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16 March
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The last ever Dancing On Ice and weaning Rocco

Hi all,

I hope you have had a lovely week, mine has been relatively relaxed which is a rarity for me!

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Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be invited to the very last Dancing on Ice show and it was very emotional to say the least. Watching Chris and Jayne skate their very last Bolero was incredible. They are sensational to watch and they make it look effortless. Anyone who has had a go at ice skating will realise just how hard it is… I’m sure it won’t be the last we see of them on our screens.

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Ray Quinn was a well deserved winner and could have been a pro. I really loved Hayley and Dan’s chemistry on the ice and would have loved to see Hayley crowned champion but she did amazingly well against Ray. Hopefully I will get the chance to go and watch the tour and see them all perform again.

One of the nicest parts of the evening was getting to see my professional skating partner and great friend from the show Colin Ratushniak. I would loved to have seen him in action on the ice but Colin is now working behind the scenes in TV so although he is still skating his career has taken a slightly different turn and he is loving it.

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On Monday this week, Rocco and I attended the Mother and Baby ‘Big Heart’ awards at The Dorchester. Much like Dancing on Ice is was yet another emotional afternoon but for a very different reason. There were some incredible stories about people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their friends or families children. A tear or two was shed followed by a yummy afternoon tea and it was a lovely afternoon.

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I’m pleased to say that Rocco is now sleeping from 7pm through to 6:30am which is fantastic. He is requiring lots more attention during the day and he is desperately trying to sit up. I bought a great little chair called the Bumbo. It’s almost like a potty but with a supportive back and it’s soft. It also has a little tray that can be attached and I think this will be very useful for weening. I am planning to start weaning Rocco in three weeks time when I am back from my first filming block of A Place in the Sun. I can’t wait to slowly start introducing food but I am a little nervous about where to start. If any of you have any advice I would love to hear from you!

On Friday I spent the day with the team at Fresh Minerals Makeup. They are putting together some tutorial lessons on their website for their makeup range and I was honoured to be asked to model for them! I’ll let you know when they are up on their website. Their makeup is fab.

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This weekend Alex and I are planning to spend a weekend with a big push on our renovation project. Our kitchen is arriving and Carpet Right are coming out to measure up our flooring – it’s really taking shape.

I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend.

Lots of love,

Laura xxx

07 March
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House renovations and Mummy duties…

Hi everyone,I hope you have all had a brilliant week?  What a difference it makes when the sun shines!As many of you may know (and lots of you probably don’t), my life at the moment is involving juggling being a Mummy whilst continuing with my TV presenting career AND managing the renovations of our new house.

This week I featured in the Metro newspaper talking about property so I thought I would share some details about my own current property renovation.

http://metro.co.uk/2014/03/06/a-place-in-the-suns-laura-hamilton-first-time-buyers-should-rent-cheap-and-save-hard-4282437/

This is now my 10th renovation and I love everything about these kind of projects.  Turning an unloved, run down wreck in to a special home is something that I really enjoy.  It’s also a great way to make money but ultimately the amount you stand to make will depend on whether you bought the property for a good price.  I’d like to think I have a pretty good vision when it comes to seeing the potential a property has.  I’m not phased by having to remodel the house internally and knock walls down.  You can’t just knock down any wall as you please, before you do anything you should check it is not load baring because if it is, it will need a steel to support it.  I have a fantastic team of builders who work at an unbelievable pace (when the weather allows it), and the quality of their work is brilliant.  Finding a good builder that you trust is key to these kind of projects.

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Whenever you are taking on any kind of building work, I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to get several quotes.  Also make sure you inspect your prospective builders work.  Keeping a spread sheet of your quotes and actual spend is important too because it can very quickly, and easily spiral out of control.  You can source some fantastic bargains online so it definitely pays to shop around.Our project is pretty big.  The house was built in the 1930′s.  It needed a complete rewire and replumb.  It was sold as a three bed house but the third bedroom could only be accessed through the second one so with a bit of reconfiguration and raising the roof of the room (to give us full ceiling height), it is now a proper bedroom that can be accessed from the landing.

 

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Part of the property also had a flat roof.  We submitted planning permission for an extension and we have now created our fourth bedroom.  Planning permission usually takes around  8 weeks to come back.  We submitted our planning permission before we completed in the purchase of our house which is totally legal.

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Our house is still a building site and completely unliveable.  We have ripped it apart but we now putting it back together and we are making some exciting progress.

