Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A World I'm Not Sure I Want To Raise A Child In

ArrestMeToo Katie Hopkins arrested hate crime terrorism anxiety manchester attack
Terrorism has never been real to me. Not until recently. I always knew of the bad people in the world, and the bad things that happened every day, but they existed in my life much in the same way the things I watched on television did. A parallel to my world, rather than a part of it. Terrorism was so far from home and so inconceivable that it just did not register as being real. With every passing year though, the brutal attacks I once brushed off as something limited to the far east are becoming ever more prevalent and hell of a lot more real. I miss the days of being blissfully unaware. Now, I can't help but question the state of the world I've brought a child into. A world were angry extremists can hide behind a façade of religion, of culture and of honour. Individuals who are angry at the world and who spare no thoughts for the lives they destroy, or for those left to pick up the pieces. The Manchester attack hit home. For some reason, Manchester was the first that truly scared me. I'd never really felt the fall out of an attack before. Terrorism was there for anyone who wanted to find it, the online world made that possible. But only recently though have I became more conscious of the aftermath. Of the people who are broken, the cities crushed and the fear that follows. I don't live in Manchester. I wasn't there, my heart breaks for everyone who was, but I can feel the fall out. The fear, the hatred and the inklings of racism and retaliation. We're scared. And that is the worst part of it all.

Monday, 22 May 2017

4 Steps To Fake An Influence On Instagram (And Hate It At The Same Time)

Get More Instagram Followers Cheating The Algorithm Archie.co
Instagram was always my favorite platform; that was, until the algorithm changed, and it became only that. A platform. With the change in algorithm came a change in the way I used the popular social media network, and with it, a change in the enjoyment I got from it in the first place. If you've been living under a rock - or you have more sense than to waste away on Instagram like the best of us - Instagram altered the way it displayed images. No longer was it based on when you posted, instead, pushing out posts that it perceived people to like the most. Instagram was never a platform I used to promote myself, to share my photos or to even connect with others - initially it was less about the creative aspect for me and more about the inspiration. A way to people stalk. My own feed was (and still is) mediocre, but my follow list was curated. It was a direct representation of the people I aspired to be like, the places I wanted to go and the lives I wish I had. I didn't care about followers, and felt no pressure to succumb to a the cohesive feed, brick wall backgrounds or an overhead coffee shot. My Instagram may not have been nice, but it was an accurate representation of my life, one that was not dictated by a grey demeanor, bright light and cacti.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Weaning Made Simple | Vital Baby 2 in 1 Steam And Blend Review

 Vital Baby 2 in 1 Steam And Blend Review How to start weaning
Weaning with your first child can be a bit of a minefield. With so many options, so many opinions and no experience to fall back on, it's easy to fall into the trap of buying pre-packaged pouches after pre-packaged pouches. I did, for the first 3 months, until I discovered the Vital Baby 2 in 1 Steam and Blend and realized I was throwing away money every single week when there was a simple solution. From the moment we began to think about weaning (around 3 months) - I claimed I'd be making my own baby food. I had the expectation that my freezer would be filled with blended down concoctions, all day every day. The reality of life with a baby however saw me using the 'I don't have time' excuse daily, and despite having a traditional blender ready and waiting, I never did use it - I was completely reliant on the pre-packed baby food pouches I picked up at Tesco, and they worked well for me. I still use them now, but the majority of my seven month old's food now comes as a direct result of my own culinary skills (well, that of my special blenders).

Monday, 15 May 2017

'Full-Time Parent' Is NOT an Occupation (But It's Still Bloody Difficult)

full time mum is not a job or occupation baby lying in bed with mum
A year ago, I couldn't help but roll my eyes at anyone who claimed their job title to be a stay-at-home parent. It cropped up on Facebook time and time again: 'Occupation: Full Time Mumma'. Being the judgmental person I was (and probably still am, albeit for different things), I'd automatically assume those who worked as a parent were lazy. 'Mum' was not a job-title, it was a life change, a hard one, but one that should marry alongside a career rather than replace one. I don't want to use the word 'scroungers' but at that time, I wasn't shy in labelling those who didn't return to work as exactly that - Before I ever became a mum, I was in complete belief that stay at home parents had it easy, the blissful lives I saw plastered over Instagram, and I couldn't help but tut when they likened it to a career. It was blunt, fairly harsh and completely misled, but I truly believed that people stayed at home -in part- for an easy life. In some ways, I do still stand by my outdated opinion, but in most, I now realize I probably missed the mark.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

5 Mistakes I Made On Maternity Leave: Hindsight Is A Wonderful Thing

going back to work return to maternity leave baby boy mama et moi
Tomorrow marks my return to work. It's been coming for a long time, but only as my six month long maternity leave comes to an end can I truly realize how much I will miss it. I'll miss the little moments, the fleeting cuddles and the ease of fitting in a stroll around the shops. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and only now can I look back and be aware of the mistakes I've made on my 'extended holiday' with Harrison. They are not necessarily mistakes, but choices that I now look back on and kick myself for making them at the time. As cliche as it sounds, each of them taught me a lesson I probably needed to learn going forward, but it doesn't mean I don't look back in hindsight and wonder how my time on maternity leave would have spanned if I had done it differently. I have no regrets, but I have a few alterations I'd make if ever I find myself on the ever allusive nine month holiday ever again.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

On My List: APRIL Home Essentials | Feature Walls, Plants and Piece Of Mind

The early stages of decorating an entire house is no more than an excuse to write excessive homeware wish-lists, or at least, it is for me. We have now reached the stage where the construction work is complete, and I can actually make use of the lists I've created over the last month. In April, my home essentials were less essential, and more sporadic. My mind has been all over the place, and I can't seem to focus in on one area, which is reflected in my choices below.. This month, I can't seem to walk past a plant without sneaking it into the basket, and I've been spending obscene amounts of money on oversized books I'll probably never read...

