Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Best advice I've received since becoming a Mummy.....

Hi All

Thought I'd do a slightly different kind of post today. I don't know about other Mums out there but I remember, and still feel like, I was/am swamped with advice when I became a Mummy. It was very overwhelming and probably started when I was pregnant. Everyone seems to have an opinion or the 'best way' of doing something, even if they aren't parents themselves! (Have to admit I am probably guilty of this myself before I had my daughter!) As a first-time parent I had no idea what I was doing! I had read some things in books and online but to be honest tried to take it in my stride, at least at first! My Mum was a great help in the first few weeks with the basics but then I started to find my own way and it really is true that you know your baby best.

In this post I thought I'd share the top pieces of advice that I received, I am not in any way saying that everyone should follow this advice, only that these stood out to me either in those early days or in everyday life now!

  1. Do what you feel is right - you are responsible for this tiny human being and it can become very overwhelming. If you aren't sure about something or if you feel like you need to get a second opinion then do it. If you are relaxed and feel happy, then so will your baby. Try not to worry about what other people think or say and do what is right for you and your baby.
  2. Remember that you are more than just a Mummy - this is something that I am still struggling with and think will take me a long time to get the balance back. It is important that you get some 'me time' and learn to enjoy having some time away from your little one. I can't cope with that long away from my daughter at the moment, I'm the clingy one, not her! But this is a massive thing for me. If I had perhaps worked on this from the start then I may be a little better now she is older!
  3. It is ok to have a PJ day - in those first few weeks you have so many visitors, too many sometimes, and all you want is to sit and enjoy your gorgeous new bundle of joy. There seems to be a lot of pressure on new Mums to get ready, put some make-up on and get out as soon as you can-not saying this is a bad thing, only that it is ok not to do this straight away. Being a new Mummy is so tiring and just relaxing with your little one and finding your feet is a good thing, don't feel like you haven't achieved anything that day, you've relaxed, you've enjoyed the company of your newborn, nothing to be scoffed at there. This is also acceptable when you have a toddler!! Sometimes you just need a day of comfort!
  4. The housework really can wait - I felt so much pressure to make sure my house was spotless for each new visitor that came to see our daughter! The truth is that motherhood took over! I found it impossible at first to either find the time or to find the energy to clean. Now I have a toddler I am able to do a lot more around the house and am in a bit of a routine, my house is never spotless! I think that might just be parenthood though! It is still something that bugs me but I am beginning to just let people see what reality looks like in a house with a toddler!
  5. Ignore what a child 'should do' by certain months/years - you read and hear so much about what this child has done by the time they are 6 months and what this one has done before they were 2....the truth is that no two children are the same. It is unlikely that even siblings will progress and develop in the same way just because they are in the same family! I found that there was so much pressure from parents, friends, health visitors, books/articles, apps about what your child should be able to do by a certain point. At first I read them all and compared my child to them, I then stopped. Not because my daughter wasn't doing what it was saying necessarily but because it seemed like I was concentrating more on that than experiencing how my little one was developing right in front of my eyes. Obviously, if you have real concerns about development or what you think your baby can/can't do in relation to their age then of course you should seek professional help, but for the most part just enjoy watching them. I am astounded everyday with my daughter's development! I have no idea what she should/shouldn't be doing at her particular age, but she seems like she is doing well in my eyes. No major concerns so I am enjoying her, currently she is copying dance moves and singing along to songs on the TV or counting to 10...sometimes skipping 7! She is just great and I can't stress to you enough to try to let them grow and develop in their own way.
I thought I'd keep it to just five pieces of advice! I was given so much and so many little tips here and there which have been great but I tried to think of things that people didn't often say, the above came from friends who didn't have kids or Mum's that had recently had a baby or who were on their second or third and so had that recent experience to share!

Parenting is hard and we will all make mistakes, I don't even want to count how many I've made in the two and a half years I've been a Mummy, but it doesn't matter. As long as you have a happy, healthy child and you are happy, healthy parents...most of the time anyway...then all will be well! Try not to feel overwhelmed by the advice of those around you. Take them with a pinch of salt and pick and choose what you listen to. Everyone is trying to help, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time! If you are starting to feel stressed out then it may be worth dismissing whatever has been said and moving on. I have found this hard in the past and still do. You want to be polite, you want to take on board what all those experienced Mummy's before you can share but you also need to remember that you are now the Mum and you can do this!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Caption this...

