The Easy But Challenging Life as a Mum

The Easy But Challenging Life as a Mum

Maybe it’s because I had a rather awful and unhealthy pregnancy and Amelia’s first few weeks were hospital ones but everything since then hasn’t been particularly hard. A few people – ones that didn’t have children I might point out – were quick to tell me that I had no idea how hard I was going to find it. And I can happily say they were wrong.

I didn’t have any baby weight to lose, my tummy was almost flat the day after Amelia was born and within a week I was back in my size 8 jeans and nobody would believe I’d just had a baby. (I am well aware that I was very lucky with this and fully appreciate that other mums may struggle with this. Please bare in mind my diet has always been healthy with fruit as snacks and three balanced meals a day. If I lived on take aways I doubt I would have skimmed down so quickly.) I waited for the dreaded csection pouch but it never arrived – unless you see the scar and the two, 1cm long stretch marks under my belly button my tummy has been completely unchanged by the experience.

I was and still am extremely grateful for my body springing back so quickly – with my HG sickness, SPD and obstetric choleostasis my pregnancy was spent in a lot of hospitals. A struggle with my weight was not one I was looking forward to.

Amelia is one of the happiest babies. Everyone we encounter comments on how she never seems to cry. She doesn’t sleep through the night but there’s something so cute about her cuddling into me in the middle of the night. The lack of sleep can be easily forgiven. I am not a fan of cry it out or sleep training so am more than happy to cuddle her all night if that’s what she needs.

For us the biggest challenge – health problems aside – was the breast feeding. For us it just wasn’t working well enough to continue so at just past four months we swapped to formula and we are both happier for it. Expressing was incredibly time consuming for me returning to uni so we made the switch to formula and haven’t looked back.

Balancing uni, a clean flat, work and Amelia should be extremely difficult. But somehow it isn’t. I have days where it seems like I’ve given myself way too much to do but they pass and I get everything done.

If you’re reading this and worrying about your to do list, stop and take a few minutes to have a cup of tea and appreciate the things you have already done. If all you’ve achieved so far that day is a clean and fed baby then you are doing brilliantly already. If you’ve been trying to loose a few pounds and you manage half a pound last week when you wanted to be minus three then that’s still really good too! Every little bit adds up towards your overall goals.

Often we are our own worst enemy, piling on the pressure. There will always be someone who you can’t please but that’s okay. Your life is yours. If you need help ask. If you need a break take it. Judgemental people aren’t worthy of your time.

Last Minute Homemade Gifts

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

Run out of time to order presents? Only got evenings left when the shops you want aren’t open?

Home made gifts are brilliant! Here are a few ideas.

Cookie mix in a jar:
Put the following dry ingredients in a jar.
* 210g plain flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 100g caster sugar
* 340g milk or white chocolate chips
* 110g dark brown soft sugar

Add a ribbon and attach a card with the following instructions:
In a bowl mix 170g butter, 1 1/2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract together. Add the dry mixture. Put tablespoons of the mix onto baking trays. Bake in a preheated 190 C / Gas 5 oven for 8 – 10 minutes.

Shortbread biscuits
Preheat oven to 190 C or gas 5. Beat 125g butter and 55g of sugar together. Stir in 180g of plain flour.
Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to make the biscuit shapes. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes and then bake for 15-20 minutes.
Wrap the cooled biscuits in brown paper and decorate with red ribbon.

Flowery Soaps
Line ice cube trays with cling film.
Melt as many bars of clear soap in a Pyrex bowl over a pan of hot water. Pour the melted soap into the ice cube trays. Decorate them with small flowers, bits of lavender and other fresh smelling herbs.
Set the soaps in the fridge or freezer. Once set, turn out of the ice cube trays and wrap them in tissue paper.

Have fun getting creative!

traditional Christmas dinner or something else?

Traditional Christmas Dinner or Something Else?

Christmas dinner. Most people imagine turkey with all the trimmings. Roast potatoes. Stuffing. Red cabbage. Brussels sprouts. Roast parsnips. Cauliflower cheese. Pigs in blankets. Gravy.

But are you a family that chooses something else?

