The 5 rules of date night when you’re a parent…

I am the first to say to any new parents “make sure you make time for each other”, I mean, how annoying is that? Time for yourself, let alone each other, falls to the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list once children are in the equation. BUT, 4.5 months in to being parents of 2 children, we did it!! We had a date night for our anniversary! On our own!

 

 

Here are my 5 rules of a successful date night when you are a parent…

1 . Talk to each other – The amount of times I see couples on a ‘date’ and they’re on their phones or just not talking, it makes me so sad. I know its the 21st century and all that, but its actually quite nice to put your phone away sometimes! And yes, we talked about the girls for the majority of the time, but we also talked about how far we had come in the 10 years of being together, and our aims for the future (near and far).

2. Keep it fun! Who wants to talk about serious ‘issues’ or concerns on a date? Not me! Keep it fun and light, avoid everyday conversations. Get to know each other again! You could even pretend it was your first date, that’s definitely one way to make you giggle!

3. Forget the routine – We were lucky to have grandparents babysit, and they know the girls so well. We decided to go for pre-drinks before our meal which meant leaving during the bedtime routine, eek. I had talked myself round all day to not worry about whether the girls were in bed when we left (which they weren’t), and to just go out anyway (which we did). Bar a few tears from Lyla, all was fine. And if it had of been a later night for them? So what. Its just one night – don’t forget that!

4. Treat yourselves – If your date nights are as few and far between as ours then just go for it. Don’t hold back! We are both worriers when it comes to spending money but for one night only we treated ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, in the back of my head I still worried, but I didn’t let it stop me. I even went for an accompanying wine taster menu alongside my meal – oooer! Yes, this was the first time I had drank alcohol in quiiiite a while. No, I couldn’t walk in a straight line afterwards. You don’t have to be extravagant all the time though, date nights don’t have to cost the earth!

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5. Make the effort – You might have been together for a while, but there is something really nice about getting dressed up. We all get comfortable with our partners, wearing clothes with sick on them because its past 3pm in the afternoon and you can’t be bothered to change, so sometimes its nice to get glammed up and make each others heart skip a beat every now and again. Don’t worry, you can change straight back into your PJ’s when you get home! Such a romantic, me.

It may take a lot of forward planning and the organisation of babysitters, but it is honestly worth it and is so important for your partnership so get ‘dating’!!

Where we went

Whilst you’re here, I just want to mention where we went as I can’t recommend either place highly enough!

We live on the border of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire in a town called Market Harborough. And we love it. It is so incredibly family friendly, and has everything you could want, whatever age you are. This includes trendy bars and restaurants – which we got to sample, wahoo! And considering I had turned 30 a couple of days earlier, doing something to make me feel young again was just what I needed!

We had our pre-drinks at a relatively new pub called The Freemasons Arms. A very ‘hip’ (that’s what the kids say these days right?) pub in the centre of town, and a popular spot for nights out, whilst also being really family friendly. I love the decor in here, lots of quirky fixtures and fittings. And did I mention their cocktails are delicious? And they serve a speciality metre-pizza? Yep, a metre. Of Pizza. Oh my!

 

Our meal was at an amazing bistro called Ascoughs, which is very renowned amongst the locals. If you are local – you have to try it. If you aren’t local – you have to try it. The quality of the food is insane, and for a ridiculously good price too. We did the 8-course taster menu which changes every month dependent on local produce available (see here) and there was not one bit that didn’t taste AMAZING. I mean, even Jude Law has been here, why I wasn’t aware of this beforehand I will never know! So, so good.

 

 

All the love,

Sian x

Katie – this one’s for you…

8 years ago, our best friend Rob was coming round for ‘sweet hangs’ (I know, we are so cool) and he casually dropped into the conversation “can Katie come?”. Sorry, what? Whoever this Katie is yes she can come, as I MUST MEET HER IMMEDIATELY. And that, as they say, is history. As that day, she became my best friend too. It has been the 4 of us since, Rob & Katie, Callum & Sian, Rob & Callum (honestly their bromance is on a level of Chris & Kem, if not more – little Love Island reference for you there!). She is Lyla’s godmother, she was my maid of honour, I was hers, we have become mothers, bought houses, got dream jobs and drank far too much prosecco.

Our families have integrated, I class her sisters as some of my closest friends, and both Rob and Katie’s mums are like a mum to me too. Our relationship is one of those that you see on a meme – we could go a week or more without speaking but that wouldn’t make any difference. Lives are busy and we both ‘get’ that. I regret this now. I regret maybe not being there for her as much as I should. And this is definitely not going to be an excuse in the future. I’ll tell you why…

Just over 2 weeks ago I missed a phone call from Rob, this isn’t anything unusual so I thought nothing of it and planned to call him back when I’d finished hoovering. But then I missed a call from Katie’s sister, Lindsey. When I saw my phone it was one of those horrible moments, when you just know, when your heart sinks and you have to pluck up the courage to return that phone call. Katie had been involved in a car accident, a freak accident that truly was a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’. Her injuries have been life-changing for her.

I joined Rob, Lindsey and Lucy at the hospital as soon as I could, and that day we sat within those 4 walls of an A&E family room for hours and hours waiting to hear news of Katie, who was in theatre having surgery on her face and skull. It was agonising. We talked, we joked, we drank coffee, we went over and over what could have happened (her 4 year old son was in the car and escaped uninjured), and what would happen from now on. And then we saw her post-theatre and just couldn’t believe it. We had come so close to losing our best friend, sister, mum, daughter, wife. How could this happen to her? Why her?

