FAMILY LIFE PHOTOGRAPHY

motherhood

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We take photos ALL THE TIME, right? We take a million snaps of every moment to get a good one and our iPhones are almost always out of memory. We share tons of photos online every single day but how often do we ever get a photo printed and frame it or store it in a photo album? I’m going to guess never, or at best, very rarely.

When my first son was born, 10 years ago, phones didn’t have cameras or if they did, they were super basic. So instead of an iPhone I used my SLR. Sure I didn’t take as many photos but the ones I did were decent quality. Facebook was in its infancy at the time and Instagram didn’t exist, so occasionally I might upload an album to Facebook (remember that??) of a holiday or a birthday but most of the time if I liked the photo I would get it printed and frame it. As a result I have so many gorgeous high-quality photos of my first born.  When I say ‘high-quality’, I mean that they are at least in focus and high resolution.

By contrast I have so few decent photos of my younger two, despite the fact that technology has improved dramatically since 2007. I have a million times more photos of the pair of them but the vast majority are blurry ones taken on my phone – certainly not good enough for printing. I always think it’s ironic that the photos from 2007 look so much better than the photos taken in 2017. Surely the quality is supposed to get better with time?! I compare photos of newborn baby Oisin and newborn baby Fox (born 9 years apart) and I get confused because the photo of Fox looks like an older photo.

The other thing that makes me sad is that I have so many framed photos of Oisin when he was little, up to about the age of 3 and only one of Arlo and none of Fox. You wouldn’t know I had 3 kids if you walked into my house. Actually maybe you would judging by the mess by that’s not my point.

So recently I decided to address this issue and actually get some proper family photos taken. Also, how rare is it to get a photo with the WHOLE family in? I really wanted to get some photos of all five of us just hanging out and doing our every day thing.  I’m not a fan of studio shots, mainly because I feel super awkward/uncomfortable posing and also it would be impossible to get all 3 kids looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. I much prefer family life photography and candid informal shots. And it’s the every day moments I want to remember – be that a day out or day at home, changing a nappy or working on my phone whilst bouncing a baby on my knee. When I’m older and reflecting on their childhood I want a photo to remind me of what it felt like,  I want the photo to capture a moment in time. I don’t necessarily want to remember the (probably stressful) day we visited a studio and tried (and probably failed) to make the kids smile.

With that in mind I spoke to the lovely Phil of FAWN + BEAR and we got a date in the diary for a family shoot to take place at Hope Cove beach, near where we live in Devon.

The shoot was easy and took about an hour if that – we just hung out at the beach like normal and *almost* forgot that Phil was there in the background taking photos of us!

I was super excited to see the photos and Phil turned them round in record quick time! Within a couple days I was sent all the edited photos from the shoot. I was blown away. It’s shameful to admit but if I ever see a photo that I’m in, even if there are other people in it too, I straight away scrutinise myself and more often than not in a highly critical way. I’m sure others do the same… right?? I hate myself in most photos. I think I look too fat, my cheeks are too round or my arm looks too big or my ear is sticking out or my eyes are too squinty… the list goes on. But in the photos Phil sent me, I actually thought I looked nice. Which happens never!! It was emotional.

So now I have a whole bunch of lovely photos of the family to print and frame. I’m so happy that we did the shoot and I’m now 100% committed to having one done once a year going forward to capture the family as we all grow up. As you know babies change so quickly and we can’t keep them small for long. Having photos is one of the best ways to preserve those memories and for me the photos I now have are priceless. I absolutely love them.

I’m sharing a selection here so you can see Phil’s style and if you’re interested in booking a family life shoot then get in touch with her on email info@fawnandbear.co.uk or find FAWN + BEAR on Facebook. Phil covers both London and Devon and most places in between. She is currently offering readers of the blog a cool 15% off your total order – just mention THE DOUBLE MAMA when booking.

 

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INTRODUCING: POSITIVE BIRTH RETREATS

motherhood, Preparing for Birth

Where do I even start?! If The Positive Birth Company is my baby (and let’s be honest, it is) then the Positive Birth Retreat is the much longed-for younger sibling that I can’t wait to introduce to the world.

Firstly let me tell you what a Positive Birth Retreat actually is! It’s a 3-night, fully catered, luxury babymoon mini break combined with the ultimate, fully comprehensive, hypnobirthing antenatal course.

Babymoons, if you’re not familiar with the term, are much like honeymoons but instead of being post-wedding, they are pre-baby! A chance for Mum and Dad to get away and enjoy a bit of RnR before the mayhem of parenting begins (or parenting round 2 / round 3). A babymoon is something you should do whether you’re a first time or fourth time parent, because every baby is special and important just as every birth is, whether or not you’ve done it before. A babymoon mini break offers couples the opportunity to reconnect with each other (so important at this special time) and a chance to re-charge. Positive Birth Retreats encourage and enable couples to take a break from their busy lives to really slow down and properly relax, to take time out to prepare, together, mentally and emotionally, for the inevitable changes that come with bringing a new baby into the world.

Having had a couple of babymoons myself, I think I know what makes a good one! In fact if you’ve read Clemmie Hooper’s book ‘How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out‘ you will have found me in there chatting about this very topic. I believe there are three things every pregnant woman craves and those are a decent meal, a decent night’s sleep and some much-needed TLC! We have put real thought into how we can best deliver these things on the retreat and I’m happy to say we have incorporated them all.

When it came to choosing a venue we searched high and low (i.e. the entire internet) for the perfect place. It was important to us that the environment was super relaxing so we visited a number of hotels and houses before finally deciding on the beautiful Spring Cottage in East Budleigh, Devon. This beautiful house is easy accessible from Exeter but is situated in a rural setting, nestled in the stunning countryside surrounded by large gardens and woodland. The spacious bedrooms are gorgeous and are all en-suite, it’s truly a place where, once you’ve arrived, you can take a deep breath, slow down and relax.

aerial view spring cottage

We have found an excellent chef who is going to cater for our lovely couples and the menu has been specially designed with pregnant women in mind. Think fresh, locally-sourced iron-rich veg and show-stopping puds!  Then we have our resident yoga teacher who will be running yoga sessions each morning to kickstart the day and our lovely massage therapist who will be offering full body massage treatments to the expectant Mums and Dads. In the evenings there will be opportunity to curl up on the comfy sofas and have a read in front of the open fire, drink a craft beer (or beverage of your choice) out on the terrace whilst watching the sun go down or even go for a gentle stroll in the surrounding woodland if you fancy it!  Each night there will be a lovely guided relaxation taking place in one of the communal spaces, open to whoever wants to join, so that everyone can go to bed feeling really relaxed and enjoy, what I hope will be, the most restful and comfortable night’s sleep.

