White Cotton Peonies

Happy Parents, Happy Baby!

Parenting / Dec 18, 2018 /

I love my family more than I can put into words. My husband is my best friend, my confidant, my buddy and my partner in crime. We were genuinely made to be together. However, when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding for 35 out of 38 months, I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t had an impact in our relationship in some way.

When you’re knees deep in dirty nappies and laundry sporting baby vomit on your shoulder from a few hours before that you’ve yet to wipe off, it’s hard to feel sexy. Add a serious lack of sleep into the mix along with babies who refuse to take a bottle meaning more than 6 months without a date night and it’s easy to start to take one another for granted.

With Bells, I remember thinking that I needed to be with her at all times… that’s what a good mum would do, right? With Millie though, I’ve taken a much different approach, wiser in the knowledge that when we take time out for one another, we are much better parents as a result. I’m pleased to say that date nights are now a regular occurrence in our house and I love them! We even manage some chat which doesn’t revolve around babies… shocking!

The biggest change of all however, has been our conscious effort to communicate more effectively. I hate asking for help with things, feeling in some way that I’m failing or that I’m forcing him to do something that he doesn’t want to do. However, when you’re trying to do EVERYTHING, resentment starts to build and the other person starts to feel redundant. I never thought I’d be jealous of somebody going to work or getting stuck in traffic 😀

After a heart to heart one day, Dickie explained to me that he wanted to help more than I was letting him, it’s just that men often think in the here and now whereas women tend to plan further ahead. Where I’d previously expected him to be a mind reader and would then get annoyed when he got it wrong, I now tell him what he can do to help. I’ve come to realise that just because we have different ways of doing things doesn’t make one right and the other wrong.

Now that Millie has finally admitted defeat and takes a bottle, Dickie can now feed her, splash around at bathtime and do her favourite Johnsons Baby massage before bed, all of which he loves, she adores and I appreciate hugely.

I genuinely think that as a result of having a second baby, stressful as it is, we’ve become a stronger couple, better communicators and a happier family all round.

How has life changed after the birth of your first-born? Do you have any pearls of wisdom?

M x

 

NB: This post was written in association with Johnson’s Baby #ad #johnsonsambassadors

Life without limits….

Parenting / Nov 19, 2018 /

Bells is at that awkward age where independence is KING. Prams are for babies, her scooter keeps her attention for the whole of 10 seconds before it ends up being carried by me and if I carry her, she just acts like a dead weight with every limb going completely stiff. It’s not great when you’re quite an outdoorsy family and you live in the country.

Therefore, when we were contacted by the team at Thule to try out their Sapling Carrier, we weren’t sure how Bells would take to it. Then we remembered that her favourite game is “horsey” and this could prove to be the perfect solution.

We weren’t wrong.

As soon as the carrier arrived, Bells couldn’t wait to take it out. Thankfully, when you take it out of the box, it’s ready to go, there’s no set-up required. There’s an adjustable ergonomic seat which means that we could change the height depending on whether we were taking Bells or Millie. The hipbelt is also really easy to adjust meaning that Dickie or I could use it without lots of fuss.

What’s more, popping Bells onto our backs was so straightforwards, we just lifted her into the carrier secured by the kickstand and slipped the straps onto our shoulders before securing the waistband and tucking the stand away. We couldn’t believe how comfortable the carrier was to wear, it’s designed so well that the weight is evenly distributed and therefore even though Bells is pretty big now, it wasn’t a struggle at all. We could easily go for a long walk with her comfortably fastened in and she would definitely be happy with that.

Anyone with kids will know that they come with so much “stuff”. Whilst we love carriers, the issue we always find is storing all of the essentials that we need. The Sapling however, comes with so much. There’s a removable backpack which sits on the back of the carrier (which is actually a lovely backpack in it’s own right) along with pockets on the hip belt. The hip pockets are great for keeping all of the things that you need easy access to, for example your mobile, money and of course snacks!

The carrier is definitely on the premium end of the market, retailing at £260, but the Swedish company have thought of every single aspect! There’s a viewing mirror stowed away in one of the pockets so that you can keep an eye on your little monkey (as well as checking for sneaky naps) and a hydration sleeve which stores up to 3 litres… perfect when you’re asked for juice every 2 minutes. There’s also a sunshade which stows flat in the backpack and opens up into a mini gazebo shading your mini’s head from those rare but often strong rays!

