Thursday, 28 July 2016

Elsie Belle...Ten Months Old

This month things got really exciting. All of a sudden things seemed less baby-like, moving into toddler-territory. Big fat eek. 

As much as you want them to grow and develop into independent souls, when they finally start showing signs that they don't need you as much it's all a little bittersweet. I've been watching Elsie's eyes open to the world that's behind her Mama and the cocoon we had created and that can be a sad thing to comprehend. 

When they start to take their bottle from you and feed themselves. The moment when their toys are no longer of interest and everything else starts to catch their attention instead. Watching them as they start to wander off to explore their environment, all make you feel a little less needed which is both a good and a sad thing for any parent.

So darling Elsie, this month will always be remembered for the month where things just started to click. The month where you started to emerge into a little person who is so desperate to venture off into the big wide world. I just hope you don't go too far, not just yet because I like you right here...

You've started to engage in conversations and will randomly laugh at the dinner table or pull a funny face to make us all laugh. The sniffy nose face trick is still a winner and always gets a giggle. 

You are finally waving like a royal. You wave hello and goodbye, mostly on cue but usually about five minutes after we've walked away from said-person-meant-to-be-waving-to, but that's OK. You can wave and that's all that matters. 

We're clapping! Yay! You even clap yourself when you receive praise from something you've done which is hilarious. You even made Mummy cry last week in your Baby Sensory class when you started clapping at the end of a puppet show that you had just sat and watched so intently. 

You still don't sleep. Mummy complains about this a lot. We're not sure whether you're teething or if you just hate sleep. Either way, if you could sort out the issue before your first birthday that would be much appreciated, or if you could just hurry up and learn how to speak so you can tell as to why you won't sleep? 

Words and sounds are forming. "Da da da" and "Mum mum mmm" are what we've got so far. As baby firsts go, this is most definitely up there with your first smile. There's nothing quite like that feeling of love and recognition. 

You can now pull yourself up in your cot which you find highly amusing, but then fall back down with a bump when you get too excited and think that you can clap or wave whilst standing. One thing at a time my sweets, one thing at a time. 

You're nailing the dodgy crab crawl like a pro. As much as you haven't yet appreciated that this motion does in fact make you mobile, you're doing pretty well at moving from one place to another in record time. If only you could figure out how to put the other knee on the floor instead of dragging it along, I think you'd be much more pleased with yourself. 

You've started to put one foot in front of the other and are slowly but surely on the move! We've been plonking you in your walker for a while now and finally you've figured out how to work it. This is not so great for our ankles as you ram into us or whack into the kitchen cupboards then try and open everything

Which brings me onto your little inquisitive mind. You're either going to be an engineer or a professional pick pocketer the way you studiously empty every bag or box you can get your chubby little hands on. 

We have two teeth! Yay! Now this is exciting stuff. Your two little bottom front teeth have finally shown themselves to the world and they are mighty cute. We just won't mention the fact that we were hoping this would mean that you might give us a good nights sleep, but nope, no such luck. Why won't you sleep? 

We're excited for your next milestones my darling girl. I know it's going to be exciting and we are loving seeing you transform into such a funny, clever little bunny. Let's just hope that when you get moving properly, that you let us get some sleep... 

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Monday, 25 July 2016

Life, Love & Laughter Lately...#1.16

A little update on life lately...

Moving House

They say it's the most stressful thing don't they...and they aren't wrong.  

Emotions are heightened with the expense, pressure and work that goes into the upheaval from home life and it doesn't matter how organised you are or how prepared for it you are, one still ends up falling out with at least one family member during the process and has to physically restrain oneself from nutting said loved one and boxing them up with a label marked 'Ship To The Land Of Knobs'. 

OK so it wasn't that bad, but I'd be lying if I said that the thought didn't cross my mind at one point, but we soon made up and as sad (and stressful) as it was to say goodbye to our first home, we're now out and are living in limbo whilst we renovate our first house which I'll be sharing more of in the coming months. Exciting stuff.

