Happy birthday! You are 3 today and are a proper little girl now.
The year began with an extremely rainy birthday party with all your friends. Despite the rain you had a fab day!
Your fiery personality has just grown and grown this year with you screaming a lot when you get cross, throwing, biting, you name it! But I love your passion and your fire!
You are a sociable and confident little girl and you enjoy meeting new people and playing with them. Sometimes you are a little shy but it doesn’t take long for you to warm up! However you are also happy to play on your own and do your own thing at times and often you’ll take yourself off to your room to play.
You love to get your pillow case or a box and fill it with your toys and tell me it’s a present for me! You are still very protective over your toys, in particular your “waffle doggy” who you want to be with all the time! You definitely don’t have much tolerance when Margot takes him!
You love babies in particular your little friends Hector and Perran. You actually tried to pick a real baby up at nursery this year which everyone found hilarious!
You have been to the cinema a few times this year and you really enjoy watching movies. You love anything with animals and you adore Toy Story, particularly number 2. You love the smurfs and your favourite colour is green.
You can’t pronounce “L” and instead make a “Y” sound which is honestly so adorable and makes us melt!
It’s been a tough year for you with 3 stays in hospital in the space of 8 months. You have had pneumonia and we are still investigating what could have caused this. You are so strong and brave though and you made us so proud!
You love your food, particularly anything sweet. You would eat ice cream all day long if you could!
You love the beach and especially going in the water. You are definitely a water baby and would swim all day long! This year you even went on a 400m zip wire and everyone was so impressed with your bravery!
You love praying and ask to pray for anyone who has hurt themselves. You also enjoy singing to Jesus and going to “big church” and you like to tell everyone “Jesus died on the cross and then he came back a life!”
You destroy every book you get your hands on and can often be quite destructive but we know it’s just you learning. You love to play fighting and saying “I kill you” with your pretend sword
Dotty we could not be more proud of you and we love you so much!
WELL it’s been a minute since I posted a being mum post. My last one was when the girls turned 18 months and now they’re about to turn 2 and a half!
I would say this last year has been my most challenging stage, probably from around 20 months to now. The girls have been constantly pushing boundaries and getting emotional. They’re also extremely clever and with that comes a lot of push back when I want them to do something!
I guess this stage has meant a lot of figuring out what works in terms of discipline, routine and everything else. The girls also no longer nap which has made the days feel SOOO much longer! We also aren’t getting amazing amounts of sleep with the girls constantly wanting to come in our bed. This means we tend to have a big battle at 3am which eventually ends in one or both joining us in bed and a pretty uncomfortable night sleep for the adults.
Every day truly feels like a battle. They are constantly on, wanting me to entertain them and the FIGHTS you honestly would not believe. I feel more like a referee than a mum half the time. I have to admit I often just ignore it now when they hit each other and just leave them to sort it between themselves!
I hate being that mum who says their children are soOoOoO advanced. But the girls speech is incredible and their nursery often comment on how good their vocabulary is for children of their age. Nursery in general is going really well for the girls and they LOVE it, although Dotty often gets emotional going in in the morning.
There are lots of amazing things about this age too. The interaction, the conversations, imaginary games and funny things they say. They also love Disney and are obsessed with songs from moana, frozen and all the rest. It’s super cute to hear them singing along in the back of the car. They come out with such funny things like Margot calling me “darling” all the time and Dotty telling me she’s “a bit cross” with me cos I wouldn’t let her watch tv.
We’ve also entered the realm of potties! Dotty is completely trained now with no issues and Margot won’t be far behind I shouldn’t imagine.
It is really hard and most days I have more bad moments with them than good. But it really does make it worth it to hear them tell me they love me or that I’m their best friend!
Today has been a big day for my little girlies as today is the day they started nursery.
In the UK, all children get 15 hours free nursery care when they turn 3 years old. However if your household income falls under a certain bracket, you are eligible for 15 hours per week for 2 year olds, too. We don’t fall under this bracket generally speaking but as I was working out our taxes this year I realised that last year we did due to Josh not working for a few months when we first moved to Cornwall. As they take your household income from the previous tax year, we were eligible!
