Sunday, 11 December 2016

Keep Christmas Simple

Happy Sunday!

Christmas consumer train, choo choo
I love Christmas. Always have and I'm sure always will. Over my 37 years of life the festive experience has evolved from me being the enchanted innocent believer. (I still remember laid in bed listening out for Sleigh Bells and then waking to discover "he's been!!!" ) To the suspicious semi believer. (My suspicions were ruthlessly confirmed catching my parents mid present passing after one too many Sherrys.) To the hungover Christmas Eve party animal. To now me being the chief planner, organiser and maker of Christmas magic for my own children.

Over the years traditions have changed. New ones started and other ones faded. Which is only natural. Unfortunately along the way I reckon we have managed to over think it...

Toy Advent Calendars
A small chocolate treat behind a cardboard door. I still remember the excitement of getting to eat chocolate before breakfast for 24 days. That was special enough. There is a now a new trend, advent calendars made up of 24 small gifts. I'm sorry but WTF? So by the time your little darling gets to the 25th of December they've already had 24 presents. Not sure they'll be bothered by this point if Santa visits or not.

Christmas day you say? Bored already.

Elf on the Shelf
A more recent phenomenon which to me doesn't make any sense. So the Elf is supposed to be watching and then reporting back to Santa who is naughty or nice, ok got it. (When did the alarm PIR sensors get bunked off btw?) Why the need for doing stuff during the night? And, weirdly it's mostly naughty stuff. Talk about setting an example. Basically another task for parents to remember to do. Most importantly, an Elf that comes alive during the night? Then creeps around? No thanks, stuff of nightmares that is.

So so scary

Christmas Eve Box
Tad like the toy advent calendar. Present giving is for Christmas day people!!! In a few years there'll be a Boxing Day Box. This is the one for when you forgot the present they really wanted and Santa pops back that night as he forgot it. Ooops silly Santa.

Gifts, gifts and more gifts

An Enchanted Elf Visit
Expensive and I think a little dangerous. On visits to Santa's grottos I have been lethally quizzed by my eldest to an inch of my life. Why there are three doors all with Santa behind? Why didn't he know what I'd put in my letter to him? I think minimal or no contact with anything impersonating Christmas untruths is the best path to take. Fingers crossed your 'enchanting elf' isn't hungover from the night before or looks anything like the below...

Yes I am an Elf!!!!

Now before you shout bah humbug and lob a load of sprouts at me. I realise that the motivation for all the above only comes from the most heart felt place. Seeing the look of delight and joy is undoubtedly a marvellous feeling. But, at what expense? (and I don't just mean your purse). In a world where the majority of us are only just keeping our head above water ensuring the day to day shit is in order. Add the 'normal' preparations of Christmas and then for good measure chuck in a boat load of extra to do's which actually, just aren't necessary. Remember no child wishes for a broke, stressed or unhappy Mum or Dad for Christmas.

Years gone by Christmas was simply, a lot simpler. The build up was subtle yet beyond exciting. Receiving a small chocolate from behind a cardboard door each morning. Keeping watch for the first Christmas tree to appear on the street. Gazing in awe at festive lights. Signs of what was to come and more than enough to keep excitement levels at an all time high.

Thinking back there a few presents that I recall being ecstatic over. But the memories that stick out the most are the moments of simply been with family and friends. The swapping of presents. My Gran's snowballs. Rubbish and extremely random 'shows' put on by me and my cousins. Sitting under the dining room table eating buffet food.

Mum & Dad x

Think back to when you where young. What memories stand out? That should give you an idea as to what's important and will be remembered by your children. So whether you've not got the money, time or inclination to indulge in these Christmas 'extras' don't worry, have yourself the best Christmas of all. A simple one.


Friday, 18 November 2016

Working Mum Confession

Happy Friday :)

hot drinks all around

Working mum v Stay at home mum is up there with the pointless comparison of Breast feeding v Bottle feeding. Each holds it's own merits. Whatever team you camp in the clue is in the title. Everyone is a 'mum' and everyone is 'feeding'. Big up to all mums. Nuff said.

The right choice for me is being a working mum. I could say I made this decision as I like that my boys see both parents bringing home the bacon or that interacting with others from an early age helps develop their social skills. All of which I believe to be true. But the driving force behind me being a working mum is because I simply want to be.

I enjoy turning my brain off from 'mum mode'. Depending on the type of morning drop offs the solitary commute to work is at worst pleasant and at best amazing. Once at work I'm actually able to get things done.  I can visit the loo, alone.  Enjoy a hot drink without having to microwave it three times.  Finish a conversation AND remember what was said. Essentially, I'm in control of my day.

Being away makes me a better mum. My patience is renewed. My enthusiasm for play doh is revived. My tether is rewound. My tolerance for Mr Tumble is restored. My composure is refreshed. I think you get the idea.

I reckon I'd be a terrible SAHM and can imagine becoming unintentionally resentful. Meanly making voodoo dolls of my escaping husband. Getting frustrated that my toddler isn't down with getting through the daily to do list. Seeing my patience deteriorate. Feeling my enthusiasm for play doh slip away. Having murderous thoughts about Mr Tumble. I'd be pitching a 5.30pm bedtime and quite possibly turn into an alcoholic.

