This time last year I was not in a good place. In fact, 12 months ago I was in a very dark and very scary place. Memories of December 2016 will always make me sad, I had a newborn baby and a three year old excited for Christmas and I felt as far away from festive as was possible. I didn’t know it at the time but I was suffering with post natal depression. I knew something wasn’t right, I knew I felt unbearably sad and anxious all the time but I hadn’t yet admitted to myself or anyone else what was really going on.
Post natal depression is such a cruel mental illness. Having a baby is supposed to be one of the most amazing things you can ever experience but post natal depression violently bursts that happy new mum bubble. A baby who loves you and who you love back completely unconditionally, what could be better? But when your own mind turns against you, makes you feel sad when you want to be happy and horrible thoughts taint those precious moments with your baby, it is a truly heartbreaking thing to experience as a mum. You feel like a failure (why aren’t I happy? I am supposed to be happy, am I an awful mother?), you feel robbed of this special time (Why can’t I just enjoy this time with my baby?) and you feel like things will never get any easier (I am never going to feel happy again). Feeling all these things any time of the year is difficult and just horrible but imagine feeling this way at Christmas? Imagine spending your baby’s first ever Christmas feeling like you are drowning in your own sadness and that you can’t talk about it with anyone because it’s Christmas and you don’t want to kill their festive cheer. That is exactly how I felt last Christmas and, unfortunately, that is how so many new mums will be feeling this December too. View Post
Welcome back to #BlogCrush , the kindest linky in the whole of blogland (ok, I’m biased) hosted by myself, Lucy Lucy at Home. and Alice, Letters to my Daughter
It is me and Lucy hosting this week, if you are new here then welcome and if you are one of our regulars then welcome back! I love reading everyone’s posts and finding out who everyone’s favourite bloggers are. So, shall we get started?
Well, we did it! One whole year of breastfeeding. It was always my aim since I became pregnant with Alex to try my best to breastfeed him for his first year and I’ve only gone and done it. It’s not always been easy, we had latch issues and I experienced a lot of pain during those first couple of weeks but I feel so proud that we pushed through and our feeding journey is still going strong 12 months on. With the rise of the mummy blogger there seems to be a lot more honest advice and stories online about what breastfeeding a newborn is like, which makes a nice change from the very impersonal approach most nhs leaflets and antenatal classes seem to take. I’ve written all about it myself in previous breastfeeding diary posts and have even written a guest blog for The Bshirt all about how to breastfeed with confidence. When it comes to the realities of feeding an older baby though the stories from other mums on their feeding experiences start to thin out. Just as breastfeeding a newborn comes with it’s own challenges, breastfeeding an older baby is not as easy as you may think either. So, as Alex and I have smashed our feeding goals and are still going, I thought I would share with you what it’s really like breastfeeding a one year old, in case you too decide to keep feeding your little one into toddlerhood. View Post
I’m so fed up at the minute. There, I said it. Lately, this whole mum thing has been really challenging for me and it just feels like I have been diffusing one child related drama after another, leaving no time for me to relax and actually enjoy time with my kids. Parenting kids of all ages is hard I am sure but looking after a very feisty four year old and an extremely clingy baby is exhausting. I have got serious mama fatigue and when you’re tired everything just feels a million times worse, doesn’t it? View Post
Having kids, it’s hard work. Unfortunately, you do not truly understand just how hard raising little people will be until you are thrown straight in at the deep end on the day you bring your first born into the world. It is so easy to let the tough times get you down: the sleep deprivation, feeding troubles, sickness, tantrums, poo explosions – I could go on. Parents can go days (sometimes weeks or months) at a time dealing with one baby related issue after another. Does this sound familiar to you – you worry about feeding your newborn/you eventually establish feeding your newborn, you worry that you’ll never sleep again/your baby eventually starts sleeping through, you worry their not reaching their milestones quick enough/they start smashing their milestones and you couldn’t be prouder, you worry they will only ever eat mashed banana or beige food/they slowly start eating more fruit and vegetables. It is never ending! View Post
Introducing lumps and more textured food to your baby’s diet can be pretty scary. I know with both of my boys I got really stressed about them choking as they progressed from their first tastes of puree onto more lumpy meals. I have always used a mixture of homemade and shop bought baby food when weaning my babies. As they transition from smooth to more textured food, I like to buy jars before making their food myself, it helps to give me an idea of what sort of consistency their food should be for this stage of weaning. Recently Alex was sent a selection of stage 2 and stage 3 jars from HiPP Organic to try out, these meals are perfect for introducing lumps into your babies diet and helping them figure out how to chew food properly. Here is a review of what Alex thought of the HiPP Organic range and some useful tips on how to successfully introduce more variety and texture in to your baby’s diet. View Post
