Travelling with a toddler… How bad can it be?

When I’m out in the car with my daughter for a bit longer than she has the patience for being stuck in a car seat for, then I’ll get the high pitched screaming alarm or a frustrated hissy fit. She doesn’t hold on to her toys in the car for longer than five seconds before hurling them somewhere. With that in mind, she does pretty well to keep herself entertained most of the time on our car journeys, but it doesn’t stop me feeling a little anxious if I’m stuck out for longer than I intended, especially after I had a particularly bad car drive on the motorway… I will admit I haven’t really ventured away too far from home with Imogen and I do try to stick to some sort of daily routine. So when we decided to go abroad, I was left thinking how on earth we would cope with a toddler on a plane trip.

It seems silly now in hindsight of our holiday that I was a bit worried, but it’s because toddlers are so unpredictable, as you all know!

Perhaps you’re waiting to go away somewhere or you’re unsure of how you would cope… Please don’t let it put you off!

Think of when you need to leave for the airport and then add extra time! You just know that with kids, that something is going to happen… a last minute stinky nappy or a refusal to get ready. I never get out of the door on time anymore anyway, so despite feeling super prepared we didn’t leave home until later than our plan to.

On the motorway we were diverted off course due to road works and the sat nav took us through town after town. Watching the time ticking by, I’m not going to lie, I thought we weren’t going to be leaving the country at all, but in an attempt to keep my partner calm I kept saying just drive safe, it will be fine. At the end of the day, it’s not worth putting our lives at risk to catch a flight. Imogen slept the whole car journey and I’m glad we picked an early flight for this reason. At least she wasn’t adding to our stress.

Once we got to the airport there was no time to shop, we were racing through the airport and got to the boarding gate with 20 minutes to spare before it shut! We could finally sit and relax we thought. Imogen had other plans though, she wanted to run around. She most definitely did not want to sit nicely Mummy! So we had squealing and tantrums. At this point I noticed some panic stricken faces from people knowing that they were about to share a flight with a screaming toddler. This was one of the things I was a bit worried about but I thought ah yes, I’ll get her bottle ready for the flight. The milk will make everything better…

… Then it dawned on me that I hadn’t picked up the cartons of milk from the bag check. Eeek!

We were keeping Imogen as entertained and calm as possible, with my partner’s brilliant idea to download some Peppa Pig from Netflix onto his phone before we left home. This helped while the flight was delayed for almost an hour on the runway before take off.

Imogen was a bit squawky by this point on the flight and wanted to get off my lap to run around but the whole experience for her was new, exciting and strange! There was very little we could do, other than try to keep her occupied with the toys we’d packed for the flight, (one of them being a new toy that we thought she would be excited about), and once we could, we bought some snacks from the on flight drinks trolley. There were other babies and toddlers on the flight and they all did really well. Yes there was a bit of noise but if other people have a problem with that then I’m sure it’s nothing that a pair of earphones wouldn’t help with. Don’t let this worry you. Kids have as much right to travel as anyone else!

We found out once we reached our holiday destination that our relatives with a small child had to wait hours for a delayed flight the day before. I suddenly felt that our experience could have been a lot worse!

We had a lovely week with family and we were all feeling pretty sombre about the holiday ending.

When we were headed back to the airport we were stuck in traffic and I think the constant stopping and starting was what caused Imogen to be very sick all over herself. I was cleaning her up and once we got to the airport I was able to change her into fresh clothes. So I think in future I will remember to keep a spare change in our cabin bag.

We then had a forgotten Toot Toot dog set off the scanner for our hand luggage, which caused us a bit of delay but at least it gave the staff a few giggles! We again got to the boarding gate with very little time to spare… 10 minutes this time! But the strange thing is, we were so much more relaxed. When we were queueing to board the plane we were told our cabin bags would have to go into the hold! So on the flight back we didn’t have all the toys and entertainment that we had on the trip there. This time though we had the trusty milk and Imogen fell asleep for the whole flight home.

When we returned to the car, thinking all had gone pretty well and feeling eager to get home, we found our car had a flat tyre in the airport car park! We wouldn’t be home for another 5 hours! Instead of worrying though, we took it in our stride and managed to get it sorted, despite having no phone, (the battery died) and being somewhere unknown.

