Wednesday, 15 February 2017

30 weeks pregnant



Each Wednesday marks the new 'week' of my pregnancy; today I turned 30 weeks pregnant. It's starting to feel a bit more real now; not that hasn't felt real, I suppose, but it suddenly feels closer to here-and-now reality rather than this thing that's going to happen in nine months time. I think a big factor in that was setting my maternity leave date with work. With my last employer I could roll over some of my holiday into the following year to take at the end of my leave, whereas with this one I have to take it all (plus bank holidays) before I go, meaning that I'm going to be off for six or so weeks before my due date. Six weeks!

I'm planning to do all of my nesting in that time because I've literally prepared nothing and bought nada for this baby so far. Well, that's a small lie... I have bought it him two different types of cloud-print blanket, a onesie and two cloud-print storage boxes. Joseph's room is full of cloud-print stuff and I eventually want them to share a room, so when I saw that Matalan had re-stocked some of their cloud paraphernalia I figured I'd snap it up for the future when they can have matching bed stuff.

But, really, I don't think there's much we'll need to buy for this baby, unless once we dig stuff out from the loft we realise it hasn't stored well, or aged well, or it's just falling apart. The only thing I do think we'll need is a cot; or a new bed for Joseph so that baby can have Joseph's cot bed. I'm tempted by the idea of a bedside crib (e.g. SnuzPod or Chicco Next2Me), which we didn't go for last time as they seemed quite rare (think only the NCT sold them, maybe, unless I didn't know what I was looking for, which is quite possible), whereas this time round they seem to be everywhere. But the thought of paying £200-ish for something that's meant to only last 'til six months seems a bit mad, so we will probably not go for it.

I am both looking forward to, and dreading that time off in between work and baby's arrival. (You'll probably find with me that I very rarely feel fully one way or another - I'm always conflicting. Never just excited; always excited and scared/ nervous etc, etc.) I'm anxious about spending loads of time with Joseph on my own because he is so demanding and I'll be knackered, but also it'll be such a special time for us - the last weeks when it's just us - and before I'm floored by the wall of exhaustion a newborn brings. It's weird to think that child will never know a time without a sibling, whereas Joseph might remember a time when it was just him. Whilst Joseph is incredibly hard work sometimes, and I literally feel as though I have lost it, really, having one child is manageable. Having two terrifies me. I'm already always late for everything and it takes me an age to leave the house. Imagine two. There's no way I could have more than two. I'd be a wreck. I have utmost respect for those that manage it.

Anyway. This post was spawned from a feeling of 'shit-I-only-have-10-weeks-left-I-better-document-everything-regularly-from-now-on', but I don't really know what to document and I've ended up just brain-dumping a load of, er, dump. I also failed to take a decent bump photo today, even though Joseph and I were wearing co-ordinating outfits (we actually do that quite regularly.)

Baby is the size of a motorbike helmet, or a summer cantaloupe melon, apparently. The skin on my chest and back is still insanely spotty - I don't think I mentioned that in my pregnancy-so-far post - but it's like someone's replaced my skin there with that of a teenager's face. It's really quite fascinating and somewhat enjoyable to pick at, but I know I'm not doing myself any favours by aggravating it. I had the same issue with my last pregnancy, so I know it will clear up and is just a temporary inconvenience as I can't wear certain clothes. I've been getting slightly less frequent leg cramps at night (touch wood), but still quite disturbed and uncomfortable sleep.
I can't tell if the rib ache I've had for most of this pregnancy (which, again, I also had with Joseph) is a form of indigestion, muscular or bone-u-lar, but I find walking or laying down helps. I hate it when it plays up whilst I'm in a meeting or driving and I can't do anything about it. I really need to sort out my Gaviscon prescription. I'm such a mug for having been paying for it this whole time. It's not that I didn't know I could get it on prescription, it's just that I've not hauled my ass over to my doctors surgery or remembered to phone at a reasonable hour. If I only do one thing this week; it'll be getting that sorted!

Catch you soon!
Nicki x
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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Things that have helped me get back into blogging

Whilst I was re-reading some of my old posts the other day, I noticed that when I'd written for the first time again after a couple of separate hiatus' (hiati?!), I'd credited various books for inspiring me to get back into blogging again.
Urgh; That was an awful sentence, sorry, I clearly need more practice writing.
Basically, there seems to be a correlation between me reading, watching (or listening to) something that inspires me in some way, and me actually writing.