Monday, 24 April 2017

I Think I Might Be Pregnant | Two Under Two?

There is not a longer thirty seconds in life than the wait for the result of a Clear Blue. Whether willing for a positive or willing it away, it's hard to relax whilst you wait. I've done four since Harrison was born. Four times in five months I've sat waiting, wondering if my life will change forever again. One surprise baby has been hard enough, but two? Two under two is unimaginable to me, and if I could shake the fear of an unplanned pregnancy right now my life would be significantly less stressful.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Half A Year With Harrison | The 6 Month Update

We've had 182 days with Harrison. 4331 hours, and more minutes than I'll bother to count. It's been a journey, an amazing one at times, but also one that felt like an uphill battle for the first few months. It's taken time, very little blood, but a lot of sweat and a tonne of tears, but we've made it to Harrison's half birthday and we could not be in a better place. I feel like I'm turning into the girl I used to judge for celebrating the little milestones: I never thought I'd be one to even recognize a half birthday, but at 6 months, it feels like we're celebrating so much more than half a year. 6 months has marked a major turning point for him, and an even bigger one for me. This month, I lost my phone. I lost 6 months of pictures, of videos, of ridiculous feed updates in my notes. I lost my google search history, my favorited websites of irrational and quite frankly ridiculous suggestions on how to get your baby to sleep. I have the DSLR images I take, but those probably aren't the ones I'd miss in the long run. I want the dimly lit 5 second snapchat videos of the first night he smiled, or giggled, or the aftermath of the first poo explosion. I've been criticized for taking so many pictures of my child, for celebrating the mini milestones that aren't really milestones, for oversharing, and recently I've forgotten about the reasons I done those things in the first place. Losing the pictures and videos just confirmed in my head that I do want them, I miss them, and if I didn't have a blog of written updates, I'd have been much more upset. I want to remember the little tiny moments, the ones that don't justify the big camera, the ones that matter. I want to document the half birthdays, the silly days that don't mean anything to anyone else but us, the hard days and the ones that may otherwise go forgotten. 6 Months is a milestone for us, and will forever hold a place in my heart. At 6 months, motherhood became what I always wanted it to be.

Monday, 10 April 2017

A Flood Of Guilt and Needing More Than Mum | The Return To Work

I never imagined going back to work to be difficult. Is that bad?  Yes, it probably is.  This week, I was given my back to work date. My maternity leave will finish on the 8th May. I'd applied for an April start date, so returning this soon should not have been a surprise, but I'm now reeling. It's only hit home now. I'm reeling because I don't want to leave my child with someone else. I'm reeling because I don't want someone else to watch his 'firsts'. I want to be there for it all, and the guilt is overwhelming right now. I knew fine well all along that at some point I'd have to start sharing the firsts, I'd have to leave him and he would be perfectly ok, but suddenly the thought of it has become one that does not sit well with me.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Our New Project | The House Before The Home

UK Blogger Home Renovation Interior Design On Budget Extension
And, we have a house! I've made no secret of my frustrations over the last few months: finding a home is no mean feat, buying one is another kettle of fish completely, but low and behold we've made it through the process, and came out the other side, albeit missing a very large chunk of our savings. Now that I'm in a position where nothing can fall through, I felt it was time to update on our new home, and what we plan on doing in it. I've been slightly overwhelmed by it all. The first home I owned was supposed to be a flat. I'd always had it planned it out. A one bedroom, small flat, just for me and nobody else. A small space to decorate and to call my own. I never did quite manage that, but Jordan was a happy addition to my living situation. Add in a 6 month old baby though, and suddenly everyone needs that little bit more space. Consistent with everything else in the last year of my life, my one bed flat didn't go to plan. Last week we got the keys to our new family home. A 3 bedroom, do-er upp-er. A renovation waiting to happen, and for us, right now, a building site.


Monday, 3 April 2017

I Stained My Baby Yellow | 5 Things I Wish I Knew About Milk Bath Photography

Milk Bath With 6 month old  baby photoshoot pinterest what not to do

Milk Bath Photography has always been popular for maternity shoots, but more and more I've been seeing baby shoots crop up. It's plastered over Pinterest, and each image I came across seemed unique and beautiful in there own right. In my mind it would be easy, milk bath photography would be done by filling a bath with water and baby milk powder, then personalizing with different amounts of flowers or greenery to add a little something to the shot. It seemed simple, and having read Katie's post on capturing young babies, I felt I was more than able to capture the image I had in mind, and have a fun little experience with Harrison. Had I bothered to research more, I may have found that there can be a lot more to milk bath shoots than meet the eye, and it was maybe not going to be quite this simple. Whilst it all started off well enough, it very quickly went downhill. We had a bouquet of flowers left over from Mothers Day, a full tub of baby milk that Harrison never liked, and a bathtub - little did I know I would end our morning with a yellow baby, a smelly bath-tub and an overwhelming desire for a glass of wine. This could have all been made slightly easier, had I known a few key things before.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

First Impressions Of An Expensive Highchair | Is The NOMI Evomove Worth It?