What I learned from our trip was that we coped. We could have spent ages planning for the trip and things still wouldn’t have gone to plan. What happened though wasn’t really so bad! I’m so glad we went abroad with Imogen and now I know I won’t worry so much about travelling again. Perhaps we’ll go further away next time. Maybe I will try doing longer car journeys or a train trip on my own? I feel far more confident for next time.

A letter to my husband…

Dear Jamie,

As you know, you’re currently enjoying your all-inclusive 5* holiday in Kabul, and our daughter and I are stuck at home, trying somehow to cope without you around.

Of course, I’m joking. You would never leave us for a 4 month holiday, you’re actually at work (perks of the army, eh?) but from what you’ve told me about your camp it sounds a lot like a holiday!

Don’t be annoyed, but I thought this would be more difficult than it has been so far. Today marks the two week point, and honestly I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had time to think about you being away. We get to speak quite often on the phone too, so that makes it a lot easier. But it is still a big adjustment. It is now, and it will be when you return.

I can imagine you’ll find it so much harder to come back, assuming I do have Olivia in some kind of routine by then (I won’t hold my breath on that one), and Olivia, especially, will have changed so much from the baby you left 2 weeks ago. She’ll be talking even more than she is now, potty trained (I hope), she’ll have had her 2nd birthday and she will have grown both physically and developmentally. She’s not far off your intelligence now, so I’m sure when you come back she’ll have far surpassed you on that scale! 😉

I’m kidding, of course…

However, right now, I’m having to deal with a much naughtier little toddler, who is probably testing even more boundaries because she’s stuck with Mummy all of the time. I wonder what goes through her head, and whether she knows when she asks for you that you’re at work. She seems to be coping quite well, it’s more my sanity that’s at risk while you’re away!

Right now she’s upstairs with Amy showing her the “naughty” scribbles she did on her wall, huffing and puffing and chattering away. See? This is pretty normal for her. She’s okay. We both are, really. We just miss you, that’s all.

People keep telling me that this time will go by so quickly, but what I’m really worried about is when I finish my course in June. Having so much free time, I’m sure, will make the time pass much more slowly. I won’t have any more milestone points to take my mind off it. At the moment, all I’m thinking is that I have 3 exams, 1 a week for 3 weeks, and then 3 weeks of teaching, 2 more exams and then that’s it, beginning of June, course done. That really doesn’t seem that far away, and that’s the half way point of you being gone. After that, the only thing I have to look forward to is you coming back! I might need to plan my own little holiday or something with the baby… Not that it will be much of a break, but it will at least fragment the time up a bit.

Olivia’s pestering me to have a go on the keyboard so I’m going to let her touch my Mac (I know right, see? My sanity is obviously gone) and write to you too…

saAS`A` GYTCxzxzxxccvcxzxczzxdsddxxdwdedcwggghgvghgvsmnhgghjkljkljnknn, ngfhghqzfsxbv de HGfcvdfdfdddgfdfsdd 

Translation: love you Daddy, see you soon, stay safe, love from Olivia xxxxx

Right, that’s enough for now and the brat smells so I have to execute a quick nappy change before attempting to get out of the house for messy play – god help us all.

We miss you so much – you’re the piece of our family that holds it all together.

Lots of love,

the Mrs
xxx

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Mental Health Monday: 8 ways to stay motivated!

Evening all!

I realise I’ve been slacking on the #MentalHealthMonday posts recently, but my own mental health has had to be prioritised, as has taking some time out to focus on spending time with my dear husband before he goes to Afghanistan.

One thing I’ve recognised in myself over the last couple of weeks, if not months, is that whenever your mental health takes a turn for the worse, it becomes so incredibly difficult to stay motivated. The smallest things like doing a grocery shop, writing a blogpost or doing exercise can be that much harder to do when you’re completely lacking motivation.

Here are my 8 top tips to stay motivated in spite of your mental health!

1. Plan your time

This one helps me the most, and you’ll find it particularly helpful if, like me, you’ve got a busy schedule and every minute of the day needs to be used wisely! When I was revising for my exams at school and sixth form I would use online tools to create revision timetables, and now I follow the same format by dedicating a certain amount of hours to something each week. That tends to be revision based still but I also have to balance work in the mix!