Hi All

Just a quick post from me today. I am going to be writing a few Mummy organisation posts but haven't managed to get around to it this week. However, today I would love you to caption the following photograph of me and my little one at soft play yesterday....what was the imaginary situation we were in do you think? Or what is she telling me? Just for fun! Would love to know your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A Day in Photos # 1

Hi All

I thought I would start a little series on my blog which will be 'A Day in Photos.' I used to see this a lot on blogs years ago and thought I would have a go at one myself. I may do a little intro for each on or I might just put a series of pictures that depict that day! Today I have decided to share with you a great day we had last week at a wildlife park. I am not a master of photography at all but I hope that you get an idea of the kind of day we had from the images that follow! Let me know if you enjoy these kinds of posts. Here goes...

Hope you enjoyed looking at those! They show the excitement and tiredness, the sunshine and the rain, and many an animal, some of which were too tired to say hello when we went! Let me know if you like this kind of post or whether you prefer a bit more of a trip outline! I am planning on doing a 'stay at home typical Mummy day' very soon which will be full of my waffle! Just thought I'd try something different!

Thanks for popping by!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

July Favourites - not all Mummy related!

Hi All

I absolutely love 'favourite' videos on YouTube and as I don't think I will ever be brave enough to get behind the camera, I thought I'd do a blog post of my favourites! If any of you ever blog your favourites then let me know below as I'd love to have a read! Ok, so we are nearly in the middle of August but next month I will try and get my August favourites up a bit earlier!

I will try and share a mixture of items, some will be 'Mummy' related and some will just be life in general! So here goes....

1. Traveller's Notebook - Lyradori

For those of you who don't know, I am a crazy planner girl! I love using planners, journals, diaries to help me stay organised....or at least the illusion of this! One thing I invested in a few months ago was a 'Traveller's Notebook'...a Lyradori in my case. I hadn't really done anything with it until this past month but now I can't put it down. For those of you who don't know, a 'Lyradori' is a cloth cover that attaches small booklets using elastic. You can then attach and detach as and when is needed. I'm not sure if that makes any kind of sense but I will pop some pictures below and if you google it or look on pinterest you will find lots of examples! I have four inserts in mine at the moment: a lined notebook, a plain notebook, a monthly planner and a week on two pages planner (these are both undated so that I can use them as and when.) 

I do have an Erin Condren Life Planner that I use for my general life planning, let me know if you'd like a look at that in another post, but my Lyradori is great for popping in my bag and for general scribblings. It has been really handy, I've used the lined pad for lots of lists or notes that I've needed to keep safe, the plain pad has been used as a bit of a journal/thought jotter and the monthly planner I have started to use as a blog planner. I have yet to use the weekly planner just yet. I have decorated the fronts of a couple of the inserts as they were just plain to keep costs down, but I'm not really into decorating my Lyradori, I keep that for my ECLP! 

I have been loving it though, the cloth cover has been great, super flexible and the dark cover means it doesn't pick up any kind of dirt, well not as much as a light cover would have. Lyra and Co on Etsy have such cute designs...I'm thinking of getting a pocket version with a Christmassy cover anything that is festive! I will pop some links below of where I got all of the bits and bobs mentioned and if you have any questions then let me know. Highly recommended though! Shops used: Lyra and Co and Travelers Times.

2. Adult colouring book
I am also a bit of a crafter at heart but with a 2 and a half year old running around it is rare I get chance to really get into my scrapbooking anymore! Instead, I have taken to these adult colouring books that are everywhere. I just got a cheap one from The Range (think it was £1.99) and use colouring pencils to colour the designs in. I really do find it relaxing. I find that I concentrate solely on the page I am doing and it helps my mind switch off from everything, even just for half an hour or so. Give it a go and see if it can help you! A bit of mindfulness :) 

3. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (The first book in the series)

I really am obsessed with the show Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. As an avid reader I had to give the books a go. I bought the first in the series with some vouchers I was given recently and loved it. It is a really easy read and it is a Young Adult book so it is aimed at teenagers and you can tell this if you read it, however, I found it really enjoyable. It is really interesting to see how they have altered the storyline and characters for the TV series too. I think I read it in a weekend and am looking forward to the next one!

