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Parenthood is so life changing that you almost don’t know what hit you. Raising a little one, whether they are babies, toddlers, pre-teens or teenagers is the most important and difficult job you will ever do. The MUM Life  consumes and becomes you.

I remember when I was a kid I would look at my parents and I thought they knew everything. I thought that had everything together. I had no idea the pressure and fear they must have felt every time I entered a new phase of life.  Now as a parent, I realise that no one knows what they are doing. Parenting is basically just winging it and hoping you raise happy, respectful kids. AND the scary part is that my son probably looks at me the same way and thinks I have all the answers.

This section of the blog is dedicated to all my fellow mothers. I don’t know what I am doing. I am learning as I go along. However here I will document what I have learnt along the way to hopefully help you. To give you hope and let you know that we are all in this together.

Advice To My First Time Parent Self

By Posted on 7 4 m read

Looking back at the first time we brought Gabriel home, I can’t help but giggle at my former self. Both my husband and I really had no idea of what was ahead of us. We would panic at the mere sight of…well anything. We studied the way he breathed, how much he ate and what noises he made. God forbade that anyone use anything other than water and pure cotton on his bum for the next 20 years. And we were obsessed with the temperature in his room. Though these were all part of the new parent experience, I would like to give my former first time parent the heads up with some much needed advice.

 

 

PLAN PLAN AND PLAN

Did I mention plan? As obvious as it sounds it really isn’t. I thought I was quite organised but I never anticipated the amount of time simple things took. Like how impossible it felt to actually be able to leave the house on time. How feeding and nappy changes seemed to never end. Or how difficult it was to actually eat, let alone prepare dinner.

I had made and prepared meals in advance but those meals went by faster than i could blink. I released that I didn’t have anything quick and easy to snack on. And not to mention I went through my entire wardrobe in a matter of a few days! Don’t underestimate how many times this little one will spill his bodily fluids on you. So my tips?

  • Buy loads of cheap comfortable clothes for you to wear. This was the first time I bought from Primark and I was so grateful.
  • Make heaps and I mean heaps of meals in advance. It is a pain now but it will be a life saver in the long run. And don’t forget to stock up on snacks!!
  • Start getting ready 2 hours before you are scheduled to be anywhere. With babies that feed every 1-2 hours, by the time you have started packing all of the baby stuff and are finally ready to head off. The baby will be hungry again and will possibly need another nappy change.

 

 

EMBARRASING MOMENTS

This is a hard one for me as I feel I was really dealt the short end of the stick. Be prepared to lose your dignity as soon as you become a mum, heck as soon as that bun starts cooking. I was sick for the first 6 months of my pregnant and I tell you it was not a pretty sight. Vomiting and crying down the high street is not how I envisioned pregnancy. However do not fear as it does not end after the baby is born. Never in my life could I have imagined the trauma that would happen to me down below. And by down below, I mean all of down belowwww.

It was bad enough that my vagina was unrecognisable and that I winced every time I sat down. It was even worse that i had to figure out the hard way that Kegels are not just the muscles for your vagina but for everything!!!!! Imagine my horror as I head to the bathroom to find that I had semi shat myself without even knowing it! To top it off it was not easy explaining to my husband why I had just thrown my panties in the bin. So advice?? Work them damn Kegels!!!!

 

INTIMACY LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER HAD BEFORE

It is true, you will change and will do just about anything for your baby but some of the things I have had to do are things I never ever thought I would do in my life. Be prepared for the first time your little one catches a cold. Because not only is it worrying and a pain in the butt for sleeping. You also need to help your little one to…erm…unblock his nose. It is fairly simple if you are fully equipped with Vicks Baby Rub and Warm Mist.

However if like me you were not and the only way to help your little one was to suck it out of his nose, then chances are you are just as traumatised by that experience as I am. So avoid the trauma and make a little baby first aid kit with lots of Baby Paracetamol and a tonne of Vicks Baby Rub!

