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Category: Family

Mums’ List #9

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!!!


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Baby’s Outfit of the Day #1

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!

So, here is my first BOOTD!

COAT – Next

CARDIGAN – Nutmeg at Morrisons

TUNIC – John Lewis



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Father’s Day

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

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Confessions of a teetotal mama

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?!?!

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Word of the Week – Out

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.

I’m linking this post with “Word of the Week” at The Reading Residence.

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Baby’s Outfit of the Day #2

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

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Love is …

I was tagged today by My Petit Canard in her Valentine’s Day related post, Love is... It was very unexpected – and very sweet – as I’ve never been asked to take part in anything like this before (feeling the love already!!!)

The idea is that us blogging mums write a list of what love means to us and how our perception of what love actually is has changed since having a baby (or babies).

These are mine; let’s see how many more we can get!

Love is:

… going to bed with wet hair, and leaving the house the following day without so much as even looking at it, so that getting ready time doesn’t interfere with baby time (and seriously, if you saw the consequences of me leaving my hair to do it’s own thing you would know that it’s love!).

… going practically make-up free for 10 months so that no cosmetics touch baby’s face when she touches mine.

… only going out with friends once since Gwenn was born, so that she knows mama is always there for her.

… suffering the hell on earth that is soft play on a rainy Sunday despite being the most noise-sensitive human being EVER!

So, there they are. My new expressions of love. A love that has taken me by surprise and that I can’t believe I was ever without.

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