A few months back Oli and I did something crazy, we moved both the boys into the same bedroom. I know, what were we thinking? Well, there was actually a reason behind our madness; Leo’s old bedroom is a converted garage and let’s just say the builders had obviously never heard of insulation because it is freezing in there. So, when winter arrived we made the bold and brave decision to move our five year old into the same room as our two year old. We are a good few months into the boys sharing a room now and it’s been a bumpy transition but I think we are getting to a place where bedtimes are getting easier again. Are you considering putting your children into the same bedroom? In the post I am sharing everything I have learnt since my kids started sharing a bedroom, I hope it helps you prepare for what can be a tricky transition for everyone. View Post
** Mum, Nan, anyone else who doesn’t like bad language, either don’t read this one or do so knowing it is scattered with a fair few F bombs. You have been warned. **
To the elderly lady in Tesco,
Firstly, sorry to refer to you as the ‘elderly lady’ but I, obviously, don’t know your name and the fact you are, to put it bluntly, old is your most defining feature to a stranger like me. I want people reading this to know that I am not about to verbally take down a sweet little old over the internet. You are not all white curls, cuddly smiles and tottering about with a Zimmer frame, are you? When you spoke to me, it was clear you are very sound of mind and know what’s going on around you. For these reasons, my reaction to you is the same as it would be to anyone of any age who spoke to me the way you did. I refuse to let the fact you are probably over seventy be a valid excuse for the way you chose to go out of your way to make me feel like a rubbish mum this morning. View Post
I feel a change coming. As with all stages of parenting, nothing stays the same for very long. I can sense a shift and, if I’m honest, it’s a change to our routine I am totally not ready for. Alex seems to be dropping his nap – noo! It is getting harder and harder to encourage him to have a sleep in the day and while there are still the odd occasion where he will snooze for a couple hours in his bed or drop off in the car, they are becoming very few and far between. I knew the demise of the nap was imminent, Leo dropped his regular nap when he was two and a half and Alex is now two and three months. I knew my time of having some peace and quiet in the day was running out. The transition from nap to no nap can be tough on everyone: us parents lose out on time in the day to get things done without a child hanging off our legs and our toddlers tend to lose their shit around 5pm because they are so exhausted and ready for bed. If your toddler is showing signs of wanting to drop their nap too, I have put together this post full of tips and advice from other parents to help you navigate through this often tricky process without too much drama. Remember, the end of naptime doesn’t mean the end of the world, you just need to give your daytime routine a bit of a rejig – you’re going to be fine. View Post
Yesterday was just one of those days. You know the kind, where everything just seems to go wrong and you feel like things just keep going from bad to worse to epically shit. The day itself started off fine, we weren’t late for school, Alex and I had a nice time at toddler group and my nan took us out for lunch in town. As far as Wednesdays go, yesterday started off pretty nicely. It was once I picked Leo up from school that things started to go very very wrong. View Post
When Leo started his new school back in May last year he had three school jumpers. Want to know how many he has now not even 12 months later? One. He has one school jumper. There seems to be a black hole in that school from which school uniforms can never return but Leo losing most of his school uniform is partly my fault too. I didn’t label them. I did scrawl his name onto the label with pen but obviously not well enough to survive the multiple washes they had to endure. Once Leo took his jumper off at school it was only going to be a matter of time before they got lost or taken home by someone else by mistake. Luckily for me, Stikets got in touch to ask if I would review their personalised iron-on labels. It looks like I can save Leo’s last school jumper from the school uniform eating black hole after all! Here is my review of the Stikets labels, they are easy to use, completely customisable and can handle as many trips through the washing machine as your little ones uniform can. Stick around to the end of the post for your chance to WIN your own pack of Stikets labels. View Post
*sponsored guest content*
Who’s tired? I’m sure every single one of you reading this just nodded your head whilst simultaneously yawning and rubbing your sleepy eyes. There is no job more exhausting than being a parent and I am sure all of us could do with an extra hour or ten of shut eye each night. This guest post is one that all you tired mamas are not going to want to miss, it’s full of really useful tips and tricks on how you can get more sleep. If your baby is sleeping through the night but you are still struggling to get a decent kip, try out some of these tips and see if they can help you drift off to the land of nod – I’m sure they will. View Post