2. Use a tracker

If you haven’t seen my post about my bullet journal, check it out! I use my BuJo for everything, and I love using trackers. It’s a lovely pictorial way of logging what you actually do with your time, so that, on those days where you think “what have I even done today”, you can look back and feel less bad about yourself. You would be surprised how many habits we have that we just do without even thinking about them, good or bad! A tracker can be a great way to iron out those annoying habits you have too! Personally, I use mine to track my medication, spending and blogging usually, but the range of possibilities is endless.

3. Take regular breaks

If it’s a day where you have a lot of big tasks to get through,  and you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to do even one of those, then taking regular breaks can really help. Know your limits and if you’re tired, take a rest! We’re only human so we need to stop trying to be superhuman all the time!

4. Have a day off

If you’re having long-term motivation issues, just take the day off. Your body and mind clearly need it, so have a you day, do whatever you want to, get some well-deserved rest and come back to it tomorrow. As long as you know it’s something you can come back to, you’ll feel better for rejuvenating and allowing your mind to repair itself so that when you do come back to whatever task you’re doing, you can feel fresh and ready to go!

5. Set a daily goal

Each day, set one goal for something that you want to achieve that day, and achieve it! It can’t be something so incredibly mundane that you feel no accomplishment when you do achieve it though, so pick something a little outside of your usual routine and just make sure that you set aside enough time in the day to get it done. Once you’ve completed it, you’ll feel your motivation to do other things coming back to you too!

6. Put your phone away

How many of us actually take time off from our phones? I’m writing this blogpost right now on my phone. It’s a terrible thing! It’s an addiction and we need to have time to be in the moment away from any distractions. When you go to bed, plug your phone in on the other side of the room, and when you wake up you’ll HAVE to get out of bed to turn your phone alarm off or just to check your messages. Try limiting your time on social media so that instead of seeing tons of people being “fake happy”, you can spend time getting your real happy back. This is also a bad habit you could track!

7. Do one thing every day that’s just for you

I think our Mummykind mums have harped on about this a lot, but self care is soooooo important! Set time aside in the day to do one thing just for you. A home aerobics or yoga dvd, a glass of wine and a good tv show, or even a peaceful half an hour to do some crafting or colouring or logging in your new BuJo! Whatever it is, make sure it’s something completely for you to give you the self care you need to stay motivated day in, day out. Drink that bloody cup of tea while it’s still hot!!!

8. Have a ‘buddy’

Always wanted to go to the gym but too anxious or nervous to go alone? Get a gym buddy! Join a class or go for a run with your fitness buddy and it will 100% motivate you to keep going. You’ll have a sense of obligation so that you don’t let your buddy down, and at the same time you’ll be fulfilling your goals too. I’m not sure how versatile this is for other tasks you may need motivating to do… for example a laundry buddy may not work unless you skype while you do it, and then I think it loses all appeal really!!!

Do you have any other tips to motivate yourself when you’re finding it hard to feel motivated? Please let us know in the comments, and get involved with #MentalHealthMonday chats on Twitter!

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Top 5 hairstyles for my frizzy haired daughter!

5 frizzy hairstyles

Up until very recently, Evie always hated people touching her hair. It was a major struggle to get her to let me brush it or even wash it without a meltdown. So when she finally decided that she wanted pretty hair for nursery, I was stuck to say the least. She has the awkward in-between hair that isn’t curly or straight, thick or fine… It’s usually just a matted frizzy mess begging for a brush. But with a bit of help from Social Media mummies and a lot of Pinterest searching, I have finally found hairstyles that are not only easy to do but tame her frizzy hair and make it easier to manage on a daily basis. So I give to you, my top 5 go to hairstyles for my frizzy haired daughter.

1.This one is the easiest of them all! All you need is 2 small hair bands or elastics and a comb! Always try and start off with damp hair, it makes it so much easier to manage and helps it stay in place when styling! Separate the hair into 2 sections and tie them into bunches. DONE! If your daughter’s hair is shorter like mine, use the top section if her hair and then separate that into 2 sections. You can add clips or bows etc. to make it look prettier or just leave it as it is.

