Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Weaning Wednesdays

If you follow me on Twitter (@tobecomemum), you'll know that I've been reading up on weaning as Ethan is definitely ready for more than milk at mealtimes.

He will be six months old next week - where has the time gone?! - and I wanted to stick to the NHS advice of waiting this long to try weaning. Ethan has always fed well, aside from the reflux, and it's only been the past couple of weeks where there have been clear signs that he's ready to get to the good stuff.

He's been watching us closely and whenever we eat or drink, he's fascinated and just sits there staring. He has been getting more fidgety and distracted during his feeds, playing with his hands, chewing the bottle or looking away so milk dribbles down his chin. Over the past week, he's also started smacking his lips together in a goldfish type motion which really gives us a giggle!

So, I've been reading up and trying to work out what weaning is all about. It really is a confusing business as magazines don't go into enough detail and there's so many conflicting ideas between the convenience and consistency of purées and the fun and straightforward baby led weaning method. 

I've bought two Annabel Karmel books to help give me a good understanding of how much to feed him, when and how to build it up. The rather lovely team at @MamaBabyBliss kindly tweeted my weaning worries to their followers and I received lots of great advice from real mums via Twitter and their Facebook page. Trouble is, every mum and every baby are different so we will need to find our own way through the weaning maze, backed up by all the advice we've had.

I've also bought the Tommee Tippee Explora Weaning Starter Kit which looks great, has everything you need to get started and is less than £10 on Amazon. Along with cover-all bibs and a splash at for the floor and we're good to go!

Nothing beats advice from real mums so I'm going to share our weaning journey on this blog for a new feature called Weaning Wednesday in the hope that it may help others on the road to solids. Today is day one for Ethan so wish us luck!


Treat Yourself Tuesday - spa breaks at Oulton Hall

This week's #treatyourselftuesday isn't a beauty review but rather a review of a spa break that I've just been on with my three best friends.

We all needed a mini break away for different reasons; celebrating 30th birthdays, a new job, dealing with a bereavement, catch up before a big trip to New Zealand and, in my case, having a little break from baby.

We decided a spa break was in order and found a great deal via Spa Breaks Direct at the rather grand DeVere hotel, Oulton Hall, near Leeds. For £99, we had full use of the facilities (steam room, sauna, pool and jacuzzi) for two days, a one hour treatment each (either an aromatherapy massage or a facial), a three course dinner, overnight stay and breakfast. 

We went Sunday to Monday as I was seeing Travis on Saturday night (who were amazing, as always) and it worked out really well as we could really unwind from our busy week and the hotel was quite quiet on the Sunday night.

We had our treatments in turn on Sunday afternoon then popped the champagne whilst getting ready for dinner. We had a good old chinwag over the delicious meal and enjoyed a drink at the gorgeous champagne bar before heading back to one of our rooms for yet more wine and gossip. 

My massage was very soothing and she worked on my left shoulder/shoulder blades area and my calf muscles in particular as I had some big knots to contend with. Ouch!

Yesterday, we rose and headed to a full on buffet breakfast which had just about anything you'd want to eat and as much of it as you liked. We then made use of the facilities again for a couple of hours, switching from the steam room to the pool and so on until it was time to shower, get dressed and head to afternoon tea in the library.

It was a really nice way to spend the weekend and if it wasn't for the travel we all did to get there, we would have spent a little more time unwinding. The facilities were great and the location was really lovely.

I felt very clearheaded and chilled yesterday and was so pleased we treated ourselves - personally, I've never had a spa day or weekend and now I'm wondering why!

Another big benefit has been the difference in my psoriasis. I was a little concerned by having to wear a swimming costume as my legs are quite badly affected and I have a few patches on my arms and chest that would be visible too, but I just didn't let it bother me. By Monday, my friends were commenting on how my skin did look better and when I got home, I actually noticed quite an improvement. My legs don't look as red and sore and overall, my skin looks smoother.

I'm not sure if it's the nourishing oil used in my massage, the immersion in water for a good couple of hours at a time, the effects of the steam room and sauna, the bubbles in the jacuzzi, simple having some time away to relax or a combination of them all, but the improvement to how my psoriasis looks and feels on my body is remarkable. If anyone else has had similar results before, do you know what might be the main cause? If I need to use a sauna regularly then I will if this is how much it helps!

So, if you can, find an excuse to get together with your best friends and treat yourselves to a little break - there's some great deals out there and you deserve it!