I suck at making Mum friends. There, I’ve said it. I have friends, I have friends that are also mums but the whole going to a baby group or chatting at the school gates and making a new mummy bestie, yea, I suck at that. When Leo was small I met a quite a lot of mums at various groups, being a first time Mum I really valued those conversations with other women who just got how tough having a baby was (plus, it was always useful knowing I could ask someone for a baby wipe or two if a poonami happened and my nappy bag was empty). I was braver then, naïve and not scared of judgement, twenty two and thought making Mum friends was going to be easy. Through some kind of magic I did make a few close friends but I have a very annoying habit of befriending people who will later go on to move miles away. My best mum friend relocated when our boys were one and then when Leo was two I moved away and making new Mum friends at baby groups when I had an extremely chaotic toddler was more than difficult, it was impossible. I spent a long time feeling lonely and that I was a bad Mum because I didn’t have a big group of other Mum friends and their babies around to go to soft play with, ask over for play dates or to invite to the boys birthday parties. I’m out the other side of those feelings now though and I’m here to tell you this, if you don’t have mum friends that does NOT make you a bad Mum. View Post
At the end of October Alex turned two. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. I can remember when Leo turned two and in my head I had fully accepted that the following twelve months were going to be hard work. I completely fell for the whole terrible twos thing and, I’m not going to lie, Leo was a very difficult two year old. In fact, he continued to have tantrums when he was three and when he was four. He’s five now and, guess what, he’s still having tantrums. I don’t think he’s terrible though, he’s just a growing boy who is sensitive, highly emotional, a perfectionist and wants to be more independent than his years will allow. I’ve never looked at him and thought ‘you’re terrible’, I did subscribe to the idea of the terrible twos though and I wish I hadn’t. There were times I could have been a better parent, times when he was having a meltdown over something and I just swept his behaviour under the carpet as the terrible twos, not stopping to consider it could be something more. I know my boy so much better now and I know a lot of his ‘terrible behaviour’ when he was a toddler wasn’t him being terrible at all, he needed me to help him make sense of the world for him but instead I just added his meltdown to the long list of tantrums and accepted he was just acting that way because he was two. Looking back, those early years with Leo did have their challenges and I feel like if the phrase ‘terrible twos’ hadn’t existed I could have been a better mum to him, I would have taken more time to think through why he was really having another tantrum instead of always just believing he was behaving in a certain way because of his age. View Post
As I draft this post I am sitting in a bath with white fluffy bubbles up to my ears and a revitalising peel off mask painted over my face. I have a scented candle burning, my latest read waiting for me to get stuck into on the shelf next to me and all that’s missing is a nice glass of wine. What’s the big deal, you might be thinking? Well, it’s 5pm and as every parent out there knows, mamas don’t get to take a relaxing bath at 5pm. This time of day is usually reserved for complete and utter chaos, it’s the beginning of the witching hour(s) and you normally feel stress simmering throughout the house as the kids begin to feel tired and grumpy and hanger is in full swing as you stand by the oven desperately willing the kids food to be ready. Ain’t no time for bubbles and candles at 5pm on a regular Wednesday. This, however, my lovely readers, isn’t a regular Wednesday. View Post
Yup, I said it. The ‘c’ word has been uttered and it’s only October. You can’t blame me though for chatting about Christmas already, The X Factor is on TV, big tubs of chocolates are for sale in the supermarkets and my local has already got their big Book Your Christmas Party Here! sign up. I love Christmas; the food, the family time, the cosiness, the traditions, the booze, the films – I love it all! I’m not going to lie to you though, I do get quite stressed out in the lead up as when it comes to Christmas, there is A LOT of organising that needs to be done. I have been partial to the odd Christmas related mummy meltdown in recent years and this year I am going to make it my mission to fully enjoy the festive period and not get overwhelmed by all the arrangements for the big day. Like the sound of a meltdown free Christmas? Read on to find out how I am planning to make preparing for Christmas stress free this year. View Post
