A frosty walk at Titchfield Abbey

Brr, it is getting cold out now isn’t it? The in-laws have been staying with us this week and on Wednesday morning I decided we should all go out for a nice walk and enjoy the crisp fresh air. It was really frigging cold out but there was white frost coating the grass and it looked so pretty outside, it would have been a shame to stay in. I decided to take them to see Titchfield Abbey, it is not too far away, it is free and the Abbey was bound to look impressive surrounded by a gloriously blue sky, with a sprinkle of white over the ground.

We all got seriously wrapped up (I think Leo had about 5 layers on!), I scraped the ice off the car and we headed off down the M27 to check out Titchfield Abbey – or the Thomas Castle, as Leo insisted it was called.

What is behind the massive door?
Finally starting to look like winter.
When we arrived at Titchfield Abbey, Leo was very excited. He immediately declared he was going to go and hide in the castle and that is exactly what he did. There is a small car park on the abbey grounds and, even from the car, the view was spectacular. Although they are extremely old, the ruins are still amazing to look at and the walls are so tall. Leo looked smaller than ever stood up against the massive entrance door.

So high!
I want to live in a castle…
Blue sky.
Titchfield Abbey is a ruin so there is not that much to see but there are little plaques dotted about with information and facts about the buildings history. The Abbey was built in the 1200’s and was home to several canons. It has switched hands a lot over the years and was suppressed during the reign of Henry VIII. There are original tiles preserved and roped off outside, they were not protected enough for Leo, who attempted to stomp all over them. That boy clearly has no respect for historical artefacts.

Facts about the tiles.
Castle selfie.

Leo loved running around the Abbey grounds, hiding in the ancient chimney flues and opening and closing the massive door. We lost sight of him at one point, we ran around in a frenzy shouting his name only to find he had managed to get down the extremely warn away staircase all by himself. He was really pleased with himself but I was so mad at myself for loosing sight of him as he could have so easily fallen.

Going down stairs with a worried looking Nanny.

In the grounds surrounding the Titchfield Abbey there is a funny looking path. My mother-in-law and I decided it must have been a maze once upon a time, there was no other explanation for the way it was set out. Leo enjoyed running around the ‘track’, crunching the frosty grass as he went. We  found a small icy puddle and Leo was quite confused when no splashing occurred when he jumped up and down.

Ice puddle.
Walking around ‘the maze’.

We were wandering around Titchfield Abbey for about 45 minutes but we were all starting to get really cold, I definitely could have done with some gloves and an extra pair of socks. We said goodbye to the Thomas Castle and popped in to the garden centre next door for a nice hot coffee and Leo got to feed the fish.

Feeding the fish.

Titchfield Abbey is a lovely place to visit if you are looking for something free and fun to do in Hampshire. It is open 10am-4pm from October to March and then from April to September it is open 10am-5pm. Leo really enjoyed exploring the Abbey, I think he would have stayed there for hours if we hadn’t have bribed  him away with milk and biscuits!

Have you visited Titchfield Abbey before? Does your little one like castles? I can’t wait to take Leo to a proper castle, one where you can climb up twisty staircases and have lots of rooms to explore.

A Cornish Mum
Life Unexpected

The thing all parents talk about..

We love a chat us Mums, don’t we? We talk about everything going on with our kids and we love to reassure and support each other through all our parenting woes. However, there is one thing all parents love to talk about, Mums and Dads alike. This particular topic of conversation is most frequently heard amongst parents with very young children. Saying that, my boy is two and I still find myself chatting about this on a very regular basis…

As soon as your pregnancy news starts to spread, family members, friends and even strangers on the street all have the same little nugget of information to tell you. Most of them can’t wait to share it, the words are out of their mouths immediately after you say ‘We’re having a baby!’. You don’t believe them of course, you smile and thank them for their unwanted advice but you know it can’t possibly be true, they must be exaggerating or something.
Yet, 9 months later, your bundle of joy arrives and you start to wonder if all those people might have been right. Maybe you had been naive to think you and your partner could make it through parenthood without encountering this one little thing everyone warned you about? 
You were told it would stop once your baby was here, that you and your husband would never enjoy it like you did before. They told you things in that department would not be the same again for years, if ever, once you were parents.
As it turns out, they were all right. Every friend, our parents, that long lost aunt, the random drunk in the pub, well, they weren’t lying. It is not the same.
In the early, hardcore new born days of parenting, we tried not to talk about it. We tried not to miss it. My husband and I were both desperate for it but we pushed our own needs aside. We were parents now, it was our job to look after our baby, what we wanted was irrelevant. 
As the months went on, the thing we were missing began to creep back in to our lives. We welcomed it with open arms, we were grumpy and irritable without it. The first night it happened we were shocked, caught off guard. After all those months without, we couldn’t believe how suddenly and unannounced it had returned. 
Although our bed was beginning to see some proper action again, some nights we just couldn’t wait until we got under the covers. Sometimes, we had to have it right there and then on the sofa. Sometimes it went on for over an hour. After it happened we would lie there feeling satisfied, give each other a grin and one of us would suggest heading up to bed for round two.
As our baby grew in to a toddler things were starting to get back to normal. Maybe we were too quick to agree with what everyone said, things were pretty much back to how they were in our pre-parent life. We had it pretty much every single night. If we were lucky, we got it on a lazy Saturday morning as well.  Sometimes I would even buy something nice to wear, just in case, to make it just that little bit more enjoyable. I would get excited putting on my new purchase and getting in to bed, hoping my efforts would not be in vain and the night would bring me what I wanted. 
Just like how it came back in to our lives, it was just as quickly taken away. Just as we got used to getting what we wanted in the bedroom, our son would go through a major milestone or something and we would be back to square one. Gone were the nights where we could be together all night, undisturbed. Now, there are days on end where we don’t get it, when we don’t even consider it. We don’t ever go to bed expecting it any more.
When it does happen, we make sure we enjoy every second, for who know’s when it will happen again. The nights are unpredictable now. Two and half years into parenthood and still we have this problem. My husband and I are not the only ones though. I speak to other mums at toddler groups and they have all been through it too. They know what it is like to not get it, to desperately need and long for it. I know a few parents who have kids in school and they still don’t get it.
So, if you find yourself chatting with another parent any time soon, I give the conversation about 2 minutes before one of you mentions it. You will both be dying to talk about it, to unload all of your bedroom troubles on to someone else. There is nothing that parents love to talk about more than…