Some Me Time 

Last weekend I took some time off from Mummy Life and man did it feel good. It's been a while since I've done anything fun that the old me loved and it just so happened that a few things all came in the same week. We saw Jess Glynne at Sandown Racecourse (she was brilliant), attended a beautiful wedding including a whole night away which meant, wait for it, sleep! Eek! Then topped off by an evening spent having the time of my life with Secret Cinema. Lucky Mummy. 

Not so for Nanny who by Sunday evening looked as if she'd spent several days trying to entertain a bunch of ferrel chimpanzees rather than just one ten month old baby. Oopsie! Mummy on the other hand was exhausted for reasons other than lack of sleep for the first time in ten months. The good kind of tired that comes from dancing all night, laughing all day and being the old you for just a little while. Bliss.

She's On The Move

So the fun begins...ha! No longer are rattles and crunchy books of any interest to little Miss Elsie Belle. Oh no, this one is desperate to be on the move so is super restless and frustrated when she doesn't get the help she needs.


We are all black and blue. She's either whizzing around in her walker and ramming it into our ankles,  or she's dragging one leg behind doing some dodgy crab crawl to which she then clambers all over us like a bouncy castle, or she's pleading for our hands to help her walk around and explore. Even though our baby is the same height as a three year old it's still back breaking leaning over and helping her to toddle around, but it's exciting to see her developing into the next stage of babyhood. 
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Monday, 18 July 2016

Review: The Deuter Kid Comfort II...

When we started planning our first family holiday one of the first things I wondered, aside from how on earth everything would fit in our car, was how adaptable we would be whilst away with a baby. This holiday wasn't only special because it was Elsie's first, but we were also celebrating her Grump's 60th birthday by taking him back to one of his favourite places in Devon. We'd spent many a summer holiday there and we couldn't wait to create some new family memories with our new little addition.

My Dad loves exploring remote beaches and so I knew that lots of walking would be involved in our daily trips whilst away; I wasn't wrong. It's no surprise to hear that I'm not the outdoorsy type. Being outdoors usually involves three of my most "un-favourite" things: getting dirty, getting sweaty and bugs. But I do like a beach and if there's one thing I was excited to do on this holiday it was to take Elsie to all the beautiful beaches I loved visiting as a child. 

So before we set off, in the midst of frantically packing everything we owned, I got in touch with the lovely team over at Deuter UK. They very kindly offered to work with us to help make our first holiday extra special by sending us the Kid Comfort II.

The Technical Stuff

It's designed with the great outdoors in mind. Both child and adult are considered with an abundance of comfortable, adjustable and most importantly safety attributes; 

  • The seat can be adjusted both in height and width to grow and adapt with your child. 
  • It comes with little foot rests to provide extra comfort and support. 
  • A large cushioned head rest, which is detachable and washable, providing extra comfort so that naps can be taken whilst out and about exploring. 
  • Multiple pockets and compartments for storage. 
  • Air contact back system with breathable hollow chamber foam. 
  • A sturdy aluminium frame for maximum stability. 
  • Pivoting Vari Flex hip wings that follow movement smoothly and securely. 
  • Easy to use side entry for simple access and dismounting. 
  • Foldable for easy transport. 

Why We Loved It

  1. We were so impressed with how easy the carrier was to use, with minimal instructions required. The straps were easily adjustable and all you needed to bare in mind was keeping baby's head in line with the supporting chin cushion.
  2. The design of the carrier is top notch. It's obvious that this product has been tried, tested and adapted to be the very best. It's materials are durable and comfortable in all the right places and it's frame is super light and compact making it the perfect all-weather outdoors companion. 
  3. It's comfortable. The materials are breathable and soft making the carrier easy to wear for long periods of time. The Vari Flex compartment, where baby sits, gives them the feeling of movement and freedom whilst being safely and securely fastened in place. 
  4. It's practical. The numerous pockets and compartments are a real plus when travelling with a child, giving you ample places to store all those must-haves such as nappies, wipes, bottles and comforters. 
  5. It's sturdy. The aluminium frame makes the carrier super safe and easy to place baby in it with it's adjustable stand that clicks in and out as required. 

