Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Our bank holiday weekend

Squidge tuckered out after a big weekend

As you know, this weekend was a bank holiday weekend. We didn't really have anything planned, and as always I had Friday off. We barely left the house, but still managed to have a great time, here's what we got up to.

Our umbrella fell over

The weather was beautiful so I'd planned on Squidge and I spending the day in the garden. There were only 2 things we needed to wait in the house for, that was the Waitrose delivery (between 8-9am), and then the delivery of our new Nintendo Switch (2-3pm). Once the shopping had been and we'd had breakfast, we headed out to the garden and slathered ourselves in sun block. Squidge started off playing with his water table, then his slide, then his balance bike, then did some digging, while intermittently ducking into his little tent for a 5 min timeout and a drink.

We headed in for lunch about 12:30 and waited for the Switch to be delivered (excitement overload for me!). When we went back outside, our big umbrella had fallen over! I had a feeling this would happen  as it was really windy, and it sounded like the umbrella was wiggling free of the paving slab.

It was easy enough to pick back up, but I had to fold it up as I can't pick up the paving slab to secure it. A bit later on Squidge wanted his paddling pool, so I got him in his wet suit and eventually got the warmth of the water right (that was an effort!) and he happily sat in it for 40 mins while waiting for Daddy to come home. He kept saying 'Daddy come home and see me sat in paddling pool' :)

Squidge waiting for Daddy in the paddling pool

Once Daddy was home, we seized the opportunity to whip out the BBQ for the first time this year. We had Asda burgers (which were surprisingly delicious) and some herby garlic chicken, with some salad and coleslaw. Squidge loved it, he loves eating outside, although it's tricky to keep him in his seat as he constantly wants to run off to play (what 2 year old doesn't!).

Squidge playing Mario Kart for the first time

In all honesty, I have a lot of trouble remembering what we get up to on a Saturday! I remember Squidge woke up early, 6:30 and so we were really tired in the morning after being kept up by the crazy thunderstorm that had happened overnight. 

I do remember one thing though, Squidge waking up from his nap, coming downstairs and playing Mario Kart (8 deluxe) on the Nintendo Switch for the first time, and this was his face... pure glee.

Squidge dressed as a builder

On Sunday Squidge woke fairly early again, but he jumped into bed with us and played on my phone (YouTube Kids) for a while just to give us a little extra snoozing time. Once we were up and fed we had a play and after lunch we went to visit our friends who had just moved house (literally 2 days before). Squidge had a little nap on the way there, which kept him going the rest of the day. 

Gardening with Daddy

Once we were home he really wanted to go outside, so we headed out to do some weeding in the garden and he had a blast! I don't remember ever loving gardening, but he really does, it's so nice. He just loves helping so much, and he's a really good garden helper :)

Squidge wearing dummies as earrings

Daddy places dummies on Squidge's ears, Squidge looks at me and says "Like Mummy!" <3

Not quite as lazy as the previous day. We started with breakfast, then Daddy took Squidge over to Asda to get some essentials (lime marmalade, bread, croissants... you know, the things you can't live without) :) While they were out, I set the dining table up with some crafts for Squidge (glitter glue, sequins, crayons etc) which he absolutely loved. I've yet to find a way to teach him how to hold a pen properly, any suggestions are welcome!

After that and after lunch we went to B&Q to pick up a planer for the alcoves hubby is building, and a couple hanging baskets for out the front. Once we were home we put a film on and I crashed on the sofa (much to the annoyance of Squidge!) while trying to give paracetamol time to rid me of my headache.

Later in the afternoon Squidge was bored, so Daddy asked if he wanted to go outside, Squidge smiled and excitedly said 'yes!' so off they went to do more weeding. I pottered about in the house for a bit before joining them, this time I planted some seeds in my propagator and we each planted a sunflower seed (so see who's grows the biggest). We had some dinner and wound down our day.

It really was a lovely weekend, and Squidge was really well behaved for most of it - he's mostly difficult towards the end of the day as he gets really tired, which is fair enough.

By this morning he was totally tuckered out, and the pic at the very top is how I found him this morning when I went to wake him up to go to Nanny and Grandads <3

How was your bank holiday weekend?

