Hello. Is Anyone There?

Where has my brain gone?

Is it just me or has becoming a mum turned my brain to complete mush.
I used to cruise through the weeks ticking things off my imaginary head list with skill and ease, I didn’t forget things and I was always on time.
Now it’s like my head is full of holes and the information sometimes drops through. Make that always drops through. In fact I’d go as far as to say I’m lucky if I remember to put clothes on in the morning. How far do you think I’d actually get before I realised I was still in my underwear…..the front door, the car, the supermarket?

I thought it would get better now Milo is a little older and sleeping through the nights, but no, I’m still completely useless.

This last week alone I have forgotten the times to two classes, these are classes I’ve been attending for the last 8 months. One I missed completely, I sat outside waiting for everyone to arrive while they were actually inside having already been doing it for twenty minutes. When Matilda’s mummy text me asking me if I was ok I responded smugly, saying I was that I was early and sat outside…..I soon fell from that cloud when she told me it had actually started and was almost finishing. Ugh!
The other class (swimming) I realised 15 minutes before that it started at 10 and not 10.30. It’s an approx 10 minute drive and requires a clothes change for both of us, so I’ve no idea how I managed to make it poolside with 6 minutes to spare. I didn’t break any speed limits but I didn’t slow for speed bumps and I think the car may have even took flight a few times as I took them lethal weapon style.

I start things that I don’t finish, including sentences and conversations. I put things down for them to never be found again and I now can’t even remember what I’m supposed to write here next because I’ve forgotten that too. Notes don’t help because I have also started and not finished them.

I have put milk in the cupboard and I found a yogurt in the microwave the other week, although I’m convinced that was Milo’s daddy messing with me. He thinks it’s really funny, it’s like a big joke. Although he wasn’t laughing when I forget where I had put his car keys a few weeks ago, thankfully it was the weekend and I had time to find them, it was ok but I’m now banned from touching them. I misplace my own car keys at least twice a week, I never did this before Milo.

So I’ve decided that baby brain is real. But is it lack of sleep? Is it too many other things going on in your brain or is it just that all the stuff that’s important now (anything to do with your baby) is blocking out all the non important items. Will I ever recover or am I destined to be scatty and forgetful for the rest of my life. If I have a second child will I descend further into this black hole, will I remember my own name?

For now I will have to continue with my new hobby of making ‘to do lists’ and keeping a diary. I use Milo & Matilda’s chalk board to plan my classes and I’ve started adding a ‘travel time’ in all events in my iPhone and reminders (two) before this. Anything that helps me be where I am supposed to be when I am supposed to be there, helps me do what I am supposed to do and helps me remember to put my pants on in the morning has got to be a good thing.

I’m lucky I remembered to post this.

 

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One of my many ‘reminders’

How our holidays have changed now we have a baby !

So my husband and I have been together for ten years and we love to holiday! We love to chill by the pool, read a book in the sun whilst drinking cocktails. But oh how things have changed this year.

First of all it took me forever to actually book a holiday, spending hour after hour reading through reviews trying to find a resort that was perfect for what we wanted but also suitable for Matilda’s needs. So after a lot of research we booked the Blue Lagoon Princess in Halkidiki, Greece through Thomson.

So the first big change was the packing, oh my gosh do babies come with a lot of things. I’m used to having 20kg of luggage to myself and still going over. This year was very different, I had to decide what the absolute essentials where that I needed for the week, in order to make room for all of Matilda’s things.

I’m not normally fussy about where I sit on the plane and just wait until online check-in opens and hope that my husband and I can sit together. However, this year we paid for ‘seats together’, I write this in inverterted commas as Thomsons class two people sitting on two aisle seats with the aisle between them as ‘sitting together’ – I do not! As it was the first time flying with Matilda we wanted to make sure we were all sat together and not just one person left holding the baby. So we paid our extra for ‘seats together’ and set a reminder in our phones for 90 days before the flight to log on and be the first to choose our seats.

So the bags are packed, seats chosen and the day finally arrives to go on holiday – wohoooo. We normally drive to the airport and park the car at somewhere like jet parks. However, my dad decided that it was a silly idea for us to be parking  in the airport car park and then wait around for the transfer bus to the terminal in the middle of the night with a baby, instead he would transport us from door to door! This was great for us as it gave us an extra half hour in bed, and he even carried all the suitcases down to the car!

