IS BLOGGING OVER NOW I'M BACK AT WORK?

I really worried upon making the choice to return to work, that I'd struggle to keep up the momentum I had with this blog. I imagined within a couple of weeks it falling to the side and in all honesty, it turning stale again for a while till I had things figured out. It had happened previously after my maternity leave with Noah ended and I truly couldn't see how this time would be different. I knew I had developed more of a deep rooted love for my blog this time around, and I was making a small income from it monthly, so that was definitely an incentive to push harder. But if I couldn't keep it up last time, and I would be having more on my plate now more than ever with two children in the mix, surely it would suffer the same fate? I guess the proof would only be in the pudding, how I actually felt when I returned to work and had to juggle my blog alongside that.

ELLAS KITCHEN TINY TASTER

We love Ellas Kitchen, it's not only an iconic brand for us in the baby world but one that I trust as we've used it for over three years now. We've tried everything from the baby porridge, right up to their toddler and preschooler snacks - both my boys have always enjoyed anything Ellas Kitchen have to offer. We were fortunate enough to work with Ellas Kitchen when Noah was one, and of course I was delighted when they got in touch to ask Patrick to be one of their 'Tiny Tasters'. This meant he got to sample their delicious new pouches and boy were they a treat for his taste buds.

HOW I'VE FOUND RETURNING TO WORK


I've now been officially back at work for over a full month, I've had the benefit of a full pay day too - YAY! I did begin to write this a week in but realised that it wouldn't really give a full portrayal, as a week definitely isn't enough time to tell how things have settled. But now I feel I can properly sit down and thrash out my thoughts on how everything has gone with both me and family life in my transition from maternity leave to work. Returning to work is a big task, of which I so desperately wish and do hope for the future, that phased returns will become the norm. I was incredibly lucky that my proposal to work 4 days instead of 5 now, was approved - as I really can't imagine running a house, with two smalls, working 5 days a week. People who manage it deserve medals.

PATRICK AT 11 MONTHS

You're eleven month old update was one I have been incredibly nervous about writing, not so much now but over the last month. I've worked throughout the entirety of your tenth month, meaning only evenings, weekends and Mondays are ours to share and honestly, I wondered if I'd have anything to write - perhaps I would have missed any important milestones you would be hitting and not really know what you have been up to as such, maybe I wouldn't have noticed if you're saying a new word until a couple of weeks after you first spoke it? Or what if you got a new tooth and I wasn't the first to see it? I couldn't have been more wrong, I don't feel as though I have missed one thing, nor do I feel that I know you any less. Each hour, day and month our bond just grows and I can't quite believe your next update will be at a year old my son.

MY GRATITUDE LIST #1

I made a little mantra to myself to be more positive, don't get me wrong I'm not one of these people sat warning off  'negativity' with incense around the house, I understand there are times when you are bound to feel down and negative, which is a perfectly normal, part and parcel of daily life - but I do believe positivity breeds positivity. I've followed the beautiful Emily's gratitude lists since she started over six months ago, even though they aren't relative to me as they're her thoughts and feelings, I cant' help but feel a little pick me-up when I read them myself. It's a fantastic idea and one that I want to try to do occasionally myself, starting today. It's easy to feel grateful for material things as it's physical, but more and more as parents I think we find happiness in the little things in life; - the toddler eating their meal without a tantrum, successfully avoiding a danger nap with the baby, a full nights sleep and a washing basket empty.

HYPEREMESIS GRAVIDARUM - MY STORY

If you've been around here long enough, you will probably notice I didn't really document much of my first two trimesters with Patrick and there is a very good reason for it all, besides the usual pregnancy exhaustion, I was uncontrollably sick. Flashing back, it's only around this time last year that I could go a day without having a second screening on what I'd eaten that day, the first twenty weeks were nothing short of horrific for me. It was a huge shock, with Noah I'd had your most textbook pregnancy with no real out of the ordinary sickness, so suffering with hyperemesis gravidarium hit me like a tornado.

