family

Looking at me you might be surprised to learn that I experienced hair loss after both pregnancies. And while I naturally have a lot of hair, it never went back to my pre-pregnancy abundance. I noticed some shedding during and after my first pregnancy, but it wasn't too bad. It was after my second child that I really noticed a problem. I didn't realise that hair loss and motherhood can go hand in hand, so I wanted to share some insight.

A few months after Dubz was born, I noticed that loads of hair started breaking off. Apparently this can be due to a reduction in one's oestrogen levels. Normally, by your child's first birthday, your hair will return to its full glory. This was not the case for me. For a few years, I had these short, broken hairs sticking out of the top of my bed. I used to crop the top of my head in photos as it perturbed me greatly. I felt like I was the only one going through this and didn't really talk to my friends about my hair insecurities.

It wasn't until Dubz turned four that my hair started to get back to normal. It took years for the damaged hair to grow back. One reason for this may be due to my Vitamin D deficiency. This was another issue that began during my second pregnancy. Pregnancy is much more than just having a baby. There are so many physical changes that happens to one's body, and many of us are not prepared.

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When I think of a family meal, I think of lots of yummy food in the middle of the table and everyone helping themselves. But normally, when you go to a restaurant, everyone gets their own meal. Though sometimes I end up sharing my dessert (against my will, of course). But Prezzo have brought the family-style spirit from our homes to their restaurants with the new La Famiglia menu.

Simply, 'la famiglia' is Italian for 'family'. The name says it all. It is a meal fit for a family. When our generous plate of spaghetti bolognese arrived, the kids oohed. They were so excited by such a big dish. And when the waiter handed Dubz the tongs to serve the pasta, he was thrilled. Imagine being five years old and being in charge of the food. With some help from his daddy, Dubz served us our spaghetti.

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For the May half-term, we packed a week's worth of clothes, got into the car and drove to France. Okay, there might have been more to this. Like spending weeks looking at which Eurocamp holiday parc would best suit our family and then researching what one needs for a Eurocamp holiday as well as what you need for driving in France. And obviously you have to book the ferry. If you try driving straight to France, you will literally be swimming with the fishes.

I must note that this was our first holiday abroad as a family of four. Dubz, who has just turned five, has always been quite crazy a handful. But he has calmed down in the past year and we got him his first passport in May. We also thought that travelling by ferry would be a good way to ease into a holiday (I reckon we will be brave enough for plane travel in a few months).

So anyway, after much deliberation, we chose La Garangeoire in the Vendee (on the west coast of central France). I had read that there is better weather there than the northern parts of France, plus it requires much less driving to than the south of France. And we were not disappointed. While it did drizzle a couple of mornings, the weather was mostly sunny and warm. We had an amazing week at La Garangeoire, and I wanted to show you what a holiday looks like when every member of the family proclaims it to be 'the best holiday ever'.

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Did you know that I am rather sneaky? My children normally complain if Husband and I suggest going for walks. So sometimes we park farther away from our destination so the children have more walking to do. Moozles and Dubz don't realise that they are walking as they are focused on our destination.

Last weekend, we went for a meal in Kingston, so we parked by the river near Surbiton and walked on the Thames path. Moozles and Dubz had so much fun pointing out boats and ducks. And on our way home, they even held hands and chatted quietly. We all enjoyed our walk along the river, and there was no complaining. Hooray for being sneaky.

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My family and I love eating out. And the only thing better than going to a restaurant is going to a new restaurant. So we were quite excited to visit Poor Boys this weekend. Tucked along the side of the market, Poor Boys serves New Orleans street food to the people of Kingston-upon-Thames. Kingston is already known for its extensive array of dining (and shopping) venues, but I was thrilled to find out that there was a great new independent restaurant in my town.

Our first impression of Poor Boys was fab. There was a southern/bayou decor with Dixieland and country music playing. Dubz particularly enjoyed Dolly Parton and spent most of the meal dancing in his chair (like mother, like son). Rather than traditional colouring, the kids received mini backboards and chalk to keep themselves entertained. Moozles and Dubz spent ages drawing animals and then we moved on to the classic game of 'hangman'. It's such a relief when children are catered for, beyond food.

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Ah spring. One moment it is warm and sunny, and the next minute the sky is opening up and leaving you completely drenched. My children don't seem to mind getting wet, but I just feel better when they're warm and dry. This week, Dubz got a new rubber rain coat, just in time for the insane amount of rain we have had in the past few days.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that I also have a yellow raincoat that I wear quite often. Dubz has been dying to get one like mine for ages. So he was thrilled when his new coat arrived from Lighthouse Clothing. Dubz is barely five, so is still very excited about twinning with his 'honey best friend' (that's what he calls me).

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My children love Chessington World of Adventures. Moozles goes on the big, scary rides (with her daddy), and Dubz and I go on the gentler rides. The amusement park is about 20 minutes, in the car, from our house so we visit several times a year. Last year, I bought an Adult & Pre-schooler Annual Pass for Dubz and me. And I thought I would let you know if I found it to be good value.

First of all, the annual pass is for adults and children up to, and including, the age of five. At £60 for the pass, you would need to visit three times to break even (the one-day entry cost for a parent and pre-schooler is £21). But the pass gets you a 20% off discount off food and the gift shop, which is great. Even if you bring a packed lunch, you might still be tempted with donuts, ice cream or a cuddly toy. It helps having that extra little discount.

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After I got married, I had this vision of family life - a little girl and then a little boy. But then I had my daughter, and could not envisage having another child. I had endured horrible all-day sickness during my pregnancy, and then had a c-section. I didn't want to go through that again. And we were happy. Our family of three was perfect. I loved my daughter so much, and I couldn't imagine loving another child as much. 'But your vision', Husband said. 'What about that boy?'

There were many reasons, but really, I was scared of having a son. Now, I didn't actually know I would have a boy. But I felt fairly confident. I had been certain I would have a girl first, and I did. And for some reason, I felt quite sure I would have a boy next. And I was terrified. I was afraid of cleaning little boy genitals. I was frightened of having one of those crazy out-of-control boys that one sees terrorising playgrounds. And I was worried that I could not love a naughty son as much as my angelic daughter.

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We had a tough year when Dubz was two. We had to refrain from going out to eat for fear of tantrums. And then when he was three, he only ate toast for about three months. Tough times indeed. But things improved drastically when he turned four last year and then began school in the autumn. And now, we eat out at least once at the weekend. And we love trying out new restaurants.

A couple of weeks ago, we visited the Giggling Squid in Esher to try out their new menu for kids. Moozles and Dubz had never tried Thai food before. I was a bit nervous whether Dubz would enjoy it - after all, there would be no chips on standby. But we had recently tried a Taiwanese restaurant with good results, so I hoped for the best.

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A 13-year wedding anniversary isn't that exciting. But then again, shouldn't every year of marital happiness be celebrated excitedly?! Our anniversary is actually tomorrow, but as it's a Sunday on a bank holiday weekend, we thought we'd celebrate it mid-week (for babysitting purposes). So on Wednesday we went to Richmond-upon-Thames to have dinner at the newly-opened Ivy Cafe.

Many people will have heard of The Ivy. They are known for their great food, but also as a hotspot for celebrities. They have recently started opening some smaller cafes in greater London so that us suburbanites can have a taste of the high life. But don't let the term 'cafe' fool you, this is a properly cool and elegant restaurant.

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