The Kid Comfort II was a life saver whilst we were away. We were able to explore remote beaches and take long walks without any restrictions. Elsie absolutely loved being in her carrier and one of our favourite holiday memories will be her face as it lit up when she was placed in it, bouncing up and down with excitement.

Although perhaps a little on the pricey side, I do think that the Kid Comfort II would be worth the investment for any family looking to travel or enjoy the outdoors as much as they did pre-baby. It was an absolute joy to watch Elsie experience her first holiday from a great height, (her Daddy is pretty tall) and it made each excursion feel like an adventure with her safely and happily strapped into her carrier whilst we started to make new memories with our new little family.

If you'd like to see more of how we got on using the Deuter Kid Comfort II then check out the video we made whilst away. You'll have to excuse my mug, Elsie doesn't give Mummy much time for any pre-vlogging pruning! I won't be offended if you close your eyes and just listen to my voice instead.

Until next time...

With Love & Comfy Baby,

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Thank you so much to Deuter for making our first family holiday experience so much easier!
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Monday, 11 July 2016

The Baby Who Never Slept...

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Elsie.

She had wispy blonde locks that were slowly starting to grow and big almond shaped eyes that were as blue as the ocean in the sunlight. Elsie was super tall for her age, with the longest legs and strong chubby arms. It wouldn't be long before she was on the move all by herself.

She was a dear little thing who was very inquisitive. Behind those big eyes her parents imagined a whole world of information and details that were being stored away for when the time was just right to impress everyone with her cleverness and her many talents.

Elsie had already mastered a few tricks and she loved performing to her family who would applaud her every time. She could clap, wave and she could also do some sort of movement that resembled dancing. She would lean in for a kiss and had started to mutter a word or two: Even though she pulled the grumpiest of faces most of the time, when she smiled she lit up the room and the hearts of all those around her.

Her Mummy and Daddy had waited patiently for such a long time for their little Elsie to arrive and they were so grateful for their precious gift. Everything about Elsie was just lovely except for one thing: she wouldn't sleep.

No matter how tired she was, how busy a day she had had, or how big the dark circles under her eyes got, for some reason she simply couldn't sleep very long at all.

She didn't just wake her Mummy and Daddy. Oh no, she woke all the people of the land and everyone was slowly but surely starting to lose their minds. Her Mummy spends all night planning a night alone in a cheap Travelodge just to catch up on some sleep, whilst Daddy looks forward to his nightshifts at work to get even the slightest bit of rest. 

Every night was different. Some nights Elsie would go to sleep all by herself, but other nights she would kick off and refuse to settle for some time. Once Elsie was finally asleep the nights were always long and unpredictable. Sometimes she let her Mummy and Daddy sleep for a restless two hours before waking and on the really bad nights she would wake every half hour. If Mummy went to bed early, no matter what time this was, little Miss Elsie would no doubt wake up the second Mummy's head hit the pillow.

Why wouldn't their little monster princess sleep? 

Were there goblins under her bed keeping her awake?
Were the fairies talking too loudly at night disturbing her slumber?
Was it her pesky toothy pegs sprouting through that were causing her angst?
Did she really not want to sleep - like Mummy didn't want to exercise?
Was she on a secret mission from a far far away land sent merely to test us?
Or was the world just too much of an exciting place to miss anything whilst sleeping?

Who knew...? 

All they did know was that ten months had passed and they were still waking each morning feeling like grouchy ogres with seriously sore heads, saggy eye balls and things were starting to take their toll.

They had tried everything

Teething crystals and gels, they had tried them all.

