Thursday, 27 November 2014

I heart Buddy and Bear

A few weeks ago I featured one of my favourite Insta-mums on the blog - graphic designer Sarah Weston. In her Mummy Time post Sarah mentioned that she was working on a brand new range of nursery goodies, and I'm excited to share that she has now launched her wonderful shop in time for Christmas, Buddy and Bear!

Here are my favourite Buddy and Bear picks and I hope you will have a nosey to see what else is in store (quite literally)! www.buddyandbear.com
Melamine 'nom nom nom' plate - £7
'Silent night. Yeah right' longsleeve t-shirt - £16
Cuddle o' Clock print - £18
Polar Bear Santa sack - £15
Huge congratulations to Sarah for launching such a beautiful brand and such lovely pieces. I am really amazed by the talent of some of the ladies that have taken part in Mummy Time and am proud to have featured them on the blog and, in case you missed it, you can read Sarah's post here

Lastly, there is a Buddy and Bear giveaway on Instagram at the moment and it's a cracker! Find out what I'm on about by heading to instagram.com/buddyandbear and enter before 8pm on the 7th of December! Good luck!

Update: Enter the discount code 'BLACKFRIDAY' for 20% off on Friday the 28th of November! Woop!

P.S. This is not sponsored, I just really like their vibe.
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Mummy Time #19: Holly Payne

Holly has been very open about her journey as a new mum and I hope her honesty will be helpful to others. If anyone else has struggled with post-partum body confidence, or if you'd like to share your tips on how you make yourself feel like more like 'you' again, then I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. I hope you enjoy this week's post!

Mummy:

Who are you?

Hi, I am Holly, I am 28, a first time mum and live in a small town about 30 minutes from Norwich. I live with my partner Jamie, 29, and he’s the absolute love of my life and my best friend. We had a pretty whirlwind ‘honeymoon period’ and were living together almost instantly. We got our own place after five months together and I was pregnant after eight. Penelope Elizabeth Payne made our twosome a threesome on 22nd May 2014.  She is now reaching six months old and we find ourselves falling more in love with her every day. 

What do you do for a living?

I am currently a stay at home mum. I have a degree in PR and have had a number of jobs since I was 15 but I have never really known what I wanted to do.  Being a mum has come really naturally to me and a high-pressure career will never be a priority. I have enough experience that I can get a part time job when the time comes and hopefully it will be something stress-free that I can enjoy and work around Penelope.

How are you?

‘Mummywise’ I am fantastic - couldn’t be happier with how I have adjusted to life as a mum. I have a relaxed attitude to parenting and a very relaxed baby- Penelope is one of the happiest babies I have ever known. ‘Hollywise’ I have my days where I just don’t feel like me anymore- I have really struggled with the physical changes to my body that motherhood has thrust upon me. I have never been a vain person but pre-Penelope I was a body confident woman and very comfortable in my own skin. I have shed many tears over my new mum-body, but I know I have to learn to love it- and I will get there- but it’s a slow process.


What do you do to relax?

I usually take a hot bubble bath, pamper myself, get in some pjs and enjoy a film with Jamie. Penelope goes to bed every night around 7ish so we get the whole evening to ourselves to chill and reflect on our days, which is lovely.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

I have a wide circle of friends so I will always make time to go out with them when I am baby-free. Jamie and I will try and arrange a date night when we can. Luckily my parents are always happy to take Penelope for us and she’s more than happy to go to theirs- she has built a great relationship with her grandparents already. Usually when Penelope naps during the day, I will get on with housework or watch some trashy TV and put my feet up with a cuppa. If I am having a really lazy day I will nap with her as she’s usually had me up early.

How does a typical day go?

Penelope wakes for her first bottle between 5-6am, (I have a ready-made carton on my bedside table ready to pour for when she wakes) she enjoys that bottle in bed with us and then cuddles up to me for more sleep. Jamie is up and off to work at 7am and most of the time we sleep through this. Penelope then has a unique way of waking me up by grabbing my nose or slapping my face- this is to let me know she’s ready for breakfast!  We head downstairs and I put Peppa Pig on which makes her smile instantly, she happily watches that while I make her porridge and myself a cup of tea.  After breakfast she will have a little bounce in her Jumperoo while I make myself breakfast and then around 8:30-9am she will have her first nap of the day. I use this time to get myself ready for the day; I have timed it to the minute to be putting my last strand of hair in place as she wakes up! I will then get her dressed and we will usually head out to; a baby group, a playdate, coffee with a friend or a supermarket run. Lunchtime is usually around 12pm and she will have some finger food. After she has made a spectacular mess at lunch she will then nap again for around 30 minutes. Afternoons are occasionally one on one playtime for me and her, or we will take another trip out. Her final nap of the day is around 3pm and this is usually for about an hour. She can wake up a tad grumpy from this nap so it takes some funny faces from me and some giggle time before I can sit her down for dinner.  Dinner is at around 5pm and consists of a savoury puree, a dessert puree and maybe a rusk to chew on if she’s still hungry.  I then run her a bath, which she really enjoys, and after some songs in the bath it’s PJ time.  I will usually leave her to play by herself or I let her watch baby tv for some chill out time while I cook dinner. By the time Jamie arrives home from work she’s usually pretty relaxed and I pop her dummy in and give her a cuddle and that’s when she usually nods off.  I take her upstairs and tuck her in and then I’m usually back down in time for Emmerdale!

Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?

My pregnancy was a pretty standard one. I had horrendous morning sickness until 10 weeks and was extremely emotional and clingy. All appointments and scans went really well though and I was generally pretty healthy. When I started to get heavily pregnant I developed PGP (pelvic girdle pain) and it was awful- I struggled to walk round the supermarket on some days. I went to see an osteopath and a physio but the only thing that made it better was actually giving birth. My pelvis used to pop and crack when I rolled over in bed at night.  I used to cry rivers at how uncomfortable I was. Apart from that part it wasn’t all bad. I must admit, though, I didn’t enjoy pregnancy as much as I thought I would. I was always one of those girls that ‘couldn’t wait’ to experience pregnancy.  Now I have I am in no rush to be pregnant again anytime soon!


Did you have any cravings?

I didn’t really crave anything bizarre but I probably ate my body weight in cheesy Wotsits and I used to wake up randomly to tell Jamie I couldn’t stop thinking about a certain food! When my morning sickness subsided I couldn’t stop thinking about pink sweet food. I made Jamie buy me a ton of strawberry mousse and some angel cake, and I wanted things like marshmallows and candyfloss.  I feel like this was Penelope trying to tell me she was a little girl!

Did you find out what you were having?

Yes, we are far too impatient, as soon as we could find out, we did.  I knew I was having a girl from pretty early on, when people would tell me I was carrying like it’s a boy I would just roll my eyes thinking ‘we’ll see’  We were overjoyed when we found out and the ‘pink’ shopping began instantly. We had a novel way to announce it to friends and family too. We took black balloons with pink confetti inside to their houses and asked them to pop the balloon.  It was great to see all of their reactions.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?

Before I was even pregnant me and Jamie were watching a film with Penelope Cruz in and Jamie said ‘Penelope is a lovely name, if we ever have a baby girl we should call her that’ I was like ‘Yep ok’ and as soon as I was pregnant Penelope was always the front runner.  We chose Elizabeth for her middle name as it’s both my mum’s and Jamie’s mums middle name too.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

We didn’t really; I mean, we were as prepared as you can be with regards to bottles, nappies, clothes etc.  We took one antenatal class before deciding it wasn’t for us. I read a couple of chapters of a book but thought ‘I know all this’.  I already had a few close friends with babies who I saw often. I just thought we will know what to do when she’s here so we may as well just make the most of our time as a parent-free couple before she arrives.

How was your labour?

Before I went into labour I used to watch One Born Every Minute totally sh*tting myself but, really, the thought of labour is much scarier than the actual experience. I went into labour on the Monday evening- I had just woken up from a nap and said to Jamie that I was getting quite strong period like pains so I started to time them and they were every 7 minutes. I spent the whole of Tuesday just timing contractions and I got up at 6am Wednesday morning feeling tired, emotional and angry and told Jamie I was going to hospital to find out what was going on so he’d better get his butt out of bed! We got to the MLBU and I was told I was in labour and that I may have mild pre-eclampsia, so my plans for a water birth went out the window.  I had to go to the delivery suite to have a sweep and was told I was 2cm dilated. At 11am was placed on the ward to wait for a room while my contractions got stronger and stronger but it wasn’t until midnight that I was taken to a room. I was 7cm when I left the ward but I was still breathing through my contractions as gracefully as possible! Once I got to the room on delivery suite they broke my waters and the pain ramped up to a whole new level. I was given gas and air, two shots of Pethadine and after a good few hours I begged for an epidural. The pain was outrageous! I was given an epidural at 10am and then my experience from that moment was bliss-  I was just chatting away to my lovely midwife while Jamie slept.  I was so exhausted but I couldn’t sleep as I was so excited to be pain free and about to meet my daughter. I was allowed to push at around 1pm and Penelope came into the world two hours later at 3:14pm. The best moment of my life!


How did you get on with breastfeeding?

