The Mums’ List linky, hosted by Hannah at Mums’ Days, is a great opportunity to look back over the week and share personal highs and lows and also connect with and learn from other bloggers.
Now on the subject of connecting with fellow bloggers, this weekend it was Britmums Live, which is a massive blogging conference that I didn’t attend, and from the looks of my Twitter feed, I was the only one not there! I’ve really enjoyed reading about everybody’s experiences and seeing their photos and I will admit, although I couldn’t have afforded to go and wouldn’t go away without Gwenn anyway, I did feel a pang (okay, a shedload) of jealousy.
But even though I wasn’t in London with everyone, I have picked up some things from Tweets and Facebook statuses that have got me thinking about the my little corner of the internet. I’ll not bore everyone to tears talking about the blog’s “direction” AGAIN 😉 but I am taking (mental, at the moment) steps to give my site more of an identity. What I mean by that is, I’m very aware that I don’t give enough of “me”. When reading some of my favourite blogs, I get a very strong feeling about the person who has written it but I think I have held a lot back so far.
To try rectify this, last Sunday I did my first lifestyle post about Father’s Day. I still feel weird about it, in a “Well, who’s going to be interested in just reading about what you did?” way, but hopefully it’ll give readers a little insight into my family life? I also did a fun post about breastfeeding style ideas that wasn’t exactly informative but I was trying to keep it lighthearted.
Thanks to Hannah sharing two of my posts on her Facebook page this week, my stats have been, in the words of WordPress, “booming”. I never seem to convert views into comments though. Without comments it’s impossible to know whether readers are enjoying what you have to say. Has anybody else had this problem?
Elsewhere on the internet, and probably because I have three weeks to get a new body, face, skin and hair before our holiday, I really connected with Damaging Body Image by Aby at You Baby Me Mummy.
Today we went to get Gwenn’s first pair of shoes, even though she seems to have returned to crawling almost exclusively after giving walking a quick go and deciding it wasn’t for her. This is the best photo I could get of the measuring experience!!
Other things we have done this week include:
Finding happiness in a bottle (and those who read my post about being teetotal will understand that this does not come easily to me!) …
Sitting on a flyover and let our hair blow around, 80′s power ballad vid stylee …
Buying some new books, due to me getting sick of reading the same things every night …
So that was my week. Tomorrow I am going to start Eating Clean in preparation for Center Parcs, so I’ll be able to update you next time on how I’ve found it. I give it two days!!!
I’m taking a bit of a break from the blog at the moment but I can’t shake my total fomo and I find myself posting here and there, just to stay in the loop. I saw yesterday that Ickle Pickle has started a new linky called “Baby’s Outfit of the Day”, or #bootd if you will, which sounds mega cute and fun but also, for me, a great way to keep blogging without having to spend hours and hours hunched over the laptop.
When I was pregnant I was convinced I was having a boy, but when Gwenn came along I have to admit I was very excited that I could spend the next year or so dressing a GIRL!!!!!, before she gets to willful and demands to choose her own outfits. Having let myself majorly go, I kind of live vicariously through her outfits and love nothing more than putting looks together (which she ruins within seconds with her stinky hummous hands 🙁 ) and turning over pages in the Mini Boden catalogue planning my next purchases!
I am a great believer in learning from my mistakes. A lot of the ill advised decisions I have made over the years – and having to live with the consequences – have made pretty darn sure that I will never make the same error again in the future. I’m not sure if this is just something inherent in me, or if it’s the way I was raised. (I would go with the latter, taking as an example the time I was a teenager and my dad said to me: “Bethan. If you wanted to you could go out and get a tattoo on your forehead for all I care, just don’t complain to me about it when you regret it five years down the line!!!)
But having lived my life careering from one disaster to another, I’m starting to think that maybe it is even better to learn from someone else’s mistakes, and I like to think that’s where me and my blog come in!
