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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

LEGGINGS – Next

SANDALS – M&S

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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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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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(Mega) Mums’ List #7

Hello you!

It’s been a while (about two weeks) since I did any blogging but I’ve been feeling like I should check in before I forget how to use WordPress 😉 and just say Hi!

Over the past fourteen days I have vacillated between “Thank God I’m not doing the blog anymore” and “I really miss the blog”. Today I am missing it and I am full of ideas of where I want to take it, hence the post.

I’ve decided to link up with the Mums’ List linky, hosted by Hannah at Mums’ Days even though this is a round up of the last fortnight, not just the last week. I’m sure she’ll forgive me?

REAL LIFE

On Easter Sunday it was Gwenn’s first birthday. We didn’t have a birthday party, but here are a few photos of the weekend.

Enjoying her brand new birthday trike
Birthday cake!!!
Lambs at Whitehouse Farm
Playing it cool …
It was a very tiring birthday weekend

Recently we have been all about moving house; practically every conversation and activity has involved the big move in some way shape or form. Fingers crossed, we are completing this Friday (until I have the keys in my hand I won’t believe it). We went to see the house again on Monday and it put such a spring in our step. It gave us a glimpse of how our life will be once we live there and despite not wanting to get too excited, I am TOO excited! I am planning to do a proper post about the move, once it happens and maybe some stuff about the renovations, if I have the time and feel like it’ll be of interest to anyone?

This has also been “shit mam” week. Basically, I have been feeling like my mam skillz have been fairly poor. What set it off was comparing Gwenn to other babies her age, and especially when I heard somebody talking about their baby’s speech. Not a single family member or health professional has ever suggested that Gwenn is behind with her language development but I got it into my head that the fact she only dadas and mamas at the moment is my fault and that I’m not talking to her or reading with her enough.

Then, I started to feel really down about how I look and I’m very aware that by this stage, I really shouldn’t be going around looking as bad as I do on a regular basis. But I have been prioritising sleep over everything else, so getting up early to go in the shower, wash my hair, whatever, has been the furthest thing from my mind and I don’t really give myself much time to make myself presentable before me and Gwenn go out for the day.

On top of that, I have been feeling guilty about how often we have been leaving her with my mam while we have been packing up the flat, going to buy new furniture, visiting the new house to take measurements, all the house move-y things. It’s bad enough that I’m at work three days a week, now I’m palming her off on relatives when really I should be with her on my days off.

So, all in all, I have been feeling really down on myself but I couldn’t really work out why all of a sudden I was feeling so vile when the things that have been getting me down aren’t exactly recent developments (trust me, I’ve been looking a clip for the last year 😉 ) Well, prepare yourself for TMI time but I think it’s all down to breastfeeding hormones, or lack thereof. I stopped breastfeeding completely the same week I went back to work (when Gwenn was about 9.5 months) but I was still lactating (this is what I meant by TMI!!) for at least 8 weeks after that. I stopped checking after two months because I knew that the day I did, and nothing came out (again, TMI) I would feel like the worst person in the world. But, after three months, I know I have definitely stopped “producing” and I have been feeling really upset and empty. I have been having really vivid and distressing dreams in which Gwenn is either still feeding, or she tries to but nothing happens and I’m in loads of pain. Now that I know that there’s no way we can ever breastfeed again I am feeling guilty for giving up but also useless because I now have nothing to offer her that she couldn’t get from anybody else. For example, when she was about seven months old, we were in the village and had about 35 minutes to get some lunch before Andrew had an appointment to have his hair cut. We bumped into Andrew’s brother and wife and they offered to take Gwenn while we got something to eat so we went into a pub while they took her for a walk. While Andrew was in the hairdressers, I had a walk around some second hand shops and got a phonecall from my sister-in-law saying that Gwenn was really distressed, that they had tried everything (and they have three children so they have the skills!) but she was going to have to bring her back. When I met them, Gwenn was crying so much she could barely breathe and I could not calm her down. So I sat in the waiting area of the hairdressers, and breastfed her, and within half a minute she had totally calmed down. She barely fed; she mustn’t have been hungry. She just wanted the comfort of booby. I can’t do that anymore. If she is sad, or scared, I can’t offer her anything different to anybody else.

I never knew it would be so hard to give up breastfeeding. The irony of this is not lost on me as in the early days of pain, tears, sleep deprivation, obsessive Googling and self-loathing, I hated every second of it and couldn’t wait until the six month mark so I could stop. I feel as if a part of me has died and I have lost a connection with Gwenn that I can never ever get back. But, this too shall pass and I’m sure that in a few weeks I will be feeling better.

 BLOG

I’ve been spending a bit (not enough, but every little helps) on my Pinterest boards and learning more about how to use it better. I’m hoping when I start blogging again properly I will be able to use Pinterest alongside the blog, rather than as an afterthought.

I think it’ll be another month easily before I can think about blogging properly because we’re going to have some much to do in the house, but working on the social media side of things makes me feel a bit better.

INTERNET INSPIRATION

I thought that Blogging, a full time job? by Aby at You Baby Me Mummy was so interesting for bloggers and non-bloggers alike. I know that I will never ever be able (or willing?) to devote that much time to my blog but Aby’s site is a testament to the hard work she puts in.

And since I have been having a shit couple of weeks, I absolutely loved The day I broke…..and Follow up to ‘The Day I broke’… by Ashlie at Sugar Rushed. I’m sorry, but I was howling at this:

“I will never forget the day Archie came back from a trip out with Daddy on a rare Saturday I had to work wearing, ripped joggers, a Pyjama top and Christmas socks … in May. My husband looked genuinely terrified when eyes bulging I asked “Did you see anyone we know?!””

The rest of the posts are just as hilarious; I promise you, it’ll be the funniest thing you’ve read all week!

So, that was me, and my weeks! Hopefully I’ll be back soon.

xxxx

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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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