12 Things I’ve Learnt About Parenting in 2016

So, we’re technically still relatively new at this parenting malarkey. I mean, my child doesn’t even answer back yet as her vocabulary currently only stretches as far as “cheese”, “shoes”, “snack”, “tea”, “mummy”, “daddy”, “baby” and “no”. I only really have toddler tantrums to go on at the minute (this is going to come back to bite me I now fear). But still, this year has taught me a lot about being a parent…

1 – It is not easy

Anyone that says it is is either superhuman or downright lying.

2 – Your own social life takes a backseat

Anything and everything you do revolves around whether it is child-friendly or works around nap times… The importance of having a ‘baby group’ of friends, or as I call them – my baby mamas,  is so important, not only so you can have a snippet of adult conversation to keep you sane, but also so your children can expel some energy as a group! As for your friends from pre-children, you just have to hope they understand you haven’t forgotten about them and that you will regain contact at some point in the future!

 

3 – You must make time for yourselves

Following on from above, this is something I am AWFUL at! I feel huge guilt asking for babysitters but I’m slowly getting over this…or my husband just plans things and arranges it so I have no option to feel guilty (bring on the spa break next week – huzzah!!). Even our date days tend to be family orientated, but why should she miss out?! But, yeah, even if it’s making sure you have your evenings to yourself, something we have worked very hard for (routine, routine, routine, blah, blah….), then do it!!

 

4 – Travelling with a child is hard

We have always always said, since the day we discovered I was pregnant, that nothing would change just because we have children. I like to think we have stuck to this as best we can. We have had some amazing holidays this year, including a long-haul flight with a 1-year old (*high five* to us), and yes they are different experiences because of being avec child, but the benefit and joy the whole family gets from this is SO WORTH IT. Just don’t forget the nappies, stroller, snacks, toys, bottles….

 

5 – Being a parent isn’t a job

Even if you are a stay at home mum or dad, parenting is a lifestyle choice, not a job. You don’t get sick leave, annual leave, lunch breaks or financial reimbursement for your efforts (quite the opposite). Going back to number 1 – IT IS BLOODY HARD. You guys are incredible. (And if your other half is in charge of the child/children, it is not called babysitting…).

6 – You will spend a fortune for your own benefit

I’m talking clothes, toys etc. They really don’t care what they are wearing, but I do, and I will take full advantage of the Next sale to ensure that she looks better than I ever do. And then there’s toys, such a huge expense and for what? Them to be thrown all over the floor (we end most days with “have you seen the ‘t’ from her puzzle? Or the chicken from the duplo?”) and her to be more interested in scribbling on a blank piece of paper with a free pen! The 10 minutes of happiness they bring in the first place is more than worth it though…

7 – CBeebies is your best friend

Or BabyTV if you’re still in the early days.. I frankly don’t care anymore if Postman ‘f**king-incompetent’ Pat wants to babysit my child, he is welcome to her if it gives me 5 minutes to brush my teeth, as long as he doesn’t drop her out of his helicopter (since when does he have a helicopter?!).

8 – Its OK to be bored sometimes

I started this blog lark because I needed something to do!! I only write when Lyla is asleep or at nursery, but it lets me at least think about other things during the day. Even with a jam-packed schedule of gym tots, swimming, soft play hell etc, it is ok to be bored of kids stuff!!

9 – You will never go to the toilet alone again

Even if you close the door, they’ll be there, usually with ‘baby’ too, just so you have one more set of eyes watching you.

10 – Your own child is better than anyone elses

Even after a bad day – they are the bomb, and spamming social media with photos of their amazingness is totally acceptable. Just don’t pretend they’re perfect, no-one believes you.

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11 – It’s just a phase

One day you will feel like you’ve ‘cracked it’ and life will be easy from now on. You’ve not. It was just a good day. But for the bad times, just remember it’s a phase and they WILL get out of it!

12 – DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT ANYTHING

Everybody in the same position is going through the same thing – trust me! No ‘rod for your own back’, no ‘bad habits’. Just a baby needing a cuddle, a toddler learning about the world, or a child needing guidance. Oh, and accidents happen, it is not your fault (Lyla’s recent black eye proves this). They will love you no matter what, and whatever is an ‘issue’ one day, will have resolved the next. Just wing it! And to quote my new favourite phrase – “Mother like no-one’s judging”.

 

So as 2017 approaches, I say ‘bore off’ to *New Year, New You*. I’m just going to keep doing what I do, and so should you! And I know I will read this list a number of times, because although I might sound like I believe every word I say, I need reminding too.