This is not about me in the slightest, but I have struggled to come to terms with the events of that day. I had to stop at the side of the motorway when driving home from the hospital that night as I just felt so ill at the thought of it. I have to drive on the road that it happened when I go and visit her and I feel myself getting angry every time, I never knew it was possible to hate a stretch of road so much. I even get nervous driving behind lorries (it was a piece of metal from a lorry that caused Katie’s injuries). I know that over time this will fade but if I am traumatised by it, I can’t even imagine how Katie is feeling. Well, I know, because we talk about it obviously!

But this is Katie. I knew she was strong, I knew she was determined and I knew she was very loved. I didn’t know the half of it. There isn’t one word that can describe how she has coped with this. Incredibly. Amazingly. With such strength that I didn’t know existed. To say we are proud of her really is the understatement of the century. I hope that the response from everybody shows her how loved she is and helps her to come through this.

Who knows what the near and far future holds, hopefully a complete recovery for my girl. What I do know is that we will all be there to support her and help her in anyway we can. And she will get annoyed at me texting and calling so much, but I don’t care.

Please, tell your loved ones you love them, please. Because you just never know what might happen.

Katie – I love you. You are AMAZING x

(If you aren’t squeamish then scroll down for some pictures showing the accident)

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Breast to Bottle

As I looked at Daisy today, happily sat in her car seat – content, I realised I haven’t really documented our transition from breast fed to bottle fed, and my reasons for making the heart-wrenching decision to stop breast feeding.

With Lyla, my first daughter, she fed to feed, she fed for comfort, she fed to sleep, she fed just for the fun of it. I stopped at 6 months in preparation for going back to work but we had a nightmare trying to get her to take a bottle, but we did it. I wouldn’t say breast feeding her was my favourite thing in the world, I loved our special time together and I did what was best for her, because that’s all we want, and I was proud of making it to 6 months.

This time around, with Daisy, I loved our first few weeks of feeding and bonding time – it was amazing. But I soon started to notice I wasn’t enjoying feeding, I was just doing it because she needed to be fed. I had plenty of milk, expressing was going well and we tried some bedtime bottles at about 4 weeks. All was good, but then due to Daisy being hospitalised and then Callum’s work commitments once we were home, it kind of fizzled out and I just carried on breast feeding. But something wasn’t right. She fussed, she cried, I cried, she screamed, she just wasn’t content. I went through all the possibilities like allergies/intolerances, latch issues etc., but everything was as it should be. So why was this happening?

By about 10 weeks I was having real issues emotionally and my friends started to witness me feeling like I couldn’t cope, whether Lyla was also being particularly difficult too I don’t know, I seem to have just blanked out that period in time. But I persevered. The thing is, I persevered because everyone said I could do it, not because I believed I could, or wanted to.

Now whether this is an actual thing or not, who knows, but by 13 weeks I was pretty sure I was heading for post-natal depression. I don’t know whether you can be near PND and manage to steer away from it but that’s how it feels now, looking back. I cried whilst trying to feed, I cried whilst feeding, I cried after feeding as I dreaded the next one, I felt trapped and alone (even though I am lucky enough to have never been alone – my support network is incredible). So me and my husband eventually said we would try bottles of formula again and see how we got on. We aimed for 2-3 weeks to have her bottle fed. We tried straight away as we had some formula at home as a ‘just in case’, and she took it, so we carried on, and she carried on taking it.

At 14 and a half weeks I had a solely formula fed baby. And she was happy. And guess what, so was I!!! Apart from the side effects of going cold turkey on breast feeding that is *ouch*.

Of course I will always feel guilty, not just because she wasn’t breast fed for as long as I would have liked, not just because it was my decision to stop, but mainly because I didn’t enjoy it. Breast feeding is meant to be this amazing thing between a mother and her baby and I didn’t enjoy it. What kind of mother does that make me??

I know now. It makes me a bloody good mother, for recognising that things needed to change, for being brave enough to change them.

I cannot stress how happy I am now, 5 weeks down the line and I don’t care anymore what people think of me when they see me feeding Daisy a bottle. But most importantly, and the reason why I am so happy, is that Daisy is the happiest, most content baby. She is laid back, hardly cries for feeds, burps well, sleeps well and her smiles and giggles light up the room.

 

It may be cliche when people say “do what is best for you and your baby”, but it is so true. Even if it is not what other people really think you should do, just do it. Because happiness is key at the end of the day. Follow your heart. And if you think you need help emotionally, please speak to your friends and family. They are there for you.

All the love

Sian x

(If you are reading this and you don’t know me, and feel like this is you, please message me, I will help in any way I can, I promise.)

~ 0-3 Month Essentials ~

Can somebody please tell me how I have a 3 month old?! They say time flies but blimey, time is really, well, flying! I have called this post ‘essentials’, but really the only essentials you need for a newborn are nappies, clothes, somewhere for them to sleep, and milk of some variety. Therefore, these are all just added extras which we have found useful or enjoyable first, second, or both times round; things that have made life just that little bit easier for these first 3 months…

Sleepyhead Deluxe

Lots of people had said to us when we were expecting Daisy that these are ‘lifesavers’, so after much deliberation we went for it, and boy am I glad we did! We have used it since day 1 so don’t have any point of comparison, but she loves it and settles so amazingly in it. It has helped us transition her into her cot (I know, call the mummy police, it’s a lot earlier than six months), we can take it on holiday with us, and is now a sleep trigger to her so win win win!

