Thursday, 31 December 2015

My New Year's Resolutions 2016


On the eve of the new year I thought I'd do something I've never done before. Make new year's resolutions. 

Every year I do the same thing. I think 'oh I should really do this or that this year, I should be healthier, I should drink less or run more'. I never write them down and by the 2nd of January they're almost always forgotten. 

This year I feel different. I feel as though I want to make positive changes to my life for myself, for Harry and for my family. And not superficial ones. Like one's that are actually important to your well being. So here are my resolutions for 2016.


1. Give less shits.


I get anxious. I get stressed. Really stressed. About the future mainly, and running out of money, but also about the clutter lurking in the under sink cupboard and other such trivialities. 

My new year's resolution this year is to give less shits. About everything. Because if there's one thing 2015 taught me it's that stress and anxiety manifest themselves in people in hideous physiological ways. They don't just affect your state of mind or outlook on the world. They are present in the way you walk, how you carry your shoulders, in your heart, in your eyes. Stress is real and it's fucking dangerous. 

I know it's not so simple as to just 'stop stressing' but I have learned that life is full of risks and it's better to step outside the door everyday expecting that than to fret indoors at possibilities that have not yet come to pass.


2. See more.


I have walked a lot recently. Outside. Round and about where I live. Isn't there a lot to see and to appreciate. Only towards the end of the year, as Harry started to become more receptive and aware of his surroundings, did it dawn on me. In life, it's not so much about doing more, it's about seeing more. 

A large proportion of my life, I now recall, has been spent rushing around doing lots of things and taking entirely none of it in. Not really. Not enough. 

This year I want to take the time to see, to look up, to pause in the middle of whatever I am doing, wherever I am and really look at what surrounds me. Life spins by us fast enough. I resolve to try to slow it down a little. To show it to my son, and make sure he gets a chance to really see it.


3. Listen better.


Once upon a time not so long ago, I found talking to people quite difficult. I kind of am one of those perplexed souls who finds it hard sometimes (a lot of times actually) to speak to other people. For no real reasons, other than a) caring too much about what other people might think of me and b)becoming so engrossed in what they might be thinking about me that I have no real idea about what they are talking about. This is pointless, kind of selfish and totally exhausting.

This year I want to learn to listen better because listening to what other people have to say is not only important, it's also far more interesting than listening to my overbearing and irrational fears of potential judgement (you see how these are all linked?)tell me that I am shit, or weird or somehow not quite what I should be. 

These fears act as barriers to making connections, to learning new things about other people and to growing as an individual. Minds are made and set each day. There is no use worrying about what people think. Better to project your energy outwards, listen better, ask more questions and think about yourself in such situations a little less. This year therefore I resolve to try to do everything from a good place and with love. To listen and to learn from other's. Not to fear them.

Kathy
xx

PS. Feel free to share your new years resolutions (if you have any) with me in the comments.      

Saturday, 19 December 2015

10 Things I've Learned Since Becoming a Dad ~ By Ed


I recently saw Kate of Dolly Bow Bow post her 10 Things I've Learned Since Becoming a Mum video and thought a) I'd like to do a post about that too and b) I'd like to ask Ed what his ten things are. 

So, here are Ed's answers (with some commentary from me in brackets) and here is a link to mine.


1. Even if you don't like babies, you'll like your own.


 (Ed was/is not a baby person).



2. Don't make your baby jump. They will cry and you'll feel bad. Like, really bad.


(It's a fine line, that one that separates a peek-a-boo from a trauma inducing 'BOO'. We know).


3. It'll be more fun than you think.  


(They play bands together. Ed plays the piano and Harry plays tambourine, in his Bumbo, side by side each another).



4.Your priorities will change.


Looking after your family will become the main thing in your life. Not your mates. Or the pub.


5. Babies become aware really quickly.

 

They like watching lights, television and animals and they pay attention to your words pretty much from birth.


6. Your mum will love your baby more than she loves you.


She will go on about how he's the best baby in the world now and not you. 

(Ed's found losing his 'favourite' status a bitter pill to swallow).


7. There are some pretty cool baby outfits you can buy.


(He bought Harry this...)



8. It's hard to make a baby laugh. 


There's no limit to the ridiculous things you will find yourself trying



9. My girlfriend was always made to be a mum. 


She's a natural at it.


