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

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

Miscellaneous greatness

I have no idea what the fuck to call this?

I basically had a few bits to use up in he fridge and sort of just winged it… no change there then.

It’s essentially a twist of meatballs with chicken meatballs instead with a twist on the el Classico.

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Just stay with me on this. I didn’t even take photos because I wasn’t expecting much till I tasted at the end and blew my own mind!

You will need:

  • Chicken meatballs/pre made were what we had but if you’re a culinary wizard then smash them out ya self!
  • Passata sauce
  • Worcester sauce (the tits in every meal)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Spaglehettiiiii
  • Garlic

Soooo, we all know where this is going, although this time I didn’t even follow a recipe so the winging was real. (I also expected it to be beef meatballs when I got them out the freezer yesterday so this all came to me like a vision in white.)

Method:

  • In a large frying pan heat oil, finely chopped onion (to the point its pulverised if your other half had an aversion to it and used less than half of one), garlic and salt (if it’s not for the kiddies)
  • Finely chop 2 celery stalks and add
  • Finely chop mushrooms and do the same (I used 2 and again, pulverising was essential)
  • Add the chicken balls, we had a 12 pack and it made 3 big meals (once they were almost fully cooked I quartered them so they were less offensive)
  • Add enough passata to get them swimming, not drowning and add a cup of water
  • Add Worcester sauce, I’d add gallons if I could but you do you
  • Get the spaghetti on
  • Let it simmer and add some pasta if it looks a bit dense. (I let it simmer for about half an hour- 45 mins to get even more flavour)
  • In the last 5 mins add spinach
  • Serve with lashings of cheese if you fancy. Of course you fancy! (Some mozzarella would have gone down an absolute treeeat!)

Beaux loved helping again chopping the mushrooms, breaking up the celery and sprinkling the spinach (could have used basil) we went on a massive walk and got an onion on the way so coming in from the chilly afternoon this was very warmly welcomed! (I did have to go over all the chopping to get it really fine but it was great to get her involved!)

I mean, I’m not sure how much Play Doh she ate with it, but it was a hit! I thought about adding a red pepper we needed to use up but I didn’t think the flavours would gel. Again you could mix up the meat/veg or even pasta type, essentially making it a completely different fucking meal 🤣

Enjoy!

Hx

Simple salmon!

Probably one of the easiest, quickest meals we’ve done, and so great for little ones.

There wasn’t much to do so prep wise so we played with maths and expressive arts & design (just ticking that one off the EYFS)

You will need:

  • Two fillets of salmon
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes on vine
  • Foil
  • Schwartz hollandaise sauce (because I have zero time for the whisking malarkey)

(I’m going to reiterate portion sizes are your preference but I’ll show you what we used for ours)

Sprinkle the magic leaves
  • Lay out tin foil and place salmon fillet in the middle, add spinach and 3 asparagus spears (break stalk off where it bends) can leave whole or break in pieces.
Food art
  • This is where Beaux counted out her spinach leaves and asparagus, she also made a picture with her food pretending the leaves were other fish and the spears were the sea bed and used her imagination sprinkling the leaves like “magic”.
  • Once we’d got all the ingredients placed nicely together, we wrapped it up in the foil and placed it in the over. No idea on heat as our gage is buggered but it was in for about 20 mins on med-high. (But you can check after a period by breaking up the salmon and seeing if it’s cooked through)
  • In the last 5 minutes we added a vine of tomatoes under the grill, we counted how many were attached before they went in.
  • We followed the instructions for the hollandaise and the plated everything together, removing the salmon skin and vine before they went on the plate.

We usually pan fry the salmon so it was such a nice change to texture and taste and something we will definitely chose over frying more often in the future. Again, you could change up the veg/sauce depending on preference. Parsley sauce would be lush!

Hx

Mushroom Risotto

This one was loads of fun as it involves lots of stirring (witch brews, magic potions, cake mix) as well as cutting, breaking and sprinkling to work in all those fine motor skills.

Professional mixer

You will need:

  • Risotto rice
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Vegetable stock
  • Parmesan
  • Butter
  • Garlic

(I’ll give you the measurements we used, we roughly followed the BBC goodfood (another classic). Also add wine or chicken if you want/have any)

Method:

  • Heat oil and add onion and garlic, fry until softened
  • Add the cut up mushrooms and fry until browned and add spinach and asparagus  (I got Beaux to use her child knife and cut up the mushrooms, break up the asparagus and sprinkle in the spinach)

 

  • Stir in rice and coat in the oil till glossy then slowly add stock and simmer, stirring while you go until liquid is absorbed. Continue till all liquid is absorbed and the rice is silky and tender (we used 1.2l of hot veg stock)
  • Add a little butter, salt/ pepper for adults and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.(Beauxs favourite part was definitely the cheese!)

