Girls’ day out


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You know when you have a day that lifts you out of a fug you didn’t even know you were in? Saturday was that day for me.

Sleep deprivation has been kicking my arse a bit recently. There’s a whole other post to be written on the reasons for our current lack of sleep, but it’s fair to say things have been a touch… challenging.

The first twelve weeks with our baby girl were so easy that it was bound to happen really. But there have been days since Christmas where I’ve felt a bit like I’m drowning. Days where the house is a mess, my inbox is set to bulging, we have no clean clothes, and I can’t do anything about any of it because my hands are full of baby. For someone who likes to be in control, I’m reminded how unpredictable life with a tiny person can be.

Anyway. Saturday was a good day. We’ve been doing some redecorating at home, so I decided to take both girls out for the day and leave the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine at home to get on with the painting.  Continue reading »

Capturing baby bedtime


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The Gro Company Gro BagBedtime has always been a bit sacred in our house. It’s the one thing in our day that never changes. Ever since Frog was tiny we’ve followed the same routine: bath, PJs, milk, story, bed. Now that her sister’s here she’s just slotted into the same familiar routine.

I won’t lie and pretend that I always love bedtime. In fact, there are many, many days when I’d pay good money for someone else to take over bedtime duty. But I know that, once the girls are big, it’s a little piece of our day I’ll probably miss. There’s something kind of soothing about the predictable. No matter how long the day has been or how tired we all are, everything calms down once that bath water’s running.

For something that plays such a big role in our every day, it’s not a thing I’ve ever documented or written about. It’s just a bit… boring. I mean – bedtime is bedtime, right?

Wrong, actually.  Continue reading »

Going back to cloth, kind of


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GNappiesOK, I’m going to hold my hands up here and admit the thought of using cloth nappies with my newborn baby couldn’t have been further from my mind. Although I used cloth nappies with her older sister, I only switched to cloth after she was on solids. Without going into too much detail, I didn’t fancy having to deal with, umm, sloppy cloth nappies. I’ll stop there before I totally put you off your dinner.

Anyway, my new baby (still to think of a blog name for her by the way – suggestions welcome!) is now 15 weeks old. As much as I hate to admit it, she is most definitely no longer a newborn baby. So when gNappies asked if I’d like to try their nappies, I thought it was probably time I got over myself.  Continue reading »

Second babies and changing relationships


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Sisters January

When you’re pregnant with your first baby, everyone tells you how much your relationship will change when you become a parent. “No more impromptu trips to the pub for you!” they joke. “Gone are the days when you can waltz out for dinner at a moments’ notice” they say with a certain amount of glee. Everywhere you turn it seems there’s someone ready and waiting to tell you to “make the most of your freedom” before your baby comes along, because life will never be the same again.

And they’re all right, of course. But what they all fail to mention (or, in my case at least) is that a second baby puts just as much – if not more – pressure on a relationship. And it’s not just your relationship with your partner that’s squeezed, it’s your relationship with your older child too.

I first realised how much our family dynamic had shifted a couple of weeks ago when, at midnight, my four year old got sick. In times of old, before I was a mum to a new baby again, I’d have put my daughter in bed with me while her dad would have been turfed out. Sick days were definitely “Mummy Days”, and Frog wanted me and me alone to look after her.  Continue reading »

Baby buys: the activity nest


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My baby is now 14 weeks old (14 weeks?! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! etc.). Despite my best efforts to bury my head in the sand it’s fair to say she is definitely no longer a newborn. At 14 weeks, baby girl is awake for longer periods and, when she’s not sleepy, as alert as ever.

She loves to be on her tummy, but the Babymoov activity nest keeps her happy on her back for a good five minutes at a time. This is a big deal as my baby’s been struggling the past couple of weeks with reflux / wind / we’re not sure issues. Whatever the problem is, she doesn’t much like to be flat on her back at the moment, so to stay on her back for five minutes shows the activity nest must be winning at something.

The picture at the top is of baby girl at 6 weeks old. The great thing about this nest is that it has an insert cushion which supports the head of tiny babies. Baby girl has used the nest since day one, for short bursts at a time. Back when she was a newborn she sometimes fell asleep in it, as it has a cushioned base which must be pretty comfy.  Continue reading »

A day off from mumming


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Since baby girl arrived just over three months ago I’ve immersed myself into the land of mum. Not that I was half-hearted about it before, but having a baby brings you right back to the coal face of parenting.

Little things I’d forgotten about, like not being able to drink my tea while it was still hot or having time to go for a wee, along with big things like existing on two hours sleep for a week. Combine the babydom with being a mum to a four year old and I found I didn’t have much time in my head, or energy in my body for much else.

Sleepy baby

Where before I’d juggled my work alongside my four year old, the past few months have been pretty much all about my role as a mum. Work has been drastically scaled back and I find myself living alongside the rhythms of my new baby, when she feeds, eats and sleeps, alongside the needs of a four year old who’s just started school and become a big sister all in the space of three months. Continue reading »

Our Friday night traditions


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Photo credit:

Friday nights have always been pretty sacred for me. I was early to the Friday night party and can clearly remember getting that thrill of the coming weekend right from when I was little.

At school Fridays were special – we’d have free time for half an hour in the afternoon when we could play our tunes on cassettes (remember them?!). We’d dance to the likes of East 17, Scatman John and the Outhere Brothers – totally cool when you’re in Year 6 – before running amok out of the school gates. In the evening I was allowed to stay up late and we’d have takeaway curry or fish and chips for tea. Friday nights were the best.

Then I turned into a grown up and Friday nights meant chips at the pub before wine, vodka tonics and dancing. In fact, I met the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine on one such Friday night.  Continue reading »

Losing my mind to sleep deprivation


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Tiny hands

There’s a moment, just between awake and asleep, when I think I’m dreaming. The snuffles are in my mind and I have a delicious few hours yet with my head firmly on the pillow.

I wake before she’s properly awake herself. The snuffles get louder and I lie there in the darkness praying she’s just readjusting herself, getting comfortable for more sleep. And then she cries. I look at the clock – if I’m unlucky just one hour will have passed since she was last awake. If I’m lucky then it’ll be two. If I’m really lucky it will be three. One time it was five, but that’s never happened again.

As I wrench myself from sleep, mouth and mind thick and foggy, I reach for my baby. She’s usually hungry. As she suckles at the breast I take deep breaths and force myself to stay awake. I sway slightly, as sleep threatens to creep back under my eyelids and close them again. There’s the hint of a ghost in the corner of the room – dark shapes that aren’t there in daylight. Probably an echo of my dream.

Once she’s finished feeding I rub her back and encourage a soft burp. Sometimes she’s fast asleep before she’s finished. Often she’s still awake. I lay her gently back in her cot next to my bed. And then I lie there in the dark, praying once again that she will sleep. Continue reading »

How to budget when you love champagne


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Champagne budgets

I’ll let you into a secret: I like champagne. I also like pretty shoes, holidays and nice food. But, much to my continuing despair, I’m not a millionaire and nor do I have a limitless supply of cash.

My lack of disposable income is no obstacle to my love of the finer things in life though. The past few years have taught me a few savvy tricks in the budgeting department. Saving for a mortgage deposit was hard work, but having a goal to save for was a great incentive to avoid spending cash on other important stuff like, er, champagne.

If you’re looking to make 2015 the year you buy a house, then look at TSB’s mortgage repayment calculator to see how much your repayments would be. In the meantime, here are some of the ways we live a champagne lifestyle on a Lambrusco budget.  Continue reading »