(I didn't tell him to say that I promise)


10. You'll never love another human being more than you love your own child


(He's right)

Ed/Kathy

xx

Friday, 18 December 2015

10 Things I've Learned Since Becoming a Mum


1. I can do anything


It's easy to get overwhelmed when you first have a baby. I second guessed everything. I was kind of a wreck.

Am I going up and down the curb right with this pushchair? Can I get on the bus with a pram? Will I be able to feed him on the train? Is he safe enough if I walk him in this sling?

Then I remembered. I gave birth to him. I endured that pain. I brought him here. I can do anything. And it's true. New mums, curbs are easy-  YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. 

2. I am so in love


My friend told me that she would look at her baby son sometimes and start crying because she couldn't believe she had made him. I didn't understand then. I do now. I am so in love. I did not think it possible. 

3. I am not the most important person in the world


It's not that I consciously used to think I was, just that when it's you pleasing yourself, doing what you like when you like it's kind of just the way it is. You are your agenda, then it all changes and that is incredibly, incredibly humbling. 

4. It's the little things that matter


I have to say I really wasn't someone to take joy in the colour of the leaves in autumn, or the variety of birds in the back yard. I was all about the stresses and strains of the day ahead. What deadlines I had to meet and what things I needed to get to make me happy. That's changed a little recently. 

Perhaps it's just the maternity leave, but I feel as though I can take pleasure in much simpler things these days. Like the countryside. Walking. Breathing the fresh air. Music. Drawing. Reflecting. Smiling. I guess we have to show them everything for the first time. What a mirror is. What a cup is. What trees are and cows.  It gives you perspective, showing a new person the world. 

5. They're not that scary 


I was terrified of babies. How do you even begin to dress a newborn baby? But it's really not that bad. They are way more pliable than you first think.

6.They make Christmas time fun again


Christmas was getting a little... monotonous. All the kids in the family had grown up and it was all getting a little bit 'done'. Along came Harry and suddenly we've all got advent calendars again. Mint.

7. They give you an excuse to watch old cartoons


We've so far revisited Bananaman, Danger Mouse, Trap Door, Stop It and Tidy Up, Count Duckula and Super Ted. Our generation was truly spoilt. 

8.That having your own sleep agenda was an absolute privilege


It really, really is.


9. That nothing is the same as it was before, and that's okay

Maybe it's just me, but I feel as though everything has changed in my world. I can't wake up and be pissed off any more just because I feel like it. I have to be happy for someone else so I don't upset them or make them scared with my miserable face. I mean, if that's what having a baby has done for me, then that's most definitely, totally okay.

10. That I would do anything for him


It's as simple as that

Kathy 
xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

3 Quick and Easy Savoury Baby Food Purées


1. Carrot and Coriander Purée  


Ingredients 


1 Carrot peeled, washed and sliced
Pinch Fresh Coriander Leaves to taste 
2-4 Tbsp Breast milk or formula


Method


Cover carrot with cold water in a pan. Boil until tender (about 15 mins). Strain and blend with a little of your babies usual milk. Add coriander.


2. Creamy Peas


Ingredients


1 Good Handful of Frozen Peas
4-5 Tbsp Breast milk or Formula


Method


Place peas in a microwavable plastic jug and cover with water. Microwave for 5 minutes. Strain and blend with your baby's usual milk until completely smooth.


3. Tri-Veg Blitz 


Ingredients


1 Small Carrot, peeled washed and sliced
1 Small Parsnip, peeled, washed and sliced
2 Small Florets of Broccoli, washed and chopped
2-4 Tbsp Cooking water


Method



Cover carrot and parsnip with cold water in a pan. Boil until veg begin to tenderise (about 10 mins. Add broccoli, place a lid over the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Strain, reserving some cooking lid and blend until smooth. 

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Day in the Life ~ 5 Month Old Baby Routine




































Before seeing Ysis Lorenna's 7 Month Update video and reading her 'Day in the Life of a 5 Month Old' blog post I hadn't thought to research 'baby routines', let alone write about our own. Where. Have. I. Been. 

I don't know if it's a 5 month thing, but since we hit 20 weeks, getting Harry into some kind of routine has become our goal. Perhaps it's the prospect of having more than 5 hours sleep in a row or maybe even some time of an evening to do something non-baby related. Either way the dangling carrot of predictability has caught our eye and finding the best way to a) get some time to ourselves and b)not have to begin our day at 5am are things we've been gradually working towards over the past month.  

