Happy Hamper!

We’ve had, as some of you know, an insane few weeks so we’ve not had chance or opportunity to get our teeth fully immersed into all the products but here’s a first look at some of the bits we’ve loved! Keep your eyes peeled on stories in the next few days/weeks where I’ll go into more depth on everything as we start using/wearing/playing!

First off… the important one in this household at the minute… SNACKS!

Kiddylicious

We love this brand! Almost as much as the kids do. They sent some of the products I hadn’t tried or seen before including their Little Bistro oat porridge which Casey has LOVED! I love how most of their products are ‘free from’ especially seeing first hand how it can be a struggle for parents to think of meal time opions with dietry requirments, let alone snacks!

Check out their Instagram for their top rated snacks and LOTS of competitions!


Penwizard

Penwizard sent a bedtime story for Casey, its absolutely, perfectly, personalised with tips and tricks for bedtime relaxation and routines for him and us. It’s so sweet! We got a Blaze one for Beaux this summer and its become one of her favourites. The personalisation is such a lovely touch!

You can use code HOLLY20 to get a little something off your own!

You can check out all their amazing books and personalisations on their instagram – http://bit.ly/2nXlSyv


img_0305Snuz

Snuz sent a gorgeous sleep suit for Casey, its an all year round one and as he’s now out of his beloved Sleephead, this is a great product to keep him snug and warm. It has a handy zip at the front for easy changing which will be great for the colder months while not having to get him completely out to change his nappy.

They have so many lovely designs and products on their Instagram – http://bit.ly/2wbf70H


img_0303Orchard Toys

We’ve loved this brand for a long time, Beaux plays with them a lot at nursery for group time and by choice during free play. We bought her a few of their other puzzles so she can continue the fun at home too but these ones are just great and perfect to get her brain working! Fun on her own or with a friend. I can’t recommend these enough!

Dinosaurs 2 Piece Puzzles (http://bit.ly/2B8WHlR), Superhero Lotto (http://bit.ly/2OvIj98), Llamas in Pyjamas (http://bit.ly/2BahOEl)

Their Instagram had lots of their products in action with fun quotes and competitions! – http://bit.ly/2MF63dT


img_0308Piccola

Piccola added a stunning wooden cooker for Beaux wrapped up in paper, it was a wonderful gift! All put together with screws, its very sturdy and small enough to transport to the grandparents! She already had some of their extras, including the wooden cupcake set. There’s just something really special about children playing with wooden toys.

You can use code Holly20 to get a discount on all their products!


Happyology

Happyology sent some wonderful clothes, such beautiful pieces! They’re so ‘on trend’ this summer and their pieces are such great quality! Beaux adores feeling girly in them as well as them being easy wearing and practical!

Check out all their lovely bits on their instagram – http://bit.ly/2ByF0fI


img_0304Cheeky Wipes

I often wonder realistically how many wet wipes get used in this house. They’re an absolute staple for cleaning anything and everything! It fills me with dread thinking what impact this product alone does to the environment. Cheeky wipes are a great guilt free way to keep babies bums fresh and clean as well as keeping our carbon footprint down. They also sent some reusable makeup wipes for me and I wont look back now I’ve used them!

Website- http://bit.ly/2LiErWY


img_0307Platypus Australia 

Sent this wonderful sun jacket which is perfect where we live as the garden has no shade! I feel more comfortable her playing outside for these last few days of summer with UPF50+ on, plus an extra layer while she has her last few visits to the splash park!

Their swimwear is just so perfect and durable, something that could with stand some serious playtime! Check out their beautiful Instagram – http://bit.ly/2BBGCpg

We also got sent these amazing Slipfree shoes which have actually become Beauxs house slippers now that the temperature has dropped and socks + wooden floors is an accident waiting to happen. Casey is wearing his as his transitional shoes before he’s fully walking and actually wore them for his first full day of nursery and everyone commented on what a wonderful idea it is to use them for that. His feet were protected while he explored outside and yet he was more stable inside while he tried walking around. Perfect!


img_0302

And lastly, Wedoble kindly sent this stunning set for Casey. It’s so so cute and can’t wait for an excuse to wear it!

Look out for stories to come where I’ll be showing the products in more detail as we get lots of use out of them!

Thank you again to these wonderful brands!

