Friday, 15 July 2016

Sports Day

I don't know if it's the humid July air (or torrential downpours), excitement (or fear) of the looming six week holidays or that instinctive desire from our ancestors to win a three legged race. Whatever the reason, Sports Day can be intense. 

I was pregnant at the time of Bee's first ever Pre-school Sports Day last year.  I was not prepared. 

I was not prepared for the mother-daughter race that turned into carnage as one mum almost dragged her daughter along the course to be first.  (Let's just say she must have really, really wanted that medal from the pound shop). 

There appears to be a parental shift when it comes to Sports Day.  We are all smiles at drop off and pick ups at the pre-school gates.  But the words race and three legged appear to cause competitiveness and the desire to win like no other. 

And I am not immune to it. 

I like to consider myself a pretty relaxed mama the majority of the time. But the intensity of the Day of Sports did not pass me by. Just because I was pregnant and not racing did not mean I was silent on the sidelines. Oh no. My inner fish wife voice was released, and as my daughter ran her race, I found myself chanting my daughter's name like she was Mo Farrah on the home straight in London 2012. 

Sports Day was not without its drama too.  Bee actually won her little egg and spoon race, but the winners medal was wrongly given to another little girl in the next lane.  I should mention this isn't just bad sportsmanship, we actually have video evidence as my husband filmed it on his phone of Bee being first.  It's the incident we now refer to as egg and spoon gate.  

No-one prepares you for Sports Day as a parent.  No-one sits you down before you leave the hospital with your baby and tells you about what's going to go down.  There needs to be a section for Sports Day at the back of the Birth to Five book with a quick reference tool on how to avoid being trampled on in the parent race, being a graceful loser and how to politely refute the judges decision. 

What are you meant to do in these situations? Go and ask the medal be removed from the other three year old? Call for an independent adjudicator and replay? Hook your I-phone up to the class power point so everyone can see the finish? 

That's right.  We hooked up the phone to the power point. Only joking (they didn't have the right wires). Instead, we smiled graciously and whispered to Bee she'd won, but there may have been a 'judging error'. Then we went out for cake and a babychino, because, quite frankly I'd used up all of my energy screaming cheering, and Bee did a fab job, pound shop medal or no pound shop medal.  

This year, I'm more prepared for amateur judging and rowdy mamas.  But I'll definitely be cheering from the sidelines, and I'd say there is a high possibility of a fish wife scream.  I just can't help it.   

We all know its the taking part that counts, but in my head I really can't help myself from humming the Eye of the Tiger and imagining a Rocky montage of a four year old with a plastic egg and spoon.  

Happy Sports Day people, and stay safe out there...  

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How did you get so big?

How did you get so big Bee? 

How is it four years since we very first met face to face? 

At times it felt like it went so so slowly.  Surviving on hardly any sleep.  Some days seemed so so long as I held your tiny little body. Questioning my every move as a new mum, was I doing it right? Were you are OK? Was it meant to be this hard? 

Cleaning food out of my hair and that highchair that was so hard to clean. Cleaning wee up from the floor for the hundredth time during your potty training.  That tantrum you had in Sainsburys where you actually rolled all the way down the aisle.  On those days, yes time seemed to go slow.  I thought those days would last forever. 

But they were very soon gone.  Interspersed with chasing you around the floor, your infectious belly giggles and smiles.  Our picnics at the park, day trips out with grandma and granddad (you've always loved an afternoon tea), our adventures to new places, and singing and dancing to Beyonce.  Those days passed in the blink of an eye.  And before I know it you are four. 

How did you get so big and grown up?  

Like when I had spent all day making your birthday cake and you came and put your hand on mine and told me I'm a good woman.  Or tonight when I asked if I could have a bite of your pizza and you replied, 'Of course you can Mama'.  

I'm so proud of you.  You are amazing.   

I wrote in your birthday card that me and your Daddy love you with every part of our being.  You giggled when I read that, I think you think it says with all of our beans. But it's true.  I also wrote we will love you forever. 

Now that you are four, I hugged you and told you that you are still my baby.  Even when you are a hundred, you will still be my baby I told you. And you replied that that's ok, that you will be. 

You are my everything Bee.  You taught me how to be a mum, how to learn from my mistakes and that life's too short to worry about the small things (which I still find hard to do). You taught me a love that is amazing, yet scary.  You taught me that the days are long but the years are oh so short.

You make me want to make you proud.  To believe you can do anything you put your mind too. I started this blog because of you. 

Happy birthday my beautiful baby girl. 

I love you with all of my beans and my being, 
Forever, even when you are a hundred. 


