Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The best time of my life?

I wrote this 6 months ago when Samuel was a couple of months old and just found it with some draft posts and thought I should share it ..... 

The last few days I can't help feeling like this is the best time of my life. 

Being able to stay at home and look after both of the boys is so special and I feel relaxed and happy most of the time. 

I have got a good routine sorted now and go out most mornings to toddler groups or activities for Jacob.

This isn't to say that I don't have moments that are really hard. Sometimes Jacob really finds things difficult, he is at that age (2 and a quarter) where he is pushing the boundaries and trying to find out what he can get away with. He also is very interested in Samuel, meaning I have to intervene quite a lot as Samuel can get quite fed up getting poked and prodded so often. 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Our First Holiday

We have just got back from our first holiday as a family of four and it was fantastic! We went for a mid-week break to Center Parcs in Woburn Forest.

We booked quite late on as we weren't sure what sort of holiday if any would suit us due to our new arrival. But a couple of weeks ago we settled on Center Parcs and as soon as it was booked I was full of excitement! I used to go with my family as a child and we visited with my sister and parents when Jacob was 9 months old but this would be our first holiday just the four of us.

It was perfect in so many ways; the location being only 2.5 hours away for us was brilliant, the site is quite small but as we were walking with a toddler and a buggy everywhere this worked well for us. The furnishings and d├ęcor in the villa were lovely and comfortable. The staff were enthusiastic and friendly, the activities that we booked were mostly brilliant for the little one, the pool was well catered for small people and very warm, play areas and restaurants were great and it was an easy place to take a newborn with you too.

We booked bowling, mucky pups (messy play), the Teddy Bear's Picnic, balance bikes and baby owl experience to take Jacob to. The best by far was the Teddy Bear's Picnic. All of the kids got their own teddy bear and a packed lunch, they got to dance and play parachute games and go on a 'bear hunt' to find Rupert bear who they got to meet before listening to a story. I have never seen Jacob in such awe as when it got to meet Rupert! I think this picture is priceless..

Obviously for a lot of people especially during the school holidays Center Parcs is a bit expensive and I would have to agree. Luckily in this case we could go at the beginning of September so didn't have to pay the full holiday price. And for what we did pay it was totally worth it. Jacob loved it so much, he kept asking to go back to live in the "wood house" and to go back to the "special swimming pool".
I loved taking him away as he is now just about old enough to understand and it was just brilliant to talk to him about our time and to feel like we are building wonderful memories together. It was also brilliant for me and their dad to shake up our routine and reconnect in a different atmosphere and surroundings.
We came back tired from all the fun but ready for the next part of the challenge! :)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mummy Anger

Tonight I am asking myself how I can be so angry one minute and the next be totally over it. 

Sometimes my wonderful, caring husband can do a series of things that drive me progressively mad and result in me nearly losing it when really he's done nothing out of the ordinary at all. I put it down to "new mummy crazies". This condition, I believe, is caused by a combination of - 1, A long stretch of disturbed nights of sleep. 2, Days filled with task after task, none particularly difficult but some of which completed with one baby attatched  to a boob and a toddler climbing on you or screaming (frustrating). 3, A sad feeling that no one can help you or understand (unfounded and untrue but there none the less). 4, not finding any time to do things just for you or be able to have a "proper job". (In case you are wondering I have basically chosen to write this instead of sleep and I have a baby lying on me anyway as he will more than likely wake up If I put him down now. I also am loving my maternity leave and really don't want to go back to my proper job right now anyway. I just mean the feeling that people might think you have it easy, when they are kind of right but sometimes it feels really hard and you want to be appreciated). 

I experiene the "new mummy crazies" every now and then, usually when feeling frustrated and misunderstood, and I have learnt to keep my mouth shut as much as possible and wait for it to pass. I think my husband has also learnt to let me get on with it and wait it out. Talking during these crazy moments never helps. Talk afterwards for sure but never during. 

Note to self: Reflecting on this I think the key must to be to try to keep self confidence and self worth high. Remember that you are doing an important job and the people that love you do appreciate you. Think about the good things and the things you have achieved. Be positive. Talk before you turn crazy and if it's too late wait and talk after if you need to. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Take it easy, the little man is only 8 weeks old. Ask for help when you need it. 

Remember the small things that make you happy like these flowers Jacob and his daddy picked for me "ere go mummy, beautiful flowers for you" awwww...

Life is great really isn't it? 

