Four life rules for 2015

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I’m not a big one for resolutions, especially for New Year. In my experience, resolutions are always broken. That plan to detox from chocolate and wine lasts until around the 7th of January before I cave. So, true to form, I’m not making any resolutions for 2015. I am, however, making some life rules. These are rules that I’m determined to live by for the next year. They’re rules that I think will help keep me happy, calm and able to enjoy the important things in life.

Learn to say no

My biggest fault is saying “yes” too often. This is sometimes a blessing because I’m open to new experiences but, mainly, it’s a hindrance because I end up taking on too much. I hate to let people down but I know that ultimately, saying yes to everything all the time means I will end up falling short. So this year I’m going to learn to say “no” when I need to, without feeling guilty about it. Continue reading »

A snapshot of Christmas

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And just like that it’s over. Well, kind of. I like to stretch Christmas out for as long as possible so, for us, it’s still Christmas until Friday at least. I have no urge to take down the tree or clear away the toys just yet.

This year Christmas Day was even more special. Mainly because of the addition of a new member of the family. As I was laying out presents under the tree on Christmas Eve it hit me with one of those BOOM moments that this would be a memory I’d never forget. These Christmases while the girls are still small are ones to treasure. I had looked forward to Christmas Day with such excitement and it didn’t let us down.

Christmas dresses

Sparkly dresses courtesy of northern Grandma and matching (handmade) Elsa dresses courtesy of my mum meant both girls were dressed up to the nines. We spent Christmas Day just the four of us, at home. Eating far too much food, opening presents and (the adults) drinking fizz. Perfect.  Continue reading »

Baby buys: the change bag to end all change bags

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BabyBeauFor the past eleven weeks I’ve got by without a baby change bag. The world hasn’t ended and I’ve survived using the rucksack I used as a hospital bag when I went into labour. It’s not ideal though. You see, I’m a sucker for a pretty bag and using a rucksack as a change bag is a wasted opportunity to indulge in the bag love as far as I’m concerned. Plus, scrabbling around in a rucksack for a babywipe is no fun when you’re trying to prevent a nappy-related emergency.

Step in BabyBeau and the Ellie Tan. Specialising in beautiful bags that just happen to be baby change bags, this is the choice for a bag lover who doesn’t want to go down the floral “baby baby” route. This is a bag that could be used long past the days when you need to fill it with nappies. Continue reading »

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

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Christmas wishes

I had high hopes of finding a spare half hour to write a heart-felt blog post before Christmas. It was going to be funny, thoughtful and nostalgic, all littered with artfully taken photographs.

Unfortunately life has other ideas. I’m currently typing one-handed, with a baby in the other hand, half a mince pie in my mouth and a four year old hanging off my back asking “IS IT CHRISTMAS YET MUMMY?” on repeat, while Noddy Holder screeches in the background. So that amazing blog post I had planned is going to have to wait.  Continue reading »

When babyland and normal land collide

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Sisters

The first few weeks after having a baby are a blur of broken nights, dirty nappies, feeding and cuddles. You exist in this cocoon, a bubble away from normal land, where everything is focused on your new little bundle and their needs. Gradually, as the weeks pass, the bubble starts to get smaller until it pops, and you realise that you’re no longer in babyland, you now live in normal land, with a baby.

This is all very nice as long as things run smoothly. Normal land requires you to have half a brain, you see. You need to remember stuff – appointments, school activities, work meetings and how to access your email. It’s very difficult to take part properly in normal land if your baby has been up most of the night and is having a growth spurt-related feeding frenzy. You just want to keep your PJs on and go back to the days when you could sleep when your baby sleeps, like you did when you lived in babyland.

This week has been the first since my second baby was born ten weeks ago, where I’ve felt physically torn between babyland and normal land. My baby girl’s first noticeable growth spurt (which has meant a couple of days where she’s fed every two hours throughout the night and every hour during the day) has coincided with the busiest week in my four year old’s school calendar.  Continue reading »

Things to do in Hampshire with the Family in 2015

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Hampshire

Before we moved to Devon we lived in Berkshire – right next door to Hampshire. It’s a brilliant place to live, near London but full of fun family-friendly days out too.

Whether it’s commercial kid-friendly heaven you want or a more laid-back day out then you’ll find it in Hampshire. Here are some suggestions to get you started… Continue reading »

Is there an optimum age for Christmas?

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Polar ExpressI remember when I was in my early twenties and hearing people say Christmas becomes even more fun when you have kids, and thinking, “Yeah, whatever.” I mean – when you have kids of your own it puts you firmly in the role of “Fun Maker” instead of “Fun Taker”. You have to worry about grown-up things like how long it’ll take to cook the turkey and whether all the presents have been wrapped. Christmas as a parent must be rubbish, yes?

Well no, actually. Since I’ve become a mum I’ve loved Christmas even more than ever (and I loved it a whole lot to start off with). There’s something infectious about my four year old’s excitement as the day draws nearer. It makes doing all those pre-Christmas activities totally worth it.

Christmas has always been pretty amazing since Frog was born – even on her first Christmas when our oven broke and we had to go to my parents’ for an emergency Christmas Day. This year though, it’s something else.  Continue reading »

School shoes for a hypermobile tot

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School shoes

It’s not something I write so much about these days, but my four year old has hypermobile joints. It doesn’t affect us hugely now she can walk, but we had a rocky time when she was a non-toddling toddler. Put simply, her joints are too flexible, which meant she struggled to walk until she was two years old and needed special boots plus plenty of physiotherapy. She still occasionally has physio treatment and, when she broke her leg last summer, she had to have extra sessions to learn to walk again.

These days, her hypermobility is often something we forget about. She can run and jump with the best of them. But when it comes to choosing shoes for Frog we’ve struggled.  Continue reading »

Confessions of a baby spammer

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Baby spam

Mixed in with the sleepless nights, bowling ball boobs and baby brain, there’s one more thing that I’d forgotten happens to you when you have a baby: you can’t stop taking photos.

There are the sleeping photos. (Baby sleeping. Baby sleeping in new position. Baby sleeping while being cuddled. Baby sleeping in new baby-grow. Baby sleeping on grandparents. Baby sleeping in moses basket.)

Then there are the awake photos. (Baby pulling funny face. Baby pulling another funny face. Baby wind face. Baby in cute outfit while looking thoroughly unimpressed.)

Then there are the “firsts photos”. (First bath. First outing outside of the house. First trip to the supermarket. First time in car seat. First trip to the park. First time in pram.)  Continue reading »

Swollen pregnant feet and my new boots

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40 weeks pregnantWhen I was about eight months pregnant I bought a new pair of boots. They were a cute leopard print number with laces and an ankle high shape. And could I fit my fat pregnant feet into them? Could I heck.

As I tried to squeeze my puffy toes into these pretty little boots I felt very like one of the ugly sisters. I was determined, but the boot wouldn’t budge. I’m not sure, but I think it’s likely I cried.

You see, for me, the one thing that plagued the entire second half of my pregnancy was fat feet. I got to know both my feet intimately throughout those months, as I massaged and pummelled them, in an attempt to reduce the puffiness.  Continue reading »