Hx

Wild One

Whether you’re having a birthday party, a wild party or a little less wild get together, I’ve devised a plan, how/where to/survival guide.

So firstly, big up yourself for actually wanting to spend time with other people, I know it can be hard at times! I adore the planning of it all but tend to have to have a little chat with myself at some point once the party starts because it’s all a bit much.

I’m always planning my next event, party, excuse to decorate the shit out of the house and our lives.

  • THEME. Always, always start with theme first. – Once you’ve got the theme down you can start exploring the basics. Party Pieces is my favourite place for that, they have literally any and every theme. From swans to Star Wars there’s really nothing they don’t cater for. It’s a great place to find the bulk bits too, the themed napkins, cutlery. The bits that work so well but lots of other websites haven’t thought of. It’s basically the party world’s answer for Toys R us. (I’m not paid to say this but every party we’ve had including Christmas and Halloween general fun was from there.)
  • INSPIRATION. Once you have a theme get on Pinterest, they always have incredible ideas and once you have your own idea on your take on it you can work out what else you’ll need.
  • DIY. I try to do as much DIY as I can too which saves money and gives it all a bit more… personality? HobbyCraft is my go to. Me and the glue gun are one.
  • EBAY. If you’re on a budget then getting certain things that don’t necessarily need the branding behind it you can save tonnes on Ebay. I will say you may need to get your bargain hunting skills on early as a lot of the bits will be from China and take weeks to turn up. Or like Beaux’s ‘Happy birthday’ balloons that were missing the ‘R’ and ‘D’…..
  • FOOD. If it’s a biggie, look into a hog roast. We did one for Casey’s baby shower as it was for a fair few people. It worked out great, £5 a head (we got part of the pig already cooked and prepared so the veggies didn’t have to endure it) and meant there was no hassle of someone hanging round the bbq we didn’t have (Damn you, Storm Katie) Cakes are always a hit but its all relative. For our house-warming/joint birthday party we just had a pile of donuts.
  • BOOZE. Aldi, BYOB!

I think that’s pretty much it. Give yourself time to set up so you’re not stressed and ENJOY!


And just like that, you were one…

 

Loads of you have asked about Casey’s birthday party so here’s a run down of the above specified…

I wanted blue theme initially and then as we had the ‘Hello World’ mint and rose gold themed baby shower for him, we incorporated the ‘Hooray’ and ‘Pick and mix” to it.

The majority was from Party pieces, including the giant blue balloons (actually my favourite items), balloon accessories and helium. Also the cutest garland that said “I am one” for his high chair. We also got lots of paper decorations, mint honey comb garlands lined the front of the house (we can’t have balloons as the horses coming by freak out). We had gold bits which we weren’t able to put up due to the wind but they’re ready for the next party.


Birthday Boy outfit

 

Casey’s One top was a custom order from the wonderful Kato Syrup and Salt – She’s helped design my ‘Be more Helen’ t shirt and I know she’s collaborated with a few Influencers. Her work ethic, efficiency and generally all round fucking angel on earth vibe is just incredible. If you don’t know her then get to know.


Budget decorations

 

The blue tree was just streamers from eBay, (kept the babies mesmerised for hours) like I said previously, the bits I wanted lots of and that I wasn’t fussed about branding/name on delivery van etc like the multicoloured bunting that lined the garden was from eBay/Hong Kong too. (its 80m and I ordered too for shits and gigs) It’s also waterproof so its staying up for a while!


Feature wall

The ‘1’ wall photos were prints I got from Cheerz, I think it was about £25 for 150 prints. The quality is insane (even on ‘Edited to fuck’ photos) and if you know me I’ve had 100’s of 1000’s of printed photos. – my room used to look like One Hour Photo. I got a box of their retro prints at Christmas and they’re so cute too! (Holly15 will give you a 15% discount till the end of the month) – I won’t make any money from it and when you get your order you’ll get the same code for friends or your next order!


Cake!

 

The cake was from a lovely lady from Instagram, Emily and she made what I asked for but so so much better. It was stunning! The 1 candle was Party pieces and the card topper was from another Instagram account handle Kiri. My mum as always made some cup cakes for her fans and we made biscuits for Beaux and her girls as well as everyone else, all bits for the biscuits was from Hobbycraft.