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Then of course there is the hypnobirthing course! Hypnobirthing is truly amazing and not half as hippy as it sounds! It’s actually an entirely logical approach to childbirth and by doing a course you will learn so much about your body that you probably never knew and most importantly, exactly how it works in labour on a physiological and hormonal level. You will also learn how to best enable your body to do the job it has been so perfectly designed to do. You’ll be taught various relaxation exercises that you can use in pregnancy, birth and life in general and also come to understand the impact of the environment on a birthing mum, so that you can go on to create the best and most conducive environment for you. We will cover absolutely everything you need to know including interventions, induction, delayed cord-clamping, delivery of the placenta etc. You will leave feeling fully informed and excited for your labour to begin.

The course will help Mums to let go of any fears and learn to trust their amazing bodies and Dads will leave feeling confident, with a metaphorical toolbox, full of ways they can support their partner during birth. Giving birth is a team effort and hypnobirthing really helps birth partners understand how important their role is whilst equipping them with all the tools and knowledge they need to do be able to do their job.

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When I was pregnant with my second son, I took two Sundays out to do a hypnobirthing course and also took another weekend to go on a babymoon. I had to organise childcare for my eldest son so that I could do these things. I loved my babymoons (I’ve had two!) but both times I had to do the research and book the various bits and pieces (the hotel, the restaurants, the massage) which took time and some degree of planning. I thought back then how amazing it would be to be able to do it all in one go. To find someone / some place offering the whole package. A couple of years has passed since then and to the best of my knowledge there are still no hypnobirthing retreats out there. With hypnobirthing growing in popularity and more and more women empowering themselves and recognising the importance of a positive birth experience and more and more people looking for retreats as a way to escape the madness and the sense of being constantly on, thanks to social media and our mobiles, now seems to be the perfect time to launch the Positive Birth Retreat.

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I have talked about this for SO long that I am SO excited that it’s finally happening!! In fact last August I remember chatting to a couple with a young baby (who I met at the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais!) about the idea. I was on my way from our family summer holiday and was raring to go. They were so enthusiastic which only fuelled my desire to make this happen. I can’t believe almost a year has passed since then but I guess using my original analogy, August 2016 was when the idea / baby was firmly conceived and it takes time to grow a baby, as we all know… 9 months in fact. Which coincidentally is exactly how long it will have been by the time May rolls around and we run our first retreat! What are the chances! We have quite literally spent 9 months growing this baby.

There are so many reasons why I love the idea of a hypnobirthing retreat! Apart from my own personal experience of struggling to find the time to do a course and then go on a babymoon and having to organise it all, I have also taught so many couples who are looking for this exact experience. I teach groups monthly in London and Devon and so many couples coming on my course actually book accommodation nearby to make a weekend of it. There seems to be such a demand already there for these kind of retreats so I’m hoping people will love what we are offering.

Another reason why I think a hypnobirthing retreat is a great idea is that so often I meet expectant couples on my course and see them enjoy learning in a lovely calm environment, see them visibly relax throughout the day until they are super chilled out after our final relaxation exercise, but then they dive straight back into their busy lives. Whether that’s straight back to replying to work emails on their phone or straight home to their children, time and time again it happens that the magic that is created during the day immediately evaporates as soon as couples go home and back to the demands of their day to day life. I know that people love the course and I know that people go on to have incredible births all the time but what I’d love for the couples I teach is to give them the chance to really enjoy the relaxation that is created on the course. To have the time to reflect on what they have learnt that day. The time to discuss between themselves what they have taken from the course and time to really think about and visualise how they want their birth to be. I want to create a little bubble in time where couples can really enjoy learning and thinking about the birth of their baby together. It’s such an important time, a life-changing moment, that having this space to mentally prepare is so beneficial.

There is always so much love in the room when I teach couples and I am desperate to foster an environment where that feeling can flourish beyond the course itself. That’s why we have created these retreats, to do just that. They are the space, they are the time, they are the place, where couples can relax, learn, reflect and prepare. They are all about promoting comfort and wellbeing.

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It’s always nerve-wracking putting a new idea out there and wondering whether it will be well-received or just sink completely and break your heart. I feel super anxious about the retreats because I have spent so long working on it and thinking about it and it feels like something really, really special. I know that the course itself works and the feedback I receive is always so lovely (which is amazing), but this feels a little different as it’s a bigger package and more to think about. Will it be as well received? Will people go for it?? I currently have the anxious, excited, nervous feeling that you get when you’re about to do something big!

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Whenever you support a small business by buying a product or using their service you know you supporting the person behind it and that they’ve put their heart and love into whatever it is that you’re purchasing. With the Positive Birth Retreat you know that I (and James who is onboard too) will try our very best to make sure every single minute of your time with us is wonderful. We want to give everyone coming the very very best experience. Everything we are offering on the retreat is stuff that we would really want ourselves, whether it’s the Bloom & Wild flowers on the dining table, or the scented Diptyque candles in the living room or the mini bar full of local craft beers or the selection of Teapigs tea in the bedrooms, we have handpicked everything based on what we would like and what we reckon is the best out there. So I want couples to know they will be so well looked after and supported if they choose to join a Positive Birth retreat.

Our first retreat is taking place Tuesday 9th – Friday 12th May in Devon. The venue is not far from Exeter, just 15 minutes off the M5 and only a short taxi ride from Exeter St Davids station (2 1/4 hours by train from London Paddington). All the information is available on the website but essentially it is a 3 night break, fully catered (all meals, snacks, drinks included), with a luxury massage treatment for Mum and Dad, morning yoga sessions, evening relaxation sessions, the fully comprehensive hypnobirthing course and a whole host of goodies to take home afterwards. The cost is £1095 per couple. We can only accommodate 4 couples on our retreat so spaces are extremely limited! If you would like more info or to book then please email retreats@thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk.

Mini First Aid – the course every parent should take

motherhood, Reviews

It’s the stuff of nightmares, the stuff you don’t want to think about but if the worst were to happen you’re going to want to know what to do, especially when it can make the difference between life or death. I’m talking about finding your baby or child unconscious or choking or suffering a severe burn. Would YOU know what to do?

Then of the course there is the more commonly-occurring, almost everyday stuff; bumps and bruises, cuts, temperatures, nosebleeds, rashes etc. Are you familiar with the up-to-date advice on how you should deal with these things? Did you know that cold flannels will make a child’s temperature worse? That butter should never be applied to burns? That ibuprofen should not be used if a child has chicken pox?

WebMini First Aid run 2 hour workshops for parents / grandparents / carers and cover everything you need to know. These workshops take place across the UK (there are 41 franchises) and cost just £20. I recently attended one in Devon run by the lovely Liz, a mum of three boys (like me!) and someone who has dealt firsthand with a number of a medical emergencies. Not only through being a parent of three boys but through 13 years spent working as cabin crew. She has dealt with everything from cardiac arrest to delivering a baby, all whilst 40,000 feet in the sky!

