Monthly Archives: September 2014

30th September 2014

How To Get Ready For A Big Night Out In 50 Easy Steps (with two kids in tow…)

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1. Have a shower at 6.30am before husband leaves for work

2. Wash hair and shave legs with 2-year old hanging around the curtain

3. Get out shower after 3 minutes as toddler is demanding cheerios

4. Get cheerios

5. Change two nappies

6. Get two children dressed

7. Look down at legs and realise you have missed patch, go to bathroom to get razor for quick patch-up job

8. Cut leg, grab toilet paper to stop bleeding, give up and let blood trickle down leg

9. Put TV on to entertain toddler and place baby into inflatable ring to play

10. Head into bedroom to get dressed and blow-dry hair

11. Turn on hairdryer

12. Turn off hairdryer, convinced you can hear toddler hitting baby over head with saucepan from his play kitchen

13. Give up and decide to let hair dry naturally

14. Feed baby porridge

15. Baby sneezes porridge over freshly washed hair after second mouthful.

16. Take children out to messy play class

17. Wash neon pink paint off toddler and put him in new set of clothes

18. Look down and discover neon pink paint in hair

19. Grab hairband from around wrist, put hair up and forget about it

20. Take children home, give them lunch, and put them down for naps

21. Hunt for dress for black tie event in wardrobe and discover it full of creases

22. While children sleep, iron dress, choose accessories, and re-paint smudged fingernail

23. Make toddler’s packed lunch for nursery the next day, as you know you wont be capable in the morning

24. Dash to give baby dummy, re-smudging finger nail in process

25. Re-paint smudged fingernail

26. Consider fake tan before realising children are bound to wake half way through and you will be half white / half tanned.

27. Discount idea of fake tan

28. Look for tan coloured tights in chest of drawers, managing to knock picture off top and wake up baby

29. Baby’s cries wake up toddler

30. Play and entertain children all afternoon

31. Cook dinner for children and feed them

32. Bath children

33. Get children into pyjamas

34. Welcome babysitter with open arms with 20 minutes until you need to leave

35. Do makeup in 5 minutes

36. Do hair in 2 minutes

37. Throw on dress

38. Put feet into shoes

39. Spend next 10 minutes explaining emergency drill to babysitter and showing her how to make milk for baby if he wakes

40. Spend another few minutes writing down several different numbers in case of emergency

41. Apply lipstick

42. Run toddler to potty as he suddenly needs a wee

43. Pray he manages to get it in the potty

44. Dispose of wee and get new pull-up nappy

45. Kiss children goodbye

46. Consider kissing babysitter

47. Kiss children again

48. Grab bag

49. Take deep breathe

50. Walk out door

Some nights are really worth it though...

Some nights are really worth it though…



27th September 2014

Jazzing up Playdoh Play

I’ve tried countless times to get Stanley interested in Playdoh – but alas, it usually holds his attention for a nanosecond before he is distracted, leaving me to clear up a table that looks like a  multicoloured bomb has gone off.

So I decided to jazz it up with a few accessories. I found a game online that helps to boost fine motor skills and thought that Stanley would enjoy it – so we started with this. You take a lump of Playdoh, stab a few uncooked strands of spaghetti into it, and get the child to thread cheerios onto each strand. It was harder than it looked for Stanley and he concentrated for a long time trying to string each cheerio onto the spaghetti.

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After a while, the strands of spaghetti started to snap and he stabbed them back into the Playdoh one by one, so we had what resembled a hedgehog.

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This kept him occupied for far longer than I expected – so the next day, I gave him some dry pasta and he carried on creating hedgehogs.

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After this success, I was hunting for other ways to jazz up Playdoh play, so I took to the internet  to research other ideas. The below are my favourite, which will be be trying soon…

LEGO

AUTUMNDINOSAURSMONSTERS
If you try any of these ideas, I’d love to hear! Happy playing!



23rd September 2014

Holly’s Story

Something a bit different today… I am sharing the story of 8-month-old Holly; the brave daughter of very close friends of ours. Her  Mummy Nikki wants to share Holly’s story to encourage parents to always trust their instincts when it comes to the health of their children.

And on that note, I will hand over to Nikki…

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As I sit next to Holly’s hospital bed, watching her sleep after her second operation in eight days, I am wondering how we ended up here. I’m grateful that the doctors have finally discovered what is wrong with her, but I’m racked with guilt and I’m asking myself a million questions. Is it my fault because we had building work done when I was pregnant? Was it the antibiotics I took before I realised I was pregnant? Should I have fought harder to get this discovered sooner? Could I have done anything different? The list goes on.