So I just wanted to share the things (not all books) that have helped me to dip my toe back into my blog; and I've realised that I'm probably going to always need to be listening to something to gee me along until I can learn to gee myself along.







1. Setting up a nest-office in our spare room, which used to be our bedroom before the conversion (pictured). This is also the room I plan to share with baby when he arrives to allow Ruari and Joseph to sleep undisturbed upstairs (in theory). It's near the loo, kitchen and if he naps during the day (please nap, baby, and sleep through the nights!), I can just leave him in there knowing that I'm only a few steps away.
I digress.
Back to my nest-office:
I'd been toying with the idea of getting a desk and setting up a proper workspace, especially as I seem to see dreamy ones on Insta every day which could probably be replicated quite cheaply, but I've come to accept that I love nothing more than to be cosy; with a hot water bottle and blankets... and in a bed, ideally, so I set up this little corner for me to write and escape to. All of my books are in here, and all of my stationery (and all of our wedding paraphernalia and a bunch of my cactus stuff) so it's just a nice little place for me to write.
On a side note, I've also been toying with the idea of starting a bullet journal, but I'm yet to commit and have instead just been scribbling notes and down in a £2 plain-paper notebook I got ages ago from Tiger with some gel pens I picked up from Paperchase last week.

2. Listening to Jen Carrington's Make It Happen podcasts. I came across Jen around 18 months ago when one of my favourite blogger/ 'grammers (Sara of Me & Orla) said she had hired Jen as her blog coach. I then started following Jen on Twitter, but that was around the time I'd fully committed to being at work and not focussing on my blog, so I didn't read much around her or listen to her podcasts. Fast-forward to about a fortnight ago when Sara recommended Jen's podcasts on her blog that I decided to actually listen to one - and I'm so glad I did. Jen is just 23 but she seems incredibly wise beyond her years. God, I wish I had her smarts now, let alone when I was 23. I'm not sure how regularly she publishes her podcasts - either once or twice a week I think, and each series is broken up into seasons - but she does one per week that is usually her speaking with a creative which is around and hour long, and then a mini-episode per week which is no longer than 10 minutes long, but my goodness it's packed with so much inspiration and food for thought. I found myself having to pause and rewind the concepts and wise-words that particularly resonated in order to jot them down. I've only listened to one of the long-listens (the one with Sara, obvs) but around 7 or 8 of the mini-episodes.  There are 49 episodes in total, with a new season on its way soon, so I've got plenty more to keep me going.

3. Listening to audiobooks. It makes me shudder a little bit that I spend £8 a month on them as that seems like a lot when you add it up for a year, but seeing as I drive for over an hour each day, I get a lot of listening done and it's time that I just don't seem to get to sit and read. Also, I have just discovered Audible's refund process meaning that I've managed to return - and get credits back for - all the ones I've downloaded as a result of succumbing to their emails about their 2 for 1 deals on books that 'might' be of interest but turned out to not pique my interest enough to listen for more than a single car journey. As a result, I've got a nice little collection of audiobooks that I enjoyed listening to and may listen to again.
This is absolutely not everyones cup of tea but I've personally always tended to enjoy reading non-fiction to fiction, particularly of the self-help variety the most, and Audible is full of that. So most recently I've listened to You Are A Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life by Jen Sincero, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and today I started (and listened to over an hour of) Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (after Jen mentioned it in one of her podcasts). Aside from Big Magic, which I think I need to re-listen to because I fell asleep a number of times whilst listening to, all have resonated with me - particularly Jen Sincero's book. She reminded me of Sophia Amoruso of #Girlboss / Nasty Gal fame - which is one on not-very-many books I've physically read cover-to-cover and was totally inspired (but also intimidated) by. Some women really are just total badasses.