You are able to have 15 hours per week during term time or you can spread it across 51 weeks of the year and have 10 hours per week instead which is what we opted to do as it just makes things easier for us to have a routine.
The girls are going to be going on Mondays 8.30-11.30 and Thursdays 9.30-4.30 so 10 hours in total. Over the last couple of weeks they’ve had 2 settling in sessions where I stayed and played with them and then left for a little bit of time. Both of these sessions went well but as today rolled around I started to feel quite anxious.
I didn’t sleep well last night. I don’t really have any concerns about Dotty but Margot is very clingy. I’ve never had regular child care, I’ve always been a stay at home mum. Every now and then my parents or sisters would have them for a couple of hours but that’s about it. Margot has always been more of a needy child, even as a baby you couldn’t put her down ever. She just cried all the time unless being held or fed or asleep. Today went as I expected and she got really upset when it was time for me to go, she was cuddling into me so much and saying “no”. Then, as I left she was screaming “mummyyyyyy”. She was being looked after by a member of staff and was fine but I barely could keep my composure. I got in to the car and burst in to tears! Anyway, a few minutes later I rang to check and they said she was absolutely fine.
Dotty on the other hand is little miss confidence. She was nervous when we first went in but when I told her I was leaving she was fine and just ran off to play. She’s always been adaptable and more chilled and absolutely loves toys and books so she will have the best time ever.
So, what am I going to do with my spare time? Well I’m going to write a separate blog post on that so watch this space.
When I went to pick the girls up they didn’t want to come home! They had a fantastic time and kept saying “back again” and constantly have played “let’s go to nursery” ever since!
Happy second birthday! I can’t believe you are now 2 and are officially not a baby anymore. In a way it seems like just yesterday that you were a newborn but at the same time it feels like forever a go.
Your second year of life has been wonderful. It started with you being a flower girl at your auntie’s wedding and I couldn’t have been more proud of you. We then went on our first proper holiday to Morocco and you and Margot were like celebrities there! All of the waiters at the restaurants loved you and always shouted “eyyy Dotty girl!!!” At you!
You have a huge appetite for mischief that is almost insatiable. You are the reason we have had to put child locks on every drawer in the living room! You really are the ring leader with your sister as well and normally are the one to start the mischief making.
You are sociable and cuddly but you are still really independent. You are always happy to play on your own and you can become so engrossed with what you’re doing that it really wouldn’t matter if someone else was there or not. You absolutely love playing with duplo at Grandma’s house and you could happily play for hours with it.
You’re also still a huge fan of cuddly toys. You have a little monkey that you sleep with … Actually it’s 2 now as I bought a spare in case we lost one but you caught wind of that quickly! You normally latch on to cuddly toys wherever you go and you also really enjoy playing with babies.
One thing that I love about you is your wild, adventurous spirit. You love being outside and your catchphrase is “I climb?” … You just love climbing and going down slides etc. You also love swinging on bars at the top of climbing frames which can be a bit scary for us!
You can be so chilled at times and you absolutely adore watching tv. You would happily sit and watch tv for hours and you love to ask me to prop you up with cushions and put a blanket over you so you can be all nice and “cosy”.
Other times you are not so chill and we see feisty Dotty come out. You have such a short fuse and can be wound up so easily. You scream and tantrum and throw yourself on the floor as well as biting, hitting and throwing stuff! A lot of it is frustration on your part and we try not to be too hard on you.
You do like food but you can be quite picky and take forever to eat a meal. It can be really frustrating as half the time Margot has finished a meal and you’re just getting started! But we try to let you take the time when we can!
You love animals and insects and are obsessed with spiders. You love to tell us what colour things are and count to 5 really quickly. Your speech is fantastic and you can pretty much repeat anything back to us now and we are really starting to have proper conversations – it’s so nice.