 I had a feeling that something wasn’t right from the moment she was born. I have come to discover that a mother’s instinct is more powerful than any check-up, any doctor diagnosis, and any individual telling you ‘Don’t worry! Don’t panic! She’s fine!’ I knew something wasn’t right. I just knew.

Holly is my second daughter – and things felt different from the beginning. Holly never fed properly from birth or took enough milk. At 4 days old, she had her tongue tie cut and we hoped the feeding problem was solved. It wasn’t. At 6 weeks, the vomiting started. We could hear a strange clicking noise in her chest and her milk never seemed to digest properly. She always seemed to be uncomfortable, twisting and turning in bed all night.

As she got older, the feeling that something wasn’t right got stronger. I took her to the GP so often that the receptionist once commented ‘oh, it’s you again, you’ve been here a lot’. That comment  was like a kick in the stomach. I knew something was wrong

Our GP told me that Holly was fine over and over again. She was meeting milestones and she didn’t display any signs of a baby with major issues. I was unconvinced and started looking at other avenues. We visited at cranial osteopath, but after three visits (and £300 poorer), nothing had changed. We booked private consultations that cost £250 a pop, but still the conclusion came that she was fine.

10708058_10154614674510641_56558510_nI resorted to taking her to A&E in desperate attempts to find out what was wrong – and finally, on the third visit, they gave her an X-Ray and diagnosed pneumonia. After a course of antibiotics, she seemed to improve – but she was still only able to take 3 or 4oz as a feed.

The moment that will stick in my mind forever came six weeks later. After a follow-up X-Ray to check the pneumonia had cleared up, I was told to immediately rush Holly to A&E. They had spotted a lump on her lung – but being a Friday, we would have to wait until Monday to find out what it was. All they could tell me is that whatever it was, it had grown. That weekend was horrendous. We were sick with worry.

After a CT scan on the Monday morning, consultants sat us down and told us that Holly had Diaphragmatic Hernia. It meant her guts were above her diaphragm as it hadn’t formed properly. She needed a major operation.

We listened as they told us that 1 in 2500 babies have a diaphragmatic hernia, which is congenital and forms in the first 7-10 weeks in the womb. This is why it is usually discovered at the 20-week scan – but those babies that aren’t detected in the womb are normally detected at birth, because the child’s lung usually hasn’t had a chance to develop properly and breathing can be a real problem without assistance.

After doing some research on google afterwards, I went cold when I read that the mortality rate is about 30%, with a significant amount suffering from serious health problems. Only about 10% of babies get to Holly’s age without the problem being spotted. In many ways, we had been lucky – but it didn’t feel like that as we got our tiny baby ready for major surgery.

My instinct had been right all along.

Three weeks later, we were handing our 7-month old daughter to the surgeons to be operated on. Watching her go under general anaesthetic is a moment that will stay with me forever. Having to wait three hours to hear how the operation had gone and then walk into intensive care unit and see our baby on a ventilator was torture.

Despite everything, we were relieved she was getting better – until that is, the doctors broke it to us that a routine X-Ray had found that there was another major problem. Holly also had Hiatus Hernia, which is very rare in babies. Her stomach was in fact in her chest area. None of the medical team could believe that she had two very rare conditions – they had never come across it before. We steeled ourselves for another major operation a week later.

As we handed her to the surgical team for a second time, we felt emotionally drained. And as I sat by her hospital bed afterwards, I felt the need to write down my story to urge other parents to trust their instincts when it comes to their children’s health. And although every inch of my being wishes I had been proved wrong, I am so relieved that I kept pushing for a diagnosis.

Doctors do an amazing job, but they need to listen more to Mums when they tell them there is something wrong. We are the ones that are with our babies day in and day out – and if we feel something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. 

Where would we be now if I hadn’t trusted my instincts?

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22nd September 2014

20 Autumn Buys for Boys for Under £20

I’m always on the hunt for stylish clothes and accessories for my boys, but as there are two of them, I could very easily spend the weekly food budget in one shopping trip if I didn’t show restraint (and I hate restraint, it’s so boring). So finding things that are  stylish, practical, and cheap as chips is my favourite hobby.

