First Trip Out as Mum

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Having had a nightmare shopping trip today with my boy, I was reminded of our first ever trip out!! I don’t mean as a family, when there are two of you with one little baby. It’s full of anxiety, yes, but there are two of you! Four hands for only one baby! Any disaster you can overcome together quickly!! I’m talking about the first solo trip out. My husband went back to work after two weeks off when our son was born. I can’t deny it, I cried at this, I just had no idea how I could look after such a precious, small, delicate being on my own! I was utterly convinced I would break him in some way…you can’t exactly buy a new one! Still, after a couple of weeks at home getting to grips with how to do it on my own, I felt I was ready for a trip out. I wanted it to be a safe one, so I chose to go to my local Sling meet to check how to do my wrap sling!

Seems simple right? So I managed to sort the changing bag (I even put two changes of clothes in) had lots of nappies, muslin’s, some toys. I got the boy safely into the car seat having bundled him up (it was November by then after all!) Got him to the car, strapped him in, remembered the sling, my bag, change for the car park, I was dressed in vaguely matching clothes – I know, it was going amazingly well!! I drove, safely, slowly, carefully there and the boy fell asleep in the seat…..perfect! I parked very close to a ticket machine so I could get a ticket with the little man in the car next to me (again, November, so wind, rain, generally freezing conditions) I got the ticket for an hour and a half and sat back in the driver’s seat. Everything was going swimmingly, super mum!! I was so sure I could do it on my own at this point.

Then eyes open and the little man starts screaming and crying full volume, like a crazed banshee. He’s hungry. Ok, not a problem, it’s a bit to walk to get to the sling meeting, and so I make the choice to feed him in the car so he settles and I can hold him close as I walk to the meeting in these horrid conditions. Feeding is going well, the car is warm and dry, so all is good. I cover myself up and use one of the million muslin’s to burp him. Oh, he threw up, down himself and down me………ok, not a problem, I am a bit flustered, but can deal with this. I mop him up and start mopping myself up. He pulls a funny face, goes slightly pink, and the most horrendous sound comes from the other end…….then the smell follows. Ok, definitely getting worse, but I can deal with this. I’ll change him on the back seat, then we can go.

I get us safely into the back seat and realise that the nappy has had containment failure…..oh god, no! In the warm car I strip him down to nothing. A nappy bag full of basically clothing that needs burning at this point, and another full of the nappy and about a million wipes. The boy is wiggling away smiling at me. An aroma fills the car. I am panicking now, was this the right choice? A malevolent storm appears to be happening outside and I am in the backseat of my little Fiat Panda with a naked baby. What am I doing? How did we get here? I smell of sick and I’m sure there is poo smeared on me somewhere. At this point I have paid for about 50 minutes of parking just to try and deal with sick and poo.

I manage to wrestle a nappy on him, find the new clothes, put them on in some kind of vague order (with my wriggling boy, it has always felt like I was dressing an octopus!) I finally bundle him in something warm, get our stuff together and an hour after I arrived I manage to actually leave the car park. The meeting went well I think, although I was very distracted and nearly missed out on having the guidance I had come for as I was so late and he needed feeding two more times. I was finally taught how to put him in a sling properly just before everyone packed up and left!

I braved the weather again with what felt like enough bags and belongings for a weekend away, successfully rehousing the baby in his car seat and getting into my seat just as the ticket ran out. So, as I drove away, poo and sick still smelling out my car, a soggy sling (where I had unknowingly dragged it across the ground) a sick stain down my cardigan which was now producing a delightful stench, and having paid for the privilege of primarily sitting in my car, I concluded that maybe I had tried a bit too soon!! The boy fell asleep, blissfully unaware of all the chaos he had caused. I seriously questioned my ability to parent at all, and felt bedraggled and completely overwhelmed.

