A bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent

A bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent

Everyone has bad days. Parents, children, teenagers, wealthy people, healthy people, singletons, the ones in happy marriages and every single other person who walks the earth. Bad days are, unfortunately, just a part of life. I had a bad day today. A really really bad day. It was one of those kind of days where you feel like drawing the curtains tightly shut, creeping back into bed and cocooning yourself from the world, along with all it’s frustrations and complications, in the safety of your warm soft duvet. Sometimes you have a choice whether to wallow in the hard times or muster some strength from within and move towards a better place. If you struggle with depression, sometimes it feels like that choice is cruelly being kept just out of reach, instead your mind keeps you captive in your house, convincing you leaving and breathing fresh air is pointless. Today I wallowed, I let mum guilt consume me for not being a fun mum for Alex and I had a cry, a rare phenomenon since I started on anti depressants. When I have bad days, times where my mood has a direct impact on the kind of day my kids have too, I end up feeling like the worst parent in the world. Well, amongst all the negative fog occupying my mind today, an epiphany managed to burst through – a bad day doesn’t make me a bad mum! View Post

Mental health after pregnancy – my first month on Sertraline

Mental health after pregnancy – my first month on Sertraline

Since having Alex back in October 2016, I have learnt quite a bit about mental health. I have learnt that just because you haven’t experienced mental health problems in the past, that doesn’t mean you never will. I have discovered someone can outwardly seem like they are coping just fine but on the inside they are feeling unbearable pain they feel they must keep as a secret. One of my most recent learnings is that we can relapse and recovery is never as straight forward as we would hope.

In January, after months of feeling like my old self, I started to feel really low again. That familiar weight of sadness had crept back in and was resting, heavy and unwelcome on my shoulders. I had started to feel like I was loosing control of my thoughts again, anxiety was seeping through my mind and drowning my normal train of thought with terrifying ‘what ifs’ and worse case scenarios. Unlike when Alex was a newborn, I recognised something wasn’t right really quickly and after a week of daily crying sessions, I knew I needed to get to the doctors as soon as possible, suffering with post natal depression was without a doubt the hardest period in my life and I was not prepared to get dragged back down into the dark again. View Post

#BlogCrush – week 55

#BlogCrush – week 55

Happy snowy Friday everyone! Also, happy March! Although, it looks like the middle of the coldest winter outside my window right now. I hope you have all had a lovely week playing in the snow and retreating back to the sofa and huddling under blankets in the evenings – well, that’s what we’ve been doing anyway.

Before we get started with the linky, don’t forget the #BlogCrush birthday giveaway is still running. We have over £60 worth of prizes up for grabs to celebrate with you lovely bloggers our linky turning one whole year old, scroll to the bottom of this post to enter. View Post

Breastfeeding diary – when you stop breastfeeding

Breastfeeding diary – when you stop breastfeeding

Before I begin, just to warn you, I may cry all over my keyboard as I type out this post. After 16 months, Alex is no longer being breastfed. When I was pregnant I decided that I would try my best to breastfeed my second baby for a year and I was so proud and happy when we reached that milestone. I was sort of left in breastfeeding limbo after that though, I don’t know what I was expecting to happen after Alex’s first birthday but I kind of thought that he would just be over the whole breastfeeding thing the second he finished opening his presents and shovelling birthday cake into his face. Well, that didn’t happen. Turning one made no difference to Alex’s desire to breastfeed so we carried on, until last month that is. For my final entry *sob* in my breastfeeding diary, I am going to talk about how it feels when breastfeeding comes to an end,  how it feels when something that has become such a big part of your life is suddenly over. Just like no one really prepares you for the emotional rollercoaster of trying to establish breastfeeding with your newborn, there is not much talk about how when it’s over you go for another trip around the rollercoaster track, not to mention the boobs you are left with (or not) at the end of it all! View Post

Beautiful jewellery for mums from Kaya Jewellery – review and giveaway

Beautiful jewellery for mums from Kaya Jewellery – review and giveaway

*collaborative post*

I am a big fan of jewellery. I love necklaces, bracelets, earrings – the works! I also love personalised gifts, there is no better way of showing someone how much you care and that you have really put love and thought into their gift than buying something that has been customized specifically for them. Online jewellery store, Kaya Jewellery, recently contacted me and asked if I would like to review some of their personalised jewellery, they create gorgeous jewellery for mums and babies/children and I chose the personalised infinity mum necklace. If you are looking for a thoughtful, beautiful gift for Mother’s Day then I definitely recommend giving Kaya Jewellery a try. Here is my full review, stick around to the bottom of the post to find out how you can win a £40 voucher to spend at Kaya Jewellery.

