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Camping at Lady’s Mile, Dawlish

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As a surprise to James, and a treat to us all, I booked us all to go camping over the weekend for Father’s day. It was three years ago to the day that we last went camping as a couple (over night pit stop between a day at Ascot and then a day at thorpe park!) and obviously this time we had our girls in tow. How hard could camping with two littles be? Honestly? Not very.  Admittedly we only stayed one night, but toddlers and the outdoors are just perfect together (and Etty is still at that really transportable age- boob and a cuddle and shes no real bother!) So we all had a really amazing 24 hours at Lady’s Mile camp site in Dawlish. I picked it because it had all the facilities that could entertain Elin- swimming, slides, soft play, kids club, as well as pitches that are completely out of the way so we could get the best of both worlds. As it turns out Elin needed no entertainment other than the tent and the open pitch, but it was good to have it all there as back up. Some photos!

109111615So, when I say camping was a piece of cake, I have to give credit to the AMAZING weather we were blessed with. It couldn’t have been nicer for it. We could literally stay outdoors all day and night, just having fun with water, collecting flowers and playing football all while chasing bubbles and it really was that dreamy. If it had rained I’d of been the first to look at coming straight back home! But in this case it was gorgeous.

1317222120BBQ dinner was called for! and just look at my naked girls! Elin will just randomly ask to ‘hold her! Hold Etty’ and my mumma heart swells with pride and love and we drop everything to make sure she can have that cuddle. It obviously makes Elin really happy, and amazingly Etty is always super chilled out and allows and enjoys it too! so much love for these sisters and the years of memories like this ahead of them.

241814I’m pretty sure every mother will say that she’s happiest when her children are happy. So apparently this is now my happy place. Life with littles is rarely all sunshine and smiles- I promise you our day to day doesn’t often look this sweet, but when it does! its enough to keep you going through all the tears ad tantrums and all the helplessness that being a mum entails, because these smiles are everything.

30Personally I love an excuse to celebrate Dad’s and the wonderful men who live up to that title. We are so lucky with this one we call ours! In an ideal world, sure we’d show that love and appreciation every day and of course we try to, but every day life and stress creeps in. I love days like this where everyone stops and focuses on whats important and really matters. Which was why getting away together was the perfect gift. We aren’t that big on ‘things’, and always try and make memories and have life experiences instead, so this was a relatively inexpensive way of achieving all of that! And all just a small way telling this Daddy how much we love him.

25After checking out on Sunday we made a quick pit stop to Dawlish Warren. Unfortunately the main beach was under construction and all fenced off, but we still managed a splash in the sea all the same. When the girls are a bit older and can acsess all the amusments I can see so many days spent here.262728Train spotting with my girls! James was so excited to see the trains go right past the beach, for Elin’s sake of course, and I think it satisfied the kid in him when he actually saw several!

We headed home in time for tea, after an ice cream lunch. No idea how we were only away for 24 hours but it felt like a genuine break from the ordinary for us. The only downside is the realisation after a day out that we’re still the responsible ones and can’t just be looked after, afterwards! As far as a gift for Father’s day goes, I think a camping pitch is a pretty good one. If every weekend of summer could be like this my heart would be so happy! We’re already talking about returning in September with a few friends to keep those summer vibes lasting that bit longer. Have a good week everyone!

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1Its a seriously Monday monday out there, summer looks like its been and gone, so I’m cheering myself up during nap time by looking through our photos from our evening spent kayaking last week.

It was one of my favourite days being a mumma and one of my favourite evenings to round it off. The sort of day where everyone just behaves beautifully, the toddler doesn’t moan, the baby just sleeps, you throw away all sort of routine in favour of a day of adventures and an ice cream supper. After an epic melt down the day before (from ALL of us) this was needed so badly and it felt like a perfect bonding day with my big girl. And then to top it off the tide was just right and we were able to take Elin out on the kayak for the first time. I was pretty skeptical, but she LOVED it and now we are really on the look out for two doubles to take the girls out properly when Etty is older. I really just love these pictures as it was honestly one of the best memories as a family. We finished the day truely knackered but absolutely on a high.122Never seen anything cuter than baby wet suits and a baby life jacket, although she moved sort of like a sumo wrestler, it was adorable. 7543Admittedly she didn’t do a whole heap of ‘kayaking’ but she loved howing the stones, splashing daddy and singing ‘Row row row your boat’ all the same. We picked up this little sport kayak second hand and neither of us parents are super confident on it compared to a sit in kayak like we’re used to. But to get Elin used to being out on the water its more than ample. By next summer hopefully she’ll be totally ready for a genuine trip out and maybe take her fishing. She has no idea how lucky she is to have a childhood spent like this!