 

ENJOY THE MOMENT

Having said all of this, the biggest and most important advice I would give to myself is to enjoy the moment. Enjoy him as a newborn, a baby and a toddler. Don’t be in haste for him to learn and carry on to the next step. There were times we were so excited for him to progress that we forgot to cherish the step he was in. He would roll, we would say crawl. He would crawl, we would say walk. Until we realised that our little baby had grown up way too fast and we were not prepared for it. It is not a cliché. Cherish them. Hold them. Soak it all in

Check out my post on how we got our baby to love bedtime

Disclaimer : This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged six months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.
 

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MINI Countryman : The Stylish Car For The Stylish Mum

I underestimated the importance of a good-sized car when I first brought home our little bundle of joy. At the time I still had my little 3 door MINI Cooper and was struggling with the idea of changing it for a more family friendly car. When we finally realised that my car was far from practical. We opted for an AUDI Q5 based on the quality and space. However this terrified me. I am going to be honest, I am not the best driver in town! So the idea of driving a massive car sent chills down my spine. Even though I now find it a great drive and practical for a family. I still miss having a girly fashionable car of my own. So when John Clark MINI Aberdeen asked me to test out their New MINI Countryman 2017, I was more than happy to oblige.

 

Can you fit baby in the back?

MINI Countryman

 

The MINI Countryman is fully equipped with ISO FIX anchor points on the rear seats of the car. Which made it super easy to install our 360° Car seat. Our rather hefty 2-year-old had no problem at the back and had enough room to play with his toys and kick his legs about. The plus side was that we had room on the floor beneath his feet to put his changing bag and coat, leaving the other rear seats free.

Our car seat is a Group 0 / 1, meaning it is forward facing AND rear-facing. We had no problems with the seat in its rear-facing mode, though we didn’t test it with a baby inside as Gabriel is too big. A standard rear-facing car seat with ISOFIX base in my opinion should fit in with no problems. However I would still check with your local salesperson to be sure that your brand of car seat is suitable for the MINI Countryman 2017.

 

Pram? Groceries? Plus all the other never-ending junk you need when you are a mum?

MINI Countryman

 

One of my biggest worries about this MINI 4×4 was the boot space. As a mum, you learn very quickly that the bigger the boot, the better! So I was super impressed when I opened the boot to find it was almost the same size as our AUDI!!! Not only could I fit a whole weeks worth of shopping plus more in the boot. I could also fit our stylish but rather big and bulky pram.

The only down side is that you could not fit the full pram plus grocery shopping into the boot at the same time. So you would need to make use of your rear seats if you were to stop by the shop after a family outing. However if you were just using a collapsible stroller, then you would have ample room for both.

 

Is there space to change an emergency nappy at the back?

MINI Countryman

 

This was a question I never in a million years would have thought of asking before becoming a mum. However over the last two years I have appreciated the importance of this. Especially if you are travelling for long periods of time! Too often have we been greeted with the unpleasant smells and near poonamis while being on the road and have needed to perform an emergency nappy change.

Unfortunately if you are on the road travelling then I doubt you will have space to spare due to all the ‘necessities’ you will need. However on an everyday occurrence than you can easily change a smelly bum using the boots space or the rear seats.

Other features?

MINI Countryman

 

Besides the obvious safety features such as ISOFIX points, airbags and seat belts. What other safety features does the MINI Countryman have? Parking Sensors!!!! The sensors on The Countryman are easily the best non-camera ones I have seen (And perfect for a not so confident driver like myself). The whole dashboard lights up as soon you put the car into reverse. Green means you are good to go, Amber means something is in proximity and Red means stop. The only downside is that there are no front sensors which can be handy when you are forward parking.

Another feature that I love is the built-in bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. I can answer my calls with ease while driving. And am also able to play my tots favourite tunes through the speakers when he is getting restless.

 

What about room for mum and dad?

