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.

 

 

 

KATIE’S IN THE (MOTHER) HOOD

In the (mother) hood

Katie, aka co-founder of MUSH, is not just IN the mother hood but redefining it by enabling mums all over the country to create their own Mama gang. MUSH is a new app which has been accurately described as a mix between TINDER and NCT classes without the one night stands and the upfront costs. It’s a free app which makes it super easy for you to find like-minded mum mates in your local area.

Given I’ve just moved to Devon where I know hardly anyone, for me it’s PERFECT. I gave it a go last night and once I got past the whole awkward sending someone a message and trying to sell myself bit, which I’ve not had to do since my last online dating dalliance approximately 5 years ago, it was great. I ‘met’ a nice Mama with two boys of similar ages to my two littles and we have set up a date to meet IRL later this month. It really does feel like dating; similar levels of initial awkwardness when introducing yourself leading to nervous excitement and anticipation ahead of the date itself. Who knows what way it will go after meeting but let’s hope not as bad as some of my crash and burn plenty of fish-related moments.

Mum-dating (Mating?) aside, today we are lucky enough to have Katie right here on the blog telling us how motherhood is for her and how she came up with this corker of an idea. I’ve no doubt you will be able to relate to her experience of juggling work emails with swing pushing, having never-ending amounts of washing to do and a weak pelvic floor!.

Before I hand over though, GO DOWNLOAD MUSH!! Honestly, it’s my best App Store download in a long time!! For those of you who missed out on using Tinder (myself included), this is one way you can get your thrills without upsetting the husband. It’s fun, easy to use, innovative and means you can make mum mates who live on your doorstep. It gets a big massive tick from me!

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Above: Katie (left) and her business partner Sarah (right) with their children. Check out the big ad board in the background!!

Name: Katie Massie-Taylor

Age: 33

Location: Mortlake, South West London

Number of Kids: 2

Names and ages: Tilly, 3 and Lyla, 1

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

Totally planned. As much as it ever can be. Actually, more laissez faire if we are going to be really honest! My husband would say opportunist. Miracle really.

Initial feelings when you found out you were pregnant:

Immediately morning sick! In awe, terrified, scream-in-your-throat excited.

How did you tell your partner?

Phone call with the first (boooo not interesting!). The second I sent him an email with an image of the pregnancy test! I was in UK and he was in New York at the time.

Describe motherhood in a few words:

Challenging, rewarding, lonely (at times), frustratingly unpredictable, lots of washing, housework, cuddles, happiness, completeness (doh!).

What do you do when the baby sleeps?

I used to sleep too. Now I have a triple shot coffee and work!

Tell us about your business…

My business partner and I have set up an app called Mush. Mush is a free app that connects mums with other, local like-minded mums in their area. It is loosely described as Tinder meets NCT and is a new way for mums to connect during what can be a (surprisingly!) lonely time. We launched 10 weeks ago and have 20,000 mums on the app already, and growing fast.

How do you juggle the logistics of work and being a mama?

I have help, luckily. Ana is my nanny who comes every day so that I can properly focus on work. We did a lot in the beginning though during nap times/ after bedtime! We tried to have designated times to respond to emails/ work, but the reality is that we did it on the hoof a lot… whilst shaking a toy in front of the baby, whilst pushing the swing, on the move with them in the pushchair. Stressful to feel like you are doing two things badly, hence the childcare now. It is better for all of us!

What’s the worst bits of being a mama?

Grazes, falls, sad faces, big chest heaving tears, leaving them, them not going to bed when you want to be a grown up, refusing food you have cooked.

What’s the best bits of being a mama?

Having that bit in their necks that you can bury your nose into for cuddles. Hearing them learn to speak, first hearing the three year old make a clever and amusing comment on the world. (Can’t think of any- see question at bottom about what I wish I was better at!)

What was the biggest surprise after becoming a Mum?

The crushing loneliness of having a full day ahead with a small baby and no one else to share it with. The need to stay busy with a baby, despite not having anything much to do (above and beyond the all-consuming sleep, eat, poo cycle).