1413kyakEtty had totally boobed to sleep in the wrap, hence why shes so wonky (my kids are so amazing they both only ever fed from one side- cheers girls!) But I am so in love with baby wearing for enabling me to meet all of Etty’s needs (pretty much being cuddled and fed and thats it) while not missing out on time and memory making with Elin. We were so lucky to win another solly wrap over on insta that it doesn’t matter if one gets a bit beat up (in the sea, for instance) as we can always have one ready for the next day. Its the one and only baby item I just can’t be without and it has saved the day more times than I can count. I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen, and I’m pretty in awe of mums of more than one who manage without a stretchy in the early days, I know I couldn’t!98Ice cream dinner for our pro beach babe. We honestly viist this beach at least every other day and she rarely leaves without an icecream, we don’t even pretend not to let her anymore. This girls in charge, for sure! PS could she look anymore like her daddy? I don’t think so!

1110If this was any indication of how summer is going to be, I’l be super happy with that. As much as having routines and getting important things done (like housework, for instance) is great, I really do think taking a day or a few days to just enjoy each other is worth more. Its something we’re trying really hard to do between all of James’ work, even just an hour a day to be silly together and not worry about boring things, really makes all of us so much happier.

Here’s to another week!

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Our next adventure!

We have just booked flights to New York this August; our first holiday as four, and our first long haul flight since either baby came along. Its easily one of our bigger adventures which will include not only a brilliant week in New york, but also a trek up a mountain hours outside of Manhatten to see two great friends get married. We are so excited! But mention this to anyone else and there is a slight look of terror on our behalf, at the prospect of flying 8+ hours with two babies (they’ll be two and half and almost six months when we go) as well as the drive, the trek, the idea of camping out (at what sounds like the most amazing wedding reception) and pretty much dealing with life with littles while also abroad. I get it, I do. It sounds daunting. But I can honestly say I’m not concerned at all. I’m not under some naive assumption that it will all go perfect smoothly and neither girl will have some sort of epic melt down at all during the trip, but I’m not anymore worried than I would be if we were having a two week break in Cornwall.

A lot of our friends have the notion that we are seasoned travelers (we aren’t by any means, but we have been lucky enough to travel a bit with Elin during her first two years) and will ask for any tips or tricks of holidaying with babies. Its made me want to write down my own advice, partly so when I inevitably do start freaking out at our latest adventure, I can calm myself down with my own words.  Partly so I actually take heed all my advice and remember to the bring the bits we have talked about. And maybe because one of you guys might be interested too. Finally, it gave me a chance to look through all our holiday snaps from the last two years and that’s always good fun! Nothing like a bit of wanderlust on a rainy wednesday afternoon. So there are officially way too many pictures in this post but they each bring back such a happy memory I couldn’t filter them down! (sorry, not sorry!)13076519_1072152462845425_5539892413862767588_n2949paris13DSC_0203 - Copy9693

Flying. The first thing most people will be worried about is the flight itself. I really blame that on pressure in todays society to raise perfect little angels. But lets face it, babies and children aren’t just adults in miniature. I think the sooner we all just accept that sometimes, babies cry, the better. And I use this logic on flights. Worse that can happen? Baby cries permanently the entire time. Yes, you’ll be stressed, anxious and wanting the ground to swallow you up. But at least come the end of that dreaded flight you’ll be off on holiday (or back to your own bed) and will likely never see your fellow passengers again. I’m 100% positive that the world won’t end because of a screaming child on a plane. So if that’s your worry, just breath. Only a very small percentage of the population suck enough to complain and those people definately don’t deserve to take up any more of your head space. Besides, your ticket didn’t come with a policy to keep all other passengers happy, even if the other passenger is in fact your off spring. It’ll be fine.