Having got my pregnancy wardrobe totally wrong, and then my breastfeeding outfits, I have kind of become a bit of an expert; the Trinny and Susannah of the maternity and nursing world, if you will. If I can take any positives from it, it would be that “next time” I would totally know what not to do and also that in having got it so wrong, I can share some tips with you lovely lot.
I must admit, I didn’t really prepare my wardrobe much beforehand. I thought it would be silly to get a lot because you just don’t know what’s going to work and what will be a waste of money so all I got was a maxi skirt from Primark and a cream tunic top from H&M. When I was in Newcastle for my pre-baby hair appointment (which turned out to be a week before she was born, as she was early) I went into Bravissimo to get fitted for nursing bras but they didn’t have any appointments for ages and I was too hot and pregnant to hang around. So, I figured I would just wait to see how big my boobs got and I had some maternity sleep bra things which I thought would do in the meantime.
I don’t think a lack of preparedness was my main downfall though. To cut a very long and sad story short, the number one thing I got wrong during the early stages of breastfeeding was I made the mistake of caring what I looked like; life would’ve been A LOT easier if I hadn’t. I have mentioned before that it took a long time for breastfeeding and me (and Gwenn) to get along and because I was so absolutely devastated and felt as if my dream was slipping away from me, I felt like I needed to take control over at least one part of my life, and that part was my appearance. Even when Gwenn was days old, I was making sure I had a proper bra with matching knickers on, clean styled hair, actual clothes (as opposed to PJs), the whole shebang, just in case anybody who came over judged me for not having done so.
Because I didn’t have a lot of stuff that made it easy to breastfeed in and because I was obsessed with looking presentable, the outfits I wore usually resulted in me having to take off all my clothes when Gwenn was hungry, so I just didn’t go out of the house. It made for a very miserable summer and it is something I regret.
What follows is basically a list of what I would buy if I did it all over again. It is very personal to me, my shape and style, but hopefully you can take some ideas from it?
After having done a lot of research, I can confirm that no nursing bras fit me. There are not many brands who go up to my size and even those that do are still no good because they are wireless. I bought two in the nine and a half months that I was feeding Gwenn: one in the closest size I could get to my actual measurements (trust me, next best thing is no good when you need a 36 JJ) and one which was supposed to be the right size but gave me no more support than a sleep bra. Consequently, I never wore them outside the house and if I wanted to feed her in public I would wear my normal bras and end up taking all of my clothes and said bra off. Not exactly discreet!
When Gwenn was almost six months, we went to the Lakes with my mam and step-dad and I had to think of something, because we were going to be out all day for 6 days in a row and getting naked was not going to be an option. This is when I had the plunge bra idea. These bras are so low cut that you can easily manhandle your boob out and squish the moulded cups down and out of the way. Admittedly, this is probably not advised in the manufacturer’s care instructions but you gotta do what you gotta do!
When I was road testing the idea, I went for the Wild at Heart bra from Bravissimo, which is based on a shape that comes in various prints. They also sell lots of plain moulded and plunge styles, if you wanted something more neutral.
I would one hundred million percent go down this route again. If I were in the house, I would wear a sleep bra; if I were outside, it would be a padded plunge. This is not for everyone, I do understand that, but I could cry when I think how different things might have been if I’d had the idea sooner.
(Another note on underwear: I always felt loads better if I had on kind-of-matching underwear. I bought a few pairs of dark blue knickers to go with my Wild at Heart bra for example, so I knew I looked pulled together underneath my clothes even if I look horrific on the outside!)
My wardrobe is predominantly dresses, but they can be a bit of an issue if breastfeeding. The first option is to go for something that buttons through.
This shirt dress is pretty amazing, and I’ve seen similar shapes on ASOS recently.
I bought this shirt dress about a year before Gwenn was born, and got loads of wear out of it.