Honestly? I got on completely fine with breastfeeding - Penelope had a good latch and my milk came in after three days. I just didn’t feel happy while I was feeding. I found it stressful and I only exclusively breastfed for a month.  I felt a lot of pressure to breastfeed and when I introduced combi-feeding I started to feel more relaxed.  Penelope formed a nice routine with bottles and I just stuck to breastfeeding at night. I stopped completely at three months and it felt like a weight off my shoulders. I know that ‘breast is best’ but I honestly felt we were both happier when she was on formula. I won’t rule out breastfeeding again but I will definitely make sure I am 100% comfortable doing it with my next baby.

Does your baby have a feeding routine?

Penelope has three meals a day and four 8oz bottles of formula. Her bottles just fit around her meal times and because she hasn’t taken to juice or water I don’t mind how much milk she drinks on top of her meals.

What was your approach to weaning your baby onto solids?

I had a pretty relaxed attitude to weaning. There is so much taboo about weaning early but I just thought I will do it when she is showing me signs she’s ready.  I weaned Penelope at 17 weeks as she was starting to want around 50oz of milk a day and her routine was all over the place. She was starting to scream for her bottle an hour and a half apart and was draining them.  I started her on a little baby rice but we soon moved on to porridge, - this really helped to fill her up and her milk drinking returned to normal.  I introduced purees after a couple of weeks and it was becoming obvious she really loved her food.  I think she was on three meals a day by 22 weeks. She now has finger foods at lunch so she can get learn how to feed herself and explore different foods, but I still give her porridge for breakfast and purees for dinner.

What are your baby's favourite foods?

She gobbles up crumpets pretty fast and makes lots of ‘yummy’ noises at her Petit Filous yoghurts.  I use the Hipp Organic purees for her dinners as they are so varied in flavour and she seems to enjoy the cottage pie flavour the most.

How do you keep your baby entertained?

Penelope relishes any form of stimulation with people and she mainly just enjoys coming along to anything I do.  So long as she’s getting some form of attention, she’s happy!  It’s handy that I have so many friends as, in all honesty, entertaining a baby yourself all day gets a little tedious.  When we go to see friends, or if they come over, it’s a nice break for me as everyone makes such a fuss of her and I can enjoy some adult conversation. Also Penelope is obsessed with her Jumperoo so if I need to get on with something, I can plonk her in that with some telly or music on and she will keep herself busy on the activity centre.

When you're baby's freaking out what do you find helps to calm them down?

I’m very lucky, Penelope rarely freaks out.  The one time I’ve had a freak out cry from her is when she fell off the bed (bad mummy *slaps wrists*). It was heartbreaking but she was fine and soon calmed down after lots of kisses and cuddles. If she’s having a whingey day I tend to just keep her as busy as I can or just make her laugh.


Paraphernalia:

Does your baby have a favourite toy?

Minnie Mouse goes everywhere with her, before every trip out I show her Minnie and say ‘Min Mins’ in a very high pitched voice, it gets her SO excited, her face lights up and she shuffles her legs around. She also has Bedtime Bunny who lives in her cot and is really soft to touch.  She cuddles up to him every night and rubs him on her face.

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?

I got this god awful bib from a cheap shop. It’s a terrible tacky thing that looks like a princess dress but it’s like a big apron.  It’s come in terribly handy for her lunch times as she creates the biggest mess.  But at least this stops me having to change her clothes after every meal.

What has been the most useful thing you've discovered?

Without a doubt, the white noise app. It stops her crying, sends her to sleep, just generally relaxes her and calms her down.  I would have struggled at times without it. Also her Jumperoo, we got it second hand for about £30 and we have definitely got our money’s worth and more.

What are your baby essentials when you go out?

Minnie, milk, dummy, nappies and a spare change of clothes.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?

I love H&M kids and River Island mini- these are good for outfits or something a little bit different. Sainsbury’s also do a lovely girls range and some good baby basics.


Advice:

What do you wish you knew before you had a baby?

RELAX when you’re on maternity leave!! Put your feet up, have lay ins, duvet days and watch films all day.  People used to say that to me when I was pregnant but I always wanted to keep busy.  Now I would LOVE to do all those things!

What's the best advice anyone's given you about parenting?

To be honest, I believe that all babies are different so they all need different parenting approaches. I will always ask other parents advice and take on board how they tackled certain things but me and Penelope are on our own journey together and I will do what I believe is right for US.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?

Just do your own thing. You will know in your heart what is right for you and your baby.  Don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with.  Also download The Wonder Week’s app so you’re prepared for those ‘fussy’ periods!
Thank you for getting in touch, Holly! x
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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Pic of the week: #15

Joseph turned seven months old this week and has fiiiinally turned into a full-time sitter-upper after my determination to ensure that he spent as much time on the floor as possible, supported by my U-shaped breastfeeding cushion, rather than resting between my legs. He now also seems ever-so slightly interested in crawling, but I have a feeling he'll be a bit later than average for most things seeing as he was late to roll as well. I have to remind myself that they'll get there in the end, he'll do stuff in his own time, it's not a competition (I mostly feel like I'm competing with those 'what to expect' books), nor is his development a relflection on my adequacy as a mother (that last one is tricky for me). 