We’ve had our fair share of disasters since then too! Parenting, just isn’t parenting without some disaster tales! Nothing is quite like the first one though! What was your first solo trip like? Or what has been your worse baby disaster?

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Swimsuit Shopping With a Baby

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So this week it has been scorching hot.  It was the hottest day of the year on Tuesday and everyone was getting out in their bikini’s, or in some cases just stripping to their underwear. People were feeling the heat in the cities, particularly on trains or on the tube. It was unbearable and everyone was just trying to find a way to stay cool. I decided to get into my swimsuit, which, even though it is 9 months since I had my boy,  is still a maternity suit. After several inappropriate “flashing” moments I realised, not only was I grateful to be at home where no one could see me, but actually the suit was no longer cutting the mustard!

Today I headed to my favourite shop in the world! As I am a larger chested woman, I need to buy my bras and swimming gear (and if I could afford it my entire wardrobe) at Bravissimo. I was so thrilled when they opened a shop in Cheltenham, makes my life so much easier! You can order online, but I needed it for the weekend, and wanted to make sure I was in the right size. I bundled the boy in the car and headed over. Despite him falling asleep in the car, he was wide awake for our visit in there (how?!) After browsing all the lovely bras and bikini’s, I decided to find a swimsuit I would like! I’m still not body confident, or even vaguely near the size I was before I had the boy, so I felt a swimsuit would make me feel the happiest! Not worrying about a tankini wriggling up and revealing my delightful stretchmarks! The shop assistance were lovely and helped me find a suit in what I thought was my size. They put me in a large changing room so I could fit my pram in too. The boy was getting fidgety and starting to tell me he’d had enough. So I let him out to crawl around and explore a bit. A win I thought….

The lovely sales assistant came back and agreed with me, that actually….it was too small (sigh!) So she went to get me a range of different back and cup sizes. At this point as I am in a swimsuit, with my knickers hanging out the sides, waiting for a different costume to come, the boy starts to get upset. He really isn’t into shopping, in any form! The lady returns and I try a bigger back size (36) and the same cup size (J), the boy is crawling around the floor crying and shouting and I have to try and see if it fits in between the moments of picking him up and hushing him. The sales assistant came back and agreed that the back size going up has just made the material loose around the sides and not helped cup wise. I apologised profusely for my crying boy, she just smiled and said it was absolutely fine and not to worry (oh thank goodness!) I try the last swimsuit on (I only tried on 3!!) and the back size was better (34) and the cup size fitted perfectly (K!) She patiently returned on more time into the room of the screaming child and managed to talk to me and did not go running for the hills! She said it was a lovely shape and fitted perfectly (oh I felt great when she said that!)

So swimsuit decided, I just needed to get dressed. I had to put the boy into his pram to just put my clothes on. I was not wearing anything elaborate and just needed a minute. The longest minute of my life!! Que the most mental breakdown I’ve ever heard him have…..oh the embarrassment! I threw my clothes on, panicking, sweating now, pink cheeked with the shame, fearful of what others would be thinking. I was right next to him, talking to him, but he would not stop! Bright red, tears, snot, dribble, looking at me like I had done a massive injustice to him! Oh the mummy guilt. I scooped him up and hoped I’d remembered to put everything on, well I was leaving there and then, half naked or not!! I did manage to pay for my gorgeous new suit, one handed, wrestling a very sad boy. I plonked the bag in the pram and carried him back to the car. So ended my incredibly short shopping trip, stressed, tired, hot, embarrassed, frustrated, he screamed and cried almost the whole way home. He fell asleep literally round the corner from home!

It did remind me of the first time I ever tried to take him out. But despite the chaos, I managed to get a beautiful new swimsuit, that actually fits! The sales assistants were lovely, even though they probably breathed a sigh of relief when we left!! Bravissimo is expensive, but I firmly believe it is worth the price! I have not had a bad experience there. Despite my rather large chest size, I still have managed to get something beautiful! Bring on more summer sun, swimming pools and good times! When I stop breastfeeding I think a solo trip to Bravissimo for some beautiful new bras will be in order!! (Is it too early for a gin?! Phew!!)