I will keep blogging, start vlogging (eek), and get some confidence in myself by doing so, because surely if you love doing something it doesn’t really matter what other people think?

So Happy New Year to everyone, go cray cray for me while I fall asleep in my jimjams at 8pm!! Here’s to another year of adventures..

Sian and Lyla xxx

Oh, Christmas Tree…

Who the f**k queues around the block at 4am on Boxing Day for the Christmas sales? Like, really?! Is everyone not too full from eating far too many pigs in blankets, or too tired from the sheer overwhelming exhaustion of Christmas Day? I just don’t get it. And has no one heard of the internet these days?! Anyway, I’m not being grumpy I promise. It just seems to defeat the object of Christmas, of staying at home in your pyjamas doing nothing but eating more food and ‘playing’ with your presents!

We have had a wonderful family Christmas, despite Lyla sporting a very impressive black eye in all of the photos due to a sofa incident a couple of days before… We ate, we drank, we laughed, we all watched Lyla in amazement, and we were in bed for 8:30. I know, we are SO cool. Oh and also a large proportion of our day was spent having an ongoing discussion about the flaws/confusion surrounding In the Night Garden, yes we really are that cool (wtf is with the perspective though? Why can’t anything just stay the same size in relation to everything else? And what did The Wottingers do to piss off the producers meaning they’re hardly even seen?).

Christmas really is amazing once you have children, and that’s coming from someone who absolutely loved it before. It’s crazy how little you care about yourself and the gifts you receive when there is a little one/little ones to think about. Plus, I think the hubby has had more fun playing with her toys than she has…I should have bought him a bloody aquadoodle!

Her main present from us was a pram and baby, having been told by nursery how obsessed she is with babies and looking after them (which can only be a good thing with what is going to happen in the coming weeks..). She LOVES her ‘baybeee’, taking her everywhere (we managed half a Christmas Day walk before having to push the pram ourselves, we couldn’t have looked like more stereotypical parents if we tried), but her love for it literally melts my heart. She does take looking after her a little bit too seriously though, I’ve already found her with a packet of wipes stuffing them down the baby’s trousers…

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I remember speaking to a family member at work once and she told me they don’t have ANY plastic toys in their house, nothing lights up, or makes a sound. Like, how? We literally could have shares in Fisher Price/LeapFrog/VTech. Having said that, two of the toys which Lyla has spent the most amount of time playing with are wooden, it just goes to show you sometimes it isn’t the fancy things that bring the most enjoyment, something we should all maybe remember every once in a while.

I was also very spoilt, which shouldn’t have happened seeing as we set a budget for presents for each other – what is with husbands not sticking to budgets?! His excuse? This particular present which took him over budget (a spa getaway for us – HELL YES), was actually from ‘bump’, and we didn’t set a budget for her so technically he didn’t go over, hmph he got me there. I’ll get him back at the next present-buying opportunity…

I am ashamed to admit though, that come Boxing Day I am more than ready to get the house back to normal! The husband is worse, he had us tidying and sorting out at 9am this morning!! We can see most bits of carpet again, existing toys have been sorted and all new toys and presents have found their new homes already – I am so sorry to admit this, we completely let the parenting side down on this one. We have even discussed when to get rid of the tree this week…soz. I do have to put part of this down to ‘nesting’ though, I am desperate to hire a Rug Doctor and get the carpets cleaned before baby arrives, and a Christmas tree (a dying one at that – we never have been green-fingered) is just a very big obstacle in my way of this!

So, with sorting still to be done (as the countdown to baby’s arrival is now down to weeks rather than months), photos to be looked through for the millionth time, food still to be eaten, and ONLINE shopping to be done, I will leave it there! We hope you have all had as lovely a time as we have, whether it was a crazy one or low-key affair!

Merry Christmas from The Knapps xxx

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The Two-Week Itch…

So it’s two weeks down the line from starting this blog and it has already been such a learning curve! I knew before starting that it would take a long time to gain followers and peoples trust, after all ‘mummy blogging’ is already such a huge market. That being said I am overwhelmed by the support so far, from both friends and strangers, and from fellow bloggers who have given me a helping hand along the way. This page has been viewed thousands of times around the world – that is just CRAZY!

Still, its tough out there and finding my groove is proving to be more difficult than I thought! But I’m a mummy, and anything is doable when you’re a mum right?! It also happens that the past couple of weeks have provided posts that have been quite serious, which have needed to be done, and have been received amazingly.

