Teddy's Six Month Update

   
I know I say this every month but how is my baby six months old?! How is he half a year old?! It honestly blows my mind every month how quickly time is going. Teddy is growing up so fast, managing to sit up unaided for a few seconds and even trying his hardest to crawl! When he is lying on his belly he tries as hard as he can to push his knees up, wriggling his bum and moving forward. He's started getting really frustrated that he is stuck and can't get anywhere! He hates being lay down and would rather be stood up on your legs, bouncing up & down or sat on the floor terrorising the poor cats.

He has become so much more independent this month, happily lie on his play mat with his toys or sat in his high chair kicking away & throwing his plastic stacking cups. He also loves his baby tv in the mornings whilst snuggled up in his chair with his dressing gown on, unfortunately for me it would seem that Justin's House is his firm favourite at the minute!

Autumn/Winter Baby Boy Haul


  


We are well & truly in Autumn and Winter is fast approaching, the days carry a chill & it's getting darker in the evenings much earlier. Colder days means making sure that we are all fully kitted out on snuggly thick layers of clothing, especially Teddy. I spent the whole Summer worrying whether he was too warm & now i'm checking every five minutes that he's warm enough! Teddy's wardrobe and drawers have been full of a variety of sizes since he was born, ranging all the way up to 3-6 months but every so often I will go in and give them all a tidy, put away clothes that are getting too small and take stock of any clothes I want to put on Ebay & sell.

I quickly noticed that other than ONE babygrow hung up in his wardrobe, we had absolutely nothing in 6-9 months which isn't good when he is six months in a couple of weeks and his 3-6 month stuff is already touching where it fits. As soon as I got paid I must have dragged Aaron around all the supermarkets near us and had a look what they had to offer for Teddy's Autumn/Winter wardrobe. Tesco was definitely my favourite, especially for little boy's clothes. Boys clothing can be so hit & miss, but I feel like Tesco have really come out on top this season. I thought I would share with you all the things we picked up including vests, baby grows & outfits. I love a baby haul!

My Top Christmas Planning Tips.

  


I still can't believe that we are in November already. As soon as November arrives, I get into Christmas planning mode. In all honesty I would celebrate Christmas all year but apparently that aint' right. I manage to hold myself back until Halloween is well and truly out of the way first, then it's all systems a-go! I know all too well how stressful the run up to Christmas can be for some people and it can feel really overwhelming. I thought I would share my top Christmas planning tips as a way to hopefully help some of you get a little more organised and relieve some of the stress.

Creating A Logo With Logojoy & An Exciting Announcement!

If you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you won't have seen that I have recently decided to launch a weekly newsletter! It won't be anything too exciting, just sharing my latest blogposts, a couple of things I have been loving that week and also feature some blog posts I have loved reading. Every month I am also planning on featuring a specific blogger that I have been really enjoying and would recommend.

You can sign up via the form available on my blog homepage & I really would love it if you did. I have been blogging for the past five years but over the past couple of months I feel like my blog is really taking a huge leap and leading to some really exciting opportunities. I absolutely love blogging at the minute and it's something that really makes me feel like me. The me I was before having Teddy.

I have spent so long trying to get my newsletter design exactly how I want it and it is still a working progress (mainly because i'm never happy with anything) & one thing I wanted to create was a header for my newsletter that was slightly different to that on my blog. I wanted it to fit in with the clear theme I am going for & that is where Logojoy come in!

LogoJoy is a website where you can design and create your own logo for your blog or business. You can start by picking a few sample logos you like and then alter all the text, colours, imagery that suits you. I was playing around with the site all morning and all the suggestions they gave me were amazing. I didn't go for anything too fancy, purely for the fact that that just isn't me and I really wanted something that reflected my blog and who I am. Once you've gone through all the options you can preview all the examples and still edit them as you wish!

  

Those are just a couple of the examples but you can get miles fancier than that! Like I said, I wanted something simple & clear. You can also preview how your logo will look on business cards, jumpers and signs which I think if you own your own business if a fab idea! When you have finished your logo and have it exactly how you want it you can download a low-resolution image or you can pay for the premium package at $65 which will buy you the full high-resolution package and if you really like, you can buy it all in the exact size you require for your social media!

Where I do think $65 is quite expensive, it really is an amazing idea & if you aren't particularly creative or have no idea where to start, Logojoy really is something you should consider.

I really would love you to sign up to my newsletter!

How To Increase Your Blog Domain Authority.

   

Now I am by no means an expert on blogging & what works for one person may not work for another, but at the minute it seems like everyone & their nan is suddenly talking about DA. I have been blogging now for over 5 years and it's only the past few months that I've started seeing the term 'Domain Authority or DA' floating around the blogosphere. I did a little bit of research into it back in May after having Teddy (I tried to be slightly productive during the night feeds!) and discovered that you had to own your own domain, which I didn't at the time.

I realised that if I wanted to get serious about blogging, it was something I should look into and think about. I eventually bought my own domain and watched my DA go from 70 to 0 in the blink of an eye. I know that your DA means fuck all when you are with blogger or wordpress but it was still a kick in the balls watching the number drop right down to non-existent. I have owned my domain now for almost six months and in that time I have seen my DA grow from 0 to 20, which I've heard from other bloggers, is pretty good! I thought I would share my top tips on what I think worked for me and how I increased my blog DA.

"Sightings From October" Linky







Cleaning Your Home With Zoflora

       

If you have never heard of Zoflora, firstly where the fuck have you been? And secondly it is a concentrated disinfectant that can be multi-used and banishes 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. Simply dilute in water and spray or wipe around the home! I have used Zoflora since moving out 4 years ago and it is a product that is always in my cupboard. . I was lucky enough to be contacted by Zoflora offering me the chance to trail their new scent Lemon Zing and I was so excited! I absolutely love citrus smells so I knew that their latest creation would be right up my street. It smells so fresh and leaves the whole house smelling so clean. It has a slightly spicy undertone due to the ginger but it also has notes of grapefruit (which I LOVE!)

I thought I would give you a brief breakdown of where I use Zoflora, just to show you how multi-purpose it really is!


10 Honest Thoughts Of A First Time Mum..

    


I'm almost six months in to this crazy, sleep-deprived, love bubble we call motherhood & i'm not going to lie, in those six months I've genuinely never doubted myself more. I have questions I never thought I would and I can't tell you how many times a day a random thought will enter my brain & keep me awake at night.