I cannot recommend doing the course highly enough, in fact I’d go as far as saying it’s probably the best £20 you can spend if you’re a parent, but for now, here’s some top tips:

FIRST AID KIT

  • Get one for your house
  • Make sure you replace items as you use them
  • Make sure everything is in date
  • Should include stuff like
    • Plasters, bandages, tweezers, safety pins, burn gel sachets, tough cut scissors, antiseptic wipes, calpol/nurofen, germolene, antihistamine, inhalers (if child has one).

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

  • 111 – out of hours service
  • 999 – emergency number in the UK
  • 112 – emergency number in the UK and across Europe

CPR – CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION

Remember DR ABC:

  • Danger – check the area and remove any danger
  • Response – check for response by calling out, pinching earlobe, tickling feet
  • Airway – tilt head back to open airway and check for obstruction
  • Breathing – put your cheek to child’s mouth and look for chest rising – give it 10 seconds
  • Circulation – no longer have to check for pulse, if child is not breathing, commence CPR

CPR always starts with 5 rescue breaths, followed by 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. The 30 compressions and 2 breaths are then repeated continuously until the child starts to breath again.

Once breathing the child is put in recovery position – if you don’t know the recovery position just put the child on their side and hold them there.

If you’re alone, call 999 after you’ve given the first 5 rescue breaths and completed one minute of CPR as it’s so important to get breath into the child as soon as possible.

Babies and children are treated slightly differently. Babies are those under 1 year, children are those older than a year. It’s still 5 rescue breaths and then 30 compressions and 2 breaths on repeat but how you do these breaths and compressions differs slightly.

BURNS

Regarding sunburn and more importantly sunburn prevention, the advice is now to use a suncream with an SPF of 30 on children rather than 50. You may need to top up more often but it’s meant to be better for a child as it allows some sun through and children need the Vitamin D. When buying look for a cream with a high UVA rating.

Treating a burn

  • Run under COLD water for a minimum of TEN MINUTES. This is the single best thing you can do for your child. They may kick and scream but persevere.
  • If you have a burn gel, use it. Burn gel sachets are great to keep in your first aid kit and work as a painkiller and an antiseptic.
  • Loosely wrap the burn in clingfilm.
  • Seek medical advice if needed

NOSE BLEEDS

These are fairly common and in fact just after completing the course I was on the phone to a friend whose 1 year old had one. Luckily I knew what to do!

  • Face down, hold bridge of nose.
  • If bleeding continues after ½ hour seek advice.

KNOCKING A TOOTH OUT

If it’s a second tooth, put it straight back in and get the child to bite down on something to hold it in place! Then seek medical advice.

CHOKING

Every parent’s biggest fear when it comes to weaning is surely choking. Make sure you’d know what to do if it happened.

With grapes and cherry tomatoes, make sure you cut them in half or quarters. The texture of these makes them stick in the throat. Similarly marshmallows are sticky and can cause choking.

ALWAYS BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS KIDS WHEN THEY ARE EATING.

Choking is SILENT so you need to have your EYES ON YOUR CHILD.

Gagging is noisy, choking is silent. Gagging is ok and normal, choking is an emergency.

The gagging reflex in babies in particular is very far forward so they will gag quite a bit when learning to eat. There is no need to intervene if your child is gagging. This is their way of bringing up the food.

If your baby is choking…

  • Put your baby across your knees, face down and tilted forwards so gravity is on your side.
  • Give 5 hard slaps between the shoulder blades (hard enough to leave a mark). Use the base of your hand.
  • If this doesn’t work, turn your baby over and place two fingers on his/her chest and push in an inwards and upwards motion 5 times.
  • Repeat back slaps and chest thrusts until the object has been forced out. If they stop breathing commence CPR.

If you ever have to do chest thrusts, even if the baby seems fine afterwards, you need to get checked out by a medical professional.

If your child is choking…

  • 5 hard backslaps between shoulder blades
  • Wrap your arms around your child from behind, with your arms going under their armpits. Make a fist and then you need to do 5 thrusts inwards and upwards. Your fist should be above the bellybutton but under the ribs.
  • If the child falls unconscious commence CPR.

Again if you ever have to do the chest thrusts then get checked out at the hospital afterwards.

FEBRILE SEIZURE

1 in 20 babies will experience a seizure so it’s pretty common and therefore important that you know what to do. Febrile seizures are the baby’s way of cooling the body down.

  • Don’t pick your baby up if they are experiencing a seizure!
  • Once it has passed, put your baby in recovery position.
  • Take their clothes off.
  • Open the windows.
  • Use a fan if you have one.
  • Aim to cool baby down but NO COLD FLANNELS!

(People used to use cold flannels to try and reduce fevers but now we know this can raise the body’s core temperature so is NOT recommended).

PAIN RELIEF

For fevers you can alternate between ibuprofen and paracetamol (OBVIOUSLY CHECK THE LABELS AND NEVER GIVE ABOVE THE RECOMMENDED DOSE FOR YOUR BABY / CHILD).

However, what I learnt was that ibuprofen should be avoided with chicken pox and asthma. There is some research to suggest ibuprofen can make matters worse in these cases.

Mini First Aid Devon

I hope the above is useful but know that it cannot in any way replace actually doing a first aid course. On the mini first aid course I did we also covered breaks and fractures, immunisations, meningitis, head bumps, cuts and grazes, shock and of course how to actually perform life-saving CPR correctly.imgres

This is not an ad but simply genuine endorsement. I believe every parent should do a course so they know what to do in a medical emergency. A 2 hour course with Mini First Aid costs just £20 and could quite literally save your baby or child’s life.

There are classes across the UK so if you’d like to do a course then here’s the link to find one near you: minifirstaid.co.uk/regions/

COME ON AND SUPERCHARGE ME

motherhood

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HELLO 2017!

It’s a new year and as always I’ve set myself a whole load of goals for the year ahead. I LOVE challenging myself and setting goals so the whole new year’s resolutions thing just gives me some extra momentum. Here’s what I wrote this time last year on the same topic. This year I want all the usual important stuff (healthy family, family etc) but on a personal level I’ve got three main focuses…

TO GET FIT!!!

I used to run a lot – I even ran a marathon in 2013! But since being pregnant with Arlo I haven’t run at all. 6 months after he was born I was pregnant again (!) with Foxy and he is now 9 months old. My last run was in fact the Bath Half in March 2014… almost 3 years ago!! Now that I’m not pregnant (not being pregnant this year is another goal FYI) and not breastfeeding so much anymore  I am keen to get back in the running game.  I have already been on 2 ‘runs’ this year so far. I say ‘runs’ but the reality is I dragged my sorry (flat) arse for a mile each time. I’m determined to get fit though so will be making exercise a regular thing. It helps that I got some snazzy new neon trainers for Christmas (thank you Santa). Oh and I’ve download this amazing app from the NHS called Squeezy and it prompts me do my pelvic floor exercises 3x a day (it also explains how to do them properly!!). I’m just mentioning this here because 3 kids, weak pelvic floor, running – you see where I’m going with this and it’s not somewhere I want to go. So squeeze and life, squeeze and lift, squeeze and lift.