Alternatively, you could wear something quite low cut and I found that a lot of maternity dresses tend to be already geared up to nursing in this way, so you only have to buy once, if you get what I mean. And obviously there are “proper” breastfeeding dresses but they were too expensive for me to consider. These Bibee dresses are lovely though.
A top half and a bottom half are probably what most nursing mums go for. I never wear jeans or leggings, so for me it was always a skirt with something tucked in. Still a massive faff on but I personally found it easier to pull something up rather than button something down. “Next time” though I think I’d look for tops that didn’t have to be tucked in at all; crop teeshirts are everywhere, and not expensive at all and I already have loads of midi skirts so maybe these looks would work for me (minus the heels 😉 )?
Make what you already have work: You’ll probably already have loads of stuff that will work for you and you don’t have to buy things that are specifically marketed as nursing clothes. Obviously it’s nice to treat yourself to newness but having a baby is expensive enough without buying a completely new wardrobe.
Explore charity shops: I love charity shops. I once got a Masai Company dress for £5 that was £85 in a department store the previous year. I have loads of vintage St Michael (I mean, does it get better than St. Michael?!?!) and I have been very lucky to find premium brands like Jaeger and Betty Barclay for pennies. Obviously it helps if, like me, you are happy to dress as an old lady 😉
Focus on other areas: If you feel like your clothing choices are being governed by boob accessibility and that you are wearing the same things over and over, why not focus on other areas? Maybe invest in a really nice blazer or a cashmere cardigan. Or buy some new shoes and a bag, neither of which are affected by fluctuating breast size (as far as I am aware).
Take care of yourself: I loved having my regular eyebrow and eyelash tint when Gwenn was little because a: I look much better for it but b: it’s nice to spend a bit of time being pampered, even if just for 15 minutes peace. If I had more money then I would have been going for facials and massages and all sorts.
Google like mad: These are some of my favourite breastfeeding fashion websites and blogs –
Don’t care too much: For me, and the majority of other women I know, it is important to look nice. Rightly or wrongly, a huge part of my self-esteem comes from how I look. But in the early days of no sleep and rest, constant feeding, sterilising, welcoming visitors etc etc, it really doesn’t matter if you have washed your hair or your jeans are clean. The biggest mistake I made was expecting too much of myself as a new mum and putting too much pressure on myself to look a certain way. Yes, I have just shared with you some tips on looking good while nursing, but ultimately your wellbeing and your baby’s health are what is priority.
So there you have it. Hardly an exhaustive list but just a few thoughts that popped into my head about breastfeeding fashion.
To find out more about all areas of nursing, click on the badge below and read more entries to The Breastfeeding Diaries on Zena’s Suitcase.
So, this time last week, a lot of my fellow bloggers were at a conference called BritMums 2014. If you are a blogger, then you’ll know all about it. If you are not, then it was kind of like a parent bloggers convention with loads of workshops, keynote speeches, meet & greets with brands, an awards ceremony and loads of other wonderful, inspirational stuff.
Since then, my Twitter feed and Bloglovin round up has been FULL of BritMums 2014 talk, and it is amazing what a massive impact those two days have had across mum bloggers across the UK. Serious changes are afoot!
Even though I wasn’t there, the energy from the conference has been infectious and I have tried to read every post about it this week. I have a Reading List full still to get through. Despite the fact that I was hundreds of miles away from the action, I have been thinking all this week about my blog’s future and I already feel as if I am drowning in the sheer volume of amazing tips that I have learned by reading other sites.
In order to really get my head around things, I am going to have to take a step back. I need a week or so to consider the design of the blog and to find out what I can do to improve it, staying within the boundaries set by my financial means and technical abilities!