I never realised how simple this is to make but after smashing it I felt like a Hells Kitchen survivor! Now I’ve got to grips with the basics we will definitely be varying it! It’s definitely a great was to get a decent meal out of the strays you need to use up in the fridge/freezer. – Ideal end-of-the-month meal.

Obviously she then realised she had to eat what turned out not to be “cake mix”

Hx

Chunky fish – Wrap battle!

This is BY FAR one of my favourite meals we’ve made together. Beaux has got completely obsessed with cooking recently and this is a great one to get tiny humans involved in. Also it helps that they chose what they eat so it hopefully assures you they’ll eat everything on their plate.

My portions are never really followed to the book, mostly because looking back and forth at a page or screen kills my creative vibe. I roughly followed this recipe off the bbc goodfood website, but you could just wing it with ease!

You will need:

  • Plain flour
  • Breadcrumbs (we used golden breadcrumbs in alliance with the bearded captain)
  • 2 Eggs (the recipe said 3, we used two and that was plenty)
  • 2 fillets of white sustainable fish (we used cod – obviously depending on how much you want to make adjust the portion sizes – 2 fillets was enough for 4 wraps and 5 fingers frozen)
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Fillings – we used tomato, avocado and cucumber (again I’m leaving portion size and preference to you and your tribe)
  • Garlic mayo – garlic purée and mayo (same as above, but that was all we had)

Method:

You’ll need to set up two prep stations, this was the part Beaux loved most.

The first one for the fingers.

Fish prep station
  • Cut the fish into… fingers, we made a few a little chunkier.
  • Get a plate of flour, beaten eggs in a bowl (Beaux’s forte) a plate of breadcrumbs and a bowl/plate for the ready fingers. (Bear in mind you may need more flour/crumbs after awhile)
“Roll him in snow, bath him in the eggs, roll him in the sand to dry him up”
  • Cover fish in flour completely – ‘give them a bath’ (fully immersed), roll in the crumbs and then lay to rest.
  • Place in pan of oil, a good glug will do. Once they’re browned on each side (compare them to the golden originals if necessary.) Lay to rest on kitchen roll to remove excess oil)
  • While this was going on Beaux was at the other prep station
Filling prep station/garlic mayo tasting
  • I got her to mix the mayo and mash the avo which she loved! – and loved tasting to make sure it was ok.
If you don’t eat the corners of a wrap while you wait are you even hungry?
  • Lay it all out, testing the wrap while you wait… and let them load it up so you know it’ll be a hit

Et voila! A very happy last lunch for the 2 year old!

In her happy place… Lets take a minute to look at Casey waiting for his!

 

I could only manage 1.5 wraps but she had 3! We put the rest in a Tupperware to freeze and she requested them the next day! You could definitely mix it up with chicken which will be our next wrap battle!

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.
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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
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Watching these two fall in love with each other more every day
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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!
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Nonnys 90th Christmas and Nanny made a light up gingerbread house of dreams!
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Lads
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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

 

 

 

The Last Time

“I am your parent, you are my child. I am your quiet place, you are my wild.”

My darling girl has her first nativity today. This is it, this is the beginning of the ‘letting go’ process and I’m just not as ready as I thought I’d be to let my baby grow up.

I swear it was yesterday that I was the centre of her world and we were playing mermaids in the bath before she’d even learnt words. Now her world has broadened its horizons, her independence is showing its face more everyday and she’s ready to jump into this life confidently with every atom of her being, and while I love her fierce little ways, I wonder and hope that the world is ready and kind to her.

In the meantime I’ll hold on to these next few years with gritted teeth while I learn to slowly let my mermaid go.

(God help me on her first day of school.)

*UPDATE*  It’s ok guys, she absolutely bottled it and spent most of the first half on my lap sobbing… But then if you haven’t boo’ed for the majority of a nativity at least once did you even have a childhood?! – Guess she’s still my baby for now. ❤️

——

My darling bumblebee, you are the sun. ❤️

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before, 
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

But don’t forget …You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-Author Unknown-