Which shops are your favourite? How do you get on shopping with small people?

10 Things I Learnt About Having a New Baby

As excited as I was about being a mum, I was also very nervous about meeting my baby as I wasn’t sure I would know what to do! In the days running up to my due date I suddenly realised that as much reading as I had done on being pregnant and what to expect with that, I hadn’t actually read up on what came next! I was busy being a teacher and then busy organising my house for the new baby, but all of a sudden my due date was upon me and I knew nothing! I quickly got googling, but before I knew it (ok, well 2 weeks later!!) my little boy had arrived! There is a variety of advice available, but these are my top 10 things I learnt about a new baby:

  1. You know best. You will learn all the different noises and cries, and if you want to then welcome advice from others. But just remember, at the end of the day people will give you conflicting advice, it is your baby so feel free to do it your way!
  2. All babies are different. I am noticing this one more and more as they get older. My friends baby was born the exact same day (two hours later) than my boy. They are now doing completely different things; my boy is now crawling and trying to walk, but her baby is waving and clapping! Neither is “behind” they are just doing what they are more interested in first! Same when they are very small! They will do things their own way! Try not to compare or panic!
  3. A routine in the early days/weeks (in my case months) is not essential. I am not a routine try of person I am discovering! In the early days if you try and force a strict routine and don’t allow yourself to leave it, you will go mad! Those first few weeks baby is learning what day and night is! I’m not saying you should never do a routine, and feel free to introduce one when you’re ready, but make sure baby is ready too! If they still think the middle of the night is the middle of the day, you won’t get far! I’m fond of ‘vague routines’ so things we do, like bath before bed. The timing, however, is a lot more flexible!
  4. They will poo on you at some point. Whether that is in the bath (happened to a friend and also my husband; seriously I could barely help for laughing!) or when you’re changing them (for me it was 10 days after he was born, went all over my nightie, compression stockings, arms, legs, bed, changing mat, babies clothes; my husband could barely help for laughing!)
  5. You will worry. Having all this responsibility is massive, and something you have to adjust to. I can’t imagine anyone going home and thinking – yeah, whatever, I’ve got this! I worried about driving him home, about taking him out in his pram, about whether that was a normal breathing pattern, about if he was just asleep. You name it, I worried about it! You hit the baby blues too, and this just amplifies things. Baby blues should only last a couple of weeks, at your 6 week check if you are still struggling, then please tell your GP.
  6. Sleep deprivation is hideous torture. Once your baby has settled a bit, they will begin to test your ability to function on as little sleep as possible (if you do have a miracle baby that has never caused you any sleep issues, then just don’t be smug!) I found working out a game plan with my husband helped; it does start to feel you two verses them, but just laugh about that (or else you may cry!) We had nights of having a couple of hours sleep each, literally taking it in turns being downstairs with our boy! We had nights where he would only sleep on us, not in his cot or anywhere else. They will test you, and once it is better (and it will get better, I promise!) they will remind you of those days periodically when they are full of cold and you will have to remember what strategies you did before!!
  7. Laughter is the best medicine! Having a baby is a big change, and you will not get it right first time! It is a learning journey, it’s a new role you have to learn and the induction process is pretty full on! Laugh as often and as much as you can! Babies are funny! Laugh with your partner, laughter will release endorphins (or “dolphins” as a very witty professor of mine used to say!) into your brain and make you feel happier! Sometimes I would laugh for ages at essentially nothing……did I mention the sleep deprivation?! Best of all, when you are ready, begin to find some mummy friends you can laugh with!
  8. It’s okay to say no to visitors. Just because they want to come, does not mean they HAVE to come round. Take your time to adjust to being a new little family! You will be tired and having people around for hours and hours is not what you need. My lovely neighbours put a card through the door instead of ringing the bell, they had made us a meal which was in Tupperware outside the front door. It was amazing, and so so helpful! This is the best kind of “guest” in the beginning!! I’m not saying don’t have anyone, if there are family members who want to come and be helpful for an hour and you want to see them, then by all means! Just allow yourself some time to just be!
  9. You will have bought things you don’t need! The nesting phase at the end of pregnancy is just mind boggling! And boy, don’t advertising agencies know this! You are pumped full of hormones and just want what is best for your baby! We’ve all been there, thinking “this will make it all easier”, but nothing actually does! I bought a nappy bin, well, my husband did! It has been useful at times, particularly when my mobility was poor, but as time has gone on and my mobility has increased, this is an item I really probably didn’t need!! The funniest one is one of my mummy friends nearly bought a wipe warmer at the end of her pregnancy! She laughs about that now!! I didn’t even know they existed! Laugh with your mummy friends about these things!
  10. Your life will never be the same again. It just won’t. The longest days, the shortest nights, the messiest house, the crying (you and them!), the fuzzy mummy brain, the list goes one. But you would not change it for the world! For every down there is an up, and they are sky high I promise you. The first smile, the little feet, the first giggle, the cuddles, the baby smell, the list also goes on!! This little being is just a whole new world, and the world you thought you knew is just changed and you can see it a completely different way. Enjoy the journey, enjoy each other. Each day is such a precious gift!

