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?

Activities for Little Hands

There are times when you need to provide activities for little hands to keep busy. Long car journeys, bus journeys, waiting in restaurants and coffee shops, listening to speeches at weddings, are all times that you wonder how your young child will behave and how to keep them entertained. In the modern age there are many options of phones and tablets with hundreds of games you can access, but they can be noisy, children can get frustrated or need support playing them and they aren’t always appropriate for the surroundings. Sometimes you just want to keep them amused without the use of a screen and you are in a space they cannot run around. You can find ideas on Pinterest for creating ‘busy bags’ which are little activities you can create to keep them busy; matching games, sorting games, patterns, counting games – the list goes on. They are fantastic, and you can even make them yourself. Trouble is, if you’re anything like me, you can be full of good intentions, but life gets in the way! If only there was someone else who could create these bags and keep the small people happy! In steps Jhodi with her new company ‘Little Hands Activities’.

Jhodi left work to have her son 2 years ago. After ending up in coffee shops, on trains and even at weddings, she was looking for ways of keeping him busy, but did not want it to revolve around the iPad. After trying to take out small puzzles, she decided to find out if there were other activities she could use. She then started creating reusable activities to keep her son busy. Jhodi has set up an online shop (www.littlehandsactivities) where her busy bags can be purchased to keep young children happy for the reasonable price of £3.75 or £2.50 for a smaller bags, plus postage and packaging.

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My beautiful nieces often have long car journey’s to go on, and helped me test out some of these bags from ‘Little Hands Activities’. We tried the shape matching lollypop sticks, creating shapes and the foam garland busy bags. The activities are safely kept in ziplock bags which can easily fit into changing bag, handbags or even larger coat pockets. The girls got stuck in straight away choosing the bags they wanted to try. They read the instructions that were included (for smaller children they are there for the adults to read and explain) there are pictures on the geometric shapes one which are easy to understand and for small children to follow.

My gorgeous niece A is 7 years old, she chose the garland straight away. She discussed how it worked, when she had made one before, the colours she liked. The discussion which came from her creating was lovely. She wanted to share what she was doing with me and her sister, it was lovely to be involved with what she was doing. My wonderful niece E is 5 years old, she chose the geometric shapes immediately. She discussed all the shapes she knew from school, and created the shapes on the cards. What was lovely was seeing how they moved the activity on too – niece A created more complicated shapes and we even got on to discussing regular and irregular shapes! All this from one tiny bag! They played with all three bags, taking it in turns, playing beautifully together! They were great, and I think certainly worth the price. The girls found it hard to choose a favourite, but niece A liked the garland bag best and niece E liked the shape matching activity best. They asked if they could take them on their next long car journey, which I think is a great result!

Jhodi is currently prototyping another range of activities with her son; colour recognition with pegs, sorting game and felt picture game, which all should be available in her shop in the autumn if not before. I look forward to seeing these ones and any other busy bags Jhodi makes in future!

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Disclosure: I was sent this product free of charge but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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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Postpartum DVT discovery and diagnosis

The next step in my journey. This gets increasingly hard to write about and talk about. I have put it off for a while, but there is no avoiding it. It happened. It was Monday 14th December 2015 and my boy had just turned 2 months old when I started getting a lot of pain shooting down my left leg. There had been some warning signs before that I didn’t understand; if I knelt down my left leg would go quickly to pins and needles, but I thought it was just how I had been leaning on it. The pain seemed to start in my lower back and was all down my leg, ending in my foot. I told myself I’d just got a trapped nerve and tried to carry on. I was most comfortable lying on my back with my leg at a 90 degree angle onto a chair. I struggled on until the Friday, when I saw my Mother in Law, who was staying for the weekend near us. She could immediately see the pain in my face and was concerned something was wrong and that I needed to see a Doctor. I didn’t want to cause a fuss, but I did ring out of hours who told me all they could do would be to give me some slightly stronger painkillers for the pain, but I couldn’t breastfeed on them, so I declined.