Calpol had sod all affect on her and apparently it's illegal to give babies whiskey in their bottles these days no matter what the Fairy Godmothers say.

Controlled crying. It works at the start of the night but who wants to listen to a screaming baby at 2am whilst their parents sit timing her sobs?

Co-Sleeping. It all sounds very lovely and new aged but in reality it's about as pleasant as sleeping with a bucking Bronco. No one enjoys trying to sleep whilst hanging off the edge of the bed because you're trying to avoid kicks in the ribs and whacks in the face from a long limbed baby who is wide awake and using their parents as some sort of Ninja target practice.

Ewan the "Dream" Sheep was about as much use as sticking a Halloween mask in her cot. It scared the flying crap out of her.

Ed Sheehan's Tenerife Sea was played so many times in desperation that it soon lost its appeal. Damn it. Her Mummy considered writing to Ed once to see if he'd move in with them and play the song on demand. Things were that desperate. 

Lenny the Lamb with his beautiful nightlight display worked once and only once and now does nothing except create a technicolour rave to compliment Elsie's all night parties. Brilliant. 

Sssh-ing, rocking, stroking and singing had all slowly been added to the tried and tested pile. 

With every night Elsie's parents both dreaded this unpredictable time but also secretly hoped that tonight would be the night that they were given at least four hours uninterrupted sleep. 

Surely things should have been better by now? 

How on earth is there to be a happy ending when trying to function with a baby who never sleeps? 

Until next time...

With Love & The Baby Who Never Slept,

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Elsie Belle...Nine Months Out

It's incredible to think that Elsie has now been in the world longer than in my tummy.

All those days and weeks spent counting down and anticipating her arrival. Wondering what she would be and how life would change. Now here we are: nine months already spent on the other side.

I wasn't intending to write another update until she was ten months old, but our little beast is changing so much and so quickly that I realised there was already so much more she was doing that I didn't want to forget. I don't have time to faff around with glitter and glue, so this is her scrap book. I want to etch these little moments somewhere and this is our somewhere.

So my little fluffy monkey, here you are at nine months old...

You've started making this hilarious Donald Duck face. We're not sure whether it feels good on your gums or if you're practicing your face for all that talking you're bound to do one day, but either way it's cute and funny. My favourite combination.

You can shake your head to say 'no'. Right now, it's quite funny watching you shake your little head at things you either don't want or don't want to do, but I'm pretty sure that come your terrible twos this will become a lot less cuter. Can't wait.

You flap you're arms like a bird when you want to be picked up. Again super cute, but at times a little annoying because, quite frankly, you always want to be picked up.

Still not crawling, still not walking. So when you flap your arms we pick you up. Then you nose dive towards the floor which means you want to stand up- with a little help from us of course. It's like trying to hold a baby seal that just wants to nose dive back into the sea. 

We are slowly but surely cracking the hand wave. You usually wave goodbye and have even started to wave hello, although you occasionally still stare whilst we stand there looking like complete loons flapping our hands enthusiastically hoping for a wave back.

It won't be long before you clap. This I can't wait for. I'm expecting a full round of applause on more than one occasion throughout the day when I do something particularly clap-worthy.

You're attempting to pull yourself up. Something you get a bit frustrated about when you bounce back to the floor. Cue frantic arm flapping for help.

We love your little inquisitive face. The way you pick up things and look in such detail as if figuring out how it works.

You like a zip and shockingly have worked out how to open one or two already, like Mummy's make up bag. Brilliant.

Yay! You've figured out how to put your dummy back in all by yourself, but only during the day. During the night you still persist to scream your little lungs out until one of us rushes in to plug you back in.

We brought you a trolley with wooden bricks in to help with your walking, but you prefer emptying the trolley and putting each and every single brick in your mouth before chucking it and picking up the next one. It's as if you think the next one will taste better than the last, which of course it doesn't, even though I've told you wood isn't very yummy.