I named the blog and my social media pages ‘The Adventures of Lyla’, but it just so happens we haven’t been on many adventures recently as I’m so bloody knackered!! (Being pregnant and having a toddler is damn hard, I wish I could go back to my first pregnancy and tell myself to get a grip as I never dreamed I could ‘cope’ the way I am now!) But by adventure I could mean exploring the other side of the world, or it could just be managing to leave the house on a daily basis, which is my main aim at the minute! Every day is an adventure as a parent, life is an adventure – hence the name!

But I also want it to be about my adventures into parenthood, the challenges I face, building a community, and hopefully being a support to people if I can, plus hopefully providing a bit of humour in day-to-day situations, and if that means calling my child a knobhead at times then that’s what I will do! Because that’s me. And I just want to be me. And what I’m struggling most with is my self confidence (that is my no means a ‘boo hoo me’ statement I promise)…

What if people think I’m a crap mum?

What if they think “what the hell is she telling us this for?!”?

What if I swear and it offends someone?

What if I post too much? Or too little?

What if people judge me for putting my child(ren) in the public eye?

What if I overshare?

You see what I mean?! But then when all is said and done, I am loving this, I am loving the messages I’m getting from people, the follows on instagram (I am obsessed with insta) and I am LOVING having this time for ME. And although the blog and my posts revolve around my family and our day-to-day, the release it is giving to me is amazing.

So this is a big fat THANK YOU. Thank you for reading, following, liking, commenting, sharing, keep it coming, it is so appreciated, I promise.

And I’ll just keep on posting my crap, and over sharing my pictures, in the hope that it puts a smile on faces each day, whether it be one face or 100 faces.

Sian & Lyla xxx

Lyla’s First Adventure…

So today we made the massive decision for this baby to follow in the footsteps of her sister and to be delivered by elective c-section. For anyone that has been around me for the past few months, you will know how I have been to-ing and fro-ing constantly about this. The pressure I felt after Lyla’s birth and before this one has been immense, and I am well and truly pissed off with being told I’m ‘too posh to push’ or ‘taking the easy option’. Yes, people seem to have no shame in saying this to me, something I still can’t quite comprehend but there we go (I’d just like to add that this is balanced out by amazing support from people that aren’t complete dickheads).

Lyla’s birth was always planned to be a natural delivery but with a very strict consultant-led birth plan, but at the very end of my pregnancy it was deemed safest to have a caesarean section. And that’s all we want surely? For our babies to enter the world SAFELY? The risks were just too high and she wasn’t exactly the smallest baby! Hats off to all you mummies that push massive babies out of your hoo-ha’s! Anyway I have since been told by a chiropractor that the angle of my pelvis would make it near impossible to deliver naturally so that was kind of my decision made, safety first.

Anyway, the events of today took me back to something I wrote post-delivery of Lyla so that I could vent my frustration somehow (bear in mind this was in a mid-night feed blur when your brain has far too much time to think). Now I have a platform to share that, I thought I’d do so here…

 

I’m so tired of how this conversation goes so I’ve decided to change it’s course. My response when I’m asked “Why did you choose to have a C-Section?” has changed, I no longer worry about getting the right words out to justify my reason. Frankly, I no longer feel the need to even give a reason. It’s no-one’s business. And worrying so much about justifying why I did have one only results in one thing – I am maintaining the crazy belief of people that it is an inferior way of bringing a child into this world. 

So..no. No, little old lady in Waitrose, or Auntie Gladys, or old school friend, or whoever the hell is asking why. You asking me for a reason implies that I’d better have a good one in order to be judged by you to be a good mother to my child. Me giving you a reason implies that I invite you to judge me. Well bullshit. Ask me about my delivery and I’ll tell you my daughter’s beautiful birth story.

I’ll tell you how her dad and I were like two kids the morning of her delivery, cuddling in the hospital bed, laughing and daydreaming about meeting our little girl later that day. And how the banter of the morning helped distract me from how nervous I was about the risks to the surgery. How I had to remind myself over and over again that I was doing this to ensure that my gorgeous baby girl had a safer entry into the world, despite the risks and post-surgery complications to me. 

I’ll tell you how scared and lonely I felt when I as taken into theatre on my own. How terrified I was to say goodbye to her dad outside. I’ll tell you how I sat shivering on the edge of the cold bed, hoping and praying that they’d get the prodding and poking of needles right the first time (nurses definitely make the worse patients). They didn’t, it took an hour. An hour of being away from my husband. And I still had the major surgery to go through.