You adore the beach and playing in the water although you have an irrational fear of crabs! You absolutely love digging and finding treasure on the beach and you could happily spend all day there. You also love ice cream and lollies and every time you go to the beach you try your luck and ask for one… well maybe one day it’ll work!
You already enjoy worshipping God and always put your arms up in the air when we say “praise the Lord” and randomly say “thank you God” all the time! You love singing and dancing and wiggling your bottom and generally being silly.
You always have us smiling and we feel so unbelievably blessed to have you in our lives.
So, I’m 24 now and was 22 when the girls were born. Whilst I got married young, it was never my plan to have children young. In fact, growing up I never particularly wanted children at all! When Josh and I got together I started to imagine what it’d be like having a person that was half him and half me and I came round to the idea, but we thought we would be having them later in life, maybe our 30s because there was so much we wanted to do before we got tied down!
ANYWAY, flash forward five and a half months after our wedding, I found out I was 2 weeks pregnant! It took me a long time to come round to the idea but by the time my girlies were here I couldn’t have been more thrilled. That being said, being a young mum has come with its challenges that I have discovered over the past couple of years!
First of all, I feel, rightly or wrongly that people don’t take me seriously. Especially when I was pregnant, I felt as though midwives etc. didn’t really ‘get’ my situation and didn’t think I was doing it right. I think this was pretty much all in my head but it was just a feeling I got. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing! I actually still don’t most of the time! But I always feel like people are watching my every move, checking if I get it right for being ‘such a young mum’!
None of my friends have children! Of course I’ve made friends with other mums but in terms of people close to me from school etc., nobody has babies! That being said, my best friend Holly has a daughter who is seven months younger than the girls so its amazing to have a close friend to talk to about stuff! But the rest of my friends seem to be at a very different stage of life to me and it can be pretty easy for me to envy them when I see them bossing their careers or off travelling the world! However, I am lucky because my girls have lots of ‘aunties’ to shower them with lots of love and affection!
On that score, I always really worried that other mums would be a lot older than me and would look down on me. I kind of thought nobody would want to be friends with me because I am younger, but I have not found this to be the case at all! I actually have realised that despite the fact I am younger than some people I meet, it doesn’t matter at all. We have so much in common because we have very similar lives and its great to have people to talk to about it. And to be honest what is a few years once you’re an adult? So if you’re a young mum-to-be reading this, that’s something you don’t have to worry about! Even throughout school I had many friends who were a few years older than me and it didn’t really matter then and it certainly doesn’t now! I think with time your confidence in yourself and your “adultness” just grows – these days I’m more comfortable talking to a 50 year old than a teenager!
One thing I must admit I struggle with is finances. Since I had just graduated uni when I became a Mum, I’ve never had a full time job. When Josh and I got married the plan was that he’d work and support us both and we’d live very cheaply for the first year, then when I got a job we’d feel like we were rolling in it and have plenty to spend and also save for travelling, buying a house etc. Sadly, this wasn’t to be… we are still living on one income 3 years in to marriage and I’ll admit at times it’s really tough. There is not much extra left over and saving is just out of the question. Thankfully, because we are currently living in a teeny house owned by my parents (I mean tiny, we share a room with the girls and have to take them to my parents to have a bath) we are able to save a bit. But we still only have one car and can’t always afford to do everything we want to. I find it hard when I see my friends quite a lot further along than us however I also have to remind myself that they are that bit older and all these things take time. I also realise that once the girls are old enough then I will certainly be working and then we will hopefully be able to afford a mortgage and holidays etc.!
On a more positive note, selfishness is completely gone. I think being a young person in your 20s makes you selfish, not purposefully but the thing is, realistically the most important person in your world is yourself! It isn’t a bad thing, but when you have children your selfishness just gets completely zapped. You become selfless, but not because you want to be! It just seems that these little people have to come first no matter what and you just fade in to the background! However, I have become more selfish in other ways such as with my free time and not wanting to share my husband so it’s swings and roundabouts really!