If you read our 5 Month Update you'll see that Harry has begun on most occasions to sleep through the night. Whilst this is of course great news I don't want to make out like we have a perfectly regimented routine established, or like we don't still have nights sitting stroking his head through the cot bars trying to get him back to sleep. We do. Hence this post is in no way a 'how to', it's simply a log of an average day in our lives that we hope you find interesting :) I wonder what it'll look like in a month's time... 

07:35 WAKE

Harry wakes and I hear him through the baby monitor having a good shout. I go through to his room and bring him back into my bed for his morning breastfeed.

08:00 BREAKFAST



We go downstairs for breakfast at 8am. Harry has this Heinz Creamy Oat Porridge and half a mashed banana. I have the same. Well kind of. I have normal porridge.


























08:34 GET READY



Takes a while this bit, but after breakfast I get Harry ready and attempt to get ready myself and keep Harry occupied. Hanging the bouncer on the bathroom door works a treat. His hoodie and joggers are from F&F and his 'Raa' T-shirt from M&S.

09:33 MORNING MILK FEED

After about 2 hours of being awake and before he takes his morning nap, Harry gets in another milk feed.

10:15 MORNING NAP

It's usually around 10am-11am that Harry will take a half hour nap. Today we're running errands, so he falls asleep in the car.

10:44 OUT AND ABOUT

Harry wakes as the car pulls into the garden centre car park. I pop his Maxi Cosi car seat onto his pram wheels and we head inside to pick up some crafty bits and ingredients for this blog post.

12:07 HOME

Errands run we head home in time for lunch.

12:30 LUNCH

For lunch we go for something quick. These Heinz Multigrain Dinners are fuss free and great if you're too busy to make homemade 100% of the time. For pudding he has home apple puree. He loves a fruit puree.

13:08 AFTERNOON MILK FEED

I always offer a breast feed after Harry's solid food in the afternoons.

13:20 PLAY






























Play time consists of anything from time on his play mat to reading a book. I find I have to do quite a range of different things with him to keep him occupied. He hates tummy time and can't sit on his own so it's engaging business working together to keep him smiling and having fun :)

14:30 PRE-NAP FEED

You know they're tired when nothing you do pleases them. Their eyes go all puffy and red and they let out a good three or four yawns. It's at this point in the afternoon that I know Harry needs a sleep. If I miss his cues he doesn't know what to do with himself and ends up feeling a bit destitute.

15:00-16:48 AFTERNOON NAP

This is a relatively new development, but this long, late nap in the afternoon is good news for both of us. I can get on with things round the house and Harry wakes up ready for his tea and with enough energy to get him through bath time and in bed by 8pm.

17:30 TEA TIME


Sweet potato and some pureed mango for tea washed down with a little water from his weaning cup. Tea time depends on nap time, but it's not usually later than half five.

19:00 BATH TIME


I wait it out till seven for bathtime otherwise I've found Harry falls asleep too early and wakes up at about 05:30 in the morning ready for the day. Props to those of you who can handle that. Pre-sunrise I'm no use to anyone so I like to eek out bath time until about half seven. After that I get him ready for bed and offer his evening feed at about twenty to eight.

20:10 BED TIME


9 times out of 10 Harry falls asleep whilst feeding. Either Ed or I take him up to bed, tuck him in and make sure his dummy is next to him in case he shouts for us in the night. On this occasion he does at around 5am. He falls back into a deep sleep instantly and we see him at 07:30 the next morning.

Kathy
xx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

DIY Festive Holiday Treats ~ Christmas Tree Cake Pops









I saw these cake pops on Pinterest and had to give them a try. They're so festive it's ridiculous. Plus (as if you needed any more persuading) they're so easy to make and definitely something the kids will love. 

The original recipe can be found here but I've written out everything you'll need to make these and how I did it below. 


Enjoy!










Ingredients


CAKE
100g Butter, softened
100g Golden Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
100g Self Raising Flour
3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
3 Tbsp Milk
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence or Extract
8 Wooden Lollypop Sticks (I got mine from my local craft store).