Sorry Tumble

I make no apologies loving being a working mum. But I also respect and if I wore a hat would take it off to stay at home mums. One thing that unites us all is the much deserved glass of Friday night vino :)

Friday, 11 November 2016

There was a girl who became a mum

Happy Friday :)


There was a girl who became a mum
 she pondered what her life had become
Once so simple, easy, carefree
was now full of snot, soft play and cold tea
Her children were sweet, lovely and fun
but when acting crazy could make her glum
Entertainer, nurse, teacher and cook
everything to everyone, all her energy it took

Her brain hurt from thinking the whole damn time
so by Thursday (sometimes Wednesday) she needed wine
Planning this, planning that
 Birthdays, Christmas, the school Easter hat

Her face had aged over time
but she liked to call them laughter lines
Nails and hair took a back seat
hard skin and unpolished toenails replaced manicured feet
Her favourite night out was now staying in
too knackered to party, is that a sin?
Pyjamas, slippers, hot chocolate and a book
took the place of lace undies, high heels and a....
Her wish list was simple nothing too deep
just eight lovely hours of undisturbed sleep  
 A peaceful shower, unaccompanied trip to the loo
a leisurely meal out with no highchairs in view
Her hardest critic was by far herself 
was she the only mother who couldn't be arsed with Elf on a Shelf?
The time she forgot her eldest's gloves and hat
or the goodbye kiss on the nursery mat

Her guilt never ended from day to night
was she enough, did she do enough, did she do it right?
Time away doing her own thing
made her feel bad, well at least for a min.

Her thoughts knew that in no time at all
those little children would soon be tall
These moments fondly reminisced
and toddler times sadly missed

Her life is different now a mother
but she wouldn't trade it for any other
There's no place on earth she'd rather be
than Mummy of the family tree


Friday, 4 November 2016

Here's to You!

Happy Friday :)

We tend to play down our achievements. On receiving praise we blush and can be heard uttering nonsense such as "It's nothing" and "I'm just lucky". We're quick to blame ourselves when things don't go to plan but not so quick to congratulate ourselves when things turn out nicely. We find it to easy to discuss what's bugging us but talking about the good feels like boasting.


We focus on what we haven't done, things we haven't got, words we shouldn't have said. We beat ourselves up about the bad, forgetting about the good. Take a minute. Think about what you feel lucky to have in your life. Then feel proud. You work hard to be all that you are and all that you have. A happy home. A good job. A content baby. A great circle of friends... Whatever it may be you've created the world you live in. Don't be giving all the glory to lady luck.

Continual selfless acts of kindness. Those were my chips.
Some aspects of life are out of our control but most of it isn't. Our choices, sacrifices and compromises ultimately shape our lives. Lets recognise and celebrate that fact. Here's to You!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Q & A Blogger Tag

Happy Wednesday :)

I do like a bit of frivolous fun so when I saw Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine offering up a blogger challenge I had to join in. Here's my answers to Fran's ten questions;

1) There is no electricity and won't be for the next week. NONE. After eating the contents of the freezer (assuming you have a gas cooker) what the hell do you do with yourself?
Absolutely panic!!!!! Then grab the takeaway menus. Secure a Sunday lunch invite at my mums and beg a ready made lasagne off my mother-in-law. Actually sounds quite attractive. Where's that electric switch...

2) What time constitutes a lie-in in your house?
Disgustingly I'm now grateful for keeping my eyes shut till anytime after 5.59am. Very very rarely (maybe twice a year) we might get a 7-7.30am. However this is always due to either numerous night wakings and/or a very late night.

3) What is your greatest achievement, bar your children?
In my younger party days how I didn't get arrested for drunk and disorderly is beyond me, so perhaps an unplanned achievement. Now it's simply juggling the balls of life and if I say so myself making a half decent job of it.

4) What is your favourite blog post ever (your own, or someone else's)?
Ooooo so many to choose from. Hurrah for Gin particularly makes me giggle, love the drawings too.

5) If you could only use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which one would you choose?

6) How often per month do you think 'screw it, I'll give up blogging'?
As it's a hobby for me I guess there's not the same pressure for those who do it for a living so not happened yet...

7) If I was a newbie and just starting my blog, and I came to you for advice, what would you tell me?
Ask Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine as I'm a newbie too!

8) Chocolate or strawberry milkshake?

9) What is the best fruit?
For usefulness, Bananas. Great for kids as minimal mess and fills them up nicely. Also good for hangovers. For taste, Cherrys. Although I can only afford to buy two per month.

10) What are your top three hits/bands from the 80s...
Remembering back tunes I particularly liked; Stay by Shakespears Sister, Eternal Flame by The Bangles and anything by Madonna.

So I tag Nat from Handful of Halfpennys, Gemma from Coffee Kids & Ice Cream, Patricia from White Camellias and Jo from Guilty Mother. Ladies, you're it! Let's find out all about you :)

1/If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be?
2/What is one of your best childhood memories?
3/What's your biggest blogging bug bear?
4/Name three things you like about yourself.
5/Night off from the kids (I'll babysit). What do you choose to do?
6/Best go to tea?
7/If you could only give one piece of parenting advice what would it be?
8/Favourite holiday?
9/If we had to live in one season forever, which one would you choose?
10/What would be your choice for a final meal?

Friday, 21 October 2016

Silent Miscarriage-My Experience

The loss of a baby. Upsetting, uncomfortable and therefore can be something which isn't often spoken about. But listening, talking, informing is good, helpful. This is why I've decided to share my experience of a silent/missed miscarriage. Something I'd never heard of until it happened to me in December 2013. Supporting baby loss awareness week (9th-15th October) #heretolisten

Putting up the Christmas tree with my three year old I felt so happy. I was nine weeks pregnant with baby number two. From finding out at the beginning of November I had already worked out my due date, told a select few, pondered over names and excitedly imagined my maternity leave with a summer baby.