4. Netflix

I may as well talk about this obsession as PLL is definitely a part of it! We have just the basic subscription of Netflix and we watch it nearly every night. Not only have I watched (and keep re-watching PLL...told you I'm obsessed!), we have watched loads of great programmes and films. Some of our favourites have been White Collar, Suits, Lie to Me, How to Get Away with Murder and I've also just started to watch Gilmore Girls. We are seriously considering getting rid of Sky. Definitely worth having the free trial and seeing if you would enjoy it and going from there. We had it a few years ago and it was terrible compared to now!

5. Joie Nitro Stroller

I mentioned this in a blog post a few weeks ago but it has definitely been a favourite of mine for a specific reason this month. My little girl loves to walk around everywhere but will often get halfway around a lake or the shopping centre and decide she's tired and wants to be picked up. This lightweight buggy allows me to have her on the reins and take the pushchair with me as I can steer it with just one hand (well, most of the time without bumping into too much!) It is brilliant as she is getting quite big now for me to carry...I'm only little in height it gives her the option of walking or being in the buggy. Can't recommend it enough if you are thinking of moving from the bigger pushchair into a smaller stroller.

6. Jelly shoes from ASDA George £4 (Not mine!)

Bit of a strange favourite but these have been brilliant when trying to deal with the weather we have been having! They have been great to just pop on if it is really hot but we are going somewhere that sandals wouldn't really be suitable. My little girl loves them and often asks to wear them. They were a great price in Asda and should last her for the remaining hot days we may get. They keep her feet cool and go with most things due to the clear colour. Just really handy!

7. Tanya Bakes book

I absolutely love baking but don't buy many baking books for myself. However, I am a fan of Tanya Burr and her YouTube channel and her make-up products in fact, so thought I'd take a look at this when I was in Waterstones recently. I was delighted to find recipes that were a true representation of the baking world, some modern twists on old traditional recipes and some classics in there such as a Victoria Sandwich cake. There were so many things I wanted to have a go at that I bought it there and then and have used it more than any other baking book I've ever had....apart from maybe my old battered Bero book! Definitely worth a look if you like your traditional baking recipes but enjoy trying out new ingredients. The Great British Bake Off is back next week too....always makes me want to bake more!

8. YouTube

I have found myself enjoying watching so many people on YouTube recently. I also watch a real mixture from Mummy vloggers, to Disney vloggers and then more general health and beauty/lifestyle vloggers. I enjoy escaping into their lives every now and then or getting tips and tricks from them, especially those that are Mummys! I also associate watching YouTube videos with a nice relaxing bath as that is my little ritual now. I may do another post with some of my favourite channels at some point, would love to know who you enjoy watching.

9. Nestle Animal Bars

A blast from the past, something I remember having as a treat when I was a child. I have to admit to eating far too many and introducing my little girl to them. She enjoys the puzzles on the wrapper and seeing the different animals more than the chocolate I think...Mummy can help if she doesn't eat it though lol. Naughty but nice!

10. Hugo Boss Orange Perfume 

I had to have a 10th favourite...I can't leave a list on an odd of my 'quirks!' My final favourite this month has got to be the bottle of Hugo Boss Orange perfume that I recently found. This was the perfume I had on my wedding day and so always takes me back to that day. Hubby will often buy me a bottle at Christmas or my birthday and I managed to find an unopened bottle in the past month. Needless to say that it has been well used this month! 

Think that is it for now...I could probably go on all day but hopefully that is a good mixture for you! I think I would find it hard to do monthly 'Mummy' favourites now as my little one is growing up! It feels like that may be more of a quaterly or six-monthly update but let me know if there is any favourites you'd like to know more about. 