NOMI HigH Chair EvoMove Pinterest Baby High Chair

 If you had asked me to name the product I'd expect to find most useful from birth while I was pregnant, I'd have chosen my Moses Basket, or a Baby Carrier, our Sleep Nest, maybe our Perfect Prep - never in a million years did I think a high chair would ever have even factored in. Our high chair has been more than just a high chair for us though. The NOMI High Chair is unlike any other high chair on the market; it’s more luxurious, with a focus on minimalism and style while still being durable and long lasting. It’s a dream chair, put bluntly. Before Harrison was even born, I’d spied the chair on Ash’s Instagram, and I was determined that this would be the one we would buy. This is no mean feat, Ash could sell ice to a polar bear if the ice was picture d with either of her children, but alas, the ball was now rolling. After settling on the chair, the big step for us was weighing it up with the price tag - which in comparison to the Ikea best which happened to be number two on our list, was hefty.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Being Kinder To Our Little One's Skin | A Neutral Approach

Neutral Skin Sensitive Babies Is Johnsons Bad For Babies
Disclaimer; this post was produced in collaboration with Neutral and the products were sent to me in return for a review, however as always all opinions are entirely my own.

At 5 months old, Harrison has been relatively unaffected when it comes to sensitive skin. We've had the full choice of baby skincare: we've been able to take advantage of the sweet smell of the Johnsons' products, save some money on the Aldi baby-wipes and we've never really had to look at labels, I liked to think we were in the clear.  Little did I know that one in all three children are at risk of developing skin allergies. Just because we've been lucky until now, doesn't mean we will continue to be. Although we have a child who at the moment appears to be allergy free, that doesn't mean we are not conscious of trying to minimize the risk. We've recently started weaning Harrison, and what should be in theory a nice calm meal time can often turn into what can only be described an explosion of prunes and avocado, so bath time is now more crucial than ever. That tiny little human can get his food everywhere right now, so on a particularly messy day, at times it makes more sense to dunk him in the sink than it ever would to exhaust a packet of baby wipes. This does mean that at times he can be in and out twice a day, and I'm very conscious of making sure I am as kind to his skin as possible with this additional exposure to products.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

How To Buy A House Quickly, Updating Our Space and A Lack Of Patience | A £50 Posterlounge GIVEAWAY

The house buying process can be a long winded and dragged out one, and 3 months in,  I'm not surprised I'm already considering trying to redecorate our current house in the meantime.  Our offer was accepted in January, and while we look to get the keys next Friday, my impatience has gotten the best of me. Wouldn't it be great if buying a house was like shopping in Tesco: 3 bedrooms, a garden and seemingly respectable neighbors? In the basket, and we could unload the rest of our shopping at our new home. If only. It may be long winded, but from my experience there are 5 simple steps we can all  take to ensure both the mortgage and the legal steps following go through without a hitch.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Is It Normal To Feel Like This? | Post-Partum Low Self Esteem

Post Partum Low Self Esteem
 Last weekend I had a tantrum. More than a tantrum: let’s just say it lay somewhere on the spectrum between a tantrum and a breakdown. My reasoning? I had nothing to wear. Something as simple as going out for a family dinner had me reeling, I had not one possible option in my wardrobe that would work, and if I had been given the option to I’d have missed the occasion altogether. Recently, this has been happening more often than not. I don’t get the chance to go out for dinner, or drinks, or girls nights nearly as much as I used to, but when I do it’s now almost always tainted with the pressure of finding something to wear. It may sound odd - it probably would have if I was reading this myself prior to falling pregnant - because something as immaterial as clothes shouldn’t be able to have that much of a bearing on your outlook. But postpartum, it makes all the difference. It's been almost five months since I have birth, and whilst my general baby blues has dissipated completely, I've been left with the lowest self-esteem I've ever had.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Did We Move Him Out To Soon? | Awareness in Safer Sleep Week

Life With Boys The Essential One Safer Sleep Week Move baby to cot at 4 months
A survey released for Safer Sleep Week 2017 found that 55% of parents were not aware of the fundamental steps to reduce the risk of infant cot death; I am aware of the recommendations, but in the last few months we've not been following them - we are still sleeping safely, albeit not entirely in line with the guidelines provided by The Lullaby Trust. Awareness of how to achieve the safest sleep possible is essential for new parents, but in some cases, awareness of your childs' needs need to be weighed up. My baby needed sleep - and because of that, we took some steps that are not always recommended. My baby does not sleep through the night. He barely naps. But we have had progress - slowly but surely, we are making progress. Sleep has been hard to come across in the last few months, it has by no means been easy, and the combination of my own sleep deprivation and an over-tired baby has made daytime difficult. I've complained a lot, more often than I probably should have and this very blog turned into a dumping ground for my thoughts - majority being negative ones, but I was tired. Sad, but true. Lately, sleep has been easier to come across; we're getting there, we have some very good nights, and a bad one sporadically in between. We have daytime naps here and there and overall a much happier baby. I'm not as tired anymore. My baby isn't as tired anymore, and everything is just easier. This week marks the start of Safer Sleep Week and I feel like I can now finally update on our sleep situation without breaking down in tears. We are getting there - one night at a time.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Should We Be Swaddling At 5 Months Old? | An ErgoCocoon Winter Swaddle Review

The ergoCocoon are swaddles perfect for older babies; a simple zip up design that can keep your baby snug and securely swaddled without the need for complicated wrapping. And yet, it was a product I did not think I would ever have to use. We have swaddled from birth; with a strong startle reflex, Harrison would last mere seconds before waking himself up with his flailing arms in the early days, and even now, he is still a very 'jumpy' baby. Back in January, we had reviewed the Geo Company GroSnug, a product we had loved and that had helped us immensely, but a product that we had sadly grown out of. At 4 months old, Harrison was big for his age, and regardless, babies shouldn't still be swaddled then anyway, should they?


Thursday, 9 March 2017

Today Was A Difficult Day | Is Blogging Even Worth It?