I thought I would share some of those questions & thoughts with you, just as a way to let you know, that despite what you might ACTUALLY think, you are never alone & 9 times out of 10, someone will have googled the exact same fucked up question as you. Here are 10 thoughts or questions I have had since Teddy arrived...

100 Blogmas Post Ideas.

100 Blogmas Post Ideas.
   
December will soon be upon us and for  a lot of bloggers that means BLOGMAS is fast approaching. I personally won't be taking part, as with a baby, it's a lot of pressure. I will however be taking part in the 12 Days Of Blogmas, where I will blog everyday for the 12 days leading up to the 25th December, so keep your eyes peeled. 

I know the main thing I have always struggled with when it comes to BLOGMAS or BLOGTOBER is coming up with different post ideas. At the beginning of October I did a "50 Parenting Blog Post Ideas" and it went down really well, so I thought i'd write another blog post ideas, this time focusing on the festive period. I have put together a range of lifestyle, parenting, beauty & fashion ideas, so there really is something for everyone. Here are 100 Blogmas post ideas..

Top Tips For Travelling With A Baby

   
Top Tips For Travelling With A Baby
If you read my "Our First Family Holiday" post you will know that recently we travelled to Wales with Haven Holidays. We stayed at the Greenacres Holiday Park & loved it. It was situated in Porthmadog which from our home just outside Manchester was estimated to take roughly 2 and a half hours. This time last year we'd have arrived bang on time, however with a tiny human in tow, it aint so easy! We drove for an hour and then stopped for boob and bathroom breaks at a lovely garden centre, who had some of their Christmas stock out EEEKK! We then drove for another hour before stopping off so we could have some dinner and feed Teddy. I think all-in-all the journey took around five hours, which I was quite impressed with! We left just before 10am (but made a quick trip to Costa drive-thru and we pulled up at the caravan park at 3pm.

Teddy's 5 Month Update


Teddy's 5 Month Baby Update
I know I say this on every single one of Teddy's updates but where the hell has the time gone?! We've had such a lovely month and I've noticed such a change in his personality and abilities. He's discovered so many new things, giggles at the silliest things (usually when his Daddy talks to him in a really high-pitched voice..) and is growing more curious by the day!

This month Teddy is desperate to be on the move! He is rolling so much, you can't turn your back for a second before he has rolled over and then starts stressing out because he is stuck and can't roll from front to back yet. He's also ready to be sitting up and although he can manage it for a couple of seconds, he then falls forward and starts sucking his toes (don't ask..) or will fall to the side like a bowling pin. He is so strong, with his head & back control so I know it won't be long now.
He has also started interacting with his toys more, grabbing them from the side or off his play mat. He also smiles and reaches for a toy if you hold it in from of him.

Our First Family Holiday | Haven Greenacres Holiday Park

   



If you follow me on social media (mainly Instagram @fromrachael_claire you will know that last week myself, Aaron and Teddy headed to Wales on our first family holiday. We booked through Haven holidays and stayed in Porthmadog at the Greenacres Holiday Park. We had the best time & really didn't want to come home. We spent our days exploring the surrounding towns, Caernarfon & Criccieth, swimming in the park's pool and going for lovely walks with the pram. We were really lucky that it only rained one day, which I think for Wales in October is amazing! I had never actually been to Wales before but Aaron had been plenty when he was younger. The journey from our house just outside of Manchester to Greenacres should have taken just over 2 hours & 30 minutes but with it being our first time travelling with a baby and not knowing what to expect, it took us around five hours which included two stop offs. I have a whole other post coming up on travelling with a baby and how we found it. I thought I would give you a little run down of what we did and some mini reviews of the places we visited.


Dear New Mummy....

      
A Letter To New Mums


Dear New Mummy...

First of all, congratulations! You have successfully evacuated a tiny human from your body. Whether that was through your vag or a sunroof delivery (c-section). Or maybe you are an adoptive mama who has opened her heart to welcoming a new babe into your family. However it's happened; you're fucking amazing.

There is nothing more scary or exciting than what is about to happen. Nothing can quite prepare you for raising a baby. Those books you read, those questions you asked & those classes you took will all mean fuck all in the first few weeks. Possibly even months. I honestly wondered what the hell I had done and whether there was a return policy on tiny crying humans. Don't ever feel guilty or ashamed if you feel that way. Ever. You are taking on one of the biggest and toughest challenges there is. It doesn't help that everyone starts shoving their two pennys worth it, spouting off how THEY did it. If one more person pipes up about a fucking routine, i'm gonna drop kick a bitch. I swear. I go more into detail with this in my "10 Things Not To Say To A New Mama" post

The Autumn Tag

   

I was tagged by the lovely Amy at "Mama Mighalls" , Caitylis over on her blog "Caitylis.co.uk" & Eileen from "2 Nerds & A Baby" to do the Autumn Tag! I did the Autumn Tag in 2013 and I also did "10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT AUTUMN" two years ago which will give you more of an insight into what I really love at this time of year.

I know it's a complete blogger cliché but I really do love this time of year, the colours, chunky knits and snuggly evenings are what I live for. There are 10 questions to be answered and I have tagged some lovely bloggers at the bottom, who you should all definitely check out!


01.What Is Your Favourite Autumnal Lip Colour?
I absolutely love deep berry or plum shades for Autumn. I'm also a sucker for a red lip..

02.What Is Your Favourite Autumnal Nail Colour?
Again, deep berry's or red. However I recently made a trip into Primark and picked up a lovely moss green shade and a light grey, lilac shade that I love!

03.Favourite Autumn Drink?
Unpopular opinion alert, but I don't like tea..or coffee. So that pumpkin spiced latte crap isn't for me. I tend to stick to hot chocolates or hot vimto in this weather if I want a warm beverage! I am currently not-so-patiently waiting for the Costa Christmas drinks range, their brownie or chocolate orange hot chocolates are de-lish!

04.Favourite Autumn Candle?
I am currently burning a candle I picked up from B&M Bargains called "Marshmallow Fireside" and it is just the perfect amount of cinnamon & spiced. I'm not a HUGE autumn or Christmas scents when it comes to candles. I tend to stick to citrus or fresh scents..

05.Favourite Autumn Accessory?
My huge tartan scarf that I picked up from Primark..(I think) a couple of years ago, it is absolutely HUGE and could also be used a shawl. It's so snuggly and perfect for throwing on in the colder weather.

