30 Jan 2014

Our Home...the Kitchen

We moved late summer last year and since then we have slowly been trying to make our house a home. It's slow progress with a toddler, being pregnant and having lots of things that need doing. When we first viewed the house we knew it needed a bit of love and energy to make it into somewhere we will hopefully spend very many happy family years (I'm thinking I don't want to move again!).

We didn't really realise how much behind the scenes work needed doing, so far we have had the whole house rewired (major overhaul) and next looking for a new boiler and again I've been told this is going to need new pipework throughout the house (floorboards up again and a weeks worth of work). But it's all good because at least it will be all new and ready for decorating (this is a distant future hope at the moment).

The day we moved in I openly weeped at the mess the original kitchen had been left in, the floor which I thought was a black and cream pattern when we viewed...scrubbed up to be a pale cream colour - that's how long it had not been washed (it was slightly sticky under foot too and I hate to think now how the man before us lived in that state). Anyway moving on swiftly, the kitchen is an area we are keen to upgrade at some point, all the cupboard doors have broken handles so you have to open them from the side, there wasn't originally enough room for a fridge but we've sorted that now. The cooker was a sight to behold, it hadn't been cleaned in what looked like years and as I opened the grill on the first night, I was confronted by this...

That's a grill pan that had layer upon layer of greased tin foil, never cleaned but just added to with each cooking experience. The front had springs falling apart which I was scared bubba might gouge her eye out on and the cooking experience was often hit and miss with some things being cooked and others not. I have never owned my own oven before, when I moved into my flat the previous owner left one, when hubby and I brought our first house again there was an old oven included. So I'm fairly used to making do and working around old and worn out cookers.

Fast forward to now and the only thing to have changed in the kitchen so far is that we now have a spangly new oven from Argos. Oh how I love it already, it's smaller than what we had but it packs more of a punch on the cooking front than our old one. It has an integrated grill that doesn't need separate cleaning and there is a fabulous cut off safety option (which is necessary as bubba does like touching buttons these days) and the light inside actually works...I know, see how easily pleased I am.

The delivery was great and I got a text message to say when it would be delivered (which was my birthday and hubby tried to pass it off as a fab birthday present), they gave a two hour delivery slot and promised to call when they were an hour away. This couldn't have been smoother and after many a day in my life where I've waited for a delivery that never arrives or gets to you 10 minutes before the limit...this seemed a bit too easy. Honestly if you are in the market for a new cooker then I suggest you have a look at Argos...gas cookers available here.

As it's gas we had to have a gas man install it (and he did this within 15 minutes) and I was good to go. Bubba and I christened it with making some rock cakes which, as you can see, turned out really well.

This is a collaborative post

28 Jan 2014

Bump Obsession

It seems I've developed an obsession...I can't walk past my work toilets without taking a picture of my bump. I do love my bump (although I moan a lot to hubby about it), it does get in the way and make me feel like a whale a lot but it's also quite comforting to have and I probably won't miss it but equally I'm kinda loving it right now.
1st Trimester
All the pictures show me on the smaller side at the bottom of each frame working up to my biggest at that trimester in the top right picture. Yeah I know, slightly confusing way to do it but hey I'm pregnant and it seemed sensible at the time!

2nd Trimester
I'm a lot smaller than I was last time around (although I'm packing a piece of birthday cake a day at the moment as it was my birthday and I got a massive cake!). My bump is very much at the front where as with Bubba I sort of spread all around - not sure if it's different because this time I'm expecting a boy but it does feel like I have a football strapped to my front and before I can remember feeling more whale like with overall weight gain.
3rd Trimester
I'm still in skinny jeans this time (albeit with an elasticated waist). The bump seems to be dropping lower (I'm 7 months pregnant now) and my SPD has flared up (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) where I get a grinding sensation in my pubic area slows me down a lot and I can't walk very far for too long, it started later in my last pregnancy - around 8.5/9 months. My morning sickness is also back with a vengeance which is slightly annoying and I hadn't realised this could happen...but oh yes, I googled it and some women can experience it again in trimester three as the hormones kick in again. Oh lucky me! Baby's movement is starting to hurt as he runs out of room and I often wince loudly which makes Hubby go a bit white and scared looking (he always fears the worst!).