2.For this one you will need 4 small hair bands or elastics and a comb. Take the front section of hair and split it into 2 sections and tie them into bunches. Then take the middle section of hair and do the same but as you comb them into bunches, add the bunch from the top section into it.

 

3.This one is very similar to the previous one but instead of passing the top bunch down, pass it diagonal and then tie it into a bunch.

4.For this one you will need 2 small hair bands or elastics and a bit more patience. Separate the hair into 2 sections (as you can see, the sections don’t need to be even). Clip one section to the side whilst you work on the other side. Take the front section of hair and start twisting it back gathering up sections of hair as you go along, until you get to the back and then tie it off with a band and then repeat with the other side. Once you’ve reached the back with second twist, tie them both together and add a bow or flower etc.

5.For this one, grab 6 small hair bands or elastics and a comb. Split the hair into two sections and clip one side. Take the bottom section and tie it into a bunch, then take the middle section and do the same but take the bottom bunch into it before tying it off and repeat again with the top section. Then repeat on the other side. Depending on the length of your daughter’s hair, you can either leave the top as bunches or make them into buns.

And there you have it! My top 5 hairstyles for my frizzy haired daughter! Hopefully these work for you and if they do, we would love to see them! Or if you have your own go to hairstyles, feel free to share them below, I’m always in need of new ones!

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Celebrity style walk-in wardrobes only for you!

As parents, we all know that finding enough storage space can be such a hassle! That’s why Alanah from Bravo London has written this guest post to share some space-saving ideas, not only making life as a parent easier but allowing you to live in luxury!
Celebrity style walk-in wardrobes only for you!
The life of celebrities often fascinates most of us. Their lifestyle, their collections are always looked upon as premium and rich. Do you dream of having a royal quality of walk-in wardrobe for yourself? Just imagine a closet that is only occupied by your numerous pair of shoes, bags, trendy dresses and so on! Does this sound interesting to you? Then let us help you live this dream of yours. We here at Bravo London have the most innovative and ingenious ideas that would transform your small space into a spacious walk-in wardrobe exclusively for you.
Sliding wardrobe doors are always space savers for you. Your rooms look more spacious and at the same time give a premium storage option. Bravo London helps you with the best style of sliding wardrobe doors like glass doors, metal doors, wooden doors, etc to make your interiors look more stylish and premium.
 
 
We offer the best and a very affordable range of walk-in wardrobes. Well, organising such wardrobes is also a great task. Below are a few of the points that would help you with the additional sections that you would not want to miss on while opting for a walk-in wardrobe with sliding wardrobe doors. 
Your flattering bag collection:
 
Now it’s time to gather all your flirty and fine lined bags in one place and store them in a very well organised manner in your walk-in door wardrobe. Slide through the doors and flaunt with style among your friends and envy them with a separate handbag section to showcase your amazing collections. The sliding door wardrobes are the best to have in the walk-in wardrobes.
Seating for comfort:
 
If you are getting ready for a party, a walk-in wardrobe is the best place where you can get ready at once, no hassle of searching for things here and there; you have your dresses, your makeup, your handbag and your shoes all in one place. At this point a seat or a comfortable table is very important to help you to be seated while you are trying to look your best for the party. 
Place for your stunning shoes:
Now you don’t have to worry about placing your favourite shoes under the storage closet away from everyone’s sight. Just show off your stylish collections by getting an extra, manageable space for all of your shoes in one place, making them visible to everyone.
Dazzling jewellery section:
 
Add to the beauty of your wardrobe by opting for a sliding glass door jewellery section. This part of your wardrobe would make your jewellery collection dazzle, a perfect treat to eyes.
Island Units:
 
If you have a little more space in your walk-in wardrobe, then opting for a perfect island unit would cut off the empty space and let you have more storage options. You can arrange other collectables like hats, scarves, belts, etc. in this unit and keep your wardrobe mess free.
Make your collections look more organised and wow your friends and family with the stylish walk-in wardrobe options available with Bravo London.

Check out Bravo London’s Facebook page or website (above) to speak to a design specialist today!

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Coping with New Year Blues

‘Happy’ New Year.

