Monday, 17 October 2016

review: cath kidston x specsavers collection

I've been wearing glasses for about five years now - for driving, watching TV and anything else at a distance. I love having a few pairs of glasses to go with different outfits. So when Specsavers got in touch to ask me to check out the new Cath Kidston collection, I jumped at the chance.

Specsavers have had some great collaborations in recent years, including Cheap Monday. This new collaboration with Cath Kidston is everything you'd expect from the brand: there are florals and spots and lovely bright colours. I've picked a few of my favourite styles below:

cath kinston x specsavers

I chose the navy frames with floral arms. I really like the fact that they have a bit of the traditional Cath Kidston floral pattern without being too overtly girly. I already have a pair of black frames and thought that the navy frames would be less of a heavy look. The frames are also really lovely and light to wear - they have become my everyday glasses.

Top tip: If you've got a smaller face, the teen collection is gorgeous too (the middle two pairs, above left) - and are a bit cheaper too.

Monday, 10 October 2016

five truths about having a new born

My baby boy is three and a half months old. Apparently this means that he is no longer a newborn. This makes me sad. But also makes me want to do a mini fist pump - I survived the fourth trimester!!

The passing of time got me thinking about a few things that I know to be true about having a newborn:

five truths about having a new born

  1. A new born (and an older baby) knows when you're about to eat and are suddenly hungry too.
  2. The doorbell will always ring just as you get the baby to sleep.
  3. They will be happy and content until you step into the shower or sit on the toilet and then suddenly they become a crying and screaming mess.
  4. Yellow poo gets everywhere. Up the back. Up the front. All over you. Just as you're sitting with your bubba, both of you chilling out, you suddenly feel a rumbling and look down and see yellow poo all over them and you!
  5. And on that note, you'll become obsessed with poo. You'll talk about poo to anyone who listens - the colour, the consistency, the regularity. You'll share photos of your baby's poo with your partner. You'll worry about how often your baby has a poo, what it looks like - everything. In essence, your life will become all about your baby's poo!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

more reasons why maternity leave is NOT a vacation

When I read this post about Why my maternity leave isn't a freaking vacation, it completely struck a chord. As the writer says:
If you have just grown an entire human being inside of your body and then it rudely exits and begins to cry for three months, you should not be further insulted by someone calling that three months of trying to keep that crying newborn alive, again, with your body, a freaking vacation.
I thought I'd add a few more reasons why maternity leave is NOT a vacation:

1. Money

Vacation = I would save up and have more money than usual so I can spend my days eating and drinking whatever and wherever I please

NOT a vacation = No money and living on beans on toast. Plus, on vacation I'm still being paid (on annual leave), on maternity leave I'm working 24/7 for next to no pay.

2. Shopping

Vacation = For me, a holiday often involves some retail therapy and buying new clothes. Checking out local market for local wares.

NOT a vacation = Spending what little money I have on nappies and baby wipes.

3. Accessories

Vacation = Wearing all the big hoops and dangly earrings I've saved for warm sunny days.

NOT a vacation = Having any hoop or dangly earrings ripped from my ears by tiny hands.

4. Iced drinks

Vacation = Lots of cooling iced drinks to combat the heat. Probably also accompanied by a mini umbrella!

NOT a vacation = A succession of cold teas and coffees that were made but never drunk due to a nappy needing a change or someone else wanting a feed!

5. Beauty routine

Vacation = Less make up due to holiday heat and tan. Less hair styling due to constant tips in the pool to cool off and then leaving it to tousle in a sexy manner.

NOT a vacation = Dark circles under my eyes and no make up due to the baby's constant need to be held and my lack of one handed make up application skills! As well as five day old hair that is now more dry shampoo than hair!

Don't misunderstand me, I am absolutely loving my maternity leave but, as the author of the original post says, it is definitely not a vacation.

Monday, 3 October 2016

why i was wrong when i said i didn't need mum friends

When I was pregnant I insisted that I didn't need any more friends.

My husband suggested we sign up for NCT classes to meet other expectant mums and dads. I wasn't keen. I already had enough friends and many of them were mums anyway. I didn't need any more friends.

My husband was persuaded not to sign up for NCT by the prices! I'd won. We weren't going to make any new friends. And I didn't need any more friends.

Or so I thought.

Then my baby arrived and I suddenly realised that I really really did need mum friends.

When you're a new mum, everything is scary and confusing. Having friends who are going through the same thing is such a relief. Having friends with whom you can share stories of explosive nappies and advice over cures for first colds helps make it all a little less daunting.

When you're a new mum to a tiny new human who needs feeding at all hours of the night, it feels like you're the only person in the world awake while everyone else is sleeping. Having friends who you can message at 3am and actually get a reply from, is comforting.

