Sparkles & Stretchmarks: A UK Parenting & Pregnancy Blog

Monday, 25 July 2016

Summer Days

 I've admitted before that I'm really not the biggest fan of summer.

I'm one of those people who has a moan when the days are getting hot, grumbling about how I'd rather be too cold than too hot and all the rest of it - I can't help it, I'm a deathly pale person who burns to a crisp as soon as they step into the sun and so sunbathing has never been an option for me (I've frazzled whilst wearing factor 50 before!) - I hate the feeling of being too hot and breathing in warm air makes me feel all claustrophobic and flustered, even if I'm outside!

Add in all of the flies and bugs, the pressure to get outside and "enjoy it", the sticky fingers from all the sun lotion you need to slather on the kids, the stress of trying to get TWO babies to keep their hats on at once and the fact that my children point blank refuse to sleep in the heat - and there in a nutshell you have why I'm more of a Winter girl!

But my eldest doesn't share my views - he loves nothing more than sunny days and being outside, and so when I heard that we were due the hottest day of the year I decided I needed to - for his sake - force myself to get involved in a bit of Summer Fun.

I ordered the funnest looking paddling pool I could find (Much to the delight of Jon who had to blow it up by mouth because I forgot to order a pump!), a hosepipe and a gazebo and the next day we were all set.

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Benefits Of Skin To Skin

This is a paid advertorial for Water Wipes

When my first son was born, I hadn't heard much about the benefits of skin to skin contact and so it wasn't something that I enquired about at the birth .

It was only afterwards, when I started to read parenting magazines and take part in parent forum chats, that I came to be aware of what skin to skin is and it's importance.

When my second child was born, I made sure I wrote in my birth notes that I wanted to have skin to skin contact with him as soon as possible - when a c section delivery takes place, often it can be a struggle to get skin to skin immediately as there are wires in the way and the mums position on the operating table can make things difficult - but reading up on natural c section deliveries meant I knew it was possible to accommodate my wishes, and I'm so glad.

Those first moments of skin to skin bonding with your child after 9 long months of pregnancy are some of the most special moments of your life.

WaterWipes have put together a very interesting video showing the benefits of skin to skin contact, which actually brought a tear to my eye - you can watch the video below:

I personally found the calming effects most prevalent with my third child - Sailor was the kind of baby who never wanted to be put down for a moment, and would seem to always be upset unless he was physically on me. But whenever I took the time to strip him down to his nappy and spend some time doing skin to skin with him, he would calm down immediately.

During that time we were having issues with Sailor's tongue tie, and I was expressing breast milk almost constantly to try to keep up with his needs - expressing exclusively proved difficult but a nurse advised me to try skin to skin before a pumping session to increase my milk production - I thought it sounded like a load of hippy nonsense but I was shocked to find that she was completely right - my production increased dramatically by spending 10 minutes having skin to skin with Sailor before pumping.

It shows that a womans body really is an amazing and quite magical thing.

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Noah at 15 Months Old

Dear Noah,

You are now 15 months old and, as sad as it is to admit it, you are no longer a baby - every single day you grow and change and become more and more like a little boy, and leave that babyness behind you.

I wish you'd slow down a little sometimes - you seem to think you're so much older than you actually are and are in such a hurry to do all of the things that your big brother can do, but I'd love to keep you as my little baby for a little longer!

Having said that, I have to admit - the stage you're at now is my favourite!! I loved this age with Tyne and I'm loving it all over again with you - everything is new and exciting to you, your personality is coming out so much and you are just so much FUN!

You're wearing 12-18 month clothing which has PLENTY of room left so no sign of moving into bigger sizes yet and you're in size 5 nappies.

Your hair is getting SO long at the back but still so short and whispy on top so I can't do anything at all with it at the moment, it's at that "scruffy" stage all babies seem to go through around now! The colour is baffling me though - the top is sometimes an auburn colour and sometimes very red but the back has SO MANY different colours through it - you have a stripe through the middle of pure white like Tyne's hair colour, and the rest has all sorts of different high and low lights!! I have no idea what colour its going to end up...but I sort of hope that white stripe disappears as it looks quite odd! Its a quirk though, right?!

Your Personality

You are VERY mischievous - I mentioned in your 1 year update that we call you Danger Baby and we still do, we've fitted stairgates everywhere now to contain you but you take them as a challenge and try your best to scale them anyway! Lately you've been desperately trying to climb out of your cot and it's quite scary how close you come to succeeding!!!

You have the most cheeky, impish little grin I've ever seen and you love to pull your "Funny face" at everybody, pull tongues and generally be really really cheeky!

You follow your big brother around constantly, trying to play with him and you LOVE to wrestle with him by basically throwing yourself on top of him and laughing your head off as he tries to escape from you!

You are very much the opposite with your little brother though - you're so gentle and attentive with him, always going to find his dummy when he cries or trying to give him a cuddle and say "aaaah baba".