So, something pretty embarrassing happened the other day. I was in Aldi doing the big weekly food shop, the trolley was bursting at the seems with fruit, veg, meat, snacks: all the essentials. I loaded everything up onto the checkout, I had everything crossed that Alex could make it through these last few minutes in the trolley without having a major meltdown. The checkout assistant scanned everything through at breakneck speeds and then it was time to pay. I was mortified when the lady said my card had been declined. ‘Can we try again?’ I asked, my cheeks flushed with embarrassment and growing stress. A second attempt and still no payment went through. I fumbled for my phone and checked my online banking. I had £65 in my account, the shopping came to £75. We spent a very painful five minutes finding £10 worth of shopping to void off my bill and to head back to the shelves. I would like to say the woman on the till was kind and helpful but really she was quite harsh and made me feel more embarrassed than I was already. £75 is a lot of money for our Aldi shop and I know exactly why this grocery haul cost so much, it was mostly healthy food. View Post
I’m so tired. Exhausted. Run down. Totally and utterly cream crackered. The bags under my eyes are more like overpacked suitcases, no amount of concealer can hide them away. I feel like I have felt this way forever, well, for the last five years anyway. Sleeping has always been one of my strongest skills, I am a head-hits-the-pillow-and-I’m-out kind of sleeper. If I’m sleepy I can fall asleep pretty easily, be that curled up in bed or on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon. The thing is, lately I am more than just a bit tired. I am not sleep deprived, my boys go for twelve hours every single night. I get atleast, atleast, 8 hours of shut eye each night. So why am I so tired? Why do I feel like I have the get up and go of a sloth and the energy of a zombified snail? Is it just the day to day demands of motherhood finally catching up with me after five long years in the parent club? Am I still recovering from those first years of the boys lives, those hazy times where I was grabbing sleep in two hour doses whenever the babies gave me the opportunity to rest? Is it just mama fatigue, or is it something more? View Post
Hey, who remembers the heat wave? Oh how I miss that big hot summer sun shining down every day, it’s only the end of September and I’m already wrapping up in woolly jumpers and switching the heating on more than I probably should. With summer now gone for another year, the best way to get through the impending colder months is by planning your next holiday abroad, right? When you have kids, the thought of traveling to a different country can be terrifying, I mean, think of all the things you have to pack for the kids when you’re just going on a day trip! In the five years I’ve been a mum, we have travelled abroad with the kids three times and had lots of UK based holidays too, I feel like I’ve learnt a thing or two about traveling as a family in this time. If the end of summer has got you thinking about preparing for your first family holiday abroad, here is my checklist for all the things you need to remember before you jet off on your holibobs (I’ll be referring back to this before our holiday to Cyprus next Easter!).
1. Choose a family friendly destination – While backpacking around Asia or doing a road trip through America may have been perfect holiday destinations before kids came along, when you become a parent things like family friendly entertainment and a pool with slides rank higher than how many nightclubs there are for you to drink in along the strip. Holidays with kids are totally different to holidays without them and this is worth keeping in mind when choosing your destination. Think less Ibiza or Magaluf and more Disney Land Paris or all inclusive hotels with a kids club.
2. Decide your accommodation – I will always recommend self catering accommodation when traveling with kids. In a villa, apartment or holiday home you have the benefits of more space than a hotel room, something that you will be grateful for when the kids go to bed at 7pm and you want to stay up later, sitting on the balcony drinking and playing cards or just curling up and relaxing on the sofa. Hotel holidays have their advantages too so it is worth really thinking about what you want from your family holiday before you choose where to stay. Want a home away from home in a sunnier climate? Go for a self catered holiday. Looking for children’s entertainers, all you can eat food and the opportunity to make new friends at a kids club? An all inclusive hotel holiday is probably the best option for you.
3. Get the kids passports – When I was a kid in the 90s I didn’t have my own passport, my mum just had all my details on hers. Things are totally different now and every member of the family will need a passport of their own. Check the expiry date on your own passport and apply for one for your children well in advance of your holiday. There are lots of tips online on getting a suitable passport photo of your baby and GOV.UK offers details on how to apply for your child’s passport. Unfortunately passports don’t come cheap so keep this expense in mind when saving for your holiday.
4. Purchase travel insurance– Don’t risk travelling without proper travel insurance for you and your family. When someone gets ill or something bad happens at home it can be really stressful, this stress is multiplied by a million when you are abroad and something goes wrong. Search around, use comparison websites or choose reputable companies like Bupa Global for a travel insurance quote. Don’t risk travelling without proper travel insurance for the whole family, it’s just not worth it.
