A classic for the family album!

Meal times are always interesting with a baby and a toddler sat at the table.

What might have caused Little Mister’s distress, I hear you ask? The discovery that there really is no more yogurt left in his bowl, that’s what. The indignity!

I’d thought his sister was just smiling nicely for a photo but maybe there’s some smugness as well. Clearly she still has pudding left to enjoy.

Love it!

WickedWeds_3Picture copyright http://www.mummystodolist.com

brummymummyof2
Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories, Toddlerdom | Tags: , | 14 Comments

An unexpected proud mummy moment…

Back at the beginning of June we were gifted one of those milestone moments that takes you by surprise, unexpectedly fills your heart with pride and makes you catch your breath for a minute or so. And in my case, there are often a few tears too! I meant to write something as soon as it happened (and I did start, honest!) but before the memory begins to fade here it finally is…

Little Miss and the prayer fish at church

We try and go to church at least a couple of Sundays a month. It’s the church we were married in and where both our children were baptised. My faith is something I find hard to explain or fathom. There is so much I either struggle with or don’t really understand. All I know is that I definitely feel something. I’m drawn towards Christianity and going to church, when we can, feels right for us

The first Sunday of the month is always the all-age worship service, with lots of families. And in June we went along, as usual. Little Miss was asked if she would like to carry the prayer fish net to the front of the church during the collection, just before Communion. She shyly said yes and I wondered if she would get stage fright at the last moment. But she didn’t and when her moment came she did the job to perfection, while I walked behind her trying not to burst into tears!

While she has definitely got taller since Christmas, she is still petite and looked quite tiny walking down the main aisle past the standing congregation – the same aisle that Mummy walked down on her wedding day. I heard several people making admiring comments about her, saying how beautiful she looked. I couldn’t have been more proud.

It was such a lovely and totally unexpected moment. I think I was more overwhelmed than she was! She took on a responsible role and did what she was asked so nicely and in front of so many people. Sometimes she can be shy, especially in new situations and in large groups. But she does love to help and be given little jobs to do and it was such a pleasure to see her getting involved, quietly confident. My beautiful little girl.

Butterfly

Little Miss as a beautiful butterfly at our church family fun day last weekend – her first face painting experience!

Super Busy Mum
Categories: Mummy memories | Tags: , | 13 Comments

Happy first birthday Little Mister

The end of June and beginning of July was already a busy time for birthdays in our family and then last year we added the most important celebration of them all to our somewhat crowded calendar (sorry husband, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and niece!). On July 1st 2014 our big, beautiful baby boy arrived – all 9-and-a-half pounds of him!

And now our darling, loving, funny, cheeky Little Mister is one. In many ways it feels like he’s been here forever but, thinking back now, it also feels like time has flown  too. I know everybody says that but it’s true.

This time last year we were in the midst of a heatwave and had taken to sleeping downstairs in the lounge with our precious new arrival as we felt our bedroom was just too hot for a newborn.

This year, again, the weather has been pretty warm lately and Little Mister’s birthday was one of the hottest days of the year so far. With the good weather, time off work and several different events and outings during birthday week, it felt like we stretched out the celebrations and the party atmosphere.

Happy first birthday

It started with a picnic in the park with family and a few close friends the weekend before the big day.

Everyone loves a picnic and the sun shone brightly for ours. We found the perfect spot under a shady tree, hung up the birthday bunting and a super-shiny foil balloon (baby treasure!) and spent a lovely, relaxed afternoon.

The older kids were able to run around and play, while the littlest ones crawled around on blankets. Mummy even managed to have a stubby beer!

Little Mister held court in his prince charming bib sat on our highchair booster seat, unintentionally like a little throne – we used it to keep the little monkey in one place while we ate!

Of course, birthdays mean cake. Little Mister has always loved his food. And he definitely loves cake. He hadn’t really had it much before now but he’s quickly got the hang of it. These days he likes to point at things he wants and the appearance of cake heralds a lot of serious pointing. For his picnic Daddy made two (show off!). One baby-friendly banana-based one with strawberries and cream cheese icing, and a sticky chocolate one.