I'm getting more tired again now and getting a lot of leg cramps in the night and a general inability to sleep very well at all. I am getting used to the tired feeling, guess it's getting me ready for the immediate future with a newborn again. All in all I'm about as ready as I'm going to be for this baby now, so with 10 weeks left...bring it on!


25 Jan 2014

Rapid Return Exhaustion

With bubba's now erratic sleep schedule, bedtime had become a bit of a battle. She has had a cold as well and we've been a bit indulgent by sitting with her until she falls asleep. It's only taken 10 minutes at most and it's a nice quiet time where I listen to her heavy puffy breathing in the darkness and I can dream about our futures. That is until the few nights where she has demanded that I sit in the chair because she's lonely. I'm all for indulging my beauty but realise it's an issue when she expects it or orders I do it.

So Rapid Return has come into play (or as I like to call it, 40 minutes of boring hell!).

So the deal is that when you leave the room, if they get up and follow you, just keep returning them to bed (super nanny stylie). 

The first time you sweetly remind them "it's bedtime honey".

Next time a simple "bedtime"

Then hardcore just guiding them back to bed making sure you don't speak or make eye contact. This bit is harder as they try to break you constantly.

I returned her to bed a staggering 58 times, which in anyone's book is a lot. Let alone being 7 months pregnant (it feels like I've had a proper work out). This was often really rapid, as I was walking back to her door I could hear her rustling around and getting out. A few times I turned and she nestled back into bed but mostly (slyly) she waited till I got to the door before making her escape.

A few times before she got to the gate she had circled back on herself and headed towards bed as soon as she saw me approach.

Once I got a "me sorry mummy" as she got caught. This nearly broke me!

Three times she commando crawled to the gate in an attempt to out fox me.

Twice I had to lift her into bed.

There was one attempt at holding my hand on the way back to bed. Instead I gently placed my hand on the small of her back. I so wanted to hold her hand.

More often than not she walked ahead of me and got back into bed and I just pulled the covers over her.

I found it fairly funny this time as dinner was happily bubbling in the slow cooker, I didn't need to be anywhere and I had decided this is what needed doing. The last time I rapid returned was about three in the morning last year - then it was more frustrating.

I'm glad she has a bit of gumption and fire in her belly but she's picked the wrong mumma to mess with. I can be stubborn and know this isn't cruel so I don't feel guilty. I just hope tomorrow isn't too tough!


23 Jan 2014

When this keeps happening...

Since starting preschool it seems my girl can't stay awake but refuses to sleep for a nap at a reasonable time! For a while before Christmas she was dropping her nap three times a week at least and making it through to bedtime in a reasonably good natured mood.

For the last three weeks she gets to about 3.30pm before she just shuts down. Literally she can be talking to me and fall asleep and snore mid conversation. I've tried everything to keep her awake and then when I've given her a small sleep the backlash I've faced afterwards is horrendous. It makes me cry as well because she is awful to be around, I can't settle her when she wakes and it turns from gentle crying into one almighty tantrum screamfest.

I've resorted to making sure we are out and driving around at 2pm so that she has a reasonably early sleep. So far this week it's worked and she has dropped off to sleep and then I carry her in doors and put her on the sofa for a while, as my poor hormones can't take the strain of all this turmoil. She has had a cold so I'm hoping that once better she may be able to go back to a full day awake - it's funny, when she started to drop her nap I was exhausted and just wished she'd sleep so I could have a bit of brain space but now I'd rather she stay awake all day and I don't get a minutes peace.