TO GROW MY BUSINESS!!!

As you all probably know I am a hypnobirthing teacher and my little biz is called The Positive Birth Company. I feel so lucky to have found something that I genuinely love doing. I have to pinch myself that this is now my actual job. For so long I bounced around trying to find my *thing* and now I feel like everything I’ve done in my life sort of come together and led me to this point; my digital marketing career, my induction with lots of intervention first time round, my psychology masters, going on a hypnobirthing course with Hollie aka The Yes Mum then having my magical home birth then training to become a hypnobirthing teacher myself and finally experiencing my beautiful peaceful water birth with Foxy. I’m now putting everything I’ve learnt over the last decade into my little business and I’m loving it. I have monthly courses running in London and Devon and I’m hoping that these will be running fully booked by the end of the year! Plus I have lots of other exciting things in the pipeline including a positive birth app which is almost ready to be launched on the appstore, positive birth retreats (yes they’re coming soon!) and maybe even some positive birth merch for those pregnant mamas out there to remind them that they are amazing and GROWING ACTUAL LIFE. I like to dream big.

TO NURTURE MYSELF!!!

To counter-balance the above, I plan on *trying* to take some time for myself. I’m really bad at this. Being switched on seems to be my default mode and I find working 24/7 and pushing myself comes easy whereas finding the off switch or even the pause button or even just the ‘take a goddamn breath’ option much harder to locate. So in 2017 I’m going to be more mindful and invest a little time / money in my wellbeing, be that treating myself to the occasional massage or getting my nails done, or going to bed a little earlier than 2am so I can read a book (what a novelty!) or even just getting a nice shower gel and really enjoying those 5 minutes of me time. Whatever it is, however small it is, I plan on doing it mindfully and being that bit more present in the moment and actually *enjoying* the little things in life rather than doing them on auto-pilot whilst thinking ‘what next?!’.

ENTER SUPERCHARGED CLUB…

So to help kickstart the new year and get me going with my fitness, business and wellbeing goals I’ve enrolled on a 6 week mission with Supercharged Club. These ladies totally kick ass. The 6 week mission is about setting goals – “choosing your hard” – and sticking to them with support and motivation along the way. It’s like having your very own cheerleading squad. But it’s also more than that. For example you are given exercises you can do at home, recipe ideas, nutrition info. It’s an education. And you’re not expected to change overnight! It’s a 6 week mission so you just have to commit to changing one thing every week. The ladies behind Supercharged Club absolutely radiate positivity and I can’t think of anyone better to kick my arse into shape than them.

So here’s to 2017! I’m going to be blogging my progress on the mission over the next 6 weeks so will keep you all updated. I hope you all are starting the new year with fresh optimism and that the next 12 months are everything you hope for them to be – and more!

Siobhan x

Food for all the family – My Little Piccolo

motherhood

This is my first recipe-style blog post and most probably my last as I’m not much of a cook! This recipe however was not created by me (breathe a sigh of relief) but the folks over at Piccolo, who make the baby food pouches that I love. I decided to have a go at my making the ‘Sweet Tomato Ricotta Spaghetti’ dish and because it was a big hit with all 3 of my kids (ranging from 7 months to 9 years) I’m sharing it here…

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Here’s what you need:

1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)

4 basil leaves, chopped,

fresh black pepper

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

200g pasta (spiral or spaghetti)

100g ricotta

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 a red pepper – de-seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

glass of wine whilst cooking (optional)

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And here’s how to make it:

1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic and saute these until they are transparent (around 8 minutes). Add the chopped red pepper and carrot and cook for a further few minutes.

2. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato paste and a few twists of the black pepper mill and stir. Increase the heat slightly and let the sauce start to bubble away for a few minutes, then reduce the heat.

3. Put on a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil, add pasta to water and cook until ‘al dente’ approximately 8-10 minutes.

4. Add the ricotta and basil to the sauce and stir through.

5. Either puree or leave as a chunky tomato sauce.

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The verdict

It was a pretty straightforward / easy meal to make and cost very little to buy the ingredients. I was happy knowing that my kids had a eaten a healthy, freshly-made dinner with zero nasties. Most importantly, all three of the kids loved it and wolfed it down! I’m a big fan of a meal that everyone can eat because it makes life so much easier.

The piccolo pouches are great, especially when out and about or time-poor, but they can work out expensive if using for every meal, so it’s great if you’re able to recreate at home on the cheap. Also my baby (7months) will eat puree if hungry but he much prefers food he can feed himself and grab in his little fists! So this dish was a winner!

Tip: The recipe said makes 8 portions. I don’t know if my kids eat above average portion sizes but I’d say realistically it makes enough for 4 portions.

I’d love to know how you get on if you give this a go! Please tag me @the_double_mama if you share any photos so I can see 🙂

MY BIRTHDAY WISHLIST

motherhood

It’s my birthday tomorrow and Christmas isn’t too far off either (eek!) so I thought I’d just put my ultimate wish list out there in the universe and hope for the best – haha! C’mon Santa, I’ve been a good girl this year!!

The Fluro Coat of Dreams

I have a thing about coats and shoes… I know, I know, I’m so unoriginal. I think a great coat makes an outfit. Or rather hides a shabby outfit. And every Mum needs a coat that can hide all sins. This one as worn by the queen of clothing inspo Dress Like A Mum is bright pink, unmissable and I LOVE it! I reckon it could be worn over PJs on the school run (ha!), would definitely cover baby sick shoulder and nobody would ever know if you weren’t wearing a bra. It’s also so bright I think it would do the job of the bright lip; detract from tired eyes / scary, make-up-free, sleep-deprived face. Unfortunately it’s been sold out for ages but I’m sure if I keep refreshing the Topshop website it will eventually come back in stock… that’s how it works, right??

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The super-luxe winter warmer

I first encountered this coat when Anna from Lara and Ollie wore it on a shoot I recently did with them. I could not believe it was from Zara. It felt A-MAZING. I couldn’t help but stroke it (I’m aware of how strange this sounds but stick with me). Then I got to try it on and it felt like I was being hugged by a big fluffy bear. It was the warmest, cosiest, fluffiest, softest coat I had ever worn. I expected it to have cost mega $$$. So imagine my delight when I discovered it was this season’s Zara… then imagine my disappointment when I discovered it was also sold out everywhere. I’m so late to the coat party this year. Luckily Zara allow you to sign up for alerts for when stuff comes back in stock so I’m just waiting on that magical notification (fingers crossed!).

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The BLING RING

This ring from Brilliant Inc. as worn by Mother Of Daughters looks seriously bling but the good news is that it’s made from simulated diamonds. Which means they’re conflict-free but also wallet-friendly (ish). I love the art deco look of this one and I think my finger would like it too.

r1329gv.jpgThe sparkly earrings

From the same company as the ring above, these earrings are also made from simulated diamonds. They’re said to sparkle just like the real thing though and I would definitely feel less worried about wearing them out. Perfect season for twinkly ears I think.

productz_316_1@2x-1.jpgThe MAMA chain

I feel like I’ve been waiting and hinting for so long for one of these bad boys from Cult of Youth that I have finally given up and bought one for myself. I’ve gone for the silver option and I can’t wait for it to arrive! You can never have too much Mama-related merch in my opinion.