It's an amazing thing watching you learn and grow into the cutest, although demanding, little person and I'm so proud to be your Mummy. Now if we could just start saying Mummy...

Until next time...

With Love & Nine Months Old, 

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Baby's First Holiday Essentials...

I've never been one for travelling light. I'd rather walk butt naked through passport control than be forced to pack all my holiday essentials into one of those pokey little cabin friendly cases. Since Elsie arrived it's no surprise that I struggle more than ever to leave the house without looking like there's a possibility that I might not return for a week or two, when I'm only popping to Mum's for a cup of tea. I just like to have everything, just in case, because you just never know with babies as to what you'll be scrabbling around for next in an absolute flutter, usually involving mopping up some sort of liquid.

God forbid I forget the nappy sacks or several spare outfits. Bad Mummy. You know you've become a mum when all of sudden you're constantly bombarded with a series of "have you got this?" or "have you got that?" And even though my arms are always resembling Stretch Armstrong when I leave the house, there's always something I forget. So naturally I was a little worried about how we would manage for a whole week away from home, so I literally packed everything barring her actual cot and any clothes that were too small. Obvs. Did we need it all? Of course not and I now realise that wherever you are, as long as baby is getting fed, changed and loved then they are happy. And if baby's happy, then we're all happy.

But there were a few things that we used whilst away which I thought were pretty darn good and made life just that little bit easier...

The Deuter Kid Comfort II 

Travelling with a little one who isn't yet crawling or walking and is a little too big for the everyday baby carrier can be tricky. We knew that our holiday would involve lots of walking and exploring places where the pram just wouldn't be suitable, so we got in touch with the lovely team over at Deuter who very kindly sent us The Deuter Kid Comfort II. In a nutshell, it made our holiday so much easier. There wasn't anything we couldn't do on our trip because of this amazing piece of kit and Elsie absolutely loved being able to explore the world from a great height (her Daddy is super tall!) Look out for a full review of the Deuter Kid Comfort II coming soon to the blog as well as a little video we made whilst away! 

Nappy Sacks 

A bit random and perhaps an obvious item to take away when one has a little sprog who craps itself every five minutes, but the good old nappy sack came in handy on more than just bum changing occasions. We used them for dirty clothes, collecting shells, car rubbish bags and even travel sickness. Yep. After a seven hour car journey and a final stretch down some ridiculously windy narrow roads, this Mummy sure did chuck her guts up in the back of the car. So gross...but thank goodness for nappy sacks hey!

Travel High Chair 

A good friend introduced me to the Polar Gear Harness Travel Booster and it is brilliant. Not only did we use it when dining out, because let's face it, unless the kid is strapped to something you'd have more luck feeding an alligator with your eyes closed, but we also used it as a better support in the holiday home high chair. Just having that extra booster cushion meant that she wasn't slipping and sliding all over the place. Bonus. The less movement you have to contend with at meal times the better I say.

A Rucksack 

So there will be some frequent travelling parents reading this thinking, der, of course you need a rucksack! But I couldn't believe how handy having a back pack was when traveling with a little one. I picked up the Cath Kidston Foldaway Backpack (which is currently on sale! oh man...!) and I absolutely love it. It's so light, wipeable and of course super pretty. It even has two big pockets and side slots big enough for suncream and pre-made milk bottles so it was the perfect baby travel bag. It saved having to lug around my lovely changing bag that matches my pram and get it dirty on the beach (God forbid), plus it's foldable so easy to store away easily until our next family adventure. 

So for any new parents about to set sail on their first family adventure: enjoy, good luck and if you think you're going to need it, pack it because you just never know! 

What are your family holiday essentials? Let me know in the comments below! 

Until next time...

With Love & Baby Holiday Essentials, 

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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Our First Family Holiday...