How has your sleep changed since becoming a parent? Do you have an angel who sleeps all night or are you a sleep deprived, zombie like Mum? For the past couple of months Leo has randomly been waking in the night and I really need a good nights sleep, like, right now. I would love to know your thoughts on sleep deprivation and please feel free to share any tips on coping with a toddler who likes to party at 2am!
A Cornish Mum
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
My Random Musings

Week 1 in the big boy bed

Leo has always been really good at going to bed. He has not always been good at going to sleep, but ever since he was about 12months he has been happy enough to go in his cot at bed time and not make too much of a fuss. In the last few weeks, bedtime has started to become quite hard work. Leo has been demanding more stories to be read and asking for all his toys to come in his cot. He seemed to be doing everything possible to keep me in the room with him so he didn’t have to settle down and go to sleep.

After a few particularly stressful nights in a row, last week I decided maybe he would be happier if we changed his cot into a cot bed. So, one evening last week Oli got to work and took the side off Leo’s cot (this was more difficult than it sounds!) and Leo was introduced to his big boy bed. It has not all been plain sailing but the first week in the big boy has gone much better than I was expecting, Leo seems to be happy to be out of his cot – I on the other hand am I bit sad, how is my baby in a bed already?!

Over the past week I have jotted down how everything is going, so if you are thinking about transitioning your toddler from the cot to a bed, here is some idea of what to expect…

Leo was very excited about his new bed. He enjoyed jumping in and out of it and repeatedly declaring ‘my bed, my bed!’. He had his bedtime story like normal and settled down perfectly. I was feeling super smug at this point and had convinced myself all our bedtime troubles were over. How foolish of me..

The second night in his bed was similar to the first. There was a tiny bit of moaning for another story but nothing too bad. We could hear Leo playing with his toys for about half an hour after we had put him to bed. I was happy to leave him play for a bit as it was all new and exciting and a room full of toys with no cot side stopping you, well that’s just a bit too tempting isn’t it? Leo did fall out once but I managed to get him back into bed and he settled down happily after that.

Again Leo went to bed Ok. He played for a bit again and managed to pull his mattress half off the bed when I went to check on him but apart from that he was great and in the morning I was woken up by the sound of him running to our bedroom, so cute,

Well, this is where it all started to go a bit downhill. As Leo had now figured out how to open his door, he thought it would be fun to keep coming into the living room after we put him to bed. He came in saying ‘mummy wants to read’ and then ‘Daddy wants to read’. Oli and I took it in turns to take him back to bed and when we refused more stories he screamed the house down. Eventually he got bored of shouting ‘READ!’ and we could hear him playing with his toys until nearly 10pm. Absolute nightmare, by this point my smugness from the start of the week had completely vanished.

By day 5 I was officially regretting my decision and contemplating putting the side of the cot back on. Thankfully, Leo went to bed fine and didn’t come sneaking into the living room once. He played with his toys for a little while and started crying. Oli went to see him and Leo was just sat in the middle of the room sleepy crying – I think he forgot he could get into bed by himself now.

Things were starting to get better again by day 6. We had the usual moaning for more stories and lies of being hungry to get me to stay in his room but I managed to settle Leo down quite easily. We heard him playing with his toys again (how do we stop this?) but when we went to check on him he got himself back into bed, all cuddled up under his blankets.

DAY 7.
So, last night things went downhill again – ahh! Leo settled down OK but then proceeded to come in to the living room about 20 times. At first it was funny because he was acting like a little ninja, sneaking in and then grinning at us from the door. This routine got old really fast though and I had to delve deep in to my brain and retrieve all those little tips I had learnt from watching countless episodes of Super Nanny when I was younger. I remember her saying no talking or eye contact are key in showing your child that you mean business and you are not playing games. Have you ever tried ignoring your toddler when they are trying to talk to you? It is so hard, I felt so mean. Anyway, it seemed to work as I managed to get him to stay in bed after over an hour. As usual we went to check on him and we found him asleep in the middle of the floor with a book on his face! It was hard getting him back to bed without waking him but, between Oli and I, we just about managed it.

This week has been a bit of a learning curve and a struggle at times but I am glad we have stuck with it and not gone back to using the cot. Just like it took time for Leo to adjust from being in the moses basket to the cot, I know this transition is going to take a while for us all to get used to. Although I am not loving the struggle in the evenings, I am quite enjoying staying in bed until 9, as Leo just gets himself up and starts playing with his toys in the morning. Now all I need is for him to learn how to change his own nappy and get himself breakfast and I won’t have to get up for hours!

How old was your little one when they moved into a bed? How did you all find the transition? Please let me know any tips you have on encouraging your toddler to stay in bed at night time, I would love some advice. thumbnailsize

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

What makes a parent perfect?

This morning I read an article on BBC news titled The ‘perfect’ parent. The purpose of this article, from my understanding, is to reassure parents that there is no perfect parent and it discusses different parenting styles from the worlds many cultures. The article also features a video from American comedy sketch group The BreakWomb. The sketch tells the tale of 3 mums at a ‘Mom’s support group’, admitting to lies they have told to their friends and family, in a hope to come across as the perfect parent.

I found reading about how parents do things in other cultures very interesting but it was the title of the article that really got me thinking. What is a perfect parent? Is perfect parenting an unrealistic goal for parents to have? Am I perfect? Do I care if other people don’t think I am perfect?

I have lots of questions but not many answers. I have no idea what a perfect parent is, the aforementioned article claims a love of broccoli and our children’s ability to recite Shakespeare are good examples of where Mums and Dads have done a top notch job. Frankly, I couldn’t care less if Leo is able to read A midsummer nights dream to me from memory when he is older. Yes, I would be extremely impressed but I can’t do that and, as it goes, I am a happy, round rounded adult who can think for herself; I don’t think my bad memory when it comes to the work of The Immortal Bard is a result of how my parents bought me up.

