Saturday, 31 January 2015

I heart the Nor-Folk


the Nor-Folk is a graphic design-led apparel, homewares and lifestyle brand co-created by a very talented lady that I featured on the blog a few months ago, Fiona Burrage, along with her husband, Bobby, and son, Stanley.

Through the brand's rapidly growing Instagram feed Fiona has revealed the Nor-Folk's first kids collection named The Wonder Years, which is a set of simply yet beautifully designed type-based t-shirts with numbers or wonder years on them. The collection was inspired by Stanley's upcoming second birthday and the family's love for type and design.

Fiona has styled the collection with carefully selected accessories from independent makers and stockists.

Stanley wears:
T-shirt - the Nor-Folk (coming soon)
Bow tie - Suusies
Leggings - Shampoodles Sweden
Bandit eye mask - custom made by Elias Frank
Crown - Hubble & Duke
Leggings - Mingokids
Chain - Sweeties
Moccs - Teepee Tots & Co
Trainers - Adidas
T-shirts - the Nor-Folk (coming soon)
Necklace - Stadtlandkind / Pirates and Ponies
Garlands - Sonny & Flo
Bunny - from This Modern Life
Trainers - Adidas
Bow tie - Suusies via Little Miss Daisy

The Wonder Years collection is a follow up to, and sits alongside the brand's initial brand collection, which you may have spotted on IG in the form of tote bags, which have begun to make their way around the globe.


Twinning sweaters for kids and adults will soon be available also.


the Nor-Folk have also launched a fantastic lifestyle blog in collaboration with Norfolk locals who have their fingers on the pulse of men and women's fashion, style and food which also features the details of the Burrage's minimal factory apartment.

http://nor-folk.com/
We live in a factory - a home for life
Keep your eyes peeled on the Nor-Folk's Instagram and blog for news on when and how to get hold of their new collection. In the meantime, tote bags are available on Etsy.

Congratulations to Fiona and the Nor-Folk on the launch of their line and I will continue to gawp in awe at the growth of this exciting new brand. Definitely one to watch!

P.S. This is not sponsored, I just really like their vibe.
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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Mummy Time #25: Maja Korovljević

Maja crafts the most beautiful minimal handmade wooden toys, and her Instagram feed @pinchtoys is an incredibly serene mix of work in progress, finished product and family life. I wanted to hear about Maja's life as a mum of two, and I'm really excited to share her responses with you this week- they made me laugh out loud more than once! I hope you enjoy her post!
Mummy:

Who are you?
My name is Maja, I'm 33 and live in Croatia. I've been married to my husband for almost seven years and we have two girls, Katja who is six, and Greta who was born on March 27th and is 9.5 months old [at the time of writing].

What do you do for a living?
I'm currently on maternity leave until Greta turns one, but I recently started running a small business together with my friend Sanja. The brand is called 'pinch • toys' and it's based on handmade cotton and wooden products for kids and their parents. During pregnancy with Greta, Katja and I had all the time in the world to be creative so we both came up with the idea to create more natural and calm toys for her and the newborn. As most of the toys we have are very colorful and plastic we often end up hiding them rather than playing with them so we started our creations with wood and non toxic paint. After few coffees with Sanja who was sewing and knitting alot in her spare time, we somehow ended up talking about much bigger plans! The excitement grew from day to day as the ideas just kept coming. After last summer, we were ready to launch. We can't even describe how thrilled we are with the fact that many people share our philosophy and support our little brand.


How do you manage the work/life balance?
When we had Katja, things were long way from where they are now. As the marriage happened fast we had to learn along the way how to become better parents and partners. After few years and one lost pregnancy we were so ready for the second baby. I am happy to be able to say that my husband gives me great support with my business and he is amazing with the girls. Also, we are not always 'by the clock' and we don't have problems if the kids are not sleeping at the exact same time every day. We try to have a certain schedule, but we don't go by it every day. Usually, I spend the mornings with the baby or both of the girls and the four of us are all together in the afternoons. After we put the girls to bed, I enter the Pinch world!


How are you?
Honestly, with all the positive and negative sides of motherhood, I never felt better - I'm exhausted, but happy! In fact, in a year or two, I would love to have one more baby, though I need a long talk with somebody about that, haha!

How do you relax?
I like to drink a big cup of coffee after I wake up, take long walks during the day, and in the night I like to watch TV or just hang online. I used to read and sing a lot and I'm hoping to get back to that when I stop breastfeeding.

What do you do when you have time to yourself?
I always make big plans but end up doing a major makeover of hidden body parts!


How does a typical day go?
Usually, my husband takes Katja to kindergarten as he goes to work at 7:30am. Greta and I will stay in bed and as I breastfeed we like to sleep a lot. We get up around 10 or 11am, I drink coffee and make her a bowl of fruit porridge. Then at noon we go to pick up her big sister. Sometimes grandma picks her up, but it all depends on how much work I have that day, or if I worked late the night before. If the weather is nice we take a long walk, buy groceries and than we go home to cook lunch. After my husband arrives home we eat, clean a bit and relax until it's bath time for girls. We've found that bath time is the best part of the day, so we just sit on the bathroom floor and watch them play. After they both fall asleep my night shift begins.