January is a time that people make changes to their lives and make promises to themselves to be better, do better and feel better. It’s no surprise then that ‘happy’ new year can be anything but happy. The amount of pressure we put on ourselves only to slip up in the first few weeks can set us up for a really stressful time. Of course that’s not all; think of the energy lost over the festive season, the persistent cold weather and very obvious lack of sunshine – it’s no wonder January feels so blue.

Personally, I tend to find no happiness from boxing day right through to the first sunny day in February or even March most years but I am trying to cope a little more effectively and so far, I am feeling more positive than I was expecting.

This year I started taking the Christmas tree down early, which might not seem like a huge deal but it has been significantly less stressful than in previous years. I did it for a couple of reasons: I was able to do it in stages and the gradual change was meant I had no ‘thump’ back to reality a week into January and honestly? Clutter. Christmas made my house look even more cluttered and it felt so closed in that it was a relief when we took it down.

We have adopted a ‘one in, one out’ rule for things like shirts, toys, novelty mugs… basically anything that we end up with more of than we need. As a stay at home parent, excessive clutter that has no home is a huge source of stress for me and I have been at breaking point with it more times than I care to recall. I am determined not to let it get the better of me anymore. Although we haven’t completely followed through with this yet, we have sorted and stored the things we want to take to charity shops or sell online.

Set realistic goals and set them when you are ready. I am in a position where I have been my  ‘ideal’ weight and gained from there and I know that I need to lose around 4 stone to reach that healthier weight and that is daunting, so I am aiming for my pre-baby jeans first. The timing is important, too. I find the ‘from New Year’s Day’ thing really intimidating for some reason. We still had Christmas food in the house for the first couple of weeks of January and there was no way I could have started dieting with all that temptation around – I would have failed miserably and given up.  So my main aim for January was to make healthier choices in the supermarket, and change my portion sizes because I know I’m an over-eater.  I have since started a popular diet now that the temptation of Christmas cake is gone.

If you spend a lot of time at home like I do you will know that it can really get you down if you don’t have anything to do all week and then getting motivated to do anything can get really tough. I am trying to find things to get involved with without over-committing. I’m not great at meeting new people but I want to change that and start going to coffee mornings and maybe join a walking group. If that really sounds like the worst thing ever then make plans with yourself, just write down a time and place and go there, you’ll be glad you did.

Take this new year one day at a time – January is almost over now and if it hasn’t been great so far that doesn’t mean that the rest of your year will be the same. If you aren’t up to New Year’s resolutions just yet, or if you’ve already slipped up, then just make them again on 10th February or 3rd March… whenever you’re up to challenging yourself and NOT when other people expect it of you.

Happy New Year

Super inspiring healthy food
Here’s a super inspiring picture of some roasted veggies.
 

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Mental Health Monday: New Year’s Resolutions

Today is New Year’s Day.

The first day of 2018. Does anyone else think 2017 just flew by?

Anyway, most people reading this will have made new year’s resolutions last night… a few common ones in my house growing up were to stop biting your nails or to lose weight. It’s only since I’ve grown up and left my mother’s house that I actually stopped bothering with resolutions, and realised how superficial those ones are.

For us mummies who have been through the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth, and gained a lot of weight in the process (I gained 3 stone in total!!!), it’s completely understandable that you want to lose that extra weight in the “mum-tum” region. I still have my little tummy pouch and I hate looking at it, as stupid as that sounds. For some people, setting those personal fitness goals might be the perfect way to motivate yourself and get the job done, for others, it can be a clear example of setting our expectations too high and putting too much pressure on ourselves. For me, I’m a healthy weight and not at any further health risk, so waiting until I have the time to spend toning up instead of adding it to my already full plate (a pretty poor expression when we’re talking about weight loss, so forgive me) will help me in the long run. It gives me time to focus on my education and my daughter, without constantly jumping on the scales to see how much I weigh. I know I weigh more than I want to, so what is the point in checking every day until I know I have time to do something about it!

Our blog has spoken a lot about self care, and maybe your New Year’s resolutions are your way of achieving that – great for you! But for the mums, like me, who have plenty going on already, a smaller goal for self care might be better. At the end of the day, if you set your goals too high, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of feeling like a failure and then not being proactive enough to succeed.