If you had a week off your children what would you do?

Go on a detox, no go on a bender, no go on a detox, no go on a bender. That’s a tough one!

Have you any advice for new mamas?

Download Mush. Find your network of buddies to share the highs and the lows of what’s ahead. I promise you won’t regret it.

Best baby product?

A sling for sure. As your baby gets older and heavier (and you add another kid to the mix) you will look back on the days of walking out with something strapped on to your chest, a nappy in a pocket, keys and a wallet and THAT’S IT with such fondness and nostalgia. Until you need to, avoid lumbering yourself with a buggy or a bag!

Most essential item in your birth bag?

Chocolate bars. For afterwards. And loose clothes! Here is a guide we have on Mush.

 Who inspires you?

Any mum who does well in her job, and at home, and who does it with a sense of balance and prioritising the right stuff. I think that is the biggest struggle for mums, and you are constantly trying to make sure one doesn’t take over the other.

How many children do you want?

Three or four!

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

Writing stuff down. Capturing funny moments to remember them later.

What do you miss about life before kids?

Camping trips, spontaneous sunset watching, drinks on beaches, staying out late, lie-ins. Bigger boobs, a better pelvic floor, fresh looking eyes.

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Above: Katie (left) and Sarah (right), founders of Mush, the ‘dating’ app for Mums.

A BIG MASSIVE thank you to Katie for taking part in our ‘In the (mother) hood series’ and for bringing Mush into my life at a time of need. You rock.

If you’re a Mum running a biz on the side of baby-rearing and would like to be in the (mother) hood, just drop me an email: thedoublemama@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

What I learnt from living out of bags for a month with three kids

motherhood

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In short; we do not need so much stuff!!

We have spent the last month living out of a handful of bags, with the vast majority of our belongings still in boxes in a house in Devon whigh we are yet to live in. Reflecting on the fact we have so SO much stuff to unpack once we return home, I realised there was nothing we needed or missed whilst being away. I therefore came to the logical conclusion that we could / should burn the lot and save ourselves the task of unpacking altogether. Or perhaps a slightly less extreme option would be to take up car booting and flog everything we own for 50p a piece?! Apart from the external hard drive with a decade’s worth of digital photos charting my children’s lives, I still can’t think of anything I’m desperate to keep out of a removal van load of stuff? Our sofa? Beds? The kitchen table? Sure. But the boxes and boxes of STUFF? That shit can go.

There’s a difference between needing and missing in my mind. Needing I understand to mean we actually really need this, it’s essential so we will have to buy it if we don’t have it. Like deodorant. Or underwear. Missing is more like wanting or wishing you had something. Like a diptyque candle. Or a full length mirror. Thinking; I wish I had that little luxury. I can live without it but I can’t wait to get back to it.

All month we have not needed nor wanted anything from back home. We haven’t made a single purchase in an ‘oh crap we forgot this vitally important thing’ moment of panic. Nor can we think of anything we are desperate to be reunited with.

It’s kind of mind blowing when you think about it… How much stuff we own and don’t need!! We can’t be alone. Surely there are other parents out there who have inadvertently become materialistic hoarders or epic proportions??!

Having very recently packed up our entire lives and moved from London to Devon we are now very, very much aware of just how many possessions we have accumulated over the years. For one it didn’t all fit in our removals van. Which was a shock. We were left sat on the pavement outside our empty home sunfounded by boxes of bits and pieces looking like we’d been evicted watching the van drive off thinking; what now?! How did this happen? It seems with each child the amount of belongings we own increases tenfold.

What’s most shocking however is not the volume of possessions we have but the fact when it comes down to it (by which I mean living) we don’t need any of it! For example the kids, who lets be honest are the main offenders, haven’t even asked for any of their toys. Arlo’s been content with a bag of dinosaurs, Osh with his freedom to explore the pine forests and friends to play with and Fox with watching the world go by. And boob. Always boob. Everything at home could evaporate and we’d simply be able to carry on living as we have been, a happy, very minimalist life. Sounds quite blissful actually, doesn’t it?.