With autumn about to arrive in the UK (oh I miss autumn now we are in Dubai!) I thought I would gather together 20 of the best buys for boys for the season ahead, with everything (including coats and shoes!) at under £20. Happy shopping – and make sure you kick some leaves for me when you head outside!

Collage1 – Fleece Trapper Hat, £6.95, GAP (click here to buy)

2 – Desert Boots, £12, Matalan (click here to buy)

3 – Pull-on Cotton Trousers, £5.99, H&M (click here to buy)

4 – Bang, Crash, Wallop Long Sleeve T-Shirt, from £6, Next (click here to buy)

5 – Mix Media Trainers, £17.95, GAP (click here to buy)

6 – Loose Jeans, £4.99, H&M (click here to buy)

7 – Batman Umbrella, £10, Marks & Spencer (click here to buy)

8 – Quilted Jacket, £17.99, H&M (click here to buy)

9 – Tracksuit bottoms, £12.95, GAP (click here to buy)

10 – Rib-Knit Jumper, £5.99, H&M (click here to buy)

11 – Mittens on String, £6.50, John Lewis (click here to buy)

12 – ‘My Cape Is In The Wash’ Long Sleeve T-Shirt, £8, River Island (click here to buy)

13 – Ecru Patterned Jumper, from £12, Next (click here to buy)

14 – Suede Boots, £18, Matalan (click here to buy)

15 – Padded Herringbone and Corduroy Gilet, from £18, Marks & Spencer (click here to buy)

16 – Dinosaur Waterproof Poncho, from £15, Next (click here to buy)

17 – Bat Print Long Sleeved Top, from £3, F+F at Tesco (click here to buy)

18 – Padded Gilet, £14.99, H&M (click here to buy)

19 – Hat with Earflaps, £2.99, H&M (click here to buy)

20 – Suede Sherpa Boots, £16.95, GAP (click here to buy)



21st September 2014

10 Mistakes We Make As Mums

i-live-in-a-madhouse-ruled-by-a-tiny-army-that-i-made-myself1. Buying only newborn clothes. I made this mistake with my first, buying every vest and sleep suit in ‘New Baby’ that I could lay my hands on. When I went to the chest of drawers to locate the next size up, I discovered I had one pair of swimming shorts and a flat cap. So that was useful.

2. Failing to restock the nappy bag. Picture the scene. I’m out with the kids, feeling pretty smug that we have made it out to the real world and everybody is safe and happy. Then I realise that the baby has pooed, it has exploded up his back, and I have no baby wipes, no change of clothes, and probably no spare nappies. I do have a musical rattle, strip of paracetamol, and box of raisins though. Marvellous.

3. Running the bath several times every night. I find the perfect temperature, get distracted, discover it’s too hot and run just the cold tap, get distracted, discover it’s too cold – and repeat.

4. Standing on the bathroom scales after having a baby. At some point in my post-birth daze with my first, I purchased some bathroom scales from the supermarket on a whim. I’ll just quickly check how much weight I’ve lost, I thought. It’ll help me stay motivated, I thought. I stood on those scales and cried, before throwing them down the rubbish chute. Then I marched to the fridge and grabbed a bar of Dairy Milk to console myself. I should’ve just done the latter.

5. Clipping a finger when cutting little nails. I have done this to both babies. I concentrate fully on the task in hand, line up the finger, keep my breathing nice and steady, double check the clippers are in the right position. And yep, I still do it.

6. Drinking alcohol. It’s a mistake I have often made. The kids are in bed, the babysitter has arrived, and I am dressed up for a night on the tiles. I’ve put the kids to bed on my own for five nights straight, dealt with more toddler tantrums than you care to remember, and cooked dinners with a teething 7-month old attached to my hip. I definitely deserve this. What I haven’t considered, however, is that I will be doing all these things again tomorrow, with the added inconvenience of dashing to the bathroom to heave.

7. Making promises to a toddler. In my experience, it is the law of the world that if I promise our 2-year old that we will be visiting the park that afternoon, the car won’t start. If I promise him pink ice cream, there will only be chocolate. If I promise we will see a friend for a play date, they will cancel. It is far better to keep quiet and watch his face light up when things goes right. Because as tempting as it is to use our future plans as bribery for good behaviour, if the plans go wrong, the consequences are pretty grim.