Monday, 11 July 2016

She ate what????

I can distinctively remember lying on the lounge floor with Bee and encouraging those tentative first crawls. Daily.  "Come on", I would call, showing her how to do it and looking like a complete muppet doing a slow motion crawl on the floor next to her. Crawling was a big thing.  I mean, it is a big thing.  But this time round with baby number two? I've not been as keen to get LL crawling.  Because as lovely as it was when Bee took those first crawls, it also meant for me, hours on the internet and raised levels of anxiety.  

I should point out here that no babies were harmed at any point of this blog. The only thing harmed is my state of mind.  

I should also point out that all incidents occur when my husband is on the other side of the world. Which leaves me with my over active imagination and Google.  A bad combination. 

The first thing that occurred with Bee after only a few days of her crawling was that she picked up a fairy non-bio washing liquid container, you know those ones that you fill up and put inside the washing machine? She found said container, which looked a lot more exciting than her expensive Sophie the giraffe and proceeded to suck it like it was going out of fashion.  I had been unloading the washing machine when I looked up and saw her. Now, the container had just come out of the washing machine and was actually spotlessly clean, but that didn't stop me washing her mouth and panicking I should contact the poisons centre.   

By the time I had Googled for an hour, I had calmed down a bit and the rational side of my brain took over with the small but significant fact that there was NO washing liquid in it anyway. 

The next incident involved some blu-tac that little Bee decided to chomp on and then swallow.  To begin with, I was mildly annoyed that she had turned her nose up at the Annabel Karmel fish and grape sauce I'd only just made and this piece of old sticky stuff was more palatable than my cooking.  I then panicked it would stick to her insides (yes I am a nurse, but let's not mention that, ok?).  An hour of Googling and a phone call to my mum later and I'd calmed down.  And yes, it did turn up again a few days later perfectly intact in her nappy.  It was actually good enough to use again (I didn't). 

And so you see, I was in no hurry for LL to get her crawl on.  Crawling means household objects take on a whole new life and don't get me started on my daughters toys which are everywhere and seem to be designed to be tiny and just the right size to be a major choking hazard, damn you Shopkins.    

But alas, here we are.  And little LL is moving around the house faster than a whippet. 

Yesterday at baby group, she went and licked another babies bottle lid. As she's exclusively breastfed I'm not sure what she thought it was, but then I started panicking. What if there was breast-milk in the bottle and she's ingested someone else's milk (there wasn't and she didn't), what if the lid was germ ridden (it didn't look it).  This led me to daydream in class if you could buy an at home disease detection kit. 

Today, whilst attempting to clean up, I noticed that we'd left an ant killer trap down in the hallway.  Now LL was no where near it, but still, I've since continuously beat myself up for stupidly leaving it on the floor when she can now get everywhere.  I've also read 3 research papers on ingestion of ant killer and have spent the evening feeling like the world's worst mum.  

These little lessons have taught me I need to be faster, quicker, a tad smarter and to not leave ANYTHING that can't be licked ANYWHERE.  Obviously, that's what we all know and obviously that's what the health visitors will tell you (gulp), but it's done now and our crawling adventures continue, hopefully with no more hiccups. 

But in all seriousness, please take heed and have a quick look round if you've got a crawler.  Oh, and if Annabel Karmel could concoct a recipe that has the consistency of blu-tac and taste of freshly washed linen with a hint of old milk, I think it would go down a storm with my girls.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A forgotten birthday and blogging doubts

Are you sitting comfortably? Maybe go and make yourself a drink.  This post could get long.  
In fact, make yourself a drink and get a few biscuits.  
Then I'll begin.

For all of my lovely, lovely regular readers, you may have noticed that I have been totally absent on here over the last few weeks.  I haven't quite known how to begin in telling you what's been happening and where I have been.  I have written this post twice already, but this evening I thought I would just sit down and write what I feel.  I apologise in advance if this post makes no or little sense, but I felt it needed to be written. 

Things came to a head a few weeks ago, when I had spent all week writing and pulling together images for my weekly The Milk Edit post, (where I find breastfeeding friendly fashion, that isn't actually breastfeeding specific, but outfits that would work just as well and look amazing). Anyway, after pulling all the images together, I then began editing the html code for the post.  

I should tell you that I don't know anything about html.  I don't even know what it stands for, which doesn't bode well already.  All I know is I add bits of code here and there in a given script and it means my images are displayed in a grid and it allows readers to click on the images and then be taken straight to where they can buy the product. 