Anyway, on his seven month birthday we accidentally co-ordinated mustard & navy blue outfits and we went to two baby groups that day (where we got numerous comments about our matchiness!) It was our last Baby Sensory class, aside from maybe the Christmas party, and we tried a music group run by Sure Start which was really nice and friendly so I plan to go back this week.
I hope you had a good weekend. I am full of snot and I think Joseph may have caught my sniffles! Gahh! N'night xx

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

#WIDN.... Kinda. Part 2.

I last filled this #WIDNesque set of questions back in July and thought it'd be something I'd update regularly... But I'm not very good at regularity, so four months later...

Currently I Am: After a cranky morning with Joseph (he was cranky, not me) Ruari and I took him to Folkestone and visited our friends' new record store that they have just opened called Hot Salvation. I am now at my parent-in-laws' house where Ruari is watching the rugby, Joseph is asleep in the travel cot and I have just ordered a couple of mustard hats from Thread The Love... One with ears for Joseph and just a plain bobble hat for me. I am totally obsessed with the colour and not-so-secretly into twinning outfits with Joseph, although sometimes it happens by accident. I am so embarrassing.


Reading: I've been reading a little more than I used to actually, which I am pleased about. Lately I've been catching up on blogs such as Influence (which is actually defunct but still a good read, and author now the contributing editor for Chalk KidsSometimes Sweet is always a favourite too. Physically, I've been (very slowly) reading Russell Brand's new book - Revolution. I know he divides opinion but I find him and his ideas really interesting and I like to watch his YouTube channel sometimes, although watching things on there doesn't come naturally to me for some reason. I also went to the library this week and borrowed these three:


I have read a little of each so far... The one in the middle is beautiful and I like the idea of doing the things that it suggests, but, I dunno, part of me feels too old for it and I also don't want to collect more things as I am trying to de-clutter my house and, well, my life!

Listening to: I enjoy putting on the pop channels on the TV, but aside from that I barely listen to music anymore. It's an embarrassing and dire situation. About a month ago I drove some friends to Thorpe Park and we had nothing to listen to aside from the radio as I was too embarrassed by my in-car CD collection of pop-punk that I am probably too old to be listening to.

Laughing At: Myself. But also dying of cringe. Yesterday, my manager dropped round to my house unannounced at 9am to give me a certificate for a qualification I did pre-baby, and also to give me some chocolates as our team had won some recognition at a recent awards do. But embarrassingly I was in my pyjamas and still in bed in fact, as I'd had a late night and a long night of Joseph's night-waking and awful period pain (yeah, they are back, sadly). Ruari had answered the door, Joseph in arms (he'd gone straight back to sleep after his 7am feed and had re-woken shortly before but I'd not heard him), before he went to work. He invited her in and, and as we live in a bungalow and our bedroom is right there when you come in, my manager saw me in bed and actually came into my bedroom... but the worst thing was that our bed was SURROUNDED by clutter as, ironically, we are trying to de-clutter (but you know how it gets worse before it gets better) and she kinda tripped over all of the clutter trying to get to me in bed to give me a hug. It was the worst thing ever. And I think she smelt my morning breath. God. Did I mention that the time she saw me before last I had brought Joseph into the office to visit her and had dribbled hot chocolate down my face and onto Joseph's head. And the time before that we had lunch together and I'd misjudged a sandwich I was biting on and had a case of never-ending lettuce hanging out of my mouth. I am disgusting. 

Swooning Over: Still Joseph. Every day. 

Planning: What to put on Joseph's Christmas list and my birthday list. I probably should've already put them together and distributed them to family members who want to buy us things, but I haven't.

Eating Lots Of: Nothing in particular but I have just eaten a scone. My mother in law almost always has scones in the house and I can never resist.

Feeling: Well, it's been an emotional couple of weeks of feeling massively inadequate in many ways - as a mother, a wife, a friend, a blogger, a user of Instagram (that sounds even more stupid when I admit that). I've been seriously doubting my abilities to function as a human and have been feeling like there's something profoundly wrong with me to be so stupid, lazy and rubbish-at-everything. But I feel a bit less down on myself today and the negative thoughts in my head, which on some days are really overwhelming, have quietened down a little bit for now. I really have to work hard on keeping positive and keeping perspective on things. 

Discovering: Interior design. I've never really been into design - apart from a brief fling when I was at college - but loads of the people I follow on Instagram are either into it or are actual designers, and I feel like I'm learning a little about it... I am particularly interested also because we've just submitted the plans for our house extension and if they are approved then we will be up to our eyeballs in designing how we want the space.