Little Mister cake

Little Mister loved the cake – didn’t take his eyes off it until a piece arrived in front of him. But even sweeter was his reaction to people singing to him. He loves music and especially loved being sung to. So, so cute. Cake and singing is definitely a winning combination for this little boy!

His actual birthday was on a Wednesday but I took the Tuesday off work as well (meaning I did a one-day week!) and we had a day together on our own while Little Miss was at nursery. We rarely get to hang out just the two of us now I’m back at work so it was nice to just relax and enjoy the little man’s company.

By the time the big day finally arrived, he had become very accustomed to opening presents – it must have been the third or fourth day in a row that gifts had miraculously appeared in front of him! As you can see, he had an incredibly keen present-opening assistant in the form of his big sister. I imagine by this time next year he won’t be quite so obliging about having her help. And, yes, he is sitting on the present in the first picture!Little Mister Birthday Collage 2

His main gift from us was a new set of wheels – a Little Tykes 4-in-one trike. We’ve taken him out on it a few times now and he seems to enjoy it. At the moment we use it with him strapped in (the seat belt takes this mummy a good few minutes to fathom as it’s a pretty secure five-point one) and the parent handle is nice and easy to push and steer. I always try to buy things that are going to last as long as possible so I love the fact that this can be adapted to grow with him over the next couple of years. Right now, it’s been lovely to be able to go out all together pushing him on the trike and his sister on the bike she had for her birthday.

He also had two fab Duplo sets – Combine and Create Cars and a construction site one – an ELC Light and Sounds Emergency Centre and a Light and Sounds Police Car. Quite a strong car theme emerging – and I try not to gender stereotype – but he really does seem to enjoy them and has been pushing anything car-like along the floor for a while now. My mum got him a tent and tunnel set (that his sister can’t wait to play with!) and he also got some great new shirts – including an incredibly funky purple dinosaur one by Tu. Can’t wait to wear that on holiday (it’s a bit big at the moment). In short, he was nicely spoiled.

Little Mister Birthday Collage 1

Cards, presents and breakfast sorted, we headed out for a day at Fisher’s Farm Park, just down the road from us here in West Sussex. I’ve been wanting to go for a while now and we had the perfect day for it. Midweek prices are that little bit lower and the attractions a bit less busy. And the weather was lovely, meaning we got to make use of the little splash park there – worth bringing the swimming cozies for – and enjoy another birthday picnic!

Fisher’s probably deserves a whole post to itself, so I’ll add that to my blog to-do list, but in short we had a lovely day there. There was plenty to keep both a one and a three year old entertained and I can see us spending many fun-filled days here as they grow up (there are lots of more adventurous attractions for older kids too). We all enjoyed cooling off in the Splash Attack water zone. It did seem calmer and more toddler-friendly in the morning before the bigger kids took over en mass later on (it’s not huge and there were quite a few school groups there that day). We went on a tractor/trailer ride around the farm, past the animals, and Little Miss loved the pedal cars, two small fairground rides and the bumpy Barrel Bugs ride. We also had fun on the outdoor trampolines and then later on in the indoor soft play. We quickly ran out of time to do and see everything – I know Little Miss would have loved to see The Enchanted Woods (had she known about them!). And we barely looked at, let alone touch, the actual farm animals! There is an Animal Encounters Barn and shows and sessions throughout the day. So we will have to go back soon.

Fishers Farm birthday collage

Once home we enjoyed a ‘birthday burgers’ tea and another cake to round off the day. We also had our shower, for want of a better description, explode just as we came to the end of our meal! We heard a loud pop upstairs followed by water gushing out of the wall! So while our tired little ones slept, Mummy and Daddy spent the rest of the evening speaking to a plumber, filling up jugs as the mains supply had to go off for the night, cleaning up the mess and hoping our damp and leaking living room ceiling didn’t fall down! It didn’t and it all got sorted but I sure could have done with a shower at the end of such a hot, busy day! Lucky I was still in a buoyant mood.