For alot of people, this is easy stuff.  To me, it takes me about an hour to try and figure out a tiny bit of code.  And hours and hours it did take.  I tucked the girls into bed and then began this very slowly process for the fourth consecutive night in a row. After another 3 hours, and an hour of my husband helping, I'd nearly done it, until that is, it all completely vanished and I was left with a blank page.  All the work had gone. Vanished. Disappeared.  Gone. I wanted to throw the laptop out of the window and dive after it and just face plant in the front garden.  
My amazing husband (who was already trying to finish his own work inbetween calls to clients in America) was trying his best to help me, and then I just gave up.  I couldn't see how spending 6 hours stressing and then interfering with my husbands work was worth it for something that was meant to be fun.  I gave up and left it.  And I'm afraid I haven't logged on here since. 

I think it was the straw that broke my blogging back.  

The week before, I had found out that an overseas website had been stealing my blogposts and passing them off as their own in order to promote pregnancy weight loss pills.  I was shocked and so so angry when I stumbled across the site, especially as they had used some of my really personal posts, such as my pregnancy announcement.  (I have contacted Google to report the site and get my posts removed but I think it will take some time). 

These things just made me question what am I doing all of this for? I love blogging, but most of the time I feel I am just about keeping my head above the water with it.  I feel guilty if I don't blog.  When I do blog, I feel guilty that I should be doing something else, like bleaching the kitchen floor or bathing the dog. Then I feel bad that I aren't reading other blogs and commenting, or worrying why I'm absolutely crap at social media. And then comes the unhealthy comparing, that others seem to be doing it alot better than me. 

I do love blogging.  I really do.  I love writing.  I love thinking of posts and being creative.  What I don't love is that it seems to awaken my inner critic and a voice that says I'm not good enough to do it.  And when I spend over 6 hours with nothing to show for it, or someone is stealing my posts, I just wonder is it all worth it? Is it worth pouring my heart in these pages for all to see? 

To make matters worse, I have felt really sensitive lately which has probably added to my blogging breakdown. It was my 34th birthday last week and quite a few people completely forgot.  Now I must say, if ANY said people read this, this post is NOT in any way directed at you. This post is more about me and my insecurities.  You are all wonderful and I love you dearly.  Life happens.  We are all busy.  We all forget things and that's ok.  But, as I was feeling sensitive, when people didn't remember or didn't send me a card, I didn't just shrug it off like I should do, or look at it light-heartedly and text them saying 'have you forgotten something?'.  I took it personally and the very first thing that came to my mind was that it is probably because I'm not that nice of a person, or maybe I'm not such a great friend.  

My mum will kill me when she reads this, because when I told her I was thinking this, she thought I was being ridiculous.  But I can't help how I feel.  When I feel sensitive, I don't think my thoughts are particularly rational and I do take things to heart.  And by the way, I know the world doesn't revolve around me and people are very busy and I know it would never be done intentionally.  I know all of this.  But last week, my head was having none of it. 

This week, I'm over it.  But I thought I'd blog about it because this sort of thing happens doesn't it?  But birthdays are perfect in the land of Instagram and Twitter, and I'm assuming on Facebook (I'm not on there).  When I see other people's pictures of their birthdays, it's of the mass of birthday cards, the dozen bouquets or the many happy birthday well wishes from people.  My picture would have been of some tumbleweed.  Ok, ok, I've taken it too far, it wouldn't at all, and my husband will go mad if he reads this, because he made such an effort on my birthday and spent the evening before decorating a hotel room and blowing up balloons for me (Mr Bee you are the best). 

But my point is, when something doesn't quite go to plan, or isn't like what we think t should be, we feel we are coming up short.  That our life isn't as picture perfect as it should be. That maybe it's us. Damn you Instagram. 

As I said, I think my birthday clashed with a sensitive week (a possible understatement) and it knocked me a little.  And maybe there's something I can learn from that.  Maybe turning 34 has shown me that I need to toughen up a bit.  That maybe I need to make myself happy and not depend so much on wanting validation from other people.  That maybe I should love myself a bit more.  And not go looking at what everyone else is doing or filtering.  

I don't know where we go from here.  In all honesty it's been lovely to sit down again and just start typing.  Things keep popping into my head that I need to tell you, like Bee having her 4th birthday and how I never want to see a Hello Kitty again (it was a Hello Kitty themed party and I'd spent way to long trying to copy Pinterest), how I need to update you on LL's reflux (mostly going OK but weaning is a problem) and how LL is crawling (damn you small choking hazardous toys that are EVERYWHERE in our house).  But then this post might go on for too long and you'd need your lunch or tea sitting here too. 

So I'll leave it here for now.  I'm not sure when I'll post again, or what the future of this blog holds (very limited html hopefully). 