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Top 5 outdoor places for toddlers | South Wales

We've been members of the National Trust for about 3 years now. We love taking Squidge out to explore new places, or re-explore places he's been before. For us, the best places are ones with lots of green space for him to run about, with little places to explore. He just loves being outside, it's literally his favourite thing in this world.  Here's our top places to go around South Wales with a toddler (caveat, this is of course only covering places we've actually been!).

Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
Dyffryn Gardens, the Pompeii gardens

This place is just fantastic! There's a little play park out the front by the car park, ever popular with kids. Then as you go through there's a nice short walk up to the house, and just beyond that there's vast gardens. They have some smaller formal gardens in different themes, like a mirror/reflection pond, Pompeii gardens, it's all very beautiful. Then they have a polo green and a massive garden with a little stream running through the middle of it with beautiful huge coi carp in it. There's loads of place to run about, and lots of benches dotted around for the tired grown ups, which double up nicely as little refreshment stops.
Entry fee: £9.60 (adults) or £4.80 (kids)  (or free if you have a NT membership)

Tredegar House, Newport
Tredegar House at Christmas

Another great National Trust place. Tredegar house is surrounded by vast gardens too - some of which you don't need to pay entry to walk around. There's pretty big gardens within the walls too (which you do have to pay for). As well as pretty, formal gardens, there's also the house, which is fantastic to walk around.
Entry fee: £9.20 (adult) or £4.60 (kids)  (or free if you have a NT membership)

The Kymin, Wye Valley
The Kymin, Wye Valley

This places makes a great walk/adventure. It's free entry, and they do have a little cafe there (The Round House), but it's not always open (seasonal). If you want to go into their round house, then there is a fee to pay (listed below). The walk starts around the round house, and then ventures into the woods - what kid doesn't like exploring the woods?!
Entry fee: £3.00 (adults) or £1.50 (kids) for the Round House (or free if you have a NT membership)

The Weir, Hereford
The Weir, Hereford

It's been a while since we visited here, but we absolutely loved it! There's no buildings to go in, it's just a walk, but not a very long one. There's a refreshment tent with an honesty box (when we were there, we were the only people who actually put money in it, tut tut!). The walk itself is in a loop, you start off on the higher ground, loop down some steps and walk back along the river, really lovely.
Entry fee: £7.15 (adults) or £3.50 (kids) (or free if you have a NT membership)

Forest Fawr, Caerphilly
Squidge at Forest Fawr

Just down the road from Mountain View Ranch (I'm sure this would  be on our list too, but we haven't been there yet - note that MVR has a Gruffalo trail!), it's a lovely walk through the woods with beautiful wooden sculptures along the way. When we took Squidge, he absolutely loved it! We went in the winter, so made sure we had our wellies!
Entry fee: FREE

There's loads of other amazing places, and a special mention has to go to Caerphilly Castle, Castle Coch and Cardiff Castle - all highly worth a visit :)

Friday, 26 May 2017

Tips on buying plus-size maternity wear in the UK

Given that this is my second pregnancy, 3 years apart, I feel like I'm becoming a dab hand at buying plus-size maternity clothes.  I did hope that this time around, the choice of clothes would be much better, but in reality, nothing has really changed. I'm starting to live in dresses (with 3/4 length leggings underneath), and when I'm at home, it's all leggings and vest tops.

For me, one of the biggest issues is that if you're anything like me, you might not have legs you want to show off. And what I struggle to find, is plus size non-skinny jeans - THEY'RE ALL SKINNY, WHY?! I honestly don't understand... I've had to buy normal jeans a size bigger that are wide legged - but this means it doesn't accommodate my bump very well.

The other big issue is that there is NO high street shop you can go to, to buy plus-size maternity clothes, your only option is online. On the back of that, I've found the sizing varies massively, and I mean, really massively.  I've had to go down 2 dress sizes to get things to fit, compared to my normal clothes - and that's not just across my bump, that's the arms and boobs too.

Anyway, rant aside, here's where I've found the best places to be for buying plus-size maternity clothes.