Over the years my family have had a variety of meats for dinner; turkey, chicken, gammon, lamb, beef, duck. (Not that it really affects me as I don’t eat the meat part.)
But regardless of the protein the rest of the dinner is pretty much the same.

Some ideas I’ve heard recently:

Fry up
A surprising number of people have a huge cooked breakfast for their Christmas dinner. This isn’t my favourite choice but it’s definitely an option for dealing with a Boxing Day morning hangover. (I’m sure plenty of people have a fry up for breakfast and then a roast turkey dinner on Christmas Day. It doesn’t need to be one or the other.)

Curry
This gives you a variety of meat options, just like roast dinner. It also means you can all pick your own spice strength and type of rice. Poppadoms and naan bread are easily ordered or bought from the supermarket. In fact you could easily buy a variety of curry dishes from Tesco or Sainsbury’s and heat them up. Much simpler than roasting an entire turkey.

Fish and chips
The old English favourite is another popular choice. I’m sure we will have a takeaway at some point over the festive period but for me it’s a roast dinner all the way.

Here’s a picture of Christmas dinner last year, cooked by me and my mum. Last year I was over 20 weeks pregnant. This year I have a 7 and a half month old little monkey.

Christmas dinner 2016

Christmas Visitors

Nearly all of my friends are at university. I am too but unlike most of the girls I went to school with I chose to study from home. I go to university in Canterbury so can commute instead of moving. This is a decision I made months before I found out I was pregnant but it’s so fortunate I did. Studying miles away from my boyfriend whilst carrying his baby wouldn’t have been ideal.

One of my closest friends, Mollie, is studying at Bournemouth. She is in her third year as she didn’t take a year out like I did. We saw Mollie today and she came bearing Christmas presents. She got Amelia the most gorgeous fluffy dressing gown and pyjamas with a little teddy bear. (There were bits for me too but any excuse to talk about baby clothes and I am going to take it.)

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They are so soft and will look adorable on Amelia. I can’t wait to snuggle her up in them. Amelia adores her auntie Mollie and happily posed for photos with her.

Posting every day throughout December is proving challenging. Anyone else running out of ideas to write about?

Must haves for a cosy Christmas

Making your home cosy at Christmas doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Just a few homely touches here and there and a few pounds will make the family warmer and comfier.

Candles
I found some gorgeous reindeer tea light holders from studio. Tea lights are really cheap and come in so many different scents so we can use these holders again and again. I also have a beautiful spiced orange candle from Aldi’s Christmas range. At £3.99 it was a bargain

Dressing gowns
I have a lovely fluffy pink one that my boyfriend got me for our second anniversary. It’s from primark and they stock so many different colours and styles

Slippers
I don’t actually have any at the moment but am hoping to get some for Christmas. I really like the look of the soft fluffy memory foam ones that are popular at the moment. There is a lovely pair in new look but as long as they are soft and comfy I’m not fussy. I’d particularly like a cream or pink pair. (Hint hint Rob if you are reading this.)

Hot chocolate
What better way to spend a cold evening that snuggled in a dressing gown and slippers with scented candles and a mug of hot chocolate. Options have a strawberry hot chocolate that sounds wonderful.

Teddies
This is more one for the little people than the adults. Amelia picked a cuddly penguin out in Aldi – literally she grabbed it from the shelf whilst sitting in the trolley. A soft toy is perfect for little ones to cuddle up with on the sofa whilst watching peppa pig. Amelia was not in a modelling mood and below is the best picture I could get.

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Advent Calendars

Traditionally advent calendars are a religious concept. Most people don’t buy advent candles anymore but not so long ago they were present in family homes and churches, not the chocolate advent calendars we have come to love today.

Then there were cardboard advent calendars, ones where you opened doors to reveal a depiction of a scene from the bible.

Now we have moved on from chocolate advent calendars to ones containing toys and make up. This year there have even be advent calendars produced that contain gin and cheese.

I found this lovely advent calendar from Avon. It contains a pair of earrings behind each door. At a bargain price of £10 for 25 pairs of earrings it is a wonderful alternative to the more expensive gift advent calendars. (I also have a chocolate one thanks to my mum.)