Not a week later following a difficult bowl movement (sorry TMI!) I was faced with every pregnant women's nightmare, a show of bright red blood. On calling the hospital they said it was fairly common, not to worry and to call back if the blood got heavier and/or was accompanied by any pains/cramping. There was no further blood or pains or cramping which was a good sign but I just didn't feel pregnant anymore. My boobs were no longer sensitive, the nausea had eerily subsided and a nagging feeling that something wasn't right wouldn't budge.

On Friday 20th December I sat nervously waiting for my 12 week scan. My husband held my hand tightly. I couldn't speak as my mind raced. Thoughts alternated between telling myself everything was fine to wondering how I was going to react to the news. Finally the sonographer called my name. I forced a smile. As we entered the room I felt sick. Laying down I rolled up my top feeling the cool gel on my tummy. As she moved the transducer around, twisting and turning I knew it wasn't good news. I felt sorry for the young girl who's face said it all but she had to say it none the less. She apologised and explained gently that it looked like the baby had stopped growing at around 7 weeks. I nodded, calmly listening to confirmation of what deep down I already knew. We were led to a room where a midwife gave us the options of what would happen next. I opted to let nature take it's course. My notes were kept to one side and we were shown out of a different exit. Thankfully it spared me the walk out of the door which I'd earlier entered still clinging on to hope. Most importantly too, spared the expecting, excited women from seeing the side that no one wants to endure. The devastated face of the loss of a baby.

The drive home from the hospital was surreal. I was officially no longer pregnant. I felt lost. I was supposed to be pregnant. My initial feeling was sadness. That I wouldn't be sharing our news. That my son wouldn't be joined by a sibling. The next day I felt cheated. That our new dreams and plans as a family of four were abruptly gone. I tormented myself, imagining what it would have felt like to have come home with a picture of our scan, sharing our news. Then I felt lucky. Pregnancy is complicated. Shockingly one in six pregnancies result in miscarriage. Some suffer multiple miscarriages. Others lose babies much further into pregnancy or horrendously at birth. Some people sadly never even have the opportunity. We had a happy, healthy three year old and if that was all life had intended then that was more than good enough for me.

The miscarriage started on Christmas Eve and lasted around two weeks. Only one day was especially tough when I experienced a couple of hours of contraction like pains but for the most it was really just like a heavy period. In the New Year we returned to the hospital to ensure everything was back to normal. The nurse confirmed this and said we could start trying straight away if we wished. Amazingly in February 2014 (only a month later) we found out that we were expecting again. It was a hard nine months. I worried, constantly. Sunday 12th October 2014 we welcomed our second son into the world and not a day passes that I don't appreciate how lucky we are.

Birthday Brothers. Same Birthday 4 Years Apart x

Friday, 7 October 2016

Toddler Bedtime Battles

Happy Friday :)

Bedtime and Sleeping. Two words which strike fear into 99% of parents who are currently experiencing, contemplating or recovering from bedtime and/or sleeping 'challenges'. Toddlers are renowned for their variety of challenges. Some are fun, others cute, many are exhausting and quite a few can be irritating, to say the least. These two can be particularly vicious, especially if you get a dose of both, at the same time.

Blessed with a self settler bedtimes were great. Bath, bottle, Iggle piggle and bed. 7pm I would pop my youngest in his cot bidding farewell with a kiss and cuddle. 7.05pm I'd be ready to start my evening, feeling like Mary Poppins. The thought of this blissful bedtime routine being shattered by him a/moving into a bed and b/realising life goes on after 'In the Night Garden' had crossed my mind but I was sure that I had at least till January 2017 to keep enjoying the good life. Waking during the night was rectified quickly and efficiently. Simply depositing his dummy back in place ensured everyone was straight back to sleep.

On Monday 25th of July all hell broke loose when we returned from holiday and my bedtime buddie became my bedtime bandit. Climbing out of his cot we had no choice but to remove the bars leaving a lovely open bed for him to come and go as he pleased. I felt he was too young (22 months) to understand the going to bed concept so I decided that to help him settle I would sit with him. Middle of the night wakings were dealt with much the same. However, one fateful night I was knackered and the prospect of sitting on a hard laminate floor anywhere between 15 to 40 minutes (several times) wasn't that attractive so I let the bandit into our bed. I took the easy route but soon realised that sleeping half in the bed, half on the bedside table wasn't ideal. Fast forward two months and the novelty of wasting away my evening trying to sneak out of his bedroom had funnily enough also lost it's appeal.

Along with the obvious (being knackered) it left me feeling resentful and annoyed. Which was unfair as all he was doing was enjoying the behaviour I'd set on. I felt he was selfishly keeping me for himself. Whilst getting a numb bum in the dark I heard my eldest enquire "where's Mummy?" Unintentionally he was stealing my 'me' time. By me time I'm not talking about shopping trips, nights out and bubble baths. I mean time to simply get stuff done before the next day arrived and possibly eat tea.

One particular night when several escape attempts had failed it was nearing 9pm. I was hungry, tired and truly fed up. I contemplated the longevity of this. The positive me pondered that with age he would fall asleep alone and wouldn't be waking so much through the night. The realistic me concluded that having his mummy at his side till he drifted off and being snuggled up in mummy and daddy's bed would be his preference for a good few years. Something had to be done. I could not do this for a good few years.

So we are now entering the 7th night of mission 'Bedtime Bandit'. There were essentially two parts to this 1/to get our 2 year old sleeping in his own bed, all night 2/for him to settle to sleep without me staying in his room. As this subject affects such a lot of parents and can be a god awful time I decided to post a daily update of each night to show our journey and hopefully help/support anyone going through the same. If you'd like to take a look click on the link detail of each night or alternatively below is a summary.