Some days I love blogging, others, I wonder if it's worth the hassle. Set the scene.
I'm sat on the floor in my childs room, surrounded by three days worth of abandoned clothes. There is unopened boxes in one corner, filled to the brim with baby bits I probably don't need and may not ever use. Empty boxes are discarded in another, not yet thrown out. Harrison is propped between my legs, sitting unaided and completely unaware that I am entirely distracted. He's happy enough playing with his singing pot, but I'm not really there. I'm distracted from him, thinking about the blog I started because of him. I've got four posts to write at some point that day, and I'm trying to work out how I'll manage three outfit changes on a four moth old, managed miraculously around the nap time we both desperately need. My son may be close to me today, but I am not 100% there. This is not what my blog was supposed to do, and not how my maternity leave was supposed to be spent.

Monday, 6 March 2017

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant | Skipping The First Two Trimesters

I Didn't Know I was Pregnant finding out at 6 months 27 weeks
Do you think you'd notice if you were 6 months pregnant? I didn't. I'll never forget the moment. I was sitting in a lecture for work, in the far right hand corner of the room, blocked in by the cold of the stone wall on one side and a line of colleagues on the other. The lecture was on Dealing With Death as a Police Officer, not that I took anything from it. I was pre-occupied with a feeling in my stomach - I can acutely remember spending the three hours arguing with myself in my head as to what medical phenomenon it could be, appendicitis was what I settled on. There was no pain at all, but my stomach jaunting. Every so often it felt like my entire abdomen was shifting to the left, a dull slight movement, but it was enough to have me claiming an illness. At no point though, did I ever consider I could be pregnant. How many times have you read these 'I Didn't Know I was Pregnant' stories before? An unbeknown pregnancy, contractions mistaken for cramp and a crowning baby in the shopping centre toilet. Whilst my experience is not quite as extreme, I managed to spend the first 6 months of my pregnancy completely unaware, leaving myself less than 15 weeks to prepare for the baby I'd never even been trying for. Prior to my own experience, whenever I read these stories I couldn't help but think these girls were just ignoring the obvious, the signs staring them right in the face, I mean, how could you not know you were pregnant? Surely you would notice growing another human inside of you... Truth be told, looking back now, there were signs, but when your not looking for them, and with big changes in my life happening alongside, I attributed none to a pregnancy. I had an excuse for everything, and not for one minute did I think they'd add up to what they did.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Abandoning A Rigid Bedtime Routine With A Baby | Having Fun With Munchkin

4 Month Old Baby Routine Munchkin Bath Before Bed
 In the first year or so with a baby, consistency is key: at night time especially, being rigid with the schedule and having a consistent routine allows a baby to hone in on their internal clock and to set biological rhythms. It's important, and no one was more aware of that than I was. How rigid you are with the routine is completely dependent on the personality of your own baby and how easily they sleep, however, the personality of my baby, and my own style of winding down simply didn't mesh well.  I've fallen into the trap of becoming too rigid and too tense when it comes to our bedtime routine, and in short, our hasn't worked, not for a while. In my quest for any sort of sleeping pattern, I've zapped all of the fun out of our night-time routine, and with it being a raring flop, I'm ready to put at least some of the fun back in.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Are We Becoming Over-Reliant On Online Friends?

Making friends is hard enough when your not the most outgoing person, making friends as a mum, that's a new ball game all together. After falling victim to anxiety and taking a big knock in confidence after having my son, putting myself out there and making new friends has been difficult, or rather, it just hasn't happened. When I fell pregnant, I imagined maternity leave spent at Baby Sensory, on play dates or out for coffee: needless to say, I hadn't taken into account that this can be fairly difficult if you don't have the friends to do it with. My antenatal classes were fully booked when I discovered my pregnancy late on, and I'm yet to buck up the courage to walk into a Mothers and Toddlers class. Instead, I've relied heavily on the friends I've met online. My online friends.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Ready, Steady, WEAN! | Starting Our Journey With Babease

Babease Weaning Review Baby Food Starting Weaning At 4 Months
Weaning a child before they reach six months will always be debated, in the same way that the method of feeding, swaddling, co-sleeping, baby wearing, dummies, will be. Everything that could be possibly detrimental to a babies development or well-being is quite rightly a talking point, but unfortunately we seem to have reached the stage where everything is now detrimental. I'll be the first to preach that you know your own child best, and as we neared the four month mark, everything was telling me that Harrison was ready for a little more than milk. We're easing ourselves in, but so far, everything is going to plan. Whilst we've been using homemade purees for the most part, for convenience, I've not been shy to pick up one of the Babease Baby Pouches. If I'm honest, prior to being in a position where I may have to use one, I was extremely snobby about the prospect of pre-made baby food. In my naive pre-baby state, I claimed I'd never use one. 4 months on, suffering badly with sleep deprivation and with less time to myself than I could ever have imagined, sometimes a pouch is necessary. Although pouches will never retain the full nutritional value that fresh cooked purees do, they come close enough, many babies are weaned purely on them, and do just fine.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Two Ingredient Pancakes? | Guilt Free Baking With An Empty Cupboard

Guilt Free Two Ingredient Pancakes Banana and Eggs Slimming World No Flour
Set the scene. It's Shrove Tuesday; your all hyped up for your pancakes, the golden syrup dripping down, the fluffy texture, the sweet treat to pick up your mood in dreary February: your pan is at the ready, and then you realize, that like so many of us, you have absolutely nothing to make your pancakes with. I've done this more or less every year since I was old enough to touch the cooker. If I wasn't forgetting to buy every ingredient on the list, then I was probably on some far fetched diet that meant I couldn't partake in the happy day anyway, so it's safe to say Pancake Tuesday was never really my thing. Or at least, that was until I discovered two-ingredient pancakes. I make no claim to have come up with this recipe; whoever did was a bit of a genius, it's so simple, but so effective. I stumbled across it originally while looking at ways to make pancakes whilst following a fairly strict diet; but found it's also perfect for those of us who never remember the date of Pancake Tuesday...