This month you went on your first fairground ride - just a merry go round in a little car with your big cousin Amelie but you LOVED it and were so excited to be part of the big kid crowd on the rides!!!


You LOVE your food at the moment and there's very little that you won't eat - although you have recently decided that you hate eggs! (Can't blame you, I hate them too!) 

Your favourite things to eat are blueberries, strawberries, watermelon, breadsticks, cheese, mummys homemade macaroni cheese, mummys baked risotto and pizza muffins! You also love ANYTHING thats on mummys plate - that is always the best food!!

You are doing amazingly well at feeding yourself - you insist on having a fork like Tyne does and you actually use it better than him - you are fiercely independent.


You are still the best sleeper of all of the boys, and are by far the "easiest" one when it comes to bedtime and naps.

You did refuse a nap for the first time a few weeks ago but thankfully it was a one off! Every day you have a nap after lunch which usually lasts around 2 hours.

You go to bed at 7.30 every evening, and don't make any fuss - you have a 9oz bottle of warm milk but lately you've only been drinking about a quarter of it, you have a little cuddle and sometimes a little story and then you are popped into your cot with your sleep sheep on and left alone - and you go off to sleep with no troubles at all.

You usually sleep straight through until around 8am with no problems at all (I wish your big brother did!)

Things You Do

You HATE having your nappy changed and you thrash around and SCREAM at the top of your lungs whenever we have to do it...which is fun! Much the same when its time to get out of the bath and get dried and dressed!

You are saying more and more little words all the time - a few nights ago your teeth were bothering you at night so I brought you downstairs for some rare one-on-one time, and as you cuddled in next to me to watch In The Night Garden you started pointing at photos and reeling off everybodys names...

You said, as clear as day, "Mumma! Dad-dad! Ty. Say. Nan-nan. Ga-ga"...I was shocked as I had NO idea you could say all of those names so well! You also said your own name perfectly!

Another new word to your vocabulary is "OUT!" which is SHOUTED at me as soon as you've finished your dinner and you want out of your booster yell at the top of your lungs "MUMMA! OUT! OUT! MUMMA OUT!" haven't been blessed with patience!

You can also say "Bath" and "Car" perfectly clearly.

And finally, the biggest change has been that - after WEEKS of walking holding our fingers (just one finger...meaning you were perfectly capable of doing it alone but were just afraid to!) - last month you took your first steps alone!!

You were SO proud of yourself!

You're walking everywhere now and hardly ever crawl anymore, you love trying to chase after your big brother.

Well that's all for now Noo-Noo - I can't wait to see how much you've changed by your 18 month update!
We love you so much.

Lots Of Love,

Mummy xxx 

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I'm Sorry If I Rushed You

To My Big Boy,

I hate that I call you that now...because you're not a big boy at all.

You're only 3 years're little more than a baby....but when you're suddenly catapulted to the rank of Oldest Of 3 Boys it seems as though that's what everybody starts to refer to you as...and I followed suit.

Sometimes I worry that I've rushed you too much.

That I treat you and think of you as if you're a much older boy than you really are.

That because you had two younger siblings come along in such quick succession, that you've been robbed of your own babyhood.

There aren't a lot of 3 year olds who haven't taken a ride in a pushchair for well over a year... the last time you used one was before Noah was born, before you turned 2...

There aren't that many children who came out of their cot and into a "Big boy bed" at 20 months old...But we needed your cot for the new baby, and so your toddler bed was kind of pushed upon you earlier than most.

There aren't many children that, before they turn 3, share their mummies and daddies with not just one little sibling, but two of them already...who've experienced their mummy being pregnant more often than not...

Because of all of these things, it's easy to forget how very little you still are.

You act so much older than your years most of the converse like a grown up sometimes, and you're such a wise and intuitive little thing.

And so sometimes, when you're feeling sad and throwing a bit of a tantrum...I find myself losing patience too quickly, as though I assume that you should be more in control of your emotions somehow...

Because sometimes I forget.

Stranded At The Strawberry Fields

On Friday, we decided to make the most of the glorious sunshine we were having here in Devon and head off for an afternoon of strawberry picking.

This was our first time taking the kids strawberry picking and it was something I was really looking forward to. 

I had visions in my mind of lots of lovely photo opportunities, I even took the tripod along with us in the hope of capturing a lovely summery family photo - punnets full of berries, all smiles and sunshine.

I had done my research carefully on the best PYO farms locally, and after much deliberation I'd decided that rather than visit our nearest farm which was a very simple strawberry field and nothing more - we'd travel a little bit to go somewhere better. We chose Lipton Farm Shop - just over an hours drive away from us across Dartmoor (A car journey I always loathe!) - the reviews online spoke of it's fun little park for children, a lovely farm shop and a tempting cafe offering homemade cakes and milkshakes.

So, research done, off we set for a day of family fun on the strawberry fields.

Well...what is it they say about best laid plans?!


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