The best feature, by far, were the stirrups… maybe not so much for Dickie, but Bells was over the moon using them to gee on her horsey…

Before the girls arrived, we used to take one holiday which was more of an experience each year. We believe that travel is the best education that we could expose the girls to and so we’ve been so excited for a time where they are big enough to take them trekking. However, now that we’ve experienced the Thule Sapling Elite Carrier, that time may come sooner rather than later!

M xox

#gifted #bringyourlife

 

 

Giggling Squid has opened in Windsor!

FoodWindsor / Nov 9, 2018 /

In the past couple of months, Windsor has played host to two Royal weddings, but more importantly, Dickie and I’s date night. Date nights are a fairly new thing for us, having had two babies in fairly quick succession, it’s fair to say our social life has taken a bit of a beating. However, we’re getting back on an even keel and whilst I previously (and foolishly) thought that time away from the girls was selfish, I now see that if we’re happy, they’re happy – everyone’s a winner.

When I was contacted by the team at Giggling Squid to let me know that they were opening a restaurant in Windsor, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Thai is my favourite food and so I needed no encouragement for us to get our hungry bellies down there.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the Giggling Squid brand, it was started by a husband and wife in their basement flat in Brighton (which is now one of their restaurants, how cool is that?!). They began by creating scrumptious Thai tapas dishes (which still make up much of their lunch menu) but have since expanded out into authentic and delicious larger plates for the evening menu.

The Windsor restaurant was everything that I expected of Giggling Squid, passionate and friendly staff, authentic Thai cuisine and a quirky offbeat interior. We were greeted by the Manager who helped us with our dish and wine choices. Whilst we continued to be completely indecisive, we chowed down on some delicious prawn crackers with sweet chilli sauce (which doesn’t count as food if you haven’t officially ordered yet, right?).

We finally settled on the Sharing Platter which consisted of strips of hand-cut pork grilled on skewers, salt and pepper squid, Thai chicken wings and vegetable spring rolls. Given that I’m veggie and only had interest in the spring rolls, Dickie was in his element.

Having filled ourselves on the starter, we started to question how we were possibly going to fit in a main too but as soon as it arrived, we magically found the space, go figure! Dickie opted for the Chicken Thai Green Curry, whilst I went for the Vegetable Jungle Curry. It was hot. I loved every bit of it!

You can check it out for yourself at:
30 Thames Street
Windsor, SL4 1PR
01753 851011
#gifted

Tiny Love Gymini Deluxe Playmat: A REVIEW

Parenting / Nov 7, 2018 /

It’s fair to say that describing me as sleep deprived would be more than a slight understatement… which can be the only reason I can think of that I wrote a whole post months ago and didn’t post it!

The lovely folks at Tiny Love kindly sent us their Gymini Deluxe playmat from their new Into The Forest Collection just after Millie was born and she’s been captivated ever since. Having been given a second hand playmat from her sister (story of her life… second child syndrome!), it was definitely an upgrade.

The mat is nice and cushioned which was great for when Millie was a newbie but even better since she’s a clumsy roller/crawler. It walks the fine line between having bright colours and fun characters to encourage her imagation, growth and discovery whilst still remaining stylish enough that I don’t mind having it lying around the house.

Unlike any other playmat that I’ve seen, this one has an interactive electronic woodpecker that lights up and plays different tunes which is activated by movement. It’s basically baby crack. Millie loves it!

As she’s growing at a rate of knots and is determined to be sitting bolt upright at all times, I’ve been able to remove the adjustable arches and remove the Tiny Pioneer toys for her to play with independently.  Each is designed to support the Seven Developmental Wonders, helping cognition, motor skills, imagination and language. She now loves them so much that we have to take them with her in the car to keep her entertained.

You can read more about the new Into The Forest range here. It’s genuinely been a god send in our house, especially when I need to buy 10 minutes to shower… set it up in the bathroom and hello cleanliness!