What did you learn about having a new baby? What advice would you pass on? Is there something you couldn’t have done without? What would have made your life easier knowing before?

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Keeping Children Safe In A Crowd

I have various different blogs and pages I now follow that constantly pop up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds (I could spend days/weeks/years reading it all!) It is feeling fantastic, like I am getting fully involved in the blogging world (*waves at fellow bloggers*) I love seeing what others are up to, pictures that make them smile, and causes that really matter to them! Huffington post is a page that pops up a lot on these feeds and often has great content. One that popped up today for me was about keeping children safe in a crowd when out and about in the holidays. It has some super tips from the California Police department; such as taking a picture of your child on the day so you know what clothes they are wearing, and writing your phone number on them!

Although this isn’t an issue for me right now……the boy has started crawling, literally today! (Yay!) But I think it will be a while before I have to worry about him walking off in a crowd. I do think about this a lot, because I was that child! I was the one my poor mother had to keep getting announcements put out across the whole store. I can vividly remember being a small child and being in my own world, when I remembered I should be holding someone’s hand I put it up to the nearest adult. It was not my mother, but a perfect stranger! I had no idea where she was (probably locating a security guard or putting out yet another announcement for me!) I was a pest at hiding underneath clothes racks too, I thought it was great fun! The strangest game I would play would be to go and find my “real family” (umm, store mannequins to you and me) My family STILL laugh about that! I think every trip must have been filled with anxiety about whether or not I would still be there 5 seconds later!! I think I’ve got better…….although, my husband doesn’t like shopping with me……come to think of it, it is because of my tendency to wander?!  Hmm maybe I never did grow out of it? And I have been known to hide in the wardrobe and jump out to scare my long suffering husband!

Do you have any stories about children wandering off? What safety tips can you advise to others? For adults I’m very pro everyone wearing an “if found return to the pub” sign!

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Left Holding The Baby

Today is a new sort of day for me, I have been left holding the baby! Although in the daytime that isn’t new, it’s tonight that it will be. My husband has gone away with work for the night. This is a new type of day for him too, it is the first time he has left our son over night. Yep, in the almost 9 months he has been alive my husband has not once left his side for the night. I cannot claim the same unfortunately. I am yet to leave my son voluntarily for the night, and in a manner which doesn’t involve failed negotiations, tears and sleepless nights in a hospital bed.

