This post sums up the reason I blog

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Dartmouth

When I started this blog nearly four years ago, I had no idea what a huge impact it would have on my life. I started it on a whim, as an attempt to remind myself I still had a brain post-baby. It became a place to vent about my frustrations as a new mum, connect with other like-minded people and, eventually, lead to new work opportunities and some exceptionally fun experiences. But, today, I remembered the number one reason why I blog.

I have nearly four years of family adventures charted on this blog. I never intended for it to become an online scrapbook of sorts, but it has. Over the years I’ve blogged about our adventures on various holidays, mundane weekends just being at home, moving to a new place 200 miles away, Christmases, new houses and – recently – pregnancy and another new baby.

Although I have many of these memories stored away safely in my head, there are still moments that I remember with a smile when I read back on old posts. These are moments that would be lost in the midst of time had I not bothered to blog them. And so, here is another memory to add to the list – a family day out in Dartmouth. Continue reading »

10 Baby life hacks for new parents

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Baby hacks

Ah babies. The cute, innocent, loud little things. If only they came with an instruction manual eh? So they may not come with a “How To” guide, but there are a few very simple solutions to every day problems that you’re bound to face with your newborn. Here are ten baby hacks that have helped in our first few weeks of life with a second baby.

1. Keep a change box in the living room

A box full of nappies, baby wipes, a couple of clean vests and babygrows will come in handy downstairs. You’d be surprised how exhausting walking up and down the stairs a million times a day can be.

Change box

2. Bulk buy Infacol

If you have a baby who struggles to bring up their wind then Infacol is your friend. It’s magic medicine that you drop into their mouth before each feed and can help your baby do a big burp afterwards. We used it lots with our first and a little with our second. But there’s nothing more annoying than running out of Infacol at 3am, so when you buy it – buy twice.

Infacol baby Continue reading »

Second babies and the benefit of hindsight

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I write this with a baby strapped to me, sleeping in her baby wrap. This is something I would never have done with my first baby, now aged four. In fact, it’s just one thing in a long list of “don’ts” that I think would have made life with my first born a heck of a lot easier.

New baby

I remember as a new mum first time around constantly being told that it gets easier. “When she gets to 12 weeks old you’ll have a routine,” “She’ll sleep through the night by the time she’s six months”, “The wind issues will stop once she’s a bit bigger”. Looking back, I spent a lot of those early days looking for magic answers to situations deemed as problems – by me and others.

As a second timer I have the benefit of hindsight. If my baby is struggling to nap then that’s OK – I just put her in the sling. In fact, napping hasn’t been a “problem” because I’ve not put a ban on the baby sleeping anywhere other than her moses basket. First time around I was so concerned about setting up bad habits that I agonised over letting my baby fall asleep on me, or in the pram, or anywhere else for that matter.  Continue reading »

Party outfits for new mums

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If you thought dressing a bump was hard then try dressing a post-pregnancy body. Seriously, I’m having some major clothing issues at the moment. I’ve had more important things to worry about than working on a washboard stomach, so most of my clothes are still a little too snug. And with Christmas just around the corner the search for a party dress for a new mum is ON.

But perhaps the search is over. And the answer to that festive dilemma is perhaps in an unlikely place.

I’m already a fan of some of the everyday clothes on offer from George at ASDA – my beloved yoga pants being a prime example. But did you know you can also find some pretty cool party dresses there too? And not just any old party dresses – party dresses suitable for new and expectant mums alike.

Maternity party outfits

If I was still pregnant then I’d go for one of these dresses from the maternity section. I love the plain black maxi and would dress it up with a statement necklace for extra bling factor. I’m also a sucker for a bit of leopard print so the leopard print tunic dress would probably make it onto my list too – at £8 it’s a steal. Continue reading »

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 »