4. I binge-watched a lot of TV (namely Prison Break S1+2) in December/January and felt horrifically guilty for it, feeling like I should use the time I'd 'found' for TV more wisely. So I made the conscious decision to stop and made the transition from watching to writing, slowly, by reacquainting myself with TED talks and watching a couple of documentaries on Netflix; Cowspiracy and (Dis)honesty: The truth about lies.
I love TED talks - often they're so inspiring - and two of my favourites are by Amy Cuddy on body language and  Susan Cain on Introversion... I have since downloaded both of their Audiobooks Presence and Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking, respectively. I've not yet listened to Amy Cuddy's book, but I loved Susan Cain's. The documentary (Dis)honesty is by another one of my favourite TED talkers, Dan Ariely, whose work on behavioural economics I got to know about through my work in our quest to understand why people decide to buy from us (or not). Cowspiracy is totally unrelated to anything else I've talked about in this blog post, but reaffirmed for me the importance of vegetarianism, and ignited the part of me wants to be a vegan, but not for very long as I automatically added milk to my porridge and morning cup of tea less than 12 hours later. Anyway, the TED talk I've enjoyed the most recently which helped me to prioritise my time was How to gain control of your free time by Laura Vanderkamp. Laura doesn't take energy into account - which is something I feel more lacking in than time most of the time - but I do think I could be doing things to help myself with my energy levels which I don't really do; i.e. eating more healthily and moving more.


So that was a super rambly post; but maybe you'll find something in there to read, listen or watch that might inspire you to do something you've been wanting to for a little while. Or maybe you'll just want to get cosy in a little nest :-)

Nicki x
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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

My second pregnancy so far


As I've not written about my pregnancy, here's a catch up...

First trimester

I found out I was expecting when I was about 5 weeks in. I was a day late for my period, which I'd been tracking with an app for years, and suspected that given the timings of certain occurences ;-), there was a chance I could be pregnant. That day I needed to give my mum her medicine as my brother (also her carer) was away, so I stopped by at her local Sainsbury's to buy a pregnancy test before heading to work. I took the test in the loo at work and text Ruari with the news... well, I couldn't have phoned him as people would've heard! In hindsight, I could've handled that situation better. Ruari didn't even know I suspected I could be pregnant so I guess it must have been quite a shock.

We were both really happy as, whilst we hadn't been trying particularly hard, we weren't taking precautions either and we'd always known we wanted Joseph to have a sibling fairly close in age but not too close (I knew my nerves wouldn't be able to handle it).

It felt like I immediately started feeling nauseous, insanely tired, irritable and developed aversions to all sorts of foods. We had a trip booked to Croyde in Devon with our friends when I was around 8 weeks pregnant (I think) and I was pretty much the worst company ever... as was Joseph as he was ill and seemed to have meltdowns over every.little.thing. and insisted on sleeping in our bed way past his usual bed time.

I'd told a number of my friends - pretty much all of my friends, in fact - before my 12 week scan because I suck at keeping information to myself, plus I'd just been feeling so rotten that I wanted to be able to moan about it to them and for them to understand why.

It seemed like an age before I finally had the scan and saw our little bean wriggling around in there; and just like last time, I was a little bit convinced that I'd imagined the whole thing and that the scan would show a phantom pregnancy.

I was nervous about telling work and I felt guilty because I'd not been in my role for very long, but my manager was - and still is - really supportive. The wider team seemed really happy for me too and it was a relief to get it off my chest.


Second trimester

Thankfully the nausea and vomiting from the first trimester stopped; I was beginning to fear that I'd feel that awful throughout the whole pregnancy, whilst also having so, so, so much sympathy for those who do actually experience that. Because my symptoms had been a bit more extreme than with Joseph, it did make us wonder whether that was telling of the sex. But come our 20 week scan it was abundantly clear that we were having a boy. Part of me wanted to leave the gender as a surprise, but I caved! I felt movement with this one much earlier than I did with Joseph as my placenta is posterior rather than anterior.

I can't remember at which week I had a terrible migraine which made me puke and cry from the pain. Joseph saw me crying at one point when I'd been advised by 111 to go to the emergency GP at the hospital but every movement hurt like hell - he was quite affected for a couple of days afterwards saying 'mummy's poorly' 'mummy go to the doctor?' and asking if I was better and being extra cuddly and snuggly.

On one of the days between Christmas and New Year, I got checked out in hospital after another call to 111 as I'd noticed some bleeding which I didn't think much of, but when I googled it it said that if you notice bleeding and you're experiencing dizziness (which I had been for about a week) then to get it checked. I spent the evening in the ward I'd been in after having Joseph, undergoing various tests which all came out ok so I was free to go but advised to take it easy.

On the whole, my energy levels in my second trimester were much better than in my first, oh and all of my blood tests came back normal at 12 weeks, including the PAPP-A reading, meaning that I don't need to have all of the extra scans that I had with Joseph which is a huge relief.


Third trimester

I entered my 28th week and third trimester last Wednesday. According to the app I'm using, baby is the size of a coconut. I feel a lot of movement, especially after I've eaten or had something cold to drink and it seems like he's running out of room in there judging by how hard he hits the walls sometimes!

