Photo shoot with Melanie Grace Photography

A couple of months a go the lovely Melanie from Melanie Grace Photography came over to my house to photograph us for her “Motherhood in my words” series. I have only just got round to posting the photos on my blog because my internet is really bad at the moment and I can’t upload such large files. Anyway, I will link to the blog post on her website here.

Melanie asked me to choose the location of the shoot and I chose my own home. We always take photos when we’re out and about (although not to this standard) but I wanted to capture the memories of the every day, homey moments with my girls that I want to treasure forever.

Melanie asked me to write a few words for her blog about my experience of motherhood, here’s what I wrote:

Motherhood In My Words

At first, my confidence was rock bottom because I didn’t know what I was doing as a first time mum, I was constantly second guessing myself and worrying about whether I was doing the wrong thing.

I breastfed the girls, which meant for the first four months there was pretty much always a baby with me. With that I started to feel like I lost my identity and with it my confidence. I didn’t know who I was without the girls and it actually got to the point where I didn’t like going anywhere without them. I became a bit of a social recluse because I felt like I had nothing in common with anyone and other mums wouldn’t like me because I was only 22 when I had the girls and as such I was a lot younger than most mums I met!

But as the girls got older I began to regain my confidence and I actually felt like I started to learn more about myself and aspects of my character that I hadn’t noticed before. I started to find a lot about myself that I liked, such as strength, determination and unbelievable love which gave me more confidence and made me feel proud of myself.

As the girls became more independent and we settled in to a better routine I found myself finding more enjoyment in going out with them and also meeting other mums and became happy and confident in myself instead of constantly worrying about what people thought of me.

The best advice I could give to a new mum would be to remember that nothing is forever. The really difficult times won’t last forever but neither will the good times so make sure you treasure all the good moments and that will help you through the bad ones! You can never take too many photos and videos and you’ll always look back and wish you had more! Especially in the first few weeks, make sure you are in lots of pictures despite how bad you think you look because you’ll regret it if you don’t! You don’t have to show anyone else anyway!

I would also say try to be relaxed and go with the flow, we all have ideals of how things will be, we won’t use dummies and we’ll be in a routine from six weeks but if you aren’t pragmatic you end up stressing yourself out!

Sometimes it’s ok to throw the advice and the rules out the window and do it your way – parental instinct is a real thing!

I absolutely adore all the photos that Mel took. We started off in the living room, playing and reading books. I must admit the girls weren’t very good at pretending the camera wasn’t there!

We then got our wellies on and headed outside. Playing in the garden is such a huge part of our life here and I’m so glad we captured it.

Then we headed back in and the girls had their lunch.

I then got the girls ready for their nap!

I could not be more thrilled with the photographs and I would recommend a session with Mel to anyone.

Becoming a mum young: what’s it really like?

Hey guys, I got such a good response to my post Getting married young: what’s it really like? so I thought I’d do another post similar to that. This post is going to be all about what its like being a young mum!

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.

5 easy ways to reduce refined sugar and salt in your child’s diet

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:

Sugar

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.

Salt

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.

1. Yoghurt

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!

4. Cereal

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.

5. Preparation

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.

Being mum: to twin toddlers (15m-18m)

Now the girls are 18 months old I consider them properly toddlers! Since my last update they have really honed their skills at walking. They are both able to walk extremely confidently now and sometimes we are able to leave the buggy in the car and just let them walk. However they are still quite slow and they don’t listen to instructions so it can be difficult letting them walk when I’m on my own with them. I tend to put them in the buggy and only let them walk when there’s plenty of space and they can’t hurt themselves! They don’t enjoy being in the buggy and just want to walk everywhere so it can be more difficult and stressful taking them out!

They are also absolutely amazing at speech now. They learn new words every single day and constantly make my heart melt with the cute little pronunciation they have! They understand a lot of instructions as well and I can tell them to do things, whether they do it is another matter!

In the past few months we have also started to do a lot more play groups and generally make more friends. I can’t say the girls are particularly friendly because they really don’t like sharing! But it’s nice having new friends nonetheless.

Friendship is the word I would use to sum up this stage with the girls. Not about others though. No, my friendship with the girls has really truly blossomed. We are so close now and I really feel like our family is becoming such a lovely unit that’s getting knitted stronger each day. The girls are both mummy’s girls which can be difficult and sad for Josh but I know it’s just a phase. They won’t always favour me so I’m going to enjoy every moment as much as I can!

DOTTY IS 18 MONTHS OLD ❤ what a difference the last 3 months have made. Dotty is now walking with confidence and climbing everything in sight. She is a very confident little soul and is happy around new people and new surroundings. She still absolutely adores all cuddly toys- they are her absolute favourite! She also loves water, especially splashing in puddles. She will spot a puddle from a mile off and take a huge detour to splash in it! A true older sister she’s the leader and the initiator of mischief. She also has a very bad temper and scratches, bites, hits and kicks a LOT! Her vocabulary has got so good and she is really good at pronouncing the whole word rather than just the first sound. Her favourite word is “wow” – Dotty we adore you so much! Happy half birthday x x

Margot is 18 months today! She is definitely the more shy of the two and finds new people and situations quite overwhelming. She often looks a bit serious but once she knows you she is so silly and fun! She loves chatting and is constantly walking around jabbering away to herself! She copies everything Dotty does and has also started copying actions and facial expressions of people on the tv. She’s very helpful and enjoys tidying things away, she is also very kind and sensitive and if Dotty is crying she always brings her her dummy or toy monkey. She has started to string sentences together normally including ‘all gone’ (or as she says gogone) she’s really good at following instructions and remembering what she has to do in certain situations. She is still the bigger twin and loves her food… She is hard work on a day out and loves doing the actions to “head, shoulders, knees and toes” . We love you so much Margot, happy half birthday baby! X x x

Review of Childs Farm products for eczema prone skin

Hey guys!