For the food & drink we provided basics and as money was tight we asked everyone to bring a dish and drink.


Entertainment

 

The entertainment was provided by my friend,  Carla’s Castles . This is the one we paid for. She’s a mum of two and one of the most hard-working people I know. She was actually a one man band with two side kicks for a few years so it’s great to see her succeeding. Her products are incredible, we’ve had at least one of her castles or soft play for every party and so reasonably priced. There are lots of add ons too, Scuttle bugs, baby sensory areas and things like party bags which we definitely forgot to do!

Enjoy your party planning and tag me in anything you get up to! x


Photos

 

(Beautiful humans, babies and puppies not available for purchase!)

If there’s anything I’ve not mentioned or linked then let me know!

Hx

**I’ve not been paid to say any of this. All opinions, as always, are my own**

Weanin15

I mean it was more like 15 weeks that it took, if not more! Casey took so much longer to wean and thats ok! I know we should never compare our child to another but its difficult, especially another one of your own as to you, that has been the norm.

Beaux was so ready to be weaned from 4 months just had a couple of spoonfuls of babyrice in the evenings and a puree pouch here and there and by six months she’d smashed back a couple of family size meals. But as with everything, I think she was just an exception to the rule.

when it came to Casey being of a similar age to what Beaux was, I was eager to try some new textures for him. ABSOLUTELY NOT. ABORT. ABORT. ABORT! I went with some sweet potato mash, not even a spoonful and he gagged, chundered and proceeded to throw up everything in his stomach! I retreated into a deflated ball questioning whether the timing was right for Beaux if this is how he was. But I had to, and still do, remind myself that every child really is different. Even if they’re both yours!

It got to 6 months and still the gag party was in full force. I couldn’t handle it. Every time I tried it again it was so stressful I’d get a beaded upper lip just preparing the food only to feel disheartened and upset that I was putting him through the trauma.

At 7 months we tried sweet potato again and I wizzed it up so much it was almost a liquid and he absolutely loved it! I introduced a different vegetable every week, and slowly lessened the “wizz”. By 9 months he was loving porridge and yogurts and toast, although he’s still a little sensitive and thats ok. The HV was pleased with his progress and by 10 months everything starts to fall into a place in terms of your confidence and comfort of things.

All I can say from my personal experiences is that, once again, there’s no real rule book when it comes to your children. I mean, of course there’s those silly rules of not giving your baby 3 raw eggs in a protein shake every morning, or chicken liver pate as a starter before a cheese fondue…Minor details! But it’s just common sense really, their stomachs are so pure and new its best to start bland and work up to a wild ‘Around the world in 80 flavours‘.

The whole weaning experience in a nut shell: If you think back to that time you nearly died after drinking 2 litres of Lambrini with vodka as a mixer and had your stomach pumped… Well thats how sensitive babies tummies are, so I always think about what I can handle when I’m hungover to absolute hell (other than a bath and a can of full fat coke), I think of bland things, anything mashed, little beige snacks, by 3pm I could probably handle something sweet,  and by 9 I could definitely smash up a large dominoes. BUT, you’ve got to work yourself up to that point or you’d probably do a lot of damage to the porcelain thrown.

And if that, ladies and gentlemen, isn’t the greatest metaphor for those weaning months then I don’t know what is… 

Take your time. Lots of smiles. If the smiles aren’t genuine then hold off a little longer. There is absolutely no rush. Milestones are simply a guide, you don’t lose mum points if your child isn’t on solids at the “SUGGESTED” time. Don’t listen to that Barbara twat in your NCT group who’s kid is eating smashed avo on buckwheat toast, sprinkled with crushed goji berries and bird feed with a knife and fork at 6 months on the dot while your child is painting by numbers with petit filous and Ella’s kitchen pouches.

Also fish fingers ARE a staple.

God speed!

Hx

Survival Guided

As we’re aproaching the 1 year mark for Casey/ parenting 2, I thought I’d do a little post about things that have helped, hindered and things we couldn’t live without. A survival guide if you will.