Beautiful jewellery for mums – Kaya Jewellery review and giveaway

A bit about Kaya Jewellery

Kaya Jewellery is a brand created by mum of two daughters, Tanja. Tanja was inspired by her eldest daughter Kaya to create matching mother and daughter jewellery. On the kaya website you can find a whole range of mother daughter jewellery, including baby bracelets and mum necklaces. I am all for supporting small businesses, especially those that support a great cause, something which Kaya Jewellery does. Tanja wanted to find a way  to help others through her business and she donates part of her profits to Eduki, a foundation that helps to make sure underprivileged children in Gambia are able to go to school – amazing!

There are so many gorgeous options to chose from if you are looking for a gift for a new mum, your own mum or you just want to treat yourself. If you have a jewellery loving daughter who wants to be just like her mama, then you can find a whole load of matching jewellery sets, the majority of which can be customised. All the Kaya products are handmade in the UK and are made from good quality materials like sterling silver, precious stones and crystals.

kaya jewellery

Personalised infinity mum necklace review 

I received a beautiful necklace from Kaya Jewellery, I completely adore it and haven’t taken it off since the day it arrived. My infinity mum necklace arrived in a gorgeous little pink box, complete with a polishing cloth to keep it looking shiny and in great condition. The infinity necklace looks like a figure of eight, the infinity symbol, and represents never ending love for the names of the people you have engraved on it. Obviously, I chose to have my boys names engraved on my necklace and I am so pleased with how they came out. The pendant is not big and bulky but it is just large enough to feature both my boys names (Leo and Alex) and for them to be easily read.

The necklace is made from sterling silver and the chain links are the perfect size, not too chunky but not too fragile and dainty either. I actually really like how strong the chain is without being too big, Alex has yanked on it quite a lot and it has managed to survive unscathed. I am going to say that the Kaya jewellery is pretty tough, if it can survive my toddler trying to rip it from my neck then it must be!

kaya jewellery

The quality of this necklace is amazing, considering it costs only £34.90 and the postage is free, as is the gift wrapping. I would have happily paid more for this necklace and without a shadow of a doubt I will be buying from Kaya Jewellery in the future. Kaya Jewellery is a great online shop to browse if you are looking for a really special Mother’s Day gift, birthday present or want to treat your daughter and yourself to some matching jewellery.

** Kaya Jewellery GIVEAWAY – win £40 gift voucher **

Want to buy someone special something special from Kaya Jewellery? Well, with this amazing giveaway you could win a £40 gift voucher to spend on the Kaya Jewellery website. All you need to do is enter the giveaway using the rafflecopter below – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:
Giveaway is open to UK residents only. Entrants must be over 18 years of age. The giveaway closes on March 31st 2018, 12.00am. The winner will be chosen at random using Rafflecopter. The gift voucher can not be exchanged for cash. The winner has 48hours to respond to their email before a new winner is chosen. Kaya Jewellery are responsible for organising the delivery of the prize to the winner. Naptime Natter can not be held responsible if no prize is received. Email addresses will not be shared or sold to any outside parties.

Do you like to wear personalised jewellery? Have you got a child who is always raiding your jewellery box? My boys aren’t that bothered by jewellery, although Alex does like to try and rip my necklaces off so maybe I will buy him one for himself when he is older!

Disclaimer: I was sent the infinity necklace from Kaya Jewellery free of charge in return for this honest review. All words and opinions are my own.

For exclusive content and to be the first to hear about upcoming giveaways, subscribe to the monthly Naptime Natter newsletter




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Navigating the world of reverse mortgages

Navigating the world of reverse mortgages

*guest content*

If you are looking into obtaining a reverse mortgage you may have some trouble understanding how they work. For example, there are several words associated with such loans that you may never have heard before. Yet, you must have a full understanding of how a reverse mortgage can benefit you or hinder you before applying for one. The information below can help you navigate the reverse mortgage world more easily. View Post

20 easy ways to save money on the weekly food shop

20 easy ways to save money on the weekly food shop

*sponsored post*

My family have been living off one pay packet a month for over 2 years now and over that time I have had to learn a thing or two about living frugally. Life is expensive and I love finding ways to ease the financial pinch, no one likes that scary moment in the shops when you don’t know if your card is going to be declined or not. One of the best and simplest ways we have been able to keep to our strict monthly budget is by saving a big chunk of money on our weekly food shop. There are so many ways you can cut the cost of your food shopping: buying supermarket own brands, making your own bread in a bread maker (you can even make your own cakes and treats in certain bread makers!) and swapping certain foods for cheaper alternatives, to name but just a few.