5. Pack – It can be easy to over pack when going on holiday with kids but it’s important to not over do it, you don’t want to end up having to pay charges for going over your luggage allowance. Think of all the things you really need and pack them first, does your toddler really need a fresh pair of shorts every day for a week? Do you really need to take ten dresses for a seven night holiday? Mums on the move has a fantastic packing checklist for you to follow when packing for your first family holiday.
There are a few important things that can be easily forgotten in the chaos of packing for a whole family , make sure you remember to pack
– travel adapter
– high factor suncream
– after sun
– any inhalers/medicines your child needs
– flight tickets
– travel insurance documents
– a separate changing bag for the flight
– a few home comforts for the kids
6. Get your EU health insurance card – To easily access healthcare and necessary medical treatment in the EU you will need a valid EU health insurance card. These can easily be applied for online and all members of the family will need one.
7. Book your flights – You can save money on flights by booking early, being flexible with dates and where you are willing to fly from.
8. Preparing for the flight – When flying with a baby, many airlines will allow you to bring them right up to the gate in their buggy and many also allow families to board first. Remember to check how many liquids you can bring in your hand luggage too. With babies and toddlers you are likely to need things like nappy rash cream, bottles of milk and pouches of baby food etc, be sure to check the airport/airlines policy on this before you travel (you can find useful information about what to pack when travelling with a baby from Baby Centre here). I would also recommend bringing a sling and babywearing in the airport, having your baby in a carrier makes navigating busy spaces much easier and can help to keep them calm in an unfamiliar environment.
Here is a useful resource from Tots To Travel about baby items you can bring on a flight with you –
Finally, here’s some tips for your first flight with kids…
A long flight with a toddler or baby can be daunting and the duration of your travel is something you should consider before you book your holiday. The furthest we have flown since having kids was to Italy, the flight was just under three hours long and both boys (then 3 and 5months) managed to stay fairly calm for the whole journey.
I would say pack lots of story books, a sticker book or colouring book, download lots of CBeebies onto your phone/tablet and have a familiar comforter with you, like their favourite teddy or blanket. Sucking on a dummy or drinking from a bottle can help ease any pain in your baby’s ears during take off and landing and if you are lucky they might just sleep the whole way!
Phew, there is quite a lot to plan and organise when you are preparing for your first family holiday abroad but before you know it the hard part will be over and you’ll be off on your first even holiday as a family, making loads of wonderful memories. Enjoy!
If you have found this post useful, I’d love for you to share it with anyone you know who’s considering travelling abroad with their children for the first time. If you are an expert at traveling with kids, what’s your top tip for new parents? It would be great if you could share your advice in the comments.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read..
The advantages and disadvantages of a self catering holiday
Our first family holiday in Majorca
Our camping holiday in Somerset
A trip to Centre Parcs
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Bupa Global.
Kids before career? Kids after career? Kids or career? Kids and career? Jeez, making life plans is hard when you’re a woman! It’s 2018 and while we would love to believe that by this point in history we can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to working as a parent, unfortunately that still isn’t the case for many of us. Articles in the media and online are rife about working (or not) mothers, everyone has an opinion and so often I read about mums and work and we always seem to be placed in to one of two camps: the stay at home mum who feels unfilled and unappreciated, or the working mum who feels guilty and miserable because they don’t get enough time with their kids. Ask a mum about her experience of the working world and I bet she has a story to share, maybe she wanted to go back to work part time but her boss wouldn’t cut her hours, maybe she’s desperate to work but can’t afford the childcare, maybe she is one of the rare lucky ones who has found the mythical balance between her work and home life. The climb up the career ladder can become extremely difficult once our little bundles of joy arrive, that’s for sure. The modern online world would have you believe that your escape route out of the 9-5 and childcare juggle can be accessed with just a laptop and a good internet connection. The development of technology, smart phones and WiFi pretty much everywhere has made working for yourself a viable option; if you are struggling with the pressure of keeping the work and family plates spinning, now, perhaps, there is a way to do it all. Working from home seems at first a great option for those who can’t or don’t want to go back to the work place but is this style of career really the best option for parents? Here is my experience as a self employed mum working from home, I hope it helps you make up your mind whether this is the career path for you too. View Post