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

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

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. 

The twins turn 1!

Hey everyone!

I am really trying to get back in to the flow of blogging more regularly but life just seems so busy at the moment with moving house, visitors, weddings and everything else! It was the twins’ first birthday a couple of weeks a go so I wanted to share what we got up to on the day!

I can’t believe that the girls are now one year old, you can see the letters I wrote to Dotty and Margot for their first birthday by clicking the link on their names! The day wasn’t really what I had planned, originally I’d wanted to plan a lovely party with a teddy bear picnic theme out in the garden. I was going to invite a few new people that we have met whilst living here and Josh’s family were coming to visit. However, due to the building work we were unable to have guests come and stay as there was no spare rooms and we didn’t move in to our cottage until the night before. Also, because we couldn’t rely on the weather being nice and there was no bad weather alternative a party was out of the question! Needless to say I’m excited to plan their second birthday party now!

The day started with our usual routine, we bought them a number 1 helium balloon from Asda and I customised their vest with a floral “1” which I bought from Etsy shop craisymissdaisy and ironed them on. I really love how they turned out!

Our celebrations began with breakfast at the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery cafe. Its in Lostwithiel which is very local to us and is an absolutely lovely place. I’ve had afternoon tea there before which was lovely and the breakfast was great too. The girls had their first ever cooked breakfast which they really enjoyed!

Once we got home the girls opened their cards and presents. My sister, who had come up from London, bought them a slide which they loved! They got lots of other bits and pieces including a ball pit, clothes, vouchers and a seesaw but Josh and I personally didn’t really get them anything. We asked their close family (Grandparents, aunties and great grandparents) to write them a hand written letter as a keepsake. I just don’t really feel the need to spoil them and get them lots of presents for their birthday as I believe its important to teach them that presents aren’t the most important thing. They get everything they could possibly want or need throughout the year as and when they need it and I want their birthdays to be about making memories more than anything else! That said, I’m extremely grateful for the presents they did get!

We decided to do a cake smash for the girls. We baked individual sponges in a number 1 tin and then I iced them with pink icing, sprinkles and glitter! At first, the girls were quite overwhelmed and even cried a few times because everyone was looking at them and laughing! They both had different tactics when eating the cake, Dotty just went for it and Margot was going slow and steady, trying to eat as much as she could without us noticing! Of course we didn’t let them eat the whole cake – it was way too much sugar! If you know me you know I am quite keen to keep the girls as sugar and salt free as possible but for their first birthday I made an exception!

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Their main cake that everyone got to eat was made by yours truly. I absolutely love baking and I had a particular idea in mind of what I wanted their cake to look like. Naked cakes are actually pretty easy to make look good because you just shove a load of fruit and flowers on it and it makes it look fab! Their cake topper was from the Etsy store RachelEmmaStudio which I have kept for next year too!

I did a teddy bear themed afternoon tea but it wasn’t as much as I would have want. We cut out some teddy bear sandwiches for the girls and of course the classic pombears! Next up it was time to put the girls to bed with their new cushions from the Duchy!

Finally, the next day I took some pictures with the girls final age milestone card! We got these cards from mushymoments on amazon and absolutely love them!

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about the girls’ first birthday.

Kate-Sig-1

Hi I’m Kate, and I’m a stay at home mum.

“So what are your plans about going back to work?”

I hear this a lot. People don’t think anything of it and nor should they. But for me it’s actually not that simple. For me there’s no “going back” to work because I never actually started working! I mean, I’ve obviously had jobs before when I was at college and uni but as I finished my degree I got pregnant and by the time I’d finished I was already heavily pregnant and had no hope of gaining employment!

So in August the girls were born and the last 10 months have been unbelievably intense. Yes, they would have been sweeter with a bit of maternity pay but I wouldn’t swap our time together for anything. Now the girls are coming up for a year, this would be the time to start looking to go back to work.

I’ve barely left the girls up to now. Other breastfeeding mums out there can vouch for the fact that when you’re breastfeeding, leaving your baby is way more trouble than it’s worth usually (hello lots of pumping, engorgement and leaky boobs!). The thought of putting them in to nursery scares me as they still feel so young to me. However I know they’d thrive with it deep down but the simple fact is I’d have to earn a heck of a lot to even make it worth putting them in childcare. Furthermore, I’d probably want to go back to work part time so I still got lots of time with the girls. I guess flexible hours are a lot easier to negotiate when you’re already employed rather than seeking new employment.

I want to have a career. In fact I never dreamed of having children but I always dreamed of having a career. But I don’t want to put my career above the girls. Right now, though it may seem self involved, I know the girls need me more than anyone. When they’re three years old they’ll go in to funded nursery and when they’re 4 they’ll be in school. I can’t bear to be parted with them so it seems when I add all these factors together that there’s only one option. Being a stay at home mum. 

If I’m honest I used to kinda look down on stay at home mums. That was before I found out just how hard being a parent actually is. Doing it all day every day with no break is relentless, frustrating and monotonous. But it also unbelievably rewarding, enjoyable and fun. The hard times are really, really hard but there are also the really good times of being able to just go out for coffees with people or take your kids for a picnic. The kind of thing you’d miss if you were working. I’m sure if you’re reading this and you’re not a parent you probably think “what is so hard about being a mum?!” Lol, well you just wait! I used to feel the same as you! I used to think being a stay at home mum was such an unfeminist option, so many women fought for the right to work and not have to give it up when they had children. But I see now that feminism is all about having the option to go back to work if you want to, and not if you don’t.

The way I see it is that this time with the girls is so unbelievably precious. It comes around once in a lifetime. Because the girls are twins I already kind of feel like I have half the time with them as it is and I want to treasure the time with them so much! 

I am still only 23, even if I wait 4 years to start working I’ll still be pretty young starting out in my career. I want a proper career that I love and not just settle for something because it’s what fits around nursery schedules! At least this way I haven’t had to have a career break, instead I can start my career in a really good position, knowing my girls are happy and settled!

In the future I may have to miss out on school trips, sports days or class assemblies and that’s why I’ve resolved to drink in these moments with my babies because they won’t last forever.

So no, I’m not going “back to work”. At the moment it’s not what works for our family. But I’ll keep on making my girls’ worlds go round and leave changing the rest of it for a few more years!