My friends weren't kidding when they said holidays won't be the holidays we once knew and loved now that we have a baby. The last holiday I went on, (the carefree, not as wobbly as I once thought I was and with a foff still in tact, type of holiday) I read four books, had an afternoon nap everyday, worked on my tan and drank enough local gin to sink a pirates ship.

After this "holiday", our first family holiday,  I'm more knackered than when I left thanks to that fresh sea air that is apparently so good for you, I swear it's like a type of horse tranquilliser to already sleep deprived parents. I'm sun burnt down one side of my body from looking after a baby on the beach and shielding her from the heat. Thanks to my new post-baby wobbly bits, as well as providing a good cushion for baby to trample over, I also double up as a bloody great shade too. Brilliant. Did I read a book I hear you ask? I didn't even finish reading the welcome letter that was sitting on the table in our cottage...I know it said 'welcome', but that's as far as I got to read.


But there was something about a change of scenery that did us the world of good.

Yes we still had our usual sleepless nights, (seriously, when will this kid ever sleep for longer than three hours?) several pooplosions, (I knew we'd need all those clothes) one major meltdown in the car, one good kick off when her dinner was ever so slightly delayed and one incident with mouthful of sand. But overall, this new type of holiday suited us well. Life didn't crumble beneath our feet as our routine went out the window and I realised for the first time in nine months that babies are actually quite adaptable.

So little Miss Elsie Belle, here are my favourite moments from our first family holiday...

I loved how content and happy you were being around everyone. You didn't always crave attention like I feel you do at home, you seemed chuffed to be a part of a little group and enjoyed watching us bustle all around you. I loved how excited you were to wake up Uncle Tom every morning, knowing he'd be happy to see you, ready to watch CBeebies and play with your toys. Sitting with Grumps at the breakfast table you had fun throwing all the toys he kept giving you on the floor and chuckled as he kept reaching down to pick them up. Seeing you try and wriggle to Auntie Emily every time she walked in the room because you knew she wanted a squish. We all loved seeing your face everyday as much as you loved seeing ours.

Watching your little toes spring up every time a wave came rushing over your feet. You weren't scared, just inquisitive and a little surprised with each chilly ripple of water.

The way you kicked your feet in the sand and curled your toes around to create your very own tiny baby sand dunes.

Feeding you dinner on a beautiful secluded beach just as the sun was setting. I felt a little overwhelmed on this particular evening for a number of reasons, but in that moment we sat in the warm evening sunshine I felt so happy and grateful for you, that I collected a handful of shells to remind myself that even the toughest of days can end calmly and beautifully.

Your hair seemed to grow so much throughout this week away. Each day it seemed to grow a little fluffier and blonder in the sunshine and we all loved seeing it starting to gently blow in the breeze. It's not hair clip worthy yet, but we're getting there.

Seeing you experience your first boat ride up the River Dart and not be remotely interested in anything other than having your lunch, milk and falling asleep in your Daddy's arms.

Playing in your ball pitt on the front lawn every morning. We'd all take it in turns to sit and play with you. I loved hearing you giggle from our bedroom window, laughing at Daddy throwing the balls into the pitt and Nanny's funny juggling. Your giggle is the loveliest, most rewarding sound in the world.

Seeing you get so excited every time we strapped you into your new baby carrier. It was as if you knew we were going on a new adventure and that you would get to experience it from Daddy's height. It was one of the cutest things and we were so happy to see you eager to explore something new.

Watching you take a nap in your little beach tent. You amazed me at how adaptable and content you were, as long as you had us and your bunny, you were a happy girl.

Thank you my darling girl for making your first holiday such a special one. I can't wait to share more adventures with you.

I think becoming a parent well and truly disables your 'relax' mode for the foreseeable future, but that's OK. I just need to keep reminding myself of how much I'll miss these days when we are on our over 60's cruise knowing that my heart will ache missing the noise, chaos and adventure that being surrounded by family brings.

How was your first family holiday? Let me know in the comments below...!

