How to parent like its the summer of 1986

Ahh the 80’s, my childhood, I don’t remember endless day trips, we just hung out in the park, did DIY bonfire nights and renditions of various musicals, so here are my top tips on how to parent like the 80’s.

Head to the park

No need to pack up the car simply get a bat and ball and head to the park. It’s free and there is loads of room to run, run, run. Various games can include Piggy in the middle, Catch (so simple but SO good), you could pretend you were Boris Becker and play “Tennis” all day. Rounders was always a favourite, it’s not summer without a jumper for a stump and a plastic cricket bat and who doesn’t love shouting OUT!

When the days were not so bright whip out a vinyl of your children’s favourite musical.

Joseph and the Technicolor Coloured dreamcoat is a good choice (this came out in 1991 but you get my drift). All day  they will spend preparing a master piece obviously serving justice to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. This would also provided some evening entertainment for the whole family who would be forced to sit through the “hits” of show with your child appearing from the curtains that covered the french patio doors (now  bi-folds!)

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Winging it, returning to work with two children.

I returned to work at the beginning of this year after chid number two and I can safety say that we have been winging it ever since. Over 3 years ago I returned to work after my first child and I can’t really remember it being a terrible time and we did decide on having another child so it must have been ok?

Returning to work the second time round I used all my keep in touch days, this meant when I went back I was up to speed with all the changes that had happened in the year. This helped me with the anxiety of returning and to get back in the loop.  I still remember how to type, seriously there were times when I had forgotten how to type.

It was a shock to me and my husband as we weren’t ready and suddenly for three days a week we had become like passing ships in the night. It has been known for my husband to walk out of the door as I walk in. Grace who has always been a good sleeper started to wake up at night and in desperation for sleep we had to started feed her. This sleep deprivation meant we were walking round like zombies. I kept thinking “why am I feeding her again?” but sleep was what was needed so a bottle is what she got.

I thought about the main things we needed to survive, everyone needed to be fed, everyone needed cleanish clothes and everyone needed to be in the right place at the right time. I didn’t except the return to work with two children to be stress free so I had already said to myself that things were going to slide for the first month.  For example, dinners are not going to be perfect and I’m not going to be eating at 4:53pm every night and I might not make my three gym sessions a week. However, I was willing to let this go and not put too much pressure on myself and everyone else.

I prepared a three week meal plan, this was entitled “Don’t Hem Us In”. This title came about because my husband felt sticking to a strict meal plan felt too organised and he felt “hemmed” in. This meal plan did last for about a month and worked well. Now I’m going for the order more food than you need as you can always freeze it approach (I love freezing everything). I do still scribble down rough meal plans for the week but “Don’t Hem Us In” meal plan is gathering dust.

I think on the four days I’m not at work I probably complete about 12 washes, I loathe putting the washing away, its one of those things that I really can’t be bothered with Nothing gets ironed and everything gets tumble dried and whipped out quick when finished so I don’t have to iron it, lazy I know but just saving precious time.

I don’t know how everyone gets to the right place at the right time but myself and my husband work as team, dodging tantrums, predicting naps before they even know they want them and fuelled by a lot of caffeine.

A couple of months in and I would say we have reached a good balance and we don’t eat too many takeaways, the children are happy and I appreciate them a lot more the four days I have with them. I kept telling myself everything is a phase and it will get better and it has.

How to survive your first night out after having a baby

So you have grown a baby, your baby has come out one way or another, you have fed it, stayed up all night and day with it but now it’s time to get a small piece of your life back. The thought of going out on your own is daunting and going out at night with no children in the dark is scary but also exciting.

Here are some top tips on how to get yourself out there and how to survive it.

Select your crew

Don’t go out with your friends that still go out every weekend, these people have a tolerance for alcohol and never left the game, you wont be able to keep up with them and it’s going to end up messy. Pick your friends that know when to call it a night.

Plan the babysitter 

You need to get a babysitter that you can trust and you know can handle any situation, if you don’t you will be worrying all night. Ideally your other half is the best bet as they will know what they are doing. If possible try and get a lie in the next day or even better, a sleepover elsewhere.

Planning getting ready

It pretty much takes me 24 hours to get ready, this will involve a hair wash and a good hour of hair straightening the night before. Plan your outfit, work out what you can squeeze into and just go with it. You just need to cover the basics, clean hair, clean clothes and a bag that isn’t the baby’s changing bag (unless you are using you Tiba and Marl clutch). During nap time start the make up process and continue when you can after that.