Buy here – http://amzn.to/2p4x7s3

Angelcare Monitor 

This is something that technically isn’t necessary immediately, but I have used it since the beginning with both of my girls, as I am a paranoid nurse mother, so the sensor pad gave me great comfort and helped me sleep a lot better! Now she is in her own room, it is obviously even more useful! I love our Angelcare monitor and would recommend it in a heartbeat (in fact, I do recommend it to everyone I know having a baby, I should get commission from Angelcare really!). We tried a different monitor before this and really didn’t get on with it, I wish I had had this one right from the beginning!

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Buy here – http://amzn.to/2qLzxbn

Bouncer

These are just so handy to have in the house as somewhere to put baby down when they’re asleep or if you just need 2 minutes to do something. Lyla spent most of her time in it, but Daisy isn’t as much of a fan so it just shows that all babies are different! We just bought a simple one from Mamas & Papas but obviously the more you spend, the fancier they get!

Here is a similar one – https://www.mamasandpapas.com/en-gb/capella-bouncing-cradle-wish-upon-a-starbr/p/4011y0103/

Angelcare Bath Seat

This actually has been as essential in our house, I can’t sing its praises enough. There are lots of bath seats on the market but this one is great for newborns as it is reclined, it is super comfortable (or so I’m guessing as both my girls have been very happy in it), is really simple in design and easily cleanable. I will be sad to stop using it once Daisy gets to the stage of not needing it!

Buy here – http://amzn.to/2q6UBgh

White Noise

I wasn’t sure whether to include this as it isn’t something that we have come to rely on with either of the girls, but I know lots of people that do so I thought I’d put it in anyway. We bought good old ‘Ewan the Dream Sheep’ (a cuddly sheep which glows and makes a variety of noises aimed at soothing babies into a lovely slumber) in the middle of the night when Lyla was about 3 weeks old and sleep deprivation had well and truly set in! We were told it would work miracles, it didn’t. But it did help, just not to the extent we were hoping!! We used it with Daisy as soon as we brought her home but, to be honest, I don’t think it made much difference with her either but we used to put it on to soothe her anyway. Some babies love white noise so for them it would be great, for us he now just looks cute sitting in the cot, but I suppose you don’t know unless you try!

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Buy Ewan here – http://amzn.to/2qzPKnB

Tula Baby Carrier

We didn’t have this until Lyla was about 18 months old and, to be honest, I don’t know how I managed without it (I tried a couple of other carriers but didn’t love them)! Second time round it has been a godsend as it gives me my hands free to help Lyla or do bits around the house, especially as Daisy is a baby that likes to be held! They both fit in it, Daisy uses a newborn insert currently, so we take it everywhere as either one of them can go in it if necessary. There are so many beautiful designs to choose from too! Another essential in my eyes!

Shop the range here – https://lovetobenatural.co.uk/baby-carriers/buckle-carriers/tula-baby-and-toddler-carriers.html

PacaPod Changing Bag

First time round I had a gorgeous Cath Kidston changing bag which I loved, but once I found out I was expecting Daisy, I fast realised I needed something bigger and much more practical to carry around everything I needed for two children. The PacaPod bags have loads of different compartments, plus two ‘pods’ – one for changing and one for feeding. I love anything that plays to my organisational side so when I saw this I knew it was perfect for me, and I haven’t been disappointed!

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Buy here – http://amzn.to/2pgYD1a

Muslins

There isn’t much that needs to be said about these squares of loveliness – great for mopping up baby sick, covering up when feeding if need be, or just as a comforter for the baby (I say baby, my eldest carries one with her everywhere and has to have them for sleeping). They really are an essential, stock up on them as I promise you will need them! The nicest ones I found were these from John Lewis, they are so much softer than any others we tried.

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Buy here – https://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-baby-muslin-squares-pack-of-6-grey-star/p429429

Medela Swing Breast Pump

For anyone who plans on breast feeding, this pump is just brilliant. We always planned on me expressing and giving baby some milk via a bottle from the early days and this pump has allowed us to do that. I am able to get three times as much milk with this pump compared to others I have tried! It is a pricey purchase but is so worth it as it saves so much time and makes life easier, which is all you want with a newborn really!

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Buy here – http://amzn.to/2p4sbmL

Playmat and Toys

As baby gets to about the 6-week mark and is starting to be awake a bit more, playmats are great for stimulating them and helping them to learn and grow. Lyla and Daisy have both LOVED our Baby Einstein one, the colours, lights, sounds and activities have kept them entertained for hours! Other favourite toys of ours for this age group are the Lamaze ones (we have quite the selection and they make great gifts too), linking rings, and sensory books. Nappy bag essentials!

Playmat – http://amzn.to/2pgLiWX

Lamaze toys (my favourites) – http://amzn.to/2pgQA4xhttp://amzn.to/2p4xhj7http://amzn.to/2p4bqZb

Sensory book – http://amzn.to/2qzVgXk

Rings – http://amzn.to/2qI0oFP

Car Mirror

This may seem like a strange addition, but is something you may not think about until you realise you need it! With baby’s facing backwards in cars, these mirrors allow you to check on your baby safely whilst you are driving. We have this Munchkin one which is brilliant!

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Buy here – http://amzn.to/2qA4anF

Milestone Cards

I am a sentimental sod so when we were given these with Lyla I immiediately loved the idea and loved taking the photos as she hit each milestone. I bought them again for Daisy and can’t wait to put all the photos together of each of them at each stage!

