I’ve been a bit busy…

I've been a bit busy

So I haven’t managed to do any actual writing in a while, I’ve had lots of ideas and inspiration but not enough time to actually sit down and get to it! I’ve had some amazing opportunities come up recently so now the dust has settled I thought I’d be a bit big headed and update you all on what’s been going on 😉

Gosh, where do I even start?! I received a phone call from a lovely lady at Fixers UK called Liz asking if I would like to start my own ‘Fixers project’. Fixers are young people using their past to fix the future. They are motivated by personal experience to make positive change for themselves and those around them. I wasn’t really sure where I fit in to this. She had found me after researching into the Devon Sports Awards, wanting me to do a bit about my cycling group, however she stumbled across this blog and decided we could do something even bigger and better!

We had a chat and Liz explained how she had recently returned to work from maternity leave and was keen to get the message of just how hard parenting is to the wider audience. She decided I was the person to do this – AHH! The following day she had arranged for her colleague Jo to come down from London to meet me, that day. I told my husband and he was confused, some big shot in London was coming all the way down to little old Crediton to meet me?! It was overwhelming to say the least! Jo was lovely, she was keen to get my ‘story’ out there and we would begin filming the following Tuesday. We went camping that weekend, and once we arrived I got a call from the producer of my short film – HA! Dave found it hilarious when I casually explained that I was “just on the phone to my producer”.

Tuesday came and we spent the whole day filming, it was bizarre. Overwhelming, exciting, nerve-wracking! The kids were brilliant, which I was very surprised by as they’re being quite a handful at the moment. I was quite surprised by just how long it takes to film just 3 minutes 15 seconds. It took all day and we had so many takes. Luckily the parts where I had to actually do my interview and tell my story in narrative only took one shot, as I’m not sure I would have been able to go over it more than once. The whole thing was exhausting. But I’m so pleased how it has turned out. We watched it together the following Thursday on ITV Regional News and I was so proud. It was an amazing experience. Once I receive the footage we will be using it to advertise the support group myself and my friend Lucy set up. And of course I will share it for anyone who didn’t get to see it on the day!

I've been a bit busy
Just have a film crew in my kitchen…

In between the whirlwind that was my Fixers project, I finally attended the Devon Sports Awards. I went with two very lovely friends and we had a great time getting dolled up. We got ready together and did each others hair and make up whilst listening to music and having a few ‘pre-drinks’. Unfortunately I didn’t win, a young girl of 16 who runs a local swimming group did. I’d like to say all that crap about how I’m just glad to be nominated la di dah but to be honest I was disappointed. We did get lots of free booze though! I also got a picture with James Cracknell OBE, and he’s quite attractive, so it wasn’t all bad…

I've been a bit busy
mmm…

We then had a very busy day at Rosemoor Gardens where the kids modelled for the Spring/Summer 2018 JoJo Maman Bebe catalogue! The day started awfully with an hour long bus journey where Issy puked – twice. It was awful as she went through all her spare clothes. I found a top of Alfies that fit her and spare knickers but no trousers. Just as I was about to panic that she would have to run about half naked, we went into the baby change toilets and sitting on the change table was a pair of 18-24 month pink leggings! Honestly I could have cried. I don’t know who left them, and feel a bit bad for essentially stealing but those leggings saved the day!

I've been a bit busy
Wedding scene for JoJo Maman Bebe – cute!

To finish our crazy couple of weeks, myself and my friend Roxie took part in a 25 mile cycling sportive. We’re really enjoying cycling in our Active Mums group, so decided we’d take it a step further and do it for ourselves. The lengths we take to get a day without the kids 😉 It was so much fun and the views along the track were just stunning. It was nice to have some time just us, even though we were also cycling! We finished in just under 3 hours, which we are very proud of, and we even got medals. Our husbands and children waited at the finish line for us and we both teared up seeing them all cheering us on. It was a lovely day out!

I've been a bit busy
Rocking our medals!

I’d like to say things are slowing down but of course I don’t do ‘nothing’ very well. I’m busy planning a sponsored bike ride, bringing together my Active Mums group and the post natal depression support group I help run. 22 Miles of riding where we’ll hopefully raise lots of money to advertise the group and help more local Mums.

