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

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

2017- another year around the sun.

Sorry its two weeks late! I’ve been up to my nuts in all things unicorn mentally preparing myself for a 3rd birthday… Finally finished this.

2017 was an interesting one, a fucking long one considering I was pregnant for about 17 months of it. Although I seemed to have blinked and missed it all. 🤔

I barely remember being pregnant, however everyone that was around me will vividly recall how I despised everything of everyday. – Considering I had an absolutely blessed pregnancy for the second time, I feel I probably took the piss a bit. Second time round there’s minimal enjoyment or time to compare your little foetus to fruit and veg. Plus you know what’s coming, or at least you think you do, then the night feeds and zero neck control hits you like a sack of newborn-tar-shit. Second time round it’s really just about getting through the day and keeping everyone alive.

I’m ready for a year of not being pregnant, because this is a biggie for me and all my friends turning 30, so it’s an excellent time to not be pregnant. Listen to my words, BabyGods – notice the emphasis!
Ready to wear things that don’t resemble tents, but at the rate I’m going on the #cheesegate front I may just have to crack back into the maternity box. (that’s waiting for a vulnerable, hormonal pregger to buy off my Depop – not awaiting the next incubation!)

Plus a heatwave would be welcomed in 2018, as long as I’m not 486 weeks pregnant this time.

Here’s just a few of my faves from 2017.

The last few days with my 1 year old
Beaux’s 2nd birthday – cake at 6am before work/nursery definitely sets the day up right.
Cat party with Frank and Bev.
The utter sigh of relief when you see their little body after spending the half an hour in the waiting room working yourself up that you were in actual fact having a phantom pregnancy and the whole thing was a lie.
‘Is it summer yet?’ The classic ‘coming soon’ post.
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These two
The last time. Beaux’s last sink bath
The first walk of the year. Tried to ‘stay active’ during this pregnancy.. even though I was working 9/10 hour shifts a day.
It’s a BOY!
Loving Helen all year.
Always
Quenching that pregnancy craving.
Beaux clearly thrilled about my ever growing bump
CRACKED POTTY TRAINING IN ONE GO soznotsozforthesmugness
Did a 4.5 hour drive to Cornwall solo with this one and survived. Although we listened to Frozen soundtrack the.whole.way.home.
Went for an innocent day out that turned out to be one of the fucking hottest days of the year and stupidly we decided to pick strawberries in a greenhouse.
Literally got to the point I had to hold my bump up.
A day in the gardening swimming, with Dan showing the benefits of sunscreen
The actual hottest day of the year, 35 degrees and about 75 months pregnant.
Baby shower of dreams
Brunching with the Babe Bliss
10 mins before my waters broke I got the weirdest feeling so went and sat with B and took a photo thinking this might be the last time its just us.
img_3069
Casey Cooper Bliss 28/07/17 – 15:02 – 6lb7 The cub
He was so tiny!
Breastfeeding her baby
Bee met Bear!
Love
More love
“Never a dull moment”
Love
London
Those cheeks
CoseyCub
That just about sums up the last few months of 2017
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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
img_3833
Watching these two fall in love with each other more every day
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img_3835
Caseys first night in his own room!
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All got a bit much for him Christmas morning
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1st Christmas as 4!
img_3838
Nonnys 90th Christmas and Nanny made a light up gingerbread house of dreams!
img_3839
Lads
img_3840
The boy

 

And thats basically every photo in my camera roll. JK there’s currently 9k+

Wishing you all a year filled with love and all the best ones.

Hx

 

 

 

Minty fresh

This will never not be funny

Um, Original Source… can we talk?

I’d like to take you back to around 6.45am this morning, when I stepped into my bath, and found that my usual, rather innocuous bottle of shower gel (Waitrose essentials, Rose) had run out. A tad irritating, but fortuitously, I had a solution close to hand. A brand new, unopened bottle of your very own Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel. My bodily cleanliness was assured once more. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I took the Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel and began to work it into a lather. I applied it to first one leg, then the other, and shaved them diligently. (Yes, feel free to be impressed at my commitment to body defoliation at 6.45am on a Wednesday morning. I was too.) So far, so good.

I washed my arms and shaved underneath them. I washed my neck, breasts, stomach and back. Thus far, it had been a positively first class bathing experience.

And then.

AND THEN.

Oh. Dear. God.

MY VAGINA WAS ABLAZE.

For a moment, I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened. Had I repeated the never to be forgotten error when I managed to apply hair removal cream which was strictly not for front bottoms to my front bottom? Had a stray spark inadvertently set light to my pubic thatch?

BECAUSE IT FUCKING FELT LIKE IT.

Yes, Original Source, your innocuous looking green bottle of so called shower gel, it turns out, is an absolute fucking liability. MY FLAPS WERE ON FUCKING FIRE. I had a quick look at the ingredients list to see if it contained gasoline. It did not. There was a warning though. ‘KEEP AWAY FROM EYES.’ Keep away from eyes? KEEP AWAY FROM EYES? Frankly, my eyes were the least of my problems right now.

I frantically scrubbed my flaps, which by now felt as though they were being ceremoniously scrubbed by ants wearing ice skates laced with chilli sauce. ‘7,929 tingling leaves’ claimed the front of the bottle. Tingling? TINGLING? This wasn’t tingling my minge. It was starting a fucking bush fire down there. (Pun entirely intended. You can thank me later.)

Some twelve hours later, my front bottom has finally calmed down, though may well be suffering from as yet unconfirmed PTSD. My eyes have eventually stopped watering. And so, in the interests of public safety, I thought I would pen you this missive.