I also need to consider the direction the blog is taking. I’ve talked about this in a previous blog whinge but when I started Betty and the Bumps, pregnancy and breastfeeding seemed very much “the thing” because Gwenn was less than 6 months old. That all seems pretty irrelevant now, to be honest. It has taken me a while to know what I want the blog to be about and what I enjoy writing about most. As with a lot of things in life, and get this for an eloquent statement, you have to do it to know it. I think this site is going to end up being really different to the vision I had in the beginning. I’m not saying that what has gone before needs to be burned. I am not saying my earliest stuff was my best work (and the earliest posts smack very much of a person finding her feet) but writing them and publishing them helped me learn a lot about the blogging process.
So, going forward, there is a LOT of behind the scenes stuff to be done. First I need to collate all of the things I have learned from various posts and work out how to apply them. Once I begin to delve into the complicated world of SEO, will I ever return? For me, the IT side of things is going to be my biggest struggle, but will pay off massively if I get to grips with it. A blogging bud and wonderful all round human has already set the wheels in motion for a local blogging clinic, where I know I’ll be able to get support with this type of thing.
One thing I do find easier is just writing, and I think the content focus will be on appearance and looking good. Ok, vain. But it’s important. To me. And lots of other people. So I will be talking a lot about how fat I am and my hair plan (and if you don’t have a hair plan, why don’t you have a hair plan?)
I am still really interested in pregnancy and breastfeeding so I’m sure there will be a few related posts. I said to a fellow blogger once that breastfeeding was actually a more significant part of my life than being pregnant so yes, I will continue bang on about it. But, If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times but Gwenn was partly breastfed partly formula fed from day 2 of her life so this is not going to be a space only exclusive breastfeeders will feel comfortable. My stance is that, when it comes to babies, I am pro-feeding. By the time they start school, nobody gives a shit anyway.
I want to give more of myself. For too long I have worried what other people will think of me trying to get into this blogging lark and that has affected what I have written about and shared. I’ve already done one lifestyle post about Father’s Day, and a few posts about our house renovation, but I think I’d like to do more.
Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is SO much that I want and need to do. My head is swirling with so many ideas, and I know that time isn’t really going to allow for all the changes that I need to make to happen quickly. But that shouldn’t stop me from trying?
For reasons best known to myself, I always agonise over the blog’s direction. I know it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have a strong identity yet and it’s only a hobby blah blah blah, but I feel as if any decent product has to have a USP. At the minute there’s nothing that makes my little blog stand out against all the other AMAZING ones out there.
Despite feeling this way, I do still like to try out new things. Today I have written my first “lifestyle” post (which might be the wrong terminology but hey-ho). I always think of lifestyle posts as a “this is what we did today” type thing and I’ve never done anything like that before because I was worried that people wouldn’t be interested in reading.
Unlike a lot of my posts there is no point to this, other than to share; no message I want to convey or discussion I’d like to begin.
It is what it is, and I hope you enjoy!
Sunday, June 15th
Andrew’s first Father’s Day happened when Gwenn was 8 weeks old. Both presents I had thought about getting him fell through and all he got was a card. It was obviously such a fantastic day that neither of us can even remember what we did, although I’m fairly sure we ended up at my mam’s at some point because she gave him a book called “Daddy is my hero” (so at least he didn’t end the day completly empty handed!).
Determined to make this year count, I decided, while at work on Saturday, that we should go to York. It involved an early start, (made all the more painful for Andrew by the fact he stayed up until 1am watching England v Italy) and we knew there was a chance that Gwenn would find being out that long difficult (more on which later) but it was worth it to visit the city we got married in for the first time since April 2012.
The first task of the day was for Gwenn to give Andrew his presents. She enjoyed “helping” him to open his card and gift, which was a poster I made of photos of the two of them from the day she was born up until her first birthday.
We tried to time our departure around the time of Gwenn’s morning nap but she found it quite hard to sleep in the car and only managed about 30 minutes. She woke up about 10 minutes before we parked up though, which was good timing.
The first thing we did was walk through Museum Gardens en route to the city centre. I tried to get a nice Daddy and Daughter photo but Gwenn was more interested in staring into the middle distance.
