lucky ones in your life! For us, we’ve already got the LEGO City calendar for Eli, which our Elf on the Shelf Scout Elf, FRODO, will be bringing on 1st December, as he does every year.

Happy Advent, however you choose to celebrate!

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

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HE’S FINALLY HERE!

This is the first photo of me and my son. My beautiful, perfect son.

Introducing Mr Elijah Joseph Thomas Hill.

Born on: Monday 6th August 2012.

Time: 21:43.

Weight: 8lb (exactly).

Length: 48cm.

I think I’ll save the gruelling birth story for another day. I’d like to just reflect on how beautiful my little angel is for now 🙂 The past fortnight has gone like a blur (not helped by the fact I ended up back in hospital with an infection! But that is another story). So will gradually be easing back into things slowly. I hope I have time to blog as much as I did previously, but as any new Mummy will understand, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! I don’t know where the time actually flies away to! I can’t believe my little one is already 16 days old today! So please bare with me as normal service begins to resume 🙂

MM.

 

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Hospital Update: Meeting the Consultant and measuring 34 weeks at 28 weeks.

My favourite image of our Baby Boy so far! Taken at 20 weeks, UCLH. 20th March 2012.

Yesterday morning we drove up to Broomfield Hospital for another appointment with our Consultant; to discuss the findings from our last scan –The Bilateral Talipes. But our actual consultant was stuck on the M25 (of course), so we saw someone else and had to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining everything that’s happened in this rollercoaster of a pregnancy!

Fast forward half an hour and I’m on the couch being measured up with a tape measure again. At my Midwife appointment, less than a week ago, my bump was measuring up at 30cm, so 30 weeks – Weekly Update: 28 weeks. So had expected it to be about the same.The two Doctors measured me again… I was measuring 34cm, so one would assume, 34 weeks! UH OH.

I was referred for an emergency scan to check out baby boy’s measurements properly, along with an index of my amniotic fluid. Had to sit around the hospital for 3 hours until the scan. MASSIVE YAWN.

Had the scan and everything was FINE. He’s measuring up at 29 weeks (of which I am 29 weeks tomorrow). He weighs about 2 and a half pounds. He couldn’t be more spot on measurements wise, he’s spot on all the ‘average measurement’ lines on the scan graph. Which is great!

Also, my amniotic fluid is showing up at 6cm at the deepest point, which again, is absolutely normal! So everything is great. I just have a lot of my own water retention and bloating..possibly because I drink far too much water. What can I say? I’m a thirsty girl!

Additionally, the Sonographer also said that we no longer need to go back to have a scan at 32 weeks. She’s more than happy with the progress of everything and doesn’t see why we should have to go back to the hospital to review baby boy’s Talipes. Which is also fine by us! We’re over the moon! But at the same time, I’m also a little bit sad that we won’t be seeing our baby boy for a little while… in fact, the next time we see him will be when he’s ARRIVED! Which to be honest, is also a little bit scary! It’s all very very very REAL now. EXCITED.

So the moral of this story is, don’t believe the measurements! It was never going to be an exact science, measuring your bump – who thought it would be?!

MM.

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Hospital Update: Baby Boy bump has (mild) Bilateral Talipes.

Wednesday 18th April: Re-scan at UCLH, Fetal Medicine Unit.

This morning we visited the Fetal Medicine Unity in UCLH (University College London Hospital) for the re-scan of baby boy bump’s feet – to confirm or exclude Talipes (Club Foot). Since my worrying Midwife appointment the other week, I’ve thought about nothing other than the results we might find at the scan today. Not about his feet though, I was thinking about everything else that it could be linked to. Yesterday the panic set in again and I started googling all sorts, which we all know, is probably the worst thing you can do – ever! Based on the, err, google search findings, I’d really worried myself about how his spine might be developing, as Talipes can be the result of other genetic disorders. This all combined with the Midwife appointment made me really really quite anxious in that waiting from this morning.

