#BlogCrush – week 19

#BlogCrush

Welcome back for another week of #BlogCrush , I hope you have found a great post to link up this week and have got something brilliant of your own to share too – I can’t wait to read all of your posts.

Has everyone survived the heat wave in one piece? We have had lots of days outside, I even took the kids in the sea on Sunday! I am looking forward to a quiet weekend with the family, I hope you all have a lovely one too. View Post

Learning to love my postpartum body and getting fit with Lean Mums

lean mums

I have been a mum now for almost four years and after bringing two beautiful boys into the world it is safe to say my body is totally different to what it once was. I have struggled with body confidence on and off throughout my whole life, I have never felt completely comfortable in my skin and have spent a lot of time unhappy with how I look. I have noticed a shift in how I feel about my body since having children though. I may have stretch marks on my thighs and bum now, my boobs may be pretty much ruined thanks to breastfeeding and it is a struggle to locate a single muscle in my stomach amongst the skin that was stretched to it’s limit – twice – during pregnancy BUT I like my body more now than I ever have. My body is amazing, it grew two tiny humans and brought them into this world through the miracle that is birth. I definitely have a new found respect for my body but that doesn’t stop me wanting to get fit and into a bit better shape too. I am not one for faddy diets or the gym, I can never stick at it and always end up feeling deflated when I inevitably fail. Over the last few months I have been trying out a new fitness programme, specifically designed for busy mums and I am so excited to tell you all about Lean Mums and how, at the age of 26, I finally feel happy and comfortable in my skin. View Post

Wishker – children’s book review

wishker

Recently I received a few lovely children’s books in the post as I am a Boolino blogger. I love getting children’s books to review as, I am sure you know by now, my Leo absolutely loves books and I always enjoy finding some new stories to share with him. I will be sharing my reviews of these three exciting books over the next few weeks, first up is my review of Wishker, a fun story all about a magic cat. View Post

#BlogCrush – week 18

#BlogCrush

Happy Friday all and welcome back for another week of #BlogCrush .

Has everyone had a good week? It has been so lovely having the sun come out to play, we have enjoyed spending our afternoons outside. The weekend is almost here so that means Father’s Day is almost upon us, I hope all you Dads have a wonderful day, I am not sure what we will be doing, Oli will be expecting a full on fry up in bed on Sunday I’m sure, shame Leo is still too young to cook it himself!!

What is #BlogCrush ?

#BlogCrush is a linky with a difference that I host with wonderful Lucy (Lucy at Home)  . This linky is like no other as not only can you link up one of your own posts but we also ask you to add a post from another blogger to the linky too. So if you have read something this week (or ever) that has really wowed you then please add it as your BC to the linky below. I can’t wait to read this week’s helping of excellent posts!

Featured #BlogCrush posts

My featured post this week comes from Bell From Bow. I loved this post as I read so many blog posts about mummy friends but this one is all about the people we had in our lives before little ones came along, go have a read – Parenting: what my friends with no kids have taught me

Lucy’s #BlogCrush is Mission Mindfulness – Our London Life

Congratulations to you featured bloggers, if you would like you can grab the featured badge below to display on your blog. Also, if any of you noticed one of your posts featured as someone’s #BlogCrush in the last link up, feel free to grab the badge too 🙂

Naptime Natter

#BlogCrush linky – week 18

This week I am linking up my post about post natal depression, it’s not exactly a post full of laughs but it highlights a really important issue and it would mean a lot to me if you could read it – Post Natal Depression, it’s not how I imagined 

Also, if you are a new blogger please check out my new guest blogging series The Newbie Takeover , if you have been blogging for less than 12 months I would love to feature you on my blog.

Naptime Natter

It is time to get linking! #BlogCrush is all about sharing the bloggy love, Lucy and I have noticed a few people not following our main rule of adding a post written by another blogger, can you please make sure you do this as it is the whole point of this linky. We don’t like being the blog police but it is not fair to just drop your own link when #BlogCrush is all about sharing content written by others as well as yourself. Also, my badge code doesn’t work sometimes, if you have any problems please message me and I will try to sort it. THANKS!