Sunday, 26 February 2017

How To Overcomplicate Your Holiday Essentials | Could I Be A #MarkWarnerMum

If I asked you me to show me what your Top 10 Holiday Essentials were, I'd bet you any money you wouldn't choose to draw them by hand, create a very realistic (depending on how bad your eyesight may be) background, rope in a less than pleased boyfriend and an over excitable four month old and sit on the floor in an attempt to convey them. No? I probably wouldn't do it ever again either. This Sunday was dedicated to our entry for the Mark Warner Brand Ambassador Competition, and it quickly became a lot more of a task than ever anticipated. In our attempts to do something a little bit more creative, we went through two cardboard boxes, one sketch book, ran out three different colored markers and overcame two full blown tantrums (mine, not the babies). But we got there in the end.

Travel has always been a big part of my own life; a s a child, I never had to miss out. I was fortunate enough to be able to go abroad every summer, and my own memories of my holidays are only positive. Each year I'd look forward to pretending to sunbathe with my mum, getting overly involved with water-polo with my dad, to seeing the sights, to spending too much of my time on the banana boats: I longed for summer every year so that we could have the quality time I loved so much.   I can imagine nothing I'd love to do more than give Harrison the opportunity to travel, to see the little corners of the world and to be able to experience different cultures, just as I was able to. I've spent 4 months in America, three months traveling across Europe on the trains, I soaked up as much culture as I possibly could in my adolescence, and now it's time to introduce that to my own child. With such a young baby, we'll have plenty of travel essentials, don't get me wrong, but only being allowed ten options, we picked the ones we probably couldn't manage without.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Wishing Away The Newborn Days | The Essential One

Wishing Away The Newborn Days The Essential One
My son is four months old, and I've spent the last four months, longing for the next stage. The next month, the next milestone, the next step. It’s time we stop wishing away our days. I’ve been the first to do it: I couldn’t wait for the big milestones; for him to sit up, to talk, to crawl, to walk - if I'm honest, I still can’t wait. But being so focused on all of the things to come has meant that I have very much been complacent with the little milestones he’s already accomplished. I didn’t celebrate the first time he blew a raspberry, because I was waiting for the first time he said mummy, or the first time he grabbed at my hair, because I was still waiting for him to be able to grab his toys. It's not that I wasn't recognizing these milestones, I was, and I was happy about them, I was always just more focused on what else was to come. It’s easy to wish away the days, to not be able to wait for the crawling stage, or the running around stage, but I’ve spent all of my newborn days wishing for the next stage, and those newborn days I've wished away have all but disappeared. It's taken me four months to realize, but I'm now  making more of a conscious effort to take everything about every day with my son in; my time on maternity leave is quickly coming to an end, and with it, I say goodbye to my ability to fully relish in the tiny moments.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

H is 4 Months Old

Weaning Baby At 4 Months With Babease
I'm not going to mention how quickly this last month has gone, because it would seem that it's all I ever do in these monthly updates. It's hard to find another way to start these off as it is the truth; the early days pass so quickly, and with each update I can't help but realize we're quickly leaving them behind. Harrison's fourth month has been my favourite one yet. He's now more interactive than ever and super alert, but he can be a cheeky little sod and has forgotten how to sleep again, yet still, it's been my favorite month so far. In the last two weeks especially, we've bonded in a way that we never have done before, and I feel like I'm finally stepping into the role of being a mum, rather than simply a caregiver. A friend asked me today if I was enjoying being a mum, and I still don't have a straight yes or no answer - but I'm definitely beginning to enjoy it a lot more than I had been in previous months. I had never realized there was a difference before, but now, my feelings have completely changed, and I've completely rid myself of the baby blues that I've held onto for so long. He's my son, my little best friend and my motivation to make the most of our lives. He's also growing up to be one hell of a little character.

Monday, 20 February 2017

5 Reasons You May Not Be Losing The Baby Weight

5 Reasons Your Not Losing The Baby Weight Post Partum Weight Loss
It's not easy to lose weight post-partum. Let’s face it. Losing weight can be hard. Losing weight as a parent, can be extra hard. Prior to having children, it’s more of a mental barrier than anything else - whilst you may claim to have no time to exercise, or the lack the means to afford to eat healthily, or the energy to get your butt to the gym - although we may convince ourselves it’s a task too difficult to even attempt, nothing compares to the difficulty you may face after having a child. Roughly one quarter of all women retain 11lbs or more a year after giving birth, and after joining mum club, I can now empathize completely. You have less time, you have less money, and there’s no arguing with the fact you have considerably less energy - heck, I had none for the first 4 months. No one is denying it is difficult that it can be challenging to lose the excess weight, especially if your not yet in the mindset to get really stuck into it. Despite what many think though, there is no need for a complete lifestyle overhaul; there may in fact be a key reasons you cannot shed those extra few pounds, and a few small changes you can make that will make a massive difference to the results you are personally seeing.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Our Relationship Is Not The Same

The Changes In A Relationship With A Newborn Baby
I could never have imagined just how much our relationship would have changed after having a baby. Sure, we'd have less sleep. less time together, a few more financial worries, but I always thought we'd still be us. Our circumstances may change, but our relationship would always be the same. I was naive about having a baby and the impact it would have on us;  I expected our child to simply slot into our life, whilst everything else remained in tact and unchanged. Ha. If only. We've struggled, we've bickered, but we've adapted. I'm now convinced, anyone who says their relationship did not change after having a baby is blatantly lying. Going from two, to three (or more, god help you), changes everything, and whilst it is not a bad change, it’s a change accompanied by pressure, bickering, and considerably more shit than before - in the literal sense.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Living Arrows | 6/52 Take The Damn Picture