To me, my parents are perfect. Well, actually, they are perfectly imperfect and that is why I love them. I had a lovely childhood and I always knew they loved me, they still do of course. Yes, they made mistakes but I am glad they did. They taught me it is OK to get things wrong and how to deal with life when it doesn’t go to plan. My parents would both admit they are not perfect and I am glad they aren’t. I would much prefer to have the parents I’ve got than ones who stressed themselves out beyond recognition to try and achieve the, in my opinion, unattainable dream of perfection.

As for me? No, I am not perfect. How could I be? I am a first time Mum, it would be a miracle if I just knew everything and never made a mistake. I frequently suffer with mummy guilt, if I thought I was doing a perfect job these feelings would not exist. I do my best for Leo, some days I do better than others but I am always thinking of him and do what I can to make him happy. I love him unconditionally, as does his Dad, and it is very clear he loves us too. We are doing all we can to bring him up to be an independent, polite, respectful and happy child.

I never lie about my parenting to others. Yes, sometimes I might feel bad for not being able to get Leo to eat vegetables or for letting him spend hours in front of TV but I would rather talk about these things than pretend I am the type of mother people think I should be.

Will Leo think Oli and I have done a perfect job when he grows up? I don’t know. As long as he looks back on his childhood how I remember mine and is happy then I will be happy too. I don’t know what the perfect parent is, I really don’t think there is such thing. Parent’s bring their children up in all kinds of different ways. Yes, there are, unfortunately, people out there who don’t make good parents but the majority of us, well, I think we are doing just fine.

What do you think? Would you say there is such thing as a perfect parent? Or, do you think we all just need to give ourselves a break and just be happy that our children are happy? Let me know 🙂

p.s In case you are having a bad day, here is a funny video I found a few months ago from The BreakWomb..enjoy!


How many toys is too many toys?

There was an evening not too long ago where I stood in my kitchen and cried. When my confused husband asked what was wrong, I told him I was upset because Leo didn’t have many toys. Yes, I cried my eyes out because my 9 month old son only had a handful of toys. All his little baby friends had boxes overflowing with Fisher Price goodies and here was my boy with a few soft toys and only a couple expensive talking/singing ones. Living off one wage was so difficult and we didn’t have the money to pay the bills on time let alone buy fancy toys for Leo.

It is strange to think about that time now after  I have just spent 10 minutes clearing the floor so I can hoover. Thanks to Christmas, birthdays and all too generous grandparents Leo now has so many toys. Too many toys in fact. Leo has so many toys and now I could cry for a whole load of different reasons. The constant sound of creepy electronic voices and toys trying to keep going on old batteries is enough to bring me to tears. Every time I tidy up just for Leo to throw everything back on the floor 2 minutes later brings me to the edge of an emotional breakdown, Most of all I could cry because it is because of my amazing family that my son now has enough toys to fill a small nursery.
Eeep, we have run out of room in the toy box.
Although I am grateful to everyone for the toys, I am now starting to long for those days where Leo only had a small boxful. I miss the days where it only took a couple minutes to tidy up at the end of the day. Now Leo has so many toys he doesn’t know what to actually play with. He prefers to chuck everything out of the box and then proceed to throw toys around the room rather than actually play with them. Instead of sorting shapes or stacking blocks, Leo likes to empty my bag or jump off the sofa. 
Leo ‘playing’ with his toys.
I now realise that toys and possessions are nowhere near as important to a child as I thought they were that evening I cried in the kitchen. I now find myself worried about what is going to happen at Christmas when we will no doubt we be getting another onslaught of toys. Perhaps I will have to convince the husband to build an extension?
Using toys to store more toys!
Does your child have lots of toys? Or do you think only having a few is better? Tips for effective storage techniques when the toy box is overflowing would be very much appreciated.

The reality of working evenings

The word ‘mummy’ can follow a number of different words in an attempt by others, or sometimes yourself, to define what type of mother you are. These prefixes include, but are not limited to: young, old, crafty, fun, strict, amazing, natural and my favourite, the yummy mummy. Most of us will be a magical mixture of all these different types of mum but there is one place in the vast spectrum of mum subcategories where it is clear where we belong; are you a stay at home mum or a working mum?
So happy to be off to work!

Well, for most of us it’s clear. I spend all day every day with my boy and 3 or 4 nights a week I miss out on bedtime because I am off pulling pints at work. So where do I fit? If I had to put it into some kind of mathematical form, I would say I am 85% stay at home mum and 15% working mum.
The idea of spending all day with your baby and a few times a week not putting them to bed may seem like the perfect set up to all those mums out there missing out on time with there kids while working 9 to 5. I am not complaining but sometimes working in the evening is not all it is cracked up to be.
I dedicate this list to all my fellow  15% working mums.
The reality of working evenings…
* You get to spend all day every day with your baby.
* You spend all day thinking about going to work.
* If you go out for the day you always end up in a rush trying to get home in time.
* Tea time is usually a mad rush, especially if you have had to waste precious time getting your little one to eat.
* Your toddler will manage to smudge food somewhere on your uniform but it’s a miracle if there is another clean one in the house.
* Sometimes your baby will cry when you leave and act as though you are abandoning them forever.
* Other times they really couldn’t care less and get grumpy that you’ve interrupted Mr Tumble to give them a kiss.
* Once in work you will have to remember, though they may sometimes act like them, customers are not toddlers.
* Between the hours of 6 and 7 you will be wandering how the bedtime routine is going and if your little one is behaving for your other half.
* Even though everything is always fine, you still feel the need to text and check baby is happily in bed..every time.
* You feel bad that you’re not at home to kiss your baby good night.
* If you have had a long, hard day doing the mum thing then dealing with grumpy customers will be particularly challenging.
* After a full day of toddler talk you are glad for some adult conversation with your colleagues.
* Come 10pm you are knackered.
* By 11pm you are starting to resemble a zombie and wish everyone would go home already.
* When you finally get home you are no longer tired, ahh!
* Most nights you will stay up stupidly late binge watching (insert tv show here).
* Your husband will be fast asleep and you will have to climb into bed like a ninja.
* You never really get a day where you are not doing any work.
* Evenings off with the husband are sacred.
* Rarely do you both have a full day off together
* You save £££s in childcare bills.
* You wouldn’t change it for the world all because of the first point on this list.
Happiest when we’re together.