CONTROLLED CRYING TIPS

My post on controlled crying has been one of my most popular so far this month and that tells me that the sleep deprivation is troubling a lot of parents out there. I don't think I'm alone in feeling controlled crying is one of the last resorts, it's pretty unbearable to hear your child distressed yet knowing you shouldn't really comfort them. My heart and head were completely torn during those first few days, I had to figure out what worked for us by myself as I just couldn't see many posts out there offering some helpful tips, perhaps it's because controlled crying is a little more taboo than most methods.

POSTPARTUM HAIR LOSS

Whilst I was pregnant with Noah I was so blissfully unaware of just how much hair you can lose once you enter the postpartum period. I don't ever recall being warned about it once, not even from those who had babies themselves, it was the thing everyone forgets to mention. I can't lie in saying that it didn't knock my confidence to see my hair falling out in clumps so often that I was left with actual patches of missing hair. I began to wonder if there was something more wrong as I just couldn't believe how bad this could be, yet not one healthcare professional mention it during your nine months of pregnancy.

LOVING A SECOND CHILD

From the moment you find out you are pregnant with number two, you're filled with wonder. I certainly was, constantly wondering how on earth could I love another the way I love Noah. It just didn't feel possible, my heart was so full and he occupied so much of it that I really didn't think there would be room for another. You never have to worry about your love for your children in comparison to the love for your other half, because they're two totally different kinds, but was another arrival going see my halving the love I had to give? I definitely worried.

AM I A STEREOTYPICAL BLOGGER?

I know there isn't a 'one size' for bloggers, particularly parenting bloggers because there are so many of us. All different family make ups, spread across the world and all doing our own little thing. But I can't help that feel sometimes I am not quite a stereotypical blogger. I see things sometimes that is the 'done' thing, and just think it's so not me, I'd never do that, I couldn't do that. Other times I do thinks that would be frowned upon or shrugged at by the more professional bloggers, I don't put on a facade and I don't mask who I am, my home isn't a scandi dream (though I am trying) and we don't go on long whirlwind adventures to national trusts every day. I'm just me.

ACTIVITIES FOR KEEPING A TODDLER BUSY

Toddlers are feisty, they have their own mind and opinions on what they want to do and certainly on what they don't want to do. It can be incredibly hard to keep them busy or to even get them to sit still, I certainly struggle even getting a photograph of Noah these days with full co-operation, he's a little like a blender with no lid on at times. But, I am noticing that his attention span is much longer than it used to be, we recently did our first cinema trip with him and he absolutely loved it (Trolls is now a firm favourite in our household) he sat so well throughout. Just last week he managed two 3 hour flights seamlessly and shall be doing the same again next week - it's safe to say he can take on a lot more in terms of activities. So, that's what I'm talking about today.


WEANING TIPS



Weaning is something I eagerly anticipated with my first son, it was new, exciting and another stage we could throw ourselves into. With Patrick though I was still excited when the time came, I didn't will it on any sooner as I had with Noah because I knew that it meant my baby was losing a little bit more of the baby phase with each new meal. We even held off with Patrick till he was six months old as guidelines have changed at the recommended age isn't four months anymore, which I was glad of as looking back four months old seems so tiny and fragile to begin it, but I know all babies are different. Patrick simply wouldn't have been ready at that stage, he almost wasn't quite ready at six months either but after giving ourselves a break of a few days after we initially started, he soon came around and got the hang of the weaning game.

SHOULD MY CHILDREN SHARE A BEDROOM

Sharing a bedroom with my sister brings some of the fondest memories of my childhood along with some of the worst, which I can laugh about now - her snoring would have me in tears. It makes me question whether my boys should share a bedroom, is it a bit mean to put them together when we have space for their own rooms, or is this just a part of childhood? I've read so many articles, blog posts and heard lots of different points of view on the matter, it seems everyone's children handle the situation differently, so it got me thinking, should my boys share a bedroom?