8. Hoping Daddy will find it just as tough. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for Daddy daycare. This happens in my house at least once a week. The mistake, however, is thinking Daddy will find it just as tough and confess undying admiration for your skills as a mother when you walk back through the door.. This will not happen, as the children will sit quietly reading like little angels, the television will be switched to a sports channel while he reclines in comfort, and bedtime will work like a dream. The same applies to grandparents and babysitters. Your hard work will remain unappreciated.

9. Leaving half-drunk mugs of tea or coffee within reach. It is a law of parenting that you will only finish half your mug of tea or coffee before a small person demands your attention. The big mistake I make on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis is leaving them where small hands can grab them or thrown balls can knock them over. We made the mistake of purchasing a white sofa in our pre-kids days. It’s now mostly brown.

10. Waking a sleeping child. Whether I am gently lying my hand on their chest to check they are breathing, moving their squished-up faces away from the bars of the cot, or creeping into the room to grab something I left behind at bedtime, it is absolutely inevitable that I will wake them up at least once during nap or bed time. Two and a half years into motherhood and I still haven’t learnt to effectively creep. It’s worth a silent scream into a cushion.



19th September 2014

My pick of LEGO gifts…

Do your boys love LEGO? Until I started to research this post, I didn’t know quite how much was out there for LEGO-mad kids. From headlights, to birthday invitations, to ice cube trays in the shape of little LEGO men, there’s a gazillion things out there beyond the bricks themselves.

So here’s my favourite LEGO themed gifts – and if your child loves to build, why not bookmark this page for his birthday or Christmas?

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1 – LEGO Ideas Book, £8.50, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

2 – Building Block Birthday Invitations, £4 each, Not on the Highstreet (click here to buy)

3 – Banksy-inspired LEGO Print, $95 (£57), The Brick Fantastic (click here to buy)

4 – LEGO Storage Head, £15.17, John Lewis (click here to buy)

5 – LEGO Movie, £10, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

6 – LEGO Drinking Bottle, £10.03, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

7 – Superhero LEGO Pyjamas, £30, Stardust Kids (click here to buy)

8 – LEGO T-Shirt, from £10, Next (click here to buy)

9 – LEGO Man Ice, Chocolate, and Jelly Tray, £8.86, Etsy (click here to buy)

10 – LEGO Superman Clock, £17.49, John Lewis (click here to buy)

11 – LEGO Slippers, £22.18, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

12 – LEGO Batman Watch, £15.99, Argos (click here to buy)

13 – LEGO Lights Torch, £12, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

14 – LEGO Juniors Construction Site, £14.99, John Lewis (click here to buy)

15 – LEGO Art Carousel, £20, Debenhams (click here to buy)

16 – LEGO Architecture London Big Ben, £24.99, Toys R Us (click here to buy)

17 – LEGO Star Wars Keyring, £6.99, John Lewis (click here to buy)

18 – Building Blocks Inspired Personalised Pencil Case, £14, Not on the Highstreet (click here to buy)

19 – LEGO Head Torch, £9.04 each, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

20 – LEGO Star Wars Bedding Set, £24.99, Amazon.co.uk (click here to buy)

21 – LEGO Character Encyclopedia, £13, Kiddiecare (click here to buy)

22 – Long-sleeve LEGO T-Shirt, £23, Zalando (click here to buy)

23 – LEGO Storage Box, £30, Debenhams (click here to buy)



16th September 2014

10 Things I Appreciate More Now I Have Kids

1 – 7pm. Before I had kids, 7pm was just a time. It was no more significant than any other time in a 24-hour period. But now it is the time the kids are both down, I head into the living room after tidying up, and flop onto the sofa (usually with a glass of wine in hand). I love you, 7pm. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate you fully until now.

2 – Breakfast. In the days before kids, my breakfast consisted of a banana on the way to the station, a hastily spread bit of toast (usually with holes, thanks to the haste), or a bowl of porridge in front of late morning TV. Now it is my favourite meal of the day – whether we are dining in an otherwise empty restaurant or I’m cooking pancakes on the stove at home. I have totally rediscovered the joy of breakfast (and in fact early mornings), which goes some way to making up for the lack of sleep. Some way, you understand.

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3 – Alone Time. I’ve always liked a bit of quiet time on my own, but now these moments are so few and far between that they have become truly precious. If I head out on my own, I want hop, skip and jump my way there (and of course tell everyone I meet that I have kids, as it feels like I have lost one of my legs and nobody has noticed).