* Note: this isn't a sponsored post, my friends and I booked and paid for our stay - I simply wanted to share my experience with you. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Kirstie's Christmas Crafts

I think I've already established my love of crafts with you, my lovely readers, and despite it being October, I've already indulged my Christmas spirit twice with this post and this post on making your Christmas list and how to make this season extra personal.

So, when I came across Kirstie Allsopp's new book, Kirstie's Christmas Crafts, I just had to buy it. Two of my favorite things all in one gorgeous hardback? Great!

In this festive tome, Kirstie aims to inspire us to pick up our pinking shears, grab our aprons and hand-make decorations and gifts to share with family and friends.

Deck The Halls covers decoration ideas, Season's Greetings is all about cards and wrapping, there's a whole chapter on decorating the Christmas table plus she shares presents, edible gifts, food and drink ideas and some fun children's craft ideas too.

If you have her Craft book, you may spot a couple of familiar projects and if you've watched her themed TV shows, you're sure to be reminded of some of her Christmas creations. 

It's a really nice book to flick through, printed on quality paper and with beautiful photography. Each chapter has an introduction from Kirstie in which she shares tales from her own Christmases past. Every project has a clear 'you need' shopping list and away to follow instructions plus certain projects require templates which can be found at the back of the book.

There's a few projects I'd like to try but as the book is a bit of a 'craft for all', there's some which are outside of my skill set (anything involving a sewing machine!) and others which just seem to require too many bits and pieces. The idea, Kirstie says a few times, is that handmade can be cheaper as well as more thoughtful but personally I can't see this in a number of the projects included in this book.

To Become Mum verdict: this a fab festive coffee table read and one you'll happily pick up and flick through throughout November to get your creative juices flowing. If you've seen her programmes before it may be a bit too familiar but if you're looking for a good all round craft book for the most wonderful time of the year, then you're bound to enjoy this

For each week in November, I am going to share with you a Christmas craft project that you can try at home. I love making cards and gift tags and will share these with you too as and when I make them but I'm planning on flexing my festive muscles a little more this year and hope you'll join me in adding a handmade touch to your celebrations this year.

Week 1: advent calendar
Week 2: snow globe
Week 3: Christmas card holder
Week 4: wreath

So watch this space!

Friday, 25 October 2013

A weekend of 'me'

This weekend, I'm having not one but two nights off from being a mama, although I'm not completely abandoning my baby boy altogether.

On Saturday, after a trip into town with hubs' family, Ethan is going to stay at Nanny and Grandad's whilst we go to see Travis. 

It'll be the fifth time I've seen them live and they were the first concert Ste and I went to together. The Invisible Band album reminds me of my college years, particularly the song 'Indefinitely', whilst The Boy With No Name has a couple of songs which have new meaning now we have Ethan, such as 'My Eyes'. They're an awesome band to see live and I'm thoroughly looking forward to letting my hair down. 

After picking up Ethan on Sunday morning, and giving him a thousand cuddles, I'm then heading to Yorkshire whilst my boys stay at home. I have a beautiful Welsh dresser to collect then I'm meeting my three best friends at Oulton Hall for two days of pampering, gossiping and wine. Bliss!

I'll be home on Monday afternoon and I know I'm going to miss the little guy but I can't deny it will be nice to have a break. I wish the two things didn't coincide but I have a week of mummy / Ethan fun times ahead so I'm sure he'll forgive me.  

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Frightfully good films for Halloween

It's a shame we don't celebrate Halloween on quite the same scale as the Americans. I love a good theme and as October is the start of my favourite three months of the year, why not squeeze in another good excuse for dressing up, eating themed foods and generally having a fun celebration?

I've got Ethan's pumpkin onesie all ready to go (I'm sure he'll thank me when he's older!) and we've got a tub of Haribo sweets waiting for any trick or treaters (if we don't eat them ourselves first!).

Taking a flick through Netflix, I think we'll have a themed day of frightful films. 

Here's my top picks for kids, big and small, to enjoy this Halloween:


Hotel Transelvania I loved this film when we saw it last year at the cinema with bump in tow. Adam Sandler is very funny as the voice of the Count, his daughter is super cute and there's lots of fun characters in what's essentially a sweet tale about a father who doesn't want to let go of his grown-up daughter. To Become Mum says: a great ghoulish family film to enjoy with children of all ages.