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The Golden Bag of dreams

It’s well-known I’m a massive fan of all things Tiba+Marl and already have quite the collection but then they went and launched this GOLD bag and I just fell in love! Just LOOK at it! It might seem silly to have so many changing bags but a) I have so many kids and b) they’re more than just changing bags; I’d use this bag whether I had kids with me or not. Plus it’s boring to use the same bag every day and I’m going to be carting nappies about for some time to come. That’s enough justification, right?!

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Maria Tash Piercing experience

I recently got a new tattoo after a 12 year hiatus so it only makes sense that I follow up it with some new piercings, right? All of my old ones have closed over so I’m left with just one in each ear. I really love the style of Maria Tash piercings; so many twinkly little gems dotted around the outer and inner parts of the ear. I would so love a trip to her studio at Liberty’s in London for a piercing session. I know this could be an early mid-life crisis but I’m embracing it.

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The much-needed watch

I’m always late. Always. I’m not sure if the fact I don’t have a watch is to blame but I reckon getting one can only be a good thing. I love a big-faced one strategically placed to hide the maple leaf tattoo I thought would be a good idea to get when I was 18 and on my gap year. No prizes for guessing which country I was living in at the time! It’s not that I have regret, it’s just I quite like seeing it less often. I love this one from Larson and Jennings that I first spotted on the lovely wrist of model mother.

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The much-needed retreat

I would love to go on a yoga retreat and have a much-needed break but with a baby who is breastfed round the clock, getting away is a little tricky. ENTER &Breathe who run postnatal retreats for parents where babies are welcome too! The team run week long retreats in rural France but have now launched 24 hour retreats here in the UK. That’s 24 hours at a luxury, family-friendly hotel where you’ll get expert nutritional advice, 1:1 time with a happiness coach who specialises in new mum stuff, a pilates class, info on that long forgotten pelvic floor, a work out session and a spa treatment to top it off. There’s a creche so you can do all of the aforementioned in peace and a listening service so you can eat your evening meal without a baby attached to you. Sounds absolutely perfect so I’ve already booked myself in. Happy Birthday Me!

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HALF-TERM HALLOWEEN HEROES

motherhood

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It ain’t over ’til it’s over, right?  

With a few more days left of the half-term break and Halloween still to come, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been doing, and have planned, to keep the kids entertained and screentime to a minimum…

Natural History Museum, London.

This is one of our favourite places to visit in London, followed closely by the Science Museum, which conveniently is right next door! The museum is free and there is loads for kids to see and do, especially in school holidays when extra activities are laid on. No prizes for guessing which is our favourite area of the museum! Of course it’s the DINOSAURS! A trip to the Natural History Museum is one of those rare activities that I find entertains both the 9 year old and the toddler which makes it firm favourite and a winner all round.

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The BFG at the Odeon Cinema, London.

I have been promising to take Oisin to see this since it came out so this half-term I was determined to make it happen. We went to the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square (love a date night a with my big boy!) and filled a tub with pick and mix before going in – a prerequisite to any good cinema trip I think. The film was AWESOME and I’m not sure who loved it more. The BFG was one of my favourite stories as a child and now Oisin is reading the Roald Dahl book himself which is really lovely.

Going to the cinema in central London meant there was lots more to see besides just the film. After we came out we got to see a performance artist dancing magically with a ball, which sounds bizarre but was absolutely mesmerising. We also went for a little ride on a rickshaw which was only the BEST THING EVER!! Totally recommend doing this if you are in London. Don’t know why I waited 30 years to do it.

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Eating out with the kids

Whilst in London we went to Carluccio’s on Fulham Road where kids get a 3 course meal with drink for £1 during half-term. (Adults have to be eating from the main menu to qualify). This makes it a super reasonable way to eat out with the whole family and since the whole family are fans of pasta-based meals it was a win-win situation. I also know that kids eat for free at Jamie Oliver’s restaurants during half-term and I’m pretty sure others are offering similar deals so there’s sure to be something out there to whet your appetite.

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Big Family Catch-Ups

I took the opportunity to visit my cousins whilst we were up in London; between the three of us we have 7 children – 6 boys and 1 girl (Poor Poppy!)! It’s mayhem as you can imagine but heartwarming to see a new generation playing together just as we did when we were kids. I think half-term holidays are a good opportunity to catch up with extended family that don’t live on your doorstep. Often it’s also an opportunity to visit a different part of the country!

 

 

PEPPA PIG WORLD at Paultons Family Theme Park

Probably (or rather definitely) the highlight of the week so far! We have talked about going for so long that even Arlo regularly says “Pep. Pig. Wuld.’ I know the pig gets a lot of haters but I freaking LOVE Peppa. I’ve never actually watched a single episode in full but Arlo has probably watched every episode ten times over (I have two babies with a 15 month age gap and a business to run!). Peppa literally saves my life, or at least me from having a breakdown, on a daily basis and that’s without mentioning the joy she brings to the annual long haul south-of-France-and-back campervan journey. We have all the heart eyes for Peppa and George in this family.

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Initially I thought a visit to the home of Peppa would just be for Arlo’s benefit and I couldn’t wait to see his little face when we arrived. He already borderline hyperventilates with excitement every time he spots any Peppa or George! However having been I can tell you that there is so much more to Peppa Pig World or Paultons theme park than I realised. Peppa Pig World is in fact just a tiny part of the park and your entry ticket gives you access to it all! We spent a whole day there but could easily have done another. We split our time between Peppa Pig World and Lost Kingdom (which is basically a dinosaur world) and we didn’t even manage to do all the rides in those two areas of the park.

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Oisin loved the visit as much as Arlo which was unexpected. In fact the whole family did! Foxy went on some rides and squealed/grunted with excitement whilst flapping his fat little fists and James and I rode a rollercoaster with Oisin and screamed ourselves silly! (YES YOU SCREAMED TOO JAMES!). There really was something for all ages and we will most definitely be going back soon.

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Long live the Pig!

Yes I got screwed in the gift shop and we now have a gigantic soft toy version of George.

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Dog Sitting

This is perfect for those who would love to have a dog but can’t commit to actually owning one, which is basically us. If you’ve got a friend who is going away and needs their dog minding, you could save them putting their pup in a kennel and benefit from having the temporary loan of him/her.

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We currently have a gorgeous beagle with us for 2 days called Molly. She is the dream! So good natured and docile with the kids. It’s amazing how they just know isn’t it?? She’s happy to jump up on James and I and play fight but she’s not once jumped on Arlo or Foxy. We’ve loved having cuddles and taking her for walks. Having her stay has forced us get out of the house and go for pretend Bear hunts (walks) in the woods. Autumn is my favourite time of year so I’ve loved being out in nature admiring all the incredible colours. Also it’s so cute how dogs like to be near people – Molly just follows us round the house and settles in whichever room we are in. It’s also nice for me to have another girl in the house! We’re definitely going to miss her when she goes home.