06.Haunted House or Scary Maze?
Hell to the fucking NO. Neither. Both are honestly my worst nightmare!

07.Favourite Halloween Movie?
Hocus Pocus every time! I could quote that film to you all damn day long. I love horror films but hate watching them, if that makes sense...

08.Favourite Halloween Sweets?
All of them? Is that an acceptable answer because i'm not over exaggerating. Literally, all of them. Halloween is just around the corner and the shops are currently filled with multipacks of sweets galore!

09.What Are You Dressing Up As For Halloween?
A zombie mama, cos that's how I feel. Picture a gal with no sleep, greasy hair, pjs with crusted milk around the nipple area, a slight smear of vomit on the shoulder and that'll be me.

10.What's Your Favourite Thing About Autumn?
The way the leaves change colour, dressing Teddy in really snuggly baby grows and wrapping us both up in layers before we head out for a walk, I can light all our candles, turn on the fairy lights and just make the house feel really cosy. I also love Autumn because that means it's nearly CHRISTMAS! WOO HOO!

I tag the following bloggers & I would love you to check them all out!

Amy - Amy Jane and Baby
Zoe - Mummy and Liss
Gee - Gee Gardener
Maisie - Love Maisie
Maya - All Things Pink
Fern - MumConventional
Hanna - Little Snippets
Becca - My Girls & Me
Claire - Dear, Mummy Bear




Staying Healthy During Pregnancy | Ode2Fitness

   



Todays post comes from the lovely Rachel! Rachel is a personal trainer and fitness blogger, based in Manchester. She blogs about a range of things including fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. Rachel is also pregnant and due any time now. I'm so excited for her little girl to arrive as I have been following her pregnancy journey since she announced it!



Gone are the days of wrapping pregnant women in cotton wool, we are now actively encouraged to exercise.  Before finding out I was pregnant, I qualified as a pre and post-natal exercise specialist so I knew all about the advice for mums to be.  So as someone whose life revolves around fitness I always expected to be the epitome of health during my pregnancy.  But the reality of growing a life means what you want to do, and what your body will allow you to do may be so different.
Staying active is important in pregnancy, and there are a lot of benefits. Women who exercise throughout pregnancy are likely to gain less weight, have shorter and possibly even less painful labours.  It can also ease some of the not so pleasant pregnancy symptoms.  Gastrointestinal discomfort, swelling, leg cramps and circulation problems for example.  Pregnancy however is not the time to worry about weight loss, or improving fitness levels.  But maintaining fitness levels can really help prepare our bodies for labour and will assist with post-natal recovery.  So if you already exercise it is definitely worth keeping it up, and if not now may be the time to take up some light exercise.  


The general advice is that you can carry on as normal for the first trimester.   But for me and a lot of other women the first trimester is tough.  Tiredness and sickness can take a serious hold, and for me this was the reality.  Generally if I wasn’t working I was sleeping.  And any attempt I did make to stick to my usual training regime left me completely wiped out for the day.  I wanted to keep active, and stay as healthy as possible so I had to find alternatives.
For a couple of weeks one of the only forms of exercise I could manage was walking.  So I tried to fit extra steps in where I could.  Taking the long route home from work, and getting out at the weekend when I could.  And if you don’t normally exercise but would like to in pregnancy, walking is great.  Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial.  Just half an hour of walking each day can be enough.  On days where I felt a little better, I managed to do some short full body weight lifting sessions.  These can be a great alternative if you usually weight train but can’t manage your usual regime.
One of the biggest changes for me during pregnancy has been to listening to my body.  If I feel too tired to do any exercise I don’t.  In the past I may have worked through this tiredness but that is just not worth it in pregnancy.   Your body is already working super hard to grow a mini human, so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t exercise as much as usual.
You can find Rachel's blog & social media here, I really hope you go and follow her!

B L O G: http://www.ode2fitness.co.uk/blog/
I N S T A G R A M: https://www.instagram.com/ode2fitness/
T W I T T E R: https://twitter.com/ode2fitness

50 Parenting Blog Post Ideas

   
50 PARENTING BLOG POST IDEAS

I absolutely love blogging but sometimes you can hit a brick wall and the ideas for posts just won't come! It can leave you feeling really unmotivated when you are running out of ideas and when you are trying to stick to a schedule or a dead line, that is the last thing you want! I thought I would write a list of parenting blog post ideas to help give you some inspiration!

01. Your favourite Mummy/Daddy bloggers/youtubers
02. Easy beauty tips for busy mums
03. Meal planning for your family on a budget
04. Easy sensory play for babies
05. Your top baby purchases
06. How to organize your mornings
07. An open letter to...
08. Breastfeeding journey and top tips.
09. Confess your biggest parenting fail
10. Favourite baby/kids clothes shop
11. What's in your changing/toddler bag
12. Interview another parent
13. Share a personal story about parenting so far
14. Describe your favourite day as a mummy/daddy
15. Share your organizing tips
16. Top 5 favourite activities for kids
17. 10 wishes/hopes you have for your child's future
18. Share your favourite family traditions
19. Write about a controversial topic; breastfeeding vs formula feeding, co-sleeping or not..
20. Favourite parenting apps
21. Birth story
22. 10 things you have learnt since becoming a parent
23. How to baby proof your home
24. Post-Partum recovery and tips
25. Outfits of the week
26. Things new parents need to know
27. Daily routine for your child
28. Things you shouldn't say to a new parent
29. Things you should never say to a pregnant woman
30. Tips on travelling with a baby/toddler
31. Favourite family days out
32. Roles of a parent
33. How to make bath time fun for children
34. 5 things to do when you are child-free
35. Date night ideas at home
36. How to survive the sleepless night
37. Nursery/kids room tour
38. Tips for transitioning from cot to toddler bed
39. Favourite baby led weaning meal ideas
40. A day in the life
41. Activities for toddlers
42. 10 things to do an a rainy day
43. Baby/toddler haul
44. Teething tips and tricks
45. Preparing for a new sibling
46. Tips for single mums/dads
47. Things you miss now that you are a parent
48. Why you don't attend baby classes/mummy groups
49. What it is like to be a stay at home mum
50. Going back to work after maternity

So there are 50 parenting blog post ideas! I hope they help and inspire you, or help you get back into the swing of things.