The first night he was up and down like a yo yo. Trying his luck each time at getting into our bed. Amazingly and a little unnervingly on night number 2 there was no fussing to come into our room. Third night Daddy was in charge and the fighting was more about going to bed than staying in it. Night number four I made the mistake of deviating from the plan. The 5th night was adding in the main game changer, me not staying the room whilst he slept. I was dreading it. It wasn't half as bad as I'd feared. Progression was even made. He was now getting back in his bed on his own and shouting me rather than coming out of his room. The sixth night started out fab but at 3.30am deteriorated. By 5am he'd spent 1 & 1/2 hours getting out of bed and calling for me before getting up for good with my hubbie. I may just be desperately hoping but my thoughts are his teeth were bothering him. Either way, we didn't relent.

Couple of things I've learnt so far;

~Don't be put off by what you think it's going to be like or how you think your little one is going to react. My youngest hasn't cried much at all. He's whinged a lot, got cross, shouted and resisted but it's actually been a lot less painful then I imagined.

~You have to be realistic. Recognise your weaknesses as they will be your failure. I'm a softie so I knew that diving in cold turkey for both issues would be a lot to deal with (mainly for me!) so I decided to soften the blow by introducing the changes staggered.

~You need to plan it when nothing else is going so you can commit to it and keep the consistency no matter what.  After easing ourselves in I had an opportunity of 4 days in a row that I wasn't working. Ideal for the hardcore part as I knew that this was going to meet the most resistance and result in potentially not much sleep for me.

~Make life easier. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy so don't sweat the small stuff. You'll be knackered so who cares if the house is a mess or you have takeout every night. When this is done you'll have all the time in the world for tidying and home cooked food.

~Don't be scared to mix and match. What's right for one parent or child may not be for another. Expert advice, routines, schedules can be followed but most importantly can be also adapted, changed and mixed up to suit you and your little one. Taking as much or as little from them as you want.

~Toddlers are clever but have fish like memories. They know what pushes your buttons and how their cries affect you. Stay with it. They really are fine. Ask them when they're fifteen about this and I guarantee they'll have no idea what on earth you're talking about. (Especially if they're still sleeping in your bed, hee hee)

Even though I'm knackered and slightly nervous about what the coming nights hold. I'm also determined and excited. We're completely dedicated and committed to achieving what we set out to. What about our youngest? He's unimpressed at the moment but give him a month and he'll be my bedtime buddie again.

I'd love to hear about your experiences, feel free to comment with them x

Friday, 23 September 2016

Ten reasons to love love love Autumn

Happy Friday :)

Brown leaves and Halloween spider costume. Autumn at it's best!

Yesterday, summer ended.  You may be feeling a little sad to say goodbye to the season that offers light nights/mornings, beer garden trips, family BBQ's, camping fun, festivals, holidays, the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of icecream vans. But wipe your eyes and fear not. Autumn has officially arrived and here are my top ten reasons why I love love love it.

1/ Comfort food is back. Ditch the salad, dig out the slow cooker and say yes to treacle sponge & custard.

2/ Big, warm, snuggly clothes for those fabulous Autumn walks, where the sun shines brightly whilst the coldness nips.

3/ Waxing and toe nail painting can be put on hold.
4/ You have 8 months to get your body ready for next summer.  

5/ Bonfire night- a massive fire, explosions in the sky with loads of sugar loaded food. What more could you possibly want?

6/ Halloween- Buying loads of  'trick or treat' treats and no one calling so you have a years supply of miniature chocolate bars, result.

7/ Cosy nights in.

8/ On Sunday 30th October clocks go back giving you an extra hour in bed. Or if you have kids an extra hour to enjoy with them ;)

9/ Warm, fluffy towels. Hello Radiators!


10/ Christmas preparations.

Anything I've missed? Would love to hear what you love about Autumn x

Friday, 16 September 2016

Bye Bye Baby

Happy Friday :)

I've bid a cheery and excited final farewell to all that is newborn/baby, including the baby. Don't worry, I still have the baby he's just aged into a toddler and I couldn't be happier. I've never been a newborn/baby fan. For me it's always been a time to 'get through' so I can get to the enjoyable part.

Don't get me wrong there are some nice moments but there are far more stressful, worrying, difficult ones. High maintenance is putting it mildly. Ever changing demands, spontaneous upset and it's all relentless as they don't realise that mummy might need 5 minutes to breathe. Unable to tell you what they require it's all guess work and elimination on your part and crying on theirs to show when you're not meeting the required standard. To be honest, everything is just hard work. Especially when your functioning on -4 hours sleep.

The amount of shit (I mean stuff) you need is astounding for one tiny person. Venturing past your front door is a major event. Remembering everything and anything they could possibly need, unpredictable being their middle name. Bottles (high five to breast feeding mamas, one less thing to prepare and boobs cannot be forgotten), milk, calpol, dummies, muslins, bibs, baby cutlery, food, snacks, drink, change of clothes, nappies, normal bum cream, very sore bum cream, wipes, mixture of toys, books, blanket, spare blanket, pushchair. Once you have everything (you will always forget something) it's all then a game of pure chance with most of the elements out of your control. Will baby be too hot, cold, tired, hungry, under stimulated, over stimulated? Out of the comfort of your home will the eating place have a highchair, be willing to even warm up your baby's lunch? Or will they give you a bowl of hot water to warm up pureed roast chicken dinner-seriously Costa Coffee, H&S gone mad. Ughhhh just thinking about it all makes me feel uneasy.