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Hopefully the photos will give a clearer idea of what it’s like and what we are trying to achieve. We are aiming for it to be finished by the Summer so I can’t wait to share some photos of the finished product with you…

This week Rocco and I had a lovely photo shoot with Mother and Baby magazine.  The article won’t be out until May by which time Rocco will be 6 months.  That sounds completely crazy he will be 6 months old in May…Time is flying so fast.  He was such a good little boy on the photo shoot and he is somewhat of a little poser.  I can’t wait to see the finished piece.

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Rocco and I also visited a lovely place called Heaven in Nutfield.
It’s somewhere that mummy’s can be pampered and children can play.  They have yoga classes for adults and dance classes for the little ones and there is a nice cafe for a bit of lunch too.  If you live in the Surrey area, I would recommend a visit.  I went with a few of my friends who also have little ones and we had a great time.

At four months Rocco loves looking in the mirror.  He is also trying to hold his own bottle which is a bit tricky.  I have discovered that Tommee Tippee do some great little mirrors with teething handles and they also have a great non drip ‘first cup’ with handles either side. Rocco is getting on really well with this.  It’s amazing watching him trying to put the teet into his mouth.  He pushes my hand away if I try to help him too so I think he is going to be stubborn like his mum.

Well that’s all from me.  Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the week ahead.

Lots of love

Laura xxx

19 February
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Rocco really is a little chatterbox – every day he does something new

Hi guys,

I hope you have all had a lovely week?

I’m really enjoying the Winter Olympics and it was fantastic to see Lizzie Yarnold take Gold in the Skeleton and Jenny Jones take Britain’s first ever Olympic medal on snow. I also want to say a huge congratulations to Davina for completing her Sport Relief challenge last week. I seriously don’t know how she did it. Absolutely incredible…

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This week I’ve been in and out of meetings for work as well as trying out some new classes with Rocco. First off I tried ‘Tiny Talk’. This class encourages little ones to communicate using sign language that you demonstrate to them whilst singing songs. Many people swear by this. They say that it can help enormously before a baby is able to communicate through speech. For example if a baby can sign to ask for their milk/food, it is less frustrating for both the parent and child when previously they might have just cried. The idea is, at the end of the eight week course, your little one will have learnt a couple of the signs they will help them communicate to you. I really enjoyed the class probably more for the fact of meeting other mums and also seeing Rocco react to the other babies. If he can learn a few signs then great but if not then it doesn’t matter!

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My favourite class this week was ‘Waterbabies’. Alex and I have started a ten week course with Rocco and after the first session we were really impressed. I must admit I was a little nervous of the fact that you let your baby swim underwater but as we learnt, all babies are born with a gag reflex so until the age of 9 months they can hold their breath underwater. The aim of the class is to teach them to hold their breath as they get older and encourage them to be more confident in the water.

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What I particularly liked was the fact that the class was small. There were about ten other babies and the tuition from Carly our course teacher was brilliant. The pool was 34 degrees so it was nice and warm and after a 30 minute session Rocco was exhausted. I’m really excited to see how he develops over the next ten weeks. ‘Waterbabies’ run classes all over the country and you can find out more about classes local to your area on their website www.waterbabies.co.uk.

Rocco really is a little chatterbox – he is cooing lots and I think he looks a real cutie in his lovely collection of clothes from the online boutique Susie and Toto. It’s amazing how each day I notice that he is doing something new.

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On Friday I did a little bit of filming for Daybreak (which will be on in a couple of weeks). The weather was absolutely appalling and we had to film most of it inside. We were in a great location and I took loads of photos of the house as inspiration for our house renovation! I really feel for all the people who have been affected by the bad weather. It really is quite worrying and hopefully the rain and wind will let up soon. We are having a few issues ourselves because of the weather. Our builders are unable to carry out work on our house. Part of our renovation requires some of the roof to be stripped so we are having to wait until we have a few dry days.

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Let’s hope the sun shines soon – particularly for a wedding I am going to on Friday.

Until next week,

Laura xx

10 February
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An epic month on The Jump, baby Rocco and Davina McCall

I’m finally back in the UK after an epic month…

Well after what seems like forever, and much to Alex’s delight, baby Rocco and I are now back in the UK. The Jump has finished and I can honestly say I’ve had one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve made some amazing new friends and even though some of the Olympic disciplines I competed in terrified me, I feel extremely fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to try them and was coached by the best! Of course, I have to say a big congratulations to Joe McElderry who won the show… He was a complete natural and is such a lovely down-to-earth guy. Now that the show is over, it’s great watching the winter Olympics and seeing some of our trainers presenting in Sochi. It just makes me appreciate my experience even more.

