When motherhood is good, be sure to cherish it

When motherhood is good, be sure to cherish it

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

Was having children in my twenties a mistake?

Was having children in my twenties a mistake?

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

Just do you – the only parenting advice you should definitely follow

Just do you – the only parenting advice you should definitely follow

Collaborative 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

5 reasons to bake with kids – featuring easy halloween cookie recipe for you to try together

5 reasons to bake with kids – featuring easy halloween cookie recipe for you to try together

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

Lidl, why are there no seatbelts on your trollies? – An open letter

Lidl, why are there no seatbelts on your trollies? – An open letter

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.

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Mental health after pregnancy – a candid conversation

Mental health after pregnancy – a candid conversation

Today, Tuesday 10th October, is World Mental Health day.  There is a real stigma surrounding mental health. Those you have never suffered or studied it don’t really understand the complexity of mental illness and many of those who have suffered do not feel they can talk openly about their mental health with others. There is a real stigma attached to mental illness and the only way we can break through that is to start talking openly about it with each other.

I have written about mental health on this blog before. After I gave birth to Alex last October, within a few weeks of him being born I developed depression and anxiety. I didn’t want to tell anyone for a long time as I was terrified of being judged by others and I felt ashamed of the way I was feeling. No new mum should feel like that. Awareness days are a brilliant way to get people talking and that’s what my post is all about today. Recently I had a very open and honest chat with 3 other bloggers about our mental health and how we have struggled since becoming parents. The point of this post is to show how depression and anxiety after pregnancy is more common than we think. I really hope that if you think you might have post natal depression, or any other kind of mental illness after giving birth, that this post helps you see that you are not on your own and there are people out there who understand how you feel. View Post

I miss you now you’re at school

I miss you now you’re at school

My baby boy who is no longer a baby, I miss you so much.

I miss you the second we part in the morning and I get back in to the car without you.

I miss you when I listen to music at home and I don’t hear your excited voice asking for the Lego Batman movie soundtrack instead. View Post

Everything you need to know about becoming a mum of 2

Everything you need to know about becoming a mum of 2

My baby boy Alex is nearly one whole year old now. That means I have almost made it through 12 months as a mum of two. Making the leap from no babies to one baby was difficult, life changing, don’t get me wrong but taking the plunge and having a second baby? Well, that’s just a whole different ball game. When you announce the news you have another bun in the oven people will tell you things like: ‘the second baby just slots right in’ , ‘it’s so much easier the second time around’ and ‘you will know what you are doing this time’. While all these bits of advice are said with nothing but good intentions most of the time, I kind of wish people would stop telling pregnant mums what they want to hear and instead start dishing out the cold hard facts. I love being a mum of two but I was a bit naïve to how much life would change all over again when we had our second baby. If you are currently expecting your second baby or are considering trying for another baby, here is an insight into what life with two small children is really like. View Post

Looking back on the summer holidays

Looking back on the summer holidays

It has finally arrived..the start of school! My baby boy is off to big school on Monday. His uniform is bought, washed, ironed and his name is stuck to everything. We are prepared but I don’t know if we are exactly ready, well not mentally anyway. I have no idea what tomorrow morning will bring, I am sure the rush to get out the house will be nothing but stressful and we will both have nervous butterflies in our tummies as we make our way to the school. Will there be tears? Will he cling to me, afraid of what waits in the classroom? More than likely Leo will be over excited to see his play school friends after a long summer apart and will rush off without me, ready to start this new adventure together. There is no knowing how tomorrow is going to go, all I can do is tell Leo it will all be fine, hold his hand as we go in and promise him I will be there waiting for him at the end of the day.

With the start of school just one sleep away, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the past 8 weeks. When play school ended way back in July I was kind of dreading the holidays, how the hell was I going to keep 2 children happy for 8 whole weeks? I am not going to pretend the holidays have been perfect, there have been days where I have shouted too much, Leo has cried too much and we have all got on each others nerves. I really wanted to make these holidays special though, to not turn to the TV babysitter too often and instead get out and go on lots of fun adventures with the boys. Once Leo starts school our weekdays are going to be forced back into a routine, a schedule stricter than any we have known before, all I wanted from our last 8 weeks was to have lots of fun and make loads of happy memoires. So, while there have been times I have been pulling my hair out and Leo has moaned about being boooored , I think I have succeeded and we have all had a lovely time together. Here is what we have got up to, I am sure I will be holding on to these beautiful days together forever.

Looking back on the summer holidays

Soft play party –

On the very last day of term Leo had an early birthday party. We booked the local soft play and Leo loved running around with his play school friends and having a Batman themed party. It was a great way to kick start the summer holidays.

SandyBalls holiday –

At the very beginning of the summer holidays the kids and I went and stayed with my parents for a few nights at Sandballs Holiday Village in the New Forest. We had such a lovely time together, there was swimming in the pool, beach days, bbqs and lots of exploring. It was really special to have some time with my parents and Leo had a fantastic time.