At bedtime it's all a bit touch and go, we've had to sit in her room until she falls asleep as it seems to happen quicker than if we leave her. This isn't something I'm keen to carry on as I'm used to a tired girl who is asleep, alone within five minutes of going to bed. This week she has also woken in the night and I'm not sure if she has woken herself by coughing or she is now getting too much sleep. It takes her about 25 minutes to get back to sleep in the night and she is waking between 2.30am and 3.30am. Luckily for me, Hubby has been getting up for this one because I'm unable to haul myself out of bed and to sit in her room at that time of the morning.

I thought (naively) that a nearly three year old sleeps all night, every night...help!


21 Jan 2014



This is the response I get when I ask my daughter what she just did (usually when she is looking sheepish in a corner after doing something wrong).

It's something she says straight after I've asked her if she has fun at preschool (usually the answer is yes) followed by my question "what did you do today?" a pause from her then "nuffing"

I see the artwork that comes home with her (sometimes good, sometimes I'm not sure what it is, what way to stick in on the wall or how I'm going to loose it in the bin!) but I know that it isn't nothing that she's done.

It's a word but not a word really, I would rather she came home and said 'everything' then at least I'd know she actually realised it was something more than nothing!

I'm sure, well in fact I know it is, a word I will hear over and over again as she grows up. Teenage years I presume will be littered with that little innocuous word and I'm equally sure that it will grate on my soul more and more.

I may start using it myself when I have an audience in the bathroom and she asks me what I'm doing or when I leave the room and she asks where I'm going and what I'll be doing (sometimes only going out to check the dinner is cooking!) I may just say 'nuffing' and see what she says.

Oh I do hope she starts to use more eloquent words to describe her days, I love words and the way they sound and 'nothing' isn't on my list of great words to use.

17 Jan 2014


It's only when you become a parent that you realise that if your child is happy then you will be happy. It's not about the fancy stuff, expensive things or blue sky thinking that'll make you smile the most. It's knowing you are the reason your little person is smiling or that you are helping them grow and function without you.

This week has been one of discovery for me, seeing my girl in a different light. I used to think perhaps she may be high maintenance and unable settle in a nursery setting. Now I know different, it's just finding the right place for her to feel comfortable.

We are in week two of preschool and today she let me kiss her on the cheek, help her up the step and then she was gone. No backward glance, no crying or hanging onto my leg (as I was used to at her old day nursery for 18 months). She just disappeared in with the other children for three hours of fun and games. Now she talks about preschool in positive language, tells me snippets of what she's done and looks forward to going the next day. This is what most parents must experience from the off whereas I've been used to 'black Wednesday' where the build up would start before we left home, the moaning as we rounded the corner and nursery was in sight and the crying and leg hanging on when I tried to leave her there.

This is heaven in comparison and although still a bit disconcerting,it's a weight off my mind. She seems to have grown up in the two weeks she's been going, her mind is more certain and she walks with a bit of a swagger now.

All I've got to do now is finding a way of disposing of some of the tat...I mean artwork that she brings home! A lot of it is good, some of it bad and a few (large) items that are indistinguishable as anything other than a milk carton taped to a plastic biscuit tray with empty loo rolls stuck on!

15 Jan 2014

This pregnancy, this baby...28 weeks

I'm not the best pregnant lady going, I like the bump (most days) and showing it off. I don't like feeling bloaty and unable to do everything as before. I hate the swelling and lack of sleep as I diligently try and stay on my left side in bed. No matter what pillows, wedges and cushions I employ, I always end up on my back or right side. This freaks me out, more in this pregnancy than last time, perhaps again because I know now more than before what is at stake. Little people are the greatest and I want to do my best by both of my babies all of the time.

We've had a bit of a rough ride with Bubba lately and so I haven't really focused on this baby. It seems my girl is growing up and deciding that being a little minx is the way she wants to express herself. Everything is a battle and it's exhausting me! My main thoughts (to my shame) have been how ill I've felt, how tired I am and how I've been unable to play the same way with bubba as before. It has been all about me and I haven't really considered the baby growing inside me.

