The big baby haul giveaway

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Giveaways on this blog, are a very rare thing. But as it’s nearly Christmas, I thought I’d do a giveaway for all of the new parent readers out there. I’m giving away a haul of baby goodies worth over £150 – perfect for treating your latest addition this Christmas!

I’ve chosen some of my favourite baby brands to include in an exclusive giveaway (did I mention – I rarely do giveaways?). These are brands I’ve written or vlogged about in the past, all with beautiful products that will make your life as a new parent easier, prettier and – in the case of your baby – cosier this winter.

Babyhaul goodies
Babyhaul 2 Continue reading »

The recipe for happiness

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Happiness

Happiness. At this time of year, more than ever, we seem to be bombarded with ideas of happiness and told where we need to go and what we need to buy to be happy. As we strive for that elusive happy there are lots of people ready to tell us what’s missing in our lives – the things that will provide that extra bit of happiness we’ve been missing.

The Christmas ads roll out, full of smiling families all laughing merrily over their glasses of champagne and beautifully lit Christmas dinners. Is this what we need to do to be happy? Add some posh candles to the table and – hey presto! – the happiness factor is ramped up by at least ten points, supposedly.

And then there are the adverts for kids’ toys. Every one promises to make that child’s day “extra special”. Our children are told they need all this stuff to be happy. The latest Frozen toy will complete their life. All kids need an iPad or an Elsa costume to be properly fulfilled. You’re a bad parent if you can’t provide this for your kids. Shame on you – don’t you want your child to be happy? Continue reading »

Five shows to get addicted to on Netflix

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Netflix shows

Ah Netflix. The parent’s best friend. Gone are the days of clubbing and impromptu drinks at the pub. Instead, a perfect evening now consists of a glass of wine, a hot bubble bath and an episode (or two) of one of my favourite shows on Netflix.

But where to start when it comes to choosing the next series to get addicted to? You’ve watched Breaking Bad and Orange Is The New Black (and if you haven’t, then you should) and now you’re craving something new to sink your TV teeth into.

Fear not my friend, because luckily for you I’m currently a one woman breastfeeding machine who’s spent much of the past five weeks glued to the sofa, baby in one hand, Apple TV remote in the other. Here are my top five addictive shows on Netflix. I’m going to assume you’ve already seen Breaking Bad and OITNB and are up to date with Homeland already… Continue reading »

Swaddling for newbies

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Swaddling

Back when I was a first time mum to a newborn four years ago, I was a total swaddling novice. This was before that famous royal photo of Kate and Wills cuddling their swaddled new baby Prince George. Swaddling was a thing, but not a thing I was familiar with. I imagined tightly bandaged babies strapped up to boards Tudor times style. It all sounded a bit… medieval.

Fast-forward four years and I’m a new mum again. The benefit of experience has been a huge bonus with this baby. I remember what used to settle my first daughter at this age and have a few tricks up my sleeve ready for when my newest daughter gets antsy (so far *touch wood* she’s proving to be more chilled out than her older sister). I know now that swaddling can be a great way to make a newborn feel secure, as it mimics the cosy position they were held in the womb. Continue reading »

A week in the life of a family of four

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So after the weird time-warped first two weeks when the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine was on paternity leave, and then a strange middle week before half term and then half term itself… it now feels like we’re settling into a new kind of normal.

I’ve survived one whole week of doing the school run at both ends of the day. I’ve even done my first solo bath time with two children. And I’m starting to forget what more than two consecutive hours of deep sleep actually feels like.

Bub is one month old and as gorgeous as ever. So far she’s proving to be a very different baby to her sister. Perhaps it’s because we’re already a family with our own routines or perhaps it’s because Frog is a diva with a capital D (no bad thing), but our new baby girl has just kind of slotted in. She occasionally grumbles a bit and she is a milk fiend but apart from that it’s…. (and I know I may completely eat my words after writing this)… easy. Continue reading »

Vlogging: Newborn essentials for a second time mum

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Newborn essentials for a second time mum

It’s now been nearly four weeks of newborn mayhem in our house and we’re slowly starting to get to grips with life as a family of four. There are SO many baby-related things I want to blog about at the moment but time seems to escape me (babies = time hoovers). In the meantime, I thought I’d do a little vlog about some of the products that have made my life easier with a newborn.