When you're a new mum, on maternity leave and at home all day on your own with a new baby, it is lonely. Having friends who you can call on for a coffee and a moan makes it all the more manageable.

Making new friends is scary at any age but when you're already in the throes of new motherhood, it can feel even more daunting.

Fast forward three months and I have a lovely circle of new (and old) mum friends.

You can read the rest of my post and how my mum friends have helped me during the past three months over at Selfish Mother.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

shopping: alternative changing bags

Earlier this week, I posted about what I carry in my changing bag. I wrote that I wasn't keen on carrying a traditional changing bag, so I bought the Munchkin nappy change kit and used a bag I already had.

alternative changing bags

Clockwise from top left:

Monday, 19 September 2016

what's in my changing bag?

Call me nosy but I've always loved a "what's in my bag" post - and now that I'm a mum, I enjoy the parent-friendly version, "what's in my changing bag". So I thought I would share the contents of my changing bag. I wasn't sure that I really wanted a traditional looking changing bag, so I'm currently using an H&M handbag I already had which had a waterproof lining. Later this week, I'll be posting some of the changing bags I've found that don't look like changing bags. For now, back to the contents of my bag:

  • First up, nappies. Of course! I usually carry between three and six nappies - you never know! 
  • Muslins are great for all manner of things - moping up, covering up, sun shade. I have at least two in my changing bag at any time - as well as a couple in every room of the house! The star muslin pictured is from Primark and the elephant one from Morrisons - I really like monochrome muslins.
  • As I'm using a "normal" bag, I needed a change mat. I found this Munchkin nappy change kit in Aldi and it's great as it's got so a few pockets and a detachable change mat (see below for the contents).
  • The Cath Kidston bag keeps some of the smaller bits I carry with me in one place - the contents are shown below.
  • Baby wipes are essential for any parent. We're using these Water Wipes at the moment.
  • I also carry nappy bags so that I can easily dispose of nappies. They also come in handy for soiled outfits!
  • Inside me Cath Kidston bag, I carry sunscreen for both baby and me, a tinted lip balm (this is about as much make up as I manage to wear these days!), hand gel (in case there isn't anywhere to wash my hands after a change) and nail scissors.
  • A spare outfit is essential - and used on a regular basis for us! The sunhat is left over from sunnier days this summer!
  • I carry my purse - obviously!
  • I also carry a notebook and pencil case so that when the baby boy and I are out during the day and stop for a coffee break, I can write some blog posts (or reminders!) to follow up later.

I've recently bought this carabiner clip from eBay to my pram - it's great for keeping things close at hand, like a bag, or an umbrella.

What do you carry in your changing bag? Anything I've missed?

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

review: BabyBjörn Active vs Ergobaby Original

I loved the idea of baby wearing before our boy arrived. I'd seen mums carrying their babies close to them and thought it looked like a wonderful bonding experience. Not to mention too that baby wearing looked practical - allowing you to be hands free.

Then I had an emergency caesarean. And my plans for baby wearing were put on hold.

Eight weeks later I'm back in the gym (Pilates and yoga) and I'm feeling really well so I thought I'd finally give baby wearing a go - and I love it!!

We did some research (via blogs, obviously!) on the type of carrier to get. We bought the Ergobaby Original within days of the baby arriving. Complete with Infant Insert. Our baby hated it. Whether it was because he was too little and didn't really appreciate being held too close or swaddled in the beginning or it was too hot in those early weeks, I don't know. All I know is, he screamed from the minute he was put in and until the minute he was removed. So we sent it back.

We'd been given a BabyBjörn Original so we tried this. It worked! The baby didn't complain and it was so easy to put on by yourself. The only snag - no lumber support and a big baby meant that the hubby was very quickly experiencing back pain. We quickly found that BabyBjörn do the Active version which offers lumber support and is still so easy to use. Even better - you can get a BabyBjörn Active for just £5-10 on eBay! We snapped one up and have been using that for the past seven weeks.

Then came the time that I'd been signed off by the doctor and wanted to try baby wearing myself. I decided to read about the Ergobaby again and discovered that at 7 weeks, our baby was big enough to use it without the insert. This time I went straight to eBay and found I could pick up a lightly used Ergobaby Original for under £50 - less than half price! Fortunately it came with the infant insert as although the baby is big enough, he's not old enough to hold his head and needs the insert for this support. This time round though, he loves it!

We're away on holiday this week and will be using the Ergobaby for walks along the beach and trips into town.

I would totally recommend both carriers. The BabyBjörn Active is a great cheap option to try out baby wearing and is so so easy to use if you're on your own. While the Ergobaby is definitely more padded and better for wearing for longer periods. It's also not quite so easy to put on by yourself but with practice it can be done.