Do you work evenings? How do you find it?
The Twinkle Diaries
Mums' Days

Tales from the potty. Chapter 1

Have you done a poo poo?

Leo is rapidly approaching his second birthday. My little boy is growing up and he is becoming less baby and more toddler every single day. This last year has seen Leo fly through lots of different milestones: walking, talking, understanding and loads more. For the last couple of months we have  slowly been working towards the next major milestone, potty training!

I can’t believe that my little man is ready for this but he so nearly is. I have decided to keep a diary of all our potty training ups and downs so I can keep track of how well (or not!) Leo is doing and so other mums can see what potty training is like from the very begining. So without further adue, welcome toTales from the potty.

From around the time Leo turned about 20 months there has been a lot toilet talk going on in this house. Before I even consider buying a potty, let alone try and get Leo to use it, I feel it is really important to teach him all about the poo’s and the wee’s. Now Leo is understanding so much more of what we say, I am starting to talk to him about what’s going on in his nappy.

Whenever there is that all too familiar smell in the air I ask Leo ‘have you done a poo poo?’. At first he didn’t have a clue what I was  on about but in recent weeks he has started to respond by either saying ‘yes’ or just repeating ‘poo poo’. During nappy changes I will declare the contents of his nappy to the world- ‘Oh look Leo, wee wee!’. It might sound a bit odd but Leo is starting to understand what is going on and sometimes, very rarely, he will come and tell me when he has gone number 2.

I feel this very early stage of potty training is often overlooked when reading toilet training tips and guidelines. How can we possibly expect our children to use a potty if they don’t know what a poo is? Leo is not quite ready for the next step, the little (gross) accident in the bath last night might be a good example as to why, but I intend to continue to prompt and ask him about his toilet habbits until we are ready to venture to Boots or Mothercare and buy him some pull ups and a potty. Like I said, I have been talking about this with Leo for atleast 2 months, I am not going to rush him. I know people who have decided by what age their child will be potty trained, this is not the route I plan to take. When he is ready, we will both know.

Hopefully see you again soon for the next chapter of Tales from the potty.

Have you started potty training your little one yet? I would be very interested to hear how you are getting on.

A letter to new breastfeeding mums

Dear new mummy,

Congratulations, your little baby is here. Well done you for choosing to breastfeed, you are about to start an incredible, emotional, rollercoaster journey. I am writing this letter to you to tell you what breastfeeding is really like. All the things your midwife has purposefully forgottten to tell you about I will share with you now. I don’t wish to put you off but it is good to be prepared for what is to come. Before I go any further let me just say, if in these early days you find breastfeeding is not for you after all, try not to beat yourself up about it. It is your decision how you choose to feed your baby and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. So, let’s get to it – the truth about breastfeeding.

The very first time you feed your baby may pass by in a bit of blur. You will still be running high on adrenaline and whatever pain relief you used during labour. The attention of the midwife will have switched to the opposite end of your body, she may now be trying to guide your nipple into your baby’s mouth instead of putting her hands ‘down there’ trying to feel the baby’s head, as she was doing only moments ago.

Don’t let this drug fueled first feed fool you, breastfeeding hurts. I wish this part wasn’t true but it is. I used to hold both my breath and my husbands hand for the first 10 seconds of every feed in those early days. The pain is not unbearable though, invest in some nipple cream and have lots of warm flannels at the ready. Once your baby is happily latched on the pain subsides and there is nothing quite like looking down at your newborns face, enjoyng the milk only you can give them.

In a couple days time something weird will happen, you will wake up and your boobs are going to be full to burst. When this happened to me I cried, a lot. Up until this day you have been feeding your baby colostrum (or ‘liquid gold’ as the midwives call it), now for some stupid reason, all you milk has decided to collect in your boobs at once. You and baby now have the scary task in front of you of sorting out your supply. This is not as difficult as it may seem, I promise. The best way to relieve the pain of your milk coming in is to feed your baby. It will probably be the last thing you want, a tiny mouth sucking on your over sensitive breast, but it will help with the pressure and will help your body to figure out its supply.

The next few weeks will pass by in a blur of night feeds, visitors, films and countless cups of undrunk, cold tea. Slowly but surely you and your baby will start getting a hang of things and by 6 weeks you should be starting to feel a lot more comfortable about this whole breastfeeding thing. You are likely to spend most of these early weeks sat on the sofa just in a nursing bra – this is great for skin to skin bonding with you baby, not so good for shareable mummy and baby photoographs.

Your boobs are going to develop a mind of there own and they will probably try and embarrass you on a daily basis. Showering becomes a risky game, warm water and full breasts do not mix well; sometimes you will leave the shower feeling dirtier than when you went in. Just when you think your supply has settled down, you will be feeding your baby and the other boob will get bored and decide to be funny. I learnt the hard way, always pack a spare bra, breast pads and top when leaving the house!

Breastfeeding in public, it’s something you probably stressed loads about when you were pregnant but it just takes a bit of getting used to. The double vest top method was a firm favourite of mine and I found it to be more discreet than attempting to hide my baby under a blanket. At the end of the day, breastfeeding is natural and if anyone tries to say anything to you then they are obviously stupid idiots. Please don’t ever feel you should hide away and feed your baby in a toilet, no one should be made to do that. You have every right to breastfeed your baby in public and although it’s daunting at first it really does get easier.

It is likely you are about to develop an appetite leaving you convinced you could actually eat a horse, and them some. This was a shock to me, in the first month or so of breastfeeding I was eating twice as much as when I was pregnant. If you are one of the lucky ones, breastfeeding will become the easiest diet you have ever been on. Although you may be eating more than ever, your baby will be stealing all your extra calories and loosing that mummy tum may turn out to not be so difficult after all.

You and your baby are going to share some lovely special moments over the coming days,weeks,months and maybe even years. Try and treasure as much of this time as you can. I have so many fond memories of feeding my son: he used to grab my belly as a new born, stroke my face once his arms were long enough and twiddle my hair. Sometimes I would tickle him and he would giggle as he fed. If you are struggling with feeding now and it is all scary and new, just think of all the lovely moments you have to look forward to.