Birthday cake

So now he’s into his second year and before I go, here are a few things about him now that I don’t want to forget.

Little Mister at one…

Likes:

Food (we’ve yet to find anything he really dislikes! He especially loves tomatoes, yoghurt and bananas), eating loudly to show his appreciation, climbing (even though he’s not quite walking), forbidden areas (stairs, the kitchen when the oven’s on, open doors, plug sockets), mobile phones and the remote control, bath time and splashing, cuddles, music, biting (hopefully it’s just a stage!), music, snatching people’s glasses, saying ‘yeah’, waving, clapping, dancing, pressing buttons (especially on noisy books and doorbells!.

Dislikes:

Nappy changes, the word ‘no’, unfamiliar men (especially ones with beards!).

Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories | Tags: , | 11 Comments

Guilt-free mum treats

I used to think nothing of heading into town in my lunch hour and spending a small fortune on stuff I didn’t really need. Two children and two stints of maternity leave later and I now have to seriously watch what I spend (and kind of wish I’d been a bit more careful in the past, the joys of youth!).

But I have found a few pain-free ways to still indulge in a treat or two. And boy do I need those little treats some days! So here’s how I’ve been rewarding myself lately without breaking the bank  – and some of these are totally free.

Guilt-free mum treats

Coffee – Free from Waitrose
I know it’s a ploy to get me through their doors and spending, but I’m strong, I can resist. Waitrose free coffee is decent, I can always use a caffeine boost and by-passing Costa and the likes easily saves me a good few quid each time I’m out. It’s better for my waistline too as it keeps me both on my feet and away from coffee shop cake. Which also saves yet more money. So far I’m winning!

Glossy mags – Free using library emagazine service

This has been an absolute revelation for a girl who used to be a total magazine addict. I used to buy several magazines every week, starting in my teens. Then by my late twenties there were the wedding mags, followed by the baby ones. Of course, these days having the time to sit down with a glossy is a luxury in itself but given that you can easily blow three or four quid on popping that extra reading material into the shopping trolley, it’s a habit I’ve seriously reined in.

I had weaned myself down to just a single money-saving subscription. But now I’ve discovered I can borrow digital versions via my local library website for free. Many of my old guilty pleasures are there – Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan (I feel so old looking at that now though. Still Good Housekeeping is also available!). And then there’s the celeb tittle tattle titles for a bit of escapism – Hello! OK. And grown-up home decor and food stuff. You get the picture. These can all be read FOR FREE on my laptop, tablet or smartphone (and on eBook readers if you have one). There is no limit on the number of titles I can access and no time limit – it’s amazing!

I’m not sure if all local libraries are now doing this – ours is West Sussex. You can also borrow certain books in this way now too.

Chocolate – Money-saving multi-packs

My desk drawer at work hides a multitude of sins, not least my stationery confectionery stash! Given that most days require a chocolate-coated sugar boost at some point, it dawned on me that buying single bars from our sandwich lady or the corner shop was costing a small fortune. A trip to Sainsbury’s (or your supermarket of choice!) and you can almost always pick up a multi-pack of something for about a quid and it will last you a week. Given that most single bars now cost at least 70-80p, that adds up to a nifty little saving. Does nothing for the waistline but you can’t have it all. And at least at work I’m not expected to share it, or find it smeared down the walls later.

A beauty boost – 3 for 2 deals and a DIY facial

Now I know this isn’t exactly a revelation, everyone knows about these deals. But I did make the most of one of these offers this week when I was badly flagging and feeling decidedly knackered and dowdy. Desperate to indulge in a bit of budget me-time, I bought myself tubes of Manuka Honey Radiance Face Mask and the accompanying Refining Scrub and, for a real treat, a bottle of Argan Oil Perfecting Facial Oil, all from the Good Things range. Buying on a deal meant I got one of the tubes free and was able to justify buying the oil – facial oil being something I’ve wanted to try for a while now. That said, even without the deal the products are reasonably priced for what you get – £4.99 for the scrub, £5.99 for the mask and £6.99 for the oil,

They all smell gorgeous – so good I keep taking the odd sniff when I’m not using them – and it felt fabulous taking the time to wallow with a face mask on for the first time in absolutely ages. I almost forgot it was there and ended up leaving it on a good half hour!