Until next time...

With Love & Family Firsts,

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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

'Twas The Night Before My Maternity Leave Ended...

That's it. Time's up. Our bubble will burst tomorrow.

As much as I willed it, but never once played it, we didn't win the lottery, so sadly hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go. No more lazy Monday mornings. No more leisurely strolls on Tuesdays and no more swimming lessons and casual coffee dates on Wednesdays.

Of course life was never actually that breezy. Any new mum or stay-at-home parent will know that life at home is anything but breezy. That time leading up to your bundles arrival you have all these ideas about what you'll do with your so called 'time off', but then it's not long before you realise that being on maternity leave is anything but time off. It's a whirlwind of feeding, changing, playing, entertaining, being screamed at, and generally being exhausted of all your physical and mental resources by the time bedtime comes around. Anything but breezy. But there's something quite lovely about being your own boss for a little while and living a life where a baby rules the clock.

If we were late to anything it was OK because we had a new baby. If we'd had a bad night and wanted to cancel everything to have a PJ day, then that was OK. If nothing was achieved in a day because baby said so, then that was OK too. If I was having a tough day coping with this new life of ours, then that was also OK, because we had a new baby. But there usually comes a time when you have to let go of the 'new baby' excuse and start living in the real world again and sadly that real world involves going back to work.

I'd thought about this day a lot since Elsie arrived. I'd regularly find myself prematurely worrying about how on earth we would ever leave the house before stupid o'clock. How much I'd miss her and how we would juggle yet another new stage when I'd only just got a handle on the previous. So as my return to work approached, it dawned on me that perhaps I hadn't made the most of maternity leave.

There's no denying that I've had some really low points. A few scrapes with PND and more breakdowns than I care to recall, all of which I'll go into another time. I wondered if I'd wasted too much time focusing on how hard it all was instead of enjoying this precious time together. That I'd been too hard on myself for not being able to cope with our new life as well as I thought I would. That ten months had passed and I was in the worst shape having not lost my baby weight and resembling Lurch from the Addams Family's twin sister on a good day because our rug rat still isn't sleeping through the night

I felt as if I'd wasted my maternity leave struggling.

But driving to work yesterday, Elsie snuggled into her car seat, still in her PJ's looking all confused as to why Mummy didn't mind her waking up so early today with a bottle at the ready, wondering where the heck we were off to without having watched our morning dose of Cbeebies, I realised how blooming well we'd done the last ten months.  

It turns out that I did exactly what I was meant to do with my maternity leave.

I'd spent a solid ten months being totally consumed with this new person we had created. Falling in love with her with my entire being. Discovering all my strengths and learning to manage all my weaknesses. Getting to know our daughter. Half me. Half him. Learning her likes, dislikes, her signals and signs. Gaining her love, her trust and teaching her everything she needs to know to get by in the world. We kept each other alive for ten months which is really something to be quite proud of and that's what maternity leave is all about.

So my life may never be as organised and clean as it once was but I'm officially ditching all the regrets I thought I had and am embracing everything great that came out of my maternity leave. I might not resemble it on the outside, but on the inside I'm feeling pretty content and positive about starting our new chapter. 

Until next time...

With Love & New Beginnings,

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Getting My Life Together...

OK so I'm not exactly making a comeback after a Britney-style breakdown, but there were times during the last nine months where it sure felt like a breakdown was on the horizon. It's no secret that I've found becoming a new mum tough. Correction, really fecking tough. Something that I'm pretty sure most new mummies experience when their world is sent into complete and utter chaos with the arrival of a delicate new bundle with a set of lungs that can crack double glazing and one's nervous system all in one hit.

In the early days, not knowing what day is what, or having any structure to our lives, threw me into such a turmoil that I thought I was losing the plot. But each day we grew stronger and we soon became more of a team rather than 'alien sent from another planet' v's knackered new mummy, and I began to become quite fond of our little bubble.