What are your favourite posts to read? What do you do when you are lacking inspiration? 

5 Autumnal Activites To Do With Kids | LandofLawson

   
5 AUTUMNAL ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH KIDS


Todays guest post comes from the fabulous Hayley, who runs a blog based around lifestyle, motherhood and style. It is one of my absolute favourites! Hayley also has a little boy (hell yes to boy mama's!) named Lawson who has not long turned one. She lives with her husband & little boy in the middle of England. Hayley's blog reminds me a lot of my own as she gives a really honest account of motherhood with a lovely amount of sarcasm! ENJOY..

Autumn is finally upon us! My very favourite season, full of cosy jumpers, crisp fresh air and pumpkin picking, there is nothing I do not love.

It is a transition from summer though, isn’t it? When getting out of the house was so easy to go to the park, or have a garden picnic, has anyone else struggled to come up with any inspiration for Autumn activities? Just me?! Look no further! I have come up with five amazing activities for Autumn that will not only keep your kids entertained, but will also give you ALL the Autumn feels. 

Fisher-Price Butterfly Dream 2-In-1 Soother

  

It is safe to say that Teddy isn't the best sleeper. He can also be quite highly strung, especially during leaps or growth spurts. He slept fine up until the fourth leap, which you can read more about in his Four Month Update, only waking twice (sometimes once) in the night. However as soon as that fourth leap hit, we took a massive step back and he was up every hour in the night, wouldn't settle in his crib and refused to be put down during the day. We are now well out of the leap and sleep still isn't much better, mainly now due to the fact that he is teething but that doesn't make the wake ups any easier. He'll sleep 8-11, 11-3 and then he's up every hour until we get up at 8/8:30am. He's so restless at night and we are back co-sleeping as it's the only way he's settled. I'm perfectly happy co-sleeping and if you read my Dear Mama: Co-Sleeping & Why It's Okay post, you will know that I am a huge advocate for doing whatever you need to do to get some sleep, but I think once we are back from our holiday to Wales (where we will be co-sleeping to save lugging a travel cot), I am going to try and get him settled back into his crib.

One thing I have found is that the calmer Teddy is before bedtime, the easier he is to settle and the quicker he will fall asleep. We usually take him upstairs at 6:30/7pm, depending when his last nap was and start his bathtime. Once he's been bathed we will put him in his pyjamas and Ergo Pouch sleeping bag, whilst doing this we turn on our Fisher Price Butterfly Dream 2-in-1 Soother
 



The Fisher-Price soother is the perfect hybrid of everything your baby will need to soothe your baby and set the mood for a relaxing bedtime. It offers a colour-changing night light, a gorgeous starlight projection (my favourite part) and a range of gentle music, nature sounds or white noise. You can adapt it to exactly what your baby prefers to help settle them at bedtime. Another feature I love is the three auto-off timers, meaning you can choose from 10, 20 or 30 minutes of soothing before it switches itself off.

Teddy only has one plug socket in his bedroom and we will be using that for his GroEgg, so that fact that the soother is powered by batteries (4 x AA) is so handy for us and can be placed on his chest of drawers or one of his shelves. It also means you don't have loads of wires hanging all over the joint.



As I mentioned, Teddy is teething and everything is currently going in his mouth for some sort of relief, so the lovely little butterfly dream bear is perfect for him. It's just the right size for him to hold onto and sink his little tooth into, literally TOOTH. He has one poking through his bottom gum now (how has my baby got a tooth already?! SOB). It's machine washable so I know I can keep it nice and clean when it's been covered in dribble. 

The soother is suitable from birth and I really wish we had known about it when Teddy was first born, as at £24.99 (RRP) it's really good value for money, considering all the different options that come with it. It may not help Teddy to sleep yet, as he is going through a fussy episode, but it is definitely helping him relax and his favourite thing is to look at the star projector on our ceiling, mixed with the white noise. I am definitely going to persevere and use this every night, especially when he goes in his own room as it will be something familiar. 

Does your little one have a soother? How did you cope when your baby was teething?!

*this product was sent for review although all opinions are my own.

Baby Led Weaning Wishlist

  
Baby Weaning Wish List.

Teddy will be turning 6 months in November and we will be starting our weaning journey! It is advised by health visitors & the NHS that you wait until your baby is six months old before introducing solid foods, I know some people start weaning sooner but personally I didn't see the need. My breast milk provides everything he needed and he'll still be mainly breastfed as we start introducing foods. We are planning on doing baby led weaning with Teddy and as I have been browsing the internet looking for tips & tricks, I have noticed there is quite a lot of things you need. I have decided to come up with a wish list of all the things I am hoping to pick up over the next month or so to make weaning a little easier..(and fun!)

Panasonic Bread Makers: There is something so domesticated about making bread and if you'd have asked me six months ago if I would ever even thought about purchasing a bread maker, i'd have laughed in your face. However, the amazing bread makers at Panasonic don't just make bread, they can also make homemade jams, cakes and compotes. There are so many added sugars and additives in the sweet treats so the idea of being able to make your own and carefully select the ingredients for your little one, sounds ideal!

Billie Faiers Highchair: I'm so excited to finally have Teddy sitting at the table with us, when we have meals together!! I love the chevron design of this high chair, it has a five-point safety harness and three position recline with six different height settings. You can also remove the tray which makes for easy cleaning! Weaning is going to be very messy...

Nuk Food Cube Tray: As we are doing baby led weaning, Teddy will be eating the same meals we do, with a few adaptions of course. I am planning on batch cooking pasta sauces packed with plenty of veg so these food cubes will make up the perfect quantity for a quick, healthy dinner. You can just pop out a cube and defrost it in the microwave.

Beaba 360 Spoon: I think this has to be one of my favourite things ever! How clever?! I had never seen this before so as soon as I saw it on the JoJo Maman Bebe website, I bought it. The design of the spoon means that the bowl remains upright, even if the spoon handle is turned over. Making it easier for the food to stay on the spoon and more likely to make it to your baby's mouth. Rather than dropping all over the place.

Highchair Toy: Well, we all know why this will come in handy! Anything to entertain your child for a couple of extra minutes is essential. If Teddy is anything like his mama, he will be a very hangry human being so hopefully a highchair toy will keep him occupied. I love this one from Mamas and Papas as it lights up when spun and it also has a multi-textured handle for teething.