Slight detour, all this made me think about the baby cards which show 'this is me at 1 month, this is my first smile' actually these need to be for adults. It's us that put in all the effort to get to those milestones. Those pictures I'd love to see, they'd be far more interesting.

A feeling of excitement comes over me each time my youngest moves up clothing sizes. I considered making a fire with all the baby Paraphernalia just so I could dance around singing 'no more babies, no more babies' Bye bye Moses basket, Jumperoo, travel cot, highchair, musical mobile, thing that beams lights on the ceiling and plays the noise of a snoring seal. Nice knowing you, sorry but you won't be needed again or missed. I now skip past the baby food isle. A big smile on my face that I won't be needing to venture down there again. Bye bye Ella's kitchen, as handy as you were my boy is on the big food now.

As you may have gathered I'm rather happy that my youngest is progressing through the early years. He is now nearly two. Two is when things get interesting. Personalities shine through. We have words, hallelujah!! Limited words I admit and not always in context but we have communication Houston. My eldest isn't overly impressed his brother is mastering the English language. He much preferred me to have to rely on his version of events. Understanding is reached, basic instructions are followed. I remember feeling great excitement when he first put a yoghurt pouch in the bin. Small moments eh! The next step will be the departure of nappies and dummies. Thank the lord, less stuff to have to remember.

Don't get me wrong older kids have their moments, challenges and difficulties but it's just much easier. Life begins to feel kinder. Going out isn't a military operation, they can eat whatever is on offer. Loads of stuff isn't needed. Schedules can be looser and spontaneous. You can talk and find out relatively easily what it is they want, don't want, have, feel. Activities can be overseen. Bye bye to crawling through soft play areas and you finally get to have that chat and drink a hot coffee.

What's brought on all this baby grumpiness?  My thirties could be renamed my babties. I've spent all my time and energy consumed with either being pregnant or working tirelessly to ensure my babies had good routines, meals, activities etc. Whilst you're in it, it's fine. It's your life, what you do and happy to do. I think it's when you're out of it, reflecting you see how hard you've worked. Now I'm done, over it and thank god not entering back into it.

Apologies for anyone expecting, here's a cute baby picture to cheer you up :)

Friday, 9 September 2016

A humorous collection of stories from everyday mums

As different as we are we all share the ups and downs of parenting life. We all struggle, make mistakes and then make a few more. So when you're negotiating a toddler tantrum, up in the middle of the night or wishing you were on a desert island, remember, you are not alone.

Emma, Mexborough "I once warmed up ketchup in the microwave instead of the bottle"

Real Life Manic Mum "After his bath my son was sat naked on the settee. I saw his face turn into 'I'm having a poo' mode so I rushed over, picked him up and held him at arms length to quickly get him on his potty in the bathroom. Unfortunately he'd started pooing. As it dropped on the carpet (cream) I then walk through it (bare foot). Nice."

Nicola, Northampton "On a trip to IKEA I left my purse in the car so went down the escalator to get it. My tired head forgot I needed the first floor so I ran up two flights of stairs to find I was in the wrong place. I literally panicked seeing no way back down. I looked for a lift and then had to ask a member of staff who kindly pointed out I could use the stairs I had just come up!"

Deborah, Mexborough "I drove my eldest to school and then walked home. Then I went into work my husband called in to see me. He asked where the car was as he'd not seen it on the drive. I panicked and said OMG someone must have stolen it. Walking home I remembered I'd left it parked at school. This was after my husband had called the police"

Rachel, Mexborough "I had a white noise app on my phone that played shhhhhhh sounds that I used all the time to try and get them to nap. Failing that I often put them in the pushchair next to the extractor fan. "

Real Life Manic Mum "In the initial weeks of his life my first born wouldn't settle unless he was laid on my chest. One night I woke up laid down with my baby no where to be seen. In a blind panic I rummaged round the duvet convinced I'd lost him in the bed. I glanced across at the Moses basket and there he was sleeping peacefully. I never even remembered putting him back!"

Alice, Wath "On arriving at the shops my little boy was asleep so I popped him in his pushchair, reclined it back and pulled down the hood while he snoozed. I wasn't aware he'd woken up until he launched himself into the shampoo bottles on the shelf head first tumbling out of his chair"

Real Life Manic Mum "Rushing around I popped my little one in his car seat in the back of the car and then helped my eldest fasten his seat belt. About 8 minutes into the drive my eldest enquired why his brother didn't need to be strapped in but he did!"

Emma, Mexborough "I got up at crack of bird poop with my youngest. Carefully but bleary eyed carrying him downstairs in the moses basket. Some prat (my husband) had left a book on stairs. I went flying, moses basket tipped up & baby rolled down the stairs. I screamed like a banshee waking the whole house!!"

Nicola, Swinton "We were on holiday in Menorca. Our 10 month old had fallen asleep in her pushchair so we left her in it and pushed her behind our sunbeds in the shade and we chilled out for a bit. We heard her making a noise so turned to check on her and then both wondered where she had got chocolate from. It was all around her mouth and her dummy was covered in it. Upon further inspection and mainly due to the smell, it quickly dawned on us that sadly it wasn't chocolate. She had done a poo and decided to put her hand in her nappy and treat herself to a mid-afternoon snack - yuck!! X

Debra, Rotherham "I was on my way to see the nurse for his 6 week check. I put him in the carry cot then attached it to the pram. As I tipped the pram in a downward motion to go over a step the carry cot bit slid off and fell onto the concrete floor, turning upside down with baby inside. I ran up the street tears streaming down my face thinking I had damaged my baby permanently. The nurse calmed me down and made me feel like I wasn't a bad rubbish mum"

Nicola, Northampton "One night I sang twinkle twinkle little star 15 times back to back just to help get Erin back to sleep. I remember slurring the words towards the end as I was singing myself to sleep."