Now normally I am a bit nervous about being on my own, and in a way I still am. The only part of me that is slightly anxious is the part that is constantly worried about ending up back in hospital. Being the only adult in the house would mean a call to family/ambulance for additional help! Still, I keep trying to quiet those voices down. Ignoring those anxieties, I am actually pretty excited to be spending the night with my son! Even though we are having sleepless nights (sleep regression? Teeth? Tummy ache? Nightmares? I’ve actually given up guessing!) the fact that I get to see what it is like from “the other side” is just really exciting! My husband has been amazing at taking care of our son when I am not there (he’s pretty good at it when I am there too, but that’s not the point right now!) now it is my turn to make sure when he comes home we are both still smiling and in one piece!

I’ve made sure that I am spending today with friends, both for me and the boy, because I think some company is important so I don’t go completely bonkers without adult conversation (even if it is normally about food, poo and puke these days! Hahaha!) I will also get out and walk, even though the weather is decidedly dodgy today. It blows away the cobwebs, gives us both a change of scene and if it does rain, at least he finds the waterproof cover hilarious. I did the food shopping yesterday, love click and collect – think the Tesco app is so easy and clear to use! So no worrying about food and what we are going to eat. Dishwasher is done, so clean plates, and I put wash loads of yesterday, so clean clothes and bibs for the messy boy! I even managed a shower this morning before the husband left! I’m feeling pretty organised and like we are going on an adventure of our own.

I know I’ll be singing a different tune tomorrow, when I have watched every episode of Hey Duggee 43 times, have gone through all the clean clothes because of poonami’s and food spillages, used every plate for very messy BLW meal times, have food in my hair, been drowned in the rain and been up all night with a sad sleepless boy………but that’s the future’s problem!! Right now, the boy is napping, and I am feeling full of love for this precious little man we created as he peacefully sleeps (for 5 minutes!)

How have you coped being left with the baby? Any tips or tricks for night time survival?

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Loving My New Body

Normally when you see that phase it is followed by before and after images, the latter being a bikini picture and some incredibly unhealthy way they managed to achieve their “dream body”. In this case it is the opposite. For most mums (not all) this is the case. I read an article on MadeForMums which was about someone who still had their babyweight 4 years on, but it actually made me feel hopeful, not horrified!

In my case my son is 8.5 months old and I am still not close to my pre-pregnancy weight. Stretchmarks are finally starting to fade, but are thinned tiger stripes across my stomach and tops of my thighs. Where once there was a hard stomach filled with possibilities and housing my large boy, there is now a sad, sagging pouch. My hair that had become thick and glossy with pregnancy hormones, is now thinning out and graying. My once long, strong legs are tired and now one is encased in a thick, tight, beige compression stocking for the foreseeable future. My sausage like fingers are yet to reduce in size enough for my engagement and wedding rings to go back on, they have been off for over a year now and I still miss them. My breasts are massive, full of milk and although that seems okay now, it won’t be long before they are sad hanging shadows of their former selves.

It is hard to recognise yourself once you have become a mother. These inner voices come and criticise every little detail. You see people in magazines with their perfect bodies after having babies, which have airbrushed away stretchmarks and any wobbly bits. You know it’s not real, but you still want to achieve their perfection. I cannot afford to be at the gym every day working under a personal trainer, someone to help my sculpted my body as if it were playdoh. I am merely a new mum, and that is where the priority now is. My husband does not see any of the imperfections I do (thank goodness!), he sees the woman who carried his child and brought his son into the world. Whenever I point out these changed parts of me, he is quick to remind me, “but look what you made”. If anything this change to my body has helped him love me more, not less.

Still, in an effort to improve my health and, after a discussion with my GP, to try and build the strength back up in my leg I have been using my Pebble Time Round smartwatch to help keep track of my steps and set daily targets for myself. 10,000 steps just seemed unreachable and a target that would put me off completely. I started with 5,000 steps, which is still a vast improvement on what I was doing. On a really good day I have managed to achieve 7,000, but still need to build up to reach the 10,000 steps daily that it is recommended we achieve. The Pebble is attractive, you can set the watch face to any of the designs in the app. It is light to wear and easy to use. It connects to your android phone and you can use the app to look at your number of steps and look at your progress over days, weeks or even months.