Anyone else got advice for me? 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

'Have a nap'

Good advice! Good luck! Why am I writing this when I could be having a nap? Because I just. Can't. Sleep. 

I am the most tired I have ever been but for some reason I just can't sleep in the daytime. Despite the two year old being out with his dad and the 3 week old finally dropping off after a feed and lots of cuddles. I think it's because 1. I have too much to think about and I can't turn it off. 2. At some point I have to shower and if I don't do it now will I get a chance later? And 3. It's like trying to sleep next to a flipping beautiful ticking time bomb! 

Who knows when this bundle of joy will wake up again and need me!? Plus if he's been asleep for half an hour already so the time I have left to sleep is dwindling and I still haven't had that shower. 

Tiredness is turning me into a grumpy, hopeless, joyless, worrier but what can I do? I guess suck it up and try to be positive until this wonderful little man decides he can sleep for more than 2 hours at a time through the night! I won't be long I'm sure :) 

Now though it's shower time! 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Three weeks... Tiredness kills

Samuel is three weeks old and generally doing really well. He seems to be struggling a little bit at the moment to be content though. I think he has a tummy problem, he seems to be in pain and grouching a lot in his sleep or when he is awake especially if he is not being held. He will also cry out when feeding and scream and arch his back sometimes before he does a poo. He feeds very frequently and he is basically leaking poo all the time which is making his bottom very sore. We have been to the doctors and have cream for him bum and we are going back today. I hope it is not something that I am eating that is making his tummy hurt. If anyone has any ideas then please let me know!

At three weeks Samuel is very strong and can hold his head up on his own for quite a few seconds and he even rolled from his front to his back once a few days ago (but I think this must've been a fluke as he is a bit little for that!). He is putting on lots of weight and I am already missing him being so tiny like when he was first born. Three weeks seems more like three months in some ways.

My general feeling at the moment is of complete and utter exhaustion. It is actually painful how tired I am. Last night was particularly sleepless and Samuel basically wouldn't sleep unless he was on top of me or in bed with us. Today I can hardly move, my head hurts, my body hurts and my brain hurts. When I am up in the middle of the night changing nappies and feeding I just don't see how I can live like this! Luckily I know this wont last forever but it is hard to remember that sometimes. Then Samuel will look at me with his big, beautiful darkest blue eyes and pout his little lips and I will know that I can do this and would do anything for him, the same feeling I had and have for Jacob.

I read a really great and funny article on selfishmother.com about 'when new mums get angry'. It describes the irrationality and craziness that can overcome you when you are a new mum and how it can effect your relationships. I have to say I agreed with most of it. I do feel lucky however that I have such a supportive husband who is around at the moment to help and support me and I really appreciate him. Unlike the writer of that article I do mostly succeed in not becoming the crazy version of myself when feeling off my rocker with tiredness (NB I said *mostly* The Daddy may disagree!).

Our days are filled with family fun during these summer holidays and we are really enjoying it. We have been to the beach, parks and the zoo and lots of parties for Jacob's friends too. I'm so lucky that I have had their dad with me to help. I am a bit scared about being left on my own when he goes back to work! Jacob is really enjoying all the activity and attention and is still being really affectionate towards his little bro. I think he is starting to get the hang of being a bit more gentle and we have only had a few little times when he is being a bit of a 'rat bag' and testing the boundaries. We are all learning how to get on with this new little life in the middle of ours I guess and Jacob is no different!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Taking out two...

Today I went out for the first time on my own with the two boys. I must say in the days leading up to this I was pretty anxious about venturing out on my own with them! How would I keep hold of and entertain a toddler when the baby needed a feed or change or cuddle? How would I get them safely in and out of the car? Where would I go?

I didn't know but I did my best to be prepared - About halfway trough the pregnancy I had purchased a brand new, shiney Phil&Teds tandem 'dot' pushchair. I've never been one to spend much money on stuff like this and for over £400 (with raincover and extra seat) I was nervous I had made the right decision but so far it has been a godsend! It is heavy but does it's job well, it fits in the boot of my tiny car without removing wheels or anything and is comfy for both boys. Samuel can snuggle in the underneath lying flat and away from the strong sunshine or wind and Jacob can hop in and out of the chair on top when he needs to. It is the best pushchair I have had and glides around effortlessly. The soft handle means no blisters (I did get blisters from my first buggy!). The three wheel design and single bar handle makes pushing with one hand very easy too. I love it. 