I’ll tell you how before I knew it, I heard a cry so loud that I did not think it could be a new baby. But it was, and it was mine, and she was beautiful. And I cried and laughed at the same time, and I was so proud that she sounded as spirited and fierce as I had gotten to know her to be for all those months growing inside of me. I’ll tell you how someone brought my angry, screaming, red-faced daughter to us and placed her on my husband. How her softest skin touched mine as I leant in to kiss her perfect lips and I felt more than I ever have before. How I looked into her ridiculously alert eyes and knew that I would never be the same again. I’ll tell you how the memory of that moment carries me through the sleepless nights even now, nine weeks later.

And mostly, I’ll tell you that how she came into the world is the biggest miracle I know, and is no less miraculous, for not having happened how you deemed it should have. Because, believe me, in asking your question you very clearly convey your judgement that you do, that her birth story is ‘less than’ and therefore needs me to justify it. And on that point, just no, no reasons, no justification from me. 

 

Anybody that delivers a child, no matter the method, is a hero in my eyes. It’s scary as hell, and no option is an easy option, trust me.

 

Sian and Lyla xxx

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Christmas has always been a big thing in our family, not big as in 50 people sitting around a table fighting over the carrots, it was always just me, my brother and my mum and dad; but it was always made a big deal of. And that has carried through into our little family now, I officially LOVE Christmas and I think I might have even converted my grumpy husband to be a Christmas lover too (he has a festive playlist on Spotify so…). And we got engaged on Christmas Eve at home by the tree, just because I wasn’t excited enough he decided to blow my actual mind with a diamond ring, he’s a quick learner! It’s fair to say, I’m obsessed. I’m talking a day dedicated to decorating the house and just being generally Christmassy, stockings for Christmas morning, and I have even jumped on the bandwagon of a Christmas Eve box (well I am certainly not turning down an excuse for extra presents! Plus Lyla looks super cute in her xmas PJ’s).

I haven’t, however, reached the stage of motherhood where I am organised enough to hand-make footprint ‘mistle-toes’ cards for everyone, that would just be far too much mess, I’m sure it will come in time and I will eat my words! Don’t get me wrong, I can be quite crafty when I want to be, though I didn’t quite get the whole gene from my mum, and I certainly won’t be sending Lyla to school for Christmas fancy dress day as a cracker (what must have been a week-long project). Yeah, thanks mum.

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See, I told you Christmas was a big thing for us! But it was the basics of Christmas that made it big. I remember writing my list from the Argos catalogue (I never did get that Baby All-Gone…), my dad sneaking into our rooms dressed as Santa to fill our stockings and my mum buying presents throughout the year, and then forgetting about them until it came to wrapping up, so we always ended up with extra (not complaining in the slightest). It turns out this is a trait I have inherited – I love buying for people! A ‘lean’ Christmas in the Hipwell/Knapp households just doesn’t exist no matter how hard we try!

I also very clearly remember the year my mum let the ‘big secret’ slip… We were on my mum and dads bed (in their Kenyan safari themed room – yup, you read that right), opening our stockings, and the [very short] conversation went something along the lines of:

Brother – “mummy my toy car isn’t working properly” *sad face*

Mum – “Oh don’t worry, I’ll just take it back and change it”

Me – “But Santa bought it?”

Mum – “Well, erm, yes, but he sometimes gets the mums and dads to help buy things because he’s so busy!”

Nice try, mum. Nice try.

That being said we will try to keep Christmas magic for as long as possible with Lyla, and even when she does start to doubt it, Christmas will always be a ‘thing’. She is so much more into it this year, ho-ho-ho-ing when she sees Santa on something, and getting very excited over presents, I can’t wait to see her face! In fact, on the two occasions she has met FC himself over her short life she has been surprisingly calm; though that’s because they’ve been more  ‘WTF is this?’ encounters!

So as I try not to eat my way through the shit advent calendar chocolate (it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it), just remember Christmas is a time for friends and family, no matter how big or small, no matter how much you can or can’t give. It’s a time for watching Christmas films on Channel 5, dancing around the kitchen to that Spotify playlist, drinking Baileys (or Ballycastle for those fellow Aldi converts out there), building traditions (ours have already started with an annual ‘Santa hat’ photo), making memories, and not worrying about keeping up with the Joneses on social media.

Because at the end of the day, it’s the time spent together that is important, and nothing else. Considering events currently going on in the world, we are so lucky to even have this. As Ellen DeGeneres would say – ‘Be kind to one another’.

Merry Christmas from The Knapps xx

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9 Differences between your 1st and 2nd pregnancies…

Before we were lucky enough to conceive our second imminent arrival, and even before we were graced with Lyla’s presence into the world, I would read all these articles and blogs and think to myself “Ah, that’s not true, every pregnancy is the same”. How wrong could I be?! But if I let myself get upset or worry about this it wouldn’t be healthy for me, it’s just different. That doesn’t mean that it is any less magical or that I am not amazed with every kick or flip I feel, I’m growing a human for goodness sake!! It’s just different.