Pregnancy:
How was your pregnancy?
With Katja I had nausea for four months but after that I felt like I could be pregnant all the time! But after almost six years history repeated itself and nausea lasted for almost five months and than I had some pelvic pain. Besides that I felt quite good and I was very mobile until the end of both pregnancies.

Did you find out what you were having?
Both times we didn't want to know and we really loved that surpirse factor!

How was your labour?
Both of  them were fast and that's the positive side. With Katja I was due on 24th, so I came to the hospital and the next day I was induced. My contractions were horrible as I didn't have any pause between them but luckily she came out fast. After we entered the labour room the whole thing lasted for one hour. She was so tiny and perfect. Greta surprised us, and came nine days early. I basically took a shower and we went to hospital. We literally spent seven minutes in the labour room, I fed her right away, took some rest and showered. I was so excited I couldn't sleep all night. Three days after, we came home and became the Gang of Four.

Baby:

How did you get on with breastfeeding?
With Katja I breastfed for give months cause I was inexperienced, and with Greta I still do. It was very painful both times, especially in the beginning but I was determined to succeed. With G it was even worse because I had mastitis twice, but now we are completely fine and I plan to breastfeed for at least three more months.

What does Greta eat?
She's a real chubby, and she eats almost everything! She loves all food, especially vegetables, but boobie is still her favourite, haha!


How did Katja adjust when Greta came along?
We had a long time to prepare and luckily Katja was already a big girl. However, she couldn't hide the fact that she was no longer the only child. We just went on like it had always been the four of us, trying to give them both all the attention that they deserved. In no time they became best friends.

Holiday:

Have you taken the girls on any holidays or away from home?
Last summer we went to the seaside here in Croatia which is quite far away from our town. The trip was a bit slow because we had to stop few times to feed baby G but we were prepared for it. After we got there we spent the weekend all together and then Mr K. went back home. The girls and I spent two more months there together with my cousins, and after a while my mum and my aunt joined us for two weeks. Katja was my perfect assistant and G was well behaved. Everyday we slept until late and after lunch and a nap we went to the beach. In mid-august my husband joined us for three weeks and we spent the beautiful summer together. The journey back went great and the girls slept most of the time.

Were the girls affected by the change of environment?
Yes- Greta was really nervous for the first few days, but after a while she adjusted and it all went fine. Katja helped me a lot as well, we were a real girl team.

What are the girls' favourite toys?
I'm proud to say that the both girls love the Pinch wooden blocks! Katja sleeps with Oscar the fish but she also enjoys playing with Lego and all kinds of little animals and fairies. Greta adores little rubber ducks, but the remote control is an absolute favourite! 


What are your essentials when you go out?
We really like to keep it simple. Diapers and pacifier for the baby, and baby wipes for both of them in case we get all messed up.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?
Love H&M and Mingokids! Also we buy at Zara, but mostly in the boys department!

Advice:

Do you have any tips you'd like to share with other mums or expectant mums?
Try not to force yourself to be the perfect parent. Follow your instincts but be willing to take a piece of advice or two. And remember you will learn along the way. Your child is the greatest teacher you could ever get!

What's the best advice or most useful tip that anyone's given you about parenting?
Before having a reaction, count to ten! (I'm still adjusting to that one haha!)

Thank you for sharing Maja! x
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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Pic of the week: #23

This week Joseph saw snow for the first time but was totally unbothered... I don't blame him as it was pretty lame where we are in Kent and it didn't settle. I took him into our conservatory (we never go in there) and we looked out of the many windows but he was more interested in my cacti and succulent collection, and crawling (of the commando kind still).

We made it to a couple of baby groups this week and a Water Babies class, and I spoke to people I'd not spoken to before because my go-to person (and mother to Joseph's girlfriend) wasn't there. It was a bit of an achievement for me as I find baby groups quite hard as I'm not much of a conversationalist. I'll happily question and listen other people about themselves/their babies but I never feel I have much to say myself. I suppose I'm quite happy to focus my end of the conversation on Joseph, which may be a bit dull for others I guess. I dunno. Urgh! Cringe! The hot topic seems to be 'returning to work'- can't remember if I've said this already but I applied for four days per week at my work and got it approved (Wednesdays off), but so many mums I've spoken to want 2-3 days a week (if at all) that I feel kinda bad about going back for four days. I'll just have to see how it goes when I do go back and if changes need to be made then I'll have to reassess although I won't be able to apply for less days at my work until January next year. Hmm. It's so tough. There are so, so many issues around returning to work -financially, emotionally, career-ily, and baby-ly, that it is just incredibly heart and gut-wrenching to come to a conclusion about what to do. And I wonder whether everyone has doubts about whether they made the right choice. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Back into a lighter note and to do with socialisation again... I took part in my first #mblogchat for 45 minutes on Friday night (whilst having a bath as Ruari went on a stag weekend) and now have lots more blogs to check out asap... Go me with all this socialisation!