Munchkin Snack Catcher: As I said above, weaning is going to get very messy so anything that helps contain some of that mess is a winner in my eyes! The Munchkin snack catcher will be perfect to use on the go, especially when Teddy gets a little older. It has the perfect sized opening for little hands but if the container is over-turned, nothing will fall out.

Beaba Rice Cooker: Another amazing creation! It is designed to easily and quickly cook small amounts of rice or pasta. Perfect for Teddy's dinner, it'll make it so much easier knowing I am cooking just the right amount. I don't know about you but I can't quite grasp how much pasta or rice is enough for a portion and end up having enough pasta to feed a small army.

Is your baby getting ready to wean? Or if your little one is already weaning, i'd love some tips and recipes you & your little one love.

*this was a sponsored post in collaboration with Panasonic, all views and opinions are my own.

October Reading List

October Reading List



If you read my Autumn Goals post, you will know that I am trying to make more of a conscious effort to read. I used to read a book every day before Teddy arrived but as most of you probably know, life with a baby is pretty hectic. It's actually the thing I miss most about my pre-baby life, being able to sit for hours and get completely lost in a book. I set myself a challenge on Goodreads at the beginning of every year, last year it was 70 books and I smashed it. This year, knowing baby would be arriving, I decided to opt for 40. So far i'm on number 25 (5 behind schedule according to their tracker!). I thought I would update my blog every couple of months on the books I am hoping to get read, as a way to stay on track! Here are the books I am hoping to read in October...

Mummy Guilt, Self Doubt & Me..



Before I became a mum, I thought mum guilt was saved for when your kids were older and you felt shit for refusing to buy another pack of sweets or buy them their first alco-pop at thirteen (it was acceptable when I was younger, honest..). Turns out I've been feeling mum guilt since the day Teddy was born. Guilty because during my three day labour, I remember regretting ever getting pregnant, wondering could this horrible pain really be worth it at the end. Guilty because I couldn't push him out myself and he had to be helped out with forceps. Guilty because for 24 hours he wouldn't latch on and in my head, that was my fault for not knowing what I was doing. It's only got worse as he's got bigger I spend the days questioning whether I have done enough for him developmentally, guilty because I let him cry for a minute whilst I tried to sort another washing load out and make myself something eat. I go to bed and feel guilty because we haven't been out that day and we've spent the day in our pyjamas. I lie awake for hours going through the whole day in my mind wondering what I should have done differently. He is four months old and we still haven't been to any baby classes, will that affect him? Group mum activities just aren't my thing..

Things I Miss Since Becoming A Mummy.



Some people take motherhood in their stride, it's a role they were born to do & they'd never go back to their life pre-baby because everyday is wonderful. I hate to be THAT mother but jesus christ, there are some days where I would sell my left breast for just one day, or even half a day (beggars can't be choosers and all that) to go back to being 'pre-mummy' Rachael. I love Teddy more than anything in this universe, I really, really do. But there are some days where I sit and want to sob over all the things I took for granted before I had him. You don't realise all the things that will change as soon as you have a baby. They don't change gradually over time. It's instant. Like not being able to sneeze or cough without peeing yourself.
I'm not afraid to take one for the mama team & look back on all the things I miss since becoming a mother....


14 Ways To Declutter Your Life.

  
I don't know if it the change in season or whether it's that Christmas (yes, yes I said the C word..) is very nearly upon us but I suddenly have the urge to organise, tidy and declutter my life. Whether that's selling or donating Teddy's old or unused things, giving the kitchen cupboards a sort out or binning clothes that I haven't worn in 5 years but for some reason just can't seem to let go of. I have a tendency of hoarding, feeling some emotional attachments to things even though i'll never use them again or they've never been used. I always come up with a reason to keep hold of them "just incase.."

Well not anymore! I am a mission to donate, sell or bin all our unwanted crap and give my life a good old declutter. I know it's going to take time but taking just a little time out of each day, dedicated to getting rid of the clutter will make it so much easier to maintain a clutter-free life. It'll help me feel so much more organised and on top of my shit, which for the past few months, I really haven't felt like. Here are all the things I am going to do over the next couple of weeks to help tackle the clutter:

What Breastfeeding Has Taught Me.

 
What breastfeeding has taught me


If you have read my blog for a while or follow me on social media, you will know that I exclusively breastfeed Teddy and have done since he was born four months ago. I have always been really open and honest about breastfeeding, sharing my Breastfeeding Journey and although it is possibly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do (a close second to building his fucking cot bed) I wouldn't change it for the world. I thought I would share all the things that breastfeeding has taught me, aside from needing nipples made of steel...


ErgoPouch Swaddle Sleeping Bag


ErgoPouch Swaddle Sleeping Bag Review
    
ErgoPouch Swaddle Sleeping Bag Review

When we found out we were having Teddy, I think we bought pretty much everything we possibly could and we felt fully prepared for all situations. Silly me. I have definitely learned my lesson & know what is a gimmick, what we never used and what we would 100% repurchase. One thing we didn't get round to buying was a sleeping bag. I'd heard a lot about them & knew they were safer than blankets but I didn't like the idea of putting a tiny baby in a huge sleeping bag that they could get lost in, I also couldn't do a swaddle to save my fucking life. Luckily for me, Teddy hated being swaddled so I never had to learn properly. However a couple of weeks ago, the temperature definitely dropped, especially at night time and I suddenly went into panic mode about Teddy getting too cold and decided it was definitely time to get a sleeping bag. We then discovered the ErgoPouch Swaddle Sleeping Bag.

Teddy's Four Month Update.

   
Baby's Four Month Update

How in the hell is my child four months old?! I feel like the months are going by quicker & quicker, it doesn't feel like two minutes since I was writing his three month update!
I can't believe how much Teddy has changed this month, his personality just grows & grows. He is reaching so many milestones, interacting with his toys, being able to focus and grab them with ease (they go straight in his mouth..) and sometimes he'll do the sweetest little giggle. Usually when his Daddy is tickling him or blowing on his belly. It just fills me with so much love seeing them together.
It's been over a year this month, since we found out we were expecting Teddy and I can't believe it. He has been in our lives for one whole year.

Autumn Goals.

  
Autumn goals I want to achieve including personal and blogging.