Watching: The Fall is back on TV and it's the only series (aside from Made in Chelsea) that I watch. Ruari looks quite a lot like the killer (Jamie Dornan) who will also be playing Christian Grey in 50 Shades of Grey so that'll be interesting to watch- haha!

Wearing: An old cat-print dress with black tights, faux leather DMs from Vegetarian Shoes and a mustard bobble jumper which has a bit of a story behind it... I don't watch Zoella's YouTube channel but when I was considering vlogging I made Ruari watch one of her videos and in it she'd bought a mustard jumper by Louche which I thought was rather awesome. This was a couple of months ago now and in the meantime she has been advertising YouTube and in all of the adverts that have stalked me around the internet she is wearing the jumper! So when Ruari and I were in London last week we passed by a Joy shop and I went in and bought it (even though it was more than I'd usually spend on a jumper)! But, what I didn't realise was until after I'd worn it is that it is bloody hand wash only! GGAAAAAHHHH!!! Whhyyy?!


Cooking: I've been slack on the cooking front lately, mostly due to the exhausting negative thoughts whirring around my head. The thing about those is it that they are self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling.

Wondering: Whether successful people have negative thoughts about themselves and whether by having them I am stopping myself from ever being successful. Also wondering why Joseph has been night-waking again.

Trying Out: Netball, again. I started playing netball for the first time since school about four months before I found out that I was pregnant. Seven months post-partum, I went back this week. And I sucked. Again, negative thoughts telling me that I'm rubbish at netball meant that I wasn't paying enough attention when the ball came to the person I was defending (on multiple occasions). I enjoyed it for getting my heart-rate going and I think I'll go back next week as I just can't imagine myself getting up and going running in the dark mornings and dark nights!

So there we have it! We are going to go home back to our house now where there is house cleaning and washing up waiting for me! Sorry that this has been so negative-thought-based, but it's just what I'm going through right now and if anyone else experiences the same kind of thoughts then I'd really like to hear from you - onthechangingmat@gmail.com.

Hope you're having a good weekend. x
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mummy Time #18: Fiona Burrage

Gentle mama to the most handsome and stylish little toddler, nineteen month old Stanley, Fiona has the most incredible light-filled, spacious and minimal apartment which I (not so) secretly want to move in to! Fiona kindly agreed to share some of her experience as a first-time mum in this week's Mummy Time post which I hope you will enjoy.
Mummy:

Who are you?

Hello, my name is Fiona. I'm 30, originally from Essex and now live in Norwich in a converted factory with my husband, Bobby. We have a son, Stanley, who is 19 months old, two on March 27th.

What do you do for a living?

I am a full-time mum, but I have the benefit of lots of willing grandparents who look after Stanley so I can work with my husband for our business, The Click Design Consultants, a design consultancy. We're also in the midst of setting up several other businesses including a line of design-related goods made by people in the county we live in.

How are you?

I am really well. We had an incredibly tough time with sleep deprivation for the first year of Stanley's life. I am very pro attachment parenting and my son co-slept for 11 months but slept no longer than 3 hours consecutively with the most frequent wakings being hourly. He also constantly breastfed for 13 weeks (no exaggeration). By 6 months, he was able to go hourly in the day. He was a complete grazer. I persevered and he now has just a manageable three feeds a day and sleeps through the night. So life is just perfect, but if you'd asked me the same question this time last year you'd have got a very different answer!
What do you do to relax?

Read, pilates and enjoy a good DVD box set. At the moment I'm enjoying Friends in bed with Bobby!

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

I sort out the never ending list of things to do but if I get five minutes I will grab a bath or fake tan. I always feel lifted after those two things.

How does a typical day go?

Up at 7am, breakfast for the three of us. Stanley hurtling up and down the apartment on his car. Shower for me whilst Bobby watches the boy and vise versa. Then Stanley and I go for a walk/park/food shop/postal run about 9am, back for a co-sleeping nap around 11am, lunch at 1pm(ish). Play indoors for a bit and then head out again. Most days we meet friends. Bobby's home just before 6pm, we'll have dinner, put the boy to bed between 7-7.30, then I can catch up with the work (invoicing, packing etc). Hopefully sat down by 10pm(ish) and asleep before midnight.
Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?

I was lucky to have a straightforward pregnancy although I did have a lot of PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) and put on four stone!

Did you find out what you were having?

Yes, I am way to impatient to wait. We both were, and we guessed right.

How did you decide on your names and you already have the names ready before they arrived?