The original plan had been to have a light lunch and a “big tea”, preferably in Pitcher & Piano where we had our wedding reception. Andrew’s parents had recommended a cafe, which was unfortunately closed, so we found somewhere else near the river (the name of which I forget) and had some lovely butternut squash soup. Gwenn messed about with an egg mayo sandwich and pretty much everything else we offered her.
Now, I had checked the weather forecast hourly (I’m a planner!) from deciding to go to York up until we left the house the following morning, and we had been promised 19 degrees despite the light cloud. When we got there it was obviously markedly colder and from nowhere, a chance of showers had appeared on the BBC Weather app. Having forgotten Gwenn’s coat (left hanging on the handle of the living room door – my bad) we had to pop to M&S – where we got her a last minute hoodie – before we could carry on with the rest of the day.
We then dropped down to the riverside for more photo opportunites!
It started to rain at this point, just as we were planning to walk along the river to Millennium Bridge but it wasn’t heavy and there was tree cover for most of the way. After crossing the bridge and walking back into the centre via the other side of the river, Gwenn fell asleep so we took the opportunity to sit down for half an hour and share a scone (I know, rock and roll).
After this point, things started to get difficult. Gwenn had, understandably, had enough of being in the pushchair. She wanted to be down on the ground, but can only walk if holding someone’s hand and even then she’s fairly unstable. She prefers to crawl but, as laid back as I am, I wasn’t going to allow her to crawl along the pavement so Andrew did his best to keep her happy for half an hour or so.
We went back to Museum Gardens, hoping that having a crawl around would make her happy, but by this point she had just had enough. She was veering from incredibly clingy to trying to get off the grass, onto the pavement and out onto the street.
It was obvious that going to Pitcher & Piano was never going to happen so we went back into town and tried to put a packed lunch together for Gwenn to eat on the way home. On the plus side, I got a bottle of Coke Zero with my name on, which I never believed was possible!
Gwenn napped again on the way home, which had the knock-on effect that, despite the fact she was tired, she found it really hard to get to sleep at proper bedtime and at 10pm she was still up. We admitted defeat and let her watch some football and play while we inhaled a takeaway.
And so that was that: Father’s Day. It was lovely to go somewhere we hadn’t been for a while and to share a place so special to us as a couple, as a family. Just looking back through the photos, even though it was literally only yesterday, makes me feel so blessed. The photos of Gwenn and Andrew walking hand in hand; my heart could burst.
I am linking this post up with The Ordinary Moments, a fabulous idea by the fabulous Mummy Daddy Me
I may have mentioned this before 😉 but, having put on a hefty 2 and a half stone while pregnant with Gwenn, I have only lost 1 stone in a year. I put this down very much to the fact I have made no effort. It’s not like I’m killing myself to shed the pounds but not getting anywhere, so at least I can take some comfort in that!
I am very aware of my danger zones. Boredom, monotony (sorry Gwenn, but it’s true), lack of sleep, the usual. Up until very recently G was getting up between 4-5 am every morning but I was still going to bed “normal” time. Well I’m sorry, but being up that long every day entitles one to an extra meal at the very least, surely?!?!
I also eat a lot of Gwenn’s leftovers as she is very contrary when it comes to what food she will eat from one day to the next.
And I love chocolate. LOVE it. Chocolate is my wine, for I am (hate this word) teetotal.
For me, the word teetotal conjures up images of past problems with alcohol and a fear of going back “there”. I don’t drink alcohol out of choice because it does not interest me in the slightest. I used to, when I was younger, because it is funny to be drunk when you’re 17 and I also was (still am really) frighteningly shy and awkward and to have any hope of enjoying any social situation I had to drink.
But I have never drank alcohol at home, like in the evening while watching TV or with dinner. Plus, I don’t like the taste of most alcoholic drinks, other than cider which is SO good and I probably feel about cider the way I felt about cocktail sausages when I was younger and didn’t eat meat!
