Saturday, 16 February 2019

Review of Lee Valley Park Farms in Waltham Abbey, Essex

[AD- Review] I have been going to Lee Valley Park Farms for years and I was excited to be invited to visit at the start of their 2019 season to celebrate Conservation week. On a cold day we happily spend a couple of hours there, warming up with a run around in the soft play or a bite in the café. On warmer days I struggle to get my girls to leave. As a local attraction I recommend it as a great place to visit for families with children of all ages.

Feeding a black sheep at Lee Valley Park Farms
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Friday, 15 February 2019

Review: The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat Exhibition At Discover Children's Story Centre

[AD- Review] Today we were invited to Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford (East London) to experience their new exhibition: The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the Adventures of Mog the Forgetful Cat. Discover aims to encourage storytelling and imagination through creative play and their new 3d immersive exhibition really helps bring the books by Judith Kerr to life.

Sitting down with the tiger who came to tea at Discover stratford
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Thursday, 7 February 2019

My Home Birth Story - Baby Boy January 2019

You would think by my third child I would know when labour was coming. I had done it twice before so I should have been able to spot the early signs right? Well just like this pregnancy was different, Baby Boy's labour started differently and I wasn’t expecting it to start at only 39 weeks pregnant, a full week earlier than either of my other labours. When I started to feel a pressure at the front of my pelvis on Sunday afternoon I didn’t expect I would have my baby at home that night.

Sisters meeting baby brother being held by mother after a home birth
Siblings meeting for the first time
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Monday, 4 February 2019

The Struggles Of The First Weeks After Birth

Babies are adorable, everyone coos at them and I treasure these moments, but life with a newborn isn’t easy. This is the truth about how I have been feeling.

I gave birth 4 weeks ago and I’ve felt physically rough ever since. The tiredness and actual post birth recovery I expected but I’m fed up with everything else. I was lucky that I had a good birth and I didn't have much damage to heal from however over the last 4 weeks I have struggled with headaches, migraines, a bad cold and a bruised coccyx from falling down the stairs. None of that was an expected part of my postpartum recovery. My body needs rest, nutrition and for my toddler to stop bringing home germs from nursery and spreading them around.

Sitting on the sofa cuddling a sleeping baby in my Tea and Triumph sweatshirt
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Friday, 1 February 2019

My Baby Girl at 3 Years Old: A Snapshot

On Monday my youngest daughter turned 3, but shhh don’t tell her. We celebrated her birthday the day before when we had her birthday party because we thought it would be more fun with everyone around. 

The third birthday is quite a milestone when it comes to presents. Suddenly children are allowed all the 3 year plus toys (although Little is still a terror for putting things in her mouth) which means a good proportion of Little’s presents were things Big Sister would have loved too. In fact many were the same toys that Big Sister already owns and it was lovely that Little now has her own so she doesn’t need to “borrow” her sister’s.

I might be slightly late with this update, but I wanted to make sure I recorded a snapshot of what my youngest daughter is like because, as we all know, our children change far too quickly and it’s so easy to forget what they were like.

Blowing out the candles on the 3rd birthday cake

Personality 


Little is still my smiley child and people frequently comment on how she always seems to be happy. While I can assure them she has her share of tantrums and tears she is still the person in my house most likely to be smiling and to make others smile.

While her positive outlook isn’t inherited from me, Little has a good share of stubbornness and independence too so I know she is definitely my child. There have been numerous days she has refused to get dressed and even a couple of occasions I have taken her on the school run without clothes thanks to her determination. The word "No" is being used more and more and I frequently hear her use phrases copied from her sister when she is being challenging. 

Over the last month or so Little has frequently declared that items are in “my favourite colour”, every time it will be a different colour. I think this shows her personality pretty well, she seems to enjoy lots of things and I have to agree that life is too short to just have one favourite. 

My toddler and her cheeky grin for the camera in epping forest

Social Interactions


Little plays well with her Big Sister when they are both in the mood and generally shares pretty well with her (better than her sister reciprocates anyway). I think copying her Sister has helped to develop her play and imagination skills well because she love role play and to make toys interact with each other. Fortunately, given that it's just been the two of us at home most of the time, she also plays well on her own.

Little loves her Big Sister and clearly misses her when she isn't around, but she has started to be less obvious with her affection. M is often grumpy, wants her own space and she finds the adjustment from being in the calm of her Dad's house to the madness of ours difficult. When Little and I pick M up from school after not seeing her for a while Little used to run up to her sister to give her a hug, but on too many occasions her sister ignored her or pushed her off so now Little approaches with caution.  It makes me sad to see this change.

Little’s adoration of her Baby Brother is clear and unfortunately this time it's me telling her to leave him alone. Her near constant Nursery cold means that I have spent most of the first few weeks asking her not to touch him, or to hold his foot (he can't get them in his mouth yet). It will be interesting to see how the relationship develops and she is currently impatiently waiting for him to be able to play with her.