2018 is the first year since I left home that I will be setting New Year’s resolutions. But they’re not just about my health and fitness. I’m focusing instead on living a level 10 life, and I discovered this idea through the realms of bullet journal ideas on Pinterest.

Your level 10 life makes you assess each of the ten areas of your life…
1) family and friends
2) personal development
3) spirituality and (my own addition) inner peace
4) finances
5) career
6) giving/contribution
7) fun
8) marriage
9) physical environment
10) health and fitness

You score them out of ten, and then give yourself small goals on how to improve. You can see mine below…

 

I showed this to my stepdaughter and she was genuinely interested in my goals and how I was going to get there. I felt like that was a better message for her to receive than for her to hear myself and her mother saying we wanted to lose weight in 2018 and however many years after that. I had to hear my mother say it every new year and all it did was make me set the same goals when I was old enough to learn and want to follow in her footsteps.

So this new year, focus on the little things you can change to bring you more positivity! Don’t set your goals too high and put extra pressure on yourself… we have enough of that already just being parents!

If you’re already living your level 10 life, then that’s fabulous, but for me, it was a reality check having to assess my happiness and work out how to improve it. I think this exercise will ultimately improve my mental health and help me to feel more positive about life and it’s changes, but time will tell!

Let us know in the comments if you have any resolutions or habits you want to kick, whatever they may be! Or even if you’ve tried the level 10 life spread and want to share its success/drawbacks!

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Things to remember when you fall out of love with someone you thought you’d love forever.

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Things to remember when you fall out of love with someone you thought you’d love forever. 
  1. Your worth hasn’t decreased due to their inability to see how valuable you are. Whether they’ve dropped a diamond whilst flicking through pebbles or they’ve neglected the best thing that’s ever happened to them- it is their problem and not yours! 
  2. Your ability to love so relentlessly, passionately and fearlessly is a strength. Not a weakness. You have SO MUCH to give. Never let anybody tell you any different. 
  3. Try to let go of the hurt. Holding onto it is only hurting you. Easier said than done, but whilst you’re replaying scenarios- they probably can’t even remember the half of the struggles they’ve caused you! 
  4. You will love again. It seems impossible, but you will. You have no idea of who or what could be around the corner for you. You have no idea of the love and adoration you might find it you just let yourself try. 
  5. Celebrate all of the good things you’ve done together. They’re still achievements. At one time, you made the best team- if you’re coparenting the chances are that you’re still a sturdy unit. You’re allowed to be proud of all the wonderful things you’ve done together.  
  6. Even if you’re angry, even if you’re hurting. Don’t throw away a chance of friendship with the one who once meant the world to you. Try not to regret anything, even a bad ending doesn’t have to spoil great times, triumphs and memories. 
  7. Give yourself all the time you think you need to heal. Let yourself hurt, let yourself cry. You are more entitled to everything you are feeling. Don’t give yourself the “so and so had it worse” treatment- stop belittling your pain, it’s not a healthy way of dealing with things! 
  8. If there are children involved, never let either party or their families speak badly of the other. This breeds distrust between both parties, a quick nasty comment can drop out of an angry mouth in a heart beat- but the chances of it being forgotten by an impressionable child? Not likely! I’m not saying to necessarily hide the hurt you’re feeling from your children or the heart break your feeling, as these are great lessons of resilience and overcoming emotional turmoil- just keep hurtful truths and hyperbolic stories away from minds that can buy too much into them.  
  9. Remember that everything you’ve felt with with person, everything you’ve been through- is an example of better things to come. Keep reminding yourself that better things are just around the corner. that relationship and the subsequent breakup could be exactly what you needed to go out and find the better things.
  10. Let the pain remind you that your heart can heal. The likelihood is you’ve hurt like this before and maybe you will again. You’re alive to feel so many different emotions, to experience so many different experiences- life is like a cardiograph, the ups and downs are just a good sign that we’re still alive- kicking and fighting. 
  11. I’ll reiterate- PLEASE never, ever forget your worth. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever. You are so worthy. Scream it from the rooftops until you believe it!