There are probably going to be days where it all feels too much and you just want to switch to bottle feeding. Your baby may have been attached to you all day and fed all night but they are still crying, this doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong, babies just can be awkward sometimes.

When the day comes and you decide your breastfeeding journey is over, don’t feel guilty. Be proud of what you have achieved, even if you only breastfeed your baby once today and decide that’s it, you have still given your baby something amazing. If, like myself, you have a happy, successful feeding relationship with your baby, when the last feed has ended you will feel both sad and proud. You will be sad you will no longer have this special time with your baby but you will look at your growing child, so much bigger than they are now on their first day, and think..

‘Wow, those chubbly little cheeks and dimply thighs, chunky wrists and sparkly eyes – my boobs did that. Go me, I’m awesome!’

Once it is all over, you will miss it. You may not think that now as you struggle to get feeding started, or in a few days time when your nipples are hurting, but one day you will miss it. As your toddler sits drinking a beaker of cows milk, a year on from your last feed, you will hopefully remember your breastfeeding journey and smile.

Wendy x 

The Twinkle Diaries


What my blog means to me

It has been 2 and a bit months since I started this blog. When I sat down to write my very first post all those weeks ago I never expected that my blog would become such an important part of my life.

Blogging has become a much loved hobby and I now spend more time reading other blogs than I do books, this is a big deal for me! I feel like I am gaining so much from my blogging experience and I never imagined my little corner of the internet would end up meaning so much to me.

5 things my blog is to me…

1. A scrapbook

I have always been one for taking photographs and keeping little things to remember places I have been and things I have seen. Since Leo arrived I have turned into some crazed photographer and I have thousands of pictures waiting to be printed and put in an album or frame. My blog is a place where I can keep my photos with the memories written up along side them. In the future I can look back on this blog and not only will I see lots of photos but I will alo be able to remind myself of where the pictures were taken and how I was feeling and what Leo was like when they were taken etc etc. Also, a digital scrapbook takes up significantly less room than actual scrapbooks, always a bonus in a house running dangerously low on storage space!

2. Something just for me
Naptime Natter is my blog, it may be one of thousands of other parenting blogs but this one is mine. I started this blog because I wanted to, not because someone told me to. I have always enjoyed writing and it is a very personal hobby, it is something I don’t have to share. As a mum I have little time to do things just for me, in the precious moments where Leo is sleeping it is nice to know I have something I can do that i enjoy and is not a complete waste of time, like watching Hollyoaks for example (guilty pleasure!).  

3. Therapy
Sometimes being a mum is hard work. We all have those days where nothing is going right or we feel like we can’t cope. Having a good old rant about Leo’s bad behaviour, talking about things that are stressing me out or reading posts from happier days really makes me feel more positive. Even if I spend an hour furiously typing and not one person comments it doesn’t bother me; sometimes just putting how you are feeling into words and getting it all out is enough to make you feel better. Finding posts by other bloggers who are experiencing similar difficulties to you is always a great comfort when you are feeling alone and don’t know what to do.

4. Inspiration
Reading other blogs as well as writing your own come hand in hand with the blogging experience. Before I started my own blog I had only nosed around a handful of other parenting blogs, now I am reading several different blogs every week. From reading other peoples blogs I have been inspired to do lots of different things. I have discovered lots of fun childrens recipes, craft ideas and toddler activities and have read lots of posts that have made me laugh and cry. Also, other bloggers have inspired me to work on my own writing skills and imrpove my own blog in the process. 

5. A place to meet new people
There are so many parenting blogs out there. This can feel over whelming sometimes, like your voice isn’t going to be heard amongst the thousands of other bloggers sharing their own stories. Don’t worry though, if you put the effort in people will read what you have to say and you willl start get to know lots of new people. I am slowly beginning to form online relationships with other bloggers and through people commenting on my blog I am recieving lots of great advice and support. Every parenting blogger I have spoken to so far has been nothing but lovely. As I only have a small network of friends where I am currently living, it’s nice to know there are thousands of like minded people just a few clicks away who are doing what I am doing: bringing up a baby and telling the world all about it!

Has your blog had a big impact on your life? What do yoou love about blogging? I would love to know.

Mums' Days

My monthly bucket list – June

I have just discovered a new linky, yay! My Monthly Bucket List is hosted by Beth over at Twinderelmo. The idea is simple, just write a list of all the things you want to do/achieve in the next month.

I love this idea as I am always saying things I want to do but I either forget all about it or just never get around to actually doing it. So I am hoping my monthly bucket list will help me keep on track of all the different things I want to do and get inspiration from all you other lovely bloggers out there.

1. Exercise more
With our holiday just a mere 2 weeks away I am attempting a last minute push to tone up the tum so I feel more secure and comfartable in my bikini. My aim is to do this 5 minute ab video every single day, eep!

2. Have a lovely holiday
On the 15th June we are jetting off to Majorca on our first family holiday. I am so nervous about everything: the flight, the accomodation, the sun and everything! I am going to make it my mission to try not to stress too much and just enjoy a week away with my 2 favourite boys, making lots of wonderful memories.

3. Tart up the blog
I have not made a single change to my blogs layout since I started it at the end of March. There are lots of things I want to do like change the design a bit, add fancy share buttons and maybe add an InstaGram feed.

4. Take Leo to a Zoo

Leo has been to Folly Farm a couple times now and he loved it. He loves all his books about jungle animals and I think he’s over the farm thing now, I think he would like a trip to the zoo.

5. Make banana bread
Bananas and bread, Leo’s 2 favourite things! I love baking but I am conscious that I might be giving Leo too many sweet treats. Banana bread isn’t exactly healthy but it’s a much better option for a snack than homemade cookies..and I bet it’s just as yummy.

6. Watch Psycho
This one might seem a bit random but I really need to see this film. Oli and I have been watching Bates Motel on Netflix, we have just finished season 2 but the next one is not on there yet – disaster! So in order to keep the creepy, twisted Norman Bates in my life a little longer I have decided we need to watch the Hitchcock classic that inspired the series..pillows at the ready!