We’ve flown with Elin at various ages and its always been manageable. The most universal advice would be to feed babe on take off and landing. It helps their little ears. After that though, any advice really just depends on the child. We’ve done lots- our flight to Santorini (beyond the take off) was spent in the emergency exit with Elin just laying down to kick and play. She’s waddled up and down isles on our trip to Jersey, and we’ve entertained and placated her with toys and snacks on our most recent trip to Italy. She’s also had flights shes just slept through. Now that shes older we’ll be going the toys route for our New york flight. Obviously this is just a plan and it could all be a disaster, but we’ll be estimating a toy an hour. We’ll be wrapping up each toy individually so the unwrapping is part of the game. (who doesn’t love presents?) and including a few tried and tested favorites of hers as well as new bits. We’ve already decided that part of our arsnel will be:

Play dough

Stickers

Cheerios to thread onto pipe cleaners (a craft and a snack all in one 😉 )

Sticky tape (to make letters and numbers on windows, train tracks on the little lap table etc)

The cbeebies app on the I-phone (no shame, what-so-ever)

Its just little things that can capture a toddler interest and be used different ways. Also, none of this takes up a huge amount of space and all would trigger her imagination. Each kid is different but this is what would work for her currently (could all change come August, who knows?) If anyone has any other nifty ideas I’d love to hear them!

Snacks is also pretty important. When we went to Italy we had an empty plastic bead box and filled the compartment with different snacks. She really enjoyed mixing all the bits so it had the novelty factor, a bit like a toddler graze box. You could include berries, nuts, seeds, pop corn, raisins, yoghurt coated treats, cereals. Anything thats small like that and your child enjoys. We’ll be doing it again as it kept her busy as well as fed.

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The destination;

We’ve yet to do a child specific holiday. I don’t think we’re really all inclusive type people and our trips are generally more centered around exploring a new culture and experiencing a brand new place. Just because we are parents we don’t automatically loose our interest in that, and its an interest we keenly want to pass along to our children too. So for us we really just go where our hearts tell us. Having the girls wouldn’t stop us going a certain place at all. That being said, especially as the babies get older, I think its important to factor their interests into you itinerary. I’m sure every parent will agree, that your happiest when your children are happy. So if that means we spend a half a day at a play park (theoretically something we could do back in England on a daily basis) then so be it. We try and find activities or sites of interest we know Elin would enjoy (and Etty too, but currently shes at a very ‘portable’ age). For example in Rome we found the most wonderful childrens museum that really was amazing. It made for a brilliant afternoon as Elin was in her absolute element. We’re always on the look out for parks, carosels, open spaces to get her wiggles out, indoor areas in case of rain where she can still play. They might not be cultural hot spots but seeing her happy and free more than makes up for that.

Realistically we keep our itinerary pretty loose. Maybe plan one thing for the morning and one for the afternoon, which allows plenty of time to mooch in between. If it were just us two, we would be cramming as much into each day as possible, checking off all the things on the bucket list. But that pace just isn’t as enjoyable or easy when you have littles in tow. In fact, travelling with Elin forces us to enjoy a slower place and get something so different from our break. I also think factoring in down time, just staying at the hotel for example, is really important too. Being a parent requires being pretty flexible on a daily basis, and applying that while travelling is all that really matters.

If there’s one thing you absolutely can’t miss though, do it. For me, most recently, that was the hot springs in Tuscany. It meant a 4 am start but I’m still a woman with her own dreams and I think i’m entitled to check those off from time to time. James wanted to do a zip wire outside of Rome. It meant  a detour and longer drive than we would really have planned, but it was his holiday too. I think its an important balance, and it will only get harder as our children grow and foster their own unique interests, but its what makes for a happy holiday. And there’s always time to do what makes you feel ultimately happy and content.

We do try and respect Elin’s routine as much as possible, even while abroad. We still aim to keep naps and bed times mostly the same, but don’t stress when this doesn’t happen. Meal times too, her daily routines are important to her and make for a happier child than one whose seen every landmark in Paris, for example. Its not always do able, but keeping things as normal as possible helps them adapt a lot better, i believe.

So, any suggestions for things we absolutely should not miss in New york? For any one of us?

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Where we stay?

We’ve booked all sorts of accommodation to suit our (low end) budget, but we almost always have most luck with anything that’s more like an apartment. Having children has changed what we look for in terms of where to stay. Anywhere that we plan to be for more than a few nights, I’d want an area that’s separate from the bedroom so we can have a bit of down time after the kids are in bed. A kitchen is also unbelievably helpful too (and ultimately keeps costs lower as you don’t eat out so much). We also need to start remembering to check a place has a bath. A sink bath for the girls and a shower for us just is not the same as a proper bath. Its the one luxury I really don’t want to for go on our holidays.