I’m hoping this little change will help keep me on track and speed up my recovery and help me on a journey back towards something I vaguely recognise as being me. I know that pre-baby body has gone, and now it is learning to love my new self. It’s a journey lots of mums go through, but one that is not massively discussed before you have your baby. Having a baby is such a huge adjustment that often the mother’s mental health takes a back seat. It’s important that we recognise that there are people we can talk to to discuss any problems we are having, even body related worries. We must share that it is okay to have these issues and that it is okay that new mums need to work them through. Mental health is vital to physical health. If you are having any problems contact your GP, who will give you details for the NHS ‘Let’s talk’ service. It’s worth knowing that if you have a baby under one you are given a priority status with a counselling service, which means you will get an appointment as quickly as possible.

Are their any changes you went through during pregnancy/after pregnancy which you found difficult? How did you deal with them?

 

The List Of What I Missed

Ok, so I’ve had a bit of a break. I have been stressing out about many things, which have taken my attention away from blogging. This week was also yet another nightmare as I ended up back in A&E and admitted to the ACU ward….again. I was in the bed diagonally opposite where I had been admitted at Christmas and it just showed how much further I need to go mentally to recover. My admission this time was because of AF – so basically my heart was beating incredibly fast and not in a proper rhythm. It feels very uncomfortable and terrifying! It required a lot more tests (check out my Instagram page to see the bruises after!) and in the end the administration of a drug to get my heart into a proper rhythm. I am glad it worked, because the next step was to send an electrical pulse through it!

Anywho, my husband and son were with me until 10:30pm, and once it became apparent that either I would be a few more hours, or kept in over night, we made the decision for them to go home. My heart broke all over again, once again I was being taken away from my boy and it was not by choice. I am yet to have a night away from him by choice, but it is so painful watching him go now that I don’t know when that would be. I know it would be healthy for me and my husband, but it is a source of anxiety for me now. So, on my own, with a completely dead phone, I decided to use the notepad in my bag to doodle or write to distract myself. Turns out there was a list I made over Christmas still in there about basically the things I missed. It was a list of all the things I wanted to do when I got home, and they still held true!

  1. Hug my son
  2. Hug my husband
  3. Have a cup of tea
  4. Have a bath
  5. Have some cake – the nice chocolate pudding (I remember it well, it was nice!)
  6. Wash my hair
  7. Eat some nice food
  8. Pictures of my boy everywhere

In the darkest of times it boils down to this for me, love and….well….food!! I’ll keep that list to remind me on the days when I am stressing that the house needs cleaning, or that the bins need emptying, or the garden needs sorting etc etc etc that actually these are the things that matter.

What would be on your list? What would you be missing?

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Time For Food! Weaning Your Baby

As with all parenting, you are just getting into the swing of things, you seem to have found your groove and then something else happens! You’ve just got over the four month sleep regression (oh the sleep deprivation!!) and you’re back into some kind of rhythm and then it is time for weaning! Quite often this gets discussed early, generally at around 4 months. It is often assumed that babies are hungry at this point and that is why they are waking, you may hear people suggesting baby rice or porridge to help fill baby up so they sleep through. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but babies are not really designed to sleep through! The four month sleep regression is to do with their brain development, so whilst it may not feel like it at the time, it is in fact a good thing!! Just remember, you are doing a great job, there is no guide book to fit all babies – you know your baby better than anyone, go with your gut!