As much as I love Summer & the warmer months, there is something about Autumn that makes me feel really content. September, to me, marks the beginning of Autumn I love nothing more than lighting my autumnal scented candles, turning on all the fairy lights and getting cosy on the sofa. None of that pumpkin spices latte shite, I aint about that life. Eugh. It also means we are one season away from CHRISTMAS! Now that, I can get onboard with! I'm also super excited for our local firework display that takes place in Autumn, I can't wait to take Teddy. Chances are he won't give a shit, but i'll feel satisfied and like i've fulfilled some sort of mummy mission.

I thought I would give you a run down of all the Autumn goals I am hoping to get done on both a personal & blogging level. I'm going to try and do one of these for every season..

10 Things Not To Say To A First Time Mama.

  
Ten things not to say to a first time mum

One thing I have learnt as a first time mum is that people think they can suddenly ask you/give you an opinion on everything. They start rhyming off all their unwanted advice and telling you things that you really couldn't care less about. When I was pregnant I got the usual, 'oh you're massive', 'ohh when I was pregnant..' & my favourite 'how are you going to feed baby?' With my milk making titties clearly wasn't the answer they expected...If they want to ask the inappropriate questions, an inappropriate answer is what they'll get back. Since having Teddy, the comments and questions have only got worse! I thought i'd share 10 things NOT to say to a first time mum. Or any mum for that matter!

Side Note: I do like to overshare. Quite a lot...

 ENJOY!

How I Feel About My Post-Partum Body.

   

I love my body because it has grown and given birth to my baby. I just don't always like it. Is it beautiful? I'm not so sure.

Growing up I was always conscious of my body, I hated the idea of getting 'fat'. I've always been a size 10 and I put it down to a good metabolism because I ate for England and always have done. I've never been the healthiest of people or the most active. I danced a lot when I was younger but that all stopped once I got to the top end of secondary school and I've never really bothered with exercise since. That isn't anything I am proud of! However when I found out I was pregnant, my fear of gaining weight and my changing shape completely disappeared! I couldn't wait to watch my belly grow every month and I was never worried about getting stretch marks, if they came, they came. It's part of the pregnancy package!

   

During my pregnancy with Teddy, I gained almost two and a half stone. I was weighed by my midwife at my first antenatal appointment and I weighed myself right at the end, on my due date. I didn't weigh myself during my pregnancy at all. People thought I was exaggerating but the numbers really didn't matter to me. I genuinely didn't care how much weight I gained.

When I looked back I realised that my fear of getting 'fat' was that my slender, big boobs, slim waisted body was what I craved because that is what society deems as acceptable and celebrates. I hadn't realised that I had piled pressure on myself to stay that way because I was seeking some fucked-up sort of acceptance. When really, as soon as I had a reason to gain weight and have my body shape change, I completely embraced it.

Dear Mama: Co-Sleeping & Why It's Okay.

  
co-sleeping and why it is okay


Co-sleeping isn't something I really looked into when I was pregnant. I didn't understand people that co-slept. Babies sleep in their moses baskets or cribs at night don't they? Babies will fall asleep wherever you put them, right? Nah. They really don't. They may be tiny but newborn babies know EXACTLY where they want to sleep and if that's in their designated space, good for you. In a lot of cases however, it's right next to mama. And by right next to, I mean literally RIGHT next to you. 

We were in hospital for two nights after I had Teddy & both those nights, he slept quite happily in his little rocking crib next to my bed, swaddled up to his baby blue eye balls, happy as larry. I'm sure he lured me into a false sense of security on purpose...
I remember on our second night, a midwife insisted I get some sleep and lay Teddy next to me, latched him on for me and let us sleep for a couple of hours, however when we got home, I knew i'd be too terrified to try it without a midwife there to check on us, so pushed it to the back of my mind.

When we got home however, would he settle in his moses basket or crib at night time? Would he fuck! I put it down It's to cluster feeding and figured he just needed to sort my supply out and we'd be laughing. Those first two weeks were horrendous, not just for the constant nightly feeds but for the fact he wouldn't sleep anywhere but my arms until around 5 in the morning where he would pass out on our bed. I was so terrified of falling asleep with him in my arms that I would stay awake all night. If I tried to put him down, he screamed bloody murder and we'd end up having to pace the house to try & get him to calm down.

Share The Love...

  


One thing I have noticed, in particular, over the last couple of months is how negative the social media world has become. Bloggers bitching about bloggers, the Instagram algorithm being particularly shitty & Twitter being used to spread unnecessary hate! There is enough crap going on in the 'real world' without being sucked into it online as well. I don't know about you, but I actually come online to escape the everyday norm. I spend my days with my boobs out (breastfeeding not just for shits & giggles..), cleaning shitty nappies and trying to not have meltdown. Instagram, blog posts & Twitter are where I go to take my mind off all that & enjoy ten minutes of reading about something other than whether my child hates me and if leap 4 is making any other parent want to jump out the window and do a runner'.

I thought it was time to share the love! I am going to do a roundup of my favourite blogs at the minute, Instagram's I am loving (& slightly jealous off) and people in general, spread some damn positivity!

My girl Terri, words can't express how much I love her & her gorgeous Ezra. I met this mama through Instagram & back in March we started a group chat with two other first time mama's (Rachel & Chelsie you absolute babes with your delicious boys!). We were all pregnant at the time & bonded over our honesty, no-shit attitude and our crude remarks about how unglamorous pregnancy was for us. Now we are 6 months deep in our relationship and they are all my soul sisters. We all welcomed baby boys and we talk everyday about always loving them, but possibly not always liking them. Terri started her blog when Ezra was first born and it is one of my all time favourites! Her post all about "Mama Advice" and the fact it is pretty much 100% unwanted is a must-read! Her Instagram is also the most colourful feed you will ever find, full of rainbows!

Caitylis is all round a good egg! Her photography is serious goals and I am incredibly jealous of her stunning flat lays. She also writes so lovely and her blog posts are always my favourites to read! Her latest post "11 Things You Must Do This Autumn" makes for perfect reading & has really gotten me in the mood for Autumn and the colder weather! We have recently been talking on Twitter and she is just so lovely. She is also expecting a little boy in December & i'm so excited for him to arrive!


Amy is a first-time mama like myself to a gorgeous little boy Freddie! I follow Amy on Instagram & her feed is beautiful. I love her honesty when it comes to motherhood and i'm also slightly (read as: a lot) envious that she finds the time to look gorgeous! I feel like I barely have my shit together and she gives me hope that one day I may find the time to curl my hair again. These days i'm lucky to get a brush through it. My favourite post of hers is all about breastfeeding "Nipples, Night-Feeds and Not What I Expected".

