Getting married young: what’s it really like?

I was 21 when Josh and I got married and given that the average age for women to get married is around 30 I would say that I was very young! When we got engaged there was a lot of raised eyebrows and one guy in the shop we were getting our wedding rings from said ‘no way, you’re far too young!’ and started laughing at us. (Suffice to say we left after that).

When we got engaged, I wrote a blog post about our reasons as to why, rather than me re-write it all go read that and then come back to this one!   To summarise, our Christian faith meant that we couldn’t/ didn’t want to start our life properly until we were married. We didn’t go on holiday or stay anywhere together and we also wanted to go travelling together once I finished uni (obviously an unplanned twin pregnancy changed that!!) We knew we wanted to be together forever without a shadow of a doubt so it just seemed like a no-brainer to us that we should get married! Josh finished uni just before our wedding and I still had a year left so it was obviously very out of the ordinary – there weren’t many married students at my university unless they were mature students! We weren’t interested in an expensive wedding and we had a teeny budget and a no fuss, no frills wedding although it was pretty perfect nonetheless! You can read all about our wedding and see a few photos here.

So, two and a half years in, what is it really like being married young?

Well, firstly, the judgement from other people is hard and a bit embarrassing at times. People don’t usually mean to be rude or unkind but the aforementioned man from the ring shop was not the only person to make comments. People regularly say to me ‘but you’re so young to be married’ or even ‘too young to be married’. People also assume Josh is my ‘partner’ rather than my husband – when talking to me about the girls’ dad they call him my ‘boyfriend’ which is not wrong in itself, it just makes you realise that nobody expects you to be married! Although, whenever I take the girls anywhere with my own Dad I go out of my way to make it clear he’s not my husband because sometimes people think he is?!?!!?

Secondly, I never realised how much the stupid little things would bother me. Yep, I’m talking about the really trivial things such as house work. People I have lived with in the 21 years previous to getting married can testify to the fact that I was a very messy person. My room permanently looked like a bomb had gone off in it, there were disgusting mugs, clothes all over the floor, over flowing bins etc. I just never cared about it at all – Josh was the same and our parents said to us “you’ll care when it’s your own house…” how right they were! Something about getting your own home, your own space that is your responsibility to look after magnifies all those things you thought were trivial. When my husband doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the washing basket (3 FT AWAY) something unleashes inside me. When my daughters smear food in to the sofa I cry inside. When the tesco delivery man traipses in with his muddy feet I smile sweetly and say not to worry yet inside I’m dying. These things MATTER. I don’t know why, but they just do. I guess its because your home is your sanctuary, its where you go to feel relaxed and enjoy yourself. I definitely can’t feel relaxed if the house is a mess!

Thirdly, I am so boring. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t become boring when I got married and to be fair I’m not sure it was marriage that made me boring, probably more having children. But I swear, I am a 46 year old woman trapped in a 24 year old’s body. These days my idea of a relaxing afternoon is going to the supermarket alone or just sitting in a quiet spot watching a good netflix series. Most nights Josh and I sit and watch tv and we rarely go out. Most 24 year olds are still partying and living their best life at this point… but seriously I think the thing about marriage is you are so comfy and cosy together and you enjoy each other’s company so much you end up getting stuck in a bit of a rut! Josh and I are going to try and get out a bit more now that we have babysitters living so close by and I honestly think that our best nights out are yet to come! Its also nice meeting other parents who want to let loose a bit and go for a night out (but not be home too late cos lets face it we have to be up early with our kids!). I think its also easy to just plod along with life and forget your dreams and goals which is why its good to have a record of all the places you want to go to, things you want to save up for and weekends away you want. Otherwise you end up blowing your savings on something boring like a cordless vacuum cleaner (who am I kidding I’d love a cordless vacuum cleaner!!)

Finally, getting married young means growing up with your best friend. Because you started so young, your lives become so unbelievably intertwined in a beautiful way. I look back on photos of our wedding and think my goodness how young do we look (probably because we didn’t have kids then) and honestly we have been through so much together in the past two and a half years which have shaped us both as individuals and as a couple. Over the next 70+ years we will watch each other grow and develop, go through struggles and hard times, career changes, house moves, travelling the world, getting a dog, Dotty & Margot growing up, becoming grandparents, great grandparents and so much more. Getting married young isn’t for everyone and I totally see the appeal in living a carefree life as long as possible but I am so grateful and glad to have chosen the life that I have now. My best friend is my husband and we are literally SO YOUNG, we have so much ahead of us and its so exciting to see where we are headed. We are completely open minded and our happy to see where God takes us. We have learnt that making plans doesn’t work otherwise we wouldn’t have our two beautiful girls. Instead we are just growing up together and I couldn’t imagine anything better.