I’ve started my CBT sessions and things are going well so far. I’m not quite convinced but I’m putting my all into it with hopes it’ll work. My meds have leveled out which has helped tremendously. My psychologist has determined I’ve definitely gone back into ‘high functioning depression’. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or not. I know I’m spreading myself too thin, I’m constantly on edge that I’m about to crash.

But for now I’m floating on a bit of a high so I’m just going with it! Stay tuned for the crash 😉

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Toddler’s First Holiday – without us!

toddler's first holiday

We took Nana and Grandma for Mother’s Day lunch. Just as we were leaving, Nana asked if she could take the toddler to Oxford for three days to visit her family. I couldn’t say yes quick enough; immediately dreaming of lie ins, hot bubble baths and lots of blogging time! My husband on the other hand was unsure. Him being unsure made me unsure.

After a long chat we decided she would go, however when the time came I felt uneasy. My daughter had stayed with her grandparents on numerous occasions, it just seemed to feel different with it being quite a distance from us. In the days leading up to the trip, I was plagued with nightmares. From them being in car crashes, to my daughter being abducted and everything in between. When Nana arrived to start their trip, I hugged her tight and nearly didn’t let her go.

Although I had agreed to let my daughter go with the reasoning that it would mean my son and I would have some bonding time. When they finally left, I felt unsure. I wasn’t really sure what to do with my son when my daughter wasn’t around to dictate everything we do. Within minutes I was pacing the house, so I decided we’d go for a walk.

It was strange but he seemed to know right away that he now got a say. Silly things like when we came to the traffic lights, he reached up to touch the button for us to cross the road. Big sister always does this, and he has never once tried to do this before. But as soon as big sister is gone, he decides to give it a try! He seemed so determined that I lifted him out of his pram and let him press the button. He was so pleased with himself, and gave me a lovely long cuddle afterwards, as if thanking me for letting him do something his sister normally does.

The next day we went on the bus into town, he immediately wanted to sit next to me, instead of his usual place in his pram. We snuggled together and watched the world go by. Every now and then he would turn to me and smile. His smile filled by heart.

It also had some negatives. It seemed that without big sister to entertain him, my son became a lot more attached and clingy. I wasn’t able to get anything on my ‘to-do’ list completed which I found very frustrating. I seemed to have forgotten how awkward this age is, too old to just sit and catch up with friends, yet too old to do anything fun! He is normally so content to slot into the background and let his sister take centre stage, that I struggled to find a place for him when the main act was taking a break.

We’re now all back to reality. Struggling through the expected toddler tantrums from having lots of late nights and basically getting her own way in regards to everything. But we’ve also had a few enlightening moments…

We rode the bus into town again today, on my own with both children. I expected to go back to routine of baby in the pram and toddler on the seat, but my son was close to a temper tantrum, insistent that he should sit on the seat too. After the initial panic and arguments with the toddler over who gets to sit in the window seat, I calmed myself down and rationalised with the toddler. She agreed to sit on a special seat next to the pram, meaning the baby got to sit in the window seat and watch the cars drive by.

They were both happy.

I had put my sons wishes in front of my daughters.

It could have been disastrous.

I could have just left my son in the pram to cry whilst my daughter got her own way.

But instead I found a resolution that everyone was happy with.

And I feel really proud of myself for that.

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Wildflower Wedding Photography

wildflower wedding photography

I got a message from my husband’s friend asking for a ‘random favour’…a bit odd at first, but when I heard what it was, I was beyond excited!

When Jamie and his fiancé Anika started planning their dream wedding, they were astonished to find how expensive wedding photography can be. They started to explore other options and after seeing the quality of student photographers, who all just needed a bit of experience, Wildflower Wedding Photography was born!

Wildflower Wedding Photography is wedding photography agency for students studying photography and wanting to get more experience and build up their portfolio. It’s a win-win, as the student gets experience, and the happy couple get a cheaper than usual photography service!

A brilliant idea, but what did I have to do for it? Well, the website needed some example photos to get off the ground, so he asked if I could pretend to get married for the day! Could any girl say no?!

I was 29 weeks pregnant on our wedding day so I was…round. I had a custom fitted maternity gown and although I absolutely loved it, I look back on photos and feel a bit fat, which is silly in itself as I was pregnant, not fat! To get back in my dress and look skinny (well, at least skinny in comparison to 29 weeks pregnant) was like a dream come true!