Pennywell Farm, Devon

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Dubbed ‘Devon’s friendliest day out’ (no idea how they measure that?!), Pennywell is without a doubt our favourite attraction to visit in the South West. I’m beyond excited about becoming a season ticket holder next year! Especially because in the Spring all the baby animals are born which makes it the best time to go in my opinion.

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I could write an essay on why Pennywell is so amazing but essentially it’s a farm and every half hour the farmyard bell is rung to signal the start of a new activity; bottle-feeding lambs, milking goats, collecting eggs, pampering miniature piglets – we’ve done it all! The season runs until the 30th October so we plan on paying the farm one last visit tomorrow. Pennywell will then reopen again in February for the 2017 season although there are some special Christmas events, including a live nativity in the barn, scheduled before then. Check out the website for more details if you’ll be in Devon over the Christmas period.

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Arty Crafty Activities

And then because you can’t be out and about all day every day, here’s a few ideas for some home-based and wholesome activities!

First up we’ve got Trunkaroo! What an invention!!!!! Trunkaroo is basically a box of educational (but fun!) craft activities for kids to do. Best of all the box contains absolutely everything you need to complete the activities, down to the child-friendly scissors. Perfect if you don’t have an organised and extensive crafts cupboard.

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If you visit the website you can subscribe and that way you’ll be sent a new box every month (each one has a different theme and a number of activities included) or you can buy a one off special like I’ve got this half-term for Halloween.

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Today because I’m in my office (ahhh I have an actual office and not just a bit of floor space!!!) with a load of work to do, it’s a perfect day to crack open the Trunkaroo. Although the website says Trunkaroo is for kids aged 3-8, my eldest is 9 and he’s still a big fan! It’s also suitable for much younger children although they may need some support in completing the activities. 

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Other crafty activities we plan on doing over the weekend include carving the obligatory pumpkin (although may try a pineapple as well this year!) and perfecting the Halloween costumes for Monday night’s annual trick or treating session. If you need some inspo for kids costumes check out these amazing ideas from the queen of craft; Emma over at Ladyland.

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Cooking with the kids

Cooking with the kids is a great activity if you can face it because it enables you merge entertaining the children with making dinner, which has the potential to save time and leave you feeling very productive.

You may already know I’m a big fan of the folks at Little Dish who make the kid-friendly ready meals and sent me this amazing half term survival kit recently…

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In all honesty I don’t think we’d have managed the recent house move / relocation without them, or at least not without our kids becoming malnourished. When you’re time-poor and need to dish something quick up, it’s nice to have an alternative to fish fingers that doesn’t feel totally awful. The ready meals might not be freshly made but the people at Little Dish are committed to making healthy meals for little people so although I’m no nutritional expert I feel ok with giving mine their stuff. They also make Go Go biscuits (see above) which are awesome.

Now the reason I’m mentioning them here is because they also have a cookbook which is full of recipes (101 to be precise) for meals that the whole family can enjoy but are made with little people in mind. So when it comes to cooking with the kids as an activity, I just let Oisin choose some meals from the book that take his fancy and we then attempt to make them. Also as an added bonus, you might find your children are more likely to eat their dinner when they’ve chosen it and have played a part in making in it. No guarantees though. You can also find loads of Little Dish recipes on their website.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve been up to with the kids so far this half-term and what we’ve got planned! There are still at least 3 days left before the kids go back to school so muster up that last scrap of energy Mamas, you’re at the final hurdle, you’ve almost made it!! GOOD LUCK! 

 

 

 

The nights a breast pump saved my life

motherhood, Reviews

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Breast pumps have been liberating women since their inception! Offering the freedom of a night off, be that to catch up on much-needed sleep, party (we can dream) or just work.

I remember vividly the first time I used a breast pump. It was February 2007, (almost 10 years ago- eek!!) and with my due date long gone I was eager to get my labour going and avoid an induction. I twiddled my nipples (it’s a thing look it up) and pumped using a handheld manual pump throughout the entire movie of Happy Feet in a desperate bid to get the oxytocin flowing. All I got was RSI.

That manual pump was hard work but later it saved my nipple from falling off. Breastfeeding was tough and painful at first, I’d probably got the latch all wrong and Oisin fed ferociously. I was determined to do it though so persevered through gritted teeth. The pump enabled me to keep feeding Oisin breastmilk whilst giving my nipples a break from bring gnawed on, thus allowing them to heal.

Second time round I bought a secondhand electric medela swing pump and it was amazing!! So easy in comparison. I discovered I could pump for 20 minutes straight without getting cramp in my hand or even breaking a sweat. I found I could pump whilst drinking a cuppa and reading a magazine with Arlo snoozing beside me. I had a pretty good set up going on if I say so myself.

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I pumped a lot regularly second time round because it was so easy. We got into a nice little pattern of James feeding Arlo expressed breastmilk on a Friday night to give me a night off (to sleep) and then early Saturday morning I’d pump to ease the inevitable engorgement from missed feeds then pop it straight in the freezer ready for the following Friday! God I loved those Fridays!! Living for the weekend took on a whole new meaning.

I also credit the pump for getting Arlo to sleep through the night. He used to wake so often at night and have these big long feeds then tiny top ups throughout the day. My milk therefore came in big time at night and not so much in the day. Because I couldn’t live a nocturnal life forever I had to switch things round. I took to pumping diligently; every single feed, every day, for about a week. This way I was able to ensure Arlo was getting all the milk he needed during daylight hours. Almost overnight he started sleeping better and eventually we cracked it! Whoop Whoop!!

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By the time my third came along I was offered a medela swing maxi to try out. The maxi is basically the double version. If the original swing was amazing then this was even more so. Now it was not only easy to pump one bottle, but I could get TWO in one sitting. Time saver. Game changer.

To be totally honest I don’t know what I’d do without the pump. It has been a genuine lifesaver. As a busy mum of three, juggling running a business with raising children, there are times when I have to be away from my baby. Without the pump I would have to frequently throw formula at the situation. Not that I have a problem with formula and I do sometimes use it, but my breastfeeding journey would probably have been cut short as a result, which would have been upsetting. I really want to be able to feed Foxy until he’s at least one. The pump has allowed me to continue breastfeeding but with time off. It’s been totally liberating and has saved me on many a night.

I’ve been recommending the medela swing for some time – both on my blog and to my mates – but now I’d say definitely look at getting the maxi. If you’re going to sit there pumping you might as well get two bottles for the time it takes to express one.