Kim, Rotherham "I was winding my little girl who was a few weeks old after I'd finished breast feeding. She was wiggling and unsettled then suddenly projectile vomited blood! Emergency services, Sheffield  Children's Hospital, tests... Turns out she had been suckling on a blood vessel and not getting any milk!!! Yuk yuk yuk!!"

Rachel, Lanzarote "my first baby got a personalised note book. I noted how many poops a day, how many naps, what times he napped etc. I got bit obsessed with noting everything down, trying to be perfect. My second hasn't had anything like that and I'm enjoying her so much"

Deborah, Mexborough "I use to wake up in middle night thinking he wasn't breathing so would blow on his face and then he'd wake up and I'm like 'what the hell was I thinking???' "

Claire, Manchester "The first walk after she was born ... Fed, changed, pramsuit on. Battled to get brand new pram up, hot crying baby but ready to go. A family member coming on the walk decided they just needed to go for a wee. I had a melt down. We didn't leave the house again for a week"

Claire, Manchester "To remember which boob went last I tried wearing a bracelet on the same arm which matched the last boob. Unfortunately I was so tired I kept forgetting to move the bloody thing."

Josie, Mexborough "I had been booby feeding my daughter in her sling and my son wanted boob too so I squished the other boob out of the side of the sling for him to stand and have some. My eldest's (10 yr old) girlfriend and her mum came to pick him up to go out. When they arrived i answered the doordoor, said hello and waved them off. I then realised I'd had my boob still squished out of the side of the sling for them and all neighbours to see! Weirdly they dumped each other Monday morning 😂"

Claire, Manchester "my husband drove to work as normal, went into the staff carpark, reversing into a space and crapped himself to find his sleeping daughter in her car seat in the back. Completely forgotten he had a small daughter who needed to be dropped at nursery first. We were grateful he reversed in!"

Josie, Mexborough  "Never forget my son choking and then projectile vomiting mashed potatoes all over in marks and Spencer café"

Deborah, Mexborough "My son decided to poo in the bath and no one was around to help. So I left it in whilst getting him dried and ready for bed. I then forgot all about it when I came to want a bath later. Eeww"

Fiona, Mexborough "Holding my newborn daughter up mid nappy change to admire her and she crapped in my hand"

Josie, Mexborough "My son got stuck inside a highchair whilst out for Sunday lunch. It was mega busy, the chef came out of kitchen and extracted him using some margarine"

Fiona, Mexborough "I remember having a complete meltdown at my husband on the phone because he had dared to take our daughter to the pub to show her off"
Niky, Sheffield "I remember standing in the middle of the bus station and a lady tapping me on the shoulder saying "excuse me, do you know your baby has been sick on you?" I took my coat off and all down the back of my bright red wool coat was white stinking baby sick . I had to get baby wipes and try and clean it off in the middle of the bus station with a newborn :( "
Emma, Mexborough "I put my 1 year old son in the car placing my keys in his lap while I fastened his car seat.  I shut his door to get in myself. Unfortunately he pressed lock on the key. Five security guards were trying to get in. He then pressed the button again, dead locking the car. Bloody safety glass wouldn't smash. He was screaming by this point and was then sick. Police were called by security just in case. A man ran to the garage to get centre point to be able to smash glass. Eventually we got the front window smashed. By this time my son was asleep and completely unaware of all the drama"
Real Life Manic Mum "With my first baby I got my knickers in a twist over feeding times and remember protesting on the phone to my mum that 2pm to 4pm was definitely 3 hours. I even counted on my fingers, 2,3,4 see 3 hours!!!"

If you would like to donate to PANDAS (Pre & Post Natal Depression Advice & Support) to help them support sufferers of perinatal mental illnesses please text PANDAS £3, £5 or £10 to 70660. Thank You (#PNDAW16)
A big thank you to everyone for their stories and fellow mummy bloggers for sharing my post.      Whinge Whinge Wine   Accidental Hipster Mum   Handful of Halfpennys   Guilty Mother  Mouse, Moo & Me Too
(Do take a look at their blog pages, they are all fabulous!)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Toddler Bedtime Battles (Cot to Cotbed)

Happy Friday :)

From a young age both my children settled into easy bedtime routines. Bath, bottle, Iggle Piggle, snuggled up in their cots by 7pm.Wine in my hand by 5 past. Watching my youngest go from baby to toddler I knew the bedtime battle phase was coming but by god I'd forgotten how painful it was.

The toddler definitely has the upperhand in this game. Without the restriction of the cot they are free and making the most of it. Their motivation is only wavered by tiredness so if; they've had a nice long daytime sleep, gained their second wind after not enough sleep or simply don't want to be away from you (Awwww) you're in for a battle. They have nothing to lose. The end result will be the same for them. Either now or 30, 60, 90, 1 million minutes later, it's irrelevant to them. They aren't thinking about how they really should go to bed as they'll probably be up several times in the night and possibly for good at 6am so to get some zzz's would be useful. They have nothing important to do the next day and lets face it can have a little snooze when they're feeling sleepy from all that nocturnal larking about.