The Addams Family They're creepy and they're kooky and this film is fun but not too spooky for little ones to enjoy alongside you. To Become Mum says: this unusual family are very entertaining so why not watch it with your own Wednesday or Pugsley?

Hocus Pocus Disney does Halloween in this bewitching tale of three sister witches who come back to life after 300 years to wreck havoc. To Become Mum says: harmless fun for your wannabe witches.


Scream For me, the Scream series is the best scary film franchise out there. The first fil is still the best and feels quite nostalgic as it's so 90's in so many ways. Cheesy and full of jump-out-of-your-seat moments, I really like these films and will be watching them this Halloween, with popcorn and a cushion to hide behind at the ready. To Become Mum says: the original slasher series, grab your partner and snuggle on the sofa for a good scare. Don't watch alone though and don't answer the phone!

Halloween A classic and an essential at this time of the year, I defy you to not get a little tense when watching this film. When that creepy music starts and Jamie Lee Curtis is nervously walking down the street, sure she's being followed - ooh, it gives me shivers! To Become Mum says: it's an oldie but a goodie!

The Sixth Sense If slasher films aren't you're thing and you're more into supernatural scares, The Sixth Sense is ideal. If you haven't seen it before, it's full of suspense and surprises, if you have seen it, you'll watch it again spotting what you may have missed the first time. To Become Mum says: If you're a bit of a scaredy cat like me, this is a good choice as it's still pretty creepy but you'll not be looking through the gaps in your fingers the whole way through. Kids are always scary in films!

So, what films are you going to watch to get into the spirit of Halloween?


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Don't be fooled, don't be a victim

If you've read my 'about' page, you'll know that I try to be a 'look on the bright side of life' kind of girl and part of that is naturally thinking the best of people. I like to give people a chance and try not to jump to assumptions or make presumptions before I have all the facts.

However, my 'think the best of people' philosophy has taken a hit this past week. Twice in fact, and it's left me feeling foolish.

I'll explain. Scenario number one: I receive an email from my car insurer to say an incident has been reported involving my vehicle and to contact them immediately. The email looks like it could be dodgy, with no lots of random text in the body but the PDF letter looks legit plus I have not been involved in any incidents. I call my insurer on the number I have to verify if the letter is real and it is. Apparently my car has been reported to have hit another car from behind before I am then alleged to have driven off. Well, that hasn't happened when I've been driving and no-one else has driven my car! Simple, it's just a case of mistaken identity, a mis-written license plate number. Wrong. My insurer informs me of where and when this alleged incident took place and the thing is, I was there. But nothing happened. I was with my husband and baby boy at the time and we can't recall anything eventful happening at all. Which means that someone has seen us, written down our car details in full, then called their insurer to make a false claim for damage done to their car elsewhere.

It's been over a week since I last heard anything but apparently these things can take a while to sort out. They may wish to inspect my car and I've said go ahead, feel free - there's not a scratch on it! I've taken dated photos to prove my car has no signs of damage, which surely they would have if I ran into a car from behind.

Despite knowing that nothing happened on the journey in question, I've still questioned myself. I've always been afraid of doing anything wrong, I just hate the idea of knowing I've done something to upset someone and the idea of being in trouble, of any kind, really scares me. So as soon as I found out the incident was said to have taken place somewhere I knew I was, I started wondering. What did happen on that journey? Did I cut anyone up? How could I have hit someone on the motorway without having a serious accident? If it had happened during traffic, which there had been, I wouldn't have been able to just drive off, would I?  Surely I'd be sitting in the lane next door and the driver I'd hit would be beeping at me.

I am innocent but being accused unsettled me and I couldn't help but question what had happened. I'm such an honest person, I just couldn't believe that someone would have selected us and filed an accident report against us.

Now I am just waiting to hear what my insurer wants to do next. It's an awful situation to be in - someone has said something that's not true but I'm the one who has to prove my innocence. I wonder what becomes of them in the end?