 

MINI Countryman

For me personally there was ample leg room and I felt very comfortable in the drivers and passenger seat. However at 5 ft 4, I probably feel comfortable in any car. My other half on the other hand is the exact opposite. Leg room is extremely important for someone measuring 6 ft 3 and i was surprised to hear that he felt totally comfortable driving the MINI. That said, he only tested the drivers seat with no one in the back. I would assume that it may be a tighter squeeze if he were to sit in the passenger seat with the baby seat at the back.

How I felt driving it

 

In all honesty, I absolutely loved it. Having grown accustomed to powerful cars I was worried that the horse power was not going to live up to the AUDI. I had test driven a few smaller cars previously and felt like I was driving a tin box that took ages to go from 0 to 60. However the MINI Countryman was a real pleasure to drive.

I felt fashionable and stylish as I cruised around the neighboured in it. The test drive coincided with my son’s 2nd Birthday, and I adored the attention it got from all the other mums querying ‘My New Car’.

 

MINI Countryman

 

Verdict

It ticks all of my mummy boxes and I am completely hooked. The car is a dream for any mum who needs a practical family car, but who also wants a splash of fashion and personality. The only draw back is that they can be quite pricey. If you are looking for a MINI Countryman for sale i suggest you check out your local John Clark Motor Group. Click on this link to check out their range of MINI Countryman on sale in Aberdeen and Tayside.

I hope you enjoyed my MINI Countryman Review. Now I just need to suck up to my husband to convince him I need one.

Check out my post on what it is really like living with a 2-year-old.

*This is a sponsored post

 

 

 

 

 

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What it’s Really Like Living With A 2-Year-Old

By Posted on 35 3 m read

We celebrated Gabriel’s 2nd Birthday this weekend and I still can’t seem to bring myself to admit he is no longer a baby. He is a toddler. Time has just flown so fast and it still feels like yesterday we were bringing him home for the first time. The last two years have been full of joy, laughs, tears and some pretty stressful moments. Being a parent is not a walk in the park but it is so rewarding. So to celebrate Gabriel officially entering the terrible twos. I thought I would share with you want it is really like living with a 2-year-old.

The Lil Chatterbox

The biggest change we have noticed is his increasing ability to communicate. The constant guessing game that we had when he was a baby is now a lot easier. He now tells me when he is hungry and whether he wants food or drink. And he has now started to tell me when his nappy needs changed! He is learning new words everyday and constantly surprises me with new phrases.

On top of his growing vocabulary one of the most amazing things is his ability to understand. Don’t be fooled! They understand almost everything we say to them. It has come to the point where my partner and I have to spell words out to each other in case he hears us and kicks up a fuss.

2-Year-Old

The Battle of wits

Did someone say terrible twos?? Yep this is when the battle starts. Long gone are the days of our sweet little compliant baby who will happily sit and play while you attend to dinner. Your toddler now knows what he wants and he is willing to test the limits to see how far he can go. This for me is the hardest phase of parenting I have so far encountered. It requires a lot of patience and consistency and can be quite hard when you are exhausted and alone with a strong willed toddler. Especially in a supermarket with everyone staring as your child screams the roof down.

As easy as it can be to give in to their demands at times, I remind myself that he is learning how to deal with new emotions and boundaries and that my job is to teach him.

The Parrot

Is there an echo in here? No, it is just my son repeating every single word I say. I didn’t realise how much he was picking up from me until I heard him saying “ahh suck”. I kept wondering what is he was saying? Suck?? stuck?? It wasn’t until I was in the kitchen and I dropped an egg on the floor and subconsciously said “OH F*#8$” that I realised. Oops! Naughty mummy.

The 2’s usually gets a bad rep, the Tantrums, the constant stress. Some of it may be true however it is also one of the most amazing ages you will ever experience. Their funny little characters start to shine through and the innocence and wonder they bring to your life as they discover the world is magical. Before we know it he will no longer be interested in cuddles and playing with mummy and daddy. So enjoy it. Soak it up before it is too late.