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So after clocking up a considerable amount of hours pumping over the past decade, here’s my TOP FIVE TIPS for a successful expressing session:

1. Make sure you’ve got a nice cup of hot tea ready and in position. This is ESSENTIAL.

2. Make sure you’ve got snacks to hand before you start. You need the calories when you’re breastfeeding, same goes with expressing. My choice of snack is biscuits but yours might be carrot sticks. Whatever. It’s all good.

3. Make sure you have entertainment to hand e.g. a remote for the TV or a magazine or a book or your phone. You probably don’t just want to sit there staring at a wall else it will feel tedious.

4. Ideally pump when baby is asleep so you don’t have to try and attend to anything else. Baby juggling whilst pumping can result in spillage of precious milk, which is more than a little frustrating (speaking from experience)

5. Best time to pump is in the morning. This is usually when you have the most milk.

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And remember you can store breastmilk in the fridge for 5 days and the freezer for 6 months! Further info on storing breastmilk can be found here.

Happy pumping Mamas!

JO’S IN THE (MOTHER) HOOD

In the (mother) hood

Having recently relocated to Devon from the big smoke it seems rather fitting that today we have a Devon-based Mum boss on the blog. Jo is a mum to two boys, sewing extraordinaire, charity worker and founder of Fox & Tootsie . Like many of us Jo is busy setting up a small business in those precious moments that exist between working the day job, keeping the kids alive and the house semi-clean. All in the hope of achieving that sometimes seemingly elusive thing; a work-life balance. For parents, that often means being able to work around the kids; being able to do the daily school run and be present for those special moments. Since most workplaces unfortunately don’t offer that level of flexibility, more and more talented women are leaving the workplace and setting up shop for themselves. For Jo right now that means late nights spent at the sewing machine but the dream is being able to focus on creating awesome kids clothes full time.

My boys have been wearing her harem-style leggings for a while now and they definitely get a big thumbs up from me! They’re made from the softest organic cotton, have a big stretchy waistband that’s gentle on the tummy and are comfy and unrestrictive, making them perfect for active kids. They are available in a variety of cool prints, are hard-wearing, wash well and tick pretty much every box you need when buying clothes for the smalls. And right now you can get 10% off with code ‘THEDOUBLEMAMA’ but only until 21.09.16. So do check out Fox and Tootsie and show Jo some mum love by following her on Instagram.

For now though, here’s what Jo has to say about her experience of motherhood from taking 15 pregnancy tests to having a peaceful, relaxed and beautiful planned cesarean section…

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Name: Jo

Age: 31

Location: Newton Abbot, Devon

Number of Kids: 2

Names and ages: Henry, 4 and George, 2

Was motherhood planned, a lovely surprise or somewhere in the middle?

Planned and very much wanted. I was desperate to become a mum, it was everything I ever wanted. I was one of those girls who dreamed of marriage and babies age 5, and couldn’t wait!!

Initial feelings on finding out you were pregnant?

Excitement, shock, didn’t believe it (15 tests later it started to sink in!!)

How did you tell your partner?

Showed him the test stick with Henry. With George I just knew, but we did a test just to confirm!

His reaction?

Shock, pleased but apprehensive. All of a sudden we both felt really really responsible and I was only 5 weeks pregnant!!! If only we knew what was to come 😉

Did you glow your way through pregnancy or was it a complete bitch?

Loved it, but moaned a lot (woman’s prerogative?!?!). My Henry bump was neat and compact, my George bump was MASSIVE. He was 9lb10, say no more!!

Tell me about your birth experience…

Henry was breech, so I had a planned c-section. I was so nervous but contrary to all the horror stories, it was peaceful, relaxed and beautiful, with my husband Matt. He was wrapped in a towel and passed straight to me and I fell head over heels in love instantly. That feeling is indescribable.

George was a different story! I found out I had group b strep (something every pregnant woman should read up about as we don’t test for it as standard in the UK and the outcomes can be catastrophic). So, as soon as my waters broke (on my due date!!) I had to be admitted to hospital to receive IV antibiotics. He was born 24 hours later, forceps and emergency so he was rushed straight to ICU. I had blood transfusions and he had tests for everything. We were reunited 3 days later, and I totally fell in love with him. We went home after a week and he was given the all clear – those moments make you realise how fragile and beautiful life is.

Describe motherhood in a few words…

Gorgeous, intense, magical, brutal. Motherhood enables you to experience the highest highs and the lowest lows all in one day!!!

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Can you share any parenting highlights?

The time Henry told the supermarket checkout man ‘mummy is wearing a nappy’ is up there!!

The boys started randomly doing a song and dance together at forest school recently, it was hilarious and everyone started laughing and clapping! Little entertainers they are.

Can you share any low points?

Henry went flying into the corner of a skirting board when learning to crawl, he was like a frog and lept so far forward!! That was a trip to A&E and a glued head!!

George went flying off the slide at the local play ground recently – and I was too far away to catch him!! He was quite proud of his HUGE bump – oops!

What do you do when the baby sleeps?

Mainly sew!! I love it, my hobby has now turned into my career and I couldn’t be happier! I’m also partial to watching films and gardening.

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Tell me about your fox & tootsie…

Fox&tootsie is my business. I hand make children’s clothing age 0-5. I source organic cotton and make gorgeous, fun and unique items for little ones.

My mission is to make everyday, bright and funky clothing and accessories for your little one so they can adventure in original, vibrant and fun clothes.

As a parent I have always found it hard to find funky prints and clothes that fit my chunky boys. So I am making loose stretchy clothing with the most adorable prints to suit any child with loads of room to get messy, have fun and explore!

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Do you have another job (besides being a Mama)?

I do, I work for a charity part time and I am in the throws of setting up fox&tootsie. My dream is to do fox&tootsie work full time, so I can do the school run and enjoy my babies littleness rather than hear about their experiences from the childminder.

What’s the best bits of being a Mama?

The adventures – seeing the world through their eyes – if you stop and explore in the way that they do, you see magic and adventure in everything. Practicing mindfulness when having kids is easy, they are doing it constantly – we could learn a thing or two from these little ones if we let ourselves.

What are the worst bits?

Haha, at the moment it’s getting dressed, seriously! You have no idea how angry my kiddies get about having to get dressed. Even when I have made them new clothes!!!

The tantrums are also tough, especially when you have to be somewhere!

What do you find hardest about being a Mum?

Juggling and that bloody annoying guilt fairy!! Who invented that horrid feeling anyway!!

What was the biggest surprise that you wish you’d be warned about/known before becoming a Mama?

The biggest surprise was how intense that feeling of love and protection is! I would literally do anything for my bubbas, and love them beyond where I thought was possible.

And the sleep, people tell you before you have them ‘get your rest in now’ and you’re like yeah yeah I can handle anything me. Then they arrive. Then 2 weeks later you’re in a state of sleep deprived shock!!

If someone agreed to mind your kids for a week what would you do?

Ooooooo….sleep, then go out with the girls, then sleep!! I would love to go away on a mindfulness break, but I couldn’t hack a week away from my little glorious grot bags!! A few days would do 🙂

Have you got any advice for mamas-to-be/new mamas?

