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All is not as it seems…

I am not an organised Mummy. I’m generally the one borrowing a nappy after a poomageddon, stuffing a questionably clean muzzie into my daughter’s top as a makeshift bib or spending a small fortune on lunch as yet again I’ve forgotten to pack my son’s lunchbox!

We manage. We do OK. We muddle through. However I’m often self conscious that other mums are looking at me and wondering what on earth is happening, especially when in the midst of all of this my toddler is having a melt down about something crucial like me breaking his biscuit in half (or my favourite to date, that I didn’t pour him a glass of prosecco too)!!

Last week however I was the other parent. I was that calm, collected, together, organised Mummy.

Last week my babies napped at the same time as each other, I tidied my house in the afternoon, I prepared dinner in advance, I made lunch for the following day and I restocked the bag with nappies and other essentials. We were in the park later that day and I overheard another Mum tell her little girl they would need to go home as it was too hot for her to play any longer without cream and a hat, so I offered her spares that were in my buggy and then quickly reassured her this NEVER happens!

I realised in that split second that it isn’t a case of organised and disorganised, it isn’t good and bad, it isn’t right and wrong…it’s just the same as every other aspect of parenting, it’s good days and bad and even those Mums I hold on a pedestal have both too. No matter which one you’re having everything is made better by a knowing smile and a helping hand (or a nappy/bib/*insert other*)  from somebody who understands.

On that note…my awesome Parent Apparel jumper arrived today, I love it! Today’s arrival is appropriate as I’m celebrating the duo napping at the same time again, getting to drink a hot coffee and blog for the first time in months…however on other days it will serve more as an affirmation! 🙂

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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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36 Week Update – almost there now!

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Slightly late with this update but we’re nearly there now – 4 weeks and counting!

I have been so lucky this time and really haven’t had much to grumble about but this past fortnight has been a bit stressful, I’ve been to the midwife twice and the hospital three times to monitor baby’s growth as I am now measuring 7 cm under (how measuring the bumps of all women and expecting a similar result, regardless of their body size/shape can be accurate I have no idea?!)

Thankfully everything is fine.

However, little one is exactly that so the monitoring must continue. I have a week off but then at 37/38 Weeks we’re back in to another round of midwife and scan appointments.

Our new addition is definately going to be dinky but not super tiny, around the 5-6lb mark they’ve predicted. Everything is showing as perfectly healthy at the moment, there is enough fluid and the placenta function is fine but because now I haven’t grown at all for 8 weeks (that’s me – I know baby has as I’m soooo much more uncomfortable with every kick and squirm!) it has to be checked that all continues OK.

I’m really pleased everything is being taken seriously now after my earlier concerns and as I’m hoping for a home birth still it is great that so far everybody I’ve encountered has said there is no reason as things stand that we can’t proceed with those plans. In fact, after feeling my midwife was not concerned enough she now seems more so than my first and has been very thorough in going through with me the reasons why I or baby may need to be transferred either during or after delivery, one being if baby is under 2.5kg as they will want to monitor blood sugar levels.

I’m trying to block out a lot of the ‘what ifs’ as although I understand it’s necessary to touch upon things I don’t feel it’s very helpful to dwell. I’m going to plug in my Natal Hypnotherapy and drift off into my little bubble where I’m in control.

In other news…we have been continuing to turn the house upside down with reorganisation, part of this has been turning the ‘spare room’ into Ted’s new bedroom, complete with new big boy bed (and bed guard!) We had no idea how he’d take to moving to a bed and swapping his beloved sleeping bag for a proper duvet but he couldn’t have responded better – we’ve had no resistance or disturbances at all which at only 20 months I thought was pretty amazing. These little people really are awesome!

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How gorgeous is the Next Car Bedding??

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The baby’s room looks like a storage dumping ground at the moment but actually it’s just all the things we’ll need when they arrive complete with birthing pool and homebirth boxes and a lifetimes supply of towels! We are 100% ready now and have nothing left to buy…just the final bit of waiting to do!

Ted and I have been having a lovely time together recently and I am having twinges of sadness that we don’t have many more 1:1 days remaining. I have been encouraging him to concentrate on activities like painting, drawing and reading in the hope that these will help in the early days. He’s loving them all, we’ve always shared books but now he really listens and points out things in the pictures too and he loves climbing into the book box to pick the next story!

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As for making a mess and then getting to sit in the sink and help wash up after too…that’s been a massive hit! 🙂

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So, on to things I’ve loved over the past few weeks…

Omperazole – oh my do I love this stuff! When gaviscon just isn’t hitting the spot these little magic pills make all the difference. Without them, nothing stays down but one little yellow tablet and I can actually enjoy both my meals and sleep at night, bliss!

The Mokee Woolnest

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Wow, finally a stylish moses basket that isn’t covered in gross frilly covers! This is what we have been waiting for, well what I have been anyway and I can’t be alone, surely? My thoughts…
– They’re a great price,
– I love, love, love the coloured handles,
-The liners and sheets are gorgeous and ridiculously reasonable
-AND I can’t believe the stand is included too!