See you next month to see how much of this I actually did!

Thanks for hosting this great Linky Beth, everyone go check out  twinderelmo if you have a chance 🙂

The truth about mummy guilt

I thought about a million and one different things when I was pregnant. I worried about the pain of labour, I imagined holding my new baby for the first time, I wandered what breastfeeding would be like. A million and one different things but not once did I think that becoming a mother would mean I would have to battle feelings of guilt almost every single day.

Everyone knows everything when you are pregnant. Friends, family and complete strangers  love to offer up their advice, tips and horror stories about parenthood. Amongst the gruesome labour tales, the advice on soothing a crying baby and everything else people told my pregnant self, not once was I told that there is such thing as ‘mummy guilt’ and that I was going to question my capability as a mother on an all to regular basis.

So after 9 long months of waiting for my baby, filling my head with as much information as I could possibly cram into my brain, Leo arrived and I was beyond happy. Everything was perfect and I loved him more than I ever could have imagined. As the babymoon ended, Oli went back to work and I settled in to becoming a stay at home mum, the unheard of mummy guilt reared its ugly head. Leo would cry every evening for about an hour for no reason at all, I was convinced it was my fault and I had done something wrong. When his little baby friends were sleeping through and he was still waking for 3 night feeds, again I thought it was my fault. At 5months I began giving him a bottle feed instead of breastfeeding him at bedtime as I had been told it would help him sleep, the guilt I felt over this was almost unbearable – how selfish of me, stopping my child having breastmilk at bedtime so I could get some extra sleep. When Leo turned 6 months I wanted to completely switch to formula but the guilt was all consuming, we carried on until he was 10months, by which point we had both had enough.

But even as I started to get in to the swing of things, Leo was growing up happy and healthy, mummy guilt didn’t go away. Now I get it more so than at the start, perhaps over things  that are not as important but mummy guilt is not choosey when it comes to making you feel inadequate. If I decide me and Leo are staying in for the day then I’m convinced I am a bad mother for not taking him to do something fun. I feel pangs of guilt for letting him eat biscuits, watch The Gruffalo repeatedly, napping in his pram not the cot, when he doesn’t eat his veg, the list just goes on and on and on.

A couple of days ago I let Leo binge watch Peppa Pig on Netflix for about 2 hours, not so I could do the housework or anything productive, I was just really tired. I didn’t really think about it at the time but when I was driving later on that day the guilt appeared to give me a slap around the face. You awful woman, you could have spent those 2 hours in the park or at soft play or reading books, how could you just sit on the sofa doing nothing? I felt absolutely awful, I felt like a horrible, selfish person and a pathetic excuse for a mother. We got home and I thought about it some more, I decided to try and rid my mind of these horrible thoughts.

I thought about what Leo was doing when we were watching Peppa pig:
Was he happy? Yes.
Was he safe? Yes.
Was he loved? Of course he was!

So why did I need to feel guilty? Yes I could have spent that time in the park or at soft play but he was just as happy cuddled up on the sofa with his mummy watching his favourite TV programme. Yes maybe 2hours was a bit excessive but we don’t do it all the time. In fact, most mornings we are off doing something fun but when you are caught in the tight grasp of guilt none of these days out matter, all you can focus on is this one morning wasted watching TV.

I am yet to understand why these feelings happen. I always put Leo first and I love him so much and completely unconditionally. So why when I am trying my best at bringing him up do I feel like I am not doing enough? What is a ‘perfect’ parent anyway and who’s to say it’s not me just because I let my child indulge in a bit of TV and occasionally let him eat food that isn’t good for him? Is it other parents, is it society? Unfortunately, I think it is me. Well no, that’s not strictly true, it’s not normal rational thinking me. It is insecure, self doubting me. The me that was born when Leo was. Reading other parenting blogs has shown me I am not the only person who feels this way, for a long time I thought I was. Other bloggers have taught me that ‘mummy guilt’ is just another thing us parents have to go through as part of our journey through parenthood.

I am learning the best way to deal with these thoughts is to accept that I am not perfect and to be happy in that knowledge. I love my son and he loves me, as long as he is happy, healthy and smiling then I know I must be doing something right. And he is, my boy is so so happy. Whenever mummy guilt judges me for having a sneaky bit of chocolate in the kitchen or going out to work in the evening instead of putting Leo to bed, I am just going to remind myself that I am doing everything I can to make Leo happy and I am allowed to do things for myself sometimes as well. After all, I am an actual person too.

Does anyone else suffer from irrational feelings of guilt now they are a parent? I would love to know your thoughts on this. Also, is Daddy guilt a thing or are these feelings just woven in to the strands of female DNA? I would be interested to find out.

This post is linked with…

Not your average baby names

When the new royal baby arrived at the beginning of this month the whole country became obsessed with what the princess was going to be called. For weeks people had been betting actual, real life money on what name the Duke and Duchess would give to their new daughter. They settled on Charlottle Elizabeth Diana, it’s a beautiful  name but I am willing to place a bet myself that Kate and William don’t actually call her that.

You’re probably wondering what I am on about. Well, before Leo was born we spent months agonising over baby boy and girl names, like most pregnant couples do. We finally agreed on Leo James for a boy and Mia Rose for a girl. This decision was not an easy one but when our baby arrived, a boy, we knew straight away he was Leo.

Well now, 21 months in to parenthood I am thinking maybe the whole baby naming process didn’t need to be so stressful afterall, as we hardly ever call Leo by his actual name. If I need his attention or if he is being naughty then yes, I do call him Leo. But when it is just me and him going about our day just talking and playing I call him a whole range of different things.

Unlike the months of searching through lists of baby names Oli and I had to endure while I was pregnant, these weird and wonderful names come to me with absolutley no effort at all. I am not talking about your darlings and your sweethearts, I am talking about the strange little nicknames we give to our babies.

Here are a selection of my not so average baby names for Leo..

Cuddle bunny

Mr Cuddles

Stink bum

Lil bug

Mr Moo

Buggy boo

Sleepy bunny

Mr Stink


Bum bum

Crazy child

Oli’s contributions..