Buy here – http://amzn.to/2qIa0kf

Travel System & Isofix

This is the final thing on my list, but is probably the first thing people buy when they find out they are having a baby! Ideally, buy a travel system, that way everything (car seat, carrycot and child seat) is interchangeable and allows for more options. We have an iCandy Peach which I love! Though I do have to have a box with the millions of different adaptors in the boot of my car, you need an engineering degree for some of these systems! Another downside is they can also be quite heavy and aren’t great for travelling long distances (i.e. holidays) so we do have a fold flat stroller too (a Babyjogger City Mini which I love too and really would recommend!). Also, if your budget allows, buy the isofix base for your car! We have the Maxi Cosi Family Fix which fits the first stage baby car seat and then the toddler seat too, and just makes life SO much easier not having to use the seatbelt each time!

iCandy Peach 3 – https://www.icandyworld.com/uk/en/peach-pushchair.html

Isofix Base – http://amzn.to/2qzDVhi (with maxi-cosi Pebble car seat – http://amzn.to/2qA7YoP)

BabyJogger City Mini – http://amzn.to/2p4nLfR

 

Writing it all down like that makes you realise why they say having a child costs so much money! But like I said, these are just extras which we have found useful through experience, and I hope will be of some use to anyone out there expecting a little bubba!

All the love and good luck!

Sian x

 

~ April Favourites ~

This is something that a lot of vloggers do, but with my camera currently being out of action, and having done similar things on my blog before, I thought I’d just pop it on here! So here we go, the things I am loving, buying and recommending most from the past month…

Cosmetics

Nourish Protect Replenishing Peptide Serum

I tried a sample of this a few months ago and really loved the feel (and yummy citrusy smell) of this, so the hubby bought me some for Christmas! I’ve been using it routinely for about 3 months now as part of my evening skincare routine and I think I can see and feel the difference in my skin! It’s not too expensive, and I can see it still has months left in it!

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Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer

This was something I saw on a fellow bloggers ‘favourites’, so, having dark skin around my eyes, I thought I’d give it a whirl. I usually slather on the concealer around my eyes which can be quite heavy, but this is lovely and light and you just paint it on with the little applicator sponge, easy! I do find I still have to blend it in with my finger but the coverage it gives is fab. Buy it here!

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Pixi x Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

I mentioned this in a previous vlog, but I just had to mention it again. I can’t get enough of this stuff, it is incredible – melts away make-up and leaves my face feeling AMAZING. If I could recommend one product that everyone must have, it would be this one!

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Roccabox

After seeing a few different options of these ‘beauty boxes’, I decided on the roccabox going on word-of-mouth of fellow instagrammers/youtubers. It is basically a [very beautiful] box of 5 different beauty products delivered to your door each month for only £10 (this month they were all full-size products too)! I am desperately trying to look after myself a lot more than I have previously so I thought that this would help! I was not disappointed with my first box, I’m pretty sure a few of the products will be on next months favourites list. I can’t wait to receive my next box to see what goodies await! Sign up here.

 

Homewares

New Look decorative plants

Anyone who hasn’t been buried under a rock for the past couple of months will know that one of the recent trends happens to be cacti/succulents/terrariums! I am well known at not being very good at keeping plants alive so when I spotted these little decorative versions in New Look (I know right, who knew they did lovely home bits?!), I knew they’d look perfect in my new little home office corner! There are loads to choose from, plus lots of other lovely bits too. Shop here

 

Light letters

I have been after some of these for ages, and I mean ages, but just couldn’t quite bring myself to spend a lot of money. Casually strolling through the next sale one evening, and there some were, for only £10, and they had both of the letters I wanted! I love them, and love that the girls have one each!

 

Simba Mattress

Now this is something that trumps the light letters on something we have been meaning to buy for a long time. Mattresses are an essential household item, but also can be very, very expensive! After much deliberation, and seeing as we were purchasing a new bed frame, we just decided to go for it and buy a really good quality mattress. It is probably the best decision we have made in a long time. I cannot recommend this mattress enough, it is unbelievably comfy and we have both been sleeping so much better since we had it. So much so, that Callum recently went for a nap before a man date with his friends, and slept through said date, he blames the mattress…

sima

 

Kids

Arbonne ABC Baby Hair & Body Wash

I have mentioned before that I am pretty picky with what I use to wash my babies with, so when I was offered the chance to try this new Arbonne body wash on them I was a little nervous. But I love it! It is SO soft and gentle on their skin and the mild scent is just to die for. Its pricier than other products but is a huge tube and would last for months and months!

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Blossom & Bear

I discovered this brand through instagram and instantly loved the look of their products. I bought a pram garland (£20) and a rainbow teether (£6) but there are plenty more beautiful products to explore for really reasonable prices too! Made from BPA free silicone beads and natural wooden rings, there really is no down side to these!

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Fred & Noah

Another amazing brand I have discovered through social media, Fred & Noah make the most gorgeous leggings in amazing prints! I have to limit ‘myself’ to one pair at a time, this time it was these fab blush zebra print pair which look SO cute on Lyla!

fredandnoah

 

Fashion

Primark Jeans

I am a known lover of Levi jeans, every pair of jeans I own are from there. But knowing that we will not be going to the US for a fair few months (because, come on, I’m not paying full price for them!), and being desperate for post-baby jeans that didn’t cut me in half, I ventured into primarni! I bought a pair of ‘distressed’ jeans for £15, some grey ‘jeggings’ for £6 and, the pair that has made me include these in my favourites, some high-waisted ones for £8. They fit so nicely and actually feel of good quality. Oh and they have washed really well too (I am aware that this makes me sound very old). I know where I’ll be going in future to stock up…

Kids Summer Collection – Next

I think it is pretty well known that I love, love, love Next clothes for kids. It was such a shame that I had to buy both the girls some summer bits for our upcoming holidays *rolls eyes*. Here are a couple of my favourite, really good value, purchases…

next

Floral jumpsuit for Lyla – £11

next2

I bought them both one of these lovely jersey dresses (twinning is winning) – £8/£9

next3

Such a cute jersey dress for Daisy and only £6

next4

I never really put Lyla in rompers but I am loving them with Daisy, these were £18 for 4

Lifestyle

Country Parks

We as a family (and with friends) absolutely love being outside and exploring in the fresh air, and we are lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of gorgeous country parks nearby. We decided to buy a car park pass for all of our local parks and have already got so much use out of it! I’m all for lazy days at home but there’s something so relaxing about just going out and about for a walk and a play, and I am loving this at the minute!