Gee is one of my favourite people! We bonded through a love for hilarious GIFS and sarcastic tweets. Her Instagram is full of delicious looking meals that she makes for her little girls and I know where I will be going for inspiration when Teddy is weaning. She is a complete girl boss; looking after her two gorgeous girls AND running a blog. I need some of her motivation and organisation skills! Gee's latest post "Let's Talk About Suicide" is an absolute must-read and highlights such an important topic!

Kassy is my due date twin & although her little boy arrived a lot earlier than Teddy did, she is currently one of the main reasons I am just about surviving the "Fourth Leap" or as we like to call it the "What the fuck is wrong with my child, and where is the alcohol?" leap. We are currently bonding over our lack of sleep & counting down the days to the end of the leap, where we are going to celebrate the shit out of life! 7 DAYS TO GOOOOO. Her latest post "Mummy Guilt- The Daily Struggle" is one that I completely relate to & i'm sure lots of other mummies will as well!

Are there any blogs, Instagram's or people you are loving at the minute? 

What I Am Currently Reading, Watching & Listening To.


    Currently watching reading and listening to

Currently Reading..

The Wonder Weeks Book; This book has been a life saver these past couple of weeks. It also has a matching app that is so handy to check out when you are on the go. If you have never heard of The Wonder Weeks, it is a book that breaks down your child's development into 'leaps'. As your baby is growing up and learning new things you will notice a huge change in their behaviour, and not in a good way! They have a leap every few weeks and the book or app, whichever method you prefer, explains what they are currently learning, tips on dealing with the changes and it also tells you signs to look out for as a new leap is approaching. Teddy is currently going through leap 4, a.k.a the devil leap and the app has perfectly described his behaviour.

Currently Watching..

I've actually been watching a lot of Netflix films recently. I've found that Netflix can be so hit & miss with their movies, not updating them for a while or when they do update they are really old films that I've never heard of. However I've recently watched one film with Gerard Butler *swoon*, that I had never heard of called A Family Man and it was really good! Quite weepy so be prepared! I also finally got around to watching Deepwater Horizon with Mark Wahlberg *another swoon* which is a disaster film based on the actual events of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil leak. I really enjoyed this film and think it is definitely worth a watch. Again, it's another weepy one as it's based on real events. You forget as you are watching it that this ACTUALLY happened and get caught up in the film, however at the end it has a list of names and pictures of all the people that sadly lost their lives. I must have been in a "lets watch sad films" mood recently..

YouTube! I have fallen back in love with watching videos and really found some channels & people that I love. I highly recommend Hannah Gale's weekly vlogs, Lydia Millen's wedding planning updates and Hello October's (Suzie) homeware hauls!

Currently Listening To..

This week, Giovanna Fletcher released her Happy Mum, Happy Baby Podcast! I was so excited when she announced she would be releasing a podcast a long side her book that came out earlier this year. I absolutely love Gi's fictional work so I couldn't wait to pick up her first non-fiction book all about her journey as a mother to two small boys and she really does give a true, honest account of what motherhood has been like for her so far. This week her podcast featured Emma Willis, who I have a complete crush on, and they talked so honestly and openly about motherhood, breastfeeding and how parenting isn't all they thought it would be! I absolutely loved it and I can't wait for next weeks episode.


What have you been up to this week? Have you read or watched anything you've really enjoyed?!

This Time Last Year...

One year on..


It has been exactly one year since I found out we were expecting Teddy. One whole year has gone by and I can't quite believe it! It's been the quickest 12 months ever, but yet, feels like it was a whole other lifetime. I can't remember a time B.T (Before Teddy).

This time last year I had a feeling I was pregnant and remember talking to Aaron the night before about it saying I thought I might be but didn't want to get my hopes up and he was down playing it saying maybe I was just due on, however the next day when we were OFFICIALLY pregnant, he said he suspected all along and just didn't want me to be disappointed if I wasn't so kind of shrugged me off. 

Bastard.

You can read a more in-depth version of events on my post 'We're Having A Baby'.

It's crazy thinking how much our lives have changed this past year. We are no longer just a couple who does what they want, as and when they please. We are a little family unit and everything we do, we do with Teddy at the forefront of our minds.

  
   

I can't believe we have a three, almost four month old! It is literally surreal and it still baffles me that we spent my whole pregnancy not knowing who this little person would be. He started off as just a wish and I dreamed so hard for him. We decided not to find out the gender so spent every couple of months having guessing games with other people, planning a nursery with no idea WHO we were planning it for but then as soon as he arrived, it was like I had always known it was him. 

When Aaron announced we had a boy, instantly I was like, yes that is him. I felt like I had known him for a lifetime and it hasn't been the easiest few months. If you follow me on Twitter (@Rchi_B) or Instagram (@fromrachael_claire) you will know that I haven't always found motherhood easy and there are times where I still wonder what the hell I've done, but saying all that, I wouldn't change a single thing. As much as I miss sleep and being able to take a poop at my own leisure & without having to leave the door open so I can hear Teddy, I wouldn't change him for the world. He has slotted perfectly into our lives.


We have such wonderfully big, beautiful dreams and plans for you Theodore Atlas. 

Lessons I Have Learnt Since Becoming A Parent | Guest Post Series | The Prosecco Mum

   


I'm Jess, aka Prosecco Mum. I'm a mum and I'm partial to a glass or five of the good stuff. Though this doesn't happen as often as I'd like now, so when I do strip off my well worn 'mum' leggings and get my glad rags on, I turn into one of those over-excited, just turned 18 year olds that you see binge drinking in pubs. Except I'm 34 and I'm apparently a responsible mother to my two babies - Sofia who's in full threenage mode and Arlo who's four months.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, can prepare you for becoming a parent. Having your first child is a huge culture shock; no matter how selfless you think you were before, an arrival of a baby makes you realise you were actually pretty selfish. I mean all you may want is to have a wee. Alone. Is that too much to ask? And for all you non-parents doubting it 'can be that hard', there are no amount of hangovers, even seven day long ones that will EVER be as horrendous as four months sleep deprivation. Yes I speak from experience. 