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One of the friends I made while competing in the show was Kelly Simpkin. Kelly is a fashion designer and celebrity hairdresser. She also happens to be Nicky Clarke’s girlfriend. Kelly always looks fabulous and wears a lot of her own designs. Her label She Wears a Crown is beautiful and definitely worth a look!

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Rocco is now three months old and I feel like he is becoming an extremely sociable baby. He has spent almost half of the first part of his life in Austria having lots of cuddles with all the other celebrity contestants on The Jump as well as the show’s host Davina McCall. Davina is a real inspiration to me, not only is she a working mum, but the Sport Relief challenge she is embarking on is so extreme it makes ski jumping look easy. Davina had to helped out of the water after a gruelling one-and-a-half mile swim in Lake Windermere. It looks like she is doing okay now, thankfully. Davina is amazing, so I am sure she will do well.

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While I was in training in Austria, I started reading to Rocco every day as well as playing him lots of French nursery rhyme videos. I’m really keen for him to be able to speak some other languages as well as English. I spent a fair bit of time with Sinitta whose children are fluent in French, and it was incredible hearing them speak to Rocco. A lot of people keep telling me babies are like sponges so the earlier I can start speaking other languages with him the better. Now that I am home I want to take him to a few classes too. I want to try Sing and Sign and Water Babies. Watch this space…

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Now I am back home, our house renovation is well underway. Our new windows are installed and our planning permission has been approved – now the real work begins!

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This week I have several meetings as well as filming for Daybreak. Rocco has his Sing and Sign class on Wednesday so I’ll let you know what it’s like!

Have a great week…

Laura xxx

29 January
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Loving ‘The Jump’

Hey guys,

So ‘The Jump’ is now on screen and love it or hate it, it’s rating really well and everyone is loving being part of the show.

We are all pushing ourselves to our absolute limit, we are facing our fears as well as some of the biggest challenges of our lives.

I was genuinely petrified of going on the skeleton course.  Crashing in to side at speed really hurts and I have a lovely collection of bruises over my body.

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One thing that is fantastic for sure is that my baby weight is coming off and I’m gradually getting my shape back.  I’ve still got a stone of baby weight to go but I am getting there.

Davina is one of he nicest people I have met.  It was really sweet of her to praise me for wearing Lycra on screen so soon after having a baby.

With just under a week to go there is A LOT of drama and excitement to come.

All I can say is stay tuned!

Lots of love

Laura x

21 January
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Terrifying training for The Jump!

Hello from Austria and the skeleton track!

I love most winter sports but I think I have actually found one that I don’t enjoy.  I am not sure if it’s the fact that physically I am not built for it or the fact I feel completely out of control, but lying on a tray and going down a toboggan track at a speed of 80-90kmph is totally insane and quite terrifying.  Amy Williams, the Olympic Gold medalist and our trainer. is fantastic and I have an enormous amount of respect for her.

I’m so exited that The Jump starts on Channel 4 at 8pm this Sunday, 26th January. I really can’t wait for you all to see it.  We have all been training so hard and I think it will be a great show.

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I feel so lucky to be working with such a great group of people and I love chatting with Kimberly Wyatt about her wedding, which she is planning while taking part in this competition.  Having been there myself I know how stressful it can be organising a big wedding whilst working.

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Kimberly is really sweet and has treated all the girls to some lovely bits from her make-up range Beautiful Movements.  It’s a lovely collection of mineral make-up that you can buy online and in Holland & Barratt.  It’s all cruelty free natural and natural and worth checking out at beautifulmovementscosmetics.com

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This past weekend my husband Alex came to visit baby Rocco and myself in Austria.  I think Alex was surprised by how alert Rocco is and how much he has grown.  Rocco has finally started to sleep through the night and is such a smiley, happy baby. We hired a car and went on a little road trip to St Anton which was lovely. Hopefully Alex will get the chance to come back again when the show is on, but it will all be dependant on his work schedule.

That’s it from me for now.  Sorry my blog posts are a bit shorter at the moment but I have to get back to training.

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I hope you can tune in on Sunday!

Until next time.

Laura xx

16 January
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Rocco’s first swim and cuddles with some lovely ladies

Hey guys

I hope you are all well?

I’ve now been out in Austria for over a week and I have been confirmed as a competing athlete in Channel 4′s winter show ‘The Jump’.  It really is very exciting.

 

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Each day we are weighed to ensure we aren’t losing too much weight too quickly. We have two amazing physios Dan and Ollie. They are advising me on the best foods to eat to give me enough energy for the intense training program but also to help me make a start on losing the 2 stone of remaining pregnancy weight I have to lose.  My morning starts with a bowl of porridge and two boiled eggs which is a good mix of carbs and proteins and as well as eating sensibly, I am skipping too. Darren Gough, a fellow celebrity athlete, has lent me his skipping rope!