Here are the rules ..
* The linky will run every Friday 6am – Sunday 9pm (UK time) 
* You can link up 2 posts per week – 1 of your own posts and 1 post by a blogger that you love, your #BlogCrush
* Please add BC in the inlinkz form when you add the link for your blog crush post
* Add the #BlogCrush badge to the post you are linking up from your own blog.
* Tweet @naptimenatter and @lucy_at_home on twitter and we will retweet your links
* Also, tweet your #BlogCrush to let them know you have added them to the linky
* Comment on one of my posts and one of Lucy’s posts, 1 personal post and 1 blog crush post – that is a total of 4 comments please. This  linky is all about sharing the blogger love so if you want to comment on more posts too then please go ahead 🙂
* Lucy and I will comment on all the posts and share them all on our Twitter accounts.
* Each host will choose a favourite post and feature it in the next linky post as well as linking it up as their #BlogCrush post in the following week’s linky.
* If you could also follow Lucy and I on social media then we will love you forever. Naptime Natter twitter , Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube Lucy At Home twitter , facebook

Happy linking lovelies!

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The myths and reality of mental health – The Newbie Takeover #2 Our Altered Life

mental health

It is Wednesday so that means it is time for me to hand my blog over to a new blogger on the block for my next instalment of The Newbie Takeover. This week I have Charlie from Our Altered Life guest posting for me. This is a very important post about mental health and how the reality of living with a mental health condition can be completely different to the myths we are told.  View Post

‘Daddy, you’re my hero’ – Celebrating Super Dads with Hallmark this Father’s Day

hallmark fathers day

Recently Leo and his Daddy have been a bit obsessed with playing super heroes. You know the game, right? The one where you run around the house pretending to ‘blast’ the baddies and acting out imaginary fight scenes with each other, the more theatrical of us may also put on a mask and cape to get truly into character. Well, lately, Oli is no longer known as ‘Daddy’ in Leo’s eye’s, he is Batman, Leo is Robyn and Alex is baby Robyn (when I get the privilege of being invited to join in, my alter ego is Bat Girl). Seriously, these two are constantly playing super heroes, it has just become a normal part of our day now, no one bats an eyelid when Leo declares he is off to the Bat Cave (the bathroom) or his baby brother is suddenly being called by his super hero name. Leo and his Dad may love to play make believe super heroes but it is clear that Oli is Leo’s hero in the real world too, he is Super Dad. View Post

Post natal depression, it’s not how I imagined

post natal depression

I never thought I would suffer with post natal depression. Then again, I doubt many women think they will get it either. It is not what you think about when you are pregnant is it? You are too busy thinking about the little human growing inside you, planning for their arrival and imaging the life as a family that is waiting for you just around the corner. Thoughts of whether you will feel sad for months on end or if you will feel completely overwhelmed by it all aren’t really common place amongst the excitement over adorable baby clothes and decorating the nursery.

Well, I didn’t consider I would get PND anyway. But I did and it is not what I had expected it to be.

Post natal depression, it is not how I imagined

I always thought post natal depression meant you couldn’t love your baby, for me that is not the case. I thought sufferers of post natal depression were suicidal, that is not the case for me either. The media made me believe if you suffered from PND then you thought about hurting your baby, you thought about hurting yourself or you just sat in the dark and cried for months. I was misguided, misinformed, and I was naïve. Post natal depression is not black and white, it is not a one size fits all condition. For some women post natal depression shows itself in one way and in others it comes to the surface in a totally different manner.

Post natal depression caught me completely off guard. I didn’t see it coming, I never expected it to become a part of my life, I thought I was too happy to ever get depressed. I am happily married, have a lovely family and children who are my world, what have I got to be sad about?  And that is my naivety to the complexity of mental health, displayed neatly in that last sentence. There doesn’t need to be a reason, depression can hit any of us at any time, sometimes circumstances and situations can cause it and other times it can just show up uninvited.

My second baby was about 2 months old when I realised something wasn’t quite right. Again, my misconception of post natal depression led me to ignore my symptoms for weeks, convinced I must just be feeling down, the baby blues maybe, as post natal depression crops up within the days after birth doesn’t it? You can’t be feeling happy for almost 2 months and then suddenly just get it can you? Post natal depression isn’t like the flu, you don’t just ‘catch it’. Often it can begin as a slow burn, something you can just push aside and try to ignore, but as time wears on the sadness and anxiety shout louder, refusing to let you carry on with life as normal.