Top tips for mums planning a wedding and honeymoon

Weddings take so much planning as they are. When you factor in children things can get messy. Here are some tips to help your day run smoothly.  #Wedding #Bride #FlowerGirl #KidsAtWeddings #WeddingPlanning #Babies #Toddler

Wedding

Last Tuesday I tied the knot and became a wife! Crazy, I know. At the ripe old age of 22, I have taken myself securely off the market… Sorry, lads.

The day was absolutely wonderful, and I am amazed with how well my darling 17 month old daughter coped with all the late nights and lack of sleep. However, having her around did make certain pre-wedding things slightly more stressful, so if you can learn from my experiences, I hope it makes it much easier for anyone else in the same boat!

1. Don’t attempt dress fittings with clingy children…

For my final fitting before the big day, myself and 3 bridesmaids all had to get to the bridal shop for final tweaks and adjustments. You would think that, in this situation, there are enough bridesmaids to go around to entertain the little one while mummy had her fitting. Except 2 of them were 50 minutes late, with no explanation. This is more of a choose reliable bridesmaids tip than a parenting one, but the struggle that occurred while I was in my dress and the baby was screaming for a cuddle (overtired, as usual) was awful and made even the seamstress upset! Both myself and Olivia could have been saved a lot of tears if she had simply been left with Daddy for the day.

2. Try not to upset their routine too much…

After a week of being away from home, Olivia was more than happy to go to her own bed, with her teddy and her nightlight, and went to sleep straight away with no fussing at all. You know how, when you stay in a hotel too long and you can’t wait to get home and sleep in your own bed? Well, it seems like babies feel that too. To avoid spending too long away from home, plan the wedding locally! I think the whole saga would have been far more manageable for us if we had a local wedding and were in our own place right up until the wedding day, with Olivia only spending the honeymoon (4 nights) in a different bed outside of her normal routine.

3. Have clear childcare plans for the wedding night…

You may think this goes without saying, but maybe not for those without kids. If you’re relying on bridesmaids/friends rather than a childminder or babysitter, make sure they know exactly what will need doing. My anxiety was triggered a lot on the wedding day and night, purely through not knowing who was looking after Olivia when, and from having to save her from falling down the stairs multiple times. It also took one of our lovely (fellow parent) guests to swoop in and offer to change her nappy for us, a small act of kindness that saved me deserting the wedding party and wiping a bare bottom in my wedding dress!

4. Have entertainment ready for the morning of the wedding…

Hectic as it is anyway, it’s even more hectic in a small space with a baby running around and 7 bridesmaids. Mum-in-law was quick to the rescue by plonking the little ones in a bath together with bath crayons and bubbles, keeping them entertained for a significant portion of the morning! And, of course, bath time means bedtime! So little Olivia slept for a couple of hours afterwards, leaving us to get ready in peace!

5. Do take your baby to the wedding rehearsal…

I think that Olivia going to the rehearsal with us made her far happier on the day of the wedding. She knew what was where, and we only had one mishap with her attempting an escape route up to the altar! Other than that, she was perfectly behaved, and mainly stayed in the child-friendly area of the church filled with toys!

Honeymoon

My first tip here is not to take the kids with you – we learned that the hard way! But in all seriousness, if, like us, you want to share your holiday as a family, here are some tips and tricks to make the journey as hassle-free as possible!

1. Pay to take your buggy in the hold luggage, or plan to take one with you…

We made the mistake of assuming Olivia would be perfectly fine to walk about everywhere, not factoring in her exhaustion from all of the late nights she had in preparation for the wedding! As soon as we got to Barcelona, we realised that it wasn’t going to work without a buggy. Happy as she is to walk around, the need for sleep caught up with her and Back Pack Baby in Barcelona were saviours in our hour of need!

2. No amount of snacks is enough for the plane…

I bought 5 packets of Heinz baby biscuits, and 3 packets of Olivia’s favourite fruity bear paw prints. Almost all of that was gone on the outward journey, but luckily she found a hobby in opening and shutting the window blind on the plane, sat on Kiera’s lap. The way back was less easy going, due to having 2 grumpy, whiney children. Olivia managed to get about half an hour of sleep on the plane before her ears began popping in her sleep and obviously making her uncomfortable. Once she woke up and had her remaining snacks, she was her normal self, covered in chocolate and kicking to be free from restraint.