PROVIDING FOR MY FAMILY

I recently spoke about my reasoning for returning to work, I needed to feel like I had another purpose and in all honesty being at home with little income for yourself meant it got a little lonely. Whilst on maternity leave, I would be bringing in the pittance that is maternity pay along with some extras from my blog which could vary from £150 a month to over four times that and though so months meant I had an extra lining in my pockets, other went by where I really had to watch my pennies. I didn't enjoy that. John has always been a 'provider', bringing in the majority of our income, but that doesn't mean my wage meant nothing, I was very keen to have that back - thus returning to work 3 months earlier than I could have.

I AM MORE THAN MUM

I'm writing this post on the eve of my return to work, with the intention that it wont actually go live until well into next month. The situation is met with mixed emotions, I am both excited and nervous for my return to work, but I am definitely more anxious about parting with my son. We've enjoyed our nine months with no work between us, and it will be sad to see that end. But god am I excited to be someone other than Mum. And guess what, I feel bad for that. Society has us believing that returning to work is a time to dread, fear and avoid at all costs, but what if that isn't always the case? What if I am actually looking forward to my return, I want to be someone other than Mummy, does that make me a bad person?

SURVIVING BABYS FIRST COLD

Babies first cold is never going to come at a good time, it disrupts sleep, causes a bothered baby and an upset routine, it's not easy. Even with Patrick being our second baby and managing to get to almost 9 months before facing his first bout of the sniffles, we still found ourselves at a loss of what to do. When your baby gets a cold it's always a stressful experience, you want so badly to take the brunt of it for them and I'm sure most of us parents would do just that over and over again to help them feel better, but we can't.

PATRICK AT TEN MONTHS

I finally feel as though the months are going by at the rate they should, it's lovely as I'm getting to take in every last moment of each month and I'm not stuck in that feeling that it's passed before I have had time to know it's in front of me. Little one, you're ten months old. Your ninth month has been one of change, you've began nursery and I'm at work. You no longer solely depend on me every single day and as lovely as that can be, I miss it terribly. Instead of driving a mini wedge between us, which is exactly what I imagined would happen when we spent less time together, it's made us closer - something I am incredibly happy about.


POSTPARTUM BODY PRESSURE

I've had two babies now, and with each one I've ended up bigger than I was before I had the baby. It just happened, particularly with Noah. I don't blame it on the baby because ironically in the weeks and first months following his birth I went straight back to my pre-baby self. But I blame boredom eating during maternity leave, low self esteem and snacking on crap because I didn't have enough time to make something from scratch. I'm sure many women have been in the same boat and should I have another baby in my life, I'd probably fall into the same trap. I am ok with that. *gasp*. There is SO much pressure to bounce back to your pre-baby weight and that as Mums you should want to look how you did before you had children, but does anyone stop to think - we might not want to?

TIPS FOR RETURNING TO WORK


I've now been back at work for over three weeks and if I'm honest I'm really loving the balance between home and my career, I feel as though it seems to be just right. I would be a complete liar if I said I didn't dread returning to work this time around and that's no mark on my job, it's just that I was so content and happy at home, I also really worried how Patrick would cope with so much change. It turns out, he's taken to nursery and my nan / mum, like a duck to water - which of course has made my transition back into my role a lot easier.

FAMILY MONEY SAVING TIPS

It's very rare you're going to meet a family that are happy just spending willy-nilly (did I really just say that? I think I did) The more additions you have to your brood the chances are the tighter your purse strings get. Babies are generally pretty expensive, taking into account for formula, nappies and then the fantastic new wardrobe they need every 3 months. Life can be pretty darn costly. I recently took part in a Twitter chat which focused on family money saving tips, I truly enjoyed it as it really gave me some fantastic ideas I'd never have thought of otherwise. Today I'm going to share some of those, in the hope you too will be pleasantly surprised by just how easy it can be to save those extra pennies as a family.


CONTROLLED CRYING - OUR STORY

Patrick was a great sleeper, he truly couldn't have slept any better from the age of 5 weeks till 6.5 months. He go down in the evenings when Noah did and rarely wake up till around 7/8am, if he did wake I would always give him a feed as I presumed it was a growth spurt and given that he was under six months I know it's a big expectation to think he can sleep through the night without being hungry. But as I said, it was a rare case he needed feeding. I was elated if I'm honest and completely shocked by it all. In hindsight I believe it was initially due to Patrick being quite a poorly and weak baby, he naturally slept more than most, so by the time he recovered fully and became more alert he was already well used to sleeping so long at night. Controlled crying was never something I even contemplated, as wake up's just were not an issue.