We love a good Air B and B as you can stay in some really unique spots. But if a hotel ticked all those boxes that would be great too. Although after singlehandedly checking out of a hotel in Napels with ALL our luggage, plus baby, in the smallest lift in the world, personally I’d want a ground floor room, or a very kind worker to help 😉 )

Also, once weaning, anywhere that offers a breakfast buffet is usually fab and well worth the money. We’d fill up our bag with fruit, pastries and snacks to keep us going or make up the most of a lunch box for the next meal.

Obviously its a good idea to double check that they can provide a high chair and travel cot as a minimum (although I’m kidding myself if I say I’d get my kids to sleep in it- mumma’s bed, all the way!). But most places this is pretty standard now a days, as family travel becomes the norm.

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Baby gear or ‘kit’

When on holiday we rely massively on our carriers. Without meaning too, James and I have both become really into baby wearing and the convenience it brings you. You’ll see out Solly baby wrap in a lot of these images from when Elin was younger (Etty is using it daily now too!) and our Tula now Elin is bigger. Both allow for naps on the go, and are great when little legs get too tired. It also means if you really want to push bed time to experience a place at night, you can technically ‘get them down’ while in the carrier. Not quite a bed time routine but it works a treat for us. We definitely wouldn’t take on a holiday without them.

However its nice to have a pram too, especially now that the babies equal the parents in numbers 😉 Whether we take a pram or not will largely depend on the location. For example a pram would have been a complete nightmare in Santorini and a real pain in Venice, but other cities are very buggy friendly. Although, for us and our babies the carrier is far more important than the pram, so we would scratch that off first if we needed too.

We have flown with a car seat before, but actually we ditched it before boarding the return flight as we already had our hands more than full with luggage. Luckily it was a cheapy we’d picked up for the sole purpose of the trip so it didn’t matter. Otherwise renting them with the car rental is another reasonably cheap option. Though bare in mind car seat regulations vary from different countries so be very clear about the type of seat you expect. And also double check their laws- in Jersey its illegal to travel in a taxi without a car seat, something we only discovered when all taxis were turning us away. (For the record I wholeheartedly agree with this law, but it was just unexpected as its not that way in the UK)

For the most part I’d recommend travelling with as little baby gear as possible. In fact, I’d recommend travelling with as little as possible. Luggage is a real pain, and a lot of it really isn’t needed. Anything that you can buy or rent out there- nappies, food, travel cot, I would. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable focusing on baby during the air port run and flight, without the entire contents of a nursery.

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Most importantly, I’d say just keep calm. It doesn’t need to be stressful, and actually for me, its less stressful than every day life as we have a daddy on call 24-7. That doesn’t happen at home with work and other commitments. It even means I can relax a little on holidays, too.

Even if we could happily leave our babies at home and take a holiday together, I don’t think we would. The experiences and memories we have gained by travelling as a family are completely priceless. Its a massive treat for James to spend uninterrupted time with the girls, day in, day out, and you get the bonus of being in a great place too. Its a wonderful time for us to reconnect as a couple and as a family and just a wonderful, albeit slightly stressful, bonding experience. I really hope as the girls get older they are just as keen and excited to see the world; its a gift I can only dream of giving them.

Any genuinely seasoned travelers have any thoughts or tips to add? We have a few months of planning before we fly again so I’d love to hear your thoughts, tricks, recomendations and anything else! I’ve kept the photos to ones specific to our trips with Elin in tow, but couldn’t resist this throw back to our first holiday together to New york itself, what feels like a life time ago.

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If you go into the woods today…

We finally managed to take a little walk out in the blue bells. Its become a little tradition of ours since we took our engagement photos here (which also became our save the dates), way back before babies. We then took Elin’s new born photos among the blue bells as well as visiting again when she was a walking adorable 1 year old. This year we visited as four and its so special to look back on all those years of pictures and see how our family has grown. And as we finished up today we both commented how in another year we’ll likely have two babies to run about after. I love how no matter how long the days and weeks can feel, everything keeps moving and  a new season will come- both physically and metaphorically. Little reminders like our blue bell walk remind me of that, and it definitely helps focus you on the big things, rather than the everyday worries that, really, amount to very little.