You on the other hand have a lot to lose; your entire evening, bed space and sanity. I start each bedtime positively, desperately hopeful that this will be the night peaceful bedtimes return. I do wonder if toddlers can smell fear so I remain smiley faced and try to banish the feeling of dread that creeps over me as Iggle Piggle waves his goodbye. 'Bedtime' I say with feigned cheeriness.

On a good night my youngest settles down in his bed after a story nicely. Leaving his room is the mission. Silently sitting listening to his breathing, sucks on his dummy and sleepy shuffles I assess what level of sleep he's at. Is it safe enough to attempt to move? The key is patience. When you think it's safe, wait 5 more minutes. When you do move, think snail speed. Pausing after each step/crawl. There are many obstacles to overcome. If noisy floor boards and dis guarded toys aren't enough my body has now decided to join in the game with creaking joints and cracking knees.
Top tip, prepare your exit. Clear your path pre bedtime so you don't accidently set off any musical toys. Leave the door open a crack so you don't have the added hurdle of the squeaky door handle which can easily undo all your work. Finally, let your partner know that under no circumstances should they enter the room to 'see if you've fallen asleep because you've been there for ages'

On a bad night my youngest won't even entertain looking at his bed never mind getting in it. Acting like he's auditioning for a Red Bull advert these evenings really are disheartening. A battle of wills, a stand off between you and your stubborn toddler. Cries of protest and crocodile tears at being put to bed. Once you've accomplished/worn him out to stay in bed you've then got all the above to get through. Nice.

Some evenings it's all too much. You've playing the waiting game, you've done the bad cop back to bed routine and quiet frankly you've had enough so the big guns come out. The Car. This is my last resort when all else fails. When I'm completely worn out, mentally and physically, the car journey can bring it all to a swift end. If that was the end till morning it would actually be slightly bearable but oh no a game of musical beds during the night awaits.

A month in and I know I need for my own sake as much as my sons to get him into a bedtime routine again. One which doesn't involve me sitting by his side whilst he sleeps, chauffeuring him round in his own private sleep mobile or having my bed space overtaken by a cute but starfish snoring toddler. So my husband and I have decided tomorrow is the night to start operation 'no nonsense back to bed'. Ekkkk.

Toddler bedtimes aren't for the faint hearted. It is a stressful affair. A rollercoaster of emotions. I know it will naturally become easier. With middle of the night waking less frequent and your evenings gradually given back. Along with your bed space and sanity but for the time been, armour up and go forth to bedtime battle.

Between the 5th and 11th of September PANDAS are launching and hosting the first Pre & Post Natal Depression Week in the UK. 
My blog next Friday will be for PANDA so take a look on my facebook page for details on how you can get involved. I'm sure many of you are aware simply sharing stories can be a great help for parents to know that they aren't going through struggles alone so your support on this would be greatly appreciated :) 

Friday, 26 August 2016

Big Baby Birth

Happy Friday:)

I'm writing a guest blog for Accidental Hipster Mum this week about big baby births so possibly a little random but as everyone loves a good old birth story grab a wine, get comfy and have a read at how my youngest made his appearance. (Promise there's no gory bits. Sorry for those of you who like a bit of yukiness)

Bit of background. My first baby chilled for 9 months in a very large bump with no rush to join the outside world, arriving 10 days late. His birth was a little unusual. Fully dilated, ready to go the nurse looked shocked and announced there was a bottom where the head was supposed to be, yikes. Following an epidural and consultant led contractions I painlessly delivered a baby boy crown jewels first weighing 7lb 3oz.

Fast forward four years with a very very large bump. I was anticipating around the same weight, maybe slighty more but this time head first. I'd had additional growth scans as my first baby was classed as under weight for my height and weight. The scans showed normal growth, only the final one gave an indication the baby may be larger than my first. However, I was sceptical as with the assistance of google I had found numerous cases of growth scans indicating huge babies and that not being the case. That said my bump was massive and ridiculously heavy but I comforted myself with the fact it was probably lots of water surrounding a lovely petit 7lb baby.

22 days before baby Ellis' arrival. Giant boob or tummy?
Three days overdue at 7am we had just got up ready to start my son's 4th Birthday celebrations. Fifteen minutes later, first present half opened my first contraction arrived. Immediately followed by another then continuously three minutes apart. On arriving at the hospital I explained that I felt this maybe a quick affair. In my mind I was aiming to get back to join in with the Birthday tea. The midwife examined me and agreed. We were taken through to a delivery suite and told to call her when the pains got stonger. The aspect of child birth that scares me is the unknown, not being in control. As my first experience meant I hadn't actually felt the pushing stage I was extremely nervous about this. I'd researched (googled) which part of labour was the most painful. I found most women reported it was getting to 10cm which gave me a little comfort as I'd previously done this part. I wanted the midwife to understand my nervousness so launched into a brief summary of my previous birth, current worries and concerns. She was really lovely and reassured me that everything would be ok. I did notice a little twinkle in her eye and twitch of a smile. I'm guessing she possibly thought I was an absolute control freak lunatic.