MY THOUGHTS ON CONTRACEPTION

Contraception is usually the very first thing your doctor talks about with you post baby, it's almost a little off putting if I'm honest during a 6-8 week check. After both sons I have felt that appointment is more to ensure I wont be getting pregnant again soon, as opposed to a 'How are you feeling' kind of thing. I'm well aware of the time your body needs to recover however, but having two children back to back would be something I made damn sure of never happened. Contraception after Patrick was a subject I didn't really want to think too much about, I've felt extremely frustrated with it over the years and given the fact I fell pregnant with Noah whilst using it, I didn't really have a huge amount of faith.

SUNSHINE BLOG QUESTIONS

I was kindly tagged by the lovely Charlotte to take part in the 'Sunshine Blog Questions' where she has given me some individual questions she would like to know the answer too. I think it's a lovely idea and a great way to find out some more personal information about the blogger behind the blog. I am naturally a super nosy person, so reading these lately when they have popped onto my radar have been of great enjoyment.

INCONTINENCE - TIPS & ADVICE

A weak pelvic floor is something nobody wants, let's face it, but I was so naive after having Noah and never really suffered with any incontinence, so I didn't exercise it. I guess it's an out of sight,  out of mind kind of mantra with me. Common sense tells you that after pushing a 10lb baby out, things probably aren't going to be in as good of a condition as they were before, but ignorance was bliss and I just carried on as normal. Queue baby number two, pushed out, and now I seem to have the bladder control of a potty training toddler - I massively regret my ignorance and wish I'd done something after Noah.

WEANING ON THE GO

Motherhood is tough, incredibly tough and we often need things along the way that are going to make our life easier. Maybe it's just me but I find so much of my days sometimes are spent prepping for things; I wash and sterilise bottles to prep them for my sons milk, I get clothes out, swapping and changing ideas to prep my sons outfits for the next day, I am constantly cooking, steaming and blending to prep their meals for the week. Motherhood is a lot of prepping. Perhaps because I like to be organised and prepared and that's why baby food pouches will always be incredibly useful to us a family. They make life easier and as parents I think we all need a little bit of the easy life every now and again, don't you? Pouches are a go-to for on the go.

MOTHERS DAY GIFT GUIDE

Mothers day is less than a week away, and as a parent blogger I couldn't miss the occasion without featuring a gift guide. I definitely think Mothers day shouldn't just be about mothers, it should be a day spent celebrating all the women in your family - as we know not everyone is lucky enough to still have their mothers with them, I have the exact same feeling towards fathers day also. I do really enjoy the build up to mothers day, especially given I am now back at work so will spend a lot of this week making cards with children, listening to their favourite things about their mummies, it's all very sweet.


GIVEAWAY - LEE STAFFORD CORDLESS STRAIGHTENERS

I'm a sucker for a good hair tool, I don't think you can have too many. Especially after I realised just before Christmas that my beloved GHD's were slowly breaking, and found myself abandoned with no alternative to tame the frizz, I realised it was quite vital to have options shall we say? Thankfully, Lee Stafford reached out to me and asked if I'd like to trial their cordless hair straighteners, which of course I bit there hand off to do so. I'd never used cordless hair straighteners before, in my younger days they'd always been way out of my budget though I'd lusted after them a lot, but at a bargain £49.99 on amazon at the minute - can you really go wrong with these?

BABY CLOTHES - MY FAVOURITE STORES

One of the most enjoyable things to me that isn't directly with the boys, is styling and dressing them. I like them to look good but also be comfortable so it's something I'll admit I do put a lot of thought into. You wont see my grabbing something off the shelves just because it's cheap, because I think you can get reasonably priced clothes all over you just have to shop around. I don't like spending a crazy amount on baby bits, as they're usually only in them for three months at tops. However when they reach one you usually get a year or half depending on the seasons, worth of wear out of their bits which makes me a bit happier to spend that little more on their clothing. Anyway, today I'm talking about my favourite stores and why for Patrick.