So we were rapidly approaching the 6 month mark and I was a bit worried I hadn’t done much reading on the next step!! Fortunately for me I have a good friend who’s daughter is a year older than my son, so she is great to turn to for advice! I knew she had done Baby Led Weaning with her daughter and it seemed simple enough and I knew that her little girl was a good eater and very independent. It was an approach I wanted to take and, fortunately again, so did my husband! Basically you have Traditional Weaning, which involves feeding purees with a spoon to a baby. Some people choose to start this early, and even some packaging in supermarkets says from 4 months. It is worth noting that this labelling is in the process of changing and the NHS recommends you start weaning from around 6 months. Baby Led Weaning, which often gets called a “new fad” is in fact a much older practice. It does what it says on the tin! The baby leads the way. There is just “normal” food, as in what you or I would eat. They get to explore new tastes and textures and learn about how food actually looks! There are not a lot of rules to remember, just no honey, whole nuts or cow’s milk before 1 year old. Although cow’s milk should be used when cooking (such as porridge) just use whole milk. The only other thing you should look out for is how you cut grapes (length ways, not width ways).

The idea of BLW is that the baby learns to chew before swallow. If you are concerned about choking then I would go on a First Aid course (they are often offered through children’s centres or NCT groups), but it is worth noting that research shows that children are more likely to choke on purees than whole foods. This is not to say that choking will happen! A babies gag reflex is much further forward than an adult and is how they move food forward in their mouths. If you would like to find out more about BLW I would recommend the Baby-Led Weaning book and Baby-Led Weaning cookbook by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. This will give you a better understanding to make an informed choice! There are groups on Facebook which are dedicated to BLW where advice and recipes can be swapped. It is worth noting that these groups are not there to debate which method is “better” but to support those who have made the choice one way or the other. They are designed to be supportive and act as a guide for people looking for advice.

I am still in the early stages of BLW, so we are all about exploring new foods! Don’t be frightened if it takes your baby a while, remember they are getting the nutrition they need from your milk or formula (not a debating point) and they are just starting to learn about food. There will come a point where they start eating it, and this will increase and their need for milk will decrease. This is like rolling, crawling, walking, talking…..well everything they do! It takes time, it’s a learning process and you are there to support them along the journey. It is a developmental stage, and an exciting one. If you are able to I would highly recommend hearing Gill Rapley talk about it all! It was fascinating and informative and certainly helped clarify things in my mind!

I’ve started documenting our journey with BLW through Instagram! So pop on over and see what I’ve been making and baking! I will start to put some recipes on here for you to try! What is your favourite food to share with your baby? Any recipe wins you want to share?

Meatballs with pasta, eggy bread and porridge oat sticks with raspberries!

Sickness and parenting, not a good mix!

It’s horrible when you have a sick baby. They can’t tell you what’s wrong and you battle to sooth them through nightmare nights that seem to last eons. They seem to revert and only sleep upright on you and you lay there stressing that each breath seems hard work for them. Surrounded by calpol, snotty rags and tissues, saline solution and breathing in the vapour plugin you wonder if it will ever end. But it does, and they will return to their normal selves. However, by then, more often than not, the parents have caught the cold! Argh!!! What happens when the parent is sick?!

There is no day off. No calling in sick before a certain time, so that you can crawl back under the duvet and rest. There is no extra sleep to recover, you just have to keep going. Your baby does not understand that you are ill! When I have headaches seems to be the time my son wants to practice “singing” at the top of his lungs! My brain feels like it is going to explode! But through the knife like sensation cutting through your eyeballs, you have to try and keep smiling and going through some sort of routine, because it is not their fault and they just don’t get it! I have been pretty poorly lately and that included sinus pain (oh my god bending over to pick up the boy was excruciating each time!) and each day I have been waiting for his Dad to walk through the door! He has been amazingly helpful and been finishing the DIY project too, I have managed to get some rest in the evenings. Trouble is there is always that evening meal to sort out.