1 Photos – With my first pregnancy I have a photo of me and my growing bump every 2 weeks exactly, throughout the whole of my pregnancy, without fail. This time round I have lots of the usual photos of me with a bump, but intentional, standing-to-the-side-with-my-belly-out bump photos? One. And that was at about 10 weeks when I thought I was huge but in actual fact there’s nothing there! I do wish I had made more of an effort with this and had more photos of my silhouette, but I can’t do much about that now, and I’m sure she’ll understand that I was a little bit preoccupied…

2 Heavy lifting – Take it easy, they say. No heavy lifting, they say! Pah! I have a toddler, who just so happens to have an inkling that her world is soon to be turned upside down, and therefore clings to me like a bloody spider monkey, insisting on being picked up for approximately 80% of the time she is awake. And then to be put down. And then picked up again. You get the gist. This lifting ‘rule’ just goes out the window. And to be fair, as I get more and more pregnant, her sister is providing a lovely little seat for her, so who wouldn’t want that?

3 Parenting – I had lots of ideas during my first pregnancy of how I would parent my children, and lets face it, you have lots of time to think about these things then (ah, time)! One of them being, no TV. Well. We started off OK, with only pre-breakfast TV just to allow us all to wake up a little bit. Now at 32 weeks pregnant, with a whinging/hungry/tired/bored nearly-two-year-old, I regularly find myself saying to my husband “just put the damn Teletubbies on, PLEASE”. I have also managed 22 months of avoiding ‘In the effing night garden’ because, lets face it, it is just plain trippy and genuinely makes me doubt whether I’ve taken drugs without realising it. Over the past two weeks, however, Iggle Piggle has become my absolute hero.

4 Hospital bag – By this point in my first pregnancy, my bag was packed and in the boot of the car in the case of any eventuality. This time? I am yet to purchase the delights of breast pads, oh-so-sexy maternity pants, or even a hat for the baby to wear when she’s born (she has clothes, at least). I’m sure I’ll do it in a few weeks, and if I forget anything (not the baby, obviously)? Well that’s what husbands are for!

5 Notes – First time around the Bounty folder to put your maternity notes in pokes proudly out of your handbag (that’s a bag for your own belongings void of any nappies or Ella’s Kitchen snacks, sorry, what?), just to say to anybody nearby “look, I’m pregnant, yay!”. And it went EVERYWHERE with me. Second time around – Where are my maternity notes? Oh here they are, on the floor of my car, tucked under the seat, where I left them 6 weeks ago after my last appointment.

6 Counting the weeks – Friend “How many weeks are you now?”, Me “25 weeks, can you believe it?!”. Two weeks later, at my 25-week midwife appointment, I realise I have totally been making this up and lying to anyone that asked me. I know my week changes on a Wednesday, but if you are wanting a response to the above question, do not be surprised if I have to consult my calendar first. And no, I have absolutely no idea what fruit or vegetable the baby is the size of.

7 Scans – As soon as I had my 20-week scan with Lyla, we went home and compiled a framed picture of all the scans I’d had (each one dated with exact weeks and days), and hung it in pride of place in the house to look at everyday. This time I couldn’t even tell you the exact location of all the scan pictures (I have photos of them, so I can have a little bit of credit for that)…they’re probably in the notes folder, you know the one on the floor of the car? Don’t get me wrong, we are aware we need to do a frame, its just last time I mentioned it, the husbands’ response was “we’ll sort it after Christmas”. Which we will, probably.

8 Food – Looking through the menu of a restaurant this time 2 years ago you’d have found me saying “Hmm, I don’t think this will work”, as most of the options involved soft cheese/seafood/pâté/cured meats. At 21 weeks pregnant this time round (I could have been 19, or 23 weeks pregnant of course, it’s anybody’s guess), I sat in a pub in Cornwall half way through a bowl of mussels when I suddenly stopped and thought “I probably shouldn’t be eating this”. 10 seconds later I resumed my meal after thinking about the number of times I’d had food poisoning from anything. None. I’ll be fine. (FYI…I would obviously never put me or the baby at risk).

9 Nursery – Baby number 1 had a complete nursery set up by the time a week had passed from my scan. Nothing was out of place, nobody was allowed in it, it was a shrine. Now, baby number 2 does have a decorated nursery, complete with furniture and everything else she could possibly need (apart from a hat, I must get a hat), but it is currently serving as a great storage space for Christmas presents, things that need putting in the loft, tools that may or may not be required before her birth and pictures to be hung. Well, she doesn’t need that room straight away anyway!