We arrived at the location and were introduced to our photographer, Lydia. She was raring to go with lots of fantastic ideas up her sleeve. We felt relaxed and at ease as Lydia took the lead.

We’ve had a few sneak peaks so far and are so pleased with the results! Take a look below…

could any marriedwoman say nocould any married woman say nocould any married woman say no

If you’re looking for a fantastic, low cost photography service for your special day, give Jamie and Anika a call.

We all deserve to have the memories of our special day captured, whatever our budget!

could any married woman say no

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20 wishes for 2017

We’re already in February, but heck – why not?!

I was tagged by the lovely Clare at Neon Rainbow Blog to write about my 20 wishes for 2017. It will be lovely to look back at the end of the year and see how many, if any, have been achieved!

This tag splits our wishes into 4 categories; Personal, Family, Blogging and Hopes…so here we go!

Personal

  1. To have more good days than bad…I am up and down like a yo-yo these days. I’d like to be able to look back and say my last bad day was a month ago, or even a week ago!
  2. To continue raising awareness of PND/A in my local community and however far this blog goes…I am so pleased with how our new support group Mum to Mum, Crediton is going so far. We’ve had so many positive comments and we’ve even been able to help a few people, which is just amazing! We’re thinking of new projects all of the time and are hoping to continue to build awareness throughout the coming year.  
  3. To eat less cake…I definitely am not going to stop eating cake anytime soon, but I’d like to curb my habits a little bit. Maybe have the ladies at the bakery say “Ooh we haven’t seen you in a while” instead of knowing my order by heart. 
  4. To have more ‘adult’ nights out…even if it’s a movie night with the girls and a bottle of wine. I want to spend more time being ‘me’ and not just ‘Mum’.
  5. To stop biting my nails…oh it’s gross I know, and I say this every year but here I am, still biting away! Maybe this year will be the year? I doubt it.

Family

  1. To start a new hobby with my husband…we are always talking about how we need to spend more time together actually being together not just sat next to each other watching telly and scrolling through our phones. We did start this in January when we decided we’d do puzzles together however this lasted about an hour before the husband decided it wasn’t for him! We have enrolled on a cookery course this spring, hoping this will be our ‘thing’!
  2. To learn a few new recipes…I’m very stuck in my ways when it comes to cooking, we have our set meals and we just rotate those on a weekly basis. I’m hoping the cookery course will give us a bit of inspiration for us to be a bit more daring in the kitchen. More veggies for the kid especially!
  3. Find some magical method of washing kids hair without screaming/crying…oh how I wish for the days where we can wash toddlers hair without all getting soaked from thrashing and splashing! She never had a problem until recently, I don’t know what changed but it’s bloody tiring. 
  4. Start turning the workshop into the kids playroom…I cannot wait until we have enough money to get started on this little project! We bought our house in September and it’s a massive project, we’re doing it one room at a time, and this one is the one I’m most looking forward to! 
  5. Make the garden kid friendly…again house related, I have big dreams and an even bigger Pinterest board dedicated to our future garden. There is so much work to be done, however I’d like it to at least be safe to play in for this summer – fingers crossed!

Blog

  1. To build my content and audience…it’s still early days for me and I’m already overwhelmed with all of the positive comments and messages I’ve been receiving! I just want to keep going, I’m finding it so helpful to write out my feelings. Definitely a good way of processing things.
  2. To join one Twitter chat a week…I had so much fun during my first twitter chat last Sunday during #babybantzchat (9pm – 10pm). I’d like to continue to meet new bloggers and have a laugh, I’m also hoping it’ll get my name ‘out there’ a bit!
  3. To learn all the lingo…I hope to be able to understand a full conversation about blogging – haha! Maybe I’m pushing myself on this one? I’m slowly working my way through The Blogger’s Bible – 100+ Essential Blogging Terms – an amazing guide from Hayley over at Devon Mama, especially useful for newbies like me!
  4. To write the next part of my ‘Where it all began…’ series…I’m hoping I’ll be able to do this one soon, I’m absolutely crapping my pants about writing it all down. I’ll get there though, can’t leave you all on edge forever, can I?
  5. To keep enjoying blogging! I am enjoying this whole process so much so far, I just hope it continues to boost me and I don’t take any knock backs (which I’m sure they’ll come!) too badly.