As the pain progressed I upgraded to gas and air which I actually enjoyed. To start with I felt like I'd got a 4 can buzz on and happily inhaled, steadily and calmly controlling my pain. Towards the end I was sucking that hard I looked like a malfunctioning Dyson. During this I'd had more time to contemplate the final result so in between contractions I fired questions like a mad woman at the lovely midwife who looking back must have thought I was a complete maniac;
Me: Is it more efficient to give birth standing up? Midwife: Errrrr
Me: How will I know if I need more pain relief? I'm coping with the pain at the moment but what if it gets worse and then I can't. Should I have it now just in case? Midwife: You're doing fine

So standing up was my preferred position (surely gravity helps?!) As the midwife arranged sheets on the floor she nervously laughed that she'd never delivered this way before, but it was fine. I immediately had a vision appear of her laid underneath me waiting to catch the baby. I enquired if I should get on the bed and kneel up. At least the baby could then slip out on to the bed was my reckoning. Even though she said it was my choice I could see the look of relief on the her face. So I adopted the kneeling position but alas my contractions began to fade. No no no, I'm not going back to the bloody start. She suggested that I sit down and pull my knees up. Come on pain, lets be having ya. Brilliant they're back. At this point the midwife suggested that on my next contraction I push rather than use the gas and air. This panicked me. I liked the gas and air. I didn't like the thought of what a baby would feel like passing through my falula.
Me: How do I push? Midwife: Don't worry your body will know what to do.
The contraction came and I did a crappy little push that wasn't really a push. "Did you decide not to push on that one?" the midwife asked kindly but with a hint of sarcasm. I explained I was a little scared but rightly so the midwife explained that baby Beardsley was ready to make an appearance and if I didn't grow a pair there would be 'intervention'. On the next contraction I pushed, properly, which I'm not sure the midwife expected and Baby Ellis' head was free. Now the midwife wanted me to not push (make your mind up) but unfortunately this is when I experienced 'my body knowing what to do' and I had no say in the matter. Baby Ellis arrived with gusto in two pushes which impressively took less than 60 seconds at 1.27pm.

Where the hell am I?
On first sight both myself and my husband were slightly shocked. Ellis was definitely heftier than his older brother with a mop of dark hair and lovely skin tone that didn't match my pale and freakily one. If we'd not seen him arrive so obviously I may have questioned if there'd been a mix up. The midwife announced he was 9lb 2oz. As I'd lost quite a bit of blood I didn't make it home that evening for cake but my eldest ended up having the best birthday present ever, a new baby brother.

Much better newborn pic, awwww

Friday, 19 August 2016

Why I can't wait to be 40

Happy Friday :)

Getting older is something you desperately wish for as a child. Mesmerised by the bigger kids you see a world that can only be accessed by ageing. A world that you want to be part of. Later bedtimes, playing out solo, getting the bus, wearing make up. Older is the holy grail, each year can't come soon enough. Older is cooler, older is aspirational, older is better. Isn't it?

Stay cool at all times. I am nearly 6 you know.

After climbing the ladder of life you bid a bitter sweet farewell to your turbulent teens and embark on the magical twentys. Life is fun, exciting, full of new adventures. First jobs, cars, loves, marriages, houses, break ups and make ups. Working hard and partying harder. Holidays soaking up the sun with beach fit bodies. Carefree days and lazy nights. Free to do whatever you desire. If only there was a pause button. Suddenly getting older is not cooler, by no means aspirational and definitely not better. You've seen those thirty somethings with tired eyes, whinging kids and bad dance moves.

We are the twenty girls

Too quickly you arrive at thirty, kicking and screaming with an unpleasant taste in your mouth from losing your twenty status.To add insult to injury the arrival of children delivers an almighty unexpected smack in the face. Expectation versus reality = massive difference. So ensues a period of mourning and adjustment for your pre child life, body, mind and sleep pattern. My 30's have been the most testing but also most valuable period of my life (so far). Learning and realisation have featured heavily. Learning about myself, about others. Learning how to be a parent and at times how not to. Realising what's important in life and what I want. Realising my strengths and weaknesses. True ones, not just 'I'm a team player' CV type ones. Not being afraid to say what I think. Standing up for what I believe in. I realise now why older people can be seen as grumpy. They're not. They just don't feel the need to have to please anymore or take any shit. Believe me I'm slowly getting there and it feels great.

We are the thirty girls

So from around 35 I've been gradually coming to terms with ageing. Feeling comfortable that I no longer rock a tight twenties body, need the help of a bra and would prefer a night in than out. This years holiday destination was full of thirty somethings. People just like me. People who once were hip, groovy twenty somethings. Aged 37, in my tankini it all clicked into place. I am older and it's fine. My body has made, carried and birthed my two amazing sons so I will wear my not so toned tummy with pride. My eyes may look tired but there's a thousand million amazing experiences behind them so I'll take tired any day. My kids might be whinging, at that moment but there are also a zillion fun, sweet, fabulous moments. My dance moves may be bad but who cares I've got my hubbie and I'm pretty sure he can't divorce me for bad dancing. I'm not twenty and I've finally realised nor do I want to be. I don't envy the twenty somethings anymore. I'm happy for the younger generation starting their journey of lifes ups and downs. I don't mind their beach fit bodies, sparkling eyes (through lots of lovely undisturbed sleep, grrrrr) or in the know dance moves. They need to enjoy every second while they can as what they don't realise is thirty is waiting. Quietly, patiently for them to leave the safety of 29.

 During your thirties sunbeds are no longer places of rest and relaxation just somewhere to keep the dingy

In April 2019 I'll be 40 and cannot wait. My youngest will be 4 and my eldest will be 8. There will be no pushchairs, highchairs, nappies, dummies or plastic cutlery. Teething nights followed by tiring days will be in the past. I can say goodbye to my oversized bag with changes of clothes, snacks and toys to entertain. I can welcome back spontaneity, bubble baths, relaxing with a book. Socialising and staying out without worrying about sleeping patterns and bedtimes. I'm sure the forties will hold plenty of other challenges and as the memory of toddler tantrums and disturbed nights fade I'll reflect nostalgically about my thirties. But for now I can't wait to join the 40 gang.