….But, do you know what little bump? We love you so much. Just as much as your sister. I can’t imagine splitting my love in two, but I know I won’t have to, that it will just instantly double when we set eyes on you. And we are SO excited to meet you. And you will get a lovely newborn photo shoot, because Lyla did. And you already have a wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes, because Lyla did (so what if some of them were hers first? It just means they’re special enough for the both of you). And I know I will spend every waking minute amazed by you, because that’s what I do now when I look at Lyla. And we are damn sure you will grow up into another beautiful daughter, because you have a sister to lead you and show you the way, and I’ll take that over any of the things I have or haven’t done second time round.

 

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I didn’t say they were all serious photos with Lyla…

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My one and only this time round, see – nothing there!

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But this, this is a more precious memory

Sian, Lyla and Baby Bump No.2 xxx

Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out, and decide.

This is not the blog I set out to write when I woke up this morning, but this is life, and I think we all know that things can change in an instant. So, the tone of this post is an aside from my usual ramblings. They will return tomorrow, but today is different.

As cliché as it sounds, things really are sent to test us. And not just us, but everyone around us, and it is so important not to judge how people deal with these tests individually. What is important is providing support, where it’s needed, and distance, when it’s not.

Now I am not religious in the slightest (don’t get me wrong I haven’t made this decision in life without assessing both sides of the argument), and I therefore do not mean any offence to anyone who believes that there is somebody out there deciding our path, in fact I admire you for having this belief. But when days like today happen, I just want to shout up to the sky “what the f**k is wrong with you?” and more importantly “why?”. Why is it the good people? The best people? The people that deserve everything and more? Why is it them that get the shit deal in life? Because you know they can deal with it? Because you know they can fight it? Bollocks.

And then you can’t help but think to yourself how lucky you are to have what you have. To be able to get up every morning and do the mundane things in life like nipping out to get milk, or doing a bit of internet shopping, just because you can. And then you think, how selfish am I for even thinking about me and how lucky I am? How is that fair?

What upsets me the most is thinking, does it have to take something bad to happen for that support to be there? Should we show more support to our loved ones all the time, just in case? Or should we just make the most of every day, surrounding ourselves with people that we just ‘know’ are the right people? Who knows.

All we do know is that this is life. Sometimes it is the best. Sometimes it is shit. We have to face each day and deal with the hand that is dealt us and treasure the time we have.

‘We’re all going to die. We don’t get much say over how or when, but we do get to decide how we’re going to live. So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out, and decide.’

xxx

 

Just a normal family day…

What is it with people and public toilet queueing systems? What is there to not understand? Or is it just me that is invisible to others who feel they can just walk past me? I’m not standing here for shits and giggles you know (pardon the pun). This exact thing happened to me in Waitrose today, “ooh, very posh” I hear you say – well don’t get too excited, I was only there for the loo and the cheap* Gaviscon!

*That’s if Gaviscon could ever be described as that, perhaps that should say ‘cheaper than elsewhere currently’, they totally extort people carrying another human being!

Anyway, after politely saying to the gentleman (see, I’m polite), who walked straight past me, that there was in fact a queue, I was hit with the response “I’m really quite desperate”..erm, what?! So that means you can just jump the queue? He must have not realised he was in Britain or something. My response? “I’m really quite pregnant, I win”. Yup, I played the card and it felt good! HA! Thank god he laughed. And thank god a toilet then became swiftly available otherwise it could have become a little awkward.

(Just as an aside, when can you class yourself as ‘heavily’ pregnant? Is there a strict start date in your gestation for this? I mean, I can’t see my toes or bend forward anymore so surely I qualify for that category now?!)

Back to the blog in hand anyway! That gentleman was lucky he caught me in a good mood as this was all after a lovely, leisurely family morning in our home town. We finally finished our Christmas shopping, I mean even the dogs of the family are sorted, we are officially DONE! I’d just like to point out this was intentional as it meant we could then take a trip to Pets at Home – which, if any parent doesn’t take advantage of this already, you really should, is pretty much a free zoo. You can kill at least half an hour in there with kids, I think the staff genuinely hate us. We obviously frequent it way more than we should as Lyla starting making fish sounds as we approached…

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I have really struggled for present ideas this year but am actually very happy with the results. Though, Dad, if you’re reading this, you are the hardest person in the world to buy for, you nearly ended up with a ScrewFix gift card at one point so think yourself very lucky! There was a lovely brass band playing Christmas songs in the town centre (they could have chosen a more lively soundtrack though, if i’m being completely honest) which Lyla enjoyed for a whole 2 minutes before getting distracted by a pigeon…

