Tuesday, 18 April 2017

[baby life]: pre-baby vs post-baby Bank Holiday weekend

Bank Holidays are a little lot different since becoming parents. Where we would previously have taken advantage of the extra day or two off work and gone away, spent an extra day/night out, safe in the knowledge of an extra lie in, we now have no security of a lie in and so the long weekend looked rather different. This post by Hurrah for Gin sums it up, I think...

Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, I would have woken up late on Friday morning. I would have languished in bed with my iPad - perusing social media. The hubby and I might have gone for a long leisurely brunch.

Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, we were woken at 6.30 to the sound of baby babble. The baby boy is a chatterbox! Followed by a breastfeed and then on with the day. Which included sitting in the car with my iPhone - perusing social media. While the baby boy slept. Followed by a walk and a quick coffee and cake before the baby boy got too restless. 

Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, might have involved a boozy lunch, followed by an afternoon in a beer garden, or a walk with the hubby and a stop at a pub on the way home.

Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, and we celebrate getting through the day and bedtime with a G&T at home. Just the one. To be honest, I'm more likely to have another on a "school night" as a day in the office is less hard work these days!

Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, we I would have enjoyed another lie in on Saturday morning. I'll be honest, the hubby isn't the best at lying in but he is good at bringing coffee and breakfast in bed! We might then have taken a day trip to explore a nearby town and have lunch out.

Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, wasn't too different! We didn't enjoy a lie in but I did have coffee brought to me in bed while giving the baby boy a breastfeed. We then took a walk in the park and spotted steam trains! Followed by lunch out.

Some things don't change... Dessert of dreams...!!

The baby boy had lots of fun playing on the vintage tractor at the lunch venue.

Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, even getting dressed looked a lot different! I'd have been donning my glad rags in anticipation of catching up with my girlfriends over cocktails, or date night with the hubby. Maybe a jumpsuit with a pair of heels and statement earrings (oh how I dream of a big pair of statement earrings these days but I dare not wear them as the baby boy wants to grab everything!).

Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, my attire is a little more practical - think wipe clean coated jeans (genius for mummies!!), a pair of trainers for running around after babies and the obligatory mummy-uniform striped top.

Pre-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, Easter Sunday would have been spent eating my body weight in chocolate eggs and then snoozing it off in the afternoon, followed by a trip to the pub or out for dinner.

Post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, Easter Sunday was spent eating a lot of chocolate (maybe not quite as much as previously) and then getting the baby boy to snooze in the afternoon, followed by some playtime and then dinner for the baby boy before bed. Then the hubby and I snoozed on the sofa before an early night!

Pre- or post-baby boy Bank Holiday weekend, the Monday night blues are still very real! We had such a lovely weekend with our little Easter bunny and makes going back to work so much harder. But it's only four days until the weekend again!

*Disclaimer: This post is an entry in a competition for the Next Blogger Network.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

#3things: to look forward to about being back at work

Today I survived my first day back at work after my maternity leave. After spending 8 months at home with my baby boy, I am now officially a working mum. Let the mum guilt begin!

In an effort to remind myself why it's not so bad to be back in the office, I've compiled my top three reasons why being at work isn't so terrible after all:

  1. The commute. Yep, it starts before I'm even at work. I get to listen to the radio and music without any crying or shouting. 
  2. Hot coffee. Whenever I want. This is a revelation. At home with the baby boy, I usually end up making a coffee about three hours after I actually first wanted one and then manage to drink it around 30-45 minutes later, cold. At work, I can make a coffee practically any time I want and drink it hot.
  3. Lunch break. Again, lunch is usually something thrown down me about 3pm, if I remember! Today I ate when I was hungry and even had a walk into town and a mooch around the shops, on my own without a tired and cranky baby.

All that said, I couldn't wait to get home to my baby and give him his dinner and bedtime bath and have a cuddle and play together.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

#3things: you need to host a mummy meet up

Having hosted the very last playdate with my mummy tribe and their babies before I head back to work, I thought I'd share the top tips I've learnt for hosting a successful mummy meet up.
  1. Tea and coffee. It is a fact universally acknowledged that maternity leave everywhere is fuelled by tea/coffee and cake. Why? Because new mums are always knackered and in need of a caffeine pick-me-up and a sugar fix.
  2. Snacks. See above. Mummies need cake. And biscuits. If you're invited to a mummy meet-up - make sure you take cake too. It is always appreciated.
  3. A large play mat. Yep, I've not forgotten the babies here. You'll need a mat that's big enough for all of the babies to be laid down on - so that the mummies can have their hands free for those hot drinks and sweet treats!! We have two large play mats, perfect for this:

The Tiny Love Super Mat (left) is massive ( we got ours from eBay for less than a tenner!) and the Nuby play mat (right) has lots of interesting flaps and bits to keep the babies entertained (I picked it up in Aldi).

Anything I've forgotten?

Monday, 20 February 2017

style: diy dip dye top knot

If you fancy the dip dye/ombré hairstyle, then L'Oréal have the answer.

This is the second time I've dip dyed my hair and the second time that I've used a L'Oréal kit to get the look. If you're a time short, money short mama - or anyone short on time and money - this is the easiest way for you to get the look.

Bleaching your hair can be a bit scary. I was terrified the first time I tried it. Would it actually lighten my hair at all? Would it go green? Would it look terrible?