 

Lessons I Have Learned Since Becoming A Mummy


● Your time is no longer your time. You can bet your bottom dollar that the moment you boil that kettle, pour the steaming water over that teabag, think about taking a first sip…the nap will just end.

● You can’t just ‘pop’ anywhere without a strict military operation taking place - and heaven forbid, don't forget the changing bag!

● Every time you take a shower you'll hear a crying baby; even if they're not in the house. I think its correct term is shower psychosis. Just me? 

● Sleep is for the weak. I mean who needs a lie in past 6.30 anyway?

● Health Visitors, on the whole, are pretty useless. They can’t give personal advice they read it from a book. So, how about we stop these weekly visits as I can just find out the answers to my questions on Google.

● Speaking of which, Google’s actually a bit of a no-no. You’ll end up diagnosing an imminent cot death or a brain tumour. And that’s just us parents!

● From the moment you conceive you also conceive loads of new emotions that make you cry at absolutely everything. Often at really inappropriate times. You think pregnancy is bad? Wait until days 3-5 post partum. 

● Mum friends are a necessity! You really do lean on those who are going through the same experiences as you, at the same time. You will more than likely have lifelong friends, and they will always be there, but there's something special about hanging out with other sleep deprived, sicked on parents during maternity leave to motivate you to drag your ass out to see when really all you want to do is fester on the sofa (some days like this are OK, but not every day - it's not great for your state of mind. 

Enjoyed this? 
You can read the full blog 'First year as a first time mama, here: http://proseccomum.com/first-year-as-a-first-time-mama/

Social Media - 
Instagram: @the_prosecco_mum 
Twitter: @proseccomum

 
 

Dear Mama: The Fourth Trimester.

   
The Fourth Trimester

The Fourth Trimester

This was something I heard about on & off when I was pregnant but I never really paid much attention to it. It wasn't until Teddy was about a week old and I text my sister wondering what the fuck was going on. I had been up all night, holding a baby that wouldn't be put down for love or money, breast milk in areas where one should never have breast milk and my hair in a top knot that I swear, if I had removed the bobble, it wouldn't budge an inch.

I couldn't get anything done that took longer than two minutes because Teddy would wail like a banshee until I picked him up and fed him. That goes for at night time too! He wouldn't be put down so I found myself either walking around the bedroom or sat up in bed with the support of 100's of cushions feeding for hours & hours on end. Only being able to put him down at the crack of dawn where he would sleep in between us until 9/10am. Those four or five hours of sleep where everything.

My Sister yet again reminded me that this behaviour is completely, 100% normal and forwarded me the link to Sarah Hockwell-Smiths article on The Fourth Trimester. This article literally saved my life and I finally looked at motherhood in a whole different light. I could completely relate to every single thing she said and I remember sitting in bed, sobbing whilst reading it because I realised I wasn't alone and the things I had been experiencing & feeling where normal. Nothing was wrong with me or my baby, he wasn't broke and I wasn't imaging things.

The fourth trimester starts from the moment your baby is born until they are around three months old; so contrary to what you actually think at the time, it will not last forever! As Sarah put it, to empathise with our babies and understand how they are feeling, we need to put ourselves in their position. They have spent the past 9 months in their own little womb world. Secure and safe with their mummy. They are then suddenly out in our world and it's a bloody huge shock. Basically.


They have gone from being somewhere dark, constantly warm and being in constant contact with their mummy to somewhere bright, fluctuating temperature and reduced contact with their mummy who, up until then, has literally been their whole world. It's also important to remember that in the womb their life was exactly the same, everyday, for nine months to a world that is ever changing!

Your new baby has to completely rely on you for everything; care, attention and love. Your baby only has their instinct and reflexes to help them control their behaviour and movement. Contrary to what people say, you can NOT spoil a baby! It really pisses me off when people say you are making a 'rod for your own back' by always picking your baby up when they are crying or cuddling them to sleep. I personally think it's a load of bollocks. If Teddy needs me to hold, snuggle and love him to help him sleep and feel safe..i'm sure as shit going to do it! I don't care what anyone else says.

How We Survived The Fourth Trimester

Skin-to-Skin; We still do this now and I love it so much. It's so special, reassuring your baby with your warmth and smell. Stripping your baby down and holding them against you also helps to calm and soothe them when they are upset. We did skin-to-skin when Teddy had a temperature after his eight week jabs, as your temperature helps them to regulate theirs.

Co-Sleeping; I will be doing a whole other post on this but for those of you who follow me on social media or have read my previous posts, you will know that we co-slept with Teddy from around one/two weeks old until he was about 8 weeks and it was a complete life saver. I know co-sleeping isn't for everyone and a lot of people don't feel comfortable but when your baby is cluster feeding and won't be put down to sleep, you have to do what you have to do.

Feed On Demand; Teddy is still fed on demand and probably will be for a while. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, making sure that your baby gets nourishment as & when they need it- rather than sticking to a set schedule. Feeding to a schedule is possibly easier, especially when bottle feeding as you can plan and prepare your bottles in advance but as I am breastfeeding, I can just feed Teddy whenever and wherever he needs. Whether it's every hour or every three.

Fuck The Routines; Don't worry yourself with trying to get your baby into a routine. If your baby naturally falls into one then fine, but don't stress if they don't! Teddy is three months old and we still aren't in any sort of permanent routine. Other than starting his bath, boob and bed routine at 7pm, we just wing it during the day. He naturally starts getting tired around 7pm which is why we have adapted to what works for him.

Mummy Club; Having a support network, especially during the early days, is essential. Whether it's friends or family, just having people to talk to and get advice from when you need it most! My mummy club saved my life. I am the first person out of my circle of friends to have a baby so finding other pregnant gals' or new mums to chat to in the middle of the night or during your 2000th feed of the day is one of the main reasons I survived the fourth trimester. Whether they are IRL friends or someone you can chat to online who you feel comfortable with; go for it! A problem shared and all that..

Relax; Easier said than done but honestly, take a breath and relax. You are doing, what I think, is one of the hardest things in the world. For some people motherhood happens naturally and they take everything in their stride. For me, it took a little while to adapt and realise that as long as I am doing whatever works best for me and Teddy, then bugger everyone else.

I hope you have found this post useful if you are pregnant or a new mummy, or if it brought back memories of your babies early days? My Dear Mama series is going to be a series of posts all about things I wish I had known more about or certain subjects that I would love to have heard from personal experience!