I hope this post hasn't sounded like I'm whining or ungrateful.  It's really easy in blogging to skim over alot of things and have this amazing and 'perfect' filtered life. It is harder to blog on a more personal level when things haven't gone the way you had planned, but I like reading these types of posts because I think they are more relateable.

Anyway, I'm whittering now.  If you've got to the end of this blog, well done...thank you so much for reading.  


Friday, 17 June 2016

The Milk Edit 17.06.16

This week, I popped into town to pick up a few last minute holiday clothes.  For some reason, I thought it would be an easy mission.  That was my first mistake.  My second, was to end up pushing a pram and holding LL whilst also try to get a few essentials from Sainsbury's with, erm, no hands free.  But that's another story for another day. 

I had to put back at least 3/4 of the clothes I tried on.  It got me thinking that it really isn't just a case of a top or dress being able to be pulled to the side, lifted up or unbuttoned to be breastfeeding friendly.  When you are breastfeeding, things like the lowness of the back and front (for compatibility with a nursing bra and the amount of boob you actually want to show), the thickness and positioning of the straps, the amount of stretch or give in the material all play a part as to if a little one can latch on in your said outfit. 

I managed to pick up a few pieces in the end, and I've put all my shopping 'research' to practice for this week's post.  I hope you enjoy this week's The Milk Edit, and don't forget to follow on Instagram too, with the username The_Milk_Edit, and use the hashtag #themilkedit with any outfits that you find easy to breastfeed in. You shouldn't be confined to vests and t-shirts just because you're breastfeeding. 

Thank you again for all your lovely support and fingers crossed for some sunshine this weekend in the UK. Enjoy! 

Friday, 10 June 2016

The Milk Edit 10.06.16

I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone for all the love and support I've received for the new weekly The Milk Edit feature.  I really appreciate your comments and it means so so much to receive such kind messages.  I really hope you enjoy this week's little round-up from, all of which are new in stores, and whilst you won't find them in the nursing section in stores, all can be easily worn when breastfeeding by either pulling to one side or unbuttoning.   

Don't forget you can follow The Milk Edit on Instagram with the username @the_milk_edit and if you use the hashtag #themilkedit I'll be sure to re-post photo's of any easy breastfeeding styles you've found. 

Enjoy, and have an amazing weekend. 

Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Marathon?

Sleep deprivation sends you mad.  Or maybe sleep deprivation brings you some clarity.  Or maybe sleep deprivation just messes with your head and it's bloody awful.  During the midst of my sleep deprivation haze and the days where I prayed for just two measly hours sleep last month, I went and entered the 2017 London Marathon. 

Yep. You read that right.  That isn't a typo.  I've gone and entered a marathon.    

You see, I was never a runner.  These legs weren't particularly made for running. Those of you that have read my blog for a while will know back in 2014 I began training for a half marathon.  It nearly killed me. There were tears, phone calls to my husband mid-run because I couldn't muster the energy to run back home, and there was also that time I wanted to chop all my hair off because it had become so matted during a morning misty run. You can read all about that running journey here, here and here.

But, for all the tears, the pain, the times I really didn't want to run, nothing compared to that feeling of accomplishment when I actually ran the full 13.1 miles.  I was exhausted and ecstatic, and the medal hung in our living room for at least a year before my husband put it in a drawer.   

I've always wanted to do the London Marathon.  I've watched it on the television and wondered could I do that? Would I dare? 

I'm going to say something that sounds really cheesy here.  Having and planning for a baby, being pregnant twice and going through labour twice have really given me a new appreciation for my body.  It's alot stronger than I think.  It's pretty amazing.  And I'm only just starting to realise that things I think I can't do, I actually can.  I don't want to wake up at 80 with a list of could have's and what ifs.   

The London Marathon is a random draw in October, so I won't find out if I've got a place until then. This also means I need to get running in case I am picked. 

At the moment I've done about five runs.  I can run about two miles and that feels pretty tough.  My legs have forgotten they can run.  My lungs have definitely forgotten how to breathe in enough oxygen whilst running. It's hard.  It's not enjoyable. But I know if I keep doing it, then at some point it will click, and the two will become three miles and the three will become four miles, which needs to turn into twenty six miles at some point (I've actually just Googled how far a marathon is and the first article to come up was three reasons why you shouldn't run a marathon...ha!).

I'll be posting running updates and my progress from the two miles I can barely run at the moment.  I was going to end with an inspiring quote or something but I think we all do things that scare us or that we work towards and feel proud.  It's not just about running. It's a personal target.  Here goes... 

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