The challenges second time around are definitely different, so these are essentials for second time mums (and dads) – but I’m sure I’d have found them pretty useful had I known about them four years ago too.

Anyway, I’m far too sleep deprived right now for fancy schmancy editing, so this is a raw one-take wonder of a video – complete with tiny baby. Hope you like it! Continue reading »

Scottish Friendly Letterfall: How You Can Win £500 for Your Words

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What are your memories of reading as a kid? For me, a trip to the library was right up there with a trip to the zoo, in the excitement stakes. Equally, I loved to go into bookshops with my mum and dad, immediately seeking out the kids’ section and immersing myself in a corner with a new read.

My four year old is proving to be just as much of a bookworm as her mum. She enjoys trips to the library and gets a huge kick out of new books. We read at least two stories at bedtime every night and, since starting school, Frog has begun to read her own stories as she starts to make the connection between the squiggles on the page and the words in her head.

As a parent, it’s incredibly exciting to see that passion for books grow in my child – and it’s something I hope Frog’s baby sister will share as she grows up. Over the past year Frog has started to enjoy word games, playing “I Spy” in the car and spotting letters and simple words on signs when we’re out and about. Continue reading »

Sisters

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SistersJust a few short weeks ago people were looking at my bump and taking bets on whether the baby inside was a boy or a girl. Whenever anyone asked me if I had a preference I was honest: I just wanted a healthy baby. My four year old regularly changed her mind when asked, which was the reason we decided not to find out the sex at the 20 week scan.

Even so, the moment when I held my baby up from the water and saw that she was a girl was a shock. Although we’d decided to wait for a surprise, I’d become pretty convinced I was carrying a boy. So many people (including my mum and husband) were sure the baby would be a boy and Frog often referred to the baby as a “he” when talking about becoming a big sister.

Mum, bump and daughter

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Five easy pumpkin recipe ideas

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Pumpkin carving

We are big fans of Halloween in this house. In fact, this time of year is one of our favourites – log fire burning, crisp autumn walks and cosy nights looking forward to Christmas. Halloween sort of signals the beginning of that delicious period of anticipation for us.

I’ve carved a pumpkin every year since Frog was tiny. In fact, even before she was born I used to buy a pumpkin and carve it, before lighting a candle inside and putting it in the window. The picture above was taken when Frog was around 15 or 16 months old (before anyone chastises me for leaving a baby near a lit candle – it was moved out of her reach as soon as this photo was taken).

Anyway, one thing I’ve learned over the years is that pumpkins have a lot of flesh. And, if you’re not careful, once you’ve carved your pumpkin you can end up throwing a heck of a lot of it away. In keeping with the Organix #NoJunk Challenge I thought I’d share some of our favourite recipes for the bits of the pumpkin that could end up in the bin. These are tasty, delicious and – most importantly – healthy. Plus, our four year old loves them as much as we do.  Continue reading »

The A-Z of Post-Birth Recovery

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Post Birth Recovery

Just over two weeks ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She’s my second baby, so you’d think I’d be familiar with the tender post-birth recovery period by now, having gone through it all before. Well you’d be wrong.

What I remember from last time around appears to have been filtered through a rose-tinted memory box in my head. It’s all newborn cuddles, quiet naps, endless bouquets of flowers and snuggles on the sofa. The actual body bits – the rather gross bits – have all been blanked out.

So in the interests of keeping it real, I’m sharing my A-Z of post-birth recovery symptoms with you. Be warned, much of this is TMI, but if you think we all bounce of bed looking like super-model Gisele Bundchen after having a baby then you’re in for a shock.

A is for… After-birth pains

Newsflash: contractions don’t end the moment you’ve had your baby. Annoying but true, the uterus has to shrink back to its pre-baby size. This means after-birth pains which feel like a cross between a contraction and an intense period pain. They get worse the more babies you have, so this time around I was shocked by how uncomfortable they were compared to with my first baby.  Continue reading »