4 – Christmas. I admit I am quite obsessed with Christmas anyway, but suddenly this time of year has got even more magical. I can’t wait for this year especially, as it’s the first time my oldest will experience excitement in the build-up. I’m already planning – and only this morning I announced to the husband that I was planning to start buying a few gifts and he gave me a look that said ‘Good God Woman, it’s September’. You just wait husband, you just wait.

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5 – Sleep. I never climbed into my bed, burrowed under the duvet, and shut my eyes with the same feeling of joy before I had kids. Oh yes, I liked my bed before, but it is absolutely my best friend now. Knowing that I have a few hours ahead of me (and probably just that; a few hours) has made the time I spend under the duvet even more precious. And if I ever allow myself a nap at the weekend while the boys sleep, that is even sweeter.

6 – My Own Childhood. The most important thing in the world is that my boys have a happy childhood, which makes me reflect on quite how happy my own childhood was. I am so appreciative of everything my parents did to ensure we had magical childhoods – and now I’m a parent too, I understand there would’ve been moments when they were pulling their hair out and surviving on endless mugs of coffee (and, I suspect, a lot of wine too).

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7 – My Health. We absolutely rely on my health to function as a family. Nobody likes being poorly and it’s tough when you are holding down a job – but there are no sick days when you are a Mum. I have fed my children between bouts of vomiting, sung nursery rhymes when my throat felt like cut glass, and cried through bath-time with a migraine. So I am thankful for my health. Let’s face it; this motherhood lark is hard enough as it is.

8 – The Days Before Kids. I don’t think I fully appreciated everything I did before my boys came along – but now that life has a whole new spin, I am thankful that I did so much before they arrived. I snorkelled in caves in Mexico, I assisted on fashion shoots in New York City, I took a yoga class overlooking mountains on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, and I sat in the front row of London Fashion Week (when my ticket was for four rows back and I risked public humiliation if caught). And whilst I know there is time to get back into all that jazz when the boys are older, it’s nice to have those things to remember as I tackle these exhausting days of tandem nappy changing, broken nights, and toddler tantrums.

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9 – My Husband. Of course I have always loved him, but did I full appreciate him before we had kids? I’m not sure I would’ve sat down and ticked off reasons in my head, despite knowing I was a lucky girl. Now I do count my blessings regularly; that he’s a great Dad, that he does everything he can for the boys whenever he is at home (more than me, if the truth be known), and that he works hard so we can have a comfortable lifestyle (nb: he’s rubbish at the night shift, but everyone sucks at something).

10 – My Body. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t love my body. I certainly don’t feel confident in a bikini and I often have moments where I stand on the bathroom scales and shudder. But I appreciate my body in a way I have never done before. I only have to look at two little faces to appreciate what it did for me. So I don’t love you body, but will go as far as to say that I like you.

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What do you appreciate more now you are a parent? I would love to hear!



13th September 2014

The Ultimate Hospital Bag List for Mums-to-be

I have shared my Hospital Bag list with pregnant friends countless times, so I thought it would be useful to add it to the blog so that mum-to-be readers can also make use of it.

When reading the below, bear in mind that I gave birth both times in Dubai where lack of space was no concern and I could take as much luggage as I liked. In the UK, space tends to be more limited and you may want to pick and choose what you think is important from the below (some is optional anyway, but if you keep reading you will understand what I mean).

This list is split into two sections – ‘For You’ and ‘For Baby’. So let’s start with the things you will need for yourself over your stay in hospital for labour, birth, and the first few days of your baby’s life.

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1. Pyjamas and Dressing Gown. If you plan to breastfeed, go for sets with camisole feeding tops, which will make life a lot easier during your stay (and when you get home).

2. TENS Machine (optional). I didn’t use mine either time as I was induced with epidural, but it was always on top of my bag to grab quickly in early labour or for use at hospital.

3. Entertainment. You may have a long wait in hospital and find things a bit boring if you have a long labour or are induced – plus your baby will sleep a lot in the early days and you may not always want to sleep yourself. Take a selection of magazines, a kindle or good book,  an iPad or tablet, and anything else you love dipping into during quiet moments.

4. Camera and charger. You may not need this if you plan to use your smart-phone to take pictures or videos, but make sure it’s packed if you prefer photography the old school way.

5. Phone and charger. For those important phone calls and texts when baby arrives – and to take pictures and videos. Make sure the charger is packed, as you won’t want to see 1% battery as you pick up the phone to share the good news.