We arrived at the airport and the great thing about traveling with a baby is you get to go in the shorter security queue and board the plane first. As Matilda still drinks a lot of milk and needs sterilised water we were able to go through a special queue at security control as babies fluids are an exception to the 100ml fluids in your hand luggage rule. All the families with babies or little children boarded the plane first and handed their prams / strollers over to the airport staff. We however decided that we didn’t really want to be messing around with a pram in the airport and risk it getting damaged on the plane. So we decided to carry Matilda around in the sling whilst in the airport and hire a pram from the hotel through Thomsons – I would highly recommend this and it was a bargain at €10 for the week!

We arrived at our resort around lunchtime and with it being a Thomson’s Family Life resort the  animation team were outside waiting for our coach to arrive. We normally avoid the animation team like the plaque but Matilda’s face lit up when she spotted Thomson the dog! So we decided that this holiday we couldn’t avoid the animation team anymore and we would embrace the cheesiness by getting involved with the activities around the family pool. Matilda absolutely loved it. Everyday she would get so excited when having a splash around in the baby pool and she loved watching the older kids run around. Lucky for me my husband doesn’t mind spending time in the shade so that worked out well for me when I wanted to spend abit of time sun bathing.

Our evenings were very different but in a great way. Long gone are those days of getting dressed up, going out for a nice meal and staying out for wine and cocktails! This year we still all got a bit dressed up and would head out for food. Sometime between 8-9pm Matilda would get very grumpy, as this is way passed her normal bed time. So we would head back to our room and put her to bed. My husband and I would then have a few glasses of wine on our balcony whilst watching Matilda on the baby monitor.

So all in all this holiday was very different – but in a new amazing way. I would not change anything for the world. Matilda has absolutely loved it, she has made some great friends, relished the attention she has been given and most of all given us priceless memories.

Babies and Renovations…..

Expect a number of posts regarding this topic over the coming months. I can guarantee tears, tantrums and complete meltdowns (and that’s just from me)

Why? Because we have decided to renovate with a baby. Hahahaha, silly parents!
Now we’ve done this before, Milo’s daddy gets bored easily so we’ve already bought, renovated and sold a few houses. It has been fun, stressful, exciting, challenging and well worth every minute. However the main thing being these were all were all PRE-BABY!!

So not content with his new important job back in the UK, a relocation from the Middle East and a new baby he decided that we needed a little more, so he bought us a project. A very big project.
The last house we renovated saw the whole roof removed, and I had to bunk in a friends spare room (while pregnant) for weeks on end. So did he decide that this time we would get a house we could keep the roof on, we could live in and renovate around ourselves. Don’t be silly, he decided we needed the most work possible of course.

To say I’m worried is a bit of an understatement. How do you actually renovate with a baby? When the roof comes off this house, will we all have to live in the summerhouse in the garden, we have an old shed as well, maybe one could be our living space and one our small, damp and cold bedroom. Will we have to stay with grandparents, I don’t know how they would cope with us for weeks and weeks on end. So how exactly do you raise a tiny human on a building site. Parents, friends, even the architect, they have all told us we are mad and it’s a ridiculous idea, but then we like a challenge. I have real visions of having to wash Milo each night outside in a flexi tub and mixing his porridge in the cement mixer.

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Oh look, two new bath tubs for Milo!

Planning applications went in a week ago, so based on previous experience that gives me another 5-6 weeks of normality. After that I might be a crazy person. If anyone has any advice (or a spare room) please do get in touch!

I AM THE BRAVEST MUMMY!

Milo is nine months old and when they say children are like sponges it’s so true. At the moment he is sucking everything up, watching every move and listening to every sound and starting to mimic and copy us.

When I say us I actually mean his grandad. Honestly It’s driving us mad, first there was the strange noise he copied that prompted someone is Sainsburys to say to me ‘your baby sounds like an ewok’ which got grandad his first telling off. This week it is the tongue thing…..oh boy is this a special one. A lady in Specsavers the other day asked if Milo was ok….I had no response for her. Grandad has swiftly been told off again and asked to behave. For anyone reading this you might think I’m being unnecessarily harsh on grandad, but you guys haven’t seen this thing Milo does. It is not cute, not cute at all. Is it wrong to just want him to grow up not weird.

So the other day something happened, something that tested me as a mummy, it was horrifying but completely expected, in the back of my mind I knew this day would eventually come.
I had popped into Milos room, he was just waking up from a nap and was chatting away in his cot, greeting me with that huge grin.