Now I can only guess here, because there was no line drawn in the sand, but in roughly four years since deciding I wasn’t going to drink anymore, I have had one glass of champagne the morning after my wedding: half a glass of champagne the following day; and half a glass of Buck’s Fizz at a friends’ wedding (when I was 14 weeks pregnant – talk about picking my moments!).
Being pregnant for 39 weeks and 2 days then breastfeeding for 40 weeks was zero hardship for me in terms of missing the odd tipple here and there. Two days after I found out I was in the family way I went to my lovely friend’s big day and the fact I wasn’t drinking raised no eyebrows whatsoever because I never do.
I know that people find it odd that I don’t have any interest in alcohol. I was equally taken back at how many people I know struggled with the whole Dry January thing because, as a non-drinker, I hadn’t really appreciated the part that alcohol plays in the (almost) day-to-day life of most of my friends and family. But I have no problem with people who drink alcohol. I don’t have any issue with people drinking around me. Although I admit I cannot stand being around drunk people, but I think anybody who has been the one sober person in a room in which everyone else is well away will totally understand where I’m coming from.
Maybe the fact that I have consumed alcohol even on an incredibly limited scale means that I can’t call myself teetotal but saying I’m teetotal is much easier than saying “Well, I don’t drink alcohol but it’s not like I can’t drink it and I suppose I have had some alcohol …” and so forth. Andrew has only slightly more interest in it than me and he probably has the equivalent of two bottles of lager a month, if that, so we are perfectly suited in this respect.
But anyway, the point of this whole thing is that the fact I don’t drink alcohol means I will never be one of those people who say “Well I just cut out the red with dinner and the weight just felloff”. Cutting out alcohol seems like such an easy way of getting a quick fix. In all the “Get your Summer body HERE” articles in magazines it’s always something along the lines of “Ditch that cheeky after work cocktail”. Well, that and “Get off the bus one stop earlier”! But this avenue is not open to me (the alcohol bit, not the bus) and there’s no one area of my food intake that I can easily jettison. I suppose I could say to myself “Stop eating so much shit” – that would probably do the trick – but if I don’t eat chocolate, white bread, biscuits, grated cheese out of the packet, handfuls of blueberry wheats every five minutes etc etc, then what pleasure will I have in life?
Would I have to turn to gin just to get through the day?!?!
My Word of the Week is not the word I originally chose. I have a draft written about another word but today I just felt the post was quite negative.
So, the new word I have chosen is “Out”.
When I was pregnant my sister-in-law, who has three children under 14, said that one thing she thought was really important when you have a baby is just to go out. Doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, doesn’t matter if your hair is dirty, doesn’t matter if your house looks like a bomb’s gone off, just get out there, in the fresh air and be “out”.
I was terrible at going out when Gwenn was a baby. For the first six months she would only feed with nipple shields. It made feeding in public quite difficult and anybody who has had to use shields will understand why! So I just never went out. It makes me genuinely sad to think of that time.
Just before she was 26 weeks, Gwenn decided shields were for losers and things started to get better. But I must admit I’m still not particularly spontaneous (although to be fair, I never have been in 31 years so it’s unlikely to change anytime soon) and I don’t feel that we spend enough time just getting out there and going places. I spend far too much time structuring our day around my “things to do” list.
Today we had to go to my mam’s for a bath (long story) and as I was getting us ready to leave my step-dad asked “So, where are you off to?” I genuinely had no idea. “We’re just going to walk and see where we end up”, was my reply.
I kind of wandered for about 30 minutes until I reached a bridle path that leads to a pit heap and then onto a country park which has a really lovely cafe and visitor centre.
We (or rather I) had a really decent (largely uphill 🙁 ) walk through the park and I tried to explain as much of what we could see to Gwenn.