Language


Little's language has exploded in the past year and I love to have conversations with her. It’s great to see her imagination and to find out about the penguins, monsters and dragons who live in our house and garden. Fortunately they all seem fairly friendly.

I love the words she gets wrong like Gamma and Gampa (Grandma and Grandpa), geen (green) and chop chop (ketchup). So many of her words are correct now I treasure these last few inaccuracies and feel sad when people correct her. 

A toddler going down a softplay slide

Activities 


Little isn’t potty trained yet. We have tried a few times, but she doesn’t really get it. I'm not in any rush, although it would be nice to spend a bit less of my time changing nappies.

She currently goes to nursery for 2 3 hour sessions a week and likes the idea of "playing with my friends" but doesn’t seem to have formed actual friendships yet. She loves the boy next door though and despite being a year older he seems to tolerate her holding his hand and following him around. 

Little loves music and dancing, painting, drawing, reading and play doh as well as getting little characters to interact and role play. Let's not forget watching TV and playing on the iPad (which often ends up with her watching random things on YouTube). I'm not going to complain, the iPad was my only chance to nap in pregnancy.

Food


Little eats well, but we never know what she is going to eat. I could feed her a roast dinner two days in a row and one day she will eat all the potatoes and the next only the vegetables. She hasn’t been so keen on meat since she had a bad cold about 4 months ago, but she is slowly starting to eat more of it again.

Favourite foods include: (dairy free) milk chocolate, ice cream, yum yums, Pepperami and strawberries.

Little stopped breastfeeding around 4 months ago while I was pregnant because she could see how much pain I was in every time she latched on. I thought she might want to start again when she saw me feeding the baby all the time and although she asked for "mummy milk" a couple of times and I let her try, she had forgotten how to latch by then. Since the few days post birth of her brother she hasn't asked for milk again, but she still has an annoying habit of wanting to hold my boobs for comfort.

A happy running 3 year old Little sister
Little Sister on her 3rd Birthday

A pouting toddler on her 3rd birthday
Big Sister on her 3rd Birthday

Appearance 


Little’s hair is still so short and fine and the comparison with her sister at the same age is crazy. They are a similar height, but M was slimmer (I could never, and still struggle, to get trousers to fit her unless they have adjustable waistbands). I can now see that they do look alike in some ways, particularly the lower half of their faces which given they only have my genes in common and I don't think they look like me, is confusing. Ultimately the personality of Little shines through her face and it's the behaviour that seems to shape her appearance most.

Happy 3rd Birthday Baby Girl.







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Thursday, 31 January 2019

Bedtime Stories We Love and Why

[AD-Sponsored Post]. Our house is full of books. While my partner and I mostly read on our Kindles we still have shelves full of books we refuse to get rid of. Then there are all the children’s books all over our house. We have piles of them in the living room, a cupboard and several bookshelves in the girls' room and they seem to end up everywhere, even on the dining table as my eldest insists on reading while eating her breakfast. The magic of the written word and images take us to the world beyond what we could otherwise see and while the girls would spend all day reading (or being read to) one of the most special times to settle down to read is just before bed.

A selection of great children's bedtime story books

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Monday, 21 January 2019

Second Week With Baby Boy

Two weeks.

I guess my overwhelming feeling today is one of tiredness. I haven’t had as many naps as I would like in the last few days and it looks like I won’t get one at all today. Obviously this is the normal feeling of mothers everywhere with a newborn and I know it will get worse, but I love my sleep so it’s challenging.

Baby Boy wants to be held all the time
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Friday, 18 January 2019

The #10YearChallenge and Being Happy in my Skin

The 10 year challenge is all over the internet at the moment. If you haven’t heard of the challenge it is basically encouraging people to put up a photo from 10 years ago next to a current photo. I’ve seen at least one news article which seems to suggest we need to be more positive. It implied people are finding it an upsetting experience seeing how they have aged, but I’m not sure that’s the case. I was interested to see the difference in my photos, but it didn’t make me feel bad about how I look now and I think many people feel the same.

#10YearChallenge photos of me
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Monday, 14 January 2019

The First Week With My Baby Boy

One week ago I had a baby. A week is no time at all, but so much can change in that time. The first week with a new baby is a strange time: a mother is starting to recover from birth, the baby is adapting to being in the outside world, a family is welcoming and adjusting to the change and the world outside your little family pod just keeps on turning as normal. 


Hello World birth announcement of baby boy
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Monday, 7 January 2019

Why I Want A Home Birth

I would never have considered a home birth for my first, I wasn’t even comfortable with the idea of a water birth (too much nudity and the idea of pooing in the water and it having to be fished out put me right off). I wasn’t really sure what to expect by the whole labour and birth thing, but I thought going to hospital was the way to go. I’m not sure I was even really aware there was an option of a midwife led unit. Two births later and I’ve had enough of hospitals. This time I’m hoping to stay at home.

Giving birth in hospital can make you feel out of control
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