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and I don’t mean white with snow. I’m dreaming of white sand between my toes, sitting on a beach looking out at a beautiful clear blue ocean with the hot sun beating down on me. Christmas in the UK is a bit meh when it comes to the weather isn’t it? It’s very rarely cold enough for us to wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside as well as presents under the tree, more often than not it’s just raining and cold. Of course, taking my boys to Lapland is on the ultimate Christmas bucket list, I would love for them to experience snow for the first time and have a truly authentic Christmas experience: sleigh rides, snow ball fights and visiting Santa in his grotto – the works. BUT celebrating Christmas abroad, somewhere hot, is also something I would like to do at least once as a family. Last April we were meant to go on a big family holiday to Mauritius, for lots of different reasons it didn’t happen and we spent 10 days in Italy instead. While our Italia holiday was amazing, I was disappointed we didn’t get to go relax on the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. So, if I could have my once in a lifetime Christmas Day in the sun, Mauritius would be my dream destination. Need convincing that celebrating Christmas abroad would be a great idea? Here are 5 reasons I would love to spend a Christmas Day in the sun. View Post
Firstly, can I just say a massive sorry for going AWOL from this linky, with no explanation as to why I was leaving and what was going on. You lovely lot are an amazing and generous bunch of bloggers and it was so not cool of me to just ditch you all without so much as a goodbye.
Basically, things got pretty stressful back in September, Leo started school, we moved house and I was feeling overwhelmed with the heavy load of blog work I had to get through. Life has calmed down a bit now and I am in a much better head space and I am excited to announce that once a month I will be here, hosting #BlogCrush again with the, quite frankly, friggin amazing Lucy from Lucy at Home.
In my absence, Alice from Letters to my Daughter has joined the #BlogCrush team and she will continue to co host the linky three weeks of the month with Lucy as I just don’t feel able to commit to the linky every week anymore.
Anyway, now you know what’s been going on with me, shall we get this party started? View Post
Growing a human is hard work, our amazing bodies go through a lot during those 9 long months of pregnancy. There are lots of side effects to being pregnant, some good and some, well, not so good. The best thing about pregnancy is that you get a beautiful baby at the end of it all but a lot of things happen before we get to that magical moment. When you are pregnant you have to deal with raging hormone, weight gain, aches and pains and also the risk of incontinence. The fear of accidently wetting yourself when you are pregnant is very real, with all that pressure on your pelvic floor, things like sneezing or laughing too hard can all too easily end up with a little leakage. Who ever told you pregnancy was glamorous was lying! Don’t worry though, incontinence doesn’t have to become a part of your life just because you are pregnant, Hartman Direct have put together this really useful article on how to manage incontinence during pregnancy so you can spend more time enjoying those baby kicks and less worrying about where the nearest loo is. View Post
I am a mum of two. My eldest boy is four and my youngest son has only just turned one. Most of the other mums I know have two or more children too, we have that in common, but about 90% of those mums are almost a decade (sometimes more) older than me. In fact, at 26 years old, I have already finished building my family before so many women have even started theirs. Research has found that the average age of women having their first baby in the UK is 30, a whole 8 years older than I was when Leo came along. By the time I reach 30 I will have an almost 8 year old and a 4 year old; the baby days will be far behind me but for many other women my age the adjustment to life as a parent will only just be beginning. With so many women choosing for many different reasons to wait until their thirties to start a family, I have been left wondering about my own life choices. Have I missed out on something by having my kids at a younger age? Was choosing to start a family in my early twenties a bad decision? Both my children were planned but was my timing all wrong? Was having kids in my twenties a mistake? View Post
It’s happened. My baby boy is now one whole year old! I am sorry to word vomit out all the clichés but I can not believe how fast the past year has gone and how quickly the time flies by once you become a parent. We had a lovely day celebrating the big ONE on Saturday with just Alex’s Nanny and Grampy and the four of us. If you follow me on social media then you will know that Alex has got chicken pox. It has been awful timing and a really tough week but he seemed to turn a corner and was actually able to enjoy his big day. It honestly feels like moments ago that I was sat at this computer writing Alex’s birth story and it just feels completely crazy that I am now about to write his one year update! Here it is, Alex’s 12 month update (wow!) … View Post
Recently I have been feeling the fear. Not the fear of all the spiders creeping into our house for the winter (although that does terrify me) or the fear that Christmas is looming and I am so not ready for all the chaos that the festive season brings. No, this is a fear that only people with children can truly understand. Lately I have been worrying about people judging the choices I make on how I decide to bring up my kids. I think all of us feel judged at one point or another but when you are trying to bring up a child it seems everyone has an opinion on how you choose to parent. The old lady in the shop, that person online, your best friend’s dog – everyone has something to say when it comes to how we bring up our own kids, whether we ask for their opinion or not.