My body has been aching a lot more than I remember it aching when I was pregnant with Joseph, and I find myself feeling like a beached whale once I've laid down as it's so hard to get up, with back twinge-ing and general weight. I sleep with a cushion between my thighs when laying on my side as I find it sort of helps. Leg cramps in the night are really starting to irk me as I'm afraid to move or stretch my legs before yelping in pain unsure of whether to try to relax or fold into it. Nasty.

Not new to the third trimester, but I'm finding my bladder incredibly weak. I always felt slightly proud of how well I could hold a pee in before getting pregnant again, but now that ability has almost completely disappeared. I just find that I can go from 'I think I need to pee' to 'OMG I'm going to pee myself' to 'oh, damnit!!' in the space of about five seconds, leaving me no time to get to a loo.

Overall, I feel like this pregnancy is completely kicking my arse. I don't know whether it's my age, my lack of fitness (probably), the fact I already have a kid to run around after or what, but I feel like I'm really struggling sometimes and can't believe I have the best part of three months to go. My belly is already massive, I've put on two stone, and feel like I can actually feel myself being stretched sometimes. I am lucky to not have any stretch marks (yet), but am firm friends with my pal Gaviscon again!

If anyone reading this is in a similar point in their pregnancy, I'd love to hear how you're getting on with it all. Also if anyone else has found their second pregnancy harder than their first.

Nicki x
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Monday, 6 February 2017

Back on the changing mat


Hi! I'm here. It's been ages huh?

I don't want to spend hours explaining away why I took such a long break from blogging, but, the short of it is that it made me feel sad and inadequate but, equally, not blogging has made me feel sad too. I regret that there's now over a year-long gap in my documenting of our memories and, although I feel vulnerable and intimidated at the prospect of bringing the blog back to life, there's a huge part of me that has been longing to write for a little while now.

Not wanting this to sound like a confession but, since the last time I blogged, we have moved back into our own home after the six month process of extending our bungalow into a four-bedroom house, having lived with Ruari's parents for the duration. Joseph has been in full-on terrible two's-mode for around 90% 50% of the time, but he makes us laugh and want to smother him with kisses every darn day despite this. His favourite things include: anything to do with dinosaurs, calling me 'mother', sucking his thumb whilst twiddling the label of his multi-coloured blanket (still), watching Paw Patrol (amongst loads of other drivel on Netflix), eating raisins and making us read 7,389 books to him before bed.

I'm sure there were a million other mini life-events in '16 that I am skipping over here, but the big news is that we are expecting another baby boy in April 2017!


There will be three years between the boys, bar a week, if he - name TBC - arrives on his due date and, in fact, he has the same due date that Joseph had except Joseph was a week early. Freaky, huh. [cue the 'you only have sex once a year' jokes... although actually that isn't a million miles away from the truth!].

I cannot wait to meet him, though I am simultaneously terrified of both the labour and what life is going to be like with two kids. Millions of people do it, though, and I've been told that three years is a nice age gap as the older one can help out a little bit. I do feel a bit more at peace at being able to cope with a newborn compared with how I was with Joseph, but I'm really not sure how I'll cope with the toddler and his incessant demands and whinging. I think it's largely to do with hormones, but I've definitely been losing my rag a bit lately and it's a level frustration and emotion that I don't remember getting to me quite so acutely since I was in the midst of a depressive phase in the year after I had Joseph. I sort of suspect I might be experiencing a bit of pre-natal depression, and having come off Fluoxetine abruptly rather than tapering off when I found out I was pregnant possibly didn't help.

Anywho... TLDR?

I just wanted to write a little one to say:
1. It's been a really long time since I last wrote and that really sucks.
2. I am making a commitment to writing regularly from now on.
3. I'm pregnant and really hormonal / emotional.

Thank you to anyone who may be reading this that used to follow the blog; I hope you'll stick around. Hello to any new faces - thank you for stopping by. I'm working on a posting schedule to help me keep on track this time and I'm looking forward to sharing again.

Nicki x
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Monday, 2 November 2015

Joseph hearts: Pineapple

Just a silly one because I loved watching Joseph's face as he ate his pineapple chunks! 18 months old has been my favourite age so far. He's so much fun! Although he's not been sleeping that well in the night, he's been napping relatively well during the day compared to how he was on my maternity leave - seems to be making up for lost sleep. He's got so much character, so much determination, and jibber jabbers like a crazy man. I am absolutely loving being a mum at the moment. 