Kate-Sig-1

Being mum: 9-11 months

Hey everyone, I want to carry this series on but I just never found the time to do this age… so I’m just going to copy and paste their monthly Instagram post and make sure I do it properly next time!

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HAPPY 10 MONTHS DOTTY! Only 2 months away from 1!!! Sob!
This month Dots has mastered the art of clapping and she claps all the time! She’s not quite there with waving but often waves both hands in the air at once! She’s always getting up to mischief and rolling her way over to different places especially the fire place! Her favourite thing to find is power chords 😳. She has cut 2 new top teeth which brings her total to 4! Her hair is coming in thicker and she loves to hold your hands and be helped to walk around the room! She can be very fast! She still loves her water and eating lots of food including a new favourite, strawberries 🍓. She now weighs 17lb 13oz and is a dainty little thing sitting on the 25th centile. She is getting much better at sleeping and is getting in to more of a routine with her naps. She still isn’t crawling but it won’t be long now, she gets very frustrated that she can’t! She’s still very friendly and loves to charm anyone she meets! Love you Dotty Lou!68514248442db5bc74a56797e4ee0191c4c0d63a5188900d1aea2e4d02b0c263482f5b59

Margot is 10 months old!
This month Margot has become a lot more vocal, she’s constantly jabbering! She has learnt to repeat sounds such as kissy noises, raspberries and clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth. She is extremely close to crawling and will get up on to her knees but is not quite there yet! She’s constantly rolling around her cot and we always find them both in completely random positions! She also attempts to pull herself up on things and loves standing up against the furniture. At her last weigh in she was a bit of a chunk at 19lb 13oz and is now on the 75th centile! Her hair is growing a lot and soon you may actually be able to see it on photos! She’s always been a really good sleeper but now she is developing a bit of separation anxiety which means she cries a lot at bed time! We love you Margot!!

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11 MONTHS OLD! (Yesterday)! Our babies are less than one month from being a YEAR!
Dotty has turned in to a little firecracker this month – she is a very chilled out and happy baby but she definitely has a bit of a temper and can bite on purpose and get very, very cross when things don’t go her way. She’s definitely not as meek & mild as she first comes across! She really enjoys talking and has a funny little whispery language that she uses. She almost always has her mouth open and is really smiley. She has got the cutest little top teeth with a gap that give the sweetest little smile. She is a really slow eater and if she’s not careful Margot gobbles all her food! She loves to try and get down by herself off the sofa and roll around to get toys. She went to the beach for the first time and kept trying to eat sand and stones. She’s confident and not really scared of anything, she’s a thrill seeker and is not phased by animals or people. She’s warming up to Margot and doesn’t cry every time she touches her anymore! She hates it when Daddy sneezes for some reason she bursts in to tears every time! She’s getting to grips with waving but is still not on the move yet! We can’t wait to see what the next month brings!

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MARGOT IS 11 MONTHS! The big news this month is that she’s learnt to crawl, though she’s not content with this and is constantly in the downward dog position trying to stand up. She can pull herself up on furniture now too. She has also learnt to clap which she loves showing off at every occasion! She may be bigger but she’s not braver, our girl is very cautious and wary of most everything the world has to offer. She was terrified of Fred the dog at first but now she won’t leave him or Alfie the cat alone! She’s a nature lover and is constantly eating leaves, mud and grass! She shovels food in to her mouth as quickly as anything and most of the time she doesn’t stop to chew! She has learnt how to growl recently and does it even to strangers! We think she sounds like something from the Walking Dead! She cries every time her grandma takes her glasses off and she’s very clingy to mummy still. Although daddy is her favourite play mate!
Exciting times ahead for you little one!

 

Kate-Sig-1

Getting to the bottom of baby changing

Hey guys!

Today’s post is something a little different for me, I have been working with the brand Direct 365 on something that is very important to me as a mum! I have been doing a little bit of market research on baby changing facilities and how they can be improved. I was sent out with the task of testing out different facilities and whether using them was a positive or negative experience for me.

