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7 weeks – Things we love…

We have almost made it through the first two months of life with a baby and a toddler, there have been a few things have been instrumental in maintaining my sanity levels during these past few weeks…

Nipple Shields and bottles – these have been the main reason I’m still able to feed. There is so much advice around that tries to dissuade us from using shields (without them I know I wouldn’t have been able to continue as I would have been upset at my inability to occupy and entertain Ted while I struggled) and from introducing bottles too early but in my experience doing both these things has enabled me to continue feeding Cora. They have meant that from week 2 I have had the chance to get some rest while Daddy takes over a feeding shift or two, leaving me with energy to look after the two little ones all day…all credit to you sole feeders out there, it is such hard work.

Lanolin – the nipple saviour, I need say no more!

Aldi Nappies and Wipes – bargains and never a leak, I can’t recommend them enough and just think about what you can treat yourself to with the savings! I recommend…

Origins Vitazing tinted moisturiser – it’s like a magic wand for my face! That and Laura Mercier Eyebrow Definer eyebrow gel mean I look vaguely human in a couple of minutes and we all know time is of the essence!

Cbeebies – one of my ‘I will never…’ claims I hold my hands up to breaking, Mr Bloom and Bing bunny are my toddler sitters during Cora’s morning feed and I’m not even sorry, sometimes they mean I even get to drink a hot cup of coffee too!

A cosy baby Blanket – once feeding is complete if Cbeebies is still working it’s magic I get Cora all cosy in her lovely soft mokee blanket and sit back for a sofa snuggle with my boy. I love the colours, the peach makes it feminine without it being pink and sickly, something that is often difficult to find for baby girls, it is also lightweight but cosy and is perfect to keep her warm in the car seat too – thank you to Mokee for sending it for Cora.

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Close Caboo – I’m far from a religious sling wearer but I do love the flexibility of choice and some situations are made a lot harder by a buggy, for these times the Close Caboo is perfect, Daddy can join in too!

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Ted hated being in a buggy as soon as he could walk so a double was never going to be a justifiable investment for us however the compact single/scooter/buggy board/sling mix and match seems to be working for us so far!

A biiiig baby bag – I only want to be taking one bag with me so I need it to be big enough to store all the essentials that a mum of two will need…

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I love my Tiba and Marl bag – so much space and a variety of cool designs.

Wellies – regardless of the weather, fresh air and the release of some toddler energy makes everything easier so wellies have been an essential for us both. One day last week we only made it as far as the quiet puddle covered gravel car park at the end of our road but we both got soaked and had lots of fun while Cora slept next to us!

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Coffee/Babychino – if the rain is torrential we have the fall back option of a Babychino date, although an almost two year old that chants Babychino with glee is embarrassingly precocious (and a little bit funny)!

Friends/Playdates – the ultimate sanity saver, friends. It’s great meeting up with those that have their own children so they can all play but equally it’s lovely seeing those without who love to lavish attention on mine and give me the chance to have 1:1 time with either of them or like last week spoil me with the chance to slip away for an indulgent, undisturbed shower and hair wash – now that’s a friend!

Photos – in this sleep deprived haze I have little chance of remembering these times very clearly so I’m loving photos and keepsakes (even more than normal) to jog my memory and to show the children when they’re older. We had a professional at home shoot with Nicola Streader and were so pleased with the natural pictures she captured.

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We have also used Memory Makers to create 3d prints of Cora’s hand and foot, we will be able to collect these in the new year and can’t wait to have them on the wall next to Ted’s.

As Cora’s early days have also coincided with the festive season we visited our local craft centre Poppies and had fun decorating a plate – we will definitely return each year now and build a collection.

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And today we did the obligatory Santa visit complete with real reindeer,  pretty grotto and family shot with the big guy himself. We would highly recommend Stewarts Garden Centre.

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We have a second date with Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, Breakfast with the man himself at Fair Oak Garden Centre.
The garden centres definitely seem to be the places to go for reasonably priced festive fun but booking what seems crazily early is essential, the Christmas Eve sessions sold out within hours of sales opening in September!