What has been your favourite age? x
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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mummy Time: Frankie Convine

Frankie is mum to a beautiful eight month old sleep-fighting Luna who started crawling at six months [insert stressed-faced emoji here]. You may recognise her from The Fourth Trimester's Instagram where she shared 'a day in the life' last month or perhaps you already follow along over at @frankie_leigh. Here, Frankie shares a bit about her difficulty with breastfeeding, her ventouse birth and how she copes with anxiety. I hope you'll join me in sending much love to Frankie and all the best with her studies. Thank you so much for sharing with the blog.
Mummy:

Tell us about yourself!
I'm Frankie, 27, first time mumma to Luna Bo who arrived on 15th February 2015. We live in lovely Suffolk with husband/Dada Todd and Indi the cat.

What do you do for a living?
I was previously a teaching assistant in a local high school, but I have just started my post 16 teacher training in Art and Photography. I will be a qualified teacher this time next year. Well, I hope so anyway!

How long did you take for maternity leave?
I started my course when Luna was 6 months. I felt it was too early to leave her, and I would of had another 7 weeks had I returned to my old job, but given the course I was doing I didn't have a choice around the start date. I cried every day for the two weeks leading up to me starting! I still hate leaving her. 
We have been lucky though as my husband works 12 hour shifts so he can stay at home with her on the 3 days I am in lectures and on placement. I then look after her the other 4 days while he works. Luna's routine hasn't changed that much as she is still at home, but I have found it tough switching between roles. I have to let Todd do things his way when he's at home and I instead have to try and focus on the work I need to do. I still text at least a couple of times a day just to check in though!

How do you manage the work/life balance?
I'm not sure that we do yet! It's really hard as I have so much coursework to do, that once Luna is asleep I start working again which doesn't leave much time to spend as a couple as Todd works the other 4 days. It also means we don't get much time as a family, but we try and make the mornings special by spending time just sitting in bed catching up while Luna crawls around. As she gets up so early, it gives us time before the morning routine starts!

How do you get things done?!
Now that Luna can crawl it makes in impossible to leave her alone! I spend a lot of time carrying her under one arm while doing tasks. The Jumperoo is also a handy place to contain her when I really need both hands! I can now do jobs very quickly which means I just about get on top of the housework. Sometimes when it gets too much, I take Luna over to my mums so I can crack on with making the house look vaguely presentable!

How are you?
I am completely knackered! Luna is a pretty poor sleeper and still hasn't slept through the night. Now juggling motherhood, work, being a good wife and a good friend is a lot to take on. Since having Luna I have struggled with a lot of anxiety. Some days are easier than others, but I do find some basic things really hard. On a good day I can coast through and cope despite the lack of sleep. Other days my emotions get on top of me and it can be quite hard to not feel anxious constantly. It's something I am working on. Whenever I have a hard day, I try and take a minute and just look at Luna and really try and appreciate her. Even if she is screaming the house down! I would take being with her all day over going to work in a heartbeat.

How does a typical day go?
We are up at 6am for a feed and on my work days, a nice cuddle in bed. I then head off around 8.30am for a morning of lectures and an afternoon of teaching. I get home around 5.30-6pm. Then it's dinner, bath, bottle and bed for Luna. I then make our dinner and get started on uni work around 8.30pm. Bedtime is hopefully by 10.30pm as I know we will be up several times in the night.
My days off go much the same except Todd leaves at 6.30am, so no morning family time. Luna is a super active baby so we fill our day seeing friends, going swimming or to a free play session at a local gym. Luna especially loves he trampoline!
Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?
My pregnancy was pretty rough. I was signed off work at 4 months pregnant as I had incredibly low blood pressure and a fast heart rate. I had lots of dizzy spells and was out of breath just climbing the stairs. It meant I spent a lot of time just laying in bed watching West Wing and Australian Masterchef! I was also measuring small so I had several extra scans and I was under a consultant. Pregnancy was the loneliest I have ever felt. Spending so much time by yourself is really hard. I'm not very good with my own company!

Did you have any cravings?
I went off all food. My sickness lasted months and was then replaced by constant nausea. The only thing I really wanted was ice cold water! 