First up, my sister came to stay and we went out for a bit of shopping. The first thing I noticed was that there were no baby changing facilities in any of the shops I went in! I understand, of course, that small stores don’t have toilets etc. But we went in to a really huge, two storey shop of a very well known brand and there was nothing! Considering they have lots of baby clothes and kids stuff on sale there it really shocked me!

After a spot of shopping we headed to a very well known coffee shop for a drink, the girls had their first ever babycinos but they just threw them all over the floor! Whilst we enjoyed our drinks I scanned the place for signposts to baby changing facilities and there were none. I saw a sign for toilets and assumed they would be in there with them.

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When I got in to the toilet area I saw that the baby changing was located in the female toilet and there wasn’t one in the men’s.

Once I got in to the room I noticed the smell straight away. It was disgusting and not somewhere you’d want to spend much time! There was just a fold down baby changing table which was less than a metre away from the toilet. There was space for your buggy in there though but it was quite tight.

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There were no sanitising facilities for the table and it didn’t look very clean at all. There was also no strap on the table to secure your baby and make sure they didn’t roll off.

There was nowhere in this facility for breastfeeding mothers to sit nor was there anywhere for me to put my changing bag. There was no stock of nappies in case you had forgotten yours.

There was also only a small sink and no hand sanitiser. I definitely think its beneficial to have hand sanitiser because if you can’t secure your baby on the table there would be no way of cleaning your hands at the sink properly. It would be really helpful to just be able to squirt a bit of sanitiser on your hands and be gone!

Even though I just took Dotty in in my arms, I tested out whether I could fit the double buggy through the door and thankfully I could!

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Apologies for the blurry image, my sister was embarrassed to take photos of me going in to the toilet!

A few days later I had a few bits and bobs to pick up from the supermarket so I thought I’d take the girls with me and we’d have lunch in the cafe too, it was a much more positive experience. To start with, the baby changing facility was clearly marked. It was in a separate room to any other toilet so it was accessible to both men and women.

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Once I got in to the room I noticed how big it was. There was plenty of room to manoeuvre even the double buggy around! It was also very clean in there and smelled fresh which was nice!

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There was also a separate toilet in this room which was good because I was able to go to the toilet myself without attempting to force the buggy through the door of the ladies! It also meant if I had an older child with me that we would be able to use this toilet for them too!

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There weren’t any spare nappies or wipes in this toilet but there was a sign that said the were available at customer services if we had run out which was great.

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There were no chairs for breastfeeding mothers however I do know that the cafe of the supermarket itself is breastfeeding friendly so that’s something at least. There was also a place for me to put the changing bag without it going on the floor and so it was easily accessible whilst I was changing Margot’s nappy!

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Unfortunately, there was no way to sanitise the changing table and so I had to put my own changing pad down. There was also no strap to secure Margot whilst I changed her nappy which meant had I not had the buggy with me there would have been no way of me actually using the facilities myself!

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The only other disappointing thing was that again there was no hand sanitiser. Also, there was only a hand dryer which was really loud, no paper! If anyone else has babies with a bit of a nervous disposition then you know hand dryers are definitely not what you want in a baby changing room!!

So there you have it. Two totally different experiences in two very well known companies. I was completely shocked at how rubbish the facilities were in the first place we went to. A good experience when changing your baby’s nappy totally affects your overall experience in said place. It’s hard enough for us mums (especially twin mums!!) to get out and about without the experience of changing our baby’s nappy becoming really difficult. And let me tell you, with twins nappy changing is something I have to do very often!

Direct 365 are a company who provide baby changing facilities for commercial places. They’ve released a few videos on their website showing what they think make good changing facilities in an effort to improve the spaces. Direct 365 provide really innovative equipment to create changing facilities at a really high standard. They have teamed up with myself and some other parenting bloggers to show the world just how necessary these improvements are.

This video is one of Direct365’s videos for this campaign – click here to see more!

Also, keep checking this post and my YouTube channel to see some behind the scenes footage of the research I did!

I hope you enjoyed this post – let me know what you think makes a good baby changing facility in the comments!Kate-Sig-1

Motherhood, one year on

Just over a year a go I became a mum to twins. In December 2015 I found out I was pregnant and it was totally unplanned, in fact it was something I really didn’t want at that time in my life. So now, after a year’s experience of motherhood under my belt, how do I really feel about it?