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So there we have it, all of my favourite things from the past month – I hope I haven’t made you spend too much money!

All the love, Sian x

 

 

Recovering from a C-Section – My experience and ‘Hints & Tips’!

I am now 9 weeks post-delivery of my second baby, and I feel like I am still recovering in a small way from my second C-Section. I’m sure all of you have heard about caesareans and that they are “major abdominal surgery”, and even having been through it twice, I still forget that this is the case! I have been extremely lucky with my recovery on both occasions, I lost minimal blood during the surgery, regained feeling pretty quickly, and was discharged home after 48 hours (the second time round, they tried to send me home after 24 hours, I told them where to go when this was suggested…).

This may be an ‘overshare’ moment but this time round I have been left with a pretty strange sensation over my stomach, it started off numb, now it is is just consistently tingly?! On some occasions I can get a little bit of pain (eg. when my belt digs in slightly) but nothing that is very noticeable really! My fitness is heading back to where it was beforehand but whether I regain tone in my abdomen? We shall see over time! I also have been left with the very strange side effect of not feeling like I need to wee… Every few hours I have to remind myself that it would probably be a good idea to go to the loo as my body no longer tells me?! Luckily, no accidents have occured as of yet…

Anyway, for anybody planning a caesarean birth (or not planning – still read! You never know..), here are the lessons I learnt, hopefully they may be of some help:

  • When in the theatre there will be A LOT of people, hopefully lovely people if your experience is similar to mine, so talk to them (just maybe not during important moments like the spinal)! They are there for you, to put you at ease and to talk you through everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, if it helps you then do it. And if you feel anything out of the ordinary then tell them, they can fix it – I felt very nauseous both times and within a minute of telling them, it was gone!
  • The rules are different in all hospitals but try and get your skin to skin (if that’s what you’d like) as soon as you get out of theatre. There are many myths with breastfeeding and c-sections about it taking longer, I personally didn’t have any issues, both babies fed straight away so try not to stress about this beforehand and just take it as it comes after.
  • If the pain relief they are providing isn’t hitting the spot, there is always something stronger you can have, ask for it. Don’t try and grin and bear the pain.
  • When you first get out of bed take it slowly, don’t feel pressured or rushed, if you’re not ready then wait.
  • There is the C-Section pain, then there is the trapped wind (I know, soz for the detail) – ouch! I hate the stuff myself, but peppermint tea works so hold your nose and down it! The midwife also gave me some peppermint syrup (or something along those lines) which really helped.
  • You know those GORGEOUS paper pants everybody tells you to pack in your hospital bag? Well, yeah, they’re kind of great for c-section mummies. Normal pants tend to sit riiiiight where your scar is so it’ll be a few weeks until you will feel comfortable in them again. Either that, or take those huge maternity pants with you!
  • This may just have been me, but I was very naive in thinking that with a C-Section there would be minimal bleeding down there. Wrong. Be prepared.
  • Accept any help on offer with moving, turning over etc. When in hospital they should help with lifting baby if you need it, just ask!
  • TAKE IT SLOW. I ended up having a late night visit to the hospital 1 week post-op as I genuinely thought I had torn something inside by trying to sit up from lying flat without using anything to help me. The pain was indescribable and definitely taught me a lesson in not to rush.
  • Keep your scar clean, just use water, don’t touch it and don’t pick it! These days (god I sound like my mum saying that) the size of the wound is so small. I would say I’m not sure how they get a baby out of that opening but then I think about the alternative birth option…
  • Don’t over do it, but do try and get out to stretch your legs, you will feel better for it.
  • By about week 3 you will start to feel like you are getting back to normal; the ‘rule’ is that you don’t drive for 6 weeks but if you feel up to it then don’t keep yourself stuck in the house, a quick call to your insurance to confirm they are happy if you’re happy and you’re freeeee! (My insurance genuinely said that it’s up to me, they’d only really care if I’d lost a limb…ok, thanks then).
  • Yes, you will probably get the infamous tummy ledge above your scar. No, it doesn’t matter, be proud.

 

I know people who have had amazing caesarean experiences, and not so amazing. Who have delivered naturally and taken a lot longer to recover. And those who have been so scared of their delivery resulting in a c-section. All I can say is that if you have the chance to prepare then don’t panic (easier said than done, coming from the girl who cried with fear both times), and if you are aiming for a natural birth but are preparing for any outcome, then don’t panic. It may not be ideal, but if your baby arrives safely in the world then so what if you have to put your feet up for a few weeks?!

All the love,

Sian x

I’m Just Me

[Before I start I just want to say I did not intend this post to be all ‘woe is me’, so if it sounds that way then I’m so sorry!]

One of my friends said to me today that I need to stop criticising my own appearance on my vlogs, and as well as being so thankful for her feedback and honesty I was shocked, because I had NO IDEA that this was something I did!! I am that conscious of what I look like that I don’t even notice myself putting myself down?! 

I’m not going to go all deep into how I struggle quite a lot with my self esteem, but I do. So jumping feet first into this world of blogs and vlogs was, and is, a huge deal for me. In fact, just writing that then, I can’t quite believe that I have done these things in the first place (something that makes me actually quite proud of myself). I am putting myself on a platform that hopefully, in time, will become quite public. Therefore I need to be confident, but most of all I need to be me. I genuinely believe the only person in the world who knows the real me is my husband!! That’s crazy!! 