Before I was one of them, I thought sufferers of post natal depression were sad all the time, crying all the time and they were easy to spot because they rarely smiled. This is not the case at all. Over Christmas I fake smiled my way through countless family gatherings, I pretended to be happy when I wasn’t. I lied to everyone around me every time they asked how I was and I said I was ok. No amount of forced smiles or ignoring the elephant in my brain could stop the sadness and anxiety that was constantly niggling in my chest, picking at me and dragging my mood down to depths I wasn’t willing to go. Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean they are happy, don’t assume a new mum is coping just because she says she is ok – it is hard enough admitting to yourself that you are struggling, let alone telling friends and family that you are depressed.

The smiles though, they are not always fake. It is possible to be depressed but to also have times of happiness. I mean, I have post natal depression but I still have days that are full of fun, my kids and my family make me laugh for real and I do still use my genuine smile too. Having post natal depression just means for me there is always this unhappiness within me, sometimes it feels like it consumes me but there are other days where I can manage it. There are lots of days where I can tackle the sadness head on, lock it away and go about my day, genuinely enjoying my time with my family and not even giving it a second thought. Those are my favourite kind of day, some time really soon I hope to be able to keep that sadness locked away for good.

post natal depression

Having post natal depression for me doesn’t mean I am suicidal or that I can’t bond with my child. For me, this horrible mental health condition shows itself in the form of intrusive thoughts, anxiety and tears that just can not be explained. It is a constant weight on my shoulders (thankfully now not as heavy as it once was), it is the dull shadow that is cast over my days and is the reason I look at my baby and sometimes feel sad. The sadness is not because he makes me unhappy, he doesn’t, it is because for the 7 months he has been on this planet he hasn’t been able to see the real me. I am not a miserable and anxious person, in my heart I am happy and positive. I love to laugh and to smile and take pleasure in everything life has to offer, unfortunately there are days the person I really am and the person this depression want me to be start to blur together; a mess of heightened emotions and feelings. Mostly I am sad for my youngest child as he hasn’t had the same baby days as his big brother, a time when I was able to be the happy mum I always wanted to be, not this tearful imposter.

I have also learnt that there is no easy cure. Talking helps, it really does help if you can find the courage to get the words out. Anti depressants can work for some, I have turned these down for my own reasons but there is no shame in taking pills to feel better. You’d take paracetamol for a headache, wouldn’t you? Self care is important, time for yourself doing something you enjoy can work wonders. Unfortunately, I have also come to realise that you can start to feel better, almost like your old happy self, only for post natal depression to resurface again, once more unannounced and very much not invited. At this moment in time I am struggling again, I have that uneasy feeling and can’t budge that niggling in my chest. I am hoping this is just a small bump in the road back to happiness and I can work through these feelings again.

DSC_0318 (2)

I guess all I am trying to say is this, our mental health is complex and it is hard to understand what someone else is going through. If I could show who I am now to the person I was a year ago, that past version of myself wouldn’t think they are looking at someone suffering with post natal depression. What we perceive something to be and what it actually is can be two completely different things. If you are a new mum and think you might have pnd but are reluctant to seek help because you don’t feel how the media has made you believe you should feel then please seek some support. Like lots of illnesses, post natal depression is not the same for everyone, you can love your baby and have never even contemplated hurting yourself or your children but that doesn’t mean you might not have this very common mental health condition. Post natal depression affects around 1 in 10 new mums, there is no way all those mums feel it in the same way.

If you think you have post natal depression, click this link for a list of charities and helpful resources and please speak to someone about it. Bottling up these feelings will only make you feel worse. If you want to read more about my struggles with post natal depression then you can find all my posts about it in the mental health section on my blog.

You can find this post linked to some of these amazing blog link ups –

Maternity Mondays | Marvellous Mondays | Posts from the Heart | #MG | Big Pink Link | Twinkly Tuesday | Dream Team | Tried and Tested | Blogger Club UK | Best and Worst | Family Fun | Cool Mum Club | A Blogging Good Time | The List Linky | PoCoLo |For the Love of Blog | KCACOLS  …and of course #BlogCrush, the linky I co host every Friday.

Find me on Twitter ..

@naptimenatter

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this post I would love for you to share it 🙂

 

 

 

#BlogCrush – week 17

#BlogCrush

Friday is here again and that can mean only one thing, it’s #BlogCrush time!

I hope you have all had a lovely week and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I have had my nan staying with us since Monday which has been lovely, the kids have enjoyed spending time with their great Nanny and I have enjoyed spending lots of quality time with her too. This weekend I am off out with the Mother in Law to see Sister Act in our local theatre so I am excited for Saturday night to come around.