People may expect me to say that I wouldn’t change a thing, I’m so glad everything worked out the way it did. And whilst that’s true to an extent… there is still a lot I would change. I believe that everything happens for a reason, that ultimately, the life of my two daughters was planned and purposed by God. But that doesn’t mean that I get why right now. I kinda thought that once I had the girls there would be this “ohhh” moment where suddenly it all clicked and I realised why God had chosen now to bless me with these two precious people but in all honesty I still don’t know. I wouldn’t change Dorothy and Margot for absolutely anything, they are completely perfect. But the timing? Yes, that I would still change. In my worldly view I ask myself why. Why now? Why not at a time when I had more money, not at university, a few more years of marriage under my belt. Why not at a time when I’m a bit older and not always the youngest mum in the room. Why not at a time when my siblings have children and my babies can grow up with their cousins.

But I choose to have faith, I choose to believe that the reason why will become clear to me with time. Maybe that’s in a few months or twenty years, I don’t know. I trust in God’s timing above anything.

Motherhood suits me, though. I actually love it more than I ever thought possible. Out of everything in my life I ever thought I’d be good at, being a mum was never one of them. But I have actually surprised myself so much, the way I love my babies is so fierce, so selfless, so tireless. I could literally endure anything for them and I never knew I could feel like that. I never knew I could deny myself again and again, I never knew I could be this patient and constant. In a strange way they have given me a new found confidence in myself and who I am just by being their mum. I feel stronger and more content in myself than I ever have done. 

I recently got accepted on to an MA at a university. Unfortunately I had to give it up for now because I couldn’t get childcare sorted… I felt like I had lost so much when I gave that up but over the last few weeks I have realised that I’venot lost anything but gained everything. I am my children’s main carer and influence and if that means I can’t start a career til I’m 27 then how much have I actually lost?! I have given a few short years of my life to my children to shape their future and I can’t see anything negative about that.

So what’s motherhood like after a year? Pretty sh*tty at times. But also wonderful, exhilarating, funny, silly, messy, crazy, loud, beautiful and so much more.

Can’t wait to see what the next few years hold. 

1 year old plane carry on | What to pack |Travel with baby twins

At the beginning of September we took our 13 month twins on a flight to Morocco from London Gatwick. It was a three and a half hour trip and was at night so we obviously packed for this scenario. We used our Pacabod oban as their carry on and there was plenty of space. Myself and my husband combined our carry on so that we only had two bags between us, it just made getting through security so much more simple.

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We obviously packed the standard nappies, nappy bags, wipes etc. We packed around 16 nappies, that was mainly because we also packed for the journey down there. 8 nappies each but we definitely didn’t use them all.

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We then packed sudocreme, hand sanitiser and a special sterlisiing sanitiser which is baby safe and non-toxic. Its by aquaint and I bought a big bottle off Amazon because the small ones were really expensive, I then decanted it in to a smaller spray bottle.

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We packed snacks for the plane but they didn’t really eat any of them, obviously because it was at night. We just packed non-messy snacks, no meals because they ate dinner in the airport before we took off.

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We also packed bibs, dummies and their sippy cups so that all practically bases were covered!

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We also brought them some entertainment in the form of two plastic dinosaurs which was great for them to chew on! We also grabbed two little cuddly toys with a rattle for a bit of entertainment! We also packed two books that were small just for a little bit of extra entertainment!

We also packed a few spare change of clothes for them. They were wearing short sleeved rompers to begin with and we also packed two short sleeve vests, two long sleeve vests and two sleepsuits, just for all eventualities!

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I also packed a muslin cloth, you never know when you’re going to need one of those! Dotty loves snuggling in to them to sleep and of course it makes a great breastfeeding cover up.

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Finally, we packed them their sleeping bags. I didn’t know how cold the plane was going to be but in the end we didn’t use them. I don’t have a photo, but we also brought them swaddle blankets and that’s what we covered them with when they slept.

So there it is, that’s all we packed! I don’t think we would have needed much more than that even if it was a day time flight. The girls tend to entertain themselves and they enjoyed looking at the tv on the headsets!

Hope you enjoyed this post.

Kate-Sig-1