When I was pregnant with Squidge I bought a pair of plus size maternity jeans from them that lasted me really well, they were so comfortable and a really flattering cut, and not crazy expensive. This time around I've bought 2 maternity tops - both wearable now, and after the baby is born as they're suitable for nursing.

While I was disappointed that they don't stock their maternity range in store, I was pleased to see that another brand is now doing maternity clothes, therefore more choice. They have a nice range of tops, dressed and leggings, but if like me, you don't want to show off your legs, the only option they have is palazzo trousers (no thanks). I did order a maternity dress from them in my normal size, but when I tried it on it was 2-3 sizes too big, so I sent it back, but didn't re-order. I really do like the look of this one though, but looks like it could do with a belt for under the boobs to give the dress some shape.

I would give a special mention to Curvissa too, but on looking, all of the plus size maternity clothes I saw were all BonPrix ones, so never-mind :P On my travels I did find another site called Mojo Maternity, but they have a very very small range - all decent sizes (over size 20), but not much choice - could still be worth a look though :) 

It's pretty amazing just how niche plus size maternity clothes are, if only more brands would champion it!
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

5 Experiences I can't wait to share with Squidge

When you have kids, there's tonnes of things you look forward to doing with them. You know that you'll have to wait a long time for them to be old enough to do some of them, but that's ok, you're happy to wait.

Well, there's a LOT of stuff I can't wait to do with Squidge (and Dot) when he's older, and I know there's things the hubby can't wait to do too.

1. Play Minecraft together - we've been playing since it was in Alpha testing, so we're really keen to be able to share the experience with him, he's just a little bit too small at the moment!

2. Take Squidge to the cinema and not fret that a) it'll be too loud and b) he won't sit still for more than 3 seconds.

3. Take him to the gallery and him be old enough to appreciate it - yeah this one is also dependant on him being into art, hopefully he will be like his mummy :) 

4. Teaching him to crochet - I know he may never show an interest in it, but I'd love to teach him how to crochet.

5. Play *proper* board games together - by this I don't mean Monopoly, I mean games like Carcassonne, The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and the Lord of the Rings card game - proper games!

On a side note, I know the hubby is super excited to do some science experiments with Squidge (and Dot), and teach him all about the stars (which would obvs involve staying up late with a hot chocolate, all wrapped up) :)

What things are you looking forward to experiencing with your kids?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Preparing your toddler for a sibling

From the day we found out we were having another baby, we told Squidge. It was early, I'd have only been 4 weeks pregnant at the time. The way I saw it, he's our world, he's our family, he deserves to be included.

I actually had the first positive pregnancy test just before going to bed, it wasn't a super strong line, but I was testing on the day my period was due. So the next morning, using a First Response Early Result test, and with my first wee of the day, I did another test and had a very strong result. When I showed the hubby, Squidge asked 'What's that mummy?', so we explained it to him. We said that it's early, but that mummy was having another baby. We told him he was going to be a big brother, and that in quite a few months time, there will hopefully be a little baby joining us. We explained that the baby will grow in my tummy before it comes out (we didn't go into any detail here, he was only just over 2).

In fact, it was Squidge that told our in-laws that we were having another baby. He pointed at my tummy and said 'mummy baby, baby in tummy', so I broke the news :)

We've also made an effort to include him in things with the baby. So when we had the 12 week scan and all was ok (i.e. there is a heartbeat, and there's arms, legs, head etc), we bought the baby their first present, which Squidge picked out.

Then when I was 17 weeks pregnant we went for a private gender scan. We brought Squidge with us to see it and be with us when we found out. While we were there we bought a heartbeat bear and part of the process of that is the record the sound of the baby's heartbeat. Squidge saw it being recorded, and then put in the bear. And now, if we squeeze the bear he'll say 'baby heartbeat'.

We've also always shown him the ultrasound pictures. We know he won't understand them, but it's all about including him in the whole process.  I've also sat down with him a few times to try and explain how things will change once Dot arrives, just to prepare him as much as I can.

