Friday, 4 September 2015

Noah at 5 Months Old

Can you believe that my little Noah-Noo is 5 months old already?!

Well I certainly can't! But he is!

It feels like I only brought him home from the hospital a few weeks ago, yet somehow almost half a year has whizzed past...scary!

I feel as though, with second children, the "baby stage" lasts a little longer - at least in my experience so far. I guess because I`m much more distracted with having Tyne around but I almost feel as though I haven't quite noticed that Noah is actually growing up a lot...I've carried on kind of "babying" him, for example he was still in his newborn carrycot pram until the day before yesterday when it suddenly occurred to me that I should change it so he could sit up and look around.

Wedding Guest Woes

Did you know that according to a recent survery carried out by Experian one in four people has argued with their partner about the cost of attending a wedding?

That statistics seemed pretty random to me - until I actually stopped to think about just how expensive it can be to attend a wedding and how many family weddings I've actually missed due to cost.

It's one thing if a wedding is taking place just down the road from where you live - you can pop along for the day and all it costs is the price of something to wear and a gift - if its not a hugely formal affair then it's all the cheaper, no need for fancy suits and hats!

But if the wedding is taking place in another county or even another country which they so often do with many families spread across the globe these days and so many couples opting to tye the knot abroad, it can be a different story altogether - there's the cost of flights, hotels, airport transfers, baggage costs for flying over wedding attire, and still the costs of clothes and gifts on top!

It's easy to see how quickly it can all spiral out of control.

According to the study on wedding guest cost by Experian an average of 1 in 20 people has to borrow money in order to attend a wedding, 17% of those have even had to take out a formal loan!

Would you go to such extremes to attend a wedding? I'm not so sure personally! But there are ways to cut down the cost.

1) Thrifty Gifty!

If you really must get a present for the couple, consider hand-making something more personal.A photo collage of their relationship, a hand decorated Mr & Mrs x plaque, even a pretty personalised First Married Christmas bauble would all make an unusual and thoughtful gift that needn't cost the earth!

2) Be The Early Bird!

As soon as you know you’re attending, start looking at your travel options. The earlier you book, the cheaper your tickets will be! Look at price comparison sites for hotels and flights, or if the wedding is in this country - skip the expensive trains and take the coach instead! It may take longer but it cuts the cost considerably.

3) Dress for Less!

Don't go out and spend a fortune on a brand new outfit if you have something suitable hanging in your wardrobe - most of us have attended a wedding before so if that outfit worked last time, it'll work again! Nobody's supposed to be looking at anyone other than the bride anyway!

What are your top tips for saving money when it comes to attending weddings?

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mummy Dating...

There's plenty of things we all prepare ourselves for before we have kids.

We all know the aspects of parenting that are likely to leave us a bit foxed, and so we spend the last months of our pregnancies reading numerous how-to books and blog posts, watching instructional YouTube videos and going to various classes to try and arm ourselves with as much knowledge and information as we can.

We learn all about the best safe-sleep practices...we learn how to change a nappy...we learn various breastfeeding tips and techniques, or how to make up a bottle of formula and sterilise feeding equipment...

But there's one element of mummy life that the books didn't prepare me for...the one I dread the most...the one I am WORST at....

Mummy Mingling.

Yes the books fail to mention that when you become a mother, quite often you can find yourself feeling pretty isolated and very lonely.

Even those of us who were blessed with strong friendships before parenthood can find those friendships petering out once a baby comes along...suddenly you don't have the same free time you did before, you might struggle to keep up with social media or texting back as quickly as you'd like, you might simply find that your interests have changed and you no longer have much common ground with your old friends...

Of course some of us are lucky and our friendships don't suffer....but a lot of us aren't that fortunate.

I personally have found myself feeling very isolated and lonely on occasions since becoming a mum.

I experienced this for the first time when my firstborn was a few months old and I ventured out to a mummy & baby group to try to make some friends...and now with my second son I find myself back in that same familiar territory ... you'd think I'd have learned how to handle it all by now but sadly not...I feel as much of a novice as ever!

Before children I told myself I wouldn't ever be one of THOSE people who claim to need or desire friends in the form of "Other Mums"....I said it didn't matter if my old friends didn't have kids, they'd still be enough and I wouldn't need a whole set of new friends who were Mummies too.

But I soon found out I was wrong...after a few months of not being able to make it to various celebrations or get togethers with my old friends because there was no babysitter available, I soon found myself feeling a bit left out and wishing I had some friends who understood.

Friends who wouldn't mind meeting at a "cafe" surrounded by multi-coloured balls and sticky tabletops instead of one adorned with modern art and impossibly high stools that you could never balance a toddler on safely.

Friends who, when you're talking about Mr Tumble or Dr Brownbear, know exactly who you're referring to and don't assume you have a lot of oddly named neighbours.

Friends who don't impatiently honk the horn when they pick you up, wondering what could be possibly be taking you 30 minutes to leave the house...but who understand that you're trying to pack 12,000 nappies into a bag already overflowing with wipes, snacks, juice cups, spare clothes and a kitchen sink while your toddler single-handedly demolishes your kitchen and your newborn sicks up on his only clean cardigan....