Living Arrows Family Picture

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

– Kahlil Gibran

This year I'm taking part in Living Arrows - Donna's project that celebrates all things childhood. A photo a week to document the everyday moments - 52 lots of photos I can look back on at the end of the year and see the change in him.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

How To Make Teething Suck A Little Less

How To Make Teething Suck A Little Less
Teething is brutal. It absolutely sucks. I was supposed to have months before I had to even think about it never mind deal with it. Teething can turn an absolutely perfect little angel into what can only be compared to a demon child overnight - and there’s very little you can actually do about it. Teething is frustrating. It’s been less than a month, and already I’ve had to deal with the feeling of helplessness, the exhaustion, the searing desire to find a mute button for your own flesh and blood, and it’s only going to get worse from here as we deal with his teeth cutting in. With Harrison, it went from 0 to 10 pretty much overnight, so we were very much thrown in at the deep end, and only now have we managed to find our feet a little bit in the big bad world of baby teeth. Teething sucks, and there is no getting around it unfortunately, there is no magic fix, but we have found a few things that have managed to make teething suck that little bit less.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Coming To Terms With Hating My Post-Partum Body

I Hate My Post Partum Body New Mum Baby Weight
When I fell pregnant, I did not think about how it affect my body post partum. I found myself frustrated at gaining weight the entire way through, angry as my thighs got closer, upset as my arms lost their shape and angry as my face filled out. I did not resent my bump; my bump was my baby, and that was a necessary part of having a baby, but in my own mind I couldn’t accept the changes that occurred across the rest of my body. My pregnancy body was not my body anymore, it was simply a means to an end: to have my baby, I would have to put up with being a ball for nine months. After those nine months, I would snap back and my pregnancy body would be a thing of a past. After all, in my head that’s all this was. My thicker thighs and undefined arms were part and parcel with pregnancy, when the baby left so would they and I could go back to calling myself fat at 110lbs. I never thought about my Post Partum body, because I never thought it would look the way it does. I hate my Post Partum body, but most of all, I hate the fact that I hate it.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Living Arrows | 5/52 Daddy's Boy

Living Arrows Baby In Bath Daddy's Favorite

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

– Kahlil Gibran

This year I'm taking part in Living Arrows - Donna's project that celebrates all things childhood. A photo a week to document the everyday moments - 52 lots of photos I can look back on at the end of the year and see the change in him.

I've been struggling a little this week with the motivation for continuing with this blog and what it actually means for anyone bar myself. I'll talk more about it later in the week, but regardless of whether or not I want to continue a 'parenting blog' I want to continue to document Harrison's first few years, and Living Arrows is one way to do that. No matter where I stand with my blog, I want to make sure by the end of the year I have 52 of these posts, if not, I can promise you now it's something I will deeply regret.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Travelling With A Baby | The Winter Essentials With WaterWipes

With a newborn baby, packing for a holiday was never going to be easy. I’ve tried making lists upon lists, and I’m now perfectly aware that it’s easy to pack everything but the kitchen sink despite the fact we're only going away for a few days. I’ll be honest, I will definitely overpack, and chances are, I'll definitely forget a good few bits we probably need. Given that it's a short winter break, as long as we a few certain essentials packed away with us, we should be able to make do, so I've made sure to look out our winter essentials for traveling with a newborn. Unfortunately we're not jetting off to the bahamas - if only: winter sun is nothing but a dream on the scraps of maternity allowance - we’re simply heading down to London for a weekend. It'll be bitter, cold and probably more stressful than needs be, but it's a break, and everyone could do with one of those to pick us up from the January Blues. It goes without saying there are many more essentials I'll need to pack with a baby - these are simply the ones you might not think of straight off the bat, but could make a big difference to your little one... We have gone off of recommendations from Water Wipes and Michelle Comrie, a midwife at Southampton Princess Anne Hospital to help us collate this list, and it should help us to keep Harrison content over our Winter Weekend.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Help! 12 Weeks and Teething | When NUBY gets it right

NUBY teething toy Fox Play n' Teethe  soothe teething remedies newborn
‘Teething normally begins at around 6 months of age’.

 Google, you liar.

Twelve weeks old and teething has hit us like a tonne of bricks. Our first two months of newborn life were filled with puke and discomfort, to put it bluntly. Harrison’s inability to bring up wind, and desire to feed 24/7 meant that pretty much all of his milk in the first few weeks ended up projectiled over himself, myself, or our couch. As we neared three months old, we changed milk and voila - the problem was solved and we had a little happy baby for all of three days. Cue teething to come and knock us off of our happy little pedestal. We were never going to have that easy a ride were we? If I'm honest, I hadn't given teething a second thought until it hit us head on: I thought I'd have a good few months before I even had to think of it, so I can now thank the lord we are Nuby Brand Ambassadors and they'd obviously planned more in advance than we had.

Friday, 27 January 2017

I'm a Judgmental Parent | Baby Wearing Mothers Are Pack Ponies

Loose Women Baby Wearing Mothers Are Pack Ponies
Loose Women publicized their debate on the 'Pack Pony Baby Wearing Mothers', and it's forced me to come to terms with the reality of parenting. The world of parenting is judgmental, that much, I've always been aware of. No matter what decision you make, someone will disagree, and if like me, you choose to put many of your choices online, someone will disagree publicly. Everyone judges, and that in itself is nothing to be ashamed of. I always liked to believe that I was not one of these people though when it came to parenting. I could preach to the high heavens about how much I do not judge anyone based on their own parenting decisions - but this week the ladies of Loose Women and another blogger showed me I was simply another one of those judgmental parents I claim to be nothing like.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Living Arrows | 4/52 Making The Most Of The Little Moments

Living Arrows Taking Advantage of Maternity Leave

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

– Kahlil Gibran

This year I'm taking part in Living Arrows - Donna's project that celebrates all things childhood. A photo a week to document the everyday moments - 52 lots of photos I can look back on at the end of the year and see the change in him.