Ambitions and dreams don’t die, they get stronger! For the first few months it was hard to think about life beyond babies, but these days my ambitions are finding the way back to the surface of my brain again. I want to be a good role model to my children, I still want to have a good career and I want to be successful! It doesn’t matter what form that takes but I’m just glad it hasn’t gone away! And I definitely still want to travel the world… it’s just the small matter of HOW. But I’m confident we will do it!
Priorities change. This has been a huge learning curve for me. Whilst many people my age prioritise amazing holidays, nights out, new clothes and nice meals… I prioritise nappies, sippy cups and shoes that will be outgrown in a few weeks. My own health is less of a priority than my children’s, my happiness is less important than theirs. It sounds harsh but at the end of the day they won’t rely and depend on me forever and for now I can give up the new pair of trainers in favour of a new toy box and hope that my kids grow up to have amazing jobs which pay for the plastic surgery to remove the years worth of dark circles I will have (just kidding… sort of!).
In the end, I believe there is no “right age” to have children. 17, 25 or 45 – you can make it work. You can give your child the best life and still have a pretty amazing one yourself, all it takes is a little perspective, confidence in yourself and your abilities and lots and lots of coffee.
We all know sugar and salt are not good for kids. But just how much do we actually know about these white powders? Since I began weaning the girls just over a year a go, I started to worry about sugar and salt content. For starters, I decided not to give them anything that contained added sugar or salt. Obviously in the very beginning this meant only raw foods such as fruit or vegetables. Then I started giving them a bigger variety of food and I tried to use natural sugars that came from fruits to sweeten things. I also didn’t give them any kind of salty snack. Here’s why:
According to the NHS, children of 4-6 years old should only be eating a maximum of 19g of sugar per day. That’s only 5 teaspoons. There are no official recommendations for children under 4 but some sources suggest no more than 12g. In one chocolate cookie there is 3.5g of sugar! There is also sugar in things you wouldn’t expect such as bread, yoghurt and cereal. High sugar in our children’s diets can lead to tooth decay, heart problems and even cancer.
Babies under one should have no more than 1g of salt per day. Between the ages of 1 and 3 they should have no more than 2g of salt per day and 3g from ages 4-6. In one slice of whole meal bread there can be 0.5g of salt meaning with one sandwich your child could have already had half their salt allowance. Ham and processed meats also contain salt so if it’s a ham sandwich that’s more than likely their salt for the day. Too much salt in your child’s diet can increase their blood pressure and put them at risk of salt in later life. Children’s kidneys also have difficulties breaking down too much salt.
So with all this in mind I have come up with 5 easy and simple ways to reduce sugar and salt in your child’s diet.
Flavoured yoghurt contains an unbelievable amount of sugar, even those that are marketed at children. In one Petits Filous fromage frais there is 4.6g of sugar. That is over a third of your child’s recommended allowance for sugar! Instead, why not opt for plain Greek or natural yogurt. You can add some fruit or even a small amount of honey to your their yoghurt to sweeten it. This contains only 2.5g of sugar but it is also natural sugars occurring in the yogurt, rather than refined, added sugar.
2. Cook from scratch
This is a really simple way to cut out both sugar and salt. Instead of using convenience food that you’re not sure what it contains, make your own. Then you don’t have to add any sugar or salt. I personally got a bread maker and make my own bread. As I previously stated, the average slice of bread contains 0.5g of salt whereas I add way less salt to my own bread and I know the girls aren’t getting too much. I also make things like biscuits myself using low or no sugar recipes. They can be sealed in air tight containers or frozen and defrosted at the start of the day. It is so much better as you know your kids aren’t getting loads of sugar from their snacks!
3. Baby brands
There are many amazing brands such as Organix and Ella’s kitchen who make biscuits and crisps which are not made with salt or refined sugar. My girls personally absolutely love the organix ginger bread men and their carrot chip sticks. There are some brands which aren’t that great in terms of additives, sugar, salt etc. So make sure you read the labels!