We went up to Coney’s castle which is an area of the national trust and always has an amazing blue bell display. The added bonus that its a relatively short but very pretty circular walk is fab for the littles, and theres also lots of good tree climbing trees as well as a valley of leaves and a more meadow like area for picnics. Pretty much an ideal spot for a morning like this.DSC_0344

DSC_0334DSC_0338DSC_0340Now, as much as we encourage her, Elin can get a bit bored on walks like this. Without the incentive of a slide, or the encouragement of her toddler friends, she gets tired or cold which always results in moaning. Knowing this, and knowing how much she’s enjoying filling the title of ‘terrible twos’, we decided to make it a bit more fun for her. So before we arrived James hid drawings of all her favourite characters among the trees for her to find. It was a MASSIVE hit. Amazingly those little legs of hers didn’t tire as she searched for each image and she got so into it, shouting for Peppa pig and George or asking silly Dipsy why he was in the tree. It was completely adorable and meant we could all really enjoy being outdoors together. I highly recommend doing this with any toddlers, with only a little forward planning Elin had a pretty magical morning in her eyes!

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It really is a beautiful time of year, the longer evenings and spring tides are enough to make my heart really happy, throw in this splash of blue and I feel pretty good about life right now!DSC_0389DSC_0391DSC_0380DSC_0379Talking of a happy heart, this boy and these babies- gosh! Elin is talking more and more, coming out with some incredible one liners, while Etty has two simple modes- Sleep, or smiles. For such  a little person she really is damn cute. She’s really recognising us and seemingly likes us (big bonus) and just fits right into our crazy little world. I love seeing James ‘wear’ Etty, he doesn’t get too as much this time round due to being on call, but I stand by my previous resolve; there really is nothing better than a baby wearing daddy!DSC_0381DSC_0448DSC_0372DSC_0431DSC_0432Elin, you are huge!DSC_0415DSC_0418DSC_0360DSC_0383DSC_0378I’m likely way over sharing these photos, but it was so cute! you clearly get the idea 😉 Seeing how animated she was to find all these characters in the woods almost made staying up until midnight the night before colouring, worth it. And with the sleep thief that is Etty, whose only good stretch is that 6pm until midnight, I’m pretty proud of our commitment! And also pretty determined to get our printer set up so it all could have been done with the click of a button.DSC_0441DSC_0442I love my two girls more than anything and truly can not wait to have Etty join in with all these adventures. At the same time, it really is special being able to do something specifically for Elin while Etty happily sleeps. She had our undivided attention for two whole years so I really do think its important she still sees that. In her little life shes undergone MASSIVE changes so to see her happy and content and giving her something so special to her, makes me so happy. She seemingly takes it all in her stride and I’m so proud of the little girl she is growing in to, but I don’t want to take that joy for granted either. For an up and down week for lots of reasons, its certainly ended on a high! Although we will likely have to carry our Cbeebies characters around to every forest we visit from now on 😉

Wishing you all a brilliant bank holiday weekend!DSC_0413

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Our Mother’s Day!

While I strongly believe we should all celebrate mothers and the amazing, strong and patient role models that they are, every day of the year, it’s still nice to have a special day where its all about them. Who doesn’t like feeling a bit spoiled and a bit appriciated?

Our plan was really just to play it by ear (having a new born and a week of 2 year old birthday celebrations lined up was excitement and chaos enough) but when the sun was really really shining that Sunday we made a quick decision to pop down to Exmouth for the day, routine be damned. We have such a long list of places we want to visit or go back to if we saw them only while passing, and somehow I’ve grown up on the Devon and Dorset boarder and never spent any time in Exmouth so it was on the list. With nothing special or fancy booked we just figured we could create our own little adventure and it really was one of my favourite kind of days. Some pictures.

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This picture just makes me laugh so much. I just imagine her saying ‘and here we have my pet dinosaur!’ as shes posing with him so perfectly!

I wil forever love to see my babies on the beach. For me it was such an integral part of childhood, but I also know how lucky I am for that to be the case. I feel even luckier that I get to give that to my children, too. And Exmouth was such a perfect beach for toddlers as there was no distractions. Often on our more local beach Elin likes to wonder off as the cafes and pubs catch her attention, but it was such a beautiful stretch of beach here she could (and did) just play and play.