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How to survive maternity leave in 10 easy steps 

Before you have a baby you visualise maternity leave as a year off and it can’t be that hard looking after a baby? I optimistically signed up for a tastecard as I thought I would be lunching out all the time, needless to say I never used that card once. Here are my tips on how to survive maternity leave.

Prep up

I stocked the house with everything so I didn’t have to leave the house in the early days, ok so this feels a bit over kill but it really helped, mainly because a trip to the shops with a baby can take all day and needs to be planned between feeds, nappy changes and general exhaustion. We had enough food and toiletries for 6 weeks!

Get yourself some Mum mates

You are not going to like everyone it’s best to find the ones that are similar to you and that make you happy. Unfortently your children are not going to always like each other and that’s ok too, this is normal. There are local Facebook groups, put yourself out there, what have you got the lose. Recently apps similar to Tinder for mum’s now exist like Mush, also playgroups are good, try it out it might not be your thing but hey you’ve given it a go.

Box sets

On maternity leave number two, I re-watched the whole of Desperate Housewives and all of Game of Thrones. At 1st I found the time whilst I was waiting for number 2 to arrive and then all the feeding and late nights provided more than enough time. 

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Winging it with the bouncy chair-1st 6 weeks with a baby and threeanger 

   We are 6 weeks in and we have broken the camels back if not the camels back mine has. It always amazes me how you wait for your baby to arrive and every hour you are wishing it away, then 6 weeks literally flies by, I was thinking that’s a whole summer holidays gone. And it seems we have forgotten most things from the 1st time but this time it seems a little easier as we know everything is a phase and it does get better and there is so many more good times to come. So far I had forgotten the following …….

– To be thankful for a bouncy chair

– Your baby always needs something as soon as you sit down to eat, so I have refreshed my bouncing the chair with one foot whilst shovelling down food technique very well. I have also mastered rocking the bouncing chair next to the sofa whilst snoozing, I amaze myself how I can nap and still move my arm.

– Your baby wants to feed loads not because they are greedy it’s just because their stomachs are tiny and they need to grow, also means you get loads of milk to stock up for a night out. Ours is particularly fond of a cluster feed, it’s like she is possessed she rootes it out and is head banging like she is in a mosh pit and won’t stop until she is with her beloved boob, this can go on for hours but after she sleeps for a good 5 hours so it’s working at the moment.

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12 ways to cope with a sick child at night 

 It is the season for high temps, 24 hour bugs, as our children enjoy sharing their germs at pre school, play groups and school.

On average a child gets 8 colds a year! We had 1 already, 7 more to go, this is how we cope.

1. Accept that you are not going to get anymore than 2 hrs sleep in a row, and reschedule all plans for the next day/s.

2. If possible sort out a tag team system with partner, break up the night so you both can get some sleep. Other factors to consider are who is working, who has had that 1 night out planned for 6 months, who is going to do the general stuff including, thinking about do we need to get food? Who is least tired? Or who looks most acceptable to enter society?

3. Lots of dummies to hand. Stash them in bedrooms, bathroom, downstairs, upstairs and pockets.

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How to balls up potty training in 9 easy steps

IMG_20081. Start a reward chart that’s way too small for the stickers you have brought, who would have thought a human could wee that many times in one day. Give up on the chart after 2 days and just give them all the stickers to stick on at once.

2. Suggest a treat every time they have a wee, this leads to them eating loads of chocolate and watching a lot of tv.

3. If you’re child is dry in the night for a whole week don’t think your child is incredibly advanced, as a week later you will be up every night between the hours of 2/3am changing a wet bed or trips to the toilet. Continue reading

Survival kit

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Every parent has a survival kit in some shape or form, here is mine

– Tea, can’t live without it

– Chocolate, I never used to eat that much, always been a savoury kind of person. I was chatting to a younger, childless, carefree girl the other day and she said “I don’t really drink tea or eat Chocolate” my response was “you’ll replace cigarettes and booze with Tea and Chocolate when you have kids”

– YSL Baby doll mascara, YSL Touche Eclat, Neal’s Yards Wild rose beauty balm, a small rose tinted Vaseline pot, Maybelline eye liner and a small mirror. Continue reading