This week I've been reflecting a lot on going back to work. My date was never set in stone, and I originally planned on going back around January as maternity pay was getting me nowhere. A little extra on the side from Life With Boys has allowed me to continue to push back returning to work month to month, but the reality is, I was never cut out to be a stay at home mum. I do miss working, I miss adult interaction, and feeling like I'm doing something with my day. I love being with Harrison, but I can't shake the feeling that a lot of the days seem to amount to little more than jammie days with Jeremy Kyle. It may be different down the line when Chunk is a bit older and we can go to mother and toddler, or baby sensory classes, but right now, those would be lost on my little one, and so I spend a lot of time at home doing very little. I've finally set my back to work date, and although I've given myself a few months still, I can't help but feel that it will be over before I know it. Although my days can at times drag in right now, I know fine well that the minute I have to leave H with one of his grans, or drop him off at nursery for the first time, I'll be kicking myself for not taking advantage of all of the days we did have together.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Can You Live On £2 A Day? | #2poundchallenge With Zamcog & Voucherbox

Can You Live On £2 A Day? #2poundchallenge With Zamcog & Voucherbox
It costs £2 to feed and educate a child in Zambia every single day, a mere £2 to allow them to have future prospects, and keep them healthy; well, as healthy as can be achieved through nutrition alone. Yesterday, I spent £4.40 in Starbucks before 9am - the White Chocolate Mocha’s are great - but are they worth two days worth of education and how many meals per day? Jordan was peckish last night and spent £8.00 in the Kebab shop alone. I hate to admit it, but we are throwing money down the drain. For us, we’re throwing away a few extra pounds towards our mortgage deposit. Whilst it adds up yes, it’s not leaving us hungry, or without school for a day. What would would we do if we had to live off of a measly quarter of what we are spending each per day? This week, we found out.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

H is 3 Months Old

Harrison is 3 months old. I have a three month old baby. I honestly cannot get my head around this. I can hand on heart say that my pregnancy (which was essentially just over 3 months long) felt like the longest stretch of time in the world. Every day dragged in, and the weeks didn’t go in any quicker. I was in a constant cycle of wishing my days away, whilst being terrified of what was to come. Now though, time has absolutely flown. It feels like yesterday I was bringing Harrison home from the hospital, absolutely clueless as to what I was supposed to be doing and to what motherhood would hold. Whilst it feels like no time at all has passed since then, I also cannot remember a time when I wasn’t a mother. I can’t remember a reality where I didn’t have someone to rely on me 24 hours a day, and although I complain often, I wouldn’t want to. In the last week especially, Harrison has hit my favourite stage yet. He’s happy, giggly, and a joy to be around. I’ve accepted the lack of sleep, and my body has adjusted to living off of what feels like next to none, but he makes up for that shortcoming with the smiles during the day.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Living Arrows | 3/52 Teething Isn't Always Terrible

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

– Kahlil Gibran

This year I'm taking part in Living Arrows - Donna's project that celebrates all things childhood. A photo a week to document the everyday moments - 52 lots of photos I can look back on at the end of the year and see the change in him.

Is it possible to sanitize baby fists? My baby is teething - and boy do I know all about it. We've said hello sleepless nights and painful cries, the red cheeks and the slabbery chin (well technically, we've never said goodbye to the sleepless nights, but still). Despite him obviously having his moments, this has probably been my favorite week with him yet. He's turning into a right little character - constantly giggling, smiling or looking guilty and each day he's finding his voice more and more. His night routine may not be great, or rather, it's nonexistent, but he makes up for it daily with his little quirks. Teething isn't fun for anyone, and given that we're only at the start it's only going to get worse from here - but for now, I'm enjoying the stage he's at.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Dummy Debate: Taking The Easy Way Out With Tommee Tippee

The Dummy Debate: Taking The Easy Way Out With Tommee Tippee
When I was pregnant, I was completely adamant my child would never use a dummy. Not by any stretch of the imagination. A dummy wasn’t necessary and shouldn’t be necessary, you should be able to calm your baby without the need to shove something in their mouth - in my eyes, a dummy was a sign of bad parenting, and I’d have preached it to the high heavens. Looking back, it shows my own personal naivety. My own lack of understanding about babies, about mums, about being a parent, and now, I cringe at my own audacity.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Our Newborn Photoshoot | A Modern Day Rip Off

Newborn Photoshoot Rip Off Expensive Photography
Before Harrison was born, I jumped at the chance to book his newborn photoshoot. Taken before he was 10 days old, it was supposed to be a keepsake - a special way to remember the cushy baby days as they pass so quickly. The pictures of the little babies in the baskets, or nestled into their fathers arms made my heart melt and I was all too eager to jump on the band wagon and book my own. My pictures are a keepsake, but I found myself in a situation where I felt completely overwhelmed by the price and extravagance of it all. I found myself questioning my ability to be a parent due to my lack of willingness to pay an arm and leg for the sake of a few pictures. Albeit lovely pictures, but no picture could ever be worth the prices asked. My newborn photoshoot left me with pictures to last a lifetime, but if given the option again, I would never go back.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Living Arrows | 2/52 A Snow Day

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

– Kahlil Gibran

This year I'm taking part in Living Arrows - Donna's project that celebrates all things childhood. A photo a week to document the everyday moments - 52 lots of photos I can look back on at the end of the year and see the change in him.