First off, top 5 essential purchases;

    1. SLEEPYHEAD Deluxe. The thought of £130 gives you a bit of a squeaky bum but its been our best, value for money, purchase in terms of use. Its only supposed to go up to 9 months so can seem quite off putting however if you just unclip the bottom it will see you till at least the one year mark which works out at about 35p a day. Ready made bed and familiar smells for when you’re travelling, or they have sleep overs. I can’t recommend it enough, although be warned, they dont tumbledry so it could be worth getting a spare cover (although they’re £80)! But so worth it if a family member wants to give money, Dan’s Nan gave us money so I was glad we put it towards something we’ve used every single day. It’s also helped the transition from moses basket to crib to cot. Thank you!  Sleepyhead
    2. MY FRIEND GOO. Just when you think you’ve cracked the new born phase, teething comes and kicks your smug derrière. With Beaux we had Sophie, the giraffe. She was amazing but was an awkward size and would constantly get dropped (if its your preferred teething toy they do harneces for her on Ebay). This time round we got Goo, he is light weight, made with natural rubber and being from an independent shop I knew I was helping a lovely lady, Jenna and her beautiful daughters Elfie and Flo. Shopping small is so rewarding as you know you really are making a difference to someone’s life. Jenna has just started selling clips for Goo too and bibs which are so beautiful. Goo is so user friendly and Casey had 8 teeth come through in his first year. 4 each time! Thank you! Cloudandcuckoo
    3. ALDI/CHEAP AF NAPPIES. I think we must have spent thousands on nappies for Beaux. We used to get them from Costco so always thought we were getting a good deal. We weren’t. I was always concerned of not looking like a cheapskate with nappies but actually, who gives a fuck?! Tesco do amazing deals on theirs too.

Actually, I don’t have any other essentials, everything else is just stuff and I could probably survive the year without them. But these three have been life savers!

Other things that are handy; Alcohol – essential somedays, Date nights, Grandparents, parks, caffeine and snacks, all the snacks!

Do’s and Dont’s

  •  Do whatever gets you through the day
  •  Don’t listen to twats
  •  Do listen to your own intuition. Your instincts are better than anyone elses
  •  Don’t google. Similar to when you google a symptom and it says you’ve got 45 seconds to live
  •  Do what makes you happy, there is no real rule book on how to raise babies. A happy mummy makes a happy baby so make time for what brings you joy – other than those little snot bags
  •  Don’t feel bad for making time for yourself. You fucking deserve it!
  •  Do make time for your friends, real ones though, ones you can message when you kids need an exorcism, ones that haven’t been forced upon you in a baby group
  •  Don’t worry if your friend group changes, you’ve changed. Some get it, some don’t
  •  Do stand your ground, pull up the drawbridge when you need to and make sure not to spend yourselves thin
  •  Don’t let anyone threaten your joy, doesn’t matter who it is. Don’t allow anyone to disrupt your peace. You’ve worked hard and endlessly to create your unit, not everyone deserves to be part of it. And that’s ok!

I’m pretty stoked to be doing a few blog posts coming up for brands I’ve loved, new brands I’ve discovered and products that I think you will love too. If this is something you might be interested in, keep your eyes peeled!

I think that’s about it from my pearls of wisdom! All I can say is do whatever gets you through the day, pick your battles and know that bribary and negotiation is an essential part of parenting. We’re all just doing our best so be kind to others and yourselves!

Hx

That mermaid lagoon

There are moments. Fleeting but they are there. All consuming. Suffocating.

Moments where you think, “nope, no, nahhhh. This isn’t for me. I cant do this. I’m not cut out for this, I didn’t sign up for this.”

We are made to feel we must spend all our time grateful, savour every “delicious” moment and put pressure on ourselves to make sure every moment is worthy of a filter and a caption on social media. Reality is, it’s not. And while I am forever grateful to be lucky enough to have children, lucky enough to have healthy children, we are all allowed to have brief moments where we want to leave our children out in the garden and hope that some sparkly green nymph takes them to the second star to the right.

The majority of time it’s not even them sparking our fantasies of the Mermaid Lagoon, it’s all the other bullshit life throws at us. They are wonderful and show us the magic and innocence of childhood. Often after just speaking to my three year old I can understand life a little better, a little easier. She shows me magic and true joy in almost everything. Yesterday our car tried killing us, again, and after 10 months of dealing with PTS and separation anxiety from a car accident, I think it tipped us over the edge. Me, because I’m tired of feeling paralysed by someone elses recklessness that caused the accident in the first place and Dan because he is the one trying to protect and provide for us while we are constantly dealt a shit hand.