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The Busy Parents Guide To Valentine’s Day

Like most things, the Romance of Valentine’s Day changes after having kids. If you are anything like me, then chances are you 1.Didn’t even notice even though you have walked past the massive hearts display about a million times at Sainsbury’s 2. Have a million things to do and the idea of finding a babysitter for an overpriced crowded meal at a restaurant makes your toes curl. With our heavy schedules it is easy to fob off this romantic holiday, however as gimmicky as it is there is no reason why you cannot dip into the fun of Valentine’s Day. As parents we often neglect ourselves and this is a good excuses to get back to basics with your partner. So here is my Busy Parents Guide To Valentine’s Day.

Romantic Meal for Two ( in Your Dining Room)

Going out to a restaurant is probably not going to happen unless you are lucky to find a babysitter. So you need to be creative. If you are up to cooking a nice meal for you and your partner then there some some great recipes on Jamie Olivers Website or at thekitchn.com  to inspire you. However if you are like me and the best present anyone can give you is a night off cooking, then order a Take Away. Who says Take Aways can’t be romantic? Add some candles and a bottle (or 2) of wine and presto! Best Valentine’s Date Ever!

Date Night On The Couch

You don’t need to go to the cinema to have a Cinema Night! And after the whirlwind of the bath, bottle, sleep routine who even wants to lift there butts of the couch. Choose a romantic film, pop some popcorn in the microwave. Then cosy up on the couch with your partner and a nice cosy blanket. Cinema Night in the comfort of your living room! Plus if you fall asleep there is no embarrassment.

Quality Gifts….

Don’t buy me expensive gifts, just let me have a shower in peace. Nothing is more valuable to a busy mum or dad than having some ALONE time. Why not gift each other with some quiet time without the kids (and you) during the day. Maybe start reading the first chapter of that new book while your other half does bath time. Alone time is worth more than gold in the world of parenting! Find you and your partner argue over stupid things? Check out my post on the most stupid arguments we have had in the name of sleep deprivation

Shake The Dust Off Those Sexy PJ’s

Lets face it, being sexy at the end of the day is not a busy mums priority. Especially when you have been running around with a toddler all day long. However if there was ever a time to sexy it up, it would be now. At least you have got it over and done with right??. So why not slip into something a little more appealing compared to the usual yoga pants and hoodie combo to get the sparks going.

SHOP LINGERIE IDEAS

Make it a family tradition.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the love shared between life partners. It can also be about the love shared with your family. Start a new tradition with your kids and have a Valentine’s Family Meal or Movie Night. Valentine’s Day is about love, and celebrating it with your family is a nice modern spin to this little holiday.

I hope these easy ideas inspire you to have a hassle free Valentine’s Day. I think we will have a Family Valentine’s Meal to celebrate with our little munchkin this year.

What about you?

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Must Have Organic Baby Products for Baby’s Sensitive Skin

When I first found out I was pregnant I remember walking into boots and stopping by the baby aisle for the first time in my life. Excitement filled my body. All of the cute little accessories and products available for babies sent my head spinning. There were so many products to choose from. How do you know what what to buy? Which ones are best for my baby? So here are my top Organic Baby products that I use on Gabriel

I have always been  “anti chemical ” since a very young age. If you follow this blog, you would know that I use carefully researched Organic and Nasty free Skin & Hair Care. So it was only natural for me to research the products I would be using on my baby. And I am glad i did.

Most people assume that the labels “natural” and “gentle” on product packaging means they are harmless. Especially when it comes to baby products. However as seen in the news recently, this is not the case! Johnson and Johnson were recently scrutinised after using carcinogenic ingredients in their baby shampoo, with medial professionals calling for their products to be boycotted. There has also been some evidence that the use of talc can be a risk for ovarian cancer. Read here Ovarian cancer victim wins $417m payout from Johnson & Johnso

So what products do I use? I always check the labelling and make sure that there is no SLS, parabens or phthalates . I prefer products with ingredients derived from natural sources and the more organic the better.