Just to be kind to yourself and accept the help. You don’t have to prove you are a hero, you already are because you have birthed this amazing being. So accept the help on offer. Oh and sniff your baby lots, what is it with that glorious newborn smell?!?!

What’s do you reckon the most essential item mamas-to-be need to pack in their birth bag?

Nice moisturiser – it’s hot in the hospital and my skin dries out quickly. It’s also nice to make yourself feel a bit better. Also lots of babygros for baby, I tried the whole outfit for a newborn thing and dressing him was harder than getting a degree!! Babygros all the way 🙂

What’s been your best baby product? 

Grobags!! Couldn’t have lasted without them at night! Also my littlest loved the grohush, white noise helped us a lot with settling and calming.

I also had a beko sling which was just brill – and still use it sometimes now for my 2 year old on long walks when he gets tired.

What was really useful in the early days?

My mum!!! No seriously, she was a lifesaver I wouldn’t have got through it without her. Also my friends, so I could share my joy and also my woes, I needed lots of hugs after having George and they supplied them in the bucket load.

Did you make any baby-related /pregnancy hormone induced purchases that you regretted / were a total waste of money?

Oh god loads – I had to have the latest gadget! I would say the bumbo seat was pretty hopeless because my boys legs were too chunky!! They always got stuck!! I also brought loads of nursing bras before the baby arrived – but I needed them 10x bigger so I would advise waiting!! Haha.

What’s your ultimate mum product?

Medela nipple shields in the early days, water bottle purifier as I was always thirsty, a good changing bag – especially with 2 as you had to take so much stuff for such little beings!!

Who inspires you?

My mum who is the most caring and generous person I know. My dad, who believes in my everything and my gorgeous husband who always has my back! Oh and my kidlets, who make me chuckle and smile every day.

I am always inspired by people who take risk and chances…

How many children do you dream of having?

I would love one more, but don’t want to compromise the love and attention I give to my boys. So I think we are more than happy with two – I just feel so so lucky that we have 2 gorgeous boys.

If you could go back to your pre-child life, where you weren’t so tired, for a short period of time, what would you do?

More!! I would travel more because I could at a whim.

What do you miss about life before kids?

Nothing really – my kids have made me who I am now…they have brought so much to my life, and it’s everything I imagined and more (cliche I know, but it’s true).

What do you love most about being a Mum?

The cuddles and the laugh out load funny moments. Laughing as a family is a big thing in our house. Also the adventures, being able to go on a snail hunt, dress up for it and make a home for the snails, all on a Friday evening, just because!!

What do you wish you were better at when it comes to parenting?

Getting less stressed when we are in a rush (which is pretty often when you have kids who aren’t keen on the concept of wearing clothes that aren’t superman/batman outfits!!)

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BIG THANKS to Jo for taking the time to answer the million and one questions above! Do take a minute to check out Fox&Tootsie – she makes some pretty cool baby dribble bibs as well as unisex leggings for babies and toddlers. Plus Jo’s offering readers of the blog 10% off until 21.09.16 using code ‘THEDOUBLEMAMA’ so if you want to make a purchase now is the time!  You can also find Fox&Tootsie on Instagram here.

If you’d like to take part in the ‘In the (mother) hood’ series just drop me an email: thedoublemama@gmail.com

REVIEW: SNUZPOD BEDSIDE CRIB

Reviews

I hold my hands up! I am a TOTAL CONVERT. It’s taken me three babies but I have finally settled upon what I believe to be the PERFECT sleeping set up. It’s the uber popular SnuzPod 3 in 1 bedside crib and Sleepyhead Deluxe Baby Pod combo. After years of singing the praises of the simple (and very affordable) John Lewis moses basket and stand, I have now come to the conclusion that splashing that bit more cash is worthwhile and justified. I officially stand corrected; I did not know what I was missing out on.

So let me tell you some of the reasons why I love my SnuzPod…

  • It looks B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. The cribs are made from solid wood, come in a range of pretty colours and all the bedding bundles are bang on trend. I love the yellow and grey ‘Cloud 9’ set best. I have the crib sheets, the blanket and the swaddle blanket, all of which are excellent.
  • It is has multiple uses! You can use the SnuzPod as a stand-alone crib, a bedside crib or a portable bassinet, hence the ‘3 in 1’. I mostly use mine as a bedside crib which means I have it right next to my bed (comes with straps you can use to secure it to your bed) with the side zipped down so I can easily slide baby in and out. This is especially great if, like me, you’re still breastfeeding through the night… yawn! As a stand-alone crib you simply zip the side up and you can then have the SnuzPod wherever you like. It is also possible to lift the crib out of the stand altogether and use it as a portable bassinet but I would say this is not the easiest thing to do because, being solid wood and quite large, it is very heavy. So in my opinion not that portable.

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  • It lasts! The upside to the fact it’s large is that it lasts waaaaay longer than a moses basket which not only means you get more use out of it but you also avoid the annoyingly tricky bit that happens every time: baby outgrows moses basket at approximately 8-12 weeks but is too young to be moved into their own room where their cot is. So you end up having to buy another crib to bridge this gap or squish the full sized cot into your bedroom which takes up more room than most people have down the side of their bed!! The SnuzPod is so roomy and solid that it’s going to be easily able to accommodate baby until he’s at least 6 months. My baby is already 5 months + and is nowhere near filling it out. This means when the time comes I can simply transition baby from SnuzPod to his big boy cot in his own room… That’s going to be a pretty heartbreaking day. Everyone says it, but doesn’t it just go so fast?!

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  • It’s sturdy! The other reason the SnuzPod is on the heavy side is that it’s solid and well made. This is no flimsy crib that you have to worry will collapse or tip over when baby rolls over (lightweight wicker moses basket I’m looking at you!). The SnuzPod feels safe and stable and I for one am definitely going to rate that above the need for it to be mega portable. I also know it will last. It feels like the kind of crib you could save and pass down through generations. Heirloomy if you will!
  • It’s worth the price tag! Which leads me to the next bit: price. It’s not as cheap as your basic £35 moses basket, but it is so much more. If you’re planning on having more than one child you can be sure you’ll be able to use it time and time again. They also have an excellent re-sale value so if you do want to pass it on once you’ve finished using it you can be sure you’ll get over half of your money back. They currently retail new for approximately £200 which includes the mattress. If that’s too much of a stretch see if you can find one secondhand and then buy yourself a new mattress. You’ll find they’ve generally been very well looked after.

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If you don’t want to take my word for it then just check out the amount of awards the SnuzPod has won; its trophy shelf speaks for itself. Hands down this is the best sleeping set up you’re going to find for your baby on the market today.

 

In the interests of full disclosure; I was invited to be part of the Snuz Momma Blog Project and was lucky enough to be given the SnuzPod 3 in 1 bedside crib to test out. However I have not been paid to say any of the above and everything I’ve written is my honest opinion based on my experience of using the Snuz Pod for the past 5 months.