So, my favourite photo was probably on snow day (Tuesday) as I took some sweet photos of Joseph on our bed. This is a bit of an 'Instagram vs reality' situation as in reality one of our cats had jumped up on the bed behind Joseph without him noticing but because my  room was messy/ wardrobe was open/ cat was blurry, I cropped it to show just the spectacle fiend. So here are both shots unedited vs edited.



So there it is... I am currently at my mum's house. Joseph is asleep in my mum's arms at a completely 'wrong' time of day for his routine (it's 6.40 so he should have had his bath by now and be having his last bottle of the day), but I don't think he is 100% at the mo. He's been happy all day long and slept for 13.5 hours straight last night, but he's only had 3oz of formula, a few spoonfuls of porridge, some scraps of toast/egg sandwiches, but two super-smooth Ella's Kitchen pouches. WTF?!

Hope you've had a good weekend! xxx

P.S. I'm linking up to #mummymonday &#maternitymondays for the first time!



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mummy Time #24: Siobhan Rennie

I'm so glad that Australian blogger, Siobhan, agreed to take part in Mummy Time as, amongst a number of things, I admire her uncensored honesty in her writing (and Instagram captions) as well as her motivation to exercise in the mornings! I think Siobhan's post touches on issues that some of you may be able to relate to - if so I'd love to hear from you. I hope you enjoy reading!


Mummy:

Who are you?

Hi I’m Siobhan (most people call me Shiv), mum to baby Harry (DOB 11.5.14, currently 8 months old) and wife to Davy. I’m 34 and live in Brisbane QLD. But, I’m not ‘from’ here – indeed, I hate it when people ask me that question as I’ve lived in a lot of different places. My husband is Scottish but was in Sydney for 8 years before we moved to Brisbane, while I’ve spent a lot of time in the UK (my parents are British) and also down south in Sydney and Canberra.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a stay at home mum who has recently gotten back into some freelance writing, blogging and running a very small and very new wall art/prints business (which my husband designs for).

How long did you take for maternity leave & how did you decide how long you'd take?

This was a tough one for me and the impetus behind the focus of my blog, which is all about going from ‘Manager to Mummy’. I was working on the G20 Taskforce for G20 Australia, so planned to go back to work when Harry was just four months old so that I could help deliver the event that I’d worked so hard on or more than a year. I’d always been so career-focussed and never really thought I wouldn’t go back to work. Oh, how wrong I was. Pre-baby, you just don’t realise the impact that having a baby can have on your life. I couldn’t bring myself to go back, particularly to such a high pressure job involving long hours, and when Harry was still so little. It was a hard decision, but the best decision I’ve ever made.

This week I’m starting Harry in daycare just one day a week so that I can focus on my writing. It’s nerve-wrecking and I’m sure I’ll be a mess when I drop him off for the first time! But I know he’ll love it, and he needs the socialisation. I’m really looking forward to having a whole day to write as I please, without being interrupted by a baby who has taken off into the kitchen and needs rescuing!

How do you manage the work/life balance?

Now that Harry is crawling I spend all of my time during the day running around after him and taking him on outings. He’s no longer happy to just play in the one spot (oh, how I miss those days!). It’s great fun hanging out, and I love it, but I get next to nothing done work-wise during the day. So, I have to write at night or during lunchtime when Harry has a longer nap. It’s not always conducive to being very creative.

How do you get things done?

It’s difficult! He’s really good at the good old commando crawl, and, despite having loads of toys around, much prefers eating my shoes or trying to get into the kitchen to get the bin (weird!). When he’s up, I can do some tidying but just for a minute or two before I sit down to play with him or before he needs rescuing from somewhere. We just bought a ball pit/paddle pool (which we don’t fill with water) and that takes him a little longer to crawl out of – it buys me some time! Sometimes I’ll pop him in his highchair with some snacks or toys and let him bang and throw them to his heart’s content, so I can get some jobs done. But usually nap time is when I get most of the stuff around the house done, and emails etc answered.

How are you?

It varies depending on the day! Harry sleeps through the night, until around 5.30am anyway, so we do get around 7 hours sleep at night depending on how early we go to bed. But I’ve always needed 8-10 hours to function properly so the early starts are taking their toll a bit. However, it’s all relative! I think back to the newborn days when we only got 2-3 hours sleep at a time, and these days are pure bliss compared with then!

I’ve struggled a bit with feeling like I’ve lost my identity. I was very career-focussed before having Harry, so deciding to be a stay at home mum has been a shock. It was the best decision I ever made, because I love being with him and being here for him, but it’s a huge culture shock. Motherhood can be quite isolating, and it’s doubly hard for me because we don’t know that many people where we live so don’t have anyone to call on or socialise with. But, I’ve started making a few mummy friends and I’ve started freelance writing again which, while it adds some stress to each day, does stimulate my brain and make me feel productive again.

How do you relax?

Um, what’s relaxing? Just kidding ;) I love a glass of red wine at night when Harry is in bed, and exercise most mornings makes me feel good and start the day right. I do struggle to relax though as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I always find myself writing, cleaning or tidying when Harry is asleep (when I probably should be relaxing and recharging!).