(Shown here set up for two toddlers)

My first trip out was to meet some friends from work at a local indoor soft play area. My usual opinion of these places is pretty negative - just a place to dump your kids so you can sit and chill out - not very wholesome entertainment (I thought). But now I'm wondering what the matter is with this approach occasionally. I think I'm going to have to do this sometimes for my own and the boy's sanity! As a two year old Jacob needs to be able to run free in a safe environment and I need to be able to rest now and again too. Don't get me wrong I had my eye on him the whole time but I could also talk to my friends and relax a bit too. 

It was good to catch up with the girls and to find something and somewhere I can go that works for us. I know I won't be down there every week but knowing it's an option made me feel more optimistic about when their daddy goes back to work. 

Next adventure - the zoo (as a family) then - duh duh duhhhh - the supermarket and shops* - (just me and the babies) xxx 

*since I first wrote this post I have now been on both these trips and both have been a success! The zoo would have been really hard without the boy's dad there but we had a great time. The shops and supermarket were a challenge but we got it all done and got home in one piece. (I think tesco.com might still be the way forward though - at least for a while!) Who would have thought that something so simple could be such a challenge? Life with two boys is going to take some getting used to. I know the challenges will change as they grow but I'm ready to try my best. Now for some sleep. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Baby blues

For the first couple of days of Samuel's life I was on cloud nine - despite niggling little worries about how I would cope with two when their dad went back to work.

Then came the baby blues. I'm told it's very normal to get tearful a few days after havig a baby. It happens to most mums. I found myself crying at the drop of a hat. My husband would give me a hug and a flood of tears would pour out of me. I didn't even have any real reason to cry but it did feel sad and hopeless. Very disconcerting. This info on BabyCentre sums it up really well and also has some good advice.

I suffered with post natal depression after Jacob's birth and had to take some medication to help me feel normal again. I am dreading going down that road this time so the unexplained tears and emotions led me to worry more than I would have otherwise. 

However, the boy's daddy pointed me in the direction of a letter that Stephen Fry had written to one of his fans on the subject of depression. He states that he looks on emotion as he does the weather: It is real and it can effect us greatly but it does pass and eventually a sunny day always comes along. This helped me no end and a few days later the blues had passed and I started to feel optimistic again. It really did feel like the sun coming after a rain cloud had passed.

I know that it will rain again one day but for now I am enjoying the sunshine.

Sunday, 10 August 2014


We were discharged from the hospital two nights after Samuel was born. With Jacob We had to stay in for 5 nights and this time I was relieved to be able to stay in for a couple of nights too. I had been dreading being sent home after 6 hours a bag of nerves and in shock. I enjoyed the time in hospital to regroup and be reassured that Samuel was ok and healthy enough to leave and also to rest myself. I was so nervous that I wouldn't be able to rest at home!

The boy's Daddy (TD) was excited to show off the new arrival on the way home so we popped to see his nan first. Then a meal had been arranged at my mum and dad's for us which was really nice but it was a boiling hot day and in the end I have to leave to go home quite quickly so that I could relax. It was all so overwhelming. The world around me had changed - at least the way I felt about it had. We drove through towns on the way home that I found scary which I hadn't before and I was frightened about everyone's driving. All I wanted was to be tucked up safe at home with my little baby.

Taking the new baby home was quite a big deal for me - it meant the beginning of our new life and suddenly I was a mum of TWO. I'm a bit of a worrier at times and I didn't know how I was going to cope. I didn't know how much help I would get. Last time I suffered with post-natal depression and I was very frightened that I would again.

I was quite moody and tearful on that first day and night at home but things are settling down now.

TD (The Daddy) has been really helpful and supportive as have my family and friends. I am feeling very lucky.

Samuel is feeding really well and putting on weight (at day 5 and since) which is apparently really good for a breast-fed baby. Feeding has been such a breeze this time. He seemed to know what to do and so did I and it is going really well. I also knew to put on the miracle Lanolin cream each time I fed so I wouldn't get sore. I can not recommend this stuff enough. If you want to breast feed you need this in your life! Not cheap but lasts ages and I think could make all the difference if you want to breast feed successfully.

Jacob came to meet his brother in hospital and his reaction could not have been better. He was so excited to see the new baby - he didn't pay me hardly any attention! He smiled the biggest smile, said hello to Samuel, kissed and cuddled him. Ever since then he has continued to be very affectionate towards his new brother and the only issue has been making sure he is gentle enough with him.

All in all our homecoming has been great. There have been a couple of days of "baby blues" which I will write about later but we are now on day 17 of Samuel's life and I am as happy as can be with our family of 4. 