When we got to the centre the cafe was heaving but there were loads of tables outside, which was what I would have chosen anyway because it was a sitting outside type of day. I got us a sandwich each and we shared a slice of banana cake (although I feel the sandwich/cake ratio was skewed in Gwenn’s favour).
On the way back home I took this photo in which you can see all the way to Sunderland.
We walked past a supermarket and bought some “essentials” 😉 and Gwenn slept on the way back and I didn’t stress about it (usually I like to be home for her afternoon nap so I can catch up on housework).
All in all it was a great day. I think amongst the efforts to look nice and maintain a tidy house, my ability to just go out and enjoy myself has been lost somewhere.
We are just at the beginning of Summer and Gwenn has started to take her first few steps. If ever there was a time to be “out”, this is it.
Two things dawned on me when choosing the photo for this week’s BOOTD. First is that Gwenn is sitting in the exact same swing as she was in last week’s photo. Second is she is – inadvertently – wearing head to toe Marks & Spencer!
It wasn’t intentional. In fact, I usually avoid dressing her in one brand and whenever she’s received a “set” in the past, I have tended to spilt it up.
But, on this sunny Wednesday, it turned out that everything that was clean (we’ve just moved house and are washing machine-less) and matched just so happened to be from good old M&S.
The jumper dress was a present from my Mam before Christmas, and I bought the leggings, shoes and hat the other week.
Oh, and come to think of it, her bodysuit was from John Lewis!
Hat – M&S
Jumper dress – (also) M&S
Leggings – (yep, you guessed it) M&S
Socks & trainers – (this is getting silly now!) M&S
So, we moved house on yesterday. Or rather we moved from a flat to a house.
I’m so excited to have stairs!!!
We only owned the flat for 18 months. We bought it when I was 5 or 6 weeks pregnant. I had my reservations about it but if we had pulled out at that stage we’d have been technically homeless, having sold Andrew’s flat months beforehand. It needed a serious amount of work to be done in every single room (which meant it was cheap as chips to buy) and Andrew, bless him, did not have a minute of free time for months.
It was a lovely flat on a lovely street in one of the most fancy postcodes in the county. The rooms were big, loads of period features and because it was an absolute steal we really spared no expense in renovating it. But ultimately it was never going to be family home. There weren’t enough rooms; the layout just didn’t work at all (most narrow kitchen in the UK; no room for a table and chairs; the nursery was adjacent to the living room) and I think we had outgrown it by the time Gwenn was a month old.
It also became apparent fairly quickly that, when I returned to work, childcare was going to be it bit of a problem because I don’t drive and didn’t live within walking distance of my parents. To make everybody’s life easier, it made sense for us all to live close to each other.
In January we made the decision to be back to where I grew up, where we could afford to buy a house and could easily access childcare. It would also mean that, having put down roots, we could start thinking about nursery and school for Gwenn (I honestly had not realised how soon these things need to be organised!). We looked at three bed houses but we only saw one that worked and we could afford, but somebody got in there first. We bought a two bed on the basis that the rooms are massive and future baby and Gwenn could easily be roomies. It takes four minutes to walk to my Dad’s and five minutes to walk to my Mam’s and I think Gwenn is so lucky to live within walking distance of two sets of grandparents. There’s also a really good primary school around the corner, a shopping centre a stones throw from our front door and it’s ten minutes on the Metro to Newcastle city centre.
Okay, so we don’t have a front garden, and every so often a double decker bus drives past our window (although at least the bustop isn’t directly outside; my step-gran has to put up with that and it would drive me crazy!). And we’re no longer a short stroll from the sea and the whole cafe culture thing but you have to cut your cloth accordingly, don’t you? We made a lot of money selling the flat meaning the mortgage we have now will be paid off by the time I’m 51 and I will never have to work full-time if I choose not to. We might not be rolling in it, but it means I can spend as much time with Gwenn as possible.
So far, after a day 😉 , I feel like we have definitely made the right decision to move.