This week, was a difficult one. Actually, it was worse than difficult: had it not snowed heavily by Thursday I'd have probably left Harrison in our back garden. The snow changed everything though - it sounds ridiculous, the weather managing to lift my spirits that were practically 6 feet under at this point, but it worked. I love the snow, and by some lucky strike, we were snowed in on birthday. I tried to capture Harrisons' first snowfall as candidly as I could, and I love these pictures for the sole reason that they mark a small victory in what has been a tough month. It snowed, and we were happy, there was no fussing, or crying whilst he was out in the fresh air, and for just that small amount of time I had my happy little baby back, one who isn't teething, or crying, or driving me to pull my hair out. I had my happy baby again.
Living Arrows Newborn in Snow


5 Days With A Baby Who Won't Sleep | The Sleep Diary

How To Make Your Newborn Sleep Through The NightSleep deprivation is like nothing else - for the past few months I've gone through phases of being in somewhat of a trance, when Harrison is not sleeping and therefore neither am I, and phases were he's been good, and I've been able to grab a solid 5 hours sleep in a night and feel like an entirely new woman. At one point, we went through a week where he woke once or twice per night, and I swear I felt on top of the world. That feels like a long time ago now, despite it being only a few weeks, and I can't remember the last good night sleep we had. This week, with Harrison finally outgrowing swaddles, it's probably only going to get worse..

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

An Open Letter To The Stranger Who Told Me Not To Rock My Baby

Don't Tell Me How To Raise My Child
You don't realise how self-righteous the world of parenting is until your thrown into it. Everyone has an opinion, absolutely everyone, and some voice them louder than others. I voice my own pretty darn loud through my own blog, but I talk about my child and my experiences with my child only: never will I claim to be an expert, in fact, I don't have a bloody clue what I'm on about it, but I don't think any parent completely does. And for that reason and that reason alone, please don't tell me how to raise my child.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Living Arrows | 1/52 The Calm Before The Storm

Living Arrows Linky Baby After Immunisation

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

– Kahlil Gibran

I originally started this blog to remember a period in my life that I'd otherwise start to forget. I look back on my pregnancy, and I remember parts vividly, but others are already fading, less than a year later. Sure, I probably don't need to remember the exact point at which my feet ballooned to the size of watermelons, or that specific breakdown I had that single Tuesday in September over noodle soup, but one day (most likely in a few years when I'm contemplating the prospect of another baby and I need something to convince me otherwise) I'll have the option to read back and remember everything about that time. I want the ability to do the same for Harrisons' first few years. It's easy to get caught up in the moment, but I want to make sure I remember the little things. The little moments that are the first to go. This year I plan to take part in Living Arrows - Donna's project that celebrates all things childhood. A photo a week to document the everyday moments - 52 lots of photos I can look back on at the end of the year and see the change in him.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Newborn Hacks | Sleeping Better With An Orla Kiely GroSnug

The Gro Company GroSnug with Orla Kiely
 For the past month or so, we've been testing out the GroSnug from the brand new Orla Kiely Collection with the Gro Company. It's been a life saver as far as sleeping aids go, and we'll be investing in a good few more in the next size up to see us through the next few months. The Orla Kiely designs were released on the 6th January, and we were lucky enough to try out one before the launch.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Newborn Essentials: Products NOT Worth The Hype

When does a newborn not become a newborn, that's the first question I'd like to ask. The second is, why does no one tell you not to buy so much crap before they are born? Harrison is now closing in on three months old, he's not a newborn anymore, and I think we've had a decent amount of time to figure out what works for us, but also, what doesn't. We've had a good few products that have been holy grail finds for us, and I've talked about them a lot in the past few weeks, but what I haven't talked about, have been the products have been utter wastes of money. Babies are so individual that this is probably just personal to myself and to Harrison, but if you take anything away from this post, take the fact that babies will not like HALF of the stuff you buy for them. Be careful how much you buy prior to birth - pregnancy is a sure fire time to waste a hell of a lot of money that you do not have to waste. Even now, Harrisons room is overflowing with clothes and products that have never been touched let alone used frequently, and at the minute I can only liken it to the Mothercare January sales... filled with complete crap.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Being a Mum is Not As Easy As People Make Out

Young Mother With Newborn Struggles Post Natal Depression
Quick note: I started this post two weeks before Christmas, and I was in a completely different post when I finished it two weeks later, and I think the change in the way I talk is pretty obvious. Pre warning for anyone wondering why the hell it sounds like two different people writing it...

 I always knew that having a baby wouldn't be easy, that much is obvious. I'm now entirely responsible for another person, another life, someone that relies on you for absolutely everything. How could that possibly be easy? What I didn't expect though was the change in my personality, I'm sad, I'm frustrated, I'm anxious to leave the house, and I have absolutely no motivation whatsoever, for anything. I've gone from being someone who had their life in order, who had plans and goals and who knew what they were doing, to someone who feels like they have absolutely no control over anything, but with the added pressure of having a baby to provide for. I'm not writing this because I want sympathy, I can tell you right now that I don't deserve any - I have an amazing life, an amazing child and all of my successes still to be had - I'm writing this because I'm sick of feeling sorry for myself. Having a baby is not simply a matter of milk, nappies and love. My life has been flipped on its head, and whilst it is entirely for the better, right now I'm completely lost and I'm trying to find my feet again. I love my son, and I couldn't imagine life without him now, but that doesn't mean I don't miss how easy everything once was.
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