 

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The training schedule for the program is pretty intense.  We are generally spending 2 to 3 hours in the morning training in one of the disciplines and then the same in the afternoon in one of the others.  There are seven disciplines in total which include speed skiing, bobsleigh and giant slalom.  The show isn’t down to the public vote, it’s all about ability and even those who had never skied before are progressing amazingly!

 

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Rocco is having a great time too. He’s getting lots of cuddles with everyone and we have also taken him for his first swim. He really loves having a bath each night so I wasn’t surprised he loved being in the pool.

 

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Right, I have to go speed skating training now so until next time!

Laura x

06 January
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Rocco’s first smile, baby tips and moving home!

Happy New Year all!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

We had a wonderful Christmas with little Rocco. He was well and truly spoilt by all our friends and family.  The best present Alex and I had was Rocco smiling and making eye contact with us for the first time on Christmas morning – it was amazing.

I can’t believe Rocco is already two months old.  Watching him develop and change is incredible.  I’ve got some fantastic black and white toys that are brilliant for helping develop his sight and he loves looking at the baby shapes book which a friend bought him.  He has lots of the Lamaze toys, too, which come highly recommended for educational purposes for babies.

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It’s fair to say that before Rocco was born I bought a lot of things that I probably didn’t need (as most new parents do). I’ve listed my top 10 items that I would recommend any new parents should invest in…

1.  A lot of white baby grows, vests and muslins.

2.  The Tommee Tippee nappy wrapper bin.

3.  A bath cradle that you can put in the bath to wash your baby. Rocco loves having a bath and he has one every evening before he goes to bed. This has helped to establish a bedtime routine.

4.  The Bugaboo travel bag.  It’s very useful if you are going abroad as you can store the pram as well as lots of other bits you will need if you are travelling.  The airline will put it in oversize baggage.

5.  The Kiddycare car seat that can also lay flat. As far as I know it’s the only one of its kind.

6.  Easydream’s Ewan the Dream Sheep, which replicates the soothing sounds of a pregnant mum’s womb and heartbeat and helps your baby get to sleep

7.  The Chicco Polly Magic chair which can be used for a newborn and will last until they are three years old.  It’s fantastic for keeping a baby high up away from pets.

8. The Gro Egg room temperature thermometer.

9.  A Gro Bag sleeping bag (I find this easier than swaddling).

10.  Tommee Tippee baby monitor.

All of the above items are things that I have genuinely tried and tested.

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Alex and I are now living with his parents as our house is a complete building site.  It’s lovely living with them and we are lucky that on both sides our parents are extremely supportive, especially since I have returned to work. too.

Hopefully our house will be ready by May but from previous experience I know building projects often over run.  The house we have bought is being completely rewired and having a new heating system.  We have knocked down a few walls and the main internal structure is now in place.  We are also extending the property so hopefully our planning permission should be through by February.

We are having new windows throughout and we are using a family run company called F & L Windows who I have used previously. I often find that if you can find a small company you like and trust, they can offer some good deals because they don’t have such large overheads. F & L also have a great after sale service.

I’ve found a brilliant company who are making our kitchen for us handmadekitchens-direct.co.uk.  They are extremely competitively priced too and worth looking at.

I should have some great before and after photos of the project which I will of course share with you.

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It’s great to see Dancing on Ice back on our screens but it’s sad that  it’s the final series. I would love to have been part of it all but instead
I’m out in Austria for a month, taking part in another exciting show.  In my previous blog I mentioned I’m involved in Channel 4′s The Jump and I’m absolutely loving it. I have got about two stone to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight so as well as being an amazing show to be involved with, it is a really great opportunity for me to get back in shape.

My lovely mum is with me helping for the first few weeks then I will be joined by my good friend Cat and then following that my mother-in-law. Alex will of course be joining me in two weeks too and I can’t wait.

Until next time.

Laura xxx

17 December
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Giving birth, moving house and ski jumping!

Hey guys!

It is great to be back with my blog after a few weeks off, and as always lots has been going on.
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Alex and I loved introducing our gorgeous little boy Rocco to the world in our recent Hello! Magazine photo shoot. If you missed it, here is a little pic.

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Rocco is a great baby. At the moment I am breastfeeding and he feeds and then sleeps for about four hours. I am absolutely loving being a Mum.

Life really has actually been crazy over the past five weeks. On top of becoming parents, we have moved house and bought a renovation project (work is already underway). And although I wasn’t planning on going back to work until March, I have actually returned this week.