I think it's really important to try and involve them where you can, and within reason. He's seen my bump grow, and knows there's a little baby in there.  In fact, on Monday night I was up with him really late (he had growing pains in his legs). I was cradling him like a baby while sat on a chair, and he was laying across the bump. His eyes were closed and sleepy. Then Dot kicked him in his side - Squidge opened his eyes and looked at me, I whispered to him 'Did you feel that?'... 'Yes' he said. I replied 'That was the baby kicking' :)

I'm also going to pick out a little teddy bear to give Squidge when Dot is born as a present from the baby.

I think it's really important to involve them in the process as their lives will be changing just as dramatically as ours. 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Pregnancy roundup | Weeks 24-28

With week 28 clocking by, I'm now in the 3rd and final trimester. The home stretch. Quite a lot has happened the last few weeks, so I'll get on with the update :)

Hospital appointments
There's been a few! I went for a clinic appointment about 2 weeks ago, and had a surprise scan! They told me Dot is in the breech position for the moment, which made perfect sense as just a few days before that he'd been moving around like crazy. After that he felt really high up and the kicks were all in a difference place.  This weekend he had another crazy wriggle and the bump has dropped and got smaller (my jeans no longer stay up, that's how much it's gone down!).  At the scan they also measured him - he's tracking the growth chart nicely, but on the small side.

The Dr really urged me to start having daily injections of Klexane to reduce the risk of DVT. I asked for some time to think about it, but when I go back in 2 weeks I'm going to agree.

I've also been back for my 2nd GTT (glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes). This is when it was picked up with Squidge, so I'd resigned myself to developing it again.  The results came back and well, technically I'm not diabetic, but I'm almost diabetic! My blood sugars were 7.7, if they were 7.8 I'd have been classed as diabetic, so I have to watch my sugar intake, no biggie.

Heartburn is back and kicking my ass. I'm still wretching every time I take my tablets at night too, all fun and games! I've been picking up Squidge more again, so my mid-back pain is worse again. I really need to stop picking him up! I'm just getting over a really nasty cold too, so still feeling really tired from that, and have a bit of a cough.

Much like ever, he has busy days and quiet days. Yesterday was a bit of a quieter day, he had a bit of a wriggle in the morning, quieter afternoon and quiet evening (although when writing this blog post he had a proper big wriggle!). Don't worry, I'm keeping an eye on him :) I've already been to hospital once for reduced movements, so I know to stay on top of it.

Birth plan
We've not really talked about it yet, as it's still early. I did mention to my Dr that I really don't want to be induced again. I know it might have to happen, and if it does, fine, but I would like to try and let labour happen naturally this time. I'd really like to avoid an epidural this time too. I only opted for it before as I'd been having contractions for 4 days and was only 3cm dilated - I needed something! 

As I'm consultant led I only get the option of a bed birth, otherwise I'd have opted for a water birth.

All in all things seem to be progressing well. I'll be having another scan in 2 weeks to check his growth - this is because his brother was small (very long, but very thin), so they want to keep an eye on his growth.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Thoughts on becoming a 2nd time mum

Back after I had Squidge, I made a list of all the things I’d do differently next time. Well, that ‘next time’ is soon to be a reality I thought I’d revisit the post and see what I think now, a year and a half on from when I wrote it.

What I said in Oct, 2015
1.       Make more of an effort with breastfeeding
2.       Wear them more
3.       Baby-led weaning
4.       Get a co-sleeper
5.       Print, file and frame photos

What my list looks like now
Make more of an effort with breastfeeding
Absolutely still agree with this. At the time, I thought I gave it my all. But looking back, I could have done more. I did try every day, but he just screamed and screamed – it didn’t help that he was really blocked up (nose) from a complicated birth. I expressed several times a day so that until my supply ran out (when he was about 6 weeks old) he at least had all the breast milk I could produce.

Wear them more
Still stick by this – I’m researching a new stretchy sling at the moment for wearing him around the house more. Especially as I’ll have Squidge to look after too. In reality, I’m probably too big to wear a nice fabric/woven sling, but I know I can wear a stretchy one. I still have the one I had with Squidge, but I think it’s gone a bit slack now, so need a new one.