How does a typical day go?

Harry wakes up around 5.30am. We try to resettle him to sleep until closer to 7am, but 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t work. So, he has his milk around 6.30am, either my husband or I go to do a workout while the other is on ‘Harry duty’ and gives him his breakfast around 7.30/8am. Most days Harry and I go out for the morning for a walk, to run errands, to swimming or to meet other mums and babies. Because we’re following a routine, and I like Harry to get his lunchtime longer nap in his cot, we have to be home before midday for lunch then sleep for him. I then generally tidy, clean, do the washing, do some writing and grab lunch myself, then he’s up for the afternoon. In the afternoons we have a swim, go to the park or stay in and play with toys and read books. He loves to be active so crawling time is really important for him. I can’t keep him in the pram for long! He has his dinner around 5.30pm, a bath and then bed by 7pm. Then it’s an hour or two of mummy and daddy time before we crash into bed!

Pregnancy:

How was your pregnancy?

In one word – rubbish! I was sick pretty much the whole pregnancy. I had an anterior placenta, which means it was hard for me to feel Harry’s kicks and we had many emergency trips to the hospital due to reduced foetal movement. The whole nine months was very worrying and hard, but more than worth it :)

Did you find out what you were having?

Yes! I’m a little OCD about organising and wanted to be able to decorate in certain colours. My husband and I are also terrible at waiting for things, so wanted to know asap.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

We did the classes, and I read lots of books, but I really think nothing can prepare you for the birth of your baby. Sorry, but it’s true! You just have to learn on the job when they arrive, consulting books if needed and asking friends and professionals. Once he arrived, I really loved the Contented Little Baby routine book. It meant that Harry was sleeping through (or up just once a night) by 8 weeks of age. Yes, we’ve had some ups and downs with his sleep, but nothing compared to some babies that I hear about. It could just be the luck of the draw, but I do think the book had something to do with it.

How was your labour?

I was induced on Harry’s due date as he was measuring quite large. Being induced hurt a lot, and because his back was on my spine that also hurt. I tried using the gas but would vomit after each go on it. I was so sick and it was taking a long time. I thought I would have been nearly 10cm dialated, but when I found out I was just 3cm I asked for that epidural stat! That was always the plan, should I need it, and when I asked for it I was in as much pain as I could handle. It took the doctors a while to actually get it in and by the time I was ready to push they had to top it up (which meant I’d had a bit too much and everything went a bit fuzzy). I regret this because it means I don’t remember giving birth. But my husband fills me in lots, and I do remember holding Harry for the first time and telling him he was coming into a world filled with love. There was meconium in his waters, so he was having trouble breathing on the way out which was really stressful (more so for my husband, who was sans-drugs!). When Harry came out I couldn’t hold him straight away, and then when I did he was whisked away quickly to special care. I had to wait 5 hours to see him again, while they stitched me up and made sure he was breathing ok. It was the longest wait of my life! But he was fine within hours, and I’ll always remember when we went to get him from special care, me in the wheelchair and him in his little beanie staring up at us and cooing (clearly the largest baby in there, by at least a few kilos!).

How did you get on with breastfeeding?

Harry was breastfed from birth to nearly six months old. The first few weeks of breastfeeding were pretty rocky. He had latching problems so I was in a fair bit of pain for a while. There were times when I thought I couldn’t continue breastfeeding. But we sought help, I pushed through and we went happily along breastfeeding all the way…until nearly six months when he got a bad cold and started rejecting the boob. He took a bottle fine. I guess he preferred the bottle to the boob because he could breathe easier. So, I was giving him a few minutes on the boob, him fighting me all the way, until he screamed and outright refused. Then I’d resort to the bottle. With breastmilk in it if I’d had time to pump, formula if not. It was quite stressful for both of us.

On the odd day that he would breastfeed, it had to be in a quiet dark room and he outright refused to feed in public, instead getting distracted by everything around him. And he continued to fight me all the way.

I’m a believer in the nutritious value of breast milk and always said that if I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed then why not make the most of it, for his benefit. I go by the theory that I try to ensure my husband and I are eating good clean nutritious food in its natural state (well, as much as possible, we’re not saints) so why not put the best into our baby too, what nature intended.

But he had decided that, if it’s from the boob, he JUST. WOULDN’T. FEED. And let’s face it, feeding from a bottle is better than nothing! So I guess the logical question is why didn’t I jpump and give him breastmilk in a bottle? Well, for some reason I just couldn’t keep up with demand. Our hungry monster takes a LOT of milk. He was happily getting enough from breastfeeding alone for nearly 6 months however, for me, the pump worked very slowly. It took me an hour or more to produce enough milk for one feed. Times that by four or five for his full daily milk quota and I just didn’t have that sort of spare time.

Anyway, so I decided to give up. It took a while though and I was mentally beating myself up about the decision for weeks. I’d decide against stopping, try feeding him again, it would end in tears (for both him and I), I decided to stop again, I changed my mind and kept trying, we would fail again…it was endless. He’s now happily on four bottles of formula and three full solid meals a day. He’s thriving, so that’s all I can ask for. And the guilt has subsided, slowly.