Appointment was for 9am, we arrived early, as always, at 8:30am. We went into see the FMU and Speciality Doctor who has performed our most recent scans at UCLH, at about 9:15am. Our Speciality Doctor is beyond thorough, so started off with checking the progress of the brain and heart. Then he went on to check other internal organs for size and function, making the necessary measurements and notes as he went along. (See below for measurements from this scan!) He muttered that “everything is developing beautifully”. Then he turned to the back, looking at the spine and ribcage. He pondered over the spine and I clenched onto OH’s hand. The Doctor didn’t say anything so I asked “Is his spine ok?”. He smiled and said “Of course, he’s beautifully in proportion and developing as he should be. It’s a good thing!”. PHEW. I was happy at that point 🙂

As baby boy bump has proven at every single scan, he’s a wriggler. He moves non-stop. Which is amazing! But not great when the Doctor is trying to desperately get a good view of his feet! It was at this point that he got the 4D scanning images up again – which is just incredible. It’s so amazing to see your baby’s face like that – unbelievable to be honest! But he was really wanting to get a good view of his feet… so it was a quick look at his cute-as-a-button face and then back to business.

The Doctor scanned his feet for about 15 minutes using both the 4D and 2D imaging. He then turned to us and said that he was “convinced there is a degree of Bilateral Talipes. But is extremely mild”. He then went on to discuss corrective methods and said he’d like the Consultant to take a look. The Consultant arrived and said that the Talipes was so mild that “I probably would have missed it to be honest!”.

So with all this in mind, we’re over the moon. Couldn’t be happier. We always knew this baby boy of ours would be a character, and he’s certainly that!

We”ve now been discharged from UCLH and referred back to the care of Broomfield. We will have another scan (YES!) at 32 weeks to see the progression of the Talipes. This will be our 8th scan, although these scans have not been under happy circumstances (mostly), we’re extremely grateful that we’ve been lucky enough to see our baby boy growing at every single stage. As long as the Talipes has progressed as it should (or hopefully, not at all) then we’ll remain within the care of Broomfield. We will not be treated any differently for the birth, so there is no reason for me not to have the Water Birth I’m planning! Once baba is born, we’ll obviously review the extent of the Talipes and take it from there.

Measurements at 25 weeks and 5 days.

Biparietal Diameter (BPD): 67.9 mm

Head Circumference (HC): 243.9 mm

Abdominal Circumference (AC): 213.3 mm

Nuchal Fold Thickness (NT): 5.6 mm

Nasal Bone: 7.4 mm

Femur Length: 45.5 mm

Estimated Fetal Weight (BPD, HC, AC, FL) :842 g / 1 lb 14oz

4D scan of baby boy’s face. He has my nose and chin and OH’s eyes. He’s playing hide and seek here though unfortunately! 

MM.

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Re-Scan: Echocardiogram and Anomaly Scan at 21+4 Weeks.

Tuesday 20th March: 4D scan! Fetal Heart Echo (Echocardiogram) and 20 Week Anomaly Scan at UCLH.

This Tuesday we went back to the Fetal Medicine Unit for a repeat Echocardiogram, doubled up with our 20 week Anomaly Scan. We are absolutely chuffed to say that every appears normal and all of baby boys organs are working correctly. So we will have no further review organ-wise, which is great news! The specialist was also (more than!) kind enough to surprise us with a few sneaky peaks at a 4D scan of our baby boy! It was absolutely incredible.

The extensive scan did however highlight that in some views there was a suspicion of Talipes (club foot). But in other views both feet appeared normal. The specialist also noted that the range of movements in all joints is normal. So this basically means that we have to go back to the FMU in about 4 weeks time to have a repeat scan to confirm or exclude the suspicion.

If it is found that one of his feet are a little on the wonky side, there are tons of things that can be done – without the need of surgery. So we’re happy.

Just also curious to find out if you had a baby with a suspected club foot and your experiences? What happened after the birth?

Here are some measurements and findings from the Anomaly scan that you might find useful. We were told these measurements were pretty much spot on for gestation, 21+4 weeks.

Biparietal Diameter (BPD): 52.4 mm

Head Circumference (HC): 189.1 mm

Abdominal Circumference (AC): 168.0 mm

Nuchal Fold Thickness (NT): 5.3 mm

Nasal Bone: 7.3 mm

Femur Length: 34.1 mm

Estimated Fetal Weight (BPD, HC, AC, FL): 416g / 15oz

MM.

 

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CVS: The Fetal Echo (Echocardiogram) at 16 weeks.

Tuesday 14th February: Fetal Heart Echo (Echocardiogram), at UCLH.