I'll be honest, on my dark (dyed) hair, it takes at least two, if not three, sessions to get it as light as I like it. It's still a little orange after the first go (see photo above).

How does it work? Here are my top tips that have worked for me:

  • Brush your hair before you start. The kits come with a brush to apply the bleach but it'll just become a tangled mess very quickly if you don't brush it out first.
  • Put an old towel round your shoulders to protect your clothes and skin.
  • Split your hair into two and pull forward over your shoulders. Use clips to pin up sections. I usually do it in three layers.
  • Don't use too much on the bottom layer. It might seem obvious but remember to leave enough of the bleach for all of the layers of your hair.
  • When you've covered all of the hair you want bleached, use the leftover dye in your hands and just press into the ends as you'll want these to take the most bleach.
  • Don't worry if your dip dye isn't as light as you wanted, you can repeat the process again in 4-5 weeks time to lighten further.

I used the L'Oréal Préférence Wild Ombrés kit to get the look. But I'm really intrigued to try the new L'Oréal Colorista range that includes bleach and also a whole range of wash in and temporary colours.

Friday, 3 February 2017

#3things: i've learnt on maternity leave

If you're about to embark on your maternity leave (or, even part way through), these are the three things (plus, one bonus extra) I wish I could go back six months and tell myself.

  1. Don't worry if you don't enjoy every moment. You will be told a lot to "enjoy every moment because it goes so quickly". There will be days when you cherish every moment with your newborn. But there will be many more when you wish the time would go quickly. When in your sleep deprived and poo-stained state, you will wish with every fibre of your aching and exhausted body that time would go really, really quickly. This is normal. It does not make you a bad mother. 
  2. Find your mum tribe. My mum friends have saved me and absolutely made my maternity leave. I have written about my mum friends and why I need them over on Selfish Mother. It took me a while to find my mum tribe but without them I would have found my maternity leave very lonely.
  3. The chores can wait. I'm going to completely contradict myself and say, although you won't enjoy every moment, there will be many moments to cherish. Cherish them and forget the housework. The washing and the cleaning and the ironing can all wait - your growing and developing baby won't wait. Play with your baby, sit and stare at your baby as it sleeps, take walks with your baby and have play dates with your baby. Basically, do everything but the housework. 

Finally, an added bonus bit of advice for your maternity leave - get a good coat and boots. If you're anything like me you'll find that staying home with the baby will see you going mad. Having a baby and being at home all day brings a whole new meaning to stir crazy. I head out for a walk with the baby in the buggy (was the pram to begin with) twice a day, come rain or shine. Therefore a good coat and good boots have been a necessity. I treated myself to this waterproof and warm Joules coat as soon as autumn hit and have been stomping around in my favourite ankle boots for the past few months.

Monday, 30 January 2017

style: the ankle boot edit

With all of the walking I have done since having the baby boy last summer, I've found myself lusting after sensible shoes - after years of filling my shoe rack with beautiful high heels. Now with winter truly here and the cold weather really biting, I've been living in my ankle boots.

These Clarks black ankle boots (above) were my sole pair. If in doubt, I will always choose black in clothes or shoes - they go with everything! These are a great height as they sit just where my skinny jeans finish.

Realising that I was wearing these boots all the time, I decided I needed a second pair. Obviously I wanted something slightly different but still sturdy enough to cope with all of the walking that I plan on doing. I decided that a pair of tan Chelsea style boots would fit the bill perfectly. On maternity leave pay, the Clarks version was not going to be an option. Instead, I found these excellent tan leather Chelsea boots from George at Asda for just £30!

If you are after a pair of ankle boots, I've found pairs to suit any budget:

splurge vs save ankle boots

Shop the post: Splurge tan Chelsea boots vs save tan Chelsea boots
Splurge black ankle boots vs save black ankle boots

Thursday, 19 January 2017

#3things: ways to survive the night feeds

If you're the mother of a newborn baby, you'll be enjoying enduring the night feed. Whether you're breast or bottle feeding your new baby, they'll be sure to be demanding you're doing it at least once (and more likely a few times) during the night. After nearly six months of night feeds and no sign of them stopping anytime soon, I feel like a bit of an expert! So I thought I'd share what I've learned about surviving them:

  1. Make yourself comfortable. Whether you're feeding your baby in bed or in their room, make sure you're comfortable and supported. I used to feed the baby in bed and used extra pillows to create a comfortable back rest. Now I feed in the nursery and use an Ikea chair (an older leather version of this) - so comfortable. In the early days I found a breastfeeding pillow really helped too.
  2. Hydrate. You need to be drinking a lot of water when you're breastfeeding anyway. Remember to have a glass or two of water to hand during the night.
  3. Grab your phone. Or Kindle. Or whatever it is that will keep you awake. Particularly in the very early days of night feeds I'd feel guilty for being on my phone but also terrified of falling asleep. Now I've got over both and I use the time to catch up on social media, emails and prep for the day ahead. I use the time to write lists of everything I need to do the next day. It helps me to stop going over that same list when I go back to sleep. Win, win. I'd love to be able to read on my Kindle during night feeds as I really miss reading a book but I just get so sleepy.
How do you survive the night feeds? What's your top tip?