10 Honest Thoughts Of A First Time Mum..

Monday, October 30, 2017

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.

Friday, October 27, 2017
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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
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

Monday, October 23, 2017

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

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....

Thursday, October 19, 2017
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

Monday, October 16, 2017

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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

Monday, October 09, 2017

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

Friday, October 06, 2017

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

Thursday, October 05, 2017
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

Wednesday, October 04, 2017
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..

Monday, October 02, 2017

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..