Scenario number two: I've been selling a few things on eBay this week as my maternity fund is rather low and I have a little more than two months, and Christmas, to get through before I go back to work. One item was my iPhone 4G and the bids were flying yesterday. The winner won it for £287 - great! I had two other items ending around the same time, so only really glanced at all the emails I was receiving - notification of bids, questions from potential buyers, confirmation of sales, confirmation of payments etc. I was then asked to send the phone to the buyer's son. I received an email from PayPal saying they had paid me. They started to ask me if I had sent the phone yet. Then I saw the address. It was to a place in Nigeria. Well, the seller looked legit on eBay but a few things seemed suspicious. The emails looked officially, just like the others I had been receiving from eBay and PayPal. But I just had this feeling. Hubs came home and I showed him the emails and upon further inspection, even though the emails said they were from eBay, the actual address was slightly different. So, I called eBay and said that someone was trying to scam me. They talked through how I'd have to open a case against them for non-payment after two days of the auction ending, then wait a few more days before I could re-list. Brilliant. I had sold my phone in good faith but because it was a scam, I had to go by the book and couldn't try to sell my phone to the honest buyers out there who had tried to win the auction. Luckily, after several more emails this morning from the scammers, each getting more threatening but still looking official, eBay (the real eBay!) sent me a message to say that the buyer had been removed.

I've been able to re-list my phone and just hope I can put it all behind me now. Ebay asked me to send copies of the emails to them so they could investigate but it all just made me more upset - again, I am the victim but I have to play along.

When you see things on the news about elderly people being conned my door-to-door salesmen or dodgy phone calls, you think 'how could they be taken in so easily?'. But, because my default setting is to think the best, I was taken in and almost scammed out of my phone. As I was looking after Ethan, selling other items at the same time on eBay and generally having a pretty busy day, I missed some of the flags that this could be something dodgy. It's easily done and I'm just so glad I didn't rush to get to the Post Office.

Both these experiences have unsettled me and I feel pretty stupid about the whole eBay thing. I try to be a trusting and positive person but I've realised now, and on occasion in the past, that not everyone is like that. There are people out there who are negative, who have bad intentions and don't care who they hurt.

Everything that has happened to me has just been a big inconvenience but it's also been stressful. I've questioned myself, driven myself mad going over the details, calling the appropriate people to claim my innocence.

I wanted to write this post as a way of saying 'be careful, it really could happen to you'. Always check and double check everything, particularly when money is concerned. Make sure you cover yourself. Don't give away information if you don't need to. Just make sure you take a minute to think things through. And I guess, don't be so hard on yourself if something similar happens to you. I shouldn't be made to feel bad because of someone else's actions and I need to stop worrying so much. Someone else has done something wrong, and yes it has affected me, but no, I won't be a victim.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Treat Yourself Tuesday - healthy hair

This #treatyourselftuesday, I'm sharing with you two great hair care products that will nourish your hair no matter what type you have.

As you may have read before (here, here or here), I have scalp psoriasis on most of my scalp and have been prescribed various overnight treatments and shampoos to help improve the red visible patches and constant flakiness I suffer with. The trouble is, these all have a rather nasty smell as they mostly contain coal tar and they can be very drying on my hair - so you swap one problem for another!

Thankfully, the lovely team at organic super-star brand Weleda got in touch as they had an exciting new shampoo launching which they believed would really help me.

New in the UK, Weleda's Wheat balancing shampoo contains wheat germ oil, butcher's broom extract, pansy and organic sage that together create a gentle but effective mix that helps to reduce flaking whilst caring for your hair. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, to someone who has a scalp condition and dry hair, this sounds amazing and I have to say I have really enjoyed using this shampoo. It feels gentle on the hair, as it lathers nicely, rinses easily and doesn't make my hair feel like straw when I wash it out.

Here's what the experts at Weleda have to say:

This shampoo is for hair and scalps that need extra help in achieving healthy balance. Dandruff, whether dry or oily, can be treated with this gently cleansing formulation. Wheat is rich in vitamin E which prevents cellular damage, as well as being full of antioxidants to protect the hair and scalp from free radicals.
The effectiveness of the wheat germ oil is supported and enhanced by viola tricolor pansy extract which soothes dry, flaky scalp, and rosemary to revitalise - stimulating the scalp and bringing nutrients to the roots and skin. The presence of Tea Tree oil not only provides a gentle antiseptic dimension to the shampoo- it also adds a reassuring and invigorating fragrance.
Our Wheat Balancing Shampoo with wheat germ oil treats dandruff by restoring balance and wellbeing to the scalp, roots and hair.

I've used it for a week straight, leaving my other psoriasis treatements behind, and I really feel like my hair has looked a lot better and some of the itching I suffer with has reduced. I'm keen to try my overnight prescribed treatment combined with this shampoo going forward but if you have dandruff or an itchy scalp, give this a go - I don't think you'll be disappointed plus you know it's organic which makes it even better. Weleda Wheat Balancing Shampoo is available in a 190ml bottle for £8.95 - read more here.