Holiday in Wales –

Oli took some annual leave in August and we went and stayed in my parents caravan for a few nights at the beginning of August, It was actually really fun staying in the caravan just the four of us and we spent lots of time playing on the beaches I used to visit regularly as a child. Leo had his first ever experience of flying a kite and Alex enjoyed playing in the sand. We made so many beautiful memories from just a very simple holiday. While in Wales we also visited mine and Oli’s home town and spent some time with our parents. My mother in law and I took the boys to Borth Animalarium one day and Leo loved it – he even kissed a snake!

National Trust –

We have really made the most of our National Trust passes this summer and have visited Mottisfont (our local) almost every week. They were running a Gruffalo trail all over the summer and showcasing the work of Axel Scheffler in the gallery. Leo loved seeing all the illustrations from his favourite books and the trail was really fun, there were props and characters to find from lots of Julia Donaldson’s books all over the grounds. We visited just the four of us but have also been up there with family and their children too so it has been lots of fun. (Don’t have a national trust pass? Here are 5 reasons why you need one).

Peppa Pig World –

At the beginning of August my friend from back home came to stay with her little girl and her sister. We took the kids on a day trip to Peppa Pig World and they loved it. Leo has been to Peppa Pig World before (here’s our tips if you’re planning a visit) but this time he was a whole year older so he was a bit braver on all the rides. It did pour it down with rain though but we just bought some ponchos and did lots of jumping in muddy puddles.

Birthday party –

On the 15th August Leo turned 4 years old! We had a little tea party for him at home with his cousins, grandparents and some of his Uncles too. It was lovely and Batman themed again! There were games of pass the parcel and musical statues and lots of cake. It was nice to have something a bit more low key after the crazy soft play he had with his friends at the start of the summer.

Marwell Zoo –

For Leo’s birthday we went to Marwell Zoo. We met up with one of his pre school friends and it was lovely to see how happy the boys were to see each other. I don’t feel like we saw that many animals as the zoo were hosting a Lego trail of animals made of Lego bricks and the boys were much more interested in that than the actual animals.

Durdle door –

There was a day where Oli had to travel to Dorset for a work meeting. The boys and I decided to tag along and after Oli’s work was done we decided to spend the afternoon on the beach. We headed to Durdle Door and I was blown away with how beautiful it was. Leo had so much fun playing in the sea and I sat watching him play and soaking up the sunshine. It was one of those perfect days that I hope I never forget.

Corfe Castle –

On the bank holiday weekend we visited Dorset again but this time we headed to Corfe Castle. It was a gloriously sunny day and we had lots of fun exploring the castle grounds before visiting another beautiful Dorset beach in the afternoon.

Winchester Science Museum –

Last weekend we visited Winchester Science Museum. It is only 20 minutes from our house so I have no idea why we have never been before – it was so cool! Leo really enjoyed looking at all the different exhibits and everything is really interactive, Alex had a great time too. We watched a short animation film in the planetarium and it was so amazing, I wish every cinema was like that.

Play dates and playgrounds –

Amongst all the big days out there have also been lots of trips to the play ground, some toddler groups, the library and meeting up with some friends. We have really embraced ‘the playdate’ this summer holidays and it has been lovely for both Leo and me to meet up and chat to other people.

The ordinary moments –

We have had lots of days at home this holiday, days where we have just watched TV all day and just spent quality time together. We have played imagination games with Lego, baked biscuits, danced around to the Lego Batman soundtrack and just had fun at home. These days have also been a bit testing as it can be hard to not start getting on each others nerves when we don’t leave the house all day. It has been hard at times, the relentless noise and need for attention, but I am going to miss having my little shadow around when he goes to school.

I feel all emotional after writing this post. We really have had an amazing summer, an amazing 4 years and I am sad to be sending my baby off to school tomorrow. I know he is going to have a fantastic time though and it is the start of his next big adventure. You go get ’em Leo boy, Mummy and Daddy are so very proud of you already.

Has your baby just started school this September too? Have you found the end of the summer holidays emotional as well? I hope everyone’s little ones settle in to school life ok and that you parents out there don’t sob into your hot-for-once cuppa for too long!

Starting primary school – the mummy bloggers guide

Starting primary school – the mummy bloggers guide

Waa, Leo is starting primary school in less than 3 weeks time and I am so not ready to be sending my baby off to the classroom 5 days a week. I am feeling emotional about this massive step, obviously, and if I am being completely honest I am feeling really overwhelmed too. Leo is my firstborn, I have not had to navigate the chaos of the school run and the world of playground politics before; when it comes to starting school and getting organised I am clueless. To help me feel a little less terrified about the new school year and to give me a lesson or two on how to ease my child into reception year, I have enlisted the help of some fellow mummy bloggers. I asked 10 of my lovely blogging buddies, all mums of children already in school, to share with me their top tips, survival hacks and pearls of wisdom on how to prepare and ease your child (and yourself) into school life. If you have a little one donning a school uniform for the first time this September too then I am sure you will find this post useful and will be bossing your new life as a school run mum before the first half term is over.  View Post