Hopes

  1. A rise in breastfeeding rates in the UK…I am so disappointed we have some of the lowest rates in the world. Bizarre for a first world country to not be feeding their babies in the healthiest way! Definitely feel breastfeeding education should be taught from a young age.
  2. More awareness of Hyperemesis Gravidarum…I am currently training to become a peer supporter for HG sufferers. I understand there may never be a cure for mothers suffering through pregnancy, however I hope mothers are understood and supported by health professionals and peers alike instead of being accused of lying, compared to ‘morning sickness’ and not getting the help they desperately need. 
  3. Better mental health services in the UK…I am very lucky that I have been able to receive the treatment and therapies I do. Unfortunately I am very much aware I am one of very few that have been treated fairly and with respect. #1in4
  4. For someone to find the meaning of happiness…bit unrealistic and very intense, but heck, I’d love to know!
  5. To win the lottery? I don’t even play the lottery, but wouldn’t we all like to be millionaires? It probably wouldn’t give me happiness, it would bloody help though! 

We’re getting a bit late into the year now, and everyone I know in the blogging world has already completed this tag, so I’m not going to tag anyone (can I do this? I feel like I’m breaking some blogging code…oops!) However, if you’re reading this and haven’t shared yet, I’d love to take a read and share on your behalf 🙂

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The Sunshine Blogger Awards!

It seems I’m on a bit of a tagging roll 😉 The Sunshine Blogger Awards are a bit different, as each blogger sets their own ten questions!

I have been tagged by the lovely Beth at A Blonde And A Baby to answer the ten questions she has come up with for The Sunshine Blogger Awards, lets see how I get on…

1. What made you start blogging?

I’ve wanted to blog for as long as I can remember really. I have A Levels in English Language and Literature, and have always enjoyed writing. I wrote for an online magazine for a little while but didn’t enjoy the sales side and not having freedom in my writing. My psychologist kept suggesting I start a journal, so I decided to take it one step further and write for the whole internet to see!

2. What’s your signature dish to cook for dinner?

Fajitas. Whenever we have friends or family over for dinner, it’s fajitas. Our Nan (my Step Dads Mum) lived with us and looked after us during the week as Mom worked away a lot, and Nan’s dinner menu consisted of very British ‘meat and two veg’ style meals. If my Mom was due to be home by Friday, she’d make fajitas! It was the only time we’d all sit around a table and share food and stories, so always reminds me of family and good times.

3. What’s been your proudest parenting moment so far?

That’s a really hard one. I’ve been sat here about 20 mins now trying to think of something that I’m proud of. I guess that’s why I’m in therapy, eh? Hmm…I am very proud of pushing myself to breastfeed my daughter for 2.5 years, 1 year of which tandem feeding with her little brother. 

4. Who is your celebrity crush?

Peter Andre. Have had a special place in my heart for him since his I’m A Celebrity days, I had his picture all over my workbooks in primary school and still know the words to all his songs. 

5. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I don’t really know, I get annoyed quite easily. I absolutely hate whining. I never realised how irritating a child’s whine could be until my lovely daughter descended into the ‘terrible twos’. However according to other Mum friends, ‘terrible twos’ soon becomes ‘terrifying threes’, ‘frustrating fours’ before finally… ‘thank fuck you’re off to school fives’. 

6. What is the thing you would most like to achieve this year?

We bought a ‘fixer upper’ last year and it’s going to take years to get it exactly how we want it. With me being a stay at home mum, we’re on a tight budget so will be doing up one room a year. This year I’d like to have got the playroom finished. It will be so great to have a separate space for all the kids stuff, maybe I’ll spend less time organising their toys?

7. Where is the best place you’ve been to on holiday?

Definitely touring the Rocky Mountains in Canada in an R.V. as a child. Best family holiday so far! I have so many happy memories from that holiday. As we have lots of family in Canada, it will definitely be a holiday to re create with my own little family.

8. What’s your go to midnight blogging snack?

Haagan Daaz, Strawberry Cheesecake. If we’re out then I’ll make myself some nachos!

9. Are you a messy play lover or hater, and why?

Love doing it with other people, not so much on my own! When my toddler has other friends to play with, she plays for longer. When she’s on her own, she tends to get bored after 5 mins, then it’s a very frustrating waste of time!