ICING
200g Icing Sugar
1 Tsp Natural Green Food Colouring
70g Butter
1Tbsp Milk
Smarties and Sprinkles for decoration


Method


Whisk together golden caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla essence. Fold in flour and cocoa powder then add the milk a little at a time until the mixture is smooth and well combined. 

Transfer the mixture to a greased, loose bottomed 8" cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 20 minutes at 180C or until a knife pulls out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake (you know the drill).

Turn out on to a wire baking rack to cool completely. When cooled cut the cake into 8 using a serrated knife and insert a lolly pop stick into each (don't push it too far in or it'll come out the top and break your tree top).

Make the icing. Whisk together the icing sugar, butter, milk and colouring until smooth. Pipe over the top of each tree, decorate with whatever you fancy and there you have it. Festive Christmas Tree Cake Pops.

Kathy
xx

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Harry's 5 Month Update





Let's pretend I found the time to write a 4 month update and head straight on into Harry's 5 month baby update!

Weight? Harry's 17lb and looks nothing like the newborn he once was. He has a proper little boy's face and in my mind weighs an absolute ton. And they only get bigger. Walks in the sling together have gone out the window as of last week. The next-day paralysis is just not productive. Carrying him around the house is hard enough. Does your strength build as they get heavier? I really hope so.

Feeding? The biggest development since last time I posted is definitely feeding. At around three months Harry started drooling like crazy, especially around our dinner time. We used to joke that he was going wild because he could smell our food but I really think it was that. Although 6 months is the recommended age to start weaning your baby, I firmly believe that only you know when the time is right. Harry was double his birth weight when we started and to begin with he only tried a teaspoon of baby porridge and some squashed up banana here and there. Now he eats three meals a day alongside breast milk which I still give on demand. I will write a more detailed 'feeding update' post because there is so much to talk about on the subject so be sure to check back in for that soon of you're interested.

Baby groups? Okay so I still haven't been to an official 'baby group' - I really struggle to find time to get out first thing in the morning but we have been swimming! And he loved it. We went to a leisure centre with a heated children's pool and Harry thought it was amazing. We opted for a casual public swim rather than organised slots as it suits mine and Ed's (highly disorganised and socially intimidated) personalities...

Sleeping through the night? Holy shit. Harry sleeps through the night 90% of the time. Gone are nights of waking up before 5am as talked about in our 2 Month Update post. He goes down at 8pm or there about and sleeps through to 7am. I still can't quite believe it. Don't get me wrong though, if you mess with the routine by, oh I don't know, doing something extreme like daring to have an overnight stay at nana's, there will be repercussions, but at home we're good. I have to say I think this is down to his transition onto solid food and feeling satiated all night long. 

Clothing Size? Harry's into his 6-9 month gear but fits some 9-12 depending on the brand. To be honest if I'm buying anything new now I tend to size up and roll up. A few weeks of rolled sleeves and ankles are worth seeing him in the stuff longer than five minutes and it just makes sense financially. Speaking of which, check out my 8 Money Saving Tips post if you're looking for other ways to prepare for a baby on a budget. 

New Abilities/Developments? Bah, tummy time is the bane of our lives. He hates it. Literally shouts his head off till you turn him back over so no solo rolling or crawling. Sitting on his own is one of the things we're into practising at the minute, oh and growling. Harry can growl pretty well.

Nicknames? Still BubbyRoo with abbreviated versions in the form of Broo and Bruge. My mum has taken to calling him Hareesh which has also taken off and I'm sure shall invite further alternatives to actually calling him by his actual name...

My Recovery
Ah, postpartum hair loss. That struggle is real. I am still losing hair and have had to lop off a good couple of inches of split ends to prevent myself from looking essentially bald. I can't attribute all of my shedding to having a baby given that it's colour treated and heat abused but never in my life have I lost so much for such a long period of time. As my recovery continues I'll make sure to write a more extensive post about this in the future which will include some of the things I've had to try in order to improve my hair's volume and condition. Love to all out there losing hair for any reason. It's bloody shit.

See you next month for more updates!

Kathy
xx

Monday, 7 December 2015

Preparing for a Baby ~ 8 Money Saving Tips


When I found out I was pregnant, the internet was the first place I turned to for advice on what I'd need to prepare for the arrival of my baby. From recommended quantities of newborn baby clothes and size one nappies to what I'd need to take with me in my hospital bag, take it from me, there's a Google search return for EVERYTHING.