Yes, Stanley Thomas is named after both great grandfathers who were wonderful men. I pushed Ford but lost the battle. He definitely suits his name now though.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

I did it all, read the books, watched the DVDs (the Essential parenting guide), NCT classes and hospital run sessions and had two apps. I was a project manager before Stanley was born, can you tell?

How was your labour?

I won't go into too much detail but I was midwife led until complications arose and had an emergency c-section. The staff were absolutely fantastic and he was born safe and well. A healthy 9lbs 3oz.
Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?

Tough going due to the frequency and how demanding he is/was but I really didn't want to introduce formula. My mum breastfed me and I wanted to do the same. We found out at 9 months he is tongue tied and that explains the frequency of feeds, I now know not all bf babes feed as much! I can see it won't last forever so consider it a small sacrifice (in time) for what I feel is an incredibly happy and secure little guy.

Does your baby have a feeding routine?

Not now and he never did – we fed on demand.

What was your approach to weaning your baby onto solids?

We went with baby-led weaning and, man, there is a lot of waste but totally worth it now. He uses a spoon and is a great eater.

What are your baby's favourite foods?

Currently loves smoothies, olives and cheese but he likes to keep me on my toes with his preferences. He's particularly partial to an Indian.

When your baby's freaking out what do you find helps to calm them down?

Touch wood, it doesn't really happen now, but it is always breastfeeding that will calm him. The magic boob!

Paraphernalia:

Does your baby have a favourite toy?

Hands down his wishbone trike.

What was your most recent baby or baby-related purchase and why did you buy it?

Noodoll hook for his towel. I love their brand.

What has been the most useful thing you've discovered?

White noise app; I've never known a child who sleeps as lightly as Stanley. The white noise app has a been a god-send when we've needed to mask general noise.

What is your baby’s mode of transport?

Quinny Buzz curious colours. It's stored indoors so is great for bouncing up the stairs with its inflated wheels and I love that it's all black. Goes with anything I'm wearing!

If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?

Go on an adult only holiday and do nothing. Things are about to get a whole lot busier and noisier. But in a great way.

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?

Go with your instincts; you can read books and listen to friends but do what is right for you and your family. You'll never go far wrong.

Thank you so much for sharing, Fiona x

P.S. You can read more about Fiona and her wonderful home on Chalk Kids, HJEM and M-word Mag.
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Recent Purchases: #3

Socks! I love plain socks in different colours as it's then so easy to just co-ordinate them with an outfit. I've found that Matalan do some great plain crew socks but they hadn't seemed to have adjusted their colour palette for autumnal outfits (they're brighter in real life than their web-picture) - not knowing any better I re-bought the bright set that I'd used throughout summer in a bigger size before coming across this set from Tesco for £3. I particularly love the mustard pair.


I've wanted to get Joseph to Water Babies for months, but as class sizes are very small you have to be quick when a new beginner class starts. I've been on the waiting list for a while now and finally the stars aligned and our opportunity to book on at our nearest hydrotherapy pool came up. Classes are not cheap at all - £123.75 for a term of ten half an hour lessons - but I really wanted to give it a try and hopefully get Joseph even more confident in the water. I now just need to get him a special Water Babies nappy.


Joseph loves this book; Yawn by Nick Sharratt and Sally Symes. We're working on our book collection as I must admit I'm not that great at remembering to read to him before bed, but he seems to really like the illustrations, as do I!


I'm really keen on Joseph learning some sign-language so that he can tell me what he wants before he can talk. At Baby Sensory we've been told to expect signs back at around eight months old so I really hope I'll get a treat from him! He already loves the Baby Sensory 'Say Hello' song and if he's having a freak out he is calmed by me singing it to him, or even if I just do the signs he is mesmerised. I've learnt that Baby Sensory use either own signs which are a mix of a few different types of sign languages (yeah, I thought there would be a single universal sign language) which not everyone might understand should he need to sign to anyone other than me - so we've been going to Sign & Rhyme groups each week for about a month now and I also bought these flashcards by Cath Smith from Amazon - both of which use British Sign Language (BSL). Prices range from £6.63- £9.79 plus postage.


I went to Holland & Barratt after some unsuccessful supermarket shopping looking for quinoa, tofu and low salt vegetable stock and found exactly what I was after within seconds. I am particularly pleased to have some veggie protein in the house for Joseph now... I just need to figure out how to use it all!


We were at a garden centre recently and saw this adorable Christmas decorations for £1.99 each (I think). I couldn't resist the penguin for Joseph, but he very wisely pointed out that 'Lola' is Tagalog for grandma and seeing as his grandma is Filipino he thought she'd really like to hang it on her tree from him!


The Ella's Kitchen 'red' cookbook came highly recommended to me by some of the Instamums so when I saw it for £6.99 in TK Maxx recently, I had to buy it. So far I've only made the mixed bean chilli which Joseph enjoyed... And if he's anything like me then he will love the stickers in the back of it when he grows up.