Then I saw it.

Sitting there like it owned the room, watching me with its hundreds of eyes (maybe it’s only eight but hundreds sounds more dramatic) I couldn’t take a picture because it was too big, think dinner plate size. It’s many legs twitching away, making it look like it might have been dancing.

So you might have guessed it. I. Hate. Spiders.

They terrify me, but I can’t kill them so it makes life a little difficult. I make Milo’s daddy remove them safely and wave them on their way.
Well he wasn’t in. What would I do, my son is there, and I can’t get to him because a 2ft spider (at least) stands in the way.

When I was pregnant my mum would say to me you need to worry less, you need to stop stressing because babies pick up on these things. Whether it’s true or not it’s stuck in my mind so there really was only one choice.
I would leave Milo, leave the house, lock the door and wait for help. Ok so maybe that wasn’t actually an option, so I had to remove the spider myself.

I want my son to grow up thinking mummy is brave, I want him to not be scared of anything, a bit more like his dad than me. I’m scared of loads of stuff, it seems the older I get the wimpier I get too! Especially with how he is watching and learning at the moment I need to be the bravest so that he can be the bravest.

Glass in hand I teetered back and forth, half expecting the spider to jump on his back legs and dive at my face, what would happen to me, can you actually die from fear?
Fear is so silly, this thing is smaller than me so why am I starting to sweat and starting to feel a bit dizzy in the head.

Then, looking at Milo who was watching me intently I dived forward and trapped incy wincy in the glass (a huge glass for my 2ft dinner plate sized spider) and half the job was done.
Then I got Milo and through the glass showed him the spider, pretending it was super cool and exciting. Hopefully I faked it enough for him to think his mummy is the bravest and that spiders are cool (when they are outside at least 20ft from me.)

I’d like to say I finished the job but that would be a lie. I left the room, shut the door and incy spent his whole day in the glass greenhouse until daddy came home that evening and he could remove it and send him packing. During the day I might have checked occasionally that he was still under the glass, just in case he’d developed extraordinary spidee strength and thrown the glass off and headed for my bedroom.

Being a mum is hard, I’ve had to do things I never thought I would, but right now while I can I’m going to be the bravest mummy, I’ll battle spiders if it means he grows up not scared of them. I’ll pretend I love flying so he grows up wanting to travel and I’ll eat all my vegetables while saying ‘yum’ and ‘oooh that’s tasty’, yes even aubergine if it means he loves healthy food. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes and I’m sure he will sooner or later figure out that I’m a bit of a wimp, but let’s hope I can keep it up just long enough for him to have braveness imprinted on his brain.

Ten Uses for a Bamboo Swaddle Cloth

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We absolutely love bamboo swaddle cloths! I’ve been using them for so many different things ever since Matilda was born, so I thought I’d let you all know how amazing they are and what we use them for.

We do have lots of the regular cotton swaddles and muslins but we don’t bother with these anymore as they just don’t compare to how super soft the bamboo ones are. So on the very first day that Matilda came home from the hospital we started using these cloths to swaddle her in when she was sleeping. However, although swaddling a baby is a great idea and a lot of babies love it (as it makes them feel all snuggled like being back in the womb) Matilda didn’t like being swaddled very much, she alway riggled out of it and put her hands behind her head.

Although we stopped using the cloths as an actual swaddle I still loved using them as a nursing cover. The bamboo cloths are not only super soft and look great, they are also breathable, which make them great when breast feeding as I could cover myself and Matilda very easily whilst keeping Matilda from getting too hot and flustered under a thick cloth.

When out and about I alway throw a swaddle over Matilda when she was in her Maxi Cosi or pram as a blanket. We also use them as a tradition muslins to clean up mess, especially in the early days when Matilda and I were constantly covered in sick.

Now we have just started weaning we are using these as a lovely large bib. Using two ends to tie the cloth around Matilda’s neck, her whole body is then covered so none of her clothes get spoilt.

As we haven’t had much sun yet I’ve not actually managed to try this one out, but I’ve been told that the bamboo swaddles are also great for hanging over the pram / stroller to cover babies from the sun. Don’t completely cover them, just hang loosely providing a little extra shade for the face and remembering to leave lots of space for the air to circulate. Again as the material is breathable it will keep the babies cool but covered. We are off on our holidays next week so I’m sure the cloth will come in handy then for this purpose.