6. Sports-style drinking bottle. This is one of the best tips I was given before giving birth (and not for what you may think!) Squirting water at stitches when you are having a wee dilutes the urine and stops the area stinging. I kept it topped up with cool water in the bathroom for a few weeks after baby was born.

Your wash bag should contain toiletries including:

7. Lip Balm. Especially useful if you use Gas & Air, which can dry out your lips very quickly.

8. Hairbands. If you have long hair, you won’t want it to be hanging in your face when you are hot and bothered – or afterwards when you are trying to feed baby.

9. Hairbrush. For quickly styling hair into an up-do for above reasons.

10. Face Wash. Even if it’s the only area of your body to be cleansed in the early days, it will feel amazing to splash water on your face.

11. Face Cream. Keep skin supple and hydrated with a quick slick of moisturiser.

12. Fragrance-free Shower Gel. Choose a body wash without fragrance to gently cleanse any stitches (important for both natural or c-section births)

13. Nipple cream (optional). If you are breastfeeding, you’ll need something to soothe nipples in the early days. Lansinoh is my favourite brand.

14. Arnica (optional). Arnica is believed to help the body to heal and I have taken these supplements after both births to try and speed up recovery.

15. Maternity Pads. Forget those slimline things; you need the biggest, squishiest maternity pads to can find, preferably with wings to keep them in place. Honestly; the thicker, the better. I found the very best brand is Mothercare. Pack a pack of 24 for the hospital (with at least another two packs waiting at home).

16. Pack of Full Briefs. You can pack disposable briefs if you prefer, but I think the extra expense of a pack of soft cotton briefs from M&S (the biggest granny-style pants you can find, in a few sizes bigger than your usual size so they aren’t tight) are well worth it for the comfort. Even if you have to throw them away afterwards, it’s worth it.

17. Energy Drinks. To boost energy levels during labour.

18. Healthy Snacks. I didn’t eat anything during labour and was well fed afterwards, but you may like to throw in a few healthy snacks in case it’s a long labour and you need some strength. Cereal bars, crackers, rice cakes; that kind of thing is ideal.

19. Straws. Throw a few straws in your bag to make sipping water during your labour easier.

20. Feeding Pillow. Finally, if you plan to breastfeed, I recommend a Boppy feeding pillow. If you are limited on space, buy one and leave it at home – but squeezing it into your bag will make the early days of breastfeeding easy as you establish positions for the baby.

Here’s what you need for baby:

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1. Vests. I have always packed 5, just in case of nappy explosions or longer stays. I would advise popping in a few Newborn and a few 0-3 months, as you never know how big the baby will be until he or she arrives.

2. Sleepsuits. Again, I’ve packed 5 and in a range of sizes. Baby wears these with a vest underneath.

3. Cardigan. I have had both my babies in Dubai, where the weather is mild, so have only packed one cardigan for the baby – but if your baby is due in winter in the UK, you may like to throw in a few more.

4. Hats. Babies wear hats for the first few days to keep them nice and warm, so make sure you pack one or two.

5. Socks (optional). Not necessary if your sleepsuits / going home outfit are footed, but you’ll need a few pairs if feet are uncovered.

6. Scratch Mitts. Prevent baby scratching their delicate skin by packing a few pairs of scratch mitts.

7. Muslin Squares. Perfect for mopping up milk or sick spills, it’s worth packing at least 2 or 3.

8. Swaddle Blankets. Thinner blankets are perfect for wrapping baby. My favourite are by Anais and Anais. Two should be enough for your hospital stay.

9. Comforter toy (optional). Baby will not be comforted by a comforter as a newborn (he or she just wants you) but I’ve always liked the idea of their favourite toy being with them since the beginning, so it’s nice to throw it in and take a few pictures of them together if you have the room in your bag.

10. Nappies. Throw in a small pack of nappies in Size 1 to see you through the first few days.

11. Water Wipes. I know that the advice is to use cotton wool and water in the early days, but have you tried getting the black meconium poo off with cotton wool? If you have, you will know it is nearly impossible. So I always take a pack of Water Wipes with me. They are 99.9% water, so very gentle for newborn bottoms.

12. Thick blanket (optional). If it’s winter, you may like to pack one thicker blanket for wrapping baby in for cuddles.

13. Going Home Outfit. The outfit you will dress baby in for his or her first trip into the outside world. Anything goes here – but remember you will have to get a wriggling baby into it, so keeping it simple is a good idea.

It’s worth adding here that if you intend to bottle-feed your baby, you will need to throw in a few sterilised bottles and enough formula (pre-made bottles would be easiest).