Does Harry have a feeding routine?

Yes, we loosely follow the Contented Little Baby routine. I like to know, and I’m pretty sure Harry likes to know, what is coming and when. He’s happy with his routine and has never had it any other way. Because we’ve been doing it since he was six weeks old, it’s almost down to the minute (I can predict he’s about to start whinging if we’re even ten minutes late on his feed!). But, at the same time we do vary it if he needs us to, and we adapt to what we have going on if necessary.

What does Harry eat?

I make all of his food, and he’s huge on vegetables and beef. I hope that never changes, but I’m sure it will at some point! He hates avocado though, which is such a shame as it’s so good for you!

What was your approach to weaning Harry onto solids and what was their first food?

I started just after four months of age with pureed sweet potato, pumpkin, banana, organic baby rice, apple and pear. I tried just one food at a time, for five days (as I’d read about), to test out whether he was allergic or not. Once I had about 10 foods that I knew he liked and wasn’t allergic to, I started to mix them. I haven’t ventured too far with recipes as I want to keep them fairly simple and mostly vegetable based (I don’t want him developing a sweet tooth).

When Harry's freaking out and you've eliminated food, nappy and wind... what do you find helps them to calm down? 

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been in this situation! I’m lucky to have an amazingly happy baby. The only times he cries is when one of the above is wrong (except for teething, in which case the only thing that helps is his dummy and mummy cuddles in our bed!).

What are your go-to resources for information when you're worried?

I love BabyCenter, still refer to the Contented Little Baby book from time to time, and have also found ‘What to Expect the First Year’ quite useful.


Have you taken Harry on any holidays or away from home?

Harry went on his first proper trip just after Christmas, just down to Sydney (from Brisbane) and loved the plane! He slept most of the ride, both trips. We had to hire a car when we arrived at our destination, which was an ordeal as none of the car seats they had would secure in very tightly (and I was NOT going anywhere with a loose-ish car seat!). But we got there in the end. We were going to a wedding, sans-baby (oh, the luxury!) so got a nanny for the night – a complete stranger, which I was very nervous about, but she turned out to be a sweet old lady who was fantastic with him.

What were your baby holiday essentials?

Toys, toys and more toys! Our boy likes to be busy and crawl lots, so the portacot had to do as a play pen which wasn’t ideal but did the job.

Was Harry's routine affected by being on holiday?

The time difference was just one hour, so it wasn’t too hard to manage. I found Harry slipped perfectly into his usual routine in the new time zone, and then back quite quicky when we returned. It still astounds me though how much stuff you have to take with you when you travel with a baby. We’ve done a few road trips and this one plane trip, all for just two or three days, and no matter where we go we’re loaded up with stuff that you’d think would last a month or more!

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

We bought Harry a tepee for his room, for Christmas, and he loves playing in it. I think he knows it’s his special place, and we can literally spend hours in his room in it. He particularly loves playing peekaboo in it, and chasing his toys underneath the sides. However, he’s just discovered how to topple it over by pushing on the poles with his feet, which is not ideal for any unsupervised play! I thought I could put him in there while I was in the next room (my office) working, but no deal :)

What has been the most useful thing you've bought, been given or discovered?

The best thing I ever used in the early days was the Sprout baby app. I kept a track of all his sleep, feeds (I even timed them) and nappies. I was probably a little OCD about it, but it really helped me pinpoint where his routine might have been out of whack and what he needed when. It was also great in the early days when I’d go to the doctor or nurse to get him a check up and, on no sleep, had no idea what he’d done when they’d ask. I just had to look at the app to remember.

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?

I not a huge fan of most of the mainstream stores as they all seem to have the same brightly coloured boys’ clothes covered in cars, whales, dogs, bad slogans etc. I prefer to shop online at brands like Huxbaby, Milk and Masuki, Fromzion, Project T Bear and other local small businesses to get some original and quality items. However, I do love Target and Cotton On for cheap baby basics, we can’t have the more expensive stuff all the time!

Advice:

If you could give your pregnant self a heads up, what would it be?

Sleep while you can! I was always trying to do too much (which hasn’t really changed actually!) and I wish I’d known to just chill a bit more while I had the chance. I also spent a lot of time worrying about how I would cope with the newborn days. In reality, you just have to roll with whatever happens and do the best you can. I wish I hadn’t been such a stress head – actually, I’m probably still a bit like this, but hope that these days I’m a bit more relaxed and have settled into my new role as a mum.

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

Don’t sweat the small stuff! I don’t really implement that as much as I should!

Thank you for sharing, Siobhan!
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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

#mumlife

Some truths and thoughts. Some of which aren't all that pretty.