So on we moved to Pizza Express for a spot of lunch. We love this place and it is so child friendly. Lyla didn’t know which activity to do first out of the 10 (not an exaggeration, honest) she was presented with; I chose to decorate a bauble, she went for tidying all the pencils away – oops, I really must keep my OCD tendencies in check when around her. It was a delicious meal, Lyla pointing to her plate and asking the waitress for more was a particular highlight. Plus if you’re on o2 and use your priority app it’s only £5 for a main and dessert, absolute bargain! Just to top it off, the dessert is ‘Snowball Dough Balls’, a sweet twist on the regular dough balls and O.M.G. they are incredible. There is nothing wrong with a combo of dough, cinnamon, icing sugar, chocolate sticks and vanilla cream – heaven on a plate.

We then wandered home for an afternoon of Grandparent visits, Finding Dory viewing and mastering the art of bribery/threats in parenting..”Oh, you’ve finished your dinner? OK I’ll put it in the bin then!”…”Noooo, mummy, noooo!”, muahahaha. I can’t remember the last time we had a day like this but it was lovely. Sometimes it really is the simplest things in life that make you happiest.

 

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I only blog when she is in bed, so how she has learnt this I’ll never know!

The husband has, however, now abandoned me for his works Christmas party so I’ve finished the ironing that has been giving me evils for about a week, just to prove I could make a good housewife one day…; and I’m now catching up with this weekends’ Strictly, which I never watch live as I just cannot stand Tess Daly. You’d think some of Claudia’s talent in line delivery might have rubbed off on Tess, but no.

Anyway, an evening of gift wrapping awaits (I actually love this part so I can’t even moan about that!), so I’ll finish with a soppy note and a thanks for reading..

Sometimes the best way to appreciate something, is to be without it for a while.

Lots of love

Sian & Lyla xx

 

 

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10 Things I’m Buying This Month

If you ask my husband what makes me happiest, he will tell you that it’s when I’m spending money. Which is true. I also worry about money a lot though, after all we aren’t exactly ‘rolling in it’, oh and I happen to be married to Martin Lewis in disguise. Because of this, though, I think carefully about where I spend money, and almost always buy on recommendation (even if this is from a stranger on Instagram, it’s still a recommendation, right?!).

So I thought I’d have a go at putting together a monthly post of what I’m buying that I recommend (in no particular order), and where you can find them, in the hope that it will be of some help to someone out there!

1. Toddler Vans

With all the hype of the Toy Story collaboration, these beauties seem to have slipped under the radar. I have a child who’s feet just don’t stop growing so I’ve gone for the next size up in the hope they might have slowed down by then…though they need to hurry up and grow now so I can put them on her! Buy them from Schuh here – £30.

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2. Me and My Big Ideas – Happy Planner + Accessories

My happy planner could possibly be one of my most precious possessions (after my child and husband, obvs), and I just love all the accessories to go with it. My current favourites are these fab pockets (complete with motivational messages, just because) for all those random, but very important, bits of paper; this washi tape to decorate the pages with and these gorgeous clips. With it being a US company it’s not as easy to purchase as other planners but, trust me, it’s worth it, and just in time for getting organised in the New Year! You can buy from Amazon but I tend to get my bits from this lovely little online shop called The Homemakery. Planners start at £29.99 and accessories start at £4.99.

 

3. Younique Mineral Touch Foundation

There’s not much I can say about this stuff apart from it is pure MAGIC. No really. I literally don’t know what I would do without it and it should be a make-up bag essential for everyone (it’s great for those dark circles i.e. mum-bags). Most people these days know of a Younique distributor, otherwise get it direct from Younique for £30. Do it, do it now!

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4. Nursery Decorations

As I get further and further into my 3rd trimester we are putting the finishing touches to the new babies room. My favourites are these Cotton Ball Lights (just £22 for a loop of 20 mix-and-match lights in the colours of your choice) which will be perfect for middle-of-the-night feeds (SO excited for this part of having a newborn…); and our gorgeous print from FreddieTheKid (between £5-£10) who I am becoming a regular customer of! I’ve tried to make this room different to Lyla’s and I think these little touches just add to its individuality, though I am a little bit bias of course!

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5. Champneys Blissful Bump Butter

I get through pots of this stuff during pregnancy. It might be a complete fluke but I truly believe this has kept my bumps/boobs/bum/legs mark-free (I’m bound to find some stretch marks now I’ve said this..). I found it through another blog in my pregnancy with Lyla so now I am paying it forward to all the expectant mums out there! Plus it smells AMAZING – bonus. Buy it from Boots for £10 here.