My second  hair treat is Andrew Barton's S.O.S. Help Me! Twice A Week Conditioning Mask. This has long been a favourite of mine as it smells good enough to eat and it WORKS. I've mentioned before the various trials and tribulations my hair has been through and this mask has been my savour. Priced at just £5 in Asda for 300ml (but often in an offer), this sweet smelling conditioning treatment is thick and creamy, easy to work into your hair and guaranteed to leave it feeling soft and nourished. It contains shea butter to mend damaged hair and smooth cuticles and it smells like toffee cheesecake - delicious!

Honestly, even when my hair had been severly damaged by bleach, this still made a big difference and for that reason, I couldn't recommend it more. So go, buy some next time you're in the supermarket - you won't regret it!

* Note: I was sent the Weleda shampoo to test, free of charge, but the opinions expressed in this review are, as always, my own. As for the conditioner, this is just one of my favoruite beauty buys, bought with my own money!


Monday, 21 October 2013

This week's to do list


Personalised patchwork teddies

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you the fun and practical handmade changing bag designs of Lou and Lime; a new Etsy shop for my talented friend to share her fab fabric ideas.

Not only did Louise make me this fantastic changing bag for Ethan, she's also made me something extra special. She has taken some of Ethan's first bodysuits and sleepsuits and turned them into a sweet memento that we will cherish forever - a stuffed elephant toy.

Louise had the own idea when her first son was little and she turned one of his beloved items of clothing into a cute rabbit, which he took with him everywhere. She then made another one for her second son and friends and family soon saw her cuddly creations and started making requests of their own.

I saw one of the rabbits and instantly fell in love. It was soft to the touch and perfect size for little hands too, plus it was a great way to put old baby clothes to use.

I was quick to commission a teddy for Ethan as it seemed like a wonderful way to put some of his best-loved clothes to good use. I've kept a few sleepsuits from his early days in a memory box with other nic naks and since then, I've put all the clothes he's grown out of into storage bags in the loft; I can't bear to part with them. But there's only so many things you can keep so I loved the idea of creating a toy using these pre-worn fabrics.

I asked Louise if she could make an elephant for Ethan. We became a little elephant obsessed, as we used to say 'E is for elephant, E is for Ethan' and it just seemed that elephants were everywhere. He had quite a few elephant related clothes when he was born so I gave Louise a bag full of these and other bodysuits to choose from. She's got a keen eye for fabric and knows what to look for and how to put them together, to I gave her free reign to use as many or as few of the clothes as she wanted so she had as much creative scope as possible.

And here is Heffalump. He's made from five different bodysuits, all in complementary shades of biscuit, grey, yellow and green. Underneath his left ear is the emblem from one of Ethan's first bodysuits and on his side, there's a cute rocking horse button stitched on - great examples of Louise's attention to detail.

I knew before I saw the finished toy that I would be far too sentimental to let Ethan play with it. Every time I look at Heffalump, I'm reminded of Ethan's first few weeks. The way Louise has mixed and matched the different patterns of fabric together is really lovely and this is certainly going to be a treasured item in our family for many years.

Louise is always sewing and she's now set up her own Etsy shop - Lou and Lime - as in her words, "there's only so bags one person needs!". She is also available for individual commissions. You can take a look at her online shop here, where there's a few of her bags available to buy with more to be added soon, or you can contact her direct if you have something special you'd like her to make:

I've decided that the stash of Ethan's clothes will be turned into another keepsake - I want Louise to make me a quilt. The plan is to choose different tops that have special memories attached over the first couple of years of Ethan's life and then have Louise transform them into a patchwork quilt. At the rate I'm saving clothes, it's going to be pretty big!

* Note: this isn't a PR post as I paid Louise for her time and skill - I simply wanted to share this great idea with my readers as it's a brilliant way to remember those early days with your little one.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Breakfast In Bed

Do you ever find yourself lying in bed, wishing you were asleep, but you're mind is wide awake and buzzing with all the things you must remember, want to do, blogs you want to read, stuff you want to buy...? Well, this is a common problem of mine and I have a solution - share all of this with you!