 
  • when you turn up to your baby's swimming class and you realise you forgot to shave your armpits. It makes for a self-conscious 'around in a circle and up in the air' let me tell you!
  • when you turn up to your baby's swimming class and you realise you forgot to shave your legs an' all. Ah, they're under the water, no one will see!
  • when you look down at your boobs and see that there's even less of them now, nine months post-partum, than there was pre-pregnancy.
  • when your nipples just aren't right anymore. Maybe a bit scabby. There, I said it. I blame expressing. I should probably get that checked out.
  • when you can't stop eating sugar and you crack open the Ben&Jerry's when your baby's finally gone down for a nap. Screw the relentless housework. 
  • when you admit to yourself that you're eating ice cream before 11am. 
  • when you wonder how some mums just seem to have it totally nailed. Do they have doubts about everrryyythinggg too or do they actually think 'damn, I am nailing life right now!'
  • when your baby has made a total mess of their high chair and you have to try to figure out how to make the least amount of mess- 'do I wipe his hands or the tray first? Bib off or on?' 'Ah crap, weetabix on my fresh top' (who am I kidding, weetabix on my fresh-last-night pyjamas). 
  • when you wonder how, even with a pelican bib, a cover-all bib and a muslin on their lap, just HOW they always manage to get food on their thighs/ass.
  • when you just can't decide which filter to use on your latest Instagram picture.
  • when you decide to just not post it at all.
  • when you post it but hate it.
  • when you wonder how everyone else's photos look so darn good. Not just on their own, but as a collection.
  • when you curse yourself for not being arty.
  • when you decide 'ah screw it' but think the same thing the next day too.
  • when you think you might be over-thinking Instagram.
  • when you forget to record a milestone and curse yourself for being crap at recording milestones... and using your milestone cards.
  • when you look down at your hands and think 'i really need to sort out my nails/cuticles/dry skin' but never do.
  • when you count the sweetcorn kernels in your baby's nappy.
  • yup, I am disgusting! 

Just me?

P.S. Linking up with #THELIST
The List
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Monday, 19 January 2015

The Hungry (nine month old) Caterpillar: #4

Joseph turned nine months old today and has now been eating food-food for 3.5 months. It feels like only yesterday I was freaking out over when to give him his first taste of food and what it should be. Needless to say, I've totally lost track of all the things he has eaten in that time - it was one of the things I wanted to document but it's scary how hard it is to keep up and remember. My brain seems unable to make mental notes any more, but that's a post for another day (or not!)

I have had periods where I've felt 'ok' with how I'm doing food-wise, in terms of feeding him, but overall it has been a real challenge and I still find myself wondering whether he's getting enough protein, or too much fruit and dairy. I also had a panic over how soon I should have moved to three meals a day and wondering if I was giving him enough opportunities to explore food, but in the end there wasn't a day where I just decided to feed him more, it just kind of happened.

As I got a couple of emails from mums who totally surprised me by saying that my weaning posts had been helpful, here is what Joseph ate today and how he ate it:

Breakfast:

Weetabix - a single 'biscuit' covered in cow's milk, but not soaked. I'm yet to find the perfect balance between too dry and too soggy. Generally the dry side is better than the soggy mush side for JB. I tend to break it into three parts and put each bit in front of him until he's finished with it - be it dropped it, eaten it or smothered it on his face. I used to spoon it to him or be hovering around ready to scoop bits up for him, but in the last couple of weeks I've just been letting him feed himself. He seems to really enjoy his weetabix.

Awful angle - was trying to get a tooth shot!
Raisins - On Friday Joseph's girlfriend's mum* gave us some raisins to try and I was surprised at how much he liked them considering how he cried the last time he had one. So I have been giving him four or five each day over the last few days. I'm a little conscious of his teeth as I've heard they can stick in between the pegs so I give them to him as part of a meal rather than a snack throughout the day, as advised by a worker at the children's centre. She also said that I don't need to boil Joseph's drinking any more, just plain ol' tap water is fine and good for teeth as it has a bit of fluoride in it. He picks them up off his tray and feeds them to himself but we often get men falling/pushed overboard.

A satsuma - Joseph goes nuts for Satsumas. He will literally drop whatever he is holding if he spots me holding one and he's just started wimpering if you don't peel it and get some in his gob quick enough. I tend to hand him each segment one-by-one and he gets equally excited for each piece and looks genuinely upset when it's finished.

A yoghurt - because of said sadness following the end of the satsuma I felt like I needed to give him something else to ease the blow. I love Yeo Valley 'Little Yeo' yoghurts - they're a good size and I don't think they contain any nasties, but with 50 different names for sugar (as I've just found out) I'm not so sure. He has one spoon fed to him around every other day or so.

Lunch:

Vegetables - roasted sweet potato and carrots. Joseph's not a sweet potato fan it seems. Whenever I've served it to him it's almost like he doesn't register it as food. He's the same with eggs. He was into the carrot though and he also had a go on some broccoli. I also gave him a bit of my spicy Indian vegetable burger - a ready made thing from Morrisons which, again, doesn't appear to have any nasties. He wasn't into it though so I busted out Joseph's literal flavour of the week - sweetcorn. He blimmin' loves sweetcorn and I get a weird satisfaction from seeing it the next day - I think I've said that before, sorry (a. for being repetitive and, b. for being gross)! He lets you pop them into his mouth but he also picks them up and gets them in there on his own - often having to use both hands as they like to roll about - I love seeing his dexterity develop.