I think it’s fantastic that the brand has shunned the big stores to allow them to keep prices lower but they really need to up their advertising as people need to know about this cool, stylish alternative to the standard frill fest baskets! Mokee, take note – step 1, get with the times and start tweeting, your silence is madness!!

Finally…the Sunshine, it has made washing and drying all those final bits (that there are so many more of than I realised) a lot easier so thank you Mother Nature for that final burst of October sun!

Until Next time…38 weeks, eekk!

These opinions are purely my own and completely independent, no products or financial gain have been received from featured companies.

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33 Week Update

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7 weeks to go!

The end really is starting to feel in sight now and I’m in a good place.

I’m feeling really happy and positive, I’m not too tired, not feeling too fat, am only being sick on average once or twice a day and I’m sleeping pretty well generally – life is good!

I’ve had a fab couple of weeks with Ted who is completely crazy  check him out here in Next today!! I’m loving all the fun we have so much.

I finally managed to get hold of my midwife who agreed she should see me again to check growth, I was just on the border of the 3cm’s they’re happy with but I’d grown a fair amount and everything else was good so she was satisfied all was OK to be left until my appointment this week.

Peanut has been wriggling and digging my hips and ribs plenty so I’m pretty confident all is well too plus we have a scan in 10 days anyway as part of the Vitamin D trial I am part of, can’t wait!

Since my last update we completed our Natal Hypnotherapy course which was brilliant and something I highly recommend – a full post on that is on the way. I’m now swotting up and practicing.

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Things I’ve loved this fortnight…

– Following on from above, my Natal Hypnotherapy CD. I loved using the Birth Prep CD last time and was surprised how much my subconscious remembered. I have eased straight back in to it and have loved treating myself to an hour lying down each lunchtime while Ted is napping, to relax and prepare myself. I’m also convinced it has helped my sleeping too as I pop it on at night if I’m struggling and drift back off.

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Pampering myself, this week I have had my hair cut, my eyebrows threaded and my toes gelled – I love how spoilt a good pamper has made me feel. I’ve also had a big splurge in Origins that my skin is thanking me for.

Nesting, my house has never been cleaner or more organised and I love it!

– These gorgeous Milestone Cards from Landmark Moments…we can’t wait to find out when we’ll get to use this one!

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I was lucky enough to be sent them for review but loved them so much that I’ve already purchased a couple of packs for expectant friends. They’re large, bright and have unusual yet attractive illilustrations on them, I really like that they contain a mixture of week/month and developmental milestones. They’re a bargain present idea at less than £10 too.

I’ll see you for the next update at 35 weeks…hopefully I’ll be feeling just as sunny then too!

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Rainy Day Cookery – Breakfast Muffins

If you’re anything like me and are used to spending most of your time outside, rainy days can be a bit of a challenge. We are more than happy to cover up and pop some wellies on when it’s a bit wet but when we have days where the rain is torrential and the thunder and lightning have set in, even the hardiest of us have to admit defeat!

When we recently had one of these days I decided it was time to introduce Ted to the delights of home baking. I have resisted including him in cooking until this point as I didn’t feel he was ready to follow directions and thought that his determination to be independent may cause problems however once we started I felt that I had really underestimated my little chap and was so impressed with both how well he did and how much he enjoyed the whole process.

My cookery style when it comes to healthy food snacks for Ted is very ‘chuck it in and hope for the best’ and thankfully so far it has worked well for us.

With this in mind I mashed bananas into the big bowl and then filled up Ted’s little colourful bowls with the rest of the ingredients we needed, I then tried to let him have as much freedom as possible.

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He loved being able to have it all in front of him, picking up and pouring all the ingredients himself…

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Obviously there was the odd cheeky taste test…

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The eggs could have been a messy option…

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But amazingly went straight in to the bowl without a hiccup!

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Before long we were ready to pop them into the oven and wait 20 minutes to find out how they’d turned out!

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Looking good…

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It seems our mini food critic has given them his seal of approval too!

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If you fancy giving our Breakfast muffins a go, our very loose recipe is as follows…

– 3 ripe bananas mashed
– A cup of porridge oats
– A cup of wholemeal flour
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– A cup of yummy ‘extras’ we used raisins, sunflower seeds and chia seeds but any fresh/dried fruits and seeds work well.
– A teaspoon of cinnamon
– 2 eggs
– Some milk

I mashed the bananas and then Ted added all the dry ingredients, stirring them in well.
We then added the eggs and enough milk to make the mixture a cake consistency (I did warn you I’m no Mary Berry!!)
In to cake cases and baked at Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes before allowing to cool and taste testing!

Please do share your pictures if you try these by tweeting @loz83g or using #thingsmytoddlerloves on Instagram.

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Preparing to become a Big Brother

With Peanut’s arrival becoming ever more imminent now I started thinking more seriously about making sure Ted is as prepared as possible for the arrival of his new sibling.

So far we have…

– Been talking about the baby lots.

– Ted has been to all my midwife appointments with me – although generally he’s been trying to stop the lady touching me and then concentrating on eating the snack I’ve distracted him with rather than taking a great interest in what’s happening but as he’s only 19 months I don’t think that’s too much of a concern!