#gifted

 

The Routine-Lover’s Guide to Bathing 2 under 2

Parenting / Nov 1, 2018 /

I’m a fan of routine, some call me militant, I’d rather think of it as organised. Whatever. I think it’s good for the minis to know what’s coming next and it’s good for my mental state too. Therefore, when Millie was born, the first thing I was nervous about tackling was the bath and bedtime routine. I searched online and couldn’t find much about dealing with two such young kiddos at bathtime alone… cue mental breakdown.

I wish that I was one of those mums who gives their kids sporadic baths – it’s not that I don’t approve of it (all credit if you can get away with it), it’s just that my monkeys are always filthy by the evening regardless of how many wipes they’ve have forced on them throughout the day.  Additionally, I’ve found it’s a great way to attempt to calm some of the energy levels before bed (if they bottled and sold that stuff, I’d be a millionaire).

After some gradual tweaking, I’m now comfortable with doing our bath and bed routine alone whilst Dickie is at work. With Millie almost 7 months, I’ve just transitioned her to a supporting seat so that she can bathe alongside Bells… of course this now means that Bells now wants to shower, but I’m trying to discourage that for as long as possible.

So, here is how our busiest hour of the day goes…

6pm – As the bath is running, curtains are drawn (the neighbours are always suspicious of this), PJs are prepped and outfits for tomorrow are hung, OCD much? I get everything ready for post-bathtime to make things as smooth as possible, including nappies, medicine, nappy cream, hairbrush etc. This minimises post-bath naked time and therefore the risk of puddles.

6.10pm – Bells gets undressed and spends some time squeezing her tummy with nothing coming out on the potty whilst I undress Millie and pop her in the bath. Once Millie is in and playing with toys, I get Bells into the bath with her, at which point she’s guaranteed to pee.

I start by bathing Millie and washing her hair. As she has so little hair at the moment (another sore subject), I use JOHNSON’S Bedtime Wash on both her body and hair. I then let her play/suck on Bells toes whilst I get Bells cleaned up.

Given that she’s an independent lay-dee, I squeeze the Bedtime Wash into her hands (leaving her in charge resulted in a whole bottle being used in one go previously and not all in the bath, so I’ve learned my lesson since then) for her to wash her face and body. I then give her the toothbrush for her to brush her teeth/eat the toothpaste.

After a thorough rub-a-dub, I wash her hair with JOHNSON’S Shiny Drops Shampoo before applying the Shiny Drops Conditioner. Thankfully the No More Tears formula means that the bubbles which always end up in her eyes result in a verse of “bubble pop” rather than tears.

Finally, I apply the Conditioning Spray to tackle the inevitable tangles before giving it a good brush through (I’ve learned this is much easier done in the confined space of a bath than yet another game of ‘chase me’).

6.25pm With Bells squeaky clean, I turn my attention back to Millie, drying her off as I get her out of the bath before lying her on a warm blanket with a nappy under her bum (I learned that bit the hard way #weegate) before giving her a thorough massage with JOHNSON’S Bedtime Oil. I did a baby massage course which taught me all of the basics, but to be honest it’s just mainly round and round rubbing whilst pretending to know what I’m doing.

6.35pm Having completed Millie’s massage and dressed her, I pop her in her jumperoo with Baby Jake (the lesser of two evils when faced with Baby Shark) for 5 minutes as I get Bells ready. As it’s often me doing duo bath time, Bells doesn’t get a massage often any more, but when Dickie’s around, I try to throw one in for her as a treat. I figure anything more regular has the potential to increase her current diva status levels.

6.45pm Bells sits with me reading/watching stories (READ: watching the iPad) for 10 minutes as I give Millie milk before her bedtime. I usually get Millie off to sleep before story time for Bells, but if she’s not playing ball, I’ll curse under my breath and take her with me before attempting again afterwards.

6.55pm Millie is usually down for the night at this point and so Bells is read 3 stories in her bed. The first story she gets to choose, the second relates to her Gro Clock (in the hope she might sleep past 5am!) and the last is always Lion Inside which signals it’s time for sleep. The light goes out for her last story and she gives me a kiss and a cuddle before I leave her to send herself off to sleep for the night.

7pm I congratulate myself for surviving and keeping the children alive by pouring myself a glass of wine. And relaxxxxxxx.

Do you have a bedtime routine? How does yours go? I’m always looking for ways to improve our minute-by-minute schedule, so any tips and advice are welcomed. 

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