With that in mind as we drive the long drive home from France I’m plotting the cull of all culls. The mother of all clear outs if you will. I’m imagining clean empty clutter-free spaces. All white everywhere. Then I remember I’ve got 3 kids, boys no less, and I think; oh but I can still dream!!

And when really pushed, after camping, glamping and living out of a van, I must admit I am kind of looking forward to my comfy bed with its fancy pants mattress and topper. Without a doubt living the simple life makes for a good break but I suppose once home, the hoarder in me is going to struggle to be so ruthless.

ANNA AND LESLEY ARE IN THE (MOTHER) HOOD

In the (mother) hood

Today we have a super special double whammy ‘in the motherhood’ featuring not one, but TWO amazing Mamas! It doesn’t get much more exciting than that around here folks. Lesley and Anna are mamas first and foremost but also the founders of Lara & Ollie, a teething jewellery brand. Their colourful baby-friendly beads and bangles are great for teething babes to gnaw on and are fast becoming the accessory of choice for stylish mamas.

I have had the pleasure of meeting this lovely mum duo now in real offline life and more recently I had the honour of ‘modelling’ for them, evidence of which can be found on the Lara & Ollie website (don’t laugh)! Their candid interview which you can read below brought actual tears to my eyes; it is so refreshing and eye opening and made me want to squeeze each of my children tight and thank my lucky stars.

Here they share what is it like to struggle to conceive and how it feels to become a parent at long last to the child of your dreams…

**Readers of the blog are being treated to 20% off with the code THEDOUBLEMAMA**

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Name: Anna Wicks & Lesley Newsholme

Age: 37 & 41

Location: Lee, South East London

Number of Kids: 1 each (at the moment)

Names and ages of aforementioned: Lara & Ollie, both aged 2

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

Anna: Very much planned. 3 years, lots of tests (no identified problems), lots ‘not pregnant’ peeing on sticks so we chose to brave the IVF route. 3 rounds of IVF later we were blessed with pregnancy and an awesome little girl called Lara. And we’re braving it all again at the moment… big eek.

Lesley: Planned… 4 years in the making! 4 failed pregnancies, followed by a diagnosis of an early menopause, followed by a failed first round of IVF. Ollie was the result of our second round of IVF using an egg donor.

Initial feelings on finding out you were pregnant?

Anna: Massive massive relief after the hideous ‘2 week wait’. We’d also agreed we’d stop at 3 IVF rounds so it was kind of our last chance. But also petrified – we were only 3 weeks pregnant and has such a long journey ahead.

Lesley: Elation, relief, tears and huge anxiety that it would not result in an actual baby again.

How did you tell your partner?

Anna: I made him go and read the test so he knew before I did!

Lesley: He was there when I peed on the stick!

His reaction?

Anna: Speechless – and happy. He’s such a level headed person he didn’t get too excited and kept me calm

Lesley: Same as mine

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

Anna: Luckily I glowed – no sickness, no tiredness, no water retention, I didn’t become a hormonal bitch (although I’m sure some people might disagree!)

Lesley: Glow – All my back pain (which I’ve suffered from for years) just took a hike for 9 months it was bloody marvellous!

Tell me about your birth experience? 

Anna: Lara was born in the labour ward at Lewisham hospital. My labour was pretty good really. I laboured quickly so no time for drugs or faffing around as I was fully dilated when I got to hospital. But she got stuck so I had to have an epidural, forceps etc. But we didn’t care, we just wanted her out safely. It was just my husband and I, then as soon as we were in the ward our families all rocked up together liked an emotional bunch of excited teenagers – it was really special. All straightforward, home the next day. Then discovered they had left a swab inside me which was pretty gross so rushed back in for another night – that wasn’t so fun. Long and boring story but resulted a full maternity department investigation, interviews and the works. And processes have been changed at the hospital because of it. We didn’t take it any further. The care we got was amazing and we were all fine.