Baby-led weaning
For the most part I still agree with this, I’ll definitely give him more finger foods to explore. I’m not sure if my heart could take him rubbing puree into his hair and all over the place. With Squidge we did normal feeding, and he sort of forced us into baby-led as it’s all he wanted to do (feed himself), so we just went with it.

Get a co-sleeper
While I love the idea of this, we just don’t have the budget to spend on something like this. So Dot will be going in Squidge’s old moses basket (don’t worry, we’re buying a new mattress for it). It’s just so tempting to buy everything new! It would have been lovely to have had a co-sleeper with a see-through side so I could have kept an eye on him in the night and he could have seen me, but it’s just not an option for us.

Print, file and frame photos
Since writing this point (Oct, 2015) I actually started doing that more with Squidge. In fact, just last night I sat down and went through a load of photos I’d had printed from Lalalab and put some into an album I picked up at Paperchase. I still have loads and loads of photo’s I need to put into albums, I just need to buy some more :)

Be more laid back
I got stressed and overwhelmed a lot with Squidge. This time I’m hoping to take it in my stride a *little more* as hopefully it won’t be as much as a culture shock as I’m already a mummy and know what it entails. I know it’ll be more work than I can get my head around at this point, and whereas with Squidge when he was a newborn if he was up all night, we’d sleep in until say 10am, there’ll be none of that now as Squidge will be up at like 7am.

Balancing time with them both
This one I'm already nervous about - Squidge gets as much of my attention as he wants/needs right now, and when Dot arrives that'll change, which makes me nervous. I already have mum guilt about that and it's just something I have to accept. On the flipside, if I'm spending lots of time with Squidge, I'm worried I'll feel like I'm neglecting the baby.

Being organised will be key! (huh, we'll see about that)
Anyone who knows me knows I like to make lists and be organised. I feel like what will help me feel more in control is trying to be organised and prepared (as much as I can be!). I think my bullet journaling skills will be utilised here! That and copious amounts of coffee!

Squidge running off - fear
The big thing that worries me is when I venture out with both of them. At the moment Squidge will jump in the pram happily while we go over to the shops etc, but when there's a baby in the pram he won't be able to do that... I'm so worried he'll run off (something he likes to do) and I won't be able to keep up as I can't just leave the baby to run after him. How do people cope???

Do you have any tips for being a mummy of two under three?

Monday, 15 May 2017

Squidge and mummy update

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here. I’ve found myself feeling a little lost – I’m putting it all down to the pregnancy, which makes me feel like I’ve been hit by a bus – so different from the first time around. All of a sudden, I’ve found myself with an urge to write, so here I am. I thought I’d share a little 2.5 year Squidge update, and a little pregnancy update.

All about Squidge
Sitting on Daddy

So Squidge is now 2 years and 7 months old… where does the time go? His vocabulary is ever improving, but his speech/pronunciation still isn’t great, so I need to take him back to the health visitor this month to start a referral for speech therapy. It’s frustrating as there’s so many words he says well, like ‘mummy’, but other words that might begin with the same letter, he replaces with a ‘d’ instead or something else. He gets really frustrated when we try to break it down for him, I’m guessing it’s just not the right way to teach him to speak.

He understands that he’s going to be a big brother, he knows there’s a baby growing in my tummy, and that he used to be in my tummy too. He knows that in a few short months, his little brother will be here. We’re trying to prepare him as much as we can, I’ve had a few chats with him where I explain that we won’t have as much time for him, but that our love for him won’t change.  It’s all a bit emotional, his little brother will arrive, I’ll have maybe 4-5 months with the both of them before Squidge starts his free hours at School (January).

Studying a new Hot Wheels car

We’ve been through a really difficult phase with his sleeping too.  Going back just 2 weeks ago, we had been going through a phase that had lasted about 6-8 weeks of him constantly getting out of bed at night. It was taking about 2 hrs to get him to sleep, and no matter what we tried, we couldn’t keep him in his bed, it was so stressful.

So I decided to change his routine. I was going to go for something more dramatic (adding a stairgate to his door), but I thought first I’d try a small change.  Here’s how his bedtime routine was then and now:

Before: 2 episodes of Miffy, while he has his bottle on the sofa in his PJs. Then up to bed, cuddles and tuck in.
Now: 2 episodes of Miffy in his PJs. Then up to bed, has his bottle in bed while I read stories to him, then brushes his teeth (in bed) and then lies down while I read him one more story (always the same one, called Bedtime Butterflies). 