I just watched a Louise Pentland video (if you don’t know her, she is an extremely popular creator on YouTube) and she hit the nail on the head by stating the fact that YouTube is just one big popularity contest. YES! She is so right. But…I am not good at popularity contests. Oh shit! I’ve always been a follower rather than a leader. I was never the most popular in school, the most glamorous, the funniest, that just wasn’t me. I was one of the boys and I loved it!

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One of the boys!

But now I have ventured into this world, I am feeling immense pressure to be that person that I am not. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl, don’t always wear make up, I don’t wear dresses from Zara on a daily basis or get my hair blow dried twice a week, and I will never have a career as a stand up comedian. So for me to try and aim to be that is just downright unrealistic.

I find myself watching other mums with a slight jealous feeling inside, “how come they’re doing so well, I need to be like that so I can do well”. No! Or I’ll be shocked at the speed and quality of people’s editing skills, but I’m never going to a bloody Steven Spielberg so why am I worrying?! I just need to be me. I crack stupid jokes, drop swear words into sentences without realising, can be a bit geeky sometimes, pull very unflattering faces, and can be a little bit crazy. And from now on I’m determined to show all of those things. Not just on camera or on paper, but in real life too. No more holding back for fear of people’s judgement. 

And do you know what else I need to do? Give myself time!!!! Things don’t happen overnight (well that’s just not flippin good enough is it!!). I will never stop putting pressure on myself, or worrying, but I can at least be happy in my own skin and if people like me and spread the word then amazing, if not then it doesn’t matter! One thing is for sure, I’m not going to win that popularity contest, but if I can merge into the vast array of competitors then I will be a happy lady.

So here’s to the future, to hopefully taking this little hobby of mine a little bit further, and to self-confidence. Come on Sian, you can do this!!

All the love

S x

Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

Now that the beautiful Spring is upon us and the summer gets ever closer, we will be venturing out a lot more and spending days together as a family. Therefore I thought I would use my blog as a way of remembering those days, spreading the word to others and giving a little review on whether it (wherever that may be) is worth the visit!

So for Mother’s Day this year we thought we would keep it really simple and go for a little stroll around Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire. The weather was gorgeous, which made the forest look even prettier with the sun beaming down. I even ended up just sitting in a vest top outside to eat lunch! Bring on the summer!

As with most (all?) of the Forestry Commission sites, there is a Gruffalo Trail which is great for the kids! You download an app onto your phone, follow the trail and then as you take a picture after finding each animal from the Gruffalo story, it superimposes that animal onto the picture. Lyla was still a little bit young to understand what to do so we just followed the trail as it was a good length of walk for her little legs, we didn’t take the photos as we thought we would save that for when she understands, plus she does not smile on demand! She loved the big pictures of the animals which are at each spot though! You can also pay for a little goody bag for the kids (£3) with lots of extra exciting things in such as a magnifying glass, spotters guide, stickers etc in, otherwise it was just the parking which you pay for!

We arrived at about 10.30 and got a parking spot no problem, I had read online beforehand that parking spaces could be hard to come by on a weekend/school holiday so was a bit nervous as we arrived later than planned, but it was fine. When we were leaving, however (about 2pm), it was PACKED. And I mean, cars parked up on verges and along both sides of the main road leading up to the forest, so my top tip is get there early!! Parking was £4, pretty standard I’d say for these places. You can buy a yearly pass, which also gives you discount off Forest Holidays, which I would be tempted to do if it were a little closer to us (it took 45-50 minutes to get there). Well worth it though if you live a bit closer.

As well as the Gruffalo Trail, there are lots of other trails of varying length through the forest for both on foot, or by bike. We will definitely be back with the bikes once Daisy is old enough to go in the trailer! From where we walked and what I saw of the other trails, it is pretty flat, very buggy friendly, just a really nice relaxing walk 🙂 We walked for about 1.5-2 hours and it was so lovely.

One of the other great things about this forest is there is a ‘Tree Top’ way, which, as the name suggests, takes you up to the top of the trees and to a crows nest platform with amazing views over the forest, you can see for miles! It is wheelchair/buggy accessible and you can take the dogs up there too (although ours was not a fan of the steps up to the viewing platform!).

There is a great playground for children, it is described as an ‘adventure’ playground so is aimed at slightly older children than our 2 year old, but she gave it a pretty good go anyway! We took a picnic and set ourselves up on one of the benches (again, this got busy very quickly so aim to get a seat before the lunchtime rush). There is a lovely forest cafe too if you fancied somebody else cooking your lunch!

Finally, there is a ‘Tree Ninja’ course (think Go Ape, but on steroids by the look of it!). If you so desired, and had the suggested 3 hours (!!) to spare, then it looked like A LOT of fun!

So there we have it, Salcey Forest, somewhere I would recommend in a heartbeat to anyone local or visiting. A great day out, with so much to do that is child friendly, we loved it and will definitely go back in the summer. And best of all, its outside! In the fresh air! And you can’t get better than that…

Sian x

Life as we know it…

Hello!

All has been a bit quiet on the western front recently, that’s because life has just kind of, run away with us. Our days all roll into one consisting of play dates, lunches, walks into town, healthcare appointments, running errands, housework and seeing family. I genuinely don’t know where the time is going! So here’s a little update on the Family Knapp and what we’ve been up to; one of my best friends suggested a name for the blog way back when, but I might just use it for these updates – KnappChat (like snapchat, do you get it?!). Anyway…

~ Daisy ~

Daisy turns 7 weeks old today (well, yesterday now). 7 weeks. It only feels like yesterday that I was clinging onto that feeling of having a fresh, newborn baby and never wanting to let go (luckily my immediate urge to have a 3rd child is dissipating…). Even though second time around I have made sure I take every moment in and don’t wish the time away, it still astounds me how fast time goes. How much she changes day by day. And how scary parenting can really be.