Did you find out what you were having?
We did, my husband was dying to know.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?
Being at home for so long I spent ages looking at names. I loved Luna from the start but Todd was slightly unsure at first. We ended up with a short list of 3 when labour rolled by and it wasn't until she born that we decided. I asked Todd and he said she was definitely a Luna. Her middle name, Bo, was his choice.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?
We went to the local antenatal classes and decorated the nursery. I started to read a couple of books, but I didn't find them hugely helpful. I had a pregnancy app that explained how she was growing and I just stuck with that. I prepared in the more practical sense of having the house ready for her.

How was your labour?
Labour was quick once it finally got going! I was 3cm when I arrived and started on gas and air. Within 2 hours I knew something was happening. My midwife reluctantly examined me again and I was 10cm and ready to go! I ended up with an emergency ventouse delivery as Luna's heart rate was rapidly dropping. She had her knees on her chest so was a bit stuck. It was very scary as there were lots of people there by the time she came out and it took about 15 minutes for her first cry. Thankfully she was fine, just shocked.
Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?
Nothing has come easy to us and breastfeeding was no exception. We had so much help to try and breastfeed. Luna was latching on but it just wasn't right. Within a week my nipples were bleeding when I tried to feed her. It was excruciating. I cried every time she needed a feed. Eventually a midwife told me to stop for a few days to heal and to just express in the mean time. But they just weren't healing. I expressed for 6 weeks, every 3 hours through the day and night. Then almost overnight my supply just dried up. It took another 3 weeks after I stopped expressing for my nipples to finally heal. Part of me was so relived I didn't have to express anymore and the other part felt horrible and guilty. It's taken this long to finally be able to talk about the experience without crying.

What does Luna eat?
We are on 3 meals a day, when Luna decides she actually fancies food. Breakfast is porridge, lunch is fruit and breadsticks and dinner is vegetables and beans or lentils. We are vegetarian so Luna has the same diet as us and is starting to eat versions of our meals. I had been doing mashed food rather than purées. Luna had bad reflux so we started weaning at 5 months. We now do a combination of mashed food fed to her and baby led weaning.

Does Luna have a sleep routine?
We have a bedtime routine of dinner, bath, story, bottle and sleep. But during the day we don't. Luna typically has a nap a couple of hours after getting up, lunchtime and late afternoon. The naps are normally around 15-20 minutes. As Luna isn't a great sleeper I tend to go with her and what she wants.
How do you keep Luna entertained and what are her favourite things to do?
Climbing is Luna's favourite activity, so she likes anything were she can move about. Taking her out for a meal is a nightmare! We do baby gymnastics, swimming and use a sensory room at a local children's centre. As she gets bigger and can walk, I imagine we will spend lots of time at the beach and playing outside.

What helps to calm Luna down when she's having a freak out? 
Rocking. I spend hours a week rocking in my living room. I'm going to wear the carpet out soon! When she was tiny and had colic we would rock for hours everyday.

Does Luna suffer with anything?
Luna is allergic to milk proteins so she has a specialist formula that is dairy free. She also suffers from reflux. Thankfully it is finally getting better. We saw a paediatrician who prescribed her medicine she takes twice a day. We have been in teething hell for weeks and have used a combination of Anbesol and Calpol to help. If anyone knows of anything else that works though, please let me know!

At what age did Luna become more mobile and how did you cope?
Commando crawling came first at 4 and half months, with proper crawling starting at 6 months. I didn't expect to have a bay that moved so quickly! We have stair gates on the stairs and at the kitchen. I have caught her trying to squeeze through into the conservatory because she was eyeing up the cats biscuits!
 Paraphernalia!:

Does Luna have a favourite toy?
Luna has a Jellycat rabbit that she loves. She really enjoys books although she generally just chews on them. We got bought The Gruffalo with noises and she loves it.

What was your most recent baby-related purchase?
Gap have a sale on at the moment, so I got a few bits to put away for next year!

What has been the most useful thing you've bought?
The best thing I own is my Perfect Prep machine. It is incredible! If you bottle feed your baby, it is the way forward for sure. So quick and easy to use.

What is Luna’s mode of transport?
We have an iCandy Apple to pear pushchair. We got an amazing deal for the carrycot, seat and frame. I really like it. It feels sturdy and once you know the knack, it's easy to get up and down. We were given a Maxi-Cosi car seat and Isofix base by a friend of Todds, which has been fantastic.