Sleep (Inc naptime) – who remembers that? We have been spoilt with a couple of 5 hour stints over the past week and it feels amazing to wake without a headache and stinging eyes, here’s hoping for more! Ted still naps at the moment so most days I get an hour and a half to two hours with just Cora unfortunately for her (and me) this is the time I have to use to run around like a crazy person trying to maintain some sort of order in the house, talking to her and/or bouncing her about as I go!

An awesome husband – credit where it’s due, it wouldn’t be fair to not give my partner in crime, OK less crime or trouble these days and more poo, sleep deprivation and toddler management but my partner none the less and I couldn’t do it without him!

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I’m not sure if things will get easier or just different, either way I think we’re adapting OK and it feels now like our little lady has always been here and we’re enjoying every second.

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Travelling with a toddler #1 – Preparation

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So, we’re doing this!

In 48 hours we’ll be loading up the car and heading for our first long haul holiday with our 15 month old son.

In the last few weeks when I’ve told people we’re taking a 1 year old on an 11 hour flight the reactions have included laughing, eye rolling and the standard “Good Luck!” but if we don’t try, we’ll never know how he’ll manage plus…even if it is 11 hours of pure hell surely that’s worth 2 weeks of sunny Californian fun? Surely?

Time will tell!

I’m told preparation is key so today I’m going to look at packing and the things that have made the suitcase and hand luggage cut to hopefully make our lives easier!

Suitcase
* Clothes – obviously and plenty of them. Mainly sunny weather clothes but every eventuality (OK, baring snow) is covered.

* Washing tablets – with previous skin flare ups from different brands we don’t want to risk that again.

* UV Car Blind – with lots of sunny car journeys ahead (albeit only short ones) we want to make sure Ted doesn’t get too hot or uncomfortable.

* Black out blind – with an 8 hour time difference I imagine sleep is going to be one of our biggest challenges so to help in any way we can this is coming with us in case of any cheap hotel curtains!

* Hats and Sunglasses – we have a selection so hopefully Ted will find favorites and be happy wearing them in the heat!

* Low tog sleeping bags – Ted always sleeps in a ‘bag’ at home so in an attempt to maintain as much normality as possible they made the cut…a couple, in case of nappy explosions!

* Our travel cot – he sleeps in it happily so as above, it’s coming!

* Medicine cabinet – Calpol, nurofen, piriton etc…just in case!

Hand Luggage
I’ve done quite a lot of research of my own about essentials to carry in hand luggage and then I’ve adapted what I’ve found for Ted’s age and character, leaving us with…

* Nappies – I read somewhere 1 for every hour of your flight, plus 5…it seems loads but ‘just in case’ seems like a good motto for this circumstance!

* Wipes – plenty. Faces, hands, bottoms these are going to be our only real cleaning option for 11 long hours!

* Bedtime essentials – here’s hoping PJ’s on followed by milk and cuddles will encourge him into the land of Zzzzz!

* A cosy blanket – in case the aeroplane cot isn’t very comfy…which in reality it’s probably unlikely to be.

* Snacks – healthy, time consuming snacks and lots of them in little pots and bags plus a cup, bowl and fork – the raisin/fork challenge keeps him occupied for hours!!

* Stickers – beware there will be sparkly stars everywhere!

* Books – old favorites and some new surprises.

* A couple of light up gimicky toys.

* A new wind up aeroplane.

* Color changing pens and a pad of paper.

* A pencil case – zips are always a Ted pleaser!

* A mini calculator – button pressing is always a hit!

* Dummies – plus spares, normally ‘doedee’ doesn’t leave his bed but this will be an exception if necessary.

* A loaded iPad! Iggle Piggle I will be eternally grateful if you rescue me in my hour(s) of need!

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Have I forgotton anything? Tell me quickly, there’s still time!

Wish us luck and we’ll see you on the other side!

P.S…these little reuseable bags are fab, I have snacks, mini activities and any little things that may leak in them plus, they have cute little characters on so we can even practice our animal signs with the aid of them too!

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