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I’l be honest, I’ve sort of hated 90% of pictures of me since Etty’s birth, but I’m doing my best not to delete them even if I’m really inclined too. I know that even though I still look a bit lumpy, my clothes don’t really fit right, I will be really glad to have these one day. Besides, my body bought two beautiful girls into this world in as many years so it’s pretty damn amazing and I need to be a bit kind to it. Which means sharing those pictures and appreciating the love that they show, not the lumps. 😉

Talking of love, the look this girl gives her Daddy? Pure, complete, love. mothersday17mothersday10mothersday16mothersday15

The other thing lovely about this beach was all the beautiful shells all over. perfect for collecting, as demonstrated. We also found mussel and clam shells and lots of tiny treasures making it lovely for toddlers.mothersday21mothersday20

Once we finished on the beach we picnicked in the children’s park. Elin basically lives for slides so it was an instant win, but there were also sweet little pedal boats and miniature golf too. We’ll come back when both girls are a bit older and be able to take full advantage on those activities, too.

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The promise of ice cream was the only thing that had her leaving the park and the slides. Pretty sure this girl will do anything for ice cream. I guess that’s life living by the sea.

And there’s my littlest love! She’s already grown so much, has started smiling and is just lovely to have with us. She’s also a  total milk monster and sleep theif, but I feel like I’m still in the zone from Elin to cope with all that! I’m really savoring these new born days as I’m aware just how stupidly fast time will go. As much as I can not wait to see her chasing her big sister, exploring on the beach together, I’l gladly take these endless days of sleepy, milky cuddles and soak up the new born-ness for as long as possible.mothersday26mothersday27

And a final shot of that all important ice cream. She is just too adorable right now!

We had a really lovely mothers day and it was the perfect excuse for a little adventure in the sun. I really hope we get more spring days like this because it brings me so much contentment and joy. And on a final note, somehow this big little girl is TWO this week. How on earth? Her birthday has really snuck up on us after Etty’s arrival, and I’m full of that mum guilt that I won’t be giving it the full attention that it deserves. The celebrations may be small and simple, but we’ll celebrate HER and all that she is in the fullest way possible, this week and every day. Because she’s just completely brilliant!

I hope all of my mum friends had a brilliant day on Sunday. No matter how you celebrated I think we all agree that having our littles by our side is the best present imaginable. I’l always be grateful to mine for enriching my life in a way I never even imagined. What a beautiful, challenging, frustrating but privileged journey it is, to be a mum. I’m so not fit for it, but I do my best.

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Welcome to our world, Ettienne Rose!

DSC_066022 weeks into life with 2. 2 of the shortest weeks of our lives. And we’re all still breathing, and for the most part, still smiling too. I’ve shared far too much baby spam over on instagram this last fortnight (in my defense I’ve been trapped beneath a nursing newborn for the better part of those weeks so scrolling absently and posting a lot was to be expected) but I wanted to share some thoughts here, too. Obviously its still super early days for our little tribe and tomorrow will be the first day that I’m flying solo (with paternity leave ending as of midnight tonight) but here’s a few things I’ve noticed in these early days as a family of four.

Your birth doesn’t need to go to plan for you to feel like a rock star.17DSC_0767

I never made a secret that I didn’t want  a repeat C section. I read the books, I practiced the breathing, I listened and loved my hypno birthing tracks. I fully believed in my bodies ability to birth this baby I had grown. But at the same time I completely believed that babies are born exactly as they need to be. And that each and every birth is extraordinary no matter what. That belief definitely helped me cope emotionally and physically when my lovely natural birth plan transformed into an emergency section. And even though our labor went pretty terribly, I honestly don’t look at it as this terrible thing. It really wasn’t terrible at all.

I thought that sense of empowerment would only come with a natural, unmediated birth. But in actual fact even after my section I still felt it. I can’t compare it to a natural birth but I still felt insanely strong, accomplished and frankly like a super hero following Etty’s arrival. I thought, so very wrongly, that I’d feel shame in having another section and the pain relief that comes with it and for ‘failing’ in my birth plan. But I couldn’t be more wrong. I bought a tiny person into this world. I’m bloody amazing for that alone!