Thanks for popping by and reading my post. Would love to know any of your July favourites in the comments below!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A Day of Fun...on a budget!

Hi All

Today I thought I'd share the day of fun my little one and I had last week. Best thing about it was that it didn't cost me more than around £10 for at least 6 different activities, most of which I have leftovers to occupy us another day!

As I am only currently working 'casually' as a Tutor, this summer we couldn't afford to have lots of expensive days out. Luckily, my daughter loves arts and crafts and so I planned a day of this to keep her occupied on a rainy day (or an excruciatingly hot day as I'm rubbish in the heat!) I better just pop a little disclaimer here to say that I haven't been paid to write this article by the companies I mention and that all opinions are my own!

I am a regular shopper in shops like Poundland and Home Bargains, even before I had to tighten the purse strings! So when I visited Poundland and Home Bargains last week I thought I would have a look to see what I could get for my little girl to enjoy. She is only 2 and a half and some of these items are recommended for 3+....but as I was supervising her at all times I found them fine but this would be down to your discretion of course. So here is what we enjoyed!

1. Dough bucket - £1 Poundland

In this little bucket there were 6 cutters and 2 mini pots of dough. What I liked about it was how tidy you could keep it all in the little tub! Chloe had such a lot of fun playing with the cutters and the amount of dough wasn't too messy and so didn't get everywhere! I believe there were three different tubs you could choose from with different themed cutters. Great for £1!

2. Animal masks - £1 Poundland

My little girl absolutely loves animals at the moment and imagining that she is one just got a whole lot better with these masks! She liked colouring them in....although Mummy helped lots with this part!! Playing with them was great fun and there were 12 in a pack of all different animals. Would be great if you were having a party and you wanted a little activity for the kids to do and they could then take them home with them! 6 animals included, 2 of each one and the elastic is ready cut to make it super easy to then into masks! (Excuse the mad Mummy hair!)

3. Decorate your own character - £1 Poundland

My little girl is obsessed with pirates at the minute so when I saw this pack of characters I thought she'd love them. It ended up that she wanted to make a fireman rather than a pirate lol! In this pack you got 8 card outlines for fireman/pirates, 4 of each. Also included are decorations, pom poms, googly eyes, stickers to decorate the pirates more so but again another fun activity. Chloe needed a little help with the outline and colouring-Mummy used the packaging to guide her-but has had so much fun decorating with the eyes and pom poms and then playing with him afterwards! A few more stickers and decorations that would be suitable for the fireman would be good but for £1 you can't go wrong!

4. Decorate your own tiara - £0.59 Home Bargains

The cheapest item of the day and probably the one she loved the most! This was super easy for Chloe to do with just a little help. I stuck on the tape on the jewels but she stuck them all on. The glitter glue was definitely a hit and there was lots left to use on another project. It fastens with some Velcro that is included and it was fantastic! She absolutely loved it, will definitely be going back to their craft section for other little packs.

5. Sticker books - Usborne Dress the Teddy sticker book £4.99

These sticker books are fantastic! What I love about them is that the stickers are nice and big for little hands to play with and it really helps them to get better control of where the clothes should go on the teddy bears. Obviously you can get cheaper sticker books but these are designed for a younger reader and the cute teddy bears are one of my daughter's favourites! Really good quality so I would highly recommend them.

6. Baking! (Around £3 as most things were already in the cupboard!)

The last thing we did was some baking. I love to bake and really enjoy teaching Chloe how to make cakes and what ingredients we need to use, just like my Mum used to do when I was little. Most of the ingredients I already had in the cupboard but I did need to go and buy eggs from our local shop! However, going back to my Poundland bargains, I also bought some Cadburys chocolate spread (£1) and some Jane Asher sprinkles/chocolate white stars (2 for £1!) and she had so much fun! Granted she may have eaten a lot of the toppings before they got onto the cake but for that price I don't mind so much! We love baking so if you would like some more specific baking posts then let me know.

I hope this post has given you a few ideas for crafty bits and bobs to occupy the kids over the holidays! It can be so busy everywhere for the little ones when school is out and so it's a nice alternative to have some fun at home. 

Thanks for reading!