On the Sunday morning I woke with a swollen leg and panicked that there was something seriously wrong, that there was a clot in my leg. I called out of hours again and got an appointment with a Doctor at the hospital. I went down, at this point unable to sit comfortably and unable to weight bare. Both me and the husband asked repeatedly if this could be a clot. We were told that it was not, it was just sciatica, and that I needed to take some stronger painkillers until it passed. The solid muscles she said were due to trapped nerves. We discussed breastfeeding, and I decided only to take what I could to feed the boy, as for me, it was very important. I couldn’t walk to the car, I only just made it out the door, and then stood crying until my husband brought the car to me. Although I was in so much pain, I was relieved it was nothing serious. I saw my family for a pre-Christmas party, but couldn’t move much and rested with my leg up, my family bringing the boy to me when he needed feeding. By the evening my leg was still swollen and I sent my family a picture; they were immediately seriously concerned. The next day was the Monday before Christmas and I could not get out of bed. I could only rest full of painkillers and with my leg at a 90 degree angle. My husband was looking after me, the boy and the house, he was also worrying.

I got another appointment at the hospital with out of hours, but this time my Mum came with me. I was dropped at the door, could barely walk in there, couldn’t weight bare and couldn’t sit. I cried walking into the room and this Doctor took one look at my leg and confirmed this was a DVT. She measured my leg and confirmed it was swollen. I was passed to A&E, where I was for the rest of the day. My husband brought me the breast pump, which I had to do 3 times whilst I waited. The boy was put onto formula at this point, because I just wasn’t there. I was admitted, given a private room so I could feed the boy, when he was in and I could. I was given, paracetamol and ibuprofen for the pain. It didn’t help much. I was given an ultrasound and CT scan. These confirmed I did have a DVT. At this point they said that there was a clot in my calf, behind my knee, in my thigh and in my groin. I was given fragmin and told to take it for two weeks until I could have an appointment with a vascular consultant. I was discharged Just before Christmas Eve with 5 fragmin injections, two left handed crutches, still in pain and unable to walk. On Christmas Eve my Mum arranged for me to have a telephone appointment with my GP for more fragmin injections. I told him what had happened and was told under no circumstances to take ibuprofen and fragmin together. He prescribed a different painkiller.

Come the morning it was Christmas Day, a day of celebration and joy. I was spending it with my family at my sister’s house. We had intended to walk over, but instead my parents picked us up. I cried on the way to the car, in the car, trying to get to my sister’s door and until I was on the sofa. I can barely remember the day. My boy’s first Christmas is just a blur. I had to get help to the toilet, help to eat because I could no longer sit. My nieces spent the day writing me get well soon cards. At this point my brother in law said I should probably have compression stockings on. He had some from when he had been in hospital, my Mum and sister battled to get them on me as I cried and yelped in pain. Again, scaring my nieces! Once home, I was put on the sofa. My husband blew up an airbed and the three of us slept downstairs.

The next morning I was having chest pains and so my Mum came over, I rang out of hours and they said someone would call me back in 8 hours. My Mum was furious and rang them back, actually speaking to a Doctor. At this point I was crying saying no one believed me. An ambulance was called for me. I had lovely paramedics. I was given gas and air and helped to the ambulance, where I was put on the bed and given more gas and air!! After a lot of hours in A&E I was admitted again. I was given morphine for the pain. I was still being made to walk to the toilet, even though I could barely walk. I was asked to stand for an x-ray, it caused me so much pain that had to be given more morphine and taken down in bed for my CT scan. I was sick afterwards, I just felt humiliated. They had found the pulmonary embolism. I had two cannulas in my arms and was pumping milk (just for dumping as the medication meant the boy couldn’t have it) with the help of my Mum. It was pretty cosy, but I’m so glad she helped me do it!

I got transferred by ambulance to another local hospital where the vascular consultants were. Once there I was put in a bed and tilted with my legs in the air. It was a bed that moved (so weird!) to prevent bedsores. Here I was kept on the morphine and a specialist came to see me that evening and explained that it was not four clots, but one long one running from my calf all the way up to my abdomen. She explained that I needed treatment the next day because it was time sensitive. The treatment was thrombolysis. This would involve a tube going into the deep vein from behind my knee and running up as far as my belly button. A clot busting drug would be pumped into my vein to break it down as much as possible. It came at the risk of strokes and heart attacks if any of the clot broke off and went wandering. But it was the treatment I needed. I was scared, my family were scared and I missed my boy more than words can say. Part of me was missing, but I couldn’t hold him, I couldn’t feed him, I couldn’t do anything for him. At this point I honestly thought I would not see him grow up. I did not think I would see my house again. I did not think I would have time with my husband again. These were dark and scary days.

This is quite a factual post. It’s hard to share the pain, the fear and uncertainty that I was going through. I would not wish this on any new mum. But it is something that can happen. I’ll save the treatment and then the recovery for another day. It’s a painful chapter to relive, but I hope once I have finished it can help someone else spot the signs, or not feel alone through their own journey.