So far, and I know I’m jinxing it by even typing or thinking this, but he hasn’t once got out of bed since we changed the routine. Even if he’s not tired, he lays in bed with his eyes open waiting to fall asleep.  Just that small change of him having his bottle in his bed has made a huge difference (for now). We really think that him getting all sleepy downstairs, and then running up the stairs was a bad idea!

New socks!

He’s rapidly growing out of his clothes too – a couple months ago I swapped out a lot of his clothes for size 3-4, and even some of those (tops) are getting too small on him!  His feet haven’t grown much though, they were a 6.5 for about 6 months, now he’s a 7 and needs new shoes, but Clarks seems to be out of all size 7 shoes (nightmare). We’ll try again this weekend.


He still plays with a variety of toys, his favourites are his cars for sure, although he loves getting his BRIO train track out and is getting really good at putting interesting combinations of track together. He has a little wooden farm he loves playing with too. I just love seeing his imagination flourish, he makes us giggle daily.

Pregnancy update

27 week baby bump

I’m now 28 weeks pregnant (well, I will be on Weds), which puts me in my 3rd and final trimester. I don’t feel in any way prepared, I still have loads to buy, like a new moses basket mattress, a cot mattress, more bedding... we're even planning on buying a new car next month! I need to gather up all of Squidges old clothes, put them all in size order, wash them all and vac-pack them away ready for when Dot arrives. I haven’t packed my hospital bag yet, although I think I will very soon – I’ve bought 2 new bags, one for my stuff, and one for Dots. I now wish I’d bought bigger bags :P 

Dots is already packed pretty well, I just need to buy some newborn nappies and essentials to put in there as well as his clothes. I’ve also been busy crocheting him some blankets. I’ve made him 2 x 12-pointed star blankets, and I’m working on a beautiful shells blanket. I’ve crocheted him a cardigan too.

Crochet makes

This week I have my repeat GTT (glucose tolerance test), which I’m fully expecting to come back as positive for gestational diabetes. This is when they caught it with Squidge, so preparing myself.  At last week’s clinic appointment they really urged me to start having daily Klexane injections to prevent DVT too. I asked to give them a decision at the next appointment, but with hindsight I should have just agreed. Apparently I’m at about a 20% risk of developing a blood clot.

I’ve also stressed to them that I really don’t want to be induced, unless it’s necessary.  The same day I also had a scan, which was a lovely surprise! They only showed me his heartbeat, the rest of the scan was ‘all business’ getting him measured. So far, he’s measuring quite small – he’s tracking the bottom line of the growth chart, but it’s early days yet. So he might be little like Squidge was. I’ll have to make sure to pack some ‘tiny baby’ sized babygrows as when Squidge was born all the newborn sizes were way too big for him.

As for me, I’ve been feeling really tired. Heartburn has stepped up a notch and this past weekend I’ve been quite headachy. I also had some severe lower back pain when walking, so I tried to get plenty of rest. I’ve been having some swollen feet/legs too, so I’ve got a raised footstool at work which really helps to minimise the swelling. The worst thing though has been my allergies... awake EVERY NIGHT at about 4am sneezing and sniffling, usually awake with it for 1-2 hrs. Needless to say, I'm feeling exhausted. My antenatal Dr said I could take Piriton, it didn't excite me too much as Piriton has never worked for me, but thought I'd try it anyway. Well, they only last for 4-6 hrs, so taking it as I'm going to bed, I was still awake at around 4am, so no point keeping them up.

I’m also trying to be braver taking Squidge out by myself. It terrifies me to my very core and fills me with anxiety (I don’t think many people really understand this and think I’m being silly), but I have so many fears of taking him out of the house :/ On Friday I managed to take him across the road to Asda (in his pushchair) and it was a success.  And this Saturday I’m taking him on the bus into the city centre to meet my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, so baby steps :) 

That’s about it from me for now :)
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