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6. Christmas Outfit

Some people go for pretty dresses/smart suits for their children on Christmas Day, but we go for comfort in the anticipation that most of the day will be spent on the floor! Last year was some cute JoJo Maman Bebe robin leggings, but this year I’ve gone for this sparkly top and tights number from Next (£13-14). I can’t wait to team it with some little denim shorts for ultimate cuteness overload.

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7. Cath Kidston x Disney T-Shirt

As much as I have tried to resist this collection, today I finally gave in and ordered this beautiful T-shirt (£14) for Lyla’s birthday, oops! Considering CK is as big as it is now and Disney is, well, Disney, the prices are pretty reasonable, and I’m pretty sure the quality won’t disappoint. Shop the rest of the collection here.

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8. Popsicle Christmas Lights

Ok, so this is a bit of a random one but I can’t stress how beautiful these lights are! After fighting my corner for us to get a real tree this year (I won, of course), I was desperate for some new lights and have always liked the look of these round, soft white ones, so I got them and I am in love with how they look on the tree! Plus, they’re now reduced to clear in John Lewis with two weeks still to go before Christmas!!

 

9. Munchkin 360 Cup

Not wanting to be a show-off mum but I am so proud of my little one and how well she drinks out of an open cup, BUT she regularly gets far too excited, forgets the cup doesn’t have a lid, or just generally forgets how her arms function… After seeing a couple of her friends with these cups I have bought her one, and now I am wondering why it took me so long?! They are so clever, and perfect for teaching toddlers to tip up a cup but without the mess that inevitably ensues. You can buy from Amazon or Munchkin direct (£5-6).

10. Santa’s Magic Key

I’ve seen these around for a few years now and now with having children of my own, and living in a new build house without a chimney (which some day I will rectify, I WILL get a wood burner, when we win the lottery), I ordered one from a little seller I found on Instagram. Unfortunately, they are now sold out for this year but keep an eye out for next year, or there are plenty of other options out there on Etsy. Either way, it’s such a lovely idea and keeps the Christmas spirit alive for the little ones! Mine was from Teddy & Co and was £5.50.

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Much Love and Happy Spending!!

Sian & Lyla xx

“Can I have a shower in the morning, please?”

 

Yes, I did actually find myself saying this to the hubby on Tuesday evening (as we lay in bed checking our social media respectively, how romantic). Oh, how times have changed!

Of course, just to clear this up, I do shower every day, its just usually a quick dip once the baby is in bed. But by this I meant have a leisurely shower, and then wash and dry my hair in one long uninterrupted session (I know right, how dare I?!), seeing as he was on a slightly later start at work. I had to get in there and bagsy that time to myself as this is when he would usually go for a run, but oh no, I was having this morning!

Well, anyway, ‘uninterrupted’ turned into Lyla getting into the shower with me as she’d missed bathtime the night before; then me eating breakfast with wet hair as I didn’t dare move from the table as she was ACTUALLY SITTING IN HER HIGH CHAIR TO EAT (I’ll get to that in another post, which will most probably be titled “The ‘Terrible Twos’ can f*** right off!). Oh, and then just for a laugh, she asked for seconds of her cheerios, probably because she could see my hair getting frizzier by the minute and she’s hilarious like that.

I did manage a whole 5 minutes on my own upstairs where I managed to get my make-up done (because the world should just not be exposed to the prospect of this not being done, trust me). Daddy then proceeded to open the stair-gate for Lyla so she could see what mummy was doing, yeah thanks for that. Cue 10-15 minutes of her doing the limbo under the hairdryer cord, emptying my hair grips all over the bedroom floor and then having a meltdown when I had to quickly shout ‘NO!’ to stop her from burning her hand on the straighteners. OH THE JOYS. All of this before 8:30am. I’ll say it again – oh, how times have changed!

The rest of the day actually went surprisingly swimmingly, apart from her drawing all over my notebook (which probably required a bank loan at the time of purchasing), oh and then drawing all over Granny’s diary (she is the cause of my love of lists and organisation so this took a lot of teeth gritting on her part). We then missed Santa visiting our road because I just couldn’t keep her awake, causing this much mischief is tiresome don’t you know.

 

 

So she toddled off to bed and then I relaxed on the sofa for the evening with a G&T…*

*Wait, no, sorry, my mistake. I sat at the computer starting this blog page, forgetting to eat dinner and drinking a glass of squash. Pretty much the same thing though.

xx