I have been feeling the fear of judgment over the past week or so as Alex is almost one now and I am still breastfeeding him. In fact, I have zero intentions of stopping breastfeeding him any time soon. There is something about how mums decide to feed their babies that brings out all the judgey, perfect ‘my-way-or-the-high-way’ type parents, the ones that love nothing more than to criticise any mum who’s feeding choices differ to their own. Yes, I feel proud of myself for sticking at breastfeeding and planning to continue until my baby wants to stop but I can’t help but worry about what people are going to say when they see me still feeding him at a year old. I only know a handful of other mums who have breastfed and of those mums, only about 4 have continued to breastfeed past their child’s first birthday. With breastfeeding rates in the UK being one of the lowest in the world, it is not a surprise really that I feel like one of the only mums still feeding their baby into toddlerhood. View Post
Some of you may think I’m a bit crazy for admitting to this but here goes..I LOVE baking with my kids. I don’t stress over sticky fingers or flour on their clothes. I don’t get in a panic over buttercream icing in their hair or eggs smashed on the kitchen tiles instead of on the side of the mixing bowl. I embrace the chaos and love nothing more than to spend an afternoon in the kitchen, creating memories and yummy treats to share with my little ones. Due to my complete adoration of baking with my babies I am always surprised to hear other mums declare they can’t stand baking with kids. It baffles me that the mess of the kitchen and the inevitable imperfect bake at the end of it all are strong enough reasons for them to hang up their mixing spoon and apron until the kids and the risk of a flour explosion is eliminated. Baking with kids is so much fun and something I really believe every parent should try, even if it’s just the once. Need convincing? Well, here are 5 reasons you should bake with kids and my lovely friend Pam from Pams Bake and Baby Blog has even provided you with a really simple chocolate chip orange cookie recipe to try with your little ones today. View Post
What toddler doesn’t love Stick Man? Actually, what adult doesn’t love Stick Man? If you have no clue what I am on about, let me quickly fill you in. Stick Man is a children’s story written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the people who brought us the modern day children’s classics of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and so many more beautifully imagined story books. The story of Stick Man captured my Leo’s heart a couple of years a go and when I saw Stick Man Live was coming to our local theatre I just HAD to take him. If you have a Stick Man fan in your family then you are definitely not going to want to miss this. View Post
Dear Big Boss of Lidl (sorry, I don’t know your name),
Can I start this message off just by saying I love your stores? Your prices are cheap but the quality of the food you sell remains high. I love how I can pop into one of your shops for the basic kitchen essentials and come out having made the most random of purchases, ostrich steak being the most unusual. I love that thanks to you I am able to do a weekly shop for my family of four without having to worry if we are going to be able to afford it all when push comes to shove at the checkouts. Your fruit and vegetables are cheap and this is not because they are on the cusp of being
rotten over ripe. Your food quality is good. Unfortunately, the purpose of this letter isn’t to sing your praises. Something happened today that I feel the need to tell you about as you need to do something about it pretty damn quick.