One from the other day as I didn't take any lunch pictures.
Dinner:

Soup - I made a batch of soup a few of weeks ago and I can't quite remember what it was! I'm pretty sure it's spicy sweet potato though. He had that - five ice cube squares worth - with a third of a slice of toast (he wasn't into his toast today). I spooned it to him and wondered whether he should be self-feeding.

Ella's Kitchen pouch - As a little dessert I gave him a small pouch of pureed prunes. When Joseph was poorly with HFM and we were housebound, the only thing I could get him to eat was suuuuper smooth food. I had a couple of pouches of puree in my cupboard and they were a hit so I asked my mum to pick me up a few more on her way over and so now she buys them allll the tiiime. I'm not complaining as he does like them, but I do wonder whether he gets confused about how he's supposed to eat or whether it's good that he does a bit of everything every day and maybe doesn't have any expectations. Anyway, he had that and sucked it straight from the pouch. I tend to hold it for him as he likes to just squeeze it really hard otherwise.

I only let him hold it when it's close to being finished. Less mess!
Milk feeds:

Joseph still has four bottles of formula milk a day, roughly at 7am, 11pm, 3pm and 6.30pm. I offer him 6oz per feed apart from the last feed which is 9oz but he doesn't always finish them. He has been on Aptamil 'stage two' Follow On Milk since he was 7 months old. I wasn't in a rush to move him on as I knew that first milk could be given for up to a year but my main concern was iron for him as he was only being offered meat on occasion so I feel assured that he's getting enough iron from this milk. Because he is still on quite a lot of milk I don't tend to give Joseph snacks throughout the day - there doesn't seem to be much time between his milk feeds and meals to give him snacks but I'm sure that will change when he starts dropping feeds.

So there we have it. I would be interested to know what your little ones meals consist of  - comment below if you fancy sharing!

Hope you had a good Monday and it wasn't blue x

P.S. He now has six teeth. SIX! Here's the worst photo ever... 
Sorry if this photo haunts you in secondary school, son. Ignore the haters!
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Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pic of the week: 22

'evening! I hope you had a good week - they go so fast don't they?

Joseph picked up another cold late this week - thankfully it doesn't seem to be bothering him too much and hasn't interrupted his sleep as much as colds generally have done in the past, aside from one night where he had an hour of snuggles with Ruari at 12am, but I know from speaking to other baby-mamas that I am incredibly lucky to have a baby that sleeps through the night more often than not so I am not grumbling one bit! He has been refusing to let me wipe the dried snot from his face though, so that has been added to the dried Weetabix/ tomato sauce/ porridge vibe he (kind of embarrassingly) tends to rock on most days! This week's pic isn't the best picture as it was so dark but captures a moment that I don't want to forget - that of Joseph snuggling into his papa in a restaurant today, which was Ruari's highlight of the day (on Ruari's days off I tend to ask him what his favourite 'Joseph moment' of the day was!) Joseph loves his daddy and it's really very sweet.
I had intended to blog a little something every day this week which totally didn't happen, but tomorrow is a new week so I am going to do it! Yeah!

Let's be kind to ourselves this week mamas. x
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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Mummy Time #23: Nicole Stoney

In 2012 Nicole had to make a heartbreaking decision that no new mother should ever have to make. Thankfully, less than a year on, Nicole welcomed her rainbow and has kindly shared some of her experience as a mum to Samuel, who turns four months old today, with the blog.
Mummy:

Who are you?

Hello! I'm Nicole (or Nic to everyone but my parents!). I am 23, engaged to my partner Alex, and we live in North West England. We have two children, Ella (who is unfortunately no longer here with us) and Samuel, who was born safely at 39+1 on 15th September 2014 so is almost four months old.

What do you do for a living?

I am a dental nurse. I love it, though like with any profession, you can get some mean patients. It is a fast, very busy, often stressful job even though it appears a lot of people think I am just the one (and I quote) 'who sits on the computer typing stuff'

How long do you plan to take for maternity leave?

I am currently on Maternity Leave, taking nine months, due to return at the beginning of May this year. I am looking forward to going back, for the routine but mostly for the dollar! (Let’s not kid ourselves right?). Although it feels really soon, it also feels far away, so childcare hasn't really been discussed properly yet. I think we will be doing a share between grandparents and nursery though.

How are you?

Honestly, I was well until three nights ago! Over the Christmas break, Samuel totally suprised us and started sleeping through the night (roughly 7pm – 5am). It was amazing to actually have some solid sleep and wake up feeling alright, but the last three nights it feels like we have gone back to the newborn days! I was up six times last night so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tired.
What do you do when you have time to yourself?

Eat a hot dinner, drink a hot brew, enjoy the silence... Just kidding. I love a nice, hot bath, and catching up on some TV but realistically, I try my best to tidy up and make sure everything is neat... I really don't like an untidy house, I'm dreading when toys start being hurled around, haha!

How does a typical day go? 