Leo the flea-o


My son and heir

Now I have written them down I am concerned I may have a problem! Some sound a bit horrible but they are all always said lovingly so don’t worry. Anyone else call their children weird things like this? I am by no means saying that when your child is born you should name them something like this; all I am saying is I find it quite funny how baby naming is such a hot topic when you’re pregnant but once your baby is here you rarely call them by that name you spent months agonising over.

Any pregnant ladies reading this please don’t take this that you should call your baby something like cuddle bunny, you need to think of them making friends and getting a job and all that other stuff we stress about when choosing names. But in the walls of your own home you can call your little sweethearts any lovely name you want, until they are old enough to protest that is.

I wander what nicknames Kate and Wills have given the royal baby? Hopefully something more imaginative than little princess….

The Twinkle Diaries

7 things only mums can get away with

A couple of weeks ago I wrote 7 things only toddlers can get away with. A few of you got commenting and we seemed to all agree that our little darlings can get away with a hell of a lot more than us grown ups.

Well, this got me thinking and I have realised that as mums (and dads) we get away with lots of stuff that people would probably judge us for if we didn’t have kids. So don’t dismay my fellow parents, like your little cherubs, you can also get away with certain things that would have possibly be considered inappropriate before parenthood began (I will leave you decide if this is a good thing or not!).

7 things only mums can get away with…

1. Sleep in the day.
When you first have a baby the phrase ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ gets thrown around a lot. Leo was not a good sleeper at all so whenever he was napping so was I! I don’t really think sleeping for 4 hours in the day is how you should be spending your time if are not a parent, surely there are more important things you should be doing. This point does not apply to students, students seem to think napping is a degree requirement for some reason – I was not an exception.

2. Blame everything on baby brain.
Oh I have used this one a lot, Leo is nearly 2 and sometimes I still pull this old gem out the bag. We all know what it’s like, once you say hello to your baby you also say goodbye to all your functioning brain cells (well not all but a lot!). Crying at TV adverts, loosing your phone that is in your hand and putting baby’s clothes on inside out can all be blamed on the infamous baby brain.

3. Eat a ridiculous amout of cake.
Now I am not saying you can’t eat cake if you are not a parent, but what I am saying is once you have a baby you have a lot more opportunity to eat cake. For example..baby is born and someone bakes a congratulations cake, you take baby to play group and there is free cake, you need to eat an extra 500calories a day because you’re breastfeeding so you eat cake, baby is sleeping and you’re bored so you bake a cake. The list goes on!

4. Be late for things.
Friends and family warned you it would happen but you didn’t believe them, once you become a parent it will take you forever to get out the house. In the early days getting out and about is particularly challenging. You will feed your baby, dress them, change their bum and just as you’re half way out the door they will cry for more food and then proceed to be sick before doing yet another poo. The battle doesn’t stop when you have a toddler, you have to wrestlle shoes and a coat on them and try and strap them into a car they really don’t want to be in. Don’t worry though, when you do finally arrive no one will be mad because you are never expected to be on time when you have a child in tow.

5. Have a messy house.
There are just not enough hours in the day to get all the housework done and entertain a small child. I would feel a bit on edge if I went to someone’s house and it was immaculate and sat playing in the corner was a happy little toddler. Don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t dirty but it is definitely a mess. Throughout the day there are toys all over the floor, random beakers about the place and a washing machine full of clothes. Come bedtime the place is transformed to a place that almost resembles a toddler free home, if you ignore the big pile of toys in the corner that is.

6. Live in your pyjamas.
So it’s 3 in the afternoon, your child has worn enough different outfiits today to put Lodon fashion week to shame and yet here you are still in your pyjamas. When Leo was small I wore pjs pretty much constantly for the first coupple weeks, I am not even exaggerating..I have photos that prove it. I didn’t even care if people came to visit, I had been up all night they  were lucky if I bothered brushing my hair let  alone get changed out of my beloved pjs.

7. Get your boob out in public
This one is pretty self explanatory….

Like I said before, I will let you decide if these are perks of parenthood or not. But just remember..next time your child is throwing a tantrum in the shop and you really wish it was acceptable for you to do the same, atleast you get to go home to your messy house, sit in your pjs and eat cake and no one is allowed to judge you..and on top of all that you get to have lovely baby cuddles aswell…everyone wins!

Got anything you want to add to this list? I would love to know your thoughts.

The week off work

A week of ups and downs.

I’m back! I have majorly neglected my blog this past week or so as I have had so much going on. I haven’t had a chance to chill and have any me time really as me and Oli both had the week off work. 

We spent most of last week with our parents up in mid Wales. It was a funny old week, lots of tears but also lots of laughter. We were meant to be spending the week having a family holiday in Ilfracombe Devon, but due to the loss of my Nan plans had to change.

The start of our week was quite uneventful. We were still in Swansea, I had an opticians appointment – so exciting! I did get some new glasses though which is always fun; it turns out my bad headaches could be a result of wearing contacts with a perscription nowhere near strong enough, ooops!

We traveled up to mid Wales on Tuesday in a car that was full to burst, how can one small person need so much stuff?! We spent some time with my parents then went over to Oli’s to catch up with his mum and dad and play with the lovely Millie. Leo and the puppy seem to be getting on a bit better now, he even giggles when she jumps on him and can sort of say ‘don’t bite’ when she to nip him, we’re making progress anyway! I spent Tuesday night at my nans house with my mum, aunty, cousin and sisters. We drank wine, cried and made photo boards ready for the funeral the next day.

The day I had been dreading for over a week finally arrived and we said our last goodbye to my wonderful Nan. It was a really hard day and after being fairly good on the crying front, I can say all the tears I had stored up came rushing out. Leo spent the day and night with Oli’s parents so I didn’t have to worry about him. Although it was a very sad day, the sun was shining and lots of family attended so I think Nan would have been happy. I’m still struggling to come to terms with loosing her but I know from experience that that these things take time and the pain never goes completely.

After the emotional day before, we spent most of Thursday just chilling out. We spent some more  time at Oli’s parents house and in the afternoon I even managed to have a nap while Oli took Leo off on a play date, this never happens! In the evening we all had a lovely curry and just chatted. Oli slept over at his parents with Leo so I could have a lie in the next day, as it was my birthday!