You may also like to throw in a few dummies if you intend your baby to have one from birth, although if you are breastfeeding, this is controversial as some people think it interferes with establishing feeding. For the record, my hospital bag had both bottles, formula, and dummies to cover all eventualities. What you choose to do is entirely up to you.

Was there something in your hospital bag that I haven’t included? Let me know in the comments section below so mums-to-be can see your input!



12th September 2014

Family Footprints

Looking for a craft project for the weekend? One that will potentially cover the entire house with paint and may potentially stain your foot with blue paint too (not ideal when you live in flip-flops in Dubai), but will make a very cute memento nevertheless? Of course you do – so why not capture a moment in time by creating family footprint artwork we did below.

photo 1

I don’t have any pictures of us making the artwork so you will have to take my word that it is our feet – attempting to stop a toddler running round the apartment with a red foot prevented me being able to do it at the time, whilst the husband refused his photo session (can’t think why).

I do have the below picture however of Wilfred’s purple foot in a high chair though, which is actually a great tip for babies as it stops them being able to eat paint and limits the mess. I used a sponge to apply the paint to his foot, before bringing the paper up and pressing his foot down firmly.

photo 5

For everybody else, the set-up looks like the below – poster paint on a plate, a sponge to dab the paint evenly over soles of feet, a bowl of warm soapy water to step into straight after we’d made the prints, and a towel to dry feet afterwards.

photo 4

Then simply cut each footprint out, with a small white border around each foot and arrange them onto a sheet of paper, using stick glue to secure it all. I used the same colour paint to write ‘Our Family 2014′ as the smallest footprint, which I think works well.

photo 3

I think we’ll do this every few years to see how quickly the boys’ feet grow (I think every year may be overkill as we don’t have a gallery for hanging pictures).

Let me know if you try it!



11th September 2014

How To Dress Boys In Tracksuit Bottoms

OUTFIT 1 merged

I’ve always liked dressing my boys in tracksuit bottoms – but when chatting to friends recently, they admitted they didn’t really like dressing their kids in them. Why? Because they look scruffy.

I think that’s unfair. They’re hardly formalwear, but teamed with the right tops and accessories, I think they look just as good as jeans. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t live in comfortable loungewear 24/7 if they could get away it?

So here’s some inspiration for dressing your little boys in tracksuit bottoms this autumn and winter. And the great thing about these three outfits is that they are practical for active little boys that like to run around, climb, and get dirty outdoors – whilst being comfortable and warm when they head back inside. Winner.

OUTFIT 1

Outfit 1 – I wish I could dress my boys in this cool autumn look (might be a bit on the hot side in Dubai, but we will save it for our trip back at Christmas). The simple tracksuit bottoms work really well with the denim jacket and to-die-for shearling converse. I didn’t include a top for underneath the jacket as anything goes, but the simple long-sleeved T-Shirt in Outfit 2 would work really well here too.

Denim Jacket, £34.95, GAP (click here to buy)

Classic Navy Backpack, £20, Mi Pac at Paperchase (click here to buy)

Navy Cotton Joggers, £49, Elias & Grace (click here to buy)

Chestnut Shearling Converse, £39.99 (click here to buy)

OUTFIT 2

 

Outfit 2 - Choose tracksuit bottoms with interesting prints or textures to make them the main focus of the outfit. Add a simple long-sleeved T-shirt, a pair of cool Converse, and a knitted beanie for extra warmth and style points.

1 – Navy Cable Knit Beanie, £8.95, GAP (click here to buy)

2 – Striped Long-Sleeved T-Shirt, £4.99, H&M (click here to buy)

3 – Grey Marl Tracksuit Bottoms, from £8, Next (click here to buy)

4 – Grey Converse, £36, Office (click here to buy)

OUTFIT 3

 

Outfit 3 - This is my favourite for cold winter days! Comfortable, warm, with the coolest Timberland-style boots to make it suitable for even the muddiest playdates outdoors! The gilet  jacket means arms are free, making zooming around much easier than with a big padded jacket.

1 – Puffer Gilet, from £14, Next (click here to buy)

2 – Hooded Red Shirt, £21, Pumpkin Patch at House of Fraser (click here to buy)

3 – Navy Tracksuit Bottoms, £18, Joules at John Lewis (click here to buy)

4 – Desert-style Boots, £19.95, GAP (click here to buy)