Thank you to Lucy for hosting solo last week, the break from the linky did me the world of good but I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things now and reading all your posts.

What is #BlogCrush ?

#BlogCrush is a linky with a difference that I host with wonderful Lucy (Lucy at Home)  . This linky is like no other as not only can you link up one of your own posts but we also ask you to add a post from another blogger to the linky too. So if you have read something this week (or ever) that has really wowed you then please add it as your BC to the linky below. I can’t wait to read this week’s helping of excellent posts!

Featured #BlogCrush posts

I have no featured posts this week as I didn’t host last week but I will be choosing a featured blogger as usual from this week’s linky.

Lucy chose two #BlogCrush posts last week – Popcorn for Lunch and Talking Mums

Congratulations to you featured bloggers, if you would like you can grab the featured badge below to display on your blog. Also, if any of you noticed one of your posts featured as someone’s #BlogCrush in the last link up, feel free to grab the badge too 🙂

Naptime Natter

#BlogCrush linky – week 17

This week I am linking up my first guest post from my new guest blogging series The Newbie Takeover. This series is open for all new bloggers, if you have been blogging for less than a year and would like to guest post on my blog then please get in touch. My first guest post comes from Katie at Milky Cuddles and it is a good one – Why we decided to say no to visitors at the hospital

Naptime Natter

It is time to get linking! #BlogCrush is all about sharing the bloggy love, Lucy and I have noticed a few people not following our main rule of adding a post written by another blogger, can you please make sure you do this as it is the whole point of this linky. We don’t like being the blog police but it is not fair to just drop your own link when #BlogCrush is all about sharing content written by others as well as yourself. Also, my badge code doesn’t work sometimes, if you have any problems please message me and I will try to sort it. THANKS!

Here are the rules ..
* The linky will run every Friday 6am – Sunday 9pm (UK time) 
* You can link up 2 posts per week – 1 of your own posts and 1 post by a blogger that you love, your #BlogCrush
* Please add BC in the inlinkz form when you add the link for your blog crush post
* Add the #BlogCrush badge to the post you are linking up from your own blog.
* Tweet @naptimenatter and @lucy_at_home on twitter and we will retweet your links
* Also, tweet your #BlogCrush to let them know you have added them to the linky
* Comment on one of my posts and one of Lucy’s posts, 1 personal post and 1 blog crush post – that is a total of 4 comments please. This  linky is all about sharing the blogger love so if you want to comment on more posts too then please go ahead 🙂
* Lucy and I will comment on all the posts and share them all on our Twitter accounts.
* Each host will choose a favourite post and feature it in the next linky post as well as linking it up as their #BlogCrush post in the following week’s linky.
* If you could also follow Lucy and I on social media then we will love you forever. Naptime Natter twitter , Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube Lucy At Home twitter , facebook

Happy linking lovelies!

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How to make exercise something you actually enjoy (tips from a former exercise hater!)

enjoy exerise

Hands up if you hate exercise? If the thought of working out and getting all sweaty makes you feel a bit sick? If the sight of an exercise mat and sports bra leaves you walking quickly running for the hills? Yep, that was me too. I am very lucky to have been blessed with the ‘skinny gene’, I am a naturally small person and am one of those annoying people who can eat cake for breakfast and not put on any weight (sorry!). Something I have never been though is physically fit, my size is deceiving, walking up hills, chasing after my kids or hoovering too enthusiastically can leave me rosy cheeked and out of breath. There are definitely people who are larger than me who are much healthier and in way better shape physically than I am.

I have always been conscious of my poor fitness levels and have tried to improve them throughout my life with very little joy. I have dabbled in swimming, yoga, celebrity endorsed DVDs and have also tried to YouTube my way to a six pack. The thing is, until recently, I just didn’t like to work out, there were a hundred and one other things I would rather do with my time than get my heart pumping and my muscles burning. I just did not enjoy exercise, end of. Now a mum of two, with a tummy that is no longer immune to the effects of too much cake and the need to be fitter to run around after the offspring, I am trying to boost my fitness levels by working out every day. But you hate exercise, I hear you say. Well, not anymore. I actually love exercise now and if you are a workout dodger like I was, you can totally learn to love exercise too, here is how.. View Post