May I suggest a rebranding of the front of your bottles of Mint and Tea Tree Shower Gel? Something along the lines of the following:

‘7,927 tingling leaves which will accost your genitalia until it screams for mercy.’

If nothing else, it will certainly stand out on the shelf.

Anyways, thanks for brightening up my morning. And my front bottom, which has never been so lively.

Kisses, IKINTST xxx

Well done http://www.instagram.com/laucapon

Absolute write off.

Sorry I’m busy not being busy.

When I thought about bringing Casey home from hospital, I thought about the freedom and time I’d have to spend with him. I’d cut down Beaux’s nursery days by half to spend more time with her too and make up for the nine months I worked solidly while pregnant and spending the time we had together trying to recover from my energy sapping work days while carrying a human parasite. It can’t have been easy and I was ready to make it up to her.

Dan went back to work and I actually felt like I’d been handed a sweet deal. Second time round is a breeze in comparison to the first. You’ve got your shit relatively together, you feel like a baby whisperer (even though Casey spoke any language other than the one we’d learnt with Beaux) the house wasn’t a complete baby death trap and we were a little less thrown in the deep end, with cement blocks on our feet, like you are with your first.

Just shy of 6 weeks in and I was venturing out on my own (just with Casey – fxxk risking a 2-child-meltdown in public when you’ve only just gotten over the uncontrollable, unpredicatable, hormonal outbursts yourself)

I’d offered my services to a close friend to make her a flower crown and some other cute baby shower bits and at that point of juggling two kids and life I thought I was a mixture of Mary Poppins and Kirsty Allsopp so naturally, I headed to Hobby Craft to grab myself a glue gun and fuck shit up.

As we got closer to home I stopped to turn onto our road from the main road (aptly names ’13 bends of death’) a car went from roughly national speed limit, with about 3 foot of breaking into the back of us.

Thankfully it was a smart car (covered in astroturf which was a lol explaining to insurance companies and solicitors) so he managed to completely miss the crash bar and go right under the car, rather than completely throw us into oncoming traffic the other side of the road. Also due to the make of the car and the engine being in the boot he kept his legs which was another win.

And thanks to my ‘fxxk-taking-two-kids-out-solo-just-yet’ attitude, Beaux was at nursery and didn’t take the brunt of the impact emotionally or physically.

Casey was so preserved by the carseat he wouldn’t have felt much other than shock, (although the car had been so shunted I couldn’t open his door) but paramedics assessed him at the scene and said it would be best to go home and monitor him in his usual environment.

The adrenaline f*cked my shit up and while I showed no signs of anything at the time, I proceeded to vomit every day for two weeks and by the end of the first week I’d lost sensation in my arm and hands. CT and x-ray were clear and it was diagnosed as muscle spasms in my neck pinching my nerves causing loss of feeling – just what you need while changing 928391274012984 new born nappies a day. Also poppers – fuck you.

Fast forward to 2.5 months later, I’ve had to have physio 2/3 times a week, hours upon hours away from my children after having this dreamy plan of being with them like I was supposed to and now being crippled with anxiety.

Anxiety that I could’ve done more, anxiety driving, anxiety that I had to stop BFing, anxiety to take the medication I was prescribed, anxiety eating, anxiety thinking about having to go out, anxiety sleeping, anxiety of having to get help which would lead to more time away from my children. It’s ruined birthdays, nights out, missed weddings, missed appointments, missed out. There’s only so many excuses you can make up before you start looking like a dickhead.

The car was replaced and no one was hurt badly but all this time I’ve missed can’t and while my kids drive me insane I’d give anything to not have had this start to our journey together.

Although its catapulted me entirely away from any form of baby blues, after much anxiety, cold calling the surgery and cancelling appointment after appointment, I got diagnosed with ‘postpartum maternal separation anxiety’ and it is an absolute b*tch! I’m hopeful that I’ll see the sunshine soon, but currently my days are as grey as they are long.

Hoping to get my shit together soon.

Hx

Warm fuzzy Bliss

So I figured as I’m currently in the ‘warm fuzzy’ point of the day, where I’ve just put my eldest to bed and she’s voluntarily kissed my forehead telling me she loves me more than the world, that right now is a better place to start than any.

(Although it could just be the glass of bubbles I’ve just poured…)

Motherhood is tough, it really isn’t for sissies and you need to be thick skinned – mostly, I’ve learnt, for the moments I’ve been faced with recently like when my 2.5 year old has told me she doesn’t want to be my best friend ever again or that once again, Daddy is flavour of the moment for both of them!

In all fairness, Daddy is always flavour of the moment. They’re his kryptonite and one look from them seems to ignite an irrational emotion in him that has been completely absent till now – Tears from just looking at our sons tiny hand or after he’s put our daughter to bed and she’s been heart wrenchingly cute. So obviously his threats are empty as he gives in to their every whim. It really is true what they say, girls wrap their Daddys around their little fingers. Although in this case, even our sons fingers are causing him to surrender into a ball of warm, fuzzy Bliss.

Meanwhile I’m bad cop for even implying that our daughter can’t go to bed wearing a dress she’s been wearing all day. Daddy put her to bed so naturally when I went to check on her she had it on under her pyjamas.. and that right their is his answer for ‘negotiation’ something essential in all parenting journeys.

And so I think I’ll end it there, before the warm fuzz wears off thinking of what impractical choice of nightwear she’ll be in tomorrow night. 😅

cheers 🥂,

H x

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