Today I am sharing all my tips and tricks on how to slash not just pennies but serious cash off your family food shop. I see some people spending hundreds of pounds on food each week and, if you shop smart, it really doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune to feed your family healthy and nutritious food every day.

Here is my full list of 20 tried and tested easy ways you can save money on the weekly food shop, leaving you with more cash to do some of the things you love (or pay the boring bills with!). View Post

#BlogCrush 1st birthday giveaway!

#BlogCrush 1st birthday giveaway!

Well, can you believe it? #BlogCrush linky is now one whole year old! This time 12 months ago Lucy and I were stressing out over how to actually set up a linky, let alone host one every week and get lots of bloggers to join in. We did it though and over the past year a beautiful community of bloggers has been built with this linky, we have regulars coming back week after week and lots of new faces starting to join in with the fun too. Some of my favourite bloggers and talented, amazing writers that I have met through this linky. Over the last year there have been a few changes to #BlogCrush, the most significant being my departure as a full time co host in September and Alice, from Letters to my Daughter, stepping in to host with Lucy 3 weeks out of the month instead. We make a good team and I love being a part of #BlogCrush. View Post

Weaning with HiPP Organic – Introducing the HiPP Buddies

Weaning with HiPP Organic – Introducing the HiPP Buddies

Here at Naptime Natter HQ we love easy and convenient food, it also has to be healthy and taste amazing too though. I love spending time searching Pinterest and cookbooks for yummy recipes and writing out a weekly meal plan before browsing the aisles in the supermarket and dropping fresh and nutritious ingredients into the trolley. However, when it comes to weaning your baby, sometimes even cooking up a 15 minute meal feels impossible and it can get a bit complicated taking homemade baby food out and about with you – this is why I love using pouches. Ever since we started weaning Alex when he was 6 months old, we have used baby food pouches to help him get used to new flavours and textures; we teamed up with HiPP Organic and Alex has loved tasting their wide variety of baby foods as part of his weaning journey. Alex was so excited to receive a selection of HiPP Organic sweet and their brand new savoury pouches to try and we were introduced to the newest members of the HiPP family – the HiPP Buddies! View Post

#BlogCrush – week 51

#BlogCrush – week 51

Happy Friday lovely bloggers and HURRAH for February! I am so happy to see the end of January, it was a month full of rain, dark clouds, germs and serious scrimping as we tried to claw back some pennies after the big Christmas splurge. How are you? Thank you for joining Lucy and I for #BlogCrush – I am looking forward to reading all your posts.

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Mental health after pregnancy – social media made my anxiety and post natal depression worse

Mental health after pregnancy – social media made my anxiety and post natal depression worse

I have this really vivid memory lurking in my mind, it has been well over a year since this day yet I remember it all as if it happened this morning. Alex was about 2 or 3 weeks old, I was bathing him in his tiny little baby bath and chatting to Oli at the same time. For a mere 5 seconds I looked up and met Oli’s gaze while we were talking and when I looked back down at my baby, Alex had his face in the water. In just a matter of a few seconds he had silently rolled his head to the side, his head was still resting on my palm but his mouth and nose had become submerged. A matter of seconds, that’s all it was. I took him straight out of his little bath as he cried and thrashed his body around in my arms. He was scared, I was terrified. I got him dressed, cuddled him close and while I was feeding him I reached for my phone. That was the day my phone began to mentally torture me.

Mental health after pregnancy – social media made my anxiety and PND worse

Alex was completely fine after his minor incident in the bath and as he contently slept in my arms, I did the thing paranoid, anxious and depressed new mums should never do: I Googled what had just happened. During my heart-breaking journey through forums, news articles and medical warnings about children drowning my anxiety began to reach the point where I kept having to check Alex was breathing, even though he was right there happy in my arms. I managed to drag myself out of the terrifying depths of my Google search and went to bed, full of dread that Alex was going to be dead when I woke up. The next day I was scrolling through Facebook and was met with a news article that had somehow made it’s way into my newsfeed, amongst the updates and photos from my friends and family. The article had a headline that caught my eye immediately, I was still on edge from the day before and when I saw the words ‘secondary drowning’ my heart sank. The story was about a child who had been swimming happily on holiday and 24hours after returning from fun at the pool he had drowned. Apparently it is possible to ‘drown’ hours after being in water if you manage to get some water on your lungs. Well, obviously my anxiety sky rocketed and I was convinced this was going to happen to Alex. I was scared for days that something bad was going to happen, all the while trying to outwardly appear fine and under control as I hadn’t yet found the courage to tell anyone I was suffering so badly with my mental health.