Lesley: Unfortunately for us there won’t be a next time for us and I kinda feel sad that I won’t get to experience an amazingly calm and relaxing birth… It was fairly awful. My waters broke a week before he was born, but was told they hadn’t when I went to the birthing centre so was sent home! That resulted in an infection and a bubba with a high heart rate so I got whisked out of the birthing pool after only an hour and taken to the labour ward. After pushing for what felt like a lifetime with baby not even fully engaged, exhaustion kicked in and I had an epidural and a forceps delivery. When he was plonked on top of me the relief and joy we felt was immeasurable, and the pain of not only the previous 48 hours, but the pain of the almost 5 year struggle just vanished. It also made us not really care that much that we were burgled while I was giving birth… The fact I had to spend the next five nights in prisoner cell block 5 (AKA the Maternity Ward) was more annoying than our stuff getting nicked!

Describe motherhood in a few words:

Anna: Awesome, miraculous, exhausting and a massive rollercoaster from one day, minute and second to the next.

Lesley: Hands down the best job in the world!

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Can you share any highlights?

Anna & Lesley: Literally every day is filled with funny little moments – but probably only funny to us! We see each other most days and some of the things Lara and Ollie say and do cracks us up!!

Can you share any low points?

Anna: In Sainos a few weeks ago; after negotiating over pulling the wheelie trolly, nearly taking out old people with said wheelie trolly, running off at speed down the booze isle and trying to take everything in the naughty aisles I let her mess around in the buggy while I had 20 secs of peace to pay. Obvs she fell out backwards and hit her head hard. Cue a lot of screaming and a huge egg on her head. Then about 2 hrs later she was helping me cook standing on her stool and burnt her arm on the hot saucepan. Wasn’t a great day and felt very guilty about being such a rubbish mum. Until my mum reassured me by relaying a few similar stories!

Lesley: Ollie is the kamikaze king! So there have been a few bumps and scrapes for which I feel totally awful about. The worst one being when he face planted into a blunt chunk of metal in a play area and two of his teeth went through his bottom lip- right through to the other side, even leaving marks on his chin… Blood everywhere, a trip to A&E and a referral to a Maxillofacial (the fancy word for facial reconstruction) Consultant. He’s still got a lump of scar tissue, and every time I look at it I think ‘yep, my fault’.

What do you do when the baby sleeps?

Anna: Work, work, work. Oh and eat, of course. And try to have a quick conversation with my husband before he works too. Because we have no daytime childcare during the week it’s quite difficult to get anything done in the day for our teething jewellery business so nights and nap times are our only chance. Masses of admin – emails, DMs, customer stuff, organising ourselves for events, trade fairs bla bla, not to mention making and packaging products in an attempt to keep up with demand.

Lesley: werk werk werk on our little biz – ditto to everything Anna says!

Tell me about your business…

Anna/Lesley: We set up a silicone teething jewellery business called Lara & Ollie when the kids were a year old. When we became mums we put all our costume jewellery away and when we found teething jewellery we thought it was a brilliant idea, but couldn’t find anything we liked. So we sourced some beads, made our own and the rest is history…! Our aim is to help mamas feel stylish again and dress up an every day outfit with something fun – that also happens to be safe for a baby to chew and fiddle with.

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How to juggle it all?

Anna/Lesley: It’s a tough one trying to build a business with toddlers as they never sit still. Ever. But as we live close to each other we throw the kids in the garden with all their toys and talk shop as we supervise/break up arguments. We get together almost every day so talk shop whilst we’re Sainsbury’s, en route to play groups and have a ridiculous amount of Whatsapp chat as we think of ideas, remember things we need to do etc. It’s a massive juggle because we also try not to let it take over our primary jobs as mamas. However we’re super ambitious and excited about what we’re creating so sometimes it’s hard to just put it to one side and concentrate on being mamas.

What’s the best bits of being a Mama?

Anna: Unconditional love from someone who doesn’t judge. Then there’s the laughter and silliness and the incredible sponge that a 2 year old is. She remembers everything and is so inquisitive and interested in the world – it’s amazing. Seeing her unconditionally love her daddy and having so much fun with him too that’s pretty special. And being a family unit – love it when the 3 of us hang out.