 

Next year when Amelia is a bit bigger I’d love to get her the toot toot advent calendar.

Which advent calendars have you found this year that you love?

Food Amelia Couldn’t Live Without

1. Banana porridge
Amelia isn’t fussy if it’s cow and gate or aptamil as long as she gets her breakfast. She’ll eat other flavours if she has too but banana is her preference.
2. Fruity melty puffs
Amelia happily tucks into these as snacks or with her lunch (they are like baby wotsits). Her favourite ones are strawberry. Ella’s Kitchen strawberry and banana and kiddylicious strawberry puffs are two of Amelia’s favourites. If they aren’t available she’ll also tuck into carrot puffs from Aldi. She’s a growing girl and loves her food!
3. Yoghurts
Amelia particularly likes Yeo Valley – little yeo ones. Like the puffs if there are only alternatives available she’ll eat those too. Any fromage frais make her happy.
4. Rice crispies
Probably the strangest one on the list, Amelia has really taken to these. To start with I was putting these in her high chair tray so she could play with them whilst rob and I have dinner. (Unlike some things they are easy to clean up) In the last few weeks she stopped playing with them and started shoving them in her mouth. She loves the pop noise they make when they touch her tongue.

On another note – anyone else go to the shops and end up buying things they don’t need? Went over to Aldi to get baby milk and Amelia fell in love with a fluffy penguin. She was heart broken when I took it off her to pay for it. Who could resist that smile though?

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Fareshare

Fareshare is a charity that was established in 1994. In its 23 years it has expanded and helped thousands of people. As of this year it has 21 distribution centres. They collect surplus food and donations and redistribute it to those that need it.

In the lead up to Christmas it is hard not to think of those that won’t be in a warm home eating a huge roast on Christmas Day. It is easy to donate food as fareshare work with asda, Sainsbury’s, co-op and Tesco. I have made sure to put a few items in the collection point at my local Tesco when I have been doing my food shopping. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive; Tesco have an everyday value range and items are as little as 15p.

Kiddylicious also have a Christmas themed game on their website at the moment where you fill in your email address and name and can ‘shake’ a snow globe. You can play five times a day and the prizes range from hampers and trips to donations the company will make to fareshare on your behalf.

Fareshare are not the only company that you can donate food. Wherever you are in the country there are local food banks. Even if you can’t donate food they are always looking for volunteers. A simple google search will let you know what food banks operate in your local area.

Amelia’s First Word

7 months old and my little lady has truly mastered her first word.

And of course it is ‘daddy’. If it wasn’t so cute I would be offended. She currently says three variations of it; Daddy, dad and dadda. Amelia knows what it means too. Now if you ask her ‘where is daddy’ she looks around for him and if she doesn’t see him her little face falls.

As it gets closer to Christmas I’m getting slightly worried that she’s going to be crawling by then. Which would be wonderful but as we are spending Christmas at my mums the poor dog will not find it fun. Amelia is obsessed with trying to pinch Sammy. If she can get hold of her ears or tail she is delighted.

Inbeteeen chatting away about daddy, Amelia was constantly on the look out for Sammy last time we were at my mums. Sammy is a really friendly jack Russel with long legs. But trying to teach amelia not to pinch her is a challenge. We did manage to get Amelia to stroke Sammy a couple of times so we are getting there.

They are friends really!

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Comfort Food

When it’s  cold and wet outside there’s nothing better than coming back to a nice home cooked meal.

When I’m at uni I tend to cheat with dinners and cook whatever is easiest straight from the freezer. I get home quite late and after six hours of lectures the last thing I feel like doing is spending ages cooking. So when I’m not at uni I try and make a bit more effort.

Last nights dinner – for Rob. I had a veggie option – was cottage pie. Cottage pie is a brilliant way to get extra vegetables into a meal. You can mix mashed parsnip in with the mashed potatoes and can put all sorts of vegetables in with the meat. If you chop them up small enough little mouthes won’t even realise.

Rob had his with green beans and spicy jalapeño and beef nacho bites – obviously you would not give those to a little person. They’d burn their little mouth. But otherwise a perfect meal for my titchy princess. She has four little ones frozen in the freezer for other nights.

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