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!

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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!

Hope you enjoyed this post

 

Kate-Sig-1

Being mum: 12-15 months

So next up in my being mum series is 12-15 months. The girls have just turned 15 months so this post is going to be all about what it has been like since they turned 1!

First of all, the girls have learnt so much since they’ve turned 1. I know we think that pretty much ever month but seriously in this time period I have been so surprised at how much they’ve changed. They’re like little sponges and are constantly learning new things. First of all, their movement has changed a lot. At 12 months they were crawling but now they are both walking. Margot is fantastic at walking and never crawls at all anymore whereas Dotty is much slower and still very wobbly, at this point she can only take a few steps but she is getting there! They love climbing and getting up to all sorts of mischief. Their speech has also come on in leaps and bounds, Margot in particular can say 20+ words now and is very confident when chatting. Dotty is also very good at talking but she is a lot more quiet and whispery, she only speaks if SHE wants to not if anyone else tells her to! They understand so much of what I say to them now and communicate if they are tired, hungry or need their nappy changed. At this stage they have also learnt to play much more on their own which has been fantastic for me in a lot of ways because it means I can get on with other things. However, as they like to get up to mischief it can be very difficult to leave them to it for too long! I always think each stage is my favourite stage but I really am loving the stage they are in right now – they are just so much fun and such a joy to be around! That being said, we are starting to see a lot more tantrums creep in! If things don’t go their way they can get very frustrated and angry but they don’t really respond to discipline so that is an issue!!

Normally I post the girls monthly updates on these posts but when they reached 12 months we didn’t carry on writing their updates monthly on Instagram. Instead we have decided to do them every three months so I will post their updates from 12 months and 15 months.

This month Dotty has come on in leaps and bounds. She’s now crawling and pulling herself up on furniture and she’s quite speedy when she wants to be! She’s not the most chatty baby but she sometimes randomly starts screaming with joy as loud as she can! She’s a real book worm and absolutely loves reading. We have woken up some mornings and found her flicking through a book! She’s getting good at responding to things you say, if you ask her where her head, tummy and feet are she’ll pat them!
She’s also learnt to cuddle by putting her head on you and saying “aaaahhh”. She so loves giving kisses but decides that she kisses with tongues and always tries to snog you! Sometimes when she has to be woken up from a sleep she gets startled and starts clapping, it’s so funny! She’s still a chilled baby but she does have a fiery temper and gets cross easily!
It’s been an absolute delight watching Dotty grow & develop this year and we have loved every minute! ❤

This month Margot has got a lot faster at crawling and is pulling herself up on furniture, legs, walls and anything she can find! She’s also started cruising and moving that way and loves being helped to walk by holding her hands. She’s also learnt where her head, tummy and feet are and she’s learnt what the word “bounce” means too! She definitely tries to communicate a lot and will point at things and say “ook”. She also tries to say Fred which just shows how much she absolutely loves animals. If she sees an animal on TV she’ll stare for ages! She loves pressing her face against our glass doors and looking out and she’s very affectionate and loves giving cuddles and kisses. She’s become a lot more happy to play independently with her new found confidence from crawling!
Margot is such a sweetheart and we have over watching her grow up this past year! ❤

15 MONTHS OLD! Dotty is a passionate little fireball! She has the most sweet nature but when something doesn’t go her way, boy do you know it! She gets angry and bites or swipes at whatever is closest be that object, person or herself! She has long hair which has to be clipped back and she has lots of big teeth at the back. She’s a very fussy eater and would rather go hungry than eat something she doesn’t want! She spends the first 5 minutes of any meal deconstructing every item by poking it with her index finger until she deems it’s suitability. She’s started getting good at using a spoon but will get bored quickly. She’s not the best at sleeping and can take up to an hour to get to sleep! She can stand for quite a while if we put her in the position but she still doesn’t walk. She has the ability but doesn’t seem to want to… She either makes her legs go floppy or will lunge forward rather than taking a step. She absolutely loves climbing and will stand on top of anything and everything. She’s still an avid reader and she also enjoys problem solving toys. She’s getting a very good vocabulary but she’s fairly quiet and only talks when she’s in the right mood. She’s a mummy’s girl and is extremely cuddly and is happy to snuggle on the sofa. She’s still miss independent and is happy to play alone and ditches mummy at every baby group! She’s a true delight ❤❤❤

MARGOT AT 15 MONTHS! Margot took her first steps around 6 weeks a go and is now extremely confident at walking. She barely crawls at all anymore. She hates being in her pushchair for that reason! She loves being read to and brings books over to you and sits on your knee! She has a fantastic vocabulary of 20 words+ and can recognise animals and make their sounds. She especially loves tigers and elephants at the moment! She has also learnt to say “poo poo” when she’s filled her nappy! She enjoys pulling funny faces and laughing about it. She’s great at mimicking facial expressions too! She also loves giving cuddles and kisses and waving at people out and about! She loves to say “shoes” and bring your shoes over to you and today she got measured for her first big girl hard sole shoes! She’s still lacking in hair but has lots of teeth and a big pot belly! She’s very calm and chilled out for the most part and still loves her sleep and can nap for ages! She loves pretending to talk on the phone and giving her reflection kisses! Margot you are wonderful ❤❤

Thanks for reading

Kate-Sig-1

How to boss being a stay at home mum

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.

5. Prioritise

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.

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.