28 Jul 2012

Proud

Watching the Olympic ceremony last night left me feeling excited and proud.

Proud that us Brits can pull it out the bag when we need to and can show the world how fantastic we can be.

More than that, I feel proud my daughter gets to grow up in a democratic country where her view is important. She will not know suffering as a suffragette or the lengths they had to go to. She won't be able to comprehend being scared to speak her mind as in other places around the world purely because she was born a woman. The odds won't be stacked against her and for this I'm very grateful and proud.

I'm proud we are allowed to live our lives as equals and Bubba will be able to become whatever or whomever she wants without fear or regret. Watching the women athletes walking into the stadium, it makes me happy that there are so many positive role models for her to follow in our country.

We are led by a Queen and we often forget or overlook that we live in a united kingdom and are all truly 'great'.

I'm going to try my best to remember this proud feeling every day and to show my daughter how to be proud and live the best life she can. I'll also say a prayer for those women who aren't as lucky and hope that as women we can change the way the world looks at us in the future.
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26 Jul 2012

My Shoe Obsession

My first love is shoes, as a young girl I always loved shoes. I can remember the first time I felt like 'the bees knees'. I had a purple pair of wallabies (yep shows my age) and I can remember they made me feel invincible. Well since then I have indulged my shoe love, especially heels. I have so.many.pairs! They all have special memories of places, people and fun, I just need to slip my foot into the shoe to reminisce.

Now I don't get to wear heels so much and it seems my shoe obsession has been replaced with buying shoes for Bubba. She has lots of pairs and considering she has only been walking for a few months, it's an impressive collection. Hubby can't understand why she needs so many pairs but as I tried to explain, girls need shoes for all sorts of outfits and occasions.
A small selection of her shoes...I can't get them all in one picture!
She also loves trying to put shoes on herself and also already tries to wear mine! If she sees shoes she will try and put them on my feet as well, this includes her dinky little ones which just about fit onto my big toe. I'm sure it won't be long before she is trying to convince me that she should have my shoes.
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24 Jul 2012

My Week That Was



This is the first time I've joined Mummy Daddy and Me makes three in My Week That Was.

Monday Bubba went to my mum whilst I was at work. She always has great fun and comes home happy and exhausted. They played with a remote controlled cat, bubba was really good at controlling it.
 
Tuesday we went to Baby Ballet in the morning and then went and met my mum and dad for coffee. I've been obsessed with getting bub some wellies but unable to find any small enough. My mum found a little pair in Next, Bubba loved them.

Wednesday Bubba was at nursery and I was at work. She stopped her hunger strike at last and I had a little cry (of joy). On recommendation from my sister in law I joined Avenue 57 in the evening -where you post pics of each days outfits,  it's addictive and as my SIL pointed out, it makes you buy new clothes. You have been warned.

Thursday bubba went to my mum and dad whilst I worked. Bubba dribbled so much that she required a change of outfit. I think we have more teeth on the way, oh joy.

Friday bubba and I met a friend at Bluewater for lunch. Our little girls had great fun running along together, it was very sweet and a taste of things to come for me. I indulged my other obsession (not shoes) frozen yoghurt. Best bit was that Bubba was asleep so I didn't even have to share it.
 

Saturday I helped my family start to clear my grandparents house. Although it was sad, we got it sorted and had some smiles along the way. I came home and hub, bub and I went for coffee and cake because I needed it.  In the evening I dusted off my sewing machine which was my nans and finished some bunting. My efforts weren't straight but it's a start.

weekthatwas
Sunday we walked down the road from us and watched the Olympic flame go past. I got quite emotional about it. We are off to the games next week so it should be an exciting time.
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23 Jul 2012

Five Things - My crazy child does

Before having Bubba I was never told that little people do strange things that make no sense. I have three nieces who are all lovely and I must admit, they all had weird little quirks that would be funny to watch but I thought they were one offs and not regular weirdness.

Here are Bubba's weird goings on at the moment.

She loves rolling around in her tent
Ok so in itself that doesn't sound too strange but what she actually does is throw herself against the sides of the tent until it falls over on top of her. She waits a few seconds to work out whether it hurt or was fun and then laughs at herself like a little maniac! I've had to dismantle the tent because it was becoming a hazard.

Covering her face and walking into walls
She has a A4 size mirror with padded sides which she holds up in front of her face then just walks forward until she hits something (usually the wall or the bed) and then she laughs her little head off. This too has had to be taken off her and I can see a pattern forming!