Taa-daa...

I also bought a couple of Halloweeny things but as it's now mid-November it's kind of too late to write about them!

Have you bought any goodies lately? Link me to your latest haul posts below! x

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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Pic of the week: #14

Here we are outside the church that Ruari and I were married in on Cinco de Mayo 2012.
I have found it hard to wear anything other than either one of my denim jackets with my Tula as the print is so strong- also as the straps are thick so it makes my shoulders look weird and hunch-backed if I wear a coat over them. I've been looking into winter babywearing options - none of which seem that flattering, particularly when you have a thick-strapped carrier rather than a woven wrap - but I like the idea of an oversized mustard raincoat to throw over the top and to zip Joseph up into. I was watching one by Boden on Ebay the day that this photo was taken, but one of the curses of Canterbury is a lack of 3G (First World problem, I know) and I couldn't bid on it before the time ran out. Grr. There are a few mustard macs still on Ebay but they look paper thin and I'd prefer something with some level of warmth. 

So, yeah, for the foreseeable, in my pictures I will be in one of my denim jackets! 
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Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Hungry Caterpillar: #3

Joseph turns seven months old on Wednesday and recently he has tried:

Home made carrot & lentil soup (made by Ruari!) - this was actually his first experience with a puréed texture and a baby spoon, but he loved it and ate a lot more than I thought he would. I initially tried to spoon feed him but he'd block the spoon with his hand and try to feed it to himself so instead I pre-loaded each spoonful and handed him the handle of the spoon and he knew exactly what to do. Clever baby!

Natural yoghurt - his face scrunched up from the bitter taste the first time he tried it, but the second and third time he fed himself, again with a pre-loaded spoon, with much more gusto.

Tinned pineapple in juice - again his face scrunched up from the sweetness this time but he seemed to like the feel of it on his gummies.

A roast dinner on his Grandad's 60th birthday. He tried roast chicken, brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli. He's had the latter two before but he enjoyed the broccoli much more this time around. I have been in two minds about whether to bring Joseph up as vegetarian but I have decided not to, or not whilst he's a baby at least as I just want to make sure he's getting everything he needs and I'm just not confident in my ability to provide him enough baby-safe veggie protein. I get mine (although probably not enough) from often very salty and processed foods which I cannot share with him. This was his first taste of meat and it was clear that it was a new texture for him - I think he only managed to digest a couple of tiny shreds and the floor got the rest.


Eggy bread - the first time I've ever made it and he seemed to really enjoy it. This is a bit grim of me, but I get a weird sense of satisfaction when I see the seeds from the seeded bread that he's eaten in his nappy the next day. Although poppy seeds can be slightly run-away!

Lemon drizzle cake. I'm not proud of this one but Ruari's mum had him on her lap at a party we were at recently and he reached for her cake and she let him have a bite. I was there but I felt helpless to stop it. I felt angry at myself afterwards for not saying anything but I don't want to be an up-tight mum or upset grandparents who have raised their own children just fine, but I just really don't want him to eat a lot of sugary and processed things and I just hope they won't be feeding him junk food when they babysit him.

Saying that, he tried a mini breadstick yesterday as a friend had an open packet and shared one with him - he didn't seem overly impressed but I found it quite tasty, hehe.

Banana and cinnamon on toast - the cinnamon is a new addition to an already popular food with Joseph... If he likes cinnamon as an adult we'll know why as he also has it in his oat bites and porridge.

Strawberry and raspberries. He wasn't convinced!

What are your bambino's favourite foods? x
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mummy Time #17: Nicola Lilley

This amazing, (currently) blue-haired, mum to two and half year old Hunter, our eldest baby on Mummy Time, seems incredibly chilled out and I just love her approach to parenting. I'd like to take a leaf out of Nicky's book of cool... Or maybe just take the whole darn book! I hope you enjoy this week's Q&A!
Mummy:

Who are you?

Hi, I'm Nicky and I’m 27 years young. I live with my beautiful Husband, Tobias, and my amazing little boy, Hunter, who is 2 1/2. Tobias and I met in Ipswich four years ago, but since then we have moved to Cardiff, across to Exeter, up to Newcastle and then back down to Ipswich but now we are in Reading, Berkshire. I think we have commitment issues. America is calling our name next.
 
What do you do for a living?

I am full time cook, cleaner, painter and nappy changer. In other words, I’m a stay at home mum. I have never been interested in a career -  for me you work to live not live to work. I used to waitress and it was so much bloody fun but now I know I was supposed to do this job and I'm lucky enough that my husband can support us. I finished working quite early in the pregnancy and never returned!

How are you?

I'm good, actually good… Things are great right now.