As if Facebook knew how I was feeling and wanted to torment me further, more and more news articles began to flash up in my news feed, each one pushing my anxiety up even higher and I was left feeling as though my baby was just never going to be safe again. For every 10 updates from friends and family, there was a mum posting in a mums chat group an article she’d read about the dangers of car seats/cot bumpers/prams/choking – the list of potential ways I was being told my baby could die was just unbearably overwhelming. There is not a single doubt in my mind that Facebook made my anxiety and post natal depression worse. I know I was struggling anyway, but this constant horrific barrage of stories and articles about awful things happening to babies just like my own unequivocally had a negative impact on my mental health.

anxiety-scrabble-bricks-social-media-made-anxiety-worse

It wasn’t only Facebook though, social media in general has on many different occasions affected my mood and mental wellbeing. I am better now, but when I was suffering with post natal depression I would go on to Instagram and as I was scrolling through everyone else’s photos I felt as though everyone else was happy in the world apart from me. I would see photos of mums holding their babies with smiles on their faces, captioned with tales from their lovely and joyful day. I would see photos of toddlers kissing and hugging their baby siblings and feel shit because my three year old was showing no interest in the baby at all. Everyone was smiling and everyone was happy and after 10 minutes on Instagram I could easily be left feeling inadequate and like a rubbish mum for days as I wasn’t smiling like everyone else.

Some days Twitter would grab my attention and I’d spend some time scrolling on there. People seem to tell it as it is a bit more on Twitter, which can be a blessing in some ways but also makes an easy breeding ground for keyboard warriors and internet bullies. Luckily I am yet to have to deal with the horrible experience of being trolled but that doesn’t mean Twitter didn’t also manage to play a part in ripping apart my self confidence and negatively impacting my mood during those months where I was suffering with my mental health. This time last year I probably had around 3000 followers on Twitter, not loads but not zero either. Occasionally if something was troubling me, I would try and sugar coat the issue slightly, pop it in a tweet and ask if anyone else was feeling the same. I understood I was opening myself up for potential trolling but I didn’t care, I just wanted to know that there were others out there who understood how I was feeling. As it transpired, most of the time there wasn’t. Every time I checked my notifications and not one of my 3000 followers had replied to say they too felt the same, my heart would sink a little deeper into the painful part of my chest and tears would threaten to spill from my eyes. Despite having followers on all different platforms, there were times social media made me feel so alone.

I am not holding Facebook, Instagram and Twitter responsible for the troubles I faced when Alex was a baby; it is unfortunate but I think getting post natal depression and anxiety was just part of my journey into second time motherhood. However, I do believe social media is responsible for intensifying my low mood and making my mental health worse during what was already a difficult time in my life. In the end I ended up deleting the Facebook app from my phone for months, the articles and good intentioned warnings from other mums about terrible tragedies involving babies just got too much for me. I wised up on the reality of social media in general too, the majority of people are only sharing the smile and the happy times online but that doesn’t mean they are not having the tough days too. I have also been guilty of holding back the complete truth of what is happening in my life and instead painted a very rosy and perfect lie over on my squares on Instagram. I don’t do that anymore, if things are shit then I tell my followers that I am feeling shit. If I have had a bad day then I will tell you, just like I would if it had been the best day ever. I never want anyone to feel lonely and anxious because of what they have or haven’t seen on social media and if I see a new mum reaching out for solidarity or reassurance online then, if I have been there too, I will a hundred times tell her that she’s not on her own.

***

I have written this post in collaboration with Head Talks, an amazing website full of useful resources to help inform, reassure and inspire people around the subject of mental health and wellbeing. Head Talks was founded by Oliver Chittenden (find out his story here) who wants Head Talks to be a safe online place for people who want to have healthier relationships with themselves and their loved ones by focussing on improving their mental health.

Fashion blogger Roxi Nafousi was interviewed for Head Talks about her opinion on social media and the detrimental effects it can have on our mental health. You can watch the interview, Beyond The Perfect Image, here and Roxi shares similar advice to me – if you are not feeling mentally well then it is best to stay well away from social media.

***

Today, February 1st 2018, is Time to Talk Day. So, wherever you are and whoever you are with, make sure you take some time today to have a conversation about mental health and wellbeing. Stigmas can only be removed and change can only be made if we all make an effort to raise awareness of the many mental health issues thousands of us suffer with every day.