There really is nothing better than cooing “Good Morning beautiful” in that funny high-pitched mum voice you find yourself doing, and getting big smiles in return. Heart-melting. She is starting to be awake a lot more now, piling on the pounds, interacting with us, looking at toys, holding onto toys, watching her big sister, getting big sloppy/snotty kisses from said sister, and spoiling us frequently with what we like to call ‘shituations’. Oh the joys of parenthood! It can become a little frustrating being asked “is she a good baby?”. I’d say pretty much every day I am asked this question. But do you know what? I take huge pride in replying “she really is”. I don’t remember Lyla being a difficult baby (apart from the reflux, I will never get those hours back of sitting upright in the night to try and relieve her symptoms), or whether I’m just a lot more relaxed this time (which I really am), but she makes life a lot easier by being a happy, content, easy baby most of the time. A bit more sleep wouldn’t go amiss but I can deal with that! We have had a couple of bumps in the road with breast feeding but that’s a whole different blog post for another day. She feeds, she sleeps, she plays and she will be put down happily, awake or asleep! Hallelujah. 

The fact that this was different this one Sunday (March 5th to be exact) told me that something wasn’t right and we had our first major scare as parents. As soon as she was not in our arms she would act as if she was in pain, become irritable and generally be unhappy with life. She had vomited the night before but nothing that worried me hugely considering she’d been full of cold, so we carried on with that day as normal. She started to not want to feed over the course of the day but I persevered. Callum bathed her that night with Lyla as normal whilst I sorted out outfits for the girls for the following day and had a quick shower myself, and then he brought her through to me. That’s when my maternal instinct went into overdrive and I just knew something was wrong. She was pale, she was mottled, she had a rash over her body, and she continued to not want to feed, she just looked horrendous. To cut a long story short – I immediately took her to A&E and they triaged her straight away. You know that look that people aren’t very good at hiding? The ‘I’m quite worried but I can deal with this’ look? I experienced that for a good few hours that night. Before I knew it they were trying to get lines into her tiny body (which was deteriorating very quickly) and the night turned into fluid boluses, antibiotics, blood tests, lumbar punctures, and a blur of information. 6 days later we were leaving hospital with a pink, much happier, baby who was starting to get her feeding back on track (after having to be tube fed for the duration of our stay), a mummy who was going slightly delirious from sleep deprivation, and with a diagnosis of viral meningitis caused by a bug called enterovirus. In retrospect, I realise that people go through A LOT worse, I see it every day in my job after all. But when you, as a parent, are experiencing it, it is awful. I was an emotional wreck and felt actual heartache for my poor baby girl. But she did us proud and is doing amazingly now, as if it never happened. Which from now on, I’m going to pretend it didn’t. 

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My poorly little poppet

So now as much as I really don’t want to wish the time away, and would be very happy with her staying a 7-week old baby forever, we are very excited for the next few weeks and months to see the little person she develops into, hopefully it will be plain sailing from here out… 

~ Lyla ~

What can I say about Lyla? She is changing before our very eyes every day. Since her little sister came along she seems to have developed at a crazy speed. At first I thought she just looked big in comparison to the tiny baby I now had in my arms but no, she had a major growth spurt resulting in a complete wardrobe overhaul! She has also moved into a bed with no trouble at all! I always said we would wait until she tried to climb out of her cot until making this transition, which two weeks after Daisy arrived she decided to try and do…

I’ve also gone from talking to the health visitor and nursery about being worried about her speech, to being able to understand pretty much everything she is trying to tell me and being gobsmacked daily at the speed she is picking up words! It is amazing. So to the friends who told me not to worry and that ‘one day’ she’ll just click – thank you, you were right. Though in a few months time when she is fully talking, I will really miss her little Lyla language that she is so well known for!

One of the major things that is fascinating to watch is how her relationships with her friends and cousins is developing, watching them play for hours, running around the park, talking to each other, laughing, using their imaginations – it’s just incredible to watch and we are very lucky to have a group of friends and family that allow her to develop on this social side! She really is a little superstar and, touch wood, the toddler tantrums seem to be on hold (although I know it is only a matter of time…).

~ And us? ~

We have welcomed family and friends into our home, smiled at the happiness Daisy and Lyla bring, ‘gone grey’ from the worry of recent events, ran a half marathon (Callum, not me, obvs), celebrated lots of birthdays of the little ones, and said goodbye to another family member taken from this world. Quite a rollercoaster I’d say. We continue to discuss finances daily, whether it be whether to go for the slightly more premium tins of soup, to how much I can drop my hours by on my return to work, what our plan is with cars, or in planning another family holiday to Flo-rida (eek). Oh, and we go to bed ridiculously early in order to grab any second of sleep possible, so that the sleep thieves themselves don’t steal every last bit of our sanity! 

This may all sound pretty boring to you, but we certainly have lots to smile about and to look forward to…

All the love,

Sian x

30 Tips For The First 30 Days

Over these first few weeks of having a newborn I have been putting together a list of ‘tips’ for any new parents, from our experiences with both babies.

In no particular order (how X-Factor/Strictly does that sound?!)…
1. It might sound like such a cliché, but embrace every minute of those first few days, ride high on the adrenaline!