MY BLOGGING ADVICE


Today I'm sharing six tips that I wish I had known when I started blogging. The blogging world has changed a lot in the last four years, but I feel if I had known some of these tips then life could have been a lot easier over that time. Blogging is constantly evolving,  I'm still learning vast amounts each day and I thought if I could write down some tips that I thought would have been invaluable to me over the course of my time with a blog then it might be helpful to someone else. Of course these are all circumstantial to me and other people will have different views and opinions.


TRIED & TESTED - BLUESTONE WALES

Last month we made lengthy journey south west and headed to the wonderful Bluestone Wales. It was quite a slog getting there I wont lie, taking us in all around 7 hours when we factored in some stops, but on that wet Monday evening we finally pulled up to our lodge and none of us had killed each other on the drive. An achievement in itself. We had a mid-week break up until Friday which meant we had a good few days to discover what Bluestone had in store.

OVERSHARING BABY PHOTOS

Naturally as parents we all want to gush and share moments of our children's life and with the digital age it's ever more popular to do that with photos. At what point though, are we over sharing? When is enough, enough and when is it impeaching their privacy? As tiny human raisers, we are responsible for their presence on social media, we decide what to share and what information to put across, so it's us who has to be sensible and accountable when doing so I'm not a advocate of going in hard and removing all traces of your children online, but I am definitely wiser now more than ever about how much I share of my little ones across my social platforms and blog.

NAILING IT

It's no secret my nails are absolutely pants. It doesn't help that I work in childcare so nail polish and long nails are a no no. However, that doesn't quite apply to me at the minute as I'm on maternity leave (yay) and really keen to get my nails looking to the best of their ability so I can really take advantage of the nail trends in 2017. Just last week I was speaking to my lovely friend Faye who is training in nails at the moment, what exactly it is I need to do to get my nails in ship shape condition and she has given me some invaluable advice.

PATRICK AT NINE MONTHS

I feel like all I ever start these updates with is how fast the last month has gone, how I can't believe he is another month older and all the other cliche terms you can think of. This month however, I don't think it's gone as slow as previous months, it feels as though I have been saying 'He's eight months old' for months on end which if it was the case I would be quite content with as I am really enjoying my little bundle so much lately. The end of maternity leave is in sight and it's incredibly bittersweet, I want to return to work to be someone other than 'mum' and provide for my family but I also want to spend an indefinite period with my sons. Nonetheless another month has passed and my boy is nine months old now. 

FEBRUARY FAVOURITES

For once I don't feel like a month has flown by. It feels absolutely ages since I did my January favourites, so naturally I have accumulated another little collection that I have enjoyed using this month. This months favourites will include a mixture of both Mum and baby, and in essence anything that my sons love I will also. (Except paw patrol, I'll never love that) And as I am incorporating a bit more beauty back into Babies and Beauty, there are a few pieces to reflect that. February has been a month of new and exciting faves and some old goodies.

CAR TYRE SAFETY - MY STORY

I touched on this issue a couple of years back when it initially happened but at the time I didn't realise the lasting effect it would have on me as both a driver and passenger. In 2015 we had a car accident, one of the worst kind and one you don't normally survive to tell the tale from. A lorry hit us, a heavy goods vehicle at 50 miles per hour, with a one year old Noah in the backseat. Terrifying. We were lucky though, thank heavens we escaped with nothing but a horrendous memory - I didn't even have whiplash. Someone was definitely watching over us that day.

TRIED & TESTED - WILF BOOKS

If you haven't heard of Wilf Books, don't worry I hadn't myself but I am incredibly glad that I now have as their service is something pretty fantastic that I know you guys just have to hear a little more on. Callum and Amelia, the creators behind Wilf books wanted to design a completely bespoke book service that has been tailored with your children in mind, you can subscribe and every month you'll receive a beautiful little parcel with individual books for your little ones. How sweet?