If you feel like you may be suffering with post natal depression here is a list of resources and charities that can help and support you.

If you found this post useful you may also like to read the other posts about anxiety, post natal depression and mental illness over in the mental health section of my blog.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have collaborated with Head Talks as raising awareness and helping people will mental health issues is something I am passionate about.

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Social media made my anxiety and post natal depression worse

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#MUMSTHATGOTTHIS – A new Instagram community for amazing real mums

#MUMSTHATGOTTHIS – A new Instagram community for amazing real mums

Eeep, I am so excited to bring you this news! I am launching my very own Instagram community today , #mumsthatgotthis . For all of it’s flaws (algorithm of doom just being one), I do really love Instagram and my favourite thing about it is the wonderful community feel the app has. I love that you can go on to Instastories feeling a bit rubbish and then DM after DM start to pour into your inbox, messages of reassurance and support that can completely turn a crap day around. My favourite places to hang out on Instagram are the hashtags started by other parent bloggers, they are a great way to catch up with everyone and to chat with other parents, whilst admiring their gorgeous photos too of course. One of my goals for 2018 is to build a community, both on Facebook and Instagram of parents all there to support, reassure and (hopefully) become friends with each other. I started Naptime Natter Mums on Facebook at the beginning of January (you can join here) and today #mumsthatgotthis is launching on Instagram – yay! View Post

Parenting a toddler, it’s not as bad as I remember

Parenting a toddler, it’s not as bad as I remember

Alex started walking just before Christmas, he was about 14months old and after months of cruising around the furniture and taking the odd tentative step or two, he finally got his confident strut on and now there is no stopping him. I had sort of been dreading the day that Alex found his feet, I find it hard enough chasing after one child and I was anxious I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the both of them. If I’m being totally honest, I had been dreading parenting a toddler again in general. Leo was an adorable baby and toddler and obviously I still love the bones off him now, but my firstborn really did embrace the whole ‘terrible twos’ phase and I really struggled to enjoy those toddler days at times. It would seem though that I have let all those difficult times cloud the truth of what being a toddler mama is really like. All the memories of biting, screaming on the floor of the supermarket, hitting, crying and total diva meltdowns had a cast a dark shadow over all the fun and joy that having a toddler brings to your life. View Post

3 useful resources for parents new to babywearing

3 useful resources for parents new to babywearing

If there is anything I regret from those newborn days with Leo, amongst a few other things, it is not persisting when it came to using a sling. I will ashamedly admit this to you now, as a first time Mum I thought babywearing was weird. I know, I’m sorry! I just didn’t understand, you have only just given birth and got your baby out of you, maybe you’re breastfeeding all the hours of the day too and yet in those moments you can reclaim your body back for yourself you’re choosing to strap a baby to your chest? I just didn’t get it. Fast forward two and half years, I fell pregnant again, realised the errors of my ridiculous judgement and decided to give babywearing a try when my second son arrived 9 months later. Alex is now 15 months old and babywearing has been such a life saver, so much so I still find myself reaching for the sling now, even though the boy is walking!

I absolutely adore babywearing (toddlerwearing now I guess) and am so glad I decided to shut up miss judgy pants and give it a try. When Alex was a newborn and I first started experimenting with using a sling I had not a single clue what I was doing and there were moments I almost slipped back in to the mindset that babywearing was a massive waste of time. BUT with the help of a few really useful and informative resources and people I persevered; I mastered how to wrap with a stretchy and how to get a big baby strapped into a buckle carrier and it was all possible thanks to these certain people. Want to know who they are? Well, I am all for making the lives of new mamas easier so here is a list of useful resources for those of you that are new to babywearing – I hope it helps!

new-to-babywearing View Post

How to breastfeed with confidence

How to breastfeed with confidence

If you have chosen to breastfeed your new baby those first few weeks can feel really overwhelming. I know when my first boy was a newborn I often worried whether I was feeding him enough/too much or if my milk supply was good enough or if he was feeding long enough on both sides (and I stressed about a million other things too). My second baby is now 15 months old and as a second time breastfeeding mum I can say I feel a lot more confident this time around. I thought I would write a post for all new breastfeeding mums and share my top tips on how to feel confident during your breastfeeding journey. I also want to show mums to be and new mums that those precious baby days don’t need to be spoilt by worries over breastfeeding, it is totally possible to feed with confidence. You can do this Mamas! View Post