Nothing will ever prepare you for your first. But your first does sort of prepare you for your second.546

There is literally nothing in this world that can ever prepare you for your first baby. Because there is nothing like having a baby. (For me at least) That first baby is like a tiny adorable baby shaped bomb thrown into your relationship, your home and your every living moment. Nothing prepares you for that. The fourth trimester isn’t talked about enough; you think your baby is broken when it won’t go down, or camps out on your boob for 12 hours straight or cries for absolutely no reason. You suddenly understand why sleep deprivation was once a form of torture. Every cry in public you feel hopelessly guilty and convinced that everyone thinks you are the worst mother. You think you’re the worst mother. Nothing and no one is able to actually prepare you for all of that.

However once you’ve done it once, you are sort of ready. It all comes flooding back to you in that post partum haze. You know the forth trimester ends soon enough. If like me and the babies are close in age and your eldest isn’t too keen on sleep as it is, you’re already well versed in sleep deprivation. I never got back to normal in terms of sleep so this is just carrying it on. You’ve learned that your husband does have some uses and you don’t want to murder each other before the fun really starts. You know that the washing up will wait and won’t hurt anyone in the process. And once you’ve dealt with a toddler screaming for cake and throwing herself out of your arms or having to physically wrestle her into a stroller, screaming as though she’s sat on razor blades, with an entire coffee shop watching and genuinely passing judgment on you, your child and your parenting; you realize that tiny bleating cry of a new born actually isn’t so bad, and the general public seriously aren’t judging you. For the new born, at least. Suddenly those cries don’t instill complete panic in you, because, you have survived this (and much worse) already.

In short, for me personally, that the jump from none to one, is far more intense than the jump from one to two. You can’t escape that its double the work and half the time, but mentally, I just feel so much more equipped to deal with it second time around.

Your eldest will double in size whilst you birth your baby8a4

Sure, I was in labor for a while, but Elin aged about 5 years in that time. And grew about 3 foot too.

Your eldests bum will also double in sizeaa1

Seriously, changing Elin feels like changing a six year old. Her butt and her thighs are obviously completely massive and again, that 36 hour labor obviously saw them grow at such unprecedented rates.

You actually do okay on your own3a5

James was lucky enough to actually have some paternity leave this time around (thank you fire service). He took these two weeks off which felt like a life time compared to the five days he allowed himself with Elin. And it has been lovely to be together as a family. I wouldn’t give this time back and I know how blessed we have been to have it together. But having him home has also shown me that, actually I do okay on my own. Its been completely lovely having him to help and take charge of some of the day to day tasks, be that house work, cooking, Elin’s general routine or cuddling down with Etty. But I haven’t relied on him nearly as much as I would have expected. That in itself is a huge confidence boost that I wasn’t expecting. Having him here is a wonderful bonus for all of us girls, but I’m also not panicked at the idea of doing it alone either. Suddenly my organisation gene has kicked in (only one child too late) and my energy has returned that I haven’t had since pre pregnancy. So the idea of being solely in charge of these two little people doesn’t completely terrify me anymore.

You really will love another equal to your firsta2

Somehow, the heart just knows.

Like I say, its still mega early days for us. There will be so many minor blips or entire melt downs in the weeks and months to come. But at the same time I know we’ll all get through, because we have too. So here’s to our girls and this journey we are on, together X

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Happy New Year, World!

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2016 was a wonderful year for our family. We have had the absolute joy of watching Elin grow and develop in the most incredible way, becoming a truly amazing, affectionate and intelligent little girl before our eyes. This year she’s learned to walk and talk, agrue and tantrum, sing and dance and everything in between. 2017 will see her turning two and starting nursery, as well as becoming a beautiful big sister to our baby bump.

Which brings me to our biggest blessing of the year, becoming pregnant and carrying our precious baby number 2. We were both really hopeful that 2016 would find us expecting again, and I’m so grateful to start 2017 eagerly awaiting baby Lathey’s arrival in February.

We also moved house this year, which we’re still trying to get exactly as we like it. James joined the fire service, while his business goes from strength to strength and I started this blog as a way to remember all of our memories and hopefully show our children one day too.

Obviously our Italy adventure was a massive highlight for us all, as we spent 2 beautiful weeks exploring such a fantastic country and experiencing so many sites, tastes and so much culture. But we also got to explore Jersey which feels like a life time ago but was a wonderful treat too. By the end of January we should have booked