Another great use we have just found is a play mat. As Matilda has just started sitting up unaided we lie the swaddle cloth on the floor as a play mat when out in public, or to help protect other people’s carpets from accidents during playdates with friends.

 I once read that trolleys at the supermarket are dirtier than toilet seats. So now I always throw one of these cloths over the trolley seat before I put Matilda into it. These kids will try and bite and suck anything, so I’d rather it be a cloth than the dirty supermarket trolley.

The above are all reasons I love these cloths, but Matilda’s favourite use for them is as a security blanket. She has never taken to a dummy so when it came the time for her to try and self sooth we didn’t really know what to. Then as we watched her trying to fall a sleep we could see that she was trying to pull at blankets and clothes and rub them on her cheeks to help her fall to sleep. So one day as she was tired and falling to sleep in my arms for an afternoon nap (which of course she would only do in my arms), I handed her one of the bamboo swaddles and she rolled an edge up in her hands and rubbed it on her cheeky until she fell a sleep.

Finally, some of my friends have also said that when the kids are older and the swaddle had become abit worn they make great cleaning cloths. Especially for polishing glass and mirrors.

So there we have it, ten great uses for the breathable bamboo swaddle cloth:

Swaddle

Bib

Blanket

Nursing cover

Play mat

Muslin

Covering the pram

Trolley seats

Security blanket

Cleaning rag

Some of these bamboo swaddles can be expensive (we were lucky enough to be bought the majority of ours as gifts), but as you can see they are amazing and I don’t think I could go a day without these in our life’s again. When Matilda was born her aunt bought a pack of three Aden and Anais bamboo cloths (£38.95) and her gran bought her an Isla and Wilbur cloth (£18.00). Then recently we came across the Zippy brand and I bought a pack of two cloths (£20.00. We loved the Zippy bamboo swaddles just as much as the others so we even decided to stock them on Milo and Matilda.

WHO WANTS TO GO ON A GRUFFALO HUNT?

Last weekend was my first Easter as a mummy. I had been so excited at the thought of Milos daddy being off work for four whole days, he travels a lot and we are renovating a house so time together is often last thing at night while he snoozes and I catch up on crappy tv. I couldn’t wait to do the family thing. To name a few we planned picnic, a trip to the park, a safari trip (not an African one unfortunately) dinner with grandparents and daddy also wanted to build a patio in the garden. But the thing I was looking forward to the most was a Gruffalo Spotters hunting trip.

 

I don’t think I’ve been to Sherwood Forest since I was a child, the home of legendary Robin Hood and some ridiculously big trees, it is now also one of the locations where you can go Gruffalo Spotting. Run by the Forestry Commission I wasn’t sure what to expect, in all fairness this was suggested by friends as their kids (Louis 3 and Haley 2) are slightly older than Milo and massive Gruffalo fans.

We arrived at the forest and parked up, it was busy but there was plenty of parking (approx £6 for the full day) We headed to the main area and purchased our little spotters kit for £3 from the cafe, this was also an excuse for the grown ups to have super yummy hot chocolates with tons of whipped cream and marshmallows. Louis became an immediate detective and scoured the floor with the magnifying glass, looking for ‘clues’ and stickers were handed out and we all had to wear one.

We had all downloaded the app prior to arriving and it didn’t take long to work out how to use it. We followed the ‘clues’ and each one led to an interactive sign that when you held your phone up and pointed it at the sign the scene came to life and a Gruffalo character appeared on the screen, you could then take a photograph with your little ones looking like they were whisked off to another world inside the pages of a story book. You have the chance to find mouse, fox, owl, snake and of course the Gruffalo.

It took us about an hour and a half to complete the trail, the kids had an absolute blast, they hunted the characters like tiny cluedos and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a two and three year old so occupied for so long. The only trouble we had was keeping the kids still long enough for a photo, they were too busy rushing off for the next clue.

Currently there are 26 locations you can hunt the Gruffalo, check out the Forestry Commission website for more information.

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TIPS : DO NOT forget to download the app for free before you go, where we went there was no chance of downloading when there due to lack of signal, and the app really is the main part of the hunt. Also make sure your battery is fully charged, I am well known for always having less than 10% battery, but I made sure I was camera ready because missing out on vital photo opportunities and a chance to see the character come to life would be such a shame. I’d like to have included some of my pictures with actual people in too but I can only describe them as a blur of children running off in all directions – major mummy fail!

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Here is the star of the show….amazing how they appear in the picture like they are really there!