There was a quote recently that sparked up a lot of opinions, from all points of the spectrum, about how we only have “18 delicious summers” with our children. For me, I would give anything to be back cartwheeling through sprinklers in our garden and making human whirlpools in the pool only worrying about how I could push bedtime back a bit later and realistically it was probably a lot less than 18 summers that were really spent being wild and carefree. Those memories are never far from my thoughts but right now I feel like this summer, this year, has passed me by, all the while knowing how treasured and how brief these summers/years are. I’ve spent my maternity leave trying to recover from being mentally fucked up, spent it not enjoying my time as a new mum and missing the forest for the trees for a culmination of reasons and unnecessary stresses. But life is meant to test us!

I often see parents who have their shit entirely together, but then on closer inspection, their children are older and able to enjoy summer for what it is, not a teething, irrational time where they’re marinating in a mixture of factor 50 and calpol. That mixed with being hotter than the hinges of hell and you can see why most will gladly wish this summer away.

But then realistically, what parent can actually say the first 3/4 years of parenting are easy, delicious and adored. There are moments, cherished for a life time, and then there’s that Mermaid Lagoon…

Hx

Eeeeasy cheesey sweet potateee

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potato (amount depending on your tribe)
  • Cheese (I used cheddar but Parmesan would’ve been better)
  • Salt & pepper

Optional; sour cream, chives, crispy bacon bits

Method

So somehow I’ve never, ever been able to get sweet potatoes right? I either steamed them till next Tuesday or I try and make fries in the over or I leave them too long and they burn to a crisp.

I completely winged (standard) this earlier and it was by far the best and quickest way to make a great potato situation in under 15 minutes. For all the family!

Stab up a sweet potato and wack it on a plate in the microwave for 7 minutes, turning once.

I put it on a chopping board to cut in half and then on each half cut almost all the way down into squares. I cut the ends off because they looked ugly but I’m sure leaving them on would make them stay in shape a little better.

I put a little butter in the grooves and seasoned (leave off the salt if it’s for the kids)

I put them in separate le creuset because the larger one was filled with fish fingers in prediction/preparation of them deciding it was a no from them.

I grilled them for around 3 minutes and then added cheese. Grilled for another 3 minutes. Cheesed. Parmesan would have worked better as cheddar is quite oily. Leave under grill till they’re the right amount of crispy.

Remove and plate up. I added courgette fries but a dollop of sour cream, crispy bacon bits and chives would have gone down an utter treat.

Naturally the kids hated it because of teething and jab fussiness. But I can vouch that they were stunning!

Hx

If you’re a bird, I’m a bird

So as I’m sure many of you are aware at the weekend we said goodbye to our family friend, Helen. She spent 3 of her 4 years with us in pure free range Bliss. She filled our life with love and while she wasn’t in our daily lives as much as a dog or cat, its taken losing her to realise that actually she was so very present in our family unit.

She spent her evenings in her two story wendy house – hard life –  and spent her days roaming the garden and surrounding fields. Her wings weren’t clipped so she could always escape danger and she was more loyal than most cats I know – she spent the morning in the playground of Beaux’s nursery the first day we had there.

She came inside when it was freezing and she ate sweetcorn ice lollies when it was hot and wherever we were, she wasn’t very far.

If you’ve ever thought about getting a chicken you absolutely should! Our intention is to re home some ex battery hens in the future, but for the meantime keep your eyes peeled for a little Helen tribute where we’ll be raising as much money as we can before we can help some hens find happiness here.

She gave us a wonderful and fulfilled few years and I hope we did the same for her and the same for more in the future.

Rest easy, Little Red Hen x

I think a lot of people find it hard to understand the grief of a pet, even harder to understand it of a chicken. But it is overwhelming and its almost indescribable as your relationship with that animal is very complex and unlike any other. It is made up of so many layers.

I’ve come to understand that actually when we are grieving the loss of a beloved pet, we are actually mourning several losses at the same time..