2. After the adrenaline, the baby blues will hit. You will cry. For no reason. You may even ‘grieve’ for your time pre-baby and think “what the hell have we done?!” But give it a couple of days and you’ll soon get over it and love parenting.

3. Stare at your baby as much as possible, they are as amazing as you think they are. Just stare. And kiss them. And smell them. Ok I sound like a weirdo now…

4. As lovely as it is to have visitors, limit it to close family for the first few days as it can be so overwhelming. You MUST make the most of those first days as a family unit.

5. Make a note of your visitors/gifts, you will thank yourself later when it comes to sending thank you cards out!

6. Stock up on tea and coffee (and biscuits). You will make lots of it and drink lots of it!

7. Take all the help that is offered to you, don’t try and be supermum, no-one will think any less of you! I am writing this particular ‘tip’ 10 days post-giving birth and am yet to cook a meal, or in fact even venture into the kitchen.

8. Don’t be afraid to do whatever you need to do to get some sleep, as gimicky as it is! Last time he didn’t work for us, but this time round Ewan the bloody dream sheep is a hero! Oh and ‘Sleepyheads’ are as amazing as everyone says they are…

9. It can take a while for a baby to get their days and nights the right way round, do not stress about this just roll with it! Use sleep cues (we use sleepyhead, bathtime etc) and keep it as dark as you can at night. Be ‘normal’ in the day in terms of making noise, if baby is sleeping don’t tiptoe around. They’ll soon start to associate which is which. And the people who say to you “oh my baby slept through from 2 weeks”? F**k them! People have very different perceptions of what ‘sleeping through’ means anyway… just embrace those extra nocturnal cuddles with your little bundle!

10. This is really annoying but, if it is your first then try and ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, other things can wait! (See Point 17). If you have other children then this might not be possible (unless you can synchronise nap times of course, and then you really are supermum), so as boring as it is then just go to sleep early! I’ve found with both of mine that the first chunk of sleep at night is the longest and then it goes a bit downhill, so if you can get as much of that bit as possible too then it’s a win.

11. When it comes to feeding, shut yourself off from any pressure you feel, it’s most likely coming from yourself anyway! If breast feeding, just get into a little bubble of you and your baby and forget about the outside world, perseverance is key.

12. Get out of the house! If you are physically able, then as soon as possible get you and your baby out into the fresh air. You will most likely get an elderly person tell you that “in my day we stayed inside for 2 weeks”, just smile politely and move on! You will feel so much better for it, trust me.

13. When you do leave the house – expect to take all of its contents with you! I have learnt to over-prepare, always take more nappies and spare outfits than you think you will need.

14. If you have older children then involve them as much as possible with the baby, not only is it lovely for you to have some ‘help’, but it shows them their importance too at a time of huge change.

15. Take shifts. If you are lucky enough to have a partner then use them. Some nights if the baby won’t settle for me then he takes his turn settling her. If I don’t need him then his job is to look after the toddler if she wakes (a pretty cushty job in our house as that is very rare..). You went into this together – teamwork makes the dream work as they say!

16. …this also includes having a bit of time for yourself, even if it’s only half an hour, the same goes for your partner. Plan it in if you need to, just make sure you get a bit of timeout as, let’s be honest, a newborn is pretty demanding!

17. Look after yourself!! Don’t expect to heal overnight, it could be a longer process than expected so don’t rush.


18. Buy some vanish, just trust me on this one.

19. Learn to accept that other things, like housework, won’t get done when you want them to. I have had to quickly realise this the second time around, and am trying not to let it bother me that the house desperately needs dusting!!

20. Your baby is a newborn, do not worry about ‘bad habits’!! Feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, sleeping on you, not being able to put them down – they’re not going to rely on these things when they’re 10 years old so don’t worry!! Whatever it takes to survive the first few weeks/months then do it, it can be changed and worked on in the future! Which leads me onto…

21. Mimic the womb. These babas have had a pretty abrupt change to their environment! Snuggle them tight, make shushing noises, rock them – they all work!

22. Don’t try and plan busy, action-packed days, keep things simple and be realistic that things may change/you may arrive very late…

23. This one might take a bit longer than 30 days but don’t worry about friendships at this stage, relationships with your existing friends may/will change but those that matter will stand the test.

24. Once you’re settled, make the effort to make new mummy friends – choose wisely however, these could be lifelong friends for both you, your menfolk/partner, and your child(ren). You are on the same path at the same time and they will be your support network (mine have helped me compile this list – thanks babes!).

25. A 4-week old baby is not going to be in any routine BUT…there is no harm in you doing it if it fits in with an existing routine or just to start sowing the seed. We bath Daisy and get her into her pyjamas and into bed at ‘bedtime’ at the same time as Lyla, it might not make any difference but it gives the rest of the family some structure.

26. Make sure you drink fluids and eat, the post-baby body can be worked on later. What matters most is your sanity and being hydrated!

27. Trust your instincts. Whether you’re a first time mum or a third-timer – your maternal instincts will be right.

28. It’s impossible not to, but try not to compare yourself to other mums/dads. Remember everyone is different and approaches parenting differently.

29. It’s tough, it’s chaotic, it’s very sleep deprived but everybody makes it through the other side and you will soon forget about it and want time to slow down!

30. …Don’t listen to anyone else and their tips (yes, that includes me), just do it your way, how YOU feel comfortable – wing it, totally wing it! Did you notice most of these points involved the phrase ‘don’t worry’?!

One of my favourite phrases that I always think to myself if I’m feeling unsure or worried is

• MOTHER LIKE NO-ONES JUDGING • 

Because even if they are, who cares…

Loads of love and Good Luck!!

Xxx