If in the pram with no shoes on she sticks her legs out straight
It reminds me of a dog sticking its head out the window of a car. She doesn't do it when in shoes but I think she either likes staring at her little feet or enjoys a bit of wind between her toes!

Shaking things
She shakes all manner of things - usually our lovely standard lamp or at worst she shakes the yucca plant which I'm sure isn't doing it any good. She will shake chairs to see if they move, her big love is to shake the stair gates as if she's in a prison cell and wants out!

Carrying a plastic rake around
I got a bucket and spade set for her a while back, she enjoys carrying the bucket but mostly just takes the rake from room to room and often into the tent whilst having a roll around. Again, not the safest thing to carry whilst bouncing off the side of a tent!
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20 Jul 2012

What I've learnt - 6 months of blogging

When I started blogging I had no idea what I was getting into or how it would make me feel (or whether I'd have enough to fill a blog with). I'm still a newbie and still have a lot to learn but so far I've found out:

1) Its good to be part of something bigger
Whether its a blog network such as Netmums or Britmums or Hello Cotton, it's good to be involved and look at forums and other blogs.

2) Bloggers are friendly
I had no idea that there was such support out there and every one is genuinely helpful and friendly. It's so lovely to receive comments and if you have an issue there is always someone who comes up with some great advice.

3) It's all far too addictive
From checking stats to looking at other blog posts, I find I'm often checking my phone or laptop. If I'm not doing that then I'm usually writing a blog post or jotting down ideas. 

4) Everything is connected
I found Instagram fairly early on and now can't stay away, it's great to see what other people are doing and the food pictures are mouthwatering sometimes. Twitter is also far too addictive and I have to limit myself to evenings only as otherwise Bubba will get a bit neglected. The best bit is that if you need advice, it's at the end of a twitter conversation or if inspiration is required then I only have to check out the pictures on Instagram.

5) You learn so much
Reading blogs is brilliant and I receive a daily log of all the new posts from my favourite blogs. For instance this month I've learned how to get ace nails keepingupwithejoneses, make lovely and clever things to keep Bubba entertained Jennifer's little world and a whole new level of cuteness from the Pretty.Little.Things ladies.

So happy six months blogging to me and here's to the next six!

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18 Jul 2012

Cooking for a Toddler - Book Review

Feeding Bubba is certainly an up and down experience, she often either eats everything or becomes quite fussy about things she used to love. Now she doesn't eat banana (which was her favourite weaning food), won't touch beef casserole (this was always a good emergency food because she was guaranteed to eat it) and can turn her nose up at blueberries if the mood takes her.

I seem to have got caught in a trap of not having a stash of food in the freezer and don't know what to cook. So I needed some inspirations as so far all I have is Annabel Karmel books which have lots of ingredients and I've sort of exhausted most of the recipes.

Looking around (whom am I kidding, I looked on Amazon) I found these two books had great reviews so I took the plunge and ordered them both.

The first is 'My Daddy Cooks' - Nick Coffer

I had never seen his blog where he vlogs recipes with his son helping (check it out as it's great) but just flicking through this books I found several things I wanted to cook. I'm also regularly going to check out his blog for new recipes. After only having the book a week I've already cooked the Toad in the Hole and Sloppy Joe's. A lot of the recipes aren't ground breaking (such as the Toad in the hole) but they are easy to follow and cook. It helped me start looking at what I prepare in a fresh way, with 100 recipes you certainly have a great choice.

Sloppy Joe (with focaccia and salad)
He mentions himself that they aren't specifically designed for children but he takes a more family approach and adapts according to what his son does and doesn't like (such as spices). I like this way of doing it because by now Bubba is supposed to start to be eating what we do so it's a nice way to make the transition.

I would recommend this book for good solid recipes that the whole family can enjoy and it is helpful if like me you have run out of ideas. A quick flick through this book and you'll find lots of inspiration and mouthwatering recipes.

'River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook' - Nikki Duffy

I wasn't sure whether to get this book as it takes you through weaning to start with which we are well beyond now but I'm so glad I did get it.

The brilliant thing about this book is that it is in sections according to season so you can choose foods that should be in abundance. Duffy explains the science behind things and how to deal with fussy eaters and why some children become that way. There are chapters on what foods to avoid at different ages and also how to store food which can be invaluable if you aren't sure.

Again we have already cooked a few recipes and Bubba ate the Courgette Polpette today (a great way to get some different vegetables into her system).