WHY I DON'T CO-SLEEP

If you follow me on Instagram at all, you will have most definitely saw my mini moans (not so mini) about Patricks terrible time sleeping last month, after always having a baby that slept through it was a shock to the system. Thankfully he seems to have worked it all out by himself, and I feel like I have my baby back, tough sleepless nights were making for both a grumpy me and a cranky baby which really was no fun at all. I'm not sure whether it was teething, the move into his own bedroom, colder nights or just a mix of them all together, maybe he was just being a bit of a sod, I really don't know. But something that was always suggested by people from my friends to my family, was 'Why don't you just bring him in with you?' and while I'm sure it would have kept him sleeping through, it's something I vehemently did not want to do. Co-sleeping, just isn't for us.

#MARKWARNERMUM - 10 HOLIDAY ESSENTIALS

It's that time of year again, when the fabulous Mark Warner have announced their brand ambassador entry challenge and this year we've dived right in. Though we're not the most 'pinterest worthy crafters' as a family, we've really tried though I think we might just need a holiday for the test it put our relationship through. What is it they say about not mixing business and pleasure? If anything has came from the task it's that me and John would never, ever be able to work together. Back to the challenge, Mark Warner have asked us to pick out our top ten travel essentials and having two sons I now realise how important it is to get those essentials right when you're travelling abroad.

WEEKLY MEAL PLAN

Meal planning is a guaranteed way to save you money when doing your weekly shop, which is why I am adamant we need to start doing more of it. Week after week I have a vague idea but my opportunity to get to the supermarket is usually quite spontaneous so lists haven't always been remembered, thus resulting in of course over buying and under using. Each week I am ashamed at how much we throw away that's unused, past it's sell by date, it really is a disgrace. So starting today I'm planning our weekly meals, ordering our online shop accordingly and I'm determined to cut out the over spending and wastage. Wish me luck.

MISTAKES I'VE MADE AS A MUM



When you start out as a new parent, it's really hard to find what works for you. Everyone can recommend you parenting methods or products, you can even read books on how to train your baby into behaving certain ways, but truthfully, every single baby is completely different and whilst you're trying to figure out who your baby is in this world - you make mistakes. Or at least I certainly did. Being a Mum second time around didn't make things much different, I learned from previous mistakes but there are always new ones to be made. It's easy to highlight everything that is going well for you, but I think it's important to talk about this topic too as I'm sure I wont be alone or it could help someone else out. Although it is quite exposing and opening myself up to be judged, I always made decisions with the best intentions - even if they didn't work out so well.

TRIED AND TESTED - MATCHSTICK MONKEY


I don't really know how I feel about teething. Is my son not sleeping because of his teeth? I truly have no idea, but it's what I'm enjoying blaming it on right now, it seems easier than admitting he's just being incredibly difficult. I laugh when I think back now to a four month old dribbley baby, gnawing on his hands and noting it as teething, in the most literal sense it probably is but it's nowhere near the distress it causes them as their teeth are ready to come through. I felt really helpless however for those months between 3-6 months because apart from teething gel you are kind of alone, a lot of teething toys just aren't practical for younger ones - or so I thought. Hello Matchstick Monkey.


TIPS FOR KEEPING KIDS BUSY


Keeping children busy isn't an easy task, especially the younger they are as their attention span isn't great and they will quite often flit from one task or toy to the next with no real achievements made. Keeping children busy is even harder, the more you add to the mix as different ages mean tasks have to be incredibly inclusive, something I completely struggle with at the minute. I'm sure as my boys grow, keeping them busy together will get easier - please tell me it does? But as you do when you're a parent I have learned a few tips along the way I thought I'd share with you


THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD


Since its inception in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh award, has evolved beyond recognition, and is more relevant today than ever before, allowing young people to gain a respected qualification that speaks volumes for their character. The Duke of Edinburgh award is aimed at the 14-24 year old age group, but it is very widely encouraged amongst the youngest of that group who are in secondary school. The path to adulthood is not always as easy as we might like, and it is essential to gain official qualifications, to enable young people to get the start in life we want them to have, and to give them proof, at an early stage that they can discover and display skills that will propel them forwards.