  • The loss of unconditional love: Our pets provide us with emotional responses that are uninhibited by concern for how their expression appears to others. Many of our human relationships aren’t that simple; they can be riddled with anxiety about rejection and other fears that often dictate how we behave and what we share. Our pets do not judge insecurity or imperfection. They are all-accepting in ways few humans can achieve.
  • The loss of a protégé: Having a pet is much like being a parent. We are responsible for another life and often go to great lengths to ensure our pet’s physical and emotional comfort. Numerous activities revolve around our animal companion’s needs. We hire pet walkers and sitters to provide our furry friend with company or exercise. We go to dog parks to enhance our pooch’s life with social activity. All are efforts to provide our charge with the best caretaking possible. Consequently, the loss of a pet can feel like the loss of a child.
  • The loss of a “life witness”: Not only do our animals provide us with their uninhibited emotional expression, but they also allow us to express parts of ourselves that we may never let other humans see. They observe our weaknesses, our victories, and move through years of our lives with us. During periods of upheaval, they often provide us with security, stability and comfort.
  • The loss of multiple relationships and routines: Each role that the pet occupied (e.g., friend, child, significant other) as well as each role that we as owners took on is a loss. We must say goodbye to feeding time, walking routes, and all the aspects that made up our practical routines. We must not only say goodbye to the physical activities, but to the reflexive way we called to our companion when we wanted comfort and love. These goodbyes all contribute to the time and patience needed to grieve the loss of a pet.
  • The loss of a primary companion: For some of us, our pet was our only social companion in the world. We may not have had any other close contacts, due perhaps to depression, anxiety, or a debilitating physical illness. We relied exclusively on our pet for support and love.

So while yes, an animal isn’t the same as losing a human companion, the grief is still there and still very real.

Sending all my love to those of you that have loved someone close.

Hx

//psychcentral.com/lib/grieving-the-loss-of-a-pet/

1988

As my close friends group enters the realms of 30, I thought I would begin my… decsent (?!) into my 30’s with 30 things I’ve learnt in almost 30 years Earth side.

That was way too many thirties. (yuck)
  1. Don’t worry so much. (LOLLLLL)
  2. Your childhood matters, but don’t let it control your adulthood.
  3. Being a parent is incredible. But life can still be incredible without children. It’s just a different kind of incredible.
  4. Forgive yourself and others. For the big things and even the little things, like your love for Filet o fish.
  5. Be happy with nothing.
  6. Don’t let a child shit in a Jumperoo.
  7. Your parents are human, too.
  8. Dairy and white wine are not my friend, unfortunately.
  9. Secondary school will always be awkward. For everyone. Cringing just thinking about it.
  10. Your opinion is not always wanted. Or needed. Especially when drunk.
  11. Most people are just trying their best.
  12. Soulmates happen.
  13. You will never look back on your life and think you spent too much time with your kids.
  14. Apparently there are people that eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full.
  15. What someone thinks of you doesn’t dictate your value.
  16. Ferngully will always be a right of passage, as will Dawson’s Creek.
  17. Listen to your grandparents.
  18. Take time out. Pull up the drawbridge, decompress and regroup.
  19. Be mindful and accountable for your actions, words and life decisions. – own that fringe fail.
  20. Speak your truth but know when to shut the fuck up.
  21. There is more than one way to do something.
  22. Don’t listen to Britney – Remove all things toxic from your life. Don’t even entertain it, regardless of who it is.
  23. Nothing in this life worth having comes easy.
  24. Google is not God.
  25. 2004 will always be one for the history books. – our last summer.
  26. Find someone that makes going to Aldi an adventure – you’ll need it for number 5.
  27. Sunsets will soothe the soul and calm a beating heart.
  28. If nothing changes nothing changes.
  29. Love each other even when you hate each other.
  30. Love always wins.

What life lessons would you add?

Hx

Freebird

This is a bit of a weird one. Stay with me.

It’s become evident that I am officially a self proclaimed ‘Baby induced social recluse’ (I need to copyright that)

Yesterday I made plans to see a friend at the end of this week and it made me realise that in this entire month, in this entire year, I’ve seen two friends. Obviously I’ve seen people on the school run, I’ve spoken to my friends most days, and seen people in the village, but I mean go-out-of-the-way-to-see-each-other friends. Partly because we’ve been a house of sickness the last week but also that’s life post baby, your life, their life, friend’s lives gets in the way, but if there was ever an invitation to give someone an easy way out of a friendship, a baby is just that – Trim the fat, no one needs that many ‘friends’.