Our new arrival - birth story

On the 24th July 2014 at 4.30am my waters broke.

This time around we were much calmer. We phoned the hospital to let them know but waited until 6am to phone my mum to ask her to come and look after Jacob. The contractions hadn't really started much so I had a shower, got ready and tidied the house while we waited. We had both been at work the day before and it was the first day of our 6 week summer holiday together. We can't argue with that for timing! Jacobs Dad and I drove to the hospital full of excitement and nerves about what was to come.

Once we got there I was sent to the labour ward to be examined. They said that my 'hind waters' had broken and it was just leaking, contractions slowed up like they did last time (I think I was getting nervous) and I was sent to the MLU (midwife led unit) to wait. I walked around and contractions started again. 

This is me between contractions as we waited.

Unfortunately as I had been examined the decision was made that I needed to be in established labour within 6 hours due to the risk of infection. If the contractions didn't quicken I would be moved back to labour ward. The midwife did a sweep (the midwife uses her fingers to try to open the cervix and encourage contractions to get stronger), even with gas and air it was extremely uncomfortable and made me feel very upset. I think I get a bit nervous when I have to have things like this done! It worked but not quickly enough so I was moved onto labour ward. 

Once I got round there contractions were coming more regularly and were much more painful. I got more scared and felt like I couldn't go through with it - I don't know what I thought the alternatives were! With Jacob it was a very long labour and I needed lots of help ( ventouse, epidural, episiotomy ) so I didn't really think I could do it all on my own this time. 

After a lot of screaming and begging for help (something I didn't think I would do - and I am a bit annoyed that I did) I realised that I was going to have to do it myself. Jacob's Dad helped me to visualise myself after the birth lying happily in bed with the new baby and got me saying the mantra 'I will get there' in my head. This was invaluable and I kept it at the front of my mind. I became very calm focused and quiet between contractions, dreaming of that calm place in my thoughts. I asked the midwife and Jacob's Dad to talk between themselves to take my mind off things. But I still found it very hard to relax my body enough to push. I felt like I was holding him in and trying to stop it. I kept tucking up my bum like my dog when he is scared at the vet! I worked really hard to tell my body to relax and push when the time came.

Jacob's dad took this picture of my hand while I was  pushing ! He said it looked beautiful! How sweet 

Eventually I got there and little Samuel was born at 5.30pm. The moment I was handed him was incredible. He was a little blue and covered in waxy stuff but the elation I felt was overwhelming. He cried a bit but was easily comforted by us. He fed straight away which was great. 

Unfortunately I was then unable to deliver the placenta even with the injection and a drip to induce contractions. I had to go into theatre and have a spinal block so that I could have it removed manually. Not a very nice thought but I didn't care. My baby had arrived safely and was ok I'd done it.

Placenta removed, a little tear stitched and legs numb we were eventually moved to the ward for our first night together. 

Samuel had a few breathing issues in the first night and day so was taken to the special baby unit a couple of times to be motioned but came back fine each time. The doctors said it was just one of those things and that he was ok and just to keep an eye on him. Obviously I got worried at first but in the end I was just so grateful that he was ok. 

And so we went to sleep on the first day of the start if our life as a family of 4 and I couldn't have been happier. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Our Morrisons Meal - Yum!

This week I was lucky enough to be picked to be a #morrisonsmum and was sent £80 in vouchers to spend in store over the bank holiday to test out their ‘New Cheaper Morrison's’ and to share my experience and a recipe with you!

We went to the big Morrison’s in Canterbury on a busy Saturday afternoon but despite the number of people we had a very positive experience. It was easy to find a very spacious Parent and Toddler space right near the entrance in the car park (a bonus at the moment as I’m not feeling very mobile with my expanding tummy bump!). Inside the supermarket the environment was easily laid out and ‘Market Street’ looked appealing. Staff were extremely friendly and made the experience as hassle free as possible.


As we had our vouchers I treated us to some extras that we wouldn’t usually buy, a Cheesecake for dessert,  a garlic flatbread, some beer for Daddy and an antipasti platter for a starter. I decided to go Italian and make a lasagne as I haven’t done it for ages and it turned out very nice! It has served us 3 (two adults and one toddler for THREE meals!)

Jacob was still in good spirits even after our shopping trip! woohoooo!

Here is the recipe – measurements aren’t all that important so just go with taste and looks and I reckon it will turn out fine!

Per portion without the ‘extras’ I think it cost under £1.50 per adult portion.