Today we went back to the Fetal Medicine Unit in University College London Hospital (UCLH) for a specialist Heart scan. The scan was performed like any other normal ultra-sound scan, but was dedicated to looking closely at the heart; the way the blood flowed, the rate and a close look at the chambers of the heart. The sonographer will use colours on the monitor to look at the blood flow etc – so don’t be alarmed if you see lots of red and blue splats all over the screen! (This looks a bit like a heat map).

Look how much bigger he is! (Image above). All his organs are now well formed and his bones were all clearly visible. He was, again, moving all over! Such a lively little boy we have!

We’re very happy to say that everything looks on course here! The blood is flowing the correct way and he has a smashing heart rate. But we have to go back on 20th March just to have another look, when he’ll be much bigger; he’s still pretty tiny at the minute. But overall, no cause for concern! 😀

MM.

 

 

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CVS: The Full Results.

Thursday 2nd February: The full results came back.

I had anxiously waited all week for that ‘BLOCKED’ number to call me again. It got to 4pm every day and I felt physically sick. I was shaky, dizzy and unable to concentrate at work. I was going to give it until Friday 3rd February at lunchtime, and then I was going to call UCLH to chase up the results. I couldn’t bear another weekend not knowing.

We got home from another tiring day at work, I felt withdrawn and exhausted and drained at the fact I hadn’t had that phone call, again.

There was a few pieces of post on the doormat… including one postmarked ‘London’, the address was handwritten. I just KNEW these were the results. I felt that pang of sickness and dizziness again.

We sat down together on the sofa as I struggled to open the envelope. I quickly glanced over the letter just looking for the words ‘normal’ and ‘positive’ and ‘clear’. The letter was a generic, photocopied letter.

But we saw the words we desperately wanted.

“We are writing to inform you that the results from your CVS demonstrate that your baby has a normal chromosome pattern“.

We were overjoyed! The letter was post-marked as 30th January, so the results took less than the two weeks to actually come back. Shame the hospital couldn’t call me to tell me directly – it would have saved a whole lot of agony. But still, we got the results we hoped for!

The letter also stated that we could call the FMU department to find out the sex of our baby. We we desperate to find out! So I called first thing the next day and they called back to tell me that we were having a LITTLE BABY BOY!! Absolutely ecstatic. We weren’t hoping for a boy or a girl specifically, but were beyond surprised to find out we’re having a boy! My partner is the last male on his families side, so we’ll be carrying his family name on – which is a wonderful bonus! We’re still in shock – but it’s so lovely to be able to bond with him properly now. Our little boy 🙂 Most people don’t get to find out the sex of their baby until the 20 week scan and even then, the scan isn’t 100% accurate! So we felt a little bit smug knowing that we’re having a boy, and that it 100% definitely is a boy! 😀

The next stage was an Echocardiogram (detailed Fetal heart scan) at 16 weeks – scheduled for Tuesday 14th February. Aptly, on Valentines Day.

MM.

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CVS: The Rapid Result.

Wednesday 18th January: The Rapid Result came back.

I was laid on the sofa with the quilt, again, running through every single scenario possible. We were told that we’d get the rapid result back within 3 working days, and that an FMU midwife would call after 5pm. We anticipated that we’d get the phone call on Friday 20th January. My mobile started ringing at around 5pm. The number was ‘BLOCKED’. I knew it had to be them. I sat myself up and prepared myself.

The FMU midwife asked me to confirm my name and date of birth and then said the words we’d only hoped for, the results were NORMAL. That meant that there were no abnormalities with regards to Down Syndrome, Edwards Syndrome or Pateau Syndrome.

I rang my partner first and we both cried. I then rang my parents and close family – then my best friend. We all could breathe a sign of relief and relax, a little bit, until the final report came through…

This was the most agonising 2 week wait of our entire lives.

MM.

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Welcome to the world: Blue Ivy Carter.

So today the world woke up to the news that the very lovely Beyonce and husband, Jay-Z had given birth to a healthy baby daughter – of which they had named ‘Ivy Blue Carter’.

Since the initial reports, I’m seeing articles across Twitter saying that their new born is infact named Blue Ivy Carter.

I think I prefer it the other way around. What do you guys think?

Obviously, cannot wait to see the first pictures of what will only be an incredibly beautiful baby!

MM.