Should you buy the Spotters Activity Kit? They are available for £3 at cafés / visitor centres (cash only) of participating forests. Inside the kit you’ll find:
An evidence collection bag
5 animal activity and facts cards
A Spotter’s Guide
Stickers of The Gruffalo characters
A special magnifying glass, ruler and a pencil.
It’s a little extra fun for the kids, you can do the hunt without but our tiny adventurers just loved it.

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The ‘Evidence Bag Activity Kit’

With parking only costing £6 and the spotters kit £3 it can be a really cheap day out. We took a picnic and made use of one of the hundreds of picnic benches and splashed out a little on those hot chocolates.

Well done Sherwood Forest, you gave us a wonderful day, entertained our children with some good old fashioned outdoor fun, yet brought to the table a little bit of magic. I would absolutely recommend this to absolutely any parent, not just those with little Gruffalo fans

The Ultimate Baby and Toddler Holiday Packing List

So summer is nearly here. That means it’s holiday time. Traveling with a little one can seem very daunting. We were pretty scared the first time we took the babies away as we are used to travelling around and living out of a backpack, so we thought traveling with the babies would mean traveling with everything including the kitchen sink. However, like most things it was never that bad, so we have put together a list of things you will need to pack for them:

On the Way (the journey there – road, air, train):

  • Car Seat
  • Car Window Shade
  • Pram
  • Pram Shade
  • Blanket
  • Baby Sling / Carrier (Milo and Matilda both love hanging out in their slings, they have the BabyBjorn and Connecta)
  • Soft Books
  • A New Toy (pick up a few new things from Poundland or ebay and as they will have never seen them before they will be entertained for at least an hour!)
  • Basic First Aid – Calpol, Teething gel, Plasters etc
  • Sunglasses (if you’re going somewhere warm hopefully the little one will need these as soon as you get off the plane)
  • Sun Hat
  • Sun Cream
  • Changing Bag – wipes, nappies, nappy bags, changing mat
  • Muslins / Swaddle clothes (we love bamboo breathable swaddles as they can be used for wiping up mess, a nursing cover, blanket, sun cover over the pram etc etc)
  • A change of baby / toddler clothes
  • A change of clothes for you incase of any accidents
  • A plastic bag for any type of random emergency uses
  • Ready-made bottles of formula – this sometimes can be ordered from the Boots store through security which can make things at security easier for you
  • Formula powder
  • Bottles / Teats
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Water
  • Lots of Bibs (if your little ones gets soaked from dribble then a great dribble bib should keep them dry for the whole journey)
  • Food Pouches (ALDI’S Mamia food pouches are very reasonable priced to stock up on for the journey)
  • Snacks – fruit etc
  • Feeding equipment – spoons, beakers
  • A good app to keep them entertained on your tablet or phone. Milo and Matilda love the ‘Baby TV‘ app and ‘Infant Zoo’ app
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Milton Wipes (to wipe down high chairs and toys that have been dropped)
  • Passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • Don’t forget if you’re traveling in Europe you will need to add your little one on to your EHIC card.

On Holiday

  • Arm Bands, Pool Floats, Pool Toys
  • Swim Wear (M&S have some very very cute swim wear)
  • Swim Nappies
  • Baby / Toddler Shampoo and Bodywash (Milo and Matilda cannot recommend enough the Burts Bees – as its super soft and smells yummy)
  • A universal travel bath plug, for turning basins into baby baths
  • Hairbrush
  • Nail Scissors / Nail File
  • Toothpaste and Toothbrush
  • Travel Steriliser
  • Breast Pump
  • Pacifiers
  • Lots and lots of wipes
  • Toddler Reins
  • Beach Towels
  • UVA protection pop up tent
  • Plastic bags
  • Cot sheet
  • Sleep bag / Gro bag – don’t forget you will need the correct tog for the climate you will be visiting
  • Night Light
  • Baby Monitor
  • Travel Black Out Blinds
  • Lot of Sun Cream (the ones that are coloured are great to help you make sure the little one is fully covered, also its a good idea to test on your little ones skin before you travel to check for sensitivities)
  • After sun
  • Insect repellent/ after bite for insect bites
  • Extra Bottles and Teats
  • Cool Clothes for the Day
  • Warmer Clothes for the Evening
  • Sleepsuits / Pyjamas
  • Check your accommodation has a cot / cotbed ready for you

Hope you all have a lovely holiday wherever you may be heading off too.