It was only when someone said 'you must be so excited to meet your little boy soon'. My first thought was 'erm no' but only because I hadn't really thought I was having a baby. I know, I know, I'm not stupid, I realise that I'm pregnant and having a baby. It's just I haven't got beyond thinking of the here and now rather than what happens next.

I've probably had my Anti D injection by the time this post goes live. I'm rhesus D negative which means my body could produce anti bodies and harm my baby (about 12% of pregnant women have to have this). I had to have the injection last time but really didn't read up too much on it so wasn't fussed. This time I googled it and it gave me a mild panic attack and as soon as I did it I knew I shouldn't have.

So now I'm going to take my time and try and enjoy this pregnancy. It takes daily reminders to myself that there is a growing baby that needs me just as much as the rest of my family. I'm also due to see the Better Start midwife to help with my anxiety and tearfulness. At first I felt a failure because I thought it shows that I'm unable to cope. Now I'm embracing all the help I can get and realise these emotions aren't ones I can always control on my own.

I've started reading this brilliant book on Hypnobirthing 'The Hypnobirthing Book' by Katharine Graves and listening to my hypnobirthing cd just to keep me in the here and now. I had a positive, natural birth without pain relief first time around and as this is very possibly our last baby (I'm not planning more but you never know what my hormones will do in future), I want this birth to be a positive experience as well (even if it doesn't go to plan).  Plus I want to try and relax at the moment because it's sometimes hard to do for me to do and trying to be proactive is helping.

So here's to focussing on this baby and this pregnancy. The washing up can wait, my girl will love me just the same whether I fall asleep when she wants to play and the hubby, well he can put up with with me moaning and crying for a bit longer.

13 Jan 2014

Hive - A brilliant piece of kit

In my time as a mother there have been lots of things for baby I thought I wanted or needed only for them to gather dust in a cupboard. But this, as soon as I saw it, I wanted it...weird really because it isn't the latest nail varnish or pair of shoes but a groovy gadgety piece of kit (that is the technical term I promise) for heating and hot water. I never thought I'd get excited over having our house rewired but I did and now the hubby is considering getting Hive Active Heating for us too since I directed him to it. In short it helps you to control your heating remotely, through a laptop or mobile, on the move - when you aren't at home. The video makes it look so easy to use and something every one could benefit from, me included.

Its such a great idea and really hit home to me how useful it would be when I found myself stuck in hospital for over six hours on Friday. I had been for pregnancy jabs at our local hospital in the morning, casually mentioned to my midwife that I hadn't felt baby move too much and also my left side (hand and leg) were swelling up. Before I knew it I was sent to another hospital to have the baby monitored and my leg scanned for a DVT, granted our heating wasn't the first thing on my mind but as the hours dwindled away whilst I waited to see the doctor (after it was established everything was fine by the midwife) at the clinic I really did think it would be great if we had the system. I could then of turned off the heating set to come on at 4pm, as no one was in the house because I'd had to leave Bubba with my mum and dad, and set it ready for when we actually arrived home 7.10pm. We have a really old inefficient boiler which we are hoping to change within the next few months so saving money where we can before the new arrival really appeals to me at the moment.

I also like the idea that I could be sat on the sofa and instead of hauling my very heavy pregnant body to the boiler control panel, I can use my mobile to put the heating on. Or even with a newborn asleep on me, you know when your tea has gone cold, you want to turn the tv over and the heating isn't on but you don't want to disturb the baby - wouldn't it be perfect.

This is a collaborative post...but we are very much considering this for our home

9 Jan 2014

Letting go...

I knew the day would come but didn't realise how daunting and slightly annoying it feels. My girl started preschool this week, five mornings a week. Day one was an almighty disaster with me staying the three hours with her as she threw one diva fit after another. It was seriously harrowing for us both and I ended up having to get hubby home from work early that evening as I had a major anxiety induced meltdown. I didn't feel very hopefully for the rest of the week!