I would recommend this book if you want to use different ingredients in different ways or would like to know what's at its best through out the year. The recipes I've cooked so far are easy to follow and quick to prepare and I'm looking forward to trying more over the next few weeks.
Courgette Polpette


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16 Jul 2012

Making Space - Playroom

We've totally changed our house since we brought it. It was owned by an old couple who'd lived here for 50 years (so think 70's chic). We had a lot of work to do and as a youngish couple with no ties, it didn't daunt us (I could see the potential). We got most of it done within a couple of years of being here but left some bits until later (which took a while).

We had a rickity old lean-to on the back of the house which we knew would take a lot of work and so instead of going on a swanky honeymoon we decided to go more low key and get the lean-to double glazed (good job as it was rotten and we were told it wouldn't have lasted much longer).
Before - used for everything
Well fast forward a year or so, one baby later and we've finally got around to decorating the space rather than using it as a dumping ground. I had visions of making it into a place for me to watch bubba playing. So I set about finding funky colours to decorate and this is the (nearly) finished results.

Now - looking all bright
Bubba and I love it, in the morning she points to the keys to indicate she wants to go out into the conservatory to play. We then spend most of our time coming in and out and as she gets bigger I can watch her out in the garden from the safety of my chair whilst nursing a lovely cup of coffee (well I can dream).
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14 Jul 2012

Brilliant Brights - Pretty.Little.Things

Although the weather has been far from nice recently I have still tried to dress Bubba in bright summery colours because the alternative is just a bit depressing (tights in July!)

I've always loved her in bright funky colours and I think it suits her personality, even if she sometimes gets mistaken for a boy because I put her in greens and blues. Her clothes are far more adventurous than mine (and I'm sort of living vicariously through her). 
I'm hoping she'll look back and be pleased she wore cute and colourful things. I must admit that most of the bright bits come from Next and I think they get it just right for little girls - not too girly (although I love girly) but not too 'out there' either.

If you want to see more gorgeous brilliant brights, head over to Love From Mummy & Hollybobbs who are hosting the Pretty.Little.Things linky
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13 Jul 2012

Five Things - I worry about

Worry. I'm good at this, along with guilt and can spend large amounts of time each day worrying or feeling guilty - they are only punctuated by being hungry or thirsty. Mainly I worry! My top five worries at the moment are:

1) Is Bubba eating enough or eating the right things or will go off food?

She was always good at trying new things, a little less so now but I reason that she is more in charge of her own palate so if she doesn't like Chicken then so be it (and tomato based sauces). But am I giving her enough food per meal, does she need more balance, is there something I should be feeding her!

2) Will she ever get used to nursery or am I harming her for life?

I wrote a recent post about this and she still isn't enjoying herself, I know she will never be one of those children who merrily runs away from me without a backward glance (she just isn't that type of girl) but I want her to at least eat when there or play with the toys.

3) Do we do enough as a family?

I work three days a week and so we are playing catch up on the days I'm off and then at the weekend we don't do enough structured things like going soft play or the park. We hang out as a little family. Should I be taking her more places, will she remember them now or am I just wasting my money!

4) Do I play enough with her?

As above, we go baby ballet on a tuesday but if at home I'm usually doing some job or other or watching her play. Could I be more involved or is this a natural stage they go through.

5) Will I ever be happy with the amount of sleep (or not) that I get?

Bubba is back on a more even keel now and generally sleeps from 7pm until 7am, she may cry in the night which wakes me briefly but she doesn't need me to get up. But I'm still not happy, will I ever feel really rested?

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11 Jul 2012

Looking back - The First Year

Seeing as Bubba is nearly half way through her second year, I wanted to put together her first year of memories and then when she is two, I'll do it all again.

March 2011
Bubba entered the world with a minimum of fuss and stress (on her part) and some pain and stress on mine. I'm guessing this will be the tone for the rest of our lives!

April/June: Bubba thrived and learnt many new things including sleeping through the night from eight weeks (this didn't last as around ten months she decided sleep was for wimps and would wake during the night). We entered the wonderful world of teething which was a real shock to the system and resulted in her first tooth at five months.

July/August saw us delve into the wonderful world of weaning and luckily Bubba took to it really well and enjoyed everything put in front of her. Since then her tastes have expanded and she loves strong flavours (but doesn't like chicken, sweetcorn or tomato) and loves pea's.

September we went on our first family holiday to the New Forest which Bubba really loved, it was her first time swimming in a pool, seeing horses and sleeping away from home. We travelled by car and it was a couple of hours journey and helped me compile my car travel essentials.