Including bump, in the morning when we snuggle up and slowly come round he now will lift my top up and kiss/blow raspberries on bump, we always use this as an opportunity to talk about the baby and how lovely he is being.

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– A new game called ‘Dinner, Dinner, Baby!’ This started with Ted lifting up both his top and mine and me telling him his tummy was full of dinner and mine full of baby…Daddy has since been added in and it has given us many laughs!

Including Ted in the preparations, letting him help unpack deliveries and talking to him about what everything is for. This has proved entertaining for everyone if nothing else!

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Helping! I am pretty obsessive about moisturising and in the morning as soon as Ted sees the pot of Bump Cream he heads straight on over with demands of “Ted, cream, help!” And then proceeds to rub cream on my bump…and then generally all over himself too!!

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Stories, We have been regularly reading:
There’s a House inside my Mummy for about the past 10 weeks and as well as being a lovely story that we all enjoy the illustrations are simple and easy to relate to our family so I definitely think they’ve helped make a few connections. We have also just added I’m a New Big Brother to our book collection on the recommendation of Emma at Our Fairytale Adventure, this is another lovely book to help understanding and the giggling noise button has given us some giggles of our own too. Ted instantly related to the story and pointed to my tummy during the first time we shared it and has asked to read it many times since.

Preparation, We decided rather than getting Ted a specific present from the baby that I would make a ‘feeding box’ a selection of old and new toys, stories and activities that I’ve put away in a large box that will be from the baby, dragged out at each feed time and packed away after. This will hopefully keep him happy and occupied (alongside a drink and snack) and allow me to feed the baby without an irate toddler protesting or any jealously ensuing! So far we have some building blocks, a few new and a few old favourite books, toy cars, dinosaurs and animals, aqua doodle mini and a dustpan and brush (Ted loves to clean!!). We also plan to let him have some chill out time in front of the TV during one feed and hope he’ll nap during another…all sounds so simple in theory!!

Is there anything else you think we could do to make things easier on the little guy?

The Twinkle Diaries
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Hampshire Days out with a Toddler – Longdown Activity Farm

Today we took our first trip to the farm. There are a few options locally to Southampton but we decided to descend on Longdown Activity Farm with a group of toddler pals!

Ted loves to explore as soon as we arrive anywhere, investigating the areas he can access without delay so it was good that he had a couple of entertainment options while we briefly queued to pay.

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Boo!

And lift the door options are always popular!

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Ted loved the open space as soon as we walked through, it is safe and enclosed so he was able to run about next to me without being restricted by the need for reins or a pushchair at all. That said it is also really pushchair friendly, which will be great once our new addition arrives.

First up…the ducks and a chance to practice one of the first signs Ted learnt over and over with excitement! On arrival we were given a timetable with all the interactive activities on so we planned our route based around these.

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We had arrived a bit before everybody else and were just in time to feed the baby goats. I was really impressed with how Ted responded, the goats pull at the bottle quite a lot while they’re drinking and I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about this but he happily sat on my lap holding the bottle until it was empty before declaring “All Gone” and clambering down!

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We headed straight to the first of many hand washing stations as soon as we’d finished, luckily Ted thinks anything involving water is a play activity so the constant cleaning was greeted favourably!

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Next up were the chicks! Again I was massively impressed with how unphased Ted was. He held the chick without hesitation…and took it very seriously, I do wonder what they were both thinking here (poor  chick!!)

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There were some massive bunnies in the barn that Ted got to touch too before heading for some more handwashing/water play!

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Our friends arrived as we were leaving the chicks and bunnies so we joined them for lunch and a play.

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Ted would happily have spent his whole day sat on the tractors…Mummy’s back wasn’t going to manage pushing him for too long though!!

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One of my favourite parts of the day was watching Ted check for eggs and how proud he was when he found one.

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Ted and his friend Hattie took their eggs to the farm shop (I was very impressed they made the journey without being squeezed or dropped)…

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Where they swapped them for a sticker. Ted loved his sticker but wasn’t too keen at giving up his egg!!

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We then headed off to feed the big goats their lunch, there was also the opportunity to feed the pigs and Ducks but we missed them this time while having our own lunch!

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At 1pm there was the chance to take tractor rides around the farm…what little boy wouldn’t be excited by that prospect? Ted couldn’t wait to get on.

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The cows were a good distraction while we waited for our turn, I’m not sure who was most interested in the other!

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The “bumpy bumpy” tractor ride was a massive hit and Ted would have gone round and round for hours on the back, by the end he was getting very confident/showing off (!) and wanted to stand…he’s so his father’s son!!

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After all that fun it was time for some tea and cake!

We had a fab day out and will definitely be investing in a season ticket next year, a lot of activities are in barns (including trampolines and soft play) so even in wet weather it will be somewhere to come in a splash suit and then take cover – a much better option than a stuffy indoor soft play area in my opinion.

Longdown opens from February half term through to October half term each year but does offer a Christmas Grotto with a few animals and the chance to see Santa too.

Entry was £9 for adults and free for Under 3’s.