I don’t need the violins out, it was just an observation. Since we moved here though (which seems to some as though its Middle Earth… considering its only 10 minutes further than our old house in Caversham) but the visits have decreased drastically – Although that was part of the attraction being out here. Already social recluses!

Babies/children seem to be have such an active social life these days, two parties a day some weekends. I can barely handle an adult one every 6 months considering my middle name used to be Pardy and if I wasn’t in the Turtle every night of the week then there was probably something seriously wrong – Like when I got kidney stones and retired from Mix cocktail bar. (RIP)… don’t get me wrong I still know how to minesweep in Revs. (this definitely happened a few months ago… N.B. – Do not minesweep in Revs)

I think we’re all just taught that when we have kids we must change and become ‘parents’. That involves changing your social circle, how you dress, behave and talk. I mean I have changed drastically and when I think back to my old self and my old thoughts I can barely recognise her. She is a stranger to me. But I changed in a way that I can keep another human alive, when before I could barely keep myself alive. However I look at so many parents and they literally have lost all sense of themselves as ‘Sophie’ or ‘wife’ and are now just ‘Mummy’ and while that is one of the greatest titles to be given, it shouldn’t define you, it should empower you… You pushed an 8lber out of the place nothing that big should be vacated! –  bigupyaself!

It’s so easy to lose sight of yourself at the beginning, who you were before or even the prospect that one day you might finally not be hormonally insane. That’s why having real friends that either have come out the other side in one piece to advise you that it doesn’t last forever, friends that are going through it with you “walking through the valley of the shadow of death” (so to speak) hand in hand or friends that can recall old nights out and remind you that you were that ‘free’ and while you have added responsibilities and accountability now you really are that person and will be that person again.

I mean, I’m not shy about saying that I flip the bird behind Beaux’s back on a regular occasion, but when I once mentioned to my nct group that at 4 months old she could be an arsehole and sometimes on what seemed to be on purpose, they looked at me like maybe didn’t deserve to have her. When they’d already made me feel like I was on TeenMumUK (at 26) and would forget to cc me into the emails of groups they were all going to. So for me, real friends that knew you before your nipples went black and probably saw them in their heyday are like gold when you’re feeling incredibly mentally and physically deflated.

Childhood is so very brief and the guilt or sadness you feel for who you once were or what you could be doing is so fleeting when you step back in the room and see all that you have in front you. Especially when I look around me now and all my friends are moving forward too, no one is doing what we used to, minus some crackheads, but no one has stayed the same. And while I think about the ones who are close to me all the time, I know that we are all forever moving forward, separately but together and when we do see each other we realise that we are already who we wanted to be and know that distance and time are just numbers. They don’t define us… Apart from those of us that turn 30 this year… that number is reeeeeal!

I guess this is a shout out to all the people I know were there for me, are there for me now and will always be… Soon you’ll be the suckers with life appendages, social life sponges and sleep teases while we are out of the woods and ‘free’ again. See you all on the other side, my loves.

“One day, all of us will get separated from each other; we will miss our conversations of everything and nothing; the dreams that we had. Days will pass by, months, years, until this contact becomes rare… One day our children will see our pictures and ask “Who are these people?” And we will smile with invisible tears because a heart is touched with a strong word and you will say: “It was them that I had the best days of my life with.”

Hx

Six months of Coops

As I’m pretty sure every parents says it and I am being constantly reminded recently, the time is just flying by. Casey has changed SO much already in his first 6 months, much like my love for him. My love for him is as deep as it is wide, I fall in love with his generous smiles, more and more everyday. We had a rough start and it was a challenging time dealing with severe separation anxiety after recovering from a car accident, along with a lot of other factors, while trying to welcome a second baby into our already well established unit. But as I slowly came out the other side my love has grown ferociously. I knew there was the ability to love a second child as much as the first but I don’t think I was prepared for the capacity in which it floods your soul.

My love for Beaux has also grown tenfold from the way she must always know where he is, have a part of her body touching his when we’re sat together and always asking after him when she’s been away for a period of time. Her generosity and how she’s welcomed him with open arms and an open heart has mine bursting at the seams. (She said she wanted to share her birthday with him and he could have some of her presents and balloons because that is what you do when you love someone, you share what you have) – no you’re crying.