So, here I'm starting my Breakfast In Bed series, or BIB for short. It's a brief look into everything I am reading, buying, planning, crafting, thinking and doing this week - just prop yourself up on a pillow and enjoy a little journey into the world of To Become Mum...

READING This week I have found some lovely new mummy bloggers and have really enjoyed catching up on their latest posts. Go check them out for yourself - Playful Learners, Yummy Mummy, The Thrifty Magpies Nest and Life Is Peachy are my latest reads.

GOING swimming is our new favourite activity, me and Ethan. It's starting to get chilly but Ethan seems to enjoy a splash and it sends him off to sleep for ages too!

PLANNING As you may have read here or here, my Christmas dreaming began a while ago (I can't help myself!) and I've been flicking through various Christmas magazines this week for new ideas, particularly handmade gifts and decorations. As you may know from this post, I work in PR, specialising in home and lifestyle products, and each year, Ideal Home's Complete Guide to Christmas has always been my recommendation for seasonal inspiration. However, although this year's edition is good, the best read so far for me is Your Home's Christmas Guide; far more practical ideas that won't cost the earth.

CRAFTING Following on from the above, on my list of 'must-do' crafts are a few festive projects. I have a wooden advent calendar to decorate with paint, decoupage and other bits and bobs, I want to make a snow globe like this for Ethan and I have a drawer full of Christmas crafty pieces to make all our cards.

WEARING I've got a bit of a thing for hats at the moment and bought the beauty below - not sure if it suits but in the words of Icona Pop, I don't care - I love it!
BUYING I've bought all of my Christmas presents now, all that's left is my presents from the boys and I've been told I'm not allowed to buy those as well (you can see my wishlist here).

BIDDING I've also bought a Welsh dresser after becoming slightly obsessed. I've always loved them and when Charlotte at Write Like No One's Watching posted this upcycling tutorial, that was it, I was going to find one by hook or by crook! If you follow me on Twitter, you'll probably have seen the epic eBay saga of bidding on my perfect dresser, only to loose out in the last second. I don't take defeat well but after sulking for half an hour, I scoured the web for another and found the dresser below - almost identical to the one I lost at auction but in fact, I think I even prefer it. I've started a Pinterest board for decorating inspiration...

TONIGHT I'm having a night in with the little guy whilst hubs goes out with friends - I have a date with a bottle of wine, a box of chocs and Gary Barlow. My Saturday night starts right here!

LOOKING FORWARD TO next weekend as we're going to see Travis on Saturday night, with Ethan having a sleepover at Nanny and Grandad's. Then on Sunday, I am collecting my Welsh dresser from a place in Leeds then going to Oulton Hall for two days of pampering with my three best friends. Bliss!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

What blogging means to me

For me, this blog is a kind of diary where I can share what's going on in my life, what's on my mind, new things I have found and love and an interactive way to document all of little man's milestones.

It started almost a year ago as a way for me to keep my family and friends, most of whom do not live nearby, up to date with each stage of my pregnancy. As bump's arrival into the world neared, I blogged more as I had more questions and more time on my hands.
Since late June, I've really put in a lot of time on this blog and it's great to know that it's read by so many lovely people now, with the majority of them being people I have, and probably will never, meet.

But that doesn't matter; through this blog and my Twitter page, I have 'met' so many nice new and expectant mums as well as people who share my love of crafts, homey bits and pieces, books, beauty products and, of course, babies.

Every day, my husband goes to work and for around 11 hours, I'm alone with my baby boy. Some days we have a mother and baby group to go to or a coffee date to keep but if not, the little guy is my only company. But actually, having my own corner of the web means I'm never really on my own. Any time of day or stupid'o'clock of night, my online friends are there sharing their worries, concerns, joys, moans and snapshots of their lives.

As I said, my family (which really is just my mum and dad) and my friends all live at least two hours away so aside from Ste's family, who are much closer, I have no support network to call on at short notice. I can't just pop to my mum's for a chat or hang out with my best friend. When we see each other, it's a date that's planned in the diary weeks in advance.

So for me, this blog is my space to speak about anything and everything that pops in my head. It makes me feel like I'm sharing my life, and Ethan's, with those who can't be in it every day as well as with other mamas who are going through or have been through the same things as me.

Blogging gives me a support network of lovely ladies who are there, day or night. It allows me to vent, to celebrate and to remember.

So thank you to you for reading this and for hopefully coming back again. It feels nice to know that your here and I love reading about your lives too. It's reassuring, entertaining and something I get an awful lot out of.