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The swelling in my left leg can be seen clearly here.

 

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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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Always Learning – 5 Tips For A New Blogger

I am a firm believer that we are always learning, and that there is always more to learn about anything! Parenting for example, I don’t believe there is ever a point when you think “I am the best parent I can be, I don’t have to do anymore”. I love learning new things and have lots of different hobbies I dabble in, like scrapbooking, baking, drawing and I like to find new things to try and develop my skills. If you are reading this, then you are reading my new hobby! I’ve always loved writing; creating poems, attempting stories and now blogging! I love it and want to keep developing it and my writing skills. Somethings I have learnt so far:

  1. Set up all your accounts. Not just the blog! I mean, email address, Twitter page, Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest and any other forms of social media you want to use. It is easier to set them all up at the start and get them working together. I still need to do more on Pinterest, but like I say – I’m still learning! I will get there I am sure! Some blogs I follow (like Emma and 3) also use Youtube accounts and post videos to engage readers.
  2. Write from the heart. A blog isn’t just about writing anything. You have to be able to write passionately about a topic, whether that be family life, fashion, baking, whatever it is, you have to love it! You connect more with your readers if you write as yourself, being honest and from the heart makes people want to hear what you have to say. A blog from @motherhoodreal about things that drive her mad I could totally relate to and genuinely made me laugh out loud! It definitely makes me want to read more of her blog!
  3. Read, read, read! Read and connect with as many blogs as you can. The blogging community, in my experience, is friendly and others want you to succeed. I think that is the beauty of all sharing a hobby and being able to share it so easy through the wonderus internet! Follow other blogs and connect with them. You are able to share a “blogs I follow” widget on your own website. Well established blogs generally have a ‘tips’ page on writing blogs. The Reading Residence is a lovely blog I follow in various different ways. She has written several posts on tips for new bloggers which I am still working my way through!
  4. Link upWhen you start out blogging it can feel like you are a lone voice in a vast void. When you start reading other people’s blogs you can find similar voices. Quite often you will notice a badge at the bottom of the page. These are linkys that you can join in with. There are various rules, such as having to comment on a certain number of people’s posts and the hosts post, but if you like reading and writing, this isn’t a big problem! Often you find more blogs you want to follow! New links appear all the time and people will start inviting you to join in. @hotpinkwellies and @dearbearandbean are starting a new linky this week #sharingthebloglove which sounds like a great linky to join in with!
  5. Privacy. Write how you are comfortable. Do not feel you need to share personal details or photos of your family if you are not comfortable with it! Just because you are writing in a public place doesn’t mean you need to share intimate details. Feel free to write using just initials, referring to what people are (husband, son etc) instead of using names, or create pseudonyms. Just because your immediate friends and family will know who you are, doesn’t mean the whole world has to! Share as much as you are happy to.

So if you are new to it, welcome to the exciting and addictive world of blogging! However, if you are a blogging veteran please do share your advice, links to good tips pages and things that have helped you with your own page!

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?

 

Cookie Bowls

The family BBQ for Father’s Day was a great excuse for some baking. It’s been a little while, but I still love to bake and it’s fun to create new things sometimes! I wanted to create an exciting pudding for the children to enjoy, but also the grown ups too! Sometimes it is nice to have a pudding that brings out your inner child! I wanted to pretend that it was summer at least, so that meant an ice cream pudding! One of my favourite ice creams is Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough, so I decided to work cookies into it by creating a cookie bowl. It was so easy to do, I will definitely be making these again! The recipe I got from my sister, and it is so good it is now the only one I use!

Ingredients:

  • 125g soft butter
  • 100g light brown sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Cream the butter and sugars together.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, beat well.
  3. Add flour and salt, making sure everything is mixed well.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and mix evenly.
  5. Melt some butter and cover the inside of a muffin tray.
  6. Get a ball of cookie dough mixture and press down around the inside of the muffin tray creating 12 bowls.
  7. Bake at 180 c for 10 minutes.
  8. Take out and let cool before transferring to a wire tray to finish cooling and setting.

The bowls look pretty full when they come out of the oven, but they settle back down during the cooling process.

We then filled with vanilla ice cream, covered in chocolate sauce and smarties!! Although this part is just a suggestion! Fill it with whatever you fancy! Delicious! Have a go, let me know what fillings you used!!

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