So the house renovation project is really exciting. We are currently rewiring and re-plumbing the place. It needs everything doing as it literally hasn’t been touched since the 70s. The renovation project will be something that I will keep you all up to date with in my blog so hopefully you will enjoy following it.

A day after we moved house, I boarded a plane with Rocco (yes he has his first passport) to fly to Austria. It is a little crazy to say the least, that just after five weeks after giving birth, I am training with the 12 celebrities taking part in Channel 4′s new winter show The Jump. It’s the perfect way to try and get my pre-pregnancy body back. I am skiing, speed-skating, learning how to compete in the bobsleigh as well as learning to ski jump. Yes you read that correctly – SKI JUMP!!!! I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and I have skied since I was a kid but this really is something else. I’m actually a reserve on the show and it’s great training with everyone and being part of it all. After Christmas I will be blogging from the slopes.

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I get back home from Austria later this week so until next time! Wish me luck with the training (not to break a leg!!!)

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Lots of love

Laura x

06 November
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Celebrating Alex’s birthday where we announced our pregnancy 5 months ago…

Hi everyone!

Five months ago Alex and I officially announced our pregnancy in HELLO! magazine at one of our favourite places, the Four Seasons Hotel in Hook, Hampshire. It was fantastic to return there this past weekend to celebrate Alex’s birthday.

We really love the relaxed, yet outstanding, service of this place. It’s a beautiful country house where families and dogs are most welcome so the three of us, that’s Me, Alex and Alfie our little dog (well four if you include bump too), enjoyed a lovely weekend break that included eating amazing food, relaxing around the pool and taking Alfie for a few walks in the hotel’s beautiful grounds. They not only offer a babysitting service but they also offer a dog sitting service too, so we can’t wait to go back when the baby arrives.

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Last week we completed our hypno-birthing sessions, which we’ve really enjoyed with Teresa Pegrum. I also discovered at my routine antenatal appointment that, although the baby is head down, it is actually in the Right Occiput Anterior position. This basically means that his/her back is towards the right side of my body, it therefore needs to rotate so the back is towards my front. My midwife informed me that if the baby stays where it is, or decides to turn towards my spine (known as back to back), it will be a longer and more painful labour – well that is something to look forward to indeed! In a bid to try and make the little one move, I have been introduced to a website called spinningbabies.com. The website has suggestions of what I can do to try and make the baby move into the optimum position for labour. Crab walking up the stairs (walking sideways) and bouncing on a birthing ball are just two ideas on the site, so I am glad of my recent purchase – my birthing ball from Mama Baby Bliss! It’s certainly coming in handy now.

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my concerns about Alfie our little dog, and how he would react to the new arrival. I have since invested in a chair from Chicco (that is suitable from birth to 3 years), so I can be sure that the baby is out of reach from him. This little chair is called the ‘Polly Magic’ and I really love it. It has a nice little bar over it with some little toys to keep the baby occupied and I think it will give me piece of mind with the baby being off the floor. Talking of toys, this week I was also given a cute little bubbaroo as well as this little fellow (pictured below), ‘the drool monkey’ (from the online gift shop Cinnamon Sue). It reminds me of something I carried around as a child whilst I sucked my thumb that I called a ‘dah dah’. It’s an organic dribble bid, rattle and comforter all in one – a great idea.

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I have also recently been introduced to saffronbells.com who sell absolutely beautiful gifts for a newborn. Their unisex anklet bracelet with little bells are a wonderful keepsake that can be worn by the child as a bracelet in to the teenage years. I think they are gorgeous and worth a look if you know someone who is expecting and you want to buy them a special present to celebrate their new arrival.

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In other news, we have started to pack up our house in preparation for our house move. Some people have said to me it’s ‘extreme nesting’. As I mentioned in last week’s post, we are purchasing a renovation project. We had an offer on our house within two weeks of putting it on the market and we are really impressed with our estate agents Park and Bailey. We actually have a HELLO! magazine photoshoot at our house with our new arrival in a few weeks so we won’t be moving out before then, but as soon as I can tell you more about our new project I will! My new property renovation show Beat My Build started on Channel 4 this week so hopefully you’ve had a chance to watch it. I don’t just enjoy presenting property shows, I love taking on my own projects too.

This week I have my last voiceover for A Place in the Sun before the baby arrives, and I will also be attending the Channel 4 Upfront party that showcases what is to come next year. I guess this will be my last chance to glam up before the big day!

Well that’s it from me for now.

Lots of love

Laura xxx

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