3. Have a nappy plan…

After we had to make an unscheduled nappy change in the early hours of this morning, when Olivia decided it would be super fun to pull hers off and wee on the bed (TWICE), we were left nappy-less by the time we boarded the plane. Of course, Olivia being Olivia, she decided that mid-flight was the best time to poo, and so we had a mad dash through passport control to find a pack of nappies that were definitely too small but had to make do until we could get anywhere else! Wherever you’re going, look up baby supplies before you go, and make sure you’re familiar with sizes. I had no idea where to start and thus we were stuck in this predicament!!!

FINAL TIP:

Enjoy it! Even if you may have some horrific moments, try to cherish the good ones and make lasting memories. Not everything goes as planned, but what I’ve realised is
that I’m lucky to have my new husband, who is particularly talented at turning rubbish times into great ones. I love him and our little family, and we all enjoyed our little trip to Barcelona, even if it was a bit hectic!

That’s it from me today! Share your experiences below!

Mummies Waiting
The ladybirds' adventures

Is Santa Claus Damaging Children’s Mental Health?

Now we are drawing closer to the festive season I am seeing more and more early birds on social media with their Christmas shopping already sorted. They have stacks and stacks of toys for their children and are posing questions like “Is this enough for my ___ year old?” and “How much of this should be from Santa?”.  I think it’s amazing that people want their kids to have nice things, and I am pleased that they can afford to do that but honestly? It makes me a little uncomfortable. 

It’s a crazy concept, isn’t it? That our jolly Christmastime character could cause any harm at all. I have been thinking about this for some time now, although I am yet to implement operation Santa in my own home because my son is so young. This will be the first year for us and I am so excited to introduce the spark of magic but I am also very wary of starting down a road I’m not too sure I want to travel. 
First and foremost, Christmas is a religious holiday and that should ALWAYS be respected and taught to children – they ought to know what they are celebrating.  Over the years that has taken a bit of a back seat for a lot of families but the values and spirit of Christmas remain unchanged. 
Now we are drawing closer to the festive season I am seeing more and more early birds on social media with their Christmas shopping already sorted. They have stacks and stacks of toys for their children and are posing questions like “Is this enough for my ___ year old?” and “How much of this should be from Santa?”.  I think it’s amazing that people want their kids to have nice things, and I am pleased that they can afford to do that but honestly? It makes me a little uncomfortable. 
This year, ‘Santa’ will be bringing my son a wooden train stacking toy and a wooden hammering bench wotsit. I am also going to make him a blanket (with FIIISHESSSS on it, because he loves them) and buy him some clothes and maybe a new dolly. Do I feel guilty? Not at all.  I am teaching my son to be humble, not to expect to have everything he wants handed to him and when he’s a bit older he will understand that mummy and daddy can’t always afford to buy expensive gifts and Santa will bring the kind of thing that Santa has always brought. That consistency is so important. 

So how can Santa Claus be damaging? 

I’m sure everyone can think back to a time in their lives that they were made to feel like they weren’t worth as much as their peers. It’s not a nice feeling and you would never wish it on anyone.  In the school playground in January the children are going to be talking about what Santa brought them for Christmas and one kid got a new games console, loads of games and whatever the latest must-have toys are. How are the other kids’ families supposed to live up to that? Sure, some kids know their parents aren’t as well off as others but Santa is supposed to be fair. (He’s also supposed to make the gifts which is partly why all of ours are wooden).

So then you have children from the families who can’t afford as much believing that they did something bad. They might even believe that Santa doesn’t care about them and that they aren’t as good as the kid who got everything on Christmas morning. This isn’t to say that Santa shouldn’t make a visit or that you shouldn’t get nice gifts for your family, just think about what you’re putting on the label so you aren’t setting the bar so high. If you ever find yourself struggling over Christmas you’ll be glad that Santa only ever brings a few modest gifts.

Now consider the way you discipline your child all year round – in the lead up to Christmas have you ever issued the empty threat “I’ll tell Santa not to come” just to get five minutes peace in a packed supermarket? You may not think any more of it but your child will pick up on the inconsistent discipline structure and, particularly for younger children, that can be confusing and emotionally exhausting.

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This was written as part of our Raising Healthy Minds campaign.