October/November/December Bubba and I go to Baby Ballet once a week and I've noticed her growing in confidence and enjoying herself. Christmas was brilliant and we found ourselves drowning in a sea of toys by the end of it. I'm looking forward to next Christmas when she'll know even more of what is going on.

January My lovely little girl now responds to the world around her and shows her likes and dislikes strongly. She is particularly interested in the television and we've compiled a list of the programmes that take her fancy.

February Bubba grows and turns into a funny little person right in front of our eyes. One of the funniest things I've found is popping into her room and seeing the way she has fallen asleep.

March 2012
We celebrated in style with a long weekend of activities where family and friends all got together to eat and laugh. Its been a rollecoaster of emotions and learning but I wouldn't swap it for the world.

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9 Jul 2012

Nursery Nightmares - Mine and Bubba's

Bubba has started going to nursery every Wednesday and she isn't really enjoying the whole experience so far. It's been a month now and she still cries when I drop her off (she clings on to my shoulder and has to be prised off my body) as I shout a cheery goodbye, waving like a maniac as I head for the door. Once outside I usually have a little weep that I'm purposely doing something she doesn't like, it feels like its going against all that I've tried to do since she was born.

I know that I'll have to do all of this when she is going to school but it just seems tough when she doesn't realise why I'm going or if I'll be back. It doesn't help that she only goes one day a week and on Tuesday nights I have a really bad night sleep, I get the Sunday night blues (which I don't normally get because I like my work) and I usually have nightmares. I hate the dread I feel as I walk into nursery and being hyper happy mum in the process, last week the crying started in the car park before we'd even made it out of the car.

Bubba has now started going on a hunger strike at nursery during the day so instead of them giving her breakfast, we do that at home before we set off. I was lulled into a false sense of security as on her very first day she ate everything put in front of her at nursery (probably comfort eating as her mother does!). But now she will eat a yoghurt or piece of bread and that is it (she is meant to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with them) and when I get her home she eats her dinner like a woman possessed so I know its a life choice she is making (rather than just hating the food). Besides, this is a little girl who has no problem eating and enjoys her food mostly.

I wonder at what point do we decide that this isn't the right nursery or she would be better doing something else? Does this u-turn become less helpful because lets face it, we all have to do things we don't like and the sooner we get that out the way the better. It's just hard to watch her not enjoying the leaving me and the fact that I'm doing this on purpose to her, how will I know if she is truly unhappy or just needs to get used to the situation (seeing as it hasn't been that long so far)?

This is all sending my guilt levels to dangerous levels and I find myself buying her stuff to make up for it, which doesn't help my husbands blood pressure in the slightest! My mum used to have a similar experience with me, I had to be dragged into Brownies but really enjoyed it once there, so I'm hoping this will be a similar thing for Bubba.
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7 Jul 2012

Mummy Matters

Mums telling it how it is...
Bubba name: Ben
 
How old is your little one?

Just turned 1

How has motherhood changed you? 

Life couldn’t be more different now, but in a good way. Things are less hectic and slower paced to cater for Ben’s needs, plus most evenings would either be spent in the gym or out and about meeting friends previously, whereas now we’re in most evenings. Weekends are the most different though, Ben and spending time together as a family have definitely become top priority for us. 

What items are in your handbag (baby related)? 

I always seem to have a have a spare bib in my handbag, quite often spare dummies and more often than not an odd sock of Ben’s as they don’t stay on long!
 
What things could you not live without?
 
Our baby monitor plays music for half an hour for when we put Ben to bed and that has become invaluable. On the odd occasion that he has got himself uptight before a nap, he thoroughly chills out once the music is on. It is particularly useful if he wakes in the middle of the night! As for groups,  Ben and I have a good support network of friends both new and old and antenatal friends that we meet up with regularly and they’ve been a god send too. 

Any good advice you received (or could give)? 

I’ve had fantastic help and advice from both of our families but especially my sister and brother in law who have recently had two boys. One that sticks in my mind from my brother in law is that your baby is unsettled / upset or  playing up for a reason, not to annoy you, so there’s no point in getting uptight or angry yourself, it is your job to work out what they need or what the issue might be and to help them through it. To me this is the key to approaching all of the challenges that arise with parenthood. 

Do you use any good books or websites that you’d like to share to help you?  

I use a selection of books, Gina Ford’s books, Tracey Hogg’s (baby whisperer) and also the ‘what to expect’ series. I also quite often do random online searches for answers to issues. I find that one book or website may be helpful for one issue and that another is good for another issue.

Describe your life now in one word: 
Blessed

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