Lesley: So many best bits I don’t know where to begin… The unconditional love, the kisses, the cuddles – Ollie gives the best cuddles ever. And after the journey we’ve been on just being a family – the 3 of us together – I’m grateful for that every day.

What are the worst bits?

Anna: At the moment the constant negotiation to do anything – from getting dressed, leaving the house, getting in the bath. Then there’s the eating. How can someone be that fussy about food that is so yummy. Oh and the terrible 2s tantrums – oh the drama!!

Lesley: yeah he still doesn’t sleep 2 years on! Small price to pay though.

What do you find hardest about being a Mum?

Anna: The worry – not all the time but worrying about their safety, injuries and the world she’s going to grow up into – the Internet in particular

Lesley: For me there is absolutely nothing harder than wanting to be a mum and not being able to fulfil that dream, so I find this really hard to answer. Yes there are tough moments, but they pass and are soon and easily forgotten.

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

Anna: that everything really is a phase and you worry like hell, then it passes and you’re onto the next phase/challenge and have forgotten all about the previous one.

Lesley: You can survive on very little sleep… for a very long time!

If someone agreed to mind your kid(s) for a week what would you do?

Anna: Go skiing with hubby – but in a 5 star luxury spa hotel so I could awesome food, amazing wine and a bit of pampering too.

Lesley: Worry about Ollie for a week!!

Is there anything you’d like to share with new mums / mums to be that you wish you’d known?

Anna: Breastfeeding is frikkin hard work and you’ve got to be dedicated, strong and determined – not easy when you’re sleep deprived and have no clue what to do with this small person! And everything is a stage. It passes, then there is another stage!

Lesley: Nothing is as straightforward as the books suggest… All babies are different and just because one does one thing at a certain age doesn’t mean yours will too. Take sleep for instance… Lara slept through from about 12 week, Ollie however only managed it at 14 months (and has since regressed!!!).

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

Anna: My bag was in the car until I was back in the ward so was chuff all use – I just drank a lot of water. Our NCT group had lengthy conversations about what we were going to wear to give birth in. Comedy!

Lesley: Ah those comedy conversations about what to wear in hospital!!.. You really don’t need to sweat it about maternity nightwear!

What’s been your best baby product?

Anna: Stokke Tripp Trapp (totally didn’t copy Cat on this one but massively agree with her). It’s amazing. A few family members said we were mad spending so much money but it’s worth every penny and more. And looks lovely!

Lesley: A sleepyhead baby pod – although it didn’t make him sleep through we certainly got more sleep after buying one. Then there’s the Kokoso coconut oil – it’s like a miracle cream for everything from nappy rash to cradle cap. Also a digital thermometer – boring but takes the ‘oooo did I do it right/for long enough etc etc’ out of temperature taking.

What was really useful in the early days?

Anna: Biscuits, cake, hubby and my mum – phoned her at least once a day to ask what the hell to do (still do ha ha!)

Lesley: Coffee and my other half (both still are!)

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

Lesley: That flipping sheep that claims it will help your baby sleep!

Anna: That frikkin sheep was ace – we loved it and Lara slept with it singing lullabies for months ha ha!!!!

What’s your ultimate mum product? 

Anna/Lesley: Our Lara & Ollie teething jewellery. Obvs!!!

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How many children do you dream of having?

Anna: Really hope we can have a sibling for Lara. And then that’s it. I don’t think I could cope with any more than 2 and frankly our bank balance couldn’t either!

Lesley: One was a dream come true

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?

Anna: Travel

Lesley: Go travelling again

What do you miss about life before kids?

Anna: I genuinely don’t miss anything. Ok maybe not having our house overtaken by toys, but I even like that! I get really annoyed when people constantly moan about parenting and their kids. When you’ve been faced with the possible prospect of not being able to have a family you feel grateful every day. And I’m definitely not saying it’s easy, it’s bloody hard work – way harder than a high powered career but it’s also a lot more rewarding and you get so much more back. Parenting is a choice!