Cereal is something that a lot of people consider fairly healthy. However one 30g bowl of Cheerios with semi skimmed milk contains 6g of sugar which is half of your child’s recommended allowance! Not to mention what cereals such as coco pops have. To combat this it’s pretty simple; read the box. Go for cereals such as weetabix, readybrek, rice crispies etc. which are low in sugar. There are also alternatives such as Alphabites cereal which is a low sugar cereal designed for young children and Cheerios have also started to sell their own low sugar version.
Preparation is key – it is so rare to find healthy snacks for kids out and about so the best thing to do is to keep your bag stocked with all manner of snacks & make packed lunches for days out.
I hope this has been a helpful post. Remember prevention is always better and if your child doesn’t get the taste for sugar and salt they’ll never know what they’re missing. I’m not saying to be mean and never let them have anything unhealthy but let’s face it, you’re being mean in the long run by letting them eat crap all the time.
So today’s post is all about a brand called Childs Farm. You may have seen some good publicity the products have got over the past few months with people claiming that they have cured skin ailments.
Poor Margot has really suffered with eczema since she was around 5/6 months old. It was so bad that she would have to be covered up at all times so she couldn’t get to it to scratch. She would make herself bleed by scratching and it would affect her sleep and general mood.
Here are some pictures of how bad it was – they are not the best quality!
It was just absolutely awful and upsetting. There was not a lot we could really do, we went repeatedly to the doctors and got prescribed all manner of different creams including Fifty:50, double base, diprobase, oilatum, emollient cream, E45, aveeno and many more! The only thing that worked was hydrocortisone which is a steroid cream and as soon as we stopped using it the eczema would return! It isn’t great for little ones’ skin as it thins it.
Anyway, in August I started using Childs Farm on Margot’s skin, I pretty much used it 4 times per day and the eczema very quickly went away. I now only need to apply it once a day and its absolutely fine. The only time I have had to use the steroid cream is when we went on holiday and were in and out of the pool a lot so her skin dried out. We also used the suncream when we were on holiday which didn’t give any reaction for Margot’s skin. We used the Aldi suncream through the summer which was fine but I noticed it wasn’t good for their faces as when they went in the pool it would go in to their eyes and make them really sore!
This is the moisturiser. I really like the packaging for it and as you can see it is suitable for newborn skin. I know Aveeno is also really popular for sensitive and newborn skin however this is a LOT cheaper! This retails at only £3.99 and Amazon do it slightly cheaper!
We also use the bubble bath that they make!
Finally, we also use the hair and body wash and we absolutely love all three products along with the suncream that we used on holiday.
The packaging is 100% recyclable and the products are 98% naturally derived and they include Essential oils, natural moisturisers, natural preservatives and natural detergents. They don’t use SLS/SLES, Parabens, PEGs, Phthalates or Artificial colours.
So there we have it,
I’m absolutely in love with these products and I cannot recommend them enough!
Being a stay at home mum is hard and sometimes a bit monotonous. I’ve always aspired to have a career rather than a family so being a full time mum has been a definite learning curve for me! So, with that in mind I thought I’d write a blog post all about how I get the most fulfilment out of being a stay at home mum and what little things I’ve changed to make sure I really enjoy my time with the girls! It isn’t just for people who are full time mums, though! Whether you work part-time, or just have weekends with your babas I hope this helps you!
1. Be present
Now that the girls are older they often are quite content and happy to play on their own. Sometimes, it might be easier for me to just let them get on with it and of course sometimes I do. Sometimes, I clean up after their meals and get on with stuff whilst they play but I also make sure I take the time for a good hour or so to put my phone out of reach and just enjoy playing with them. Granted, it can be very tempting to give them half my attention whilst checking my emails or watching a YouTube video, but the thing is I can do that whilst they nap or in the evening. Of course it’s good for kids to be able to play on their own but it’s also really important to enjoy your precious moments with your kiddos!