It's only recently that I've started to learn how to enjoy and manage our new life. As time went on the tough days became less frequent and less painful and I suddenly realised that we were bouncing around in our bubble enjoying more good days than bad. But even so, all the while in the back of my head I was thinking: how on earth would I ever manage us when our bubble bursts and I have to return to work? How?

With less than a week to go until I return to work, there's no hiding away from it. Our bubble had to pop at some point so a few weeks ago I decided to try and regain a little control and at least a glimmer of the person I was pre-baby. Don't get me wrong, none of the below are easy when you've got a clingy baby screaming blue murder every time you walk out the room to pee, but these are just little steps I've been taking over the last month to regain some sort of control over our crazy wonderful new life.

Planning Ahead

As featured in my April Baby Favourites, I picked up a weekly planner in my local supermarket and I've been taking some time to plan out our week just so that I get a clearer picture on the week ahead. Everything from what meals we might cook, what classes, coffee dates, housework and errands to complete, all plotted out so that I don't feel so overwhelmed.

Backing Up Memories 

Taking photographs has always been a love of mine, but since having Elsie I've become even more in love with documenting her every stage and every change. I would be heartbroken if I were to lose all those precious moments that I've managed to capture, so I've set myself the challenge of backing up and organising all her photographs now, rather than when she turns eighteen and I'll have to become a social hermit for the rest of eternity whilst I go through a zillion images.


As if I didn't have enough going on at the moment, we are also in the process of moving. Yep. Moving. No wonder I thought I was going to a have a breakdown on more than one occasion. But it's OK, everything happens for a reason and I'm sure this move will be good for us. So in the process of packing up, I've been having a good de-clutter. It's amazing what a good tidy up and spring clean does for the soul.


Ugh. It had to happen at some point and seeing as the sun decided to show itself, I couldn't put it off any longer. Considering I literally don't stop all day long, I'm still the heaviest and unfit I've ever been. It's been nearly eighteen months since I last worked up a real sweat and I do wonder if I'll ever find my core again, but I've got to start somewhere. So I've been attempting the odd workout dvd (when the baby decides to sleep) and trying not to pee myself in a few exercise classes when I can get the chance.

Eating Healthier

Long gone are the days when I can keep blaming my poor diet on baby. She's not attached to the boob anymore and she never forced me to eat a ball of mozzarella for lunch, sadly that was all me. So along with my little planner, I'm trying to eat more healthily where I can, which means goodbye Nutella and gluten free biscuits, hello humous and rice cakes. Yum. Ugh.

Making Time For Us

Probably one of the hardest aspects to having a new baby is the impact it has on a relationship, so the Hubster and I have been making a conscious effort to make an effort and it already feels like it's making the world of difference. Taking some time out to talk about anything non-baby related, making plans and arranging date nights together is working wonders in helping us get back to where we were, but as the new people we are now.

Getting Out There 

I've been so consumed with Elsie since she arrived that I've found going anywhere without her really daunting. So much so that I've made a lot of excuses and avoided things so that I wouldn't have to leave her. I've never found it easy to leave Elsie, even with the people I trust most in the world, and looking back I perhaps should have done it more to avoid the fluster I feel every time I have to leave her now. But I'm starting to let go a little more and I'm making plans that the old me loved like booking concert and theatre tickets and planning days out with friends without our little people. It's healthy for us to be apart and I know it will get easier with time.

Planning Forward

Instead of focusing on going back to work I'm appreciating life as a whole a little more. Elsie is the greatest gift we could ever be given. As knackered as I am each morning, whatever ungodly hour she wakes us, I still feel that bubble of excitement knowing that she's ours, all ours to enjoy and keep forever. Life is complete with her in it and I always knew this, it's just taken me a little longer to realise that a perfect life doesn't have to be all neat and tidy. It can be spontaneous and messy too.

Until next time...

With Love & Gaining A Little Control,

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