What do you do to relax?

I like to meditate. This is a new thing for me but I love it.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Go shopping, paint my nails or clean. Basically things I can't do when Hunter is around.

How does a typical day go?

Our days are very relaxed, so we get up late-ish, see if we can find anything for breakfast and decide what we will do that day. Most mornings we will go to a toddler group or meet up with a friend for coffee. I often like to do things just me and Hunter, so we can meet new people. We then come home for a late lunch and sometimes a nap. Then we play or do crafts until daddy gets home. We like to eat out a lot but if not then I knock up something almost edible for dinner.
Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?

I had a pretty chilled pregnancy, no crazy hormones or anything. The only cravings I had were for spicy foods. I ate tons of subway with extra hot sauce, chillies and jalapeños- everyone said that meant I was having a boy, so maybe some truth in that. We found out we were having a boy and fought over names until we came to "Hunter" and straight away we knew that was the right name for us and kept it a secret until he was born. My labour was a long 24 hours, I wanted a natural water birth which started out well but as I got more and more tired I just stopped trusting my body

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

We bought all the usual things, cot, buggy, baby clothes and we didn't use any of it! He slept in with us, hated the buggy so we carried him, and he was a big baby so hardly any of the clothes fitted him! I went to a few antenatal classes but soon realised I just wanted to do things my own way and never went back.

Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?

It was tough in the beginning – I had very sore nipples and I just didn't enjoy it. I used to say "as soon as he is six months old I'm done!" But now he is 2 1/2 and we’re still going strong. He pretty much just nurses to go to sleep now and I'm ready to stop, but I feel it's best for them to self-wean when they are ready.

What does your baby eat?

Hunter has no routine whatsoever; he tells me when he is hungry and what he wants for snack. We only have healthy food in the house so it allows him to have control of what he wants. We started baby led weaning at six months old but he didn't start actually eating much until about a year old. Now he loves pate, olives, carrots fruit and meat, but also chocolate and biscuits! We have to be a bit strict on his diet as he has inherited eczema from his dad which flares up when he has gluten or dairy. He has the same dinner as us but rarely eats it at the table so we put it on his little table and he will make his way through it whilst playing later. I want to keep a relaxed vibe towards food as it's so easy to create bad eating habits.

Does your baby have a sleep routine?

He sleeps when he is tired, so sometimes he has a nap and stays up late with us or he will stay awake all day and have an early night. Either way he doesn't get up early which is nice!

What are your baby’s favourite things to do?

Cars! He has always been obsessed with cars and can play with them for hours. Loves Lego too, the very tiny pieces that takes ages to put together. He also likes to help with cooking and cleaning now which is nice. Also films, that's a big one. At the moment it's Frozen - we watch it three times in a row.

When you're baby's freaking out, what do you find helps to calm them down? 

Now he is a toddler we don't really have any of that stuff, but when he was younger he was quite a fussy baby so I would put him in the carrier and go for a walk. These days, if he has a tantrum, I just stay calm and offer hugs- it helps him to get over it more quickly.

Have you taken your baby on any holidays?

Our first holiday with Hunter was to Amsterdam. He was an angel on the flight and I just fed him when I needed to as he had to sit on my lap anyway. The iPad was good for keeping him entertained and snacks are a must! The wrap was essential as we carried him around the whole time. We go for quite a few weekends away and always have. He always adjusts very quickly and can sleep anywhere as long as he has milk.

Paraphernalia:

Does your baby have a favourite toy?

No, not one particular toy. He hasn't formed any attachment to things yet. He will play with anything, I saw him the other day pretending his carrots were people saying hello to each other. He goes through phases of using a certain car the most but it never lasts more than a couple days then he moves on.
What is your baby’s mode of transport?

We now use a buggy as he is getting a bit heavy for me to carry around all the time, but as a baby up until a year old we used different wraps and carriers - he loved being close and I loved having him close. Our main buggy is a Quinny and it’s great but it doesn't fold up, which is a pain, so we have a cheap fold-up one for train journeys and going away.
What are your essentials when you go out?

Snacks and drinks are the main thing as he has special needs for food and we’ve found that it's hard to find things when we’re out that he can have. We also carry wipes and Hunter has his own little backpack which he puts his toys in for the day.
Advice:

If you could give your pregnant self some advice, what would it be?

Maybe to relax about what other people are thinking, I felt a bit self-conscious about breastfeeding in public after a couple of people made comments about me, but I now know that is their problem not mine!

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?

Your baby is extremely smart and knows exactly what they need - don't try and force what you think they need on them.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other mums or expectant mums?

Just do whatever feels right for you, not what the doctors, not what your mum, not what your HV says. Go with the flow, listen to your baby and also trust them!
Thank you so much for sharing Nicky! x
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