Tuesday he went to work late so he could drop her off with me. I briefed the teacher and we hot footed it out the door as they distracted our girl. At finish time, one happy toddler bounded out to me after having a whale of a time. She did not cry once apparently and did really well. This has been the same scenario for the rest of the week, I've come home with a happy and full of fun toddler.

I've been exhausted this week, I'm now fitting in 2.5 hours work every morning. I feel like all I'm doing is driving from one location to another and clock watching. But I know it's worth it to get a toddler that doesn't cry and hate nursery (as we had before).

The only downside is this...a worn out sleeping child at the most inappropriate times. She refuses to sleep when we get home but instead sleeps at around 3pm which is dangerously late for us!

The thing I wasn't ready for though is the fact I don't know what she has been upto in the day! At day nursery I used to get a breakdown of what she'd eaten and done but now I have to rely on what she tells me. It's a strange letting go feeling, it's realising she's a little person in her own right and really doesn't need me to be sticking my nose in everything. It's making my heart sing that she is enjoying this new journey but also bittersweet as this is the first stage of finding her own feet. My baby is growing up!

7 Jan 2014

Pink and blue...don't make my girl choose

My girl picked herself a blue potty a few months back and I was happy with her choice. She's never been particularly girly and doesn't favour pink things or fairies / princesses but equally she isn't immune to a build a bear toy...meet Twilight Sparkle - an explosion of colour and frills (in the middle if you hadn't guessed!!)

So when we went and got another potty to use upstairs (she claimed the one before was uncomfortable...or rather another way to get out of using it). She chose a pink one, which again I had no strong views on.

That's until she had the option of using both at home and picked the pink one, claiming 'pink is for girls and blue is for daddy'. It's weird (but I guess unsurprising) that gender stereotyping starts this young. But it's not something that we have consciously taught her. Even kinder eggs have gone pink and blue which makes me sad...my girl loves a toy regardless and shouldn't have to choose between a boy or girl toy.

This dinosaur is all she wanted for Christmas. Not pink and definitely not a princess so why does the world of media and big companies feel the need to try and pidgeon hole my girl into the pink and fluffy category. She loves both so please don't make her choose.

4 Jan 2014

Bring back my girl

This is the face of a girl who exudes personality...a strong personality! You know when she is happy about something and you really really know when she doesn't agree with you or doesn't want to do something. It's a struggle right now, I thought we'd hit the terrible twos and I could always talk her down from whatever edge she was on but now we've got to the point she will not do anything she doesn't want to do. There is no real tantrum but rather an aggressive 'NO' shouted over and over, she is bossy and will try and tell everyone what to do. It's what I imagined living with a teenager would be like, except she's fast approaching three...not thirteen.

This has intensified over the last week to the point I'm ending my day weeping. I know I'm all hormonal too and can't cater to her every whim of playing lions crawling around on the floor for the fifth time in one day. But this is extreme bossiness and a no climbing down from the idea that what she wants is the way it's going down!

She is having less naps during the week so evenings are a bit touch and go on what mood she'll be in. I'm not sure this is the answer as she can be just as strong willed first thing in the morning or middle of the day too. I find myself either using threats of 'if we don't do this...then the tv goes off/we can't go there' etc or I try and negotiate or bribe my way through a situation. I feel like I'm failing her and myself most days and my toddler is in control.

We are telling her constantly that nobody likes a bossy boots and that if you are nice to people they will be nice back (well most of the time). I'm also hot on manners and remind her on 'please and thankyou' when she doesn't volunteer them. I'm not sure what else to do as I don't want to extinguish her feistiness completely, I just want to tame the beast occasionally.

For the last week it's been a struggle to clean her teeth, wash her face and get her dressed. A power struggle commences, I don't loose my temper, I don't force her but the sheer effort involved to convince her to do things she previously did without question leaves me wanting to bang my head against a brick wall.

I've had a few days when it's just the two of us that she is such a sweet, kind and good natured little girl. I start to question whether I'm overreacting but then she turns into an opinionated, rebelling, teenager in the making that I start to fear whether I'll cope with two children. I don't even want to think about the teenage years.
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