It's no secret that the baby product industry is big business, but with the U.K and U.S markets estimated values of £900 million and $23 billion respectively, it's difficult not to grow a little sceptical about how much baby gear really is necessary.


What do you really need to get you set up for your new arrivals? What corners can be cut, and crucially, do you really need a gro-egg? Read on for 8 money saving tips I've picked up for having a baby on a budget.



1. Shop Ebay and Gumtree for baby furniture bargains. 


How long are babies in cots for? Not very long...Harry is 5 months old and already half the length of his. Thank god it was only £20 from Gumtree. Along with a small wooden chest of drawers, a changing station and a wardrobe my total spend on nursery furniture was £103.00. Can't argue with that.


2. Check Facebook for baby swap and sell pages in your local area.


Babies grow out of things. Fast. This means that a) most second hand stuff is essentially pretty damn decent and b) there's a hell of a lot of it out there.

I managed to pick up a Chicco Baby Sling for a fiver and a huge 40 piece bundle of baby clothes for £10 using my local page.  



3.Borrow from friends.


If you have friends with older babies and who plan to have more kids, borrow things from them. It's win win. You get to save money by not buying new whilst your friends get to de-clutter their homes, temporarily at least. Harry and I are currently borrowing my friend's door bouncer. He loves it, and we saved £15. 

Just don't forget to give the stuff back


4.Don't buy gimmicky products.


Each to their own on this one, but as the owner of a Gro-Egg baby room thermometer I have to say that I think this is an absolute waste of money. It looks pretty and in owning one you feel like you're part of that whole 'instagramable' baby consumer culture that we all get sucked in to from time to time, but you don't need one. 

Ordinary room thermometers are available to put parent's mind at rest for a fraction of the Gro- Egg's price. Like this one here. It's £3.67. That's £18.32 left over for the baby's ISA. Score.


5. Stock up on a range of nappy sizes, not just tiny ones.


It's so tempting to get mega prepared by pre-buying a ton of size one nappies for your baby before they arrive. There's something so satisfying about having the changing station look like a supermarket aisle, but it can be a wasteful. They grow out of little nappies SO FAST. Harry was in size 3s by 16 weeks and I'm certain we only ended up using about two packs of size 1's tops. We definitely had a couple of uncomfortable weeks stuffing him in to the remaining size 2's we'd stock piled either way. 

Honestly unless you live in the middle of nowhere you can opt not to stock pile or if like me you just NEED to, have a pack of the next size on stand by. It's all you really need. Seriously it will be okay.


6. Leave elaborate new born baby outfits on the shelf.


How many hours did I spend perusing 'cute newborn baby outfits' online? More than I care to recall. 

I spent £18 on shirt collar and dungaree set for Harry to wear to Ed's graduation when he was 2 weeks old. It was totally uncomfortable and he pissed all over it half way through the day. If you're looking to save money on anything let it be on newborn clothes. They can grow out of them in literally 4 weeks and if they're too elaborate your baby will make you pay for your vanity.

Comfort over style and less is always more. It will make you sad that they only got to wear them once or maybe not at all. Take it from me, £18 for one wear makes the heart bleed and the wallet scream.


7. Before you buy a £50 baby changing bag, ask yourself what's wrong with the bags you have.


Look! Here's one from Argos for £79.99 and it's not even dad friendly. 

If you saw my What's in the Baby's Hospital Bag post you will have seen that I bought an Eastpak Delegate messenger bag as Harry's changing bag. It cost twenty odd quid and you know what I only use it if we're going overnight somewhere. I already had a much more compact bag that was equally inoffensive for dad to use which we take out all the time.  


8.Invest in things you really want.

Lets face it, buying for a baby is exciting. It's part and parcel of getting prepared to welcome a new addition to the family. So with that if you're in a position where you want to part with a little extra cash, my advice is do so, on things you really, really want. 


As a new mum I really wanted a brand new pram for Harry. I figured I'd use it most days and so in terms of cost per use it would be worth it. Plus  if I'm honest I liked the idea that it would be just 'his' and no one else's. I bought our Joie Chrome Stroller (review and unboxing post here) and don't regret paying out for this particular item brand new. 

Kathy 
xx