Afterwards, I felt refreshed and I’m sure my skin looked brighter and felt smoother. I really like the way the oil makes my skin feel – super soft and pampered but without being too greasy, which had been something that has put me off trying oil previously. It claims to help treat signs of aging, so fingers crossed it lives up to that promise! So far, so good.

I’d gone for the Good Things range on a whim after seeing an other mum recommend them in Mother and Baby magazine. She was a make-up artist so I assumed she must know her stuff! And I later realised the range itself had been developed by an award-winning beauty writer (Alice Hart-Davis) so, again, I’m happy to bow to this greater knowledge! The fact that the products are made with natural ingredients and contain no parabens, sodium laureth sulphate or sodium lauryl suplhate (SLS) and no mineral oils or other petrochemicals, also really appealed to me.

So, those are the cheap and cheerful treats that have been helping make my days that little bit brighter. I’m always on the look out for more so please share yours with me!

NB: Everything mentioned in this post has been bought or obtained by me, for me. There is no PR jiggery pokery going on here, just my own thoughts, in case anyone wondered.

A couple more posts for anyone needing a positivity boost…

Remember this day… a note to myself

The importance of a little bit of head space

Family Fever
The Giggles Family
Categories: Mind matters, Reviews | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Working mum woes…

Today, juggling motherhood with work has felt difficult. Balancing my priorities and responsibilities has felt almost impossible and I’m left with the feeling that I haven’t been able to perform either of my roles as well as I’d have liked. I’ve felt tired, guilty, frustrated and overwhelmed.

Poor Little Mister isn’t very well. He’s been fighting a temperature and is so miserable. My usually happy, busy little boy has been floored by a nasty virus. Really, I should have been at home with him.

Working Mum WoesThe problem is that working part-time, Monday to Wednesday, means that missing today would have made my short working week even shorter. With some big deadlines looming and the two recent Bank Holidays having already curtailed my hours, staying at home didn’t feel like an option.

Having only recently returned from maternity leave, I do feel under pressure to prove myself again. My work is important to me and, of course, I want others to value what I’m doing. After almost a year out of the office, I want to show that I can still have an impact and am good at what I do. I want to feel good at what I do again.

But my brain just wasn’t feeling it today. After a broken night responding to the little man’s distressed cries, my thoughts were sluggish. My creative juices just wouldn’t flow and any flourish that I might have had in the past felt totally diminished.

I’d arrived late, thanks in the main to an unhelpful fit of willfulness from my toddler. The persistent rain and traffic that seemed to be conspiring against me didn’t help matters either. And Little Mister was never far from my thoughts, even though he was safely at home being looked after perfectly well by Daddy who was in a better position than me to take the work hit.

I know we probably did the right thing today. That I at least was able to get something, rather than nothing, done and be present among my colleagues. But my inner critic keeps telling me that if I’m going to spend a day away from my sick child then I really should have made it count. I should have been firing on all cylinders, producing dazzling copy. I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed all round.

I know I’m being over dramatic and that I’ve heaped this pressure on myself – why do we do that? I know that my colleagues probably didn’t notice that I was struggling to be productive and that I still have time to ‘pull it out of the bag’ before next week. I know today could have been so much worse on so many levels. That I should, and do, feel grateful for all the good things.

As can be said about so many things in parenthood, I know this will pass. It will all be ok. Tomorrow is another day.

Has anyone else been struggling with the juggle this week? Do let me know any tips

Image: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Super Busy Mum
Categories: Mind matters, Motherhood, Working mum | Tags: , | 12 Comments

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