So this time I’ve been thinking. We have started our Baby Led Weaning journey (messy but fun!) and we are constantly striving to be healthier and I am starting to enjoy cooking a nice meal. After 4pm tends to be the witching hour in our house (did I say hour?! Haha! Hour! Try until bedtime!) he can be okay a little longer, it depends when he had his nap, but this also does not help our cooking! We have been juggling him, DIY, sorting the house and all other activities into this short time. Being ill has also meant that I just can’t think straight to sort what we are having for tea, let alone doing it! My husband has been resourceful and made omelettes and found a pasta bake jar to use (must have these in for “emergencies”!!!)  so we haven’t resorted to takeaways just yet! I just want to make tea time easier! Then I remembered the slow cooker! Oh the slow cooker! How did I forget about you?! I am now in the middle of compiling a 4 week meal plan so that there is variety, but I don’t have to think about what meals we fancy – it will be already chosen! There of course will be more freedom at the weekend, when we have at least a little more free time! But I think that if we do 2 big slow cooker recipes a week, we will have enough to have leftovers the following night and the stress of cooking will be removed! Well, that’s the theory anyway! I’ll let you know how it goes!!

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Do you have any tips for eating healthily in the week, but quickly too? Also any slow cooker recipes that are a win in your house would be warmly welcomed!

Mum’s Day Off Wish List

As you sit up in the middle of the night holding your little one your mind starts to wander in the dark. For me at the moment we are dealing with a poorly boy who is full of a cold, so that has thrown our incredibly vague routine (we lean towards ‘gentle parenting’ methods) completely out the window. Unfortunately he cannot tell us what is wrong, so as a result we have a sad, crying little man who only wants to sleep up right and on one of us. So we take it in turns to sleep or sit soothing him. I was trying to keep myself awake, so started with naming as many countries as I could (I believe I repeated Italy a few times as exhaustion set in) whilst I patted, rocked and soothed my boy; all a bit awkward anyway as I have to keep my left leg elevated due to DVT recovery. So in my rather uncomfortable position my mind wandered further onto a rather wicked idea. In the style of that oh so 80’s film, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ what if I had a ‘Mum’s Day Off’?! What would I do with myself? What would my wish list be? Well I would keep it local and it would be something like this:

  1. A luxury long lie in until at least 9am! Yes, as late as that! I would want to wake amongst fluffy pillows and my soft duck egg bedsheets from Laura Ashley.
  1. For me it then would have to be a massive cup of tea and a mouth-watering breakfast of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup from the Boston Tea Party. Yum, Yum! No interruptions or having to eat whilst walking around, just sat down drinking HOT tea and having a HOT breakfast!

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  1. I would then want to indulge in a lovely spa day at ‘The Greenway Hotel and Spa’ in Cheltenham. Having a hot stone massage (never had one, always wanted to try it!) splash around in the pool and relax in the hot tub, maybe with a cheeky glass of prosecco! Have a light lunch before relaxing in the shower and not having to rush or dash out to imaginary cries!
  1. Then I would want to go to ‘All Bar One’ in Montpellier for their tapas plates and a couple (yes a couple!) of cocktails! My absolute favourite ‘Porn Star Martini’ (all I know is that it is yummy and comes with a prosecco shot!) and an ‘Absolut Raspberry Cosmo’ or a ‘Mojito’. Naughty and delicious! Being a breastfeeding Mum I haven’t had a cocktail in well over a year at this point!!

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  1. Finally I would like to go home to my husband, pour a bowl of Butterkist sweet and salted popcorn, curl up in front of the telly and watch an entire film together! Oh the novelty! We have part watched a few, so finishing one would be fantastic! I know, when I dream, I dream big!

I would never wish my son away, and I love being a Mum; but sometimes it’s nice to imagine a day to myself and what I would do! It is a little selfish I know, however it keeps my brain entertained in the depths of the night as I fight sleep and rock my poorly boy to sleep.

What would you do on your imaginary day off? What simple luxuries do you miss?

As I started with Ferris Bueller, I will end with him too – his words to live by:“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

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