Back to school essentials with Spider-Man and the Disney Store

Back to school essentials with Spider-Man and the Disney Store

Leo is starting school next month. I am only just accepting the fact that my baby boy has turned four years old and I am struggling to get my head around the fact he is going to primary school in just a matter of weeks. Although there are many things I am dreading about my not so little man starting school, the manic morning rush to get out on time just being one of them, there are lots of things I am excited about too. One of those things is buying all the back to school essentials for Leo so he can start the new term with everything he needs. We have received lots of amazing back to school products from the Disney Store to review and, let me just say this, my boy is going to be the envy of all his Spider-Man adoring friends come September.  View Post

You are 4 – a birthday poem for Leo

You are 4 – a birthday poem for Leo

You are 4

Once you were just a faint pink line,

the promise of a family and a dream come true.

When the doctor told me I cried with relief,

I felt like I had waited forever for you.

You lived in my tummy for a little while,

every stretch and every kick filled me with joy.

Then at 9.03 on a Thursday you arrived in the world,

we finally met you our baby boy.

That day you were born I couldn’t sleep,

I couldn’t take my tired eyes off you all night.

I couldn’t believe you were really mine,

I just watched you while you held my finger tight.

A beautiful baby everyone said,

gorgeous hair, blue eyes and a lovely smile.

The image of your dad we all agreed,

though you looked like me too for a little while.

Twelve months flew by in a heartbeat,

suddenly you were one and eating birthday cake.

A year since you arrived and changed my life,

so many memoires made and so many more to make.

You were always happy and laughing,

a sociable toddler who thrived on attention.

Baby groups and soft play fun were some of your favourites

but the thing who have always loved most is affection.

At two years old things were difficult,

your biting and tantrums bringing us both to tears.

Fiercely independent and often infuriatingly stubborn,

yet you were also far too clever for your small years.

Confident, cheeky and loving,

just three of the many words to describe you.

A happy baby and mischievous toddler

but sometimes the devil in disguise when you were two.

Another twelve months and then you were three,

a boy who loved dinosaurs, super heroes and a certain blue train.

Flashing plastic toys swapped for hours building train tracks,

you would choo choo along before breaking it and building it again.

Play school started around this time,

you used to desperately cling to me and cry.

Lovely teachers, friendship and toys helped you settle in,

before long there was nothing stressful about the drop off goodbye.

So much has happened since you were just a line,

you are an amazing son and now a big brother too.

Always our baby but so grown up now,

next month you start school and I don’t know what I’ll do.

And today another twelve months have gone,

you have grown and changed even more.

Today is another special day,

it’s your birthday and I can’t believe you are four.

Once you were just a pink line,

the start of a family and a dream come true.

Once I could only imagine who you would be,

I am so happy you turned out to be you.

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Happy birthday to you my beautiful boy Leo. I hope you have an amazing day, I know you will because I am taking you to the zoo and you love the zoo. I might even let you eat cake at breakfast as well. Love you lots sweetheart, lets see what adventures are around the corner, I hear being four is pretty fun.

 

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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.

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Is it time we put our smartphones down? – #babyLove My Toddler Life book review

Is it time we put our smartphones down? – #babyLove My Toddler Life book review

“I will play Lego with you in a minute.” *said while staring at a screen*

“You want me to read that book again? I will do in a sec.” *said while staring at a screen*

“Can mummy just take a break from playing hide and seek for a bit?” *said while reaching for a phone*

“Why don’t you just watch some cartoons for a little while?” *said while reaching for a phone*

“You look so cute in this photo.” *said while immediately uploading to social media*

“Can you just do that again, this picture is blurry.” *said while trying to get a perfect picture for social media*

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you feel like there is an extra person in your family? That extra ‘person’ being not a human who actually needs and craves your attention but a technological device that somehow seems to steal so much of your time. I am going to be completely honest, I feel like I am living as part of a family of 6. This family set up appears near enough nuclear on first appearances but it’s true make up goes like this: Mummy, Daddy, child 1, child 2, Mummy’s phone and Daddy’s phone. View Post

Mental health after pregnancy – Reflecting on the darkest days

Mental health after pregnancy – Reflecting on the darkest days

Recently I went to see my GP again about my mental health as I had been struggling with a low mood and had been feeling emotionally run down for a while. I went through a period of a couple months where I had started to feel back on top form, I was loving my life as a mum of two and everything was good but then that familiar cloud of depression began to lurk over my days again. The doctor doesn’t want to give me medication and I don’t think that’s what I want either, actually as soon as I spoke (cried at) to her I felt a weight lift off my shoulders and in the days that followed I started to feel better. Since I started opening up about my mental health way back at the beginning of the year I have learnt that talking is a powerful tool when it comes to recovery. Talking and writing have helped me so much and it may be hard to get the words out but once you overcome that hurdle it really does help. View Post