Sometimes you just need friends who understand these things, because they're Mums too.

As much as I never thought it would happen to me...I admit it...I want a Mummy friend!

But how do you get yourself a Mummy friend when you don't know any other Mummies?!

Well...I'm go to places where other Mummies will be!

I've tried numerous mummy groups now and it's never gone well!
Infact it reminds me very much of the meat-market kind of nightclubs I used to go to when I was in my late teens...

We're all gathered around in a slightly grotty room that smells vaguely of sick - some of us are running around a bit wild, having a dance, stumbling about (the children) - the rest of us are casually stood around trying to keep watch over those wild ones but casting glances around the room, trying to find people we like the look of...

I find myself eyeing up the potential mummy-friends at these groups with very critical eyes - some people have the approach of being friendly to everyone, thinking you can never have enough friends but I disagree - I'm not looking for anything casual you see....I'm not a mummy-whore!... I'm not the the type to have lots of fun little one-off play dates with just anyone! I'm looking for someone special...something serious...maybe even a long-standing weekly park date! (Oh the commitment!)

I cast my critical eyes around the room of potential mummy-friends and immediately rule certain ones out.

I'm pretty cut-throat with this - call me judgemental all you want but there's chemistry in these things....when you just know!

Immediately I eliminate Shouty Mummy who's chasing her chocolate-covered daughter around with a packet of wipes, screaming numerous threats at her and swearing under her breath as her other child hangs off her ankle precariously- she seems too chaotic for us...I need more stability than that in my life.

Hippy Mummy looks quite nice and she smiles sweetly at me but I immediately have images in my mind of being dragged to Vegan cafes for lunch dates and having to hide away all the plastic toys when she visits incase they offend her wood-only approach to life, and I silently cross her off my mental Maybe list.

Numerous others don't make the cut...lots seem perfectly nice but I can sense jumble sale clothes a mile off and I want someone I can go shopping with...for GROWN UP clothes, not just baby ones.... And not from the boot of a car, but from a real live actual shop. 

As I continue scanning the room for potential I notice a group of nanna's checking me out...they're smiling at me, they can see I'm alone and they think I'm a prime target to pull over for some biscuits and a chat...I break eye contact and immediately move away - I'm here to find someone closer to my own age thank you!

And then I see her....

The sea of mucky, loud toddlers seems to part and reveals her in what seems like movie-like slow motion... She looks well dressed, her clothes actually look like current season Zara, her hair looks washed and she's wearing MAKE UP!!! ACTUAL EYELINER! ... And OMG...her NAILS ARE PAINTED!...which means she must like make up & nails too....we'd have so much in common!  I wonder if she likes gossiping about celebrities too?! Maybe she even watches the Kardashians?!

Her kids look clean and well groomed...they're eating biscuits at the snack table rather than fresh avacado, they're saying Please and Thank you to the helpers...they're chewing with their mouths closed...this all looks so promising! THEY SEEM NORMAL!!

But then what happens....Do I go over and introduce myself to Cool Mummy?

NO! Because what do I say?!

"Hi Cool Mummy...You seem pretty cool and I'm pretty cool too...shall we be Cool Mummy friends together?!"

No...I'll sound like a loon (maybe I am one reading back over this....who knows)...

Instead, I admire her silently from afar and wish she was my friend.

While I remain....friendless...among the sea of close to joining in with them and feeling part of the crowd, but yet so far.

You can blame my judgemental attitude, sure....You can say it's my own fault for being too picky...

But for Goodness sake, my child is 2 and a half years old and I don't want to be the only Mum at the school gates without a gossip buddy!

I just want a nice, normal, kinda cool Mummy Friend!!

How do I find one?!!

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Darlo at Freckled Frog: Review

One thing I love about having children is the chance to dress them in clothes I think are both cute and comfortable, and discovering new clothing brands and websites is a big thrill for me.

I recently discovered the website Freckled Frog which specialises in gorgeous clothes & gifts for children - they stock many of my favourite brands including Blade & Rose and Olive & Moss, but when they recently asked me to try out a sleepsuit from Darlo I was completely unfamiliar with the I did a little research.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Me In The Mirror - My Post Partum Self Image Issues

This is a post I've had both in my head and in my drafts folder for a while now.

Every so often there'll be these posts I so desperately want to write but the words get stuck somehow, they won't flow properly and I struggle to get across what I want to say....usually it happens when the subject matter is a particularly emotive one for me...and this one certainly is.

A couple of months ago, I made a YouTube video where I intended to chat about how I was getting on post-pregnancy and ended up having a bit of an on camera meltdown.

I never intended to publish that video but when I was trying to edit it and cut out all of the embarrassing crying parts, I realised that actually the way I was feeling was quite important and that acknowledging those feelings was important too...for myself and for any other new mums out there who might find themselves feeling a similar way to me and feeling as painfully alone in it all as I felt. 

So I published it and I was surprised to hear how many people said they had felt the seems a pretty common thing.

Well a few months have gone by now and although I feel slightly better overall, there are days when I still really struggle.

Days like today.


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