I hope that one day Ethan enjoys reading some of my posts - perhaps not the #treatyourselftuesday - so he can see how he has always meant the world to me and he can look at how he grew into the most wonderful son this mum could ask for

Why did you start blogging and what does it give you? I'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A family weekend

I've lived in Birmingham for over 11 years now but still call Fleet 'home'. My parents live there and all my memories before the age of 18 are there too.

At the weekend we went to visit. It had been two months since my parents had last seen Ethan so the change they saw in him was huge. 

He babbles. He laughs. He sighs oh so dramatically. He makes eye contact with you and holds it. He even sat in his new Baby Snug for the first time. His little personality - a cheeky one at thy - is blossoming and I got to see my baby boy through new eyes as Nanna and Gramps got to enjoy seeing Ethan play and cuddle and cry just a little.

It was nice to see my parents enjoying their time with their grandson too - I don't know who had more fun!


Saturday, 12 October 2013

My little fish

Ethan has always had very active legs, from his days in my tummy to sitting in his bouncing chair. For this reason we thought he'd take to swimming and we wanted to get him in the water as soon as possible. I didn't learn to swim until I was about 10 years old and I want Ethan to pick up this important and fun skill from an early age.

Our local mum an baby group benefits from a children's pool on site and yesterday we headed down to give it a go.

The water is heated to 32 degrees so was nice and warm plus the instructor had plenty of toys and floats out for everyone to play with.

During the one hour session, we were free to enjoy the water and the toys as we wanted but the instructor came round regularly to give suggestions and check how we were doing. It was a good way to introduce Ethan to the water and I guess the stronger he becomes, the more we can start to do.

For his first time though, I stuck to floating him on his front and his back, head out the water, spinning him around and then I sat him in a baby ring so he could try kicking his legs. 

He was calm the whole time and seemed at ease being in the water. He didn't wriggle and let the water hold him up. He kicked his legs a little and started to laugh and babble the longer we were in the pool so all in all, it was a great first experience in the water.

I was so happy seeing how content he was in the water that the instructor let me get my phone so I could take some photos - I just had to capture his first swim.

We'll get some better photos in the future but I'm really pleased I could commemorate the occasion. In this last photo, he doesn't look that happy but that's because we had a little difficulty getting him out the baby ring and by that point, he was quite worn out and ready for a feed.

I don't think we will go swimming when the cold weather really hits but this month I'm sure we will go a couple more times. Then in December we go to CenterParcs so he should be ready for even more fun in the water.  

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The skills you develop when you become mum

Every new mum wonders how they will cope with the sleepless nights, never ending washing and feeding a baby around the clock, let alone finding time to be themselves too. However, all mums develop skills to help them, ones they never knew they could have...

1. Multitasker. Thought you could multitask BB (before baby)? Think again! I once fed newborn Ethan whilst reading a book on my iPad, swiping the pages with my toes!

2. Master of time. Only got 15mins before baby is bound to wake up again? Not a problem, you can get dressed, do your hair and make up, put the laundry done and have a cup of tea in that time. Where there's a will, and a sleeping baby, there's a way!

3. Ninja. The time you have when baby sleeps is precious in the day so you quickly develop ninja skills that allow you to tip toe around without disturbing them in the slightest. Your sanity depends on it!

4. Linguist. With a baby to entertain morning, noon and night, a new mama quickly learns how to speak baby babble and sing silly songs and blow raspberries to make their little one smile, even when you're out and about. 

5. Queen of embarrassment. I bet there isn't a mum out there who has been able to resist buying at least one embarrassing outfit for their baby. With so many cute clothes out there, your baby can be any animal or character going. Ethan has been Kermit the Frog, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, a giraffe, a bear... And it's only going to get funnier as Christmas approaches! I already have his pumpkin costume for Halloween...

6. One handed wonder. From eating your lunch to changing a nappy, you quickly learn how to go things with just one free hand.

7. Super senses. No matter if your baby is in a different room, as a mum, only you can hear their murmurs in time to nip a full on crying fit in the bud.  

8. Human cushion. No matter what, the most comfortable place for your baby to be is on you. You're now a cuddle machine and it's one of the best new skills you gain when you become mum.

What skills have you developed since having a baby? Us mum's are pretty amazing so I'd love to hear what you think you've learnt so far on your journey to become mum.
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