Check out my top Organic Baby Products I use on Gabriel

Organic Baby Products

BATH TIME :

Kokoso Coconut Oil Balm & Baby Wash

Kokoso is my favourite at the moment. A product designed by a mum for mums. All of their products are made from Organic Coconut Oil and are free from any other nasties. Their Coconut Oil for baby skin is amazing. You can use it as a natural moisturiser after baby’s bath, to sooth baby’s bum and for flaky skin that is often seen in newborns. It is super gentle and leaves Gabriel skin feeling soft and nourished, it also smells amazing!

Organic Baby Products

BURT’S BEES Bubble Bath

For a fun bubble bath, we use Burt’s Bees! I didn’t want to deprive Gabriel from the fun that comes with a Bubble Bath. Unfortunately the majority of bubble bath solutions are made with SLS, so when I found this, I was so happy. He absolutely loves the bubbles and I am assured that it will not dry out or harm his delicate skin.

Organic Baby ProductsOrganic Baby Products

WATERWIPES

These are our number one product. I honestly don’t know what we would do without them. Another product designed by a mum for mums, these are the best baby wipes on the market. Though they are not organic, they are as pure as can be. Most baby wipes contain a huge amount of ingredients including alcohol which can irritate and dry out babies skin. There is a reason why parents are advised to only clean your baby with cotton buds and water for the first 3 months. However with these wipes, you have no worries. There is nothing in them but water and a dash of grapefruit seed extract. Waterwipes may be a bit more expensive than other brands however the benefits are truly worth it.

There you have it! A peek into Gabriel’s toiletry bag!

Check out my post on my Organic Hair Care here.

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How Taking The Time For Yourself Makes You A Better Mum

This last week was a hard one. I felt like I was failing at this whole mothering thing. In February my son turns two and I am dreading to think that he has not yet reached the infamous terrible twos. His tantrums and constant whining have already started to become epic and the idea that it may get worse from here terrifies me. It terrifies me because parenting a toddler is a lot harder than I had imagined.

Like all mums I love my little boy to bits. I want him to feel loved and secure. I want him to grow up being mentally and emotionally content. However i also want him to be respectful and compassionate. I want to raise a son that is both kind and strong. A person who can think of others as well as himself. Despite my good intentions this road is not an easy one and I have often felt burnt out from the sheer stress.

How Taking The Time For Yourself Makes You A Better Mum

When I was pregnant everyone warned me about how hard it was to have a baby. The sleepless nights, the breastfeeding, the big change it makes in your life. I had always assumed things got easier as the baby got older. Or at least once the baby slept. I was wrong.

Having a new baby is daunting, I totally agree with that. Yes it is an adjustment and sleep deprivation can be a bitch, but I was never as highly strung as I am now. I never questioned myself and my ability to be a good mum like I do now. The thought is constantly in the back of my head. Am I a good mum?

This week things got on top of me. I felt like I was constantly on edge. My husband has been away offshore and my son has been testing my boundaries and limits. Things that should have been pretty straightforward turned into a challenge, and the stress took over me. I yelled more times than I would like to admit this week. I also cried more times than I want to admit. My son was challenging me in ways I didn’t think possible and I was overcome with frustration and mum guilt.

How Taking The Time For Yourself Makes You A Better Mum

I had planned on going out with the girls and I was feeling guilty for wanting it so badly. I was also feeling guilty for leaving someone else to handle his behaviour for the night. Even though the guilt was rising I went anyway. I couldn’t cancel. It was planned months in advance and i wouldn’t get the opportunity again any time soon. So I dropped Gabriel off at his grandparents and came home to get ready. I cranked the music and let the stress out. I took some time to be me. To dress up, have a drink and laugh with some girlfriends. To be a myself again. Not mum, not a wife and not the house keeper.

The next morning I collected my son with a clear head. The previous days stresses had faded and we  could both feel a difference. I handled his tantrums in a calmer manner and his moods were less manic. We played and danced together. Laughed and cuddled. All the things I love doing with my son. Taking some time for myself helped me to be a better mum. Check out my post on how to stop being a frumpy mummy.

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