My heart floods with love every time I look at him. Maybe its a Mother-son thing, but the way he smiles and kicks his legs when he sees me like an excited frog that’s just found his feet killlllls me. Believe me, that four-month sleep regression nearly broke me but there really is no coffee that can awaken your heart like those gummy, old man smiles.

My boy B

He’s always been a very chilled baby right from the beginning, and already has the sweetest little mannerisms; that little smile he does with his tongue out genuinely does things to my heart, I can almost hear it crumbling.

Morning Bliss

At six months Casey LOVES his jumperoo, he gets so into the bouncing he then loses it and has to centre himself again. It’s hilarious to watch. He likes to sit upright with us and doesn’t particularly like being flat but he’s very good at the arched back when he’s had enough. His back is SO strong its a struggle to try to keep him sat up as he just straightens up and pulls himself up to standing. He finds sheer delight in being naked though, when he gets fussy and I’ve tried everything we get him naked and like Mary Poppins, we get his sunny attitude shining through again.

I love watching his face light up when he sees Daddy or hears his voice, and the way he gazes up at his big sister so adoringly , always interested in whatever Beaux is up to. Unsurprisingly she was the first one to get him to do the full belly roll laugh which was, as you can imagine, utter joy. They are constantly giggling together and often Casey will just look at her and smile in adoration. If ever you were unsure of having another child, that very look will give you absolute reassurance that it was the right thing to do. They are definitely both old souls and when I see them having secret conversations I imagine they’re both recalling another time.

“And I’d chose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d chose you.”

He started having purées a few weeks ago as he was still starving after bottle feeds and had been feeding every two hours during the nights most days so where I’ve felt appropriate, he’s had small portions of age appropriate foods and has since had far less disturbed sleeps.

Oh the irony. And the rolls!

Which brings me onto every mums favourite subject – sleep. I guess that’s all most people seem to care/worry/compete about. Well to be honest, it can vary day-to-day. Some nights he’ll feed 3 times, some nights he’ll just need turning and some, well few, he’ll sleep all the way through. Let’s just say we won’t be winning any competitions anytime soon.

Sleeping mancub

Which leads me on to routine. Yes routine is important. Tiny humans work best when they know what to expect and when, however if that routine doesn’t coincide with them/you that day then it can make for a very frustrated baby and mama. Mostly, he’s alert and ready for the day about 8am, needs a fairly decent nap from 11-1 but then will need another one about 4 then bed at around 8. But if he’s had an unsettled night or his sisters kindly given him her cold I can’t expect to stick to the exact routine the next day.. unless you’re Gina Ford and hate children.. who also doesn’t have a child for her point of reference.

Beaux had even less routine than Casey does, which served her so well for nursery and being looked after by others. A happy baby is a happy life. So while we aren’t structuring our day around meal times just yet and as long as he is ready for bed by 8pm, he sleeps when he’s tired and eats when he’s hungry. That way he’ll be rested and fed enough to last the night, making for one very happy well slept baby! Which is essential as he starts to explore the world even more. He’ll soon be in nursery and I don’t want to be that mum that’s day is utterly ruined and everyone’s been thrown off keel, pulling teeth because baby didn’t sleep from 1:45 – 2:05. I’m just not that structured and need to live life. There may be an emergency trip to McDonald’s at noon, so if baby sleeps in the car half an hour early I don’t want to have to regret my beige food choices for the rest of the week.

Some days I still can’t quite believe that he is actually here after what felt like 265 months of pregnancy. And then I realise that so soon he’ll have been out of my tummy longer than he was in.

I feel so incredibly lucky to be his mummy.

The boy who stole my heart

I just can’t get enough of him – he changes everyday and is developing such an amazing personality, I can’t wait to see his similarities and differences to his sister. And I can’t, for love nor money, stop kissing his irresistible cheeks. He really was the missing piece to this family and he is so loved by everyone, mostly Beaux.

Motherhood is a way of seeing magic in the world that you might otherwise be blind to. A world that so often can be ruthless and cruel. Children’s innocence really is something that makes the world go round, it’s something we could all do more of. I feel so privileged to be able to look at the world through their eyes, and see love and joy in everything.

His happiness every morning waking up to us and being so happy just to be alive is something magical in itself.

Hx

Casey Cooper Bliss