PATRICK AT EIGHT MONTHS



Patrick is officially eight months old and on the exact day he hit that milestone it came with another, he's been earth side longer than he was in my little womb home. It doesn't feel fair, pregnancy went so slow and really dragged out whereas since he has been born it's as if I blinked twice and now we are here. Why couldn't we have swapped those scenarios around? This month you've achieved so much and changed so quickly and I think the next four months till you are one will be much of the same. It scares me that we've just mentioned your first birthday, oh baby where are these days going?

TRIED & TESTED - VITAL BABY


As you may be aware we were very lucky to be selected as Vital Baby brand ambassadors last year, a role that we've thoroughly enjoyed and found extremely useful. Our role meant that each month we would receive a little care package from them with some new items that were in keeping with Patricks age at that time. I found the set up really lovely because it always felt at a time when I needed to look for certain things for him, be it weaning spoons, a new cup et cetera, Vital baby were right on hand to read my mind and I'd get a knock at the door with the very things I would be looking for. When you're a sleep deprived mum of two, someone taking away the stress element of trawling through websites or supermarket aisles looking for the perfect weaning bowl, was genius and very well received.

A DATE NIGHT IN



It seems that so many are with me on the fact that as parents, it's just too much of a palaver and hassle trying to get date nights out. So many people don't live near family to support and paying for babysitters can seriously rack up, when you factor in mum guilt on top of it all - to me it rarely seems worth it. I am much more of the 'date night in' situation. Which is why this valentines that's exactly what we'll be doing. So in this blog post I'm going to share with you some simple ideas to make a Valentines night in that bit more special, while avoiding major costs and a lot of messing around.

OUR HOLIDAY STYLE


Holidays are a very personal thing for every family, I think what type of holiday you go on depends entirely on what you want to get out of your trip away. Some families prefer stay-cations, others like to take long haul flights to luxurious all inclusive resorts, for us this year it's a villa holiday were as my good friend are heading off on their annual cruise with their little ones. It's individual circumstances that dictate your options. I see some inspirational mamas heading off with their tribe exploring the middle east and as much in awe I am of their free spirits, I know that's not my cup of tea, though I do still ogle the photos in admiration and envy.  So that leaves me thinking what exactly is our 'holiday style', we've tried a few, will we try others?

TRIED & TESTED - TOMMEE TIPPEE BABY MONITOR



A baby monitor was something we never used with Noah, he shared our room till he was one and then by the time he moved into his own, I didn't feel it was really necessary. His cry was loud enough to disturb us had we been an island away and by that point he really didn't wake up from being put down. Fast forward to December when I was toying with when to move Patrick into his own room, I knew I needed a monitor as we'd be downstairs and over noises such as dryers and televisions, it would have been difficult to hear him. A monitor was just a must have, it's a security blanket that I wanted. But searching for that security blanket gave me such a headache, as well as purse ache - the prices are something else. And that's when Tommee Tippee kindly reached out to send me their Closer To Nature Digital Sound Monitor.

A BOX FOR MAMA


Subscription boxes have been all the rage for quite some time now, and certainly on my radar for many years of which I'm a subscriber already to two. We've seen beauty boxes, meal boxes, tea boxes and even boxes for your bloody period (literally), most things have been done. But here in the corner are us Mums a little bit forgotten about, not anymore, MamaMe have been thinking about us and they've thought incredibly well. They've designed the cutest and by far my most favourite subscription box that is entirely for Mums. How cool is that? I was incredibly lucky to be one of the first to test them out, when I received their January box this month and my oh my was I seriously impressed with the contents.

BABY NUMBER THREE


A third baby was never something I really thought about until recently, I naturally assumed after Patrick I'd find it tough for the first year and a half, before gradually I'd begin to feel broody seeing newborns, blissfully forget the sleepless nights and want another child. Though that has not been the case. You see, having three children is a different ball game in my eyes, one is a game changer also, adjusting to two isn't much harder but three, dear god how do people do it. A bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger pay packet. So many new things would be needed and I just don't feel entirely comfortable with being outnumbered with children. Currently, if both of my boys are in need, me and John can split and help them both, but with three, how does that work?