Lesley: Nada

What do you love most about being a Mum?

Anna: So much – I don’t know where to begin!

Lesley: Unconditional love and all the cuddles as a starter for 10. I could go on and on and on!

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

Anna: I wish I had more patience. My fuse is so short and I wish I could be better at taking a deep breath and letting things go. Luckily my husband is very patient so he’s trying to coach me!

Lesley: Ha ha – more patience.

 

Thank you ladies for being so open, I’m sure your respective journeys to motherhood will resonate with a lot of women and give hope to those who are going through similar struggles. And for those of us out there who’ve not had this experience, thank you for reminding us how very lucky we are because on the hard days, I for one can sometimes forget.

Finally Anna and Lesley are kindly offering readers of the blog a cool 20% off any Lara & Ollie purchases using the code THEDOUBLEMAMA. Happy shopping peeps!

From one Dad to another: Tips for helping your breastfeeding partner

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This post is a little bit special as it’s not been written by me but my kind-of –instagram-husband. I say ‘kind of’ because 1) we’re not married and 2) he doesn’t take that many pictures for me, but he is definitely the behind-the-scenes guy. One of the things that he does do without recognition is support me with my breastfeeding (and write blog posts about it because he knows it’s so important to me)! So on that note, here’s his tips for other Dads so they can feel a little less useless if their partner/wife decides to give it a go! So mamas if you’re breastfeeding or planning to, just share this little list with your other half…

 

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It’s National Breastfeeding Week and as a father of 2 babies under 18 months, I have some recent experience of trying to support (sometimes unsuccessfully) a breastfeeding Mama. Breastfeeding is an incredibly personal experience/decision, so please don’t put me down as some kind of evangelical ‘breast is best’ Dad, this is just some advice for Dads whose partner has decided to breastfeed because, it can be tough and we can actually help…. a little….

1 – Support

It can be tough in the early stages and I’m told very painful. Encouraging your baby Mama and reminding her what a good job she is doing will go a little way to her not wanting to lovingly place a pillow over your face you in your sleep as she does the 3am feed. On this note, getting up and offering to do the settling/burping so she can get back to sleep is another way to avoid this occupational hazard.

2 – Drinks!

Breastfeeding is thirsty work but Mama being able to make a drink for herself with a baby latched to her boob is tough. I help by regularly filling up a big drinks bottle, which a) doesn’t spill if there is no level surface to hand and b) holds a lot of liquid so has to to be replenished less often.

3 – Cook up some healthy meals

Fairly self explanatory, but a good healthy diet will help Mama’s milk supply and general wellbeing. As above it can be tricky for her to find time to eat herself when feeding baby around the clock. So do what you can to make sure she is eating well, but to be fair, as long as it’s you who is ‘cooking’ it, beans on toast will probably be well received.

4 – Baby must be hungry….

Your crying baby might not necessarily be hungry if she/he is crying, especially if they have just been fed. I have been guilty in the past of just handing baby over as soon as he became a bit irritable to the annoyance of Mama. Ask (if you don’t know) when the last time baby was fed. If it was less than an hour or so ago, don’t automatically hand baby over. Try burping, rocking, taking them for a walk etc. Remember, you have just as much ability to settle/comfort baby as Mama does.

5 – Encourage her to pump

Even the most dedicated breastfeeding Mama will want/need a break at some point. When she is ready and breastfeeding has been established maybe encourage her to pump some baby fuel. This means you can potentially do a night feed and give her the gift of sleep, or let her have a night out. If you do give mama a night off, make sure the pump is ready in the morning, as you don’t wan’t to end up in this situation…

Overall though I think it’s just about doing what you can to help Mama and baby, which I am sure we all want to do. Finally, if your baby mama wants some tips on breastfeeding, tell her to have a look at my partner’s blog; The Double Mama and/or her Instagram for loads of advice.

And if you want to see what I get up to with my three boys (can’t promise it’s that exciting) then you can find me on Instagram here!