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
Having something to entertain Luna; a couple of toys and something she can chew on help to keep her happy. Snacks, muslins, change of clothes for her and me are essential too.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
High street-wise I love Zara. They don't just make girls clothes in pink, yay! I especially love independent mumma-run companies that I have found on Instagram. If I could afford it, I would buy heaps from them! We really love Tobias and the Bear and Stitched Up Apparel.
Body and Mind:

Has your view on, or relationship, with your body changed since you've become a mother?
I have always had a difficult relationship with my body and pregnancy has heightened that. I am totally amazed what my body has done and how incredible it is I grew Luna in me. But I look in the mirror and don't like what I see. However I felt like this pre-Luna so I think pregnancy has just taken me further from my ideal. I do feel very fortunate to have not got stretch marks when pregnant though.

How do you relax?
I never feel I have the time to just relax and be anymore, but if I do get the time, laying in the bath with the music on is bliss!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
I have forgotten what this is! I'm either at work or home with Luna. I have had one meal out with the girls which was lovely to catch up and hold a whole adult conversation. I need to make more time for me to do this.

When things are tough, what gets you through?
To talk to someone. I am lucky that a few friends have had babies at the same time, so we are a good support to each other. Sometimes I have a good cry too because generally that makes you feel much better! And chocolate. A treat just makes everything feel a bit more manageable.

Advice:

What have you found to be the most challenging age?
The first 6 weeks were really hard and I was so anxious I barely left the house. Luna would cry for hours and I was expressing all the time. I still find days hard now because Luna wants to be doing so much but can't and recently has been very upset and I don't know exactly why. I think every age has its up and downs though!

If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?
Friendships will change, but sometimes that's ok. Read those books you got last year because you won't have time soon! Pregnancy sucks but remind yourself that each day is a day closer to having Luna. And be prepared to love someone more than anything ever.

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
My mum said to me, Luna isn't an easy baby but that's just what she's like, it's not that you're doing it wrong. You are always doing your best.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
You are amazing. You are doing everything right for your baby. Don't listen to people who judge you. Motherhood is the hardest but also the most rewarding job in the world. We should all support each other in this mammoth task. Remember on the hard days what an awesome job you are doing.

(Also read My Milo & Me blog, it is so funny you may actually wet yourself a bit, but it's totally worth it!) 
If you'd like to feature on Mummy Time, give me a shout at onthechangingmat@gmail.com
Nicki x
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Monday, 26 October 2015

PYO Pumpkin, Ashford

After seeing countless photos of pumpkin patches on Instagram for the third or fourth year running, I decided that it was nigh time I visit a patch myself, now that I'm the proud owner of an inquisitive toddler.

I dragged Ruari, and a wellington-boot-clad Joseph, to the nearest patch I could find on Google which turned out to be Pick Your Own Pumpkin in Sevington near Ashford in Kent (just five minutes from his parents' house). 

It was unsurprisingly busy, as it was a Sunday, with cars parked for what seemed like a mile along the side of the patch. I loved that the staff, who were directing the cars where to park, were wearing bright orange gilets and scarves with a pumpkins printed on them!

Ruari said to me, as we stepped out of the car; 'don't think I don't know why we're here. This is an Instagram trip isn't it?'

'Yeah, and what?'

I definitely didn't go there to take photos for the sake of social sharing, as I'm still feeling a bit weird about Insta (and social media in general) but I definitely wanted to try and take some nice ones in the pursuit of trying to take better photos to have up around my house and trying to be good at something. But perhaps if it weren't for Instagram I'd be ignorant to the amazingness of pumpkin patches, and I'm glad that I took Joseph to see one. 

I found the whole thing really magical and was trying to stay focussed on enjoying the moment whilst constant thoughts of 'Return to Oz' and 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' were running through my head, as was the determination to take a half-decent photo. I don't quite have this whole mindfulness thing nailed yet.

I loved the pumpkin patch and I think Joseph will come to appreciate it more as he gets older and it becomes an annual tradition to visit. For now, he was just kind of bemused and thought they were all 'balls' on the ground for him to run around and touch. It was very sweet to see Joseph explore, but I think I had more fun than he did!

The pumpkins were priced from £1-£5 (I think) depending on size and we went for a modest, lone, green pumpkin for £2 in the end which is yet to be carved, or photographed for that matter.

Not that I've been to another patch to compare this one to, but I'd recommend the Pick Your Own pumpkin patch in Sevington if you're local and want to visit one this October. Check their Facebook page first for opening times and travel tips (it gets super busy) and ENJOY! 

Have you visited a pumpkin patch this year? x
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