We really do not have any sort of routine. The only thing we do consistently every day is take our Bullmastiff puppy, Max, out for a walk. Samuel eats, whines, plays and naps whenever he wants. But between 6-6.30pm we start our bedtime routine; bath, bottle and bed. Then Alex & I will have some dinner and watch TV before heading to bed about 10pm.

Pregnancy: 
How was your pregnancy?

This pregnancy was... different. For anyone reading who doesn't know our story - I gave birth to our first baby, Ella, after a mostly uncomplicated pregnancy in November 2013. When she was born, she couldn't breathe properly. She was whisked away and put on machines that literally kept her alive. It was explained to us that her lungs basically had not developed and could not inflate - like a 'sponge' was the phrase. Eight hours after she was born, after it was pretty clear there was absolutely nothing anybody could do, we made the (hardest) decision to turn off the machines.

When we later found out that Ella’s condition had been genetic we were in total panic as I was already six weeks pregnant. We had our bloods tested and neither of us had the chromosome malfunction that happened with Ella. We were told that they knew only a handful of people with Microdeletion Syndrome (of this chromosome), and that Ella was the only one to die from it, which was just awful to hear... When I found out I was pregnant again, even though we were trying, it came as a shock and I was in floods of tears in panic; what if it happened again? I tried my best to just 'forget' I was pregnant, and wished it all away. I know that's pretty terrible but I just couldn't enjoy it. Everything was so bittersweet, lovely moments all tinged with sadness and worry. During, the only problems I had were awful heartburn, and very sore ribs. I was really well looked after hospital/midwife wise.

Did you have any cravings?

Ice. Ice ice ice. But it had to be crushed.

Did you find out what you were having?
Yes. We had a private scan at 16+4. I felt I needed to know as we had so much stuff for girls, I had to know if we could keep it or had to trade it all. We kept it a secret though from everyone, only us two knew which was quite cute thinking back.

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

Had Ella been a boy, she was going to be Thomas. So we were set on that, until actually finding out he was a boy. Lots of people already knew Ella would have been Thomas so we decided to change it and both agreed on Samuel.

How did your prepare for your baby’s arrival?

I did all my research for my first pregnancy, so a lot of Samuel's pregnancy was just googling 'C section stories'.
How was your labour?

I had an elective section. I was adamant from the start that this was how I wanted to give birth, as I mentally and emotionally could not go through labour again without having a sure answer as to whether my baby was okay - if I could, then I would have done it naturally. I only felt scared once, when Alex came in with his scrubs on, held my hand and I thought 'Shit, this is it'. And then of course I cried my heart out and sighed a sigh of relief when I heard Samuel cry.

How have your pregnancies compared?

With Ella, I was really sick, all day, had no cravings and little heartburn. With Samuel, I had awful heartburn, a single craving and thankfully almost no sickness.

Baby: 

Does Samuel have a feeding routine?

Sadly no. We attempted to form one but it just didn't happen.

Does Samuel have a sleep routine?

He rarely naps anymore, and if he does it's a maximum of ten minutes. We have a bedtime routine, bath about 6pm in the big tub, usually with me, then a bottle, and then put to bed between 6.30-7pm. We put this into place from eight weeks though he has had a few nights away from home since, and it's gone a little to pot over the Christmas period.

How do you keep Samuel entertained?

Using his play gym, talking to each other and playing, he also loves looking in the mirror. He doesn't have a great interest in toys yet.

What do you find calms Samuel down if he’s having a freak out?
If walking around, rocking etc doesn't work then, sad to say, a dummy. I never wanted to use one, it's our last resort.

Does Samuel suffer with anything?

He's been suffering with reflux since about six weeks so has been on Gaviscon but we haven't actually had to use it at all this last week so I think it is dying down.

What are your go-to resources for information about Samuel  when you're worried?

Google, which isn't always the best, but is the easiest. Or our lovely mummy IG community.

Paraphernalia:
Does your baby have a favourite toy?

He like the Elli the elephant musical toy I have tied to his play gym. Or the mirror.

What was your most recent baby-related purchase?

A new filter for our Perfect Prep, ours has just run out. Oh and a backpack as my changing bag zip has broken and I can't find another as big.

What has been the most useful thing you've bought, been given or discovered?

Like many other mums, the white noise app!

What is your baby’s mode of transport?

We use a Quinny Buzz, which is okay. Or a wrap sling (Victoria Slinglady stretch wrap) which I have fallen out of love with because Samuel is too heavy now and slowly falls down. We are looking for a proper carrier, but I am a bit clueless about what to actually look for!

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?

Spare clothes as he seems to keep having poop explosions lately!

Where are your favourite places to shop for baby clothes?

Honestly? Cheap places are fine for me! Tesco, George for essentials. But I like Next for the nicer things. 
 
Advice:

What do you wish you’d known before you had a baby?

I kind of just wish I knew actually how tired and stressed out I would be.

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

That every baby is different and that what works for one baby will not work as well or at all for your baby.

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

Just do what you feel is best for your baby. Don't worry about what other people think. If you do all your research and that something is still the best option, you feel, go ahead. Enjoy those sleepy newborn cuddles too!
Thank you for sharing, Nicole, and thank you for being so supportive of my blog x
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