I woke up Friday morning another year older, I wouldn’t say I was any wiser though! Even though Leo was over his Nanny and Grampy’s house I still managed to wake up at half 7, stupid body clock! It was nice to spend a couple hours just doozing in bed before Oli and Leo arrived with my birthday treats. Leo (well Oli) got me a lovely little personalised notebook, I am a bit of a stationary freak so I absolutley loved this gift. After all the present opening, breakfast cooked by my lovely husband and some general lazing around we all went up to the beautiful Elan Valley, if you are ever in Mid Wales you must pay it a visit. We had some lovely lunch and had a drive around looking at the beautiful sceneary and we had a little walk up at the largest dam. This ended in disaster though as Leo wanted to catch some random chickens that were wondering around, cue massive tantrum! Friday night I found myself child free again as Oli and I headed off for a meal and to the cinema. The food in Frankie and Benny’s was lovely but pretty expensive for what it was – although I would have paid any money for the peanut butter cheesecake, amazing! We watched Pitch Perfect 2, which I enjoyed but Oli claims he hated eventhough I caught him laughing on more than one occasion.

Believe it or not, Oli’s birthday is the day after mine. Oli chose to spend his birthday morning playing golf, they tee’d off at 8am the crazy fools! While Oli was off on the golf course with his Dad and brother, I spent the morning baking him a birthday cake. I love baking but have never been able to bake a cake as well as my mum. Taking full advantage of the fact we were at home, I enlisted my mum as my assistant baker and together we created a masterpiece. When the men folk returned, Oli had lost but thankfully it was his birthday so he was still in a good mood, we headed off for our second lunch out in as many days. Can you guess where we went? Full marks if you said the golf club, boys will be boys hey. We had a lovely lunch followed by the amazing cake I made! Friday night Oli went out with his mates drinking, I was told I could ‘go if I wanted but it’s sort of a boys night’ , we’ve all heard that before! After a busy week I was kind of happy to just have a bath, watch a film and get to bed; I really must be getting old.
After a busy week with the family it was time to return to Swansea. I had a lovely chat with my mum, had another cry about Nan and realised I really didn’t want to leave. Although the funeral has been there is still so much stuff that needs sorting out and I feel kind of guilty that I won’t be there to help. We had a major operation of loading up the car then it was time for lots of goodbye hugs before we hit the road. Leo has pretty much figured out which grandparent is Nana and which is Nanny and he had an amazing time with all his cousins, aunties and uncles. When we arrived home, after a standard stop at Maccie D’s for a hungover Oli, we just collapsed on the sofa while Leo got reacquainted with his beloved books and George and Peppa. 
Although the week wasn’t spent having a fun time in Devon like it was meant to be and despite the sad circumstances, Oli and I both enjoyed our week off work. The best bit was being able spend pretty much all day together as family for a whole week. Leo loved having Daddy around all the time. I wish we could just hurry up and win the lottery so we could spend every day together. Oh well, we are off to Majorca for a week next month so can’t complain too much!

Family trip to the cinema

Being masssive film lovers ourselves, Oli and I have been desperate to take Leo to the cinema since he was about 1.
Although he could easily watch TV for hours at home, I just kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong at the cinema;
What if the dark scared him?
What if it’s too loud?
What if other cinema goers get annoyed at us?
What if he throws a massive tantrum?
What if he throws popcorn everywhere?
Last week I read these tips from Hannah at mums days and decided to ignore all the what ifs and just go for it. So yesterday with a bag full of toys and snacks and head full of tips, Oli, Leo and I set off on our first ever family trip to the cinema.

The cinema..
We went to our local Vue cinema, a place where me and Oli spent many a date night before Leo came along. Vue cinemas do special kids screenings every Saturday and Sunday, Kids AM. The films they show are not brand new so the tickets are cheaper than normal. It cost us just over £10 for 3 tickets, a child’s popcorn/chocolate/drink combo and a tea and a coffee..very reasonable for a trip to Vue. While Oli was buying everything me and Leo had a run around, looking at the sweet counters, looking at the big posters and watching the small screen showing trailers. When it was time to go in I was feeling extremely tense. Was this morning doomed to be a disaster and a massive waste of time and money? There was only one way to find out. . .

The experience..
As we walked into Screen 1, I was holding both Leo’s hand and my breath. All the ‘what ifs’ came flying to the front of my mind, I was nervous to say the least! My heart sank as Leo came to an abrupt stop as soon as he saw the screen. After a couple of seconds of opened mouthed, staring face he then gave a smile and proceeded to drag me to our seats…phew! We sat Leo down on a little plastic booster seat, it wasn’t very comfy so we padded it out with our coats and Leo had his favourite blanket. Luckily we only had to sit through 5 minutes of trailers before the film started. Leo sat quietly eating his popcorn and chocolate for nearly  half an hour before he started trying to climb down. I took him for a walk up and down the stairs and in the space by the door for about 15 minutes. We sat watching from the stairs for a little while then it was Oli’s turn to take over. There were only about 4 other families there so I didn’t feel too guilty about letting Leo run around. For the last 15 minutes Leo sat on Oli’s lap and by some miracle we made it all the way through the film, success!

The film…
There was only limited choice for the Kids AM screenings, Into the woods or The hero of color city. We ended up going for the latter as I couldn’t see Leo sitting through a film that wasn’t animated. The film was about crayons who have to save their city and their colour from some unfinished drawings. To be honest I wasn’t watching it properly as I was busy keeping Leo happy. Leo seemed to enjoy it though, the bright colours and songs seemed to entertain him, he particularly liked the little unfinished flying creature drawing, waving his arms whenever it was on screen. The film wasn’t very good but Leo enjoyed it so that is all that matters.

The verdict…
I would say our first ever trip to the cinema was a massive success. Leo was really well behaved, he didn’t cry once and no one got annoyed with us..yay! I ended up not needing any of the emergency supplies I packed and we all had a great morning. I am glad we went, me and Oli couldn’t stop smiling at Leo’s little face, he was amazed by it all. I can’t wait to take him again and we will definitely be using Kids AM again next time.

Anyone else taken a child under 2 to the cinema? What was your experience like? I would love to hear about it.