2. Screen time
Of course, at the moment my girls are too young for pretty much any other screen than that of the television so I can’t comment too much on tablets and phones and stuff. HOWEVER, we all know that ‘studies show screen time is crap for your kid’ or words to that effect. For the most part, I agree – there’s nothing worse than having kids tv blaring in the background all day long and now that the girls are more perceptive I won’t watch anything too ‘adult’ around them. Watching too much tv can affect their concentration as they grow up and other things. That being said, I do let the girls watch television – especially if they’re tired or I just need to distract them whilst I make their tea or get ready in the morning. A big tip for watching television with your children though is to actually watch it WITH them from time to time, rather than just using it as a distraction as I said before. Every now and then I put something on that I’ll also enjoy (Disney movie, Shrek or that kind of thing) and sit and watch it with them. It may only last twenty minutes but it is so lovely to have snuggly quality time with them!
3. Get out and about
I know this one is probably said to you ALL the time but it actually is so so helpful. It is so difficult to get out of the house especially with twins so its definitely important to find a time that works for you – I personally prefer to go out either all morning or all afternoon so the girls still get one of their naps at home. Obviously sometimes we go out all day but week to week I prefer to have time at home each day – the girls never nap enough when we’re out and about! Baby/toddler groups are an amazing way to give your child a change of scenery and a few new toys to play with as well as social interaction with other children (learning to share etc.) but it also helps us mums get to know other mums and have a bit of adult chat ourselves. Not every play group is going to work for you so it might take some time to find one that’s at the right time and distance from where you live. Also, sometimes other mums aren’t going to talk to you and you either have to really make the effort to push yourself in to conversations or give up and try a different group. Of course you’re not going to gel with every group of mums but don’t let it put you off trying again! I currently go to three baby groups a week and it really saves my sanity! Play groups aren’t the only way to get out of the house, of course. Just heading down to the park or for a stroll round the shops can be fab and give your child a bit of fresh air. I love taking my girls for walks and getting out in the sunshine (or sometimes rain!). If you just can’t face going out, get out in the garden! We have some mud suits for the girls so that they can crawl around in the garden and not worry about getting mucky and we have a slide and a seesaw for them in the garden that were pretty cheap. In your garden you can wear your pjs if you wish but at least your child is burning off some of that energy! Finally, don’t be afraid to go for adventures with your kids during the week! Normally, we wait for the weekend to have our big days out as that is when daddy is home and it gets expensive doing it regularly, however I’ve realised that this puts a lot of pressure on us to do lots at the weekend and make it memorable. Sometimes if my husband has had a tiring week at work he just wants to chill at home for most of the day and that’s fine especially if I know that we have got out and about and stimulated the girls a lot through the week! It can be daunting going out all day alone with your kids but it won’t be as bad as you think!
4. Find a hobby
I know, I know this feels like one of those things you always hear but bear with me! It can be tempting to just slump on the sofa during nap times and evenings or get on with the long to do list or house work and of course some days that does have to be done. However, its also important to take time for yourself and do something that you enjoy, whether that’s sitting reading a book, baking a cake or sewing some clothes. I enjoy baking but I also enjoy writing my blog and editing videos so that is something I do to just feel like ‘me’ rather than ‘mummy’. It doesn’t have to be anything hard work or taxing – maybe pick up your hubby’s play station controller and give that a go! You might surprise yourself.
This one is absolutely key. Yes, house work is important and its good for your child to have clean clothes BUT ask yourself, can this wait til tomorrow or when my child is asleep? It might not seem like it now when they days sometimes drag by but these are the times we are going to miss SO much when they grow up! Prioritise each day what chores and house work you want to get done on that particular day and leave it to that. It can be hard to let things go but you also need time to rest and enjoy yourself without feeling frazzled and stressed. Have a calm conversation with your partner about how they can help you with housework rather than having a go at them/nagging!
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post – I don’t have it all figured out but these are some changes I have made recently to try and help my time with the girls go more smoothly and be more enjoyable.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!