Yummy! Thank  You Britmums and Morrison's for choosing me!


Easy Lasagne Recipe


½ pack of Morrison’s Lasagne Sheets (95p per pack or 2 for £1.50)

1 Large Onion chopped

3 tbs Margarine or Butter

2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes (55p each)

A Squeeze of garlic puree (72p per tube)

A squeeze of tomato puree (99p per tube)

A block of cheese (£2.18)

1 Chopped Yellow Pepper(99p for 3)

Plain flour

Sprinkle of sugar


Quorn Mince (£3.58 per pack)

Salt, Pepper and Basil to taste.


To make the bolognaise fry the chopped onion until soft, add a generous squeeze of garlic puree then add the Quorn Mince and fry until its beginning to soften. Add two tins of chopped tomatoes and a squeeze of tomato puree. Sprinkle on a little sugar to reduce the bitterness of the tomatoes. Add the chopped yellow pepper and whatever other vegetables you might like. Season with salt, pepper and basil to taste. Keep this simmering away until it is cooked and tastes just right.

To make a simple white cheesy sauce melt the butter in a pan, take the melted butter off the heat and stir in enough plain flour to create a dough. Return the dough to the heat and add milk stirring as much as possible to reduce lumps until the sauce is the right consistency. Don’t worry if it looks too thick or lumpy at stages just keep stirring and cooking then adding more milk. Add a little grated cheese to this sauce until it tastes just right for you. Season if necessary.

Layer the bolognaise, white sauce and pasta sheets until you have a lovely baking tray full of lasagne and top with the white sauce and a generous sprinkling of grated cheese. Bake in the oven at around 180 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Keep checking to make sure it doesn’t burn.


Morrison’s baby leaf salad (99p per bag)

Balsamic dressing (£1 per small bottle)

Cucumber (70p)

Sliced pepper (40p)

Morrison’s Signature Garlic flatbread (£1.45)

Morrison’s Signature Millionaires Cheesecake (£3.99)

Morrison’s antipasti platter (£3.00)

Sunday, 27 April 2014

I'm just having the best time!

It's the Easter holidays and after a busy start getting "the boys" room decorated- new furniture bought from IKEA and made (phew!) we have settled down for fun filled sunny, relaxing days. It's been wonderful!

We've been playing in parks, riding on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway, to cool swimming pools and swimming lessons, more parks, visiting friends and family and generally having lots of fun!

The 'Easter bunny' left Jacob a really cool searching activity and some fun Easter gifts and some chocolate for when he had finished.  It was fab watching his excitement as he searched the garden for the little wooden eggs, bunnies and birds in his pyjamas, coat and trainers. He collected them in his new little bucket and when he had them all opened his little surprises - definitely being most impressed by the chocolate.

It's been so nice to spend time as a family and especially to take time to reflect on our family values and think about our relationships and the future. It all sounds a bit deep but really it's been great to have two whole weeks to grow closer and find ourselves individually again too. Both of us parents had separate trips away to visit friends and did loads together too.

This ominous (not so) little bump has given us lots to think about - practically and emotionally and we are so looking forward to meeting him. I cant wait for little Jacob to meet the baby and to start our life together as a family of FOUR!!


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Pregnancy, work and a toddler...

I haven't done much blogging lately. There are a few reasons for this but I think the main reason is that I haven't been in a very positive place emotionally and this isnt a place for me to share that. That's not what this is about. 

Briefly I think the hormone changes involved in becoming pregnant again had a challenging effect on me. It was hard to see all the good things in my life even though I knew they were there and I knew things weren't too bad I just felt a bit bland. 

Things are looking up now though. Last week we discovered that we are expecting another little boy. To be honest I didn't know how I would feel about another boy - would I yearn for a girl? But I am so happy that our little man will have a little bro to pal around with and I can't wait to meet him! I feel like I know all about little boys now. Unlike last time when a boy came as a complete shock at our 20 week scan, this time it's eased my worries and I'm just looking forward to finding out how this new little bean will be different to Jacob! 

Working as a teacher in an SEN school, looking after a toddler, being pregnant and emotional has not been an easy few months. On top if that there has been lots of illness going around and Jacob now has chicken pox! 

Pregnancy the second time around has been a much busier and more tiring time but I'm also more excited this time. I'm not as worried about things and I know more about all the great things to come. Hopefully there will be a bit less to learn and I can relax and enjoy more. 

I'm feeling optimistic and looking forward to our future