10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Start a compliments book! And pretty much everything my therapist has suggested to date, especially when she finally convinced me to start taking anti depressants. She’s a bloody hero. 

Awesome set of questions Beth! They definitely got me thinking…

Now I’m tagging Ella at Flex Vegan, Bethany at Being Mummy and Harriet at Mummy Goes Where Florence Goes to answer the following ten questions…

  1. How would you describe your blog to others?
  2. Who is your biggest inspiration?
  3. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
  4. Do you have any siblings?
  5. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
  6. What has been your biggest achievement in life so far?
  7. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  8. What do you love most about yourself?
  9. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
  10. You have a whole day to yourself, what do you do?

Good luck! I’m looking forward to reading your responses! 🙂

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The UnSanctimonious Guide to Cloth Nappies

We went along to our ante natal classes whilst pregnant with our first, excited to learn all about how to look after a baby! During one class, we were shown cloth nappies, we were not impressed. It sounded quite gross and a lot of hassle. Then we were shown a brilliant chart showing how much money you can save compared to disposable nappies. I can’t find that original chart, however why not check out this fab, informative cost comparison from The Cloth Nappy Tree?)

WTH?! How is this possible? If you save this much money, why doesn’t everyone use them? Are people really that lazy not to save ALL THAT MONEY?! We are massive cheapskates, yeah, saving the planet and all that was a bonus (and the patterns are just adorable!) BUT THE MONEY SAVING?!

I went along to our local cloth nappy library (Jen from Exeter Babies is fab, find her website hereand decided on the BumGenius Flip day and night system. It cost £150 in total (although maybe a bit less as I also bought some reusable breast pads and maybe a wet bag – it was too long ago to remember!)

We used these for the first 4 months until a friend told me about Little Bloom nappies. These are basically pocket nappies made in China and sold on eBay at ridiculously low prices, with gorgeous patterns. I got my Nan to buy 10 pretty patterns with 1 bamboo and 1 microfibre insert each for a total of £30 – what a bargain!

We carried on using our BumGenius Flip night system, as the ‘China cheapies’ didn’t quite hold out for a whole night stint. However they worked perfectly during the day without any leaks.

We don’t do anything fancy whilst washing our nappies, no cold rinses, long washes or special powders *gasp* just a regular 40c wash then depends on my mood as to whether I dry on the clothes hanger or bung in the tumble drier. We don’t like the idea of having a bucket full of nappies lying around the house so use wet bags to store our nappies in. This also means we don’t have to faff about moving nappies from bags to bucket when we’ve been out all day. We don’t use liners, just sluice in the loo or rinse in a sink.

We do two washes a week. When the babies were little we would chuck their sleep suits and vests in too, they were normally covered in poop and puke anyway, so what’s a bit more? Best of all, our nappies are still as good as new half way through our second child’s nappy life, and we’ll even be able to sell them on afterwards!

So make the change -it’s never too late to save lots of money, have some adorable squidgy bums and you even get to help save the environment (even if crunchy isn’t your thing!)

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Random compliments…

So I have started a ‘compliments book’, in which if I ever receive a compliment regarding myself or my parenting, I have to write it down in an effort to feel better about myself.

So far it has a compliment from my therapist (duh) and a few from my husband (double duh). A task I took on with an eye roll is proving pretty worthy right now.

That was until this afternoon!

Walking along the high street, pushing the pram whilst dictating to mine and a friends toddler about which way we need to go. As every toddler seems to do when you’re in a rush, they were dragging their feet and swinging about without a care in the world. I was starting to get very frustrated by constantly having to screech behind me ‘COME ON!’ ‘THIS WAY!’ and other such words of encouragement. I see a lady approach me, bracing myself for some evil eyes or snide comment as the girls are now jumping over cracks in the middle of the pavement, stopping anyone from passing them.

However, I was shocked when she instead cooed over the girls, calling them very adorable, I smiled. Then she said “I can imagine how frustrating them dawdling must be for you, you’re being so patient!”Eh what?!

I certainly wasn’t feeling patient, however this lady taking time to reassure me was so lovely, it immediately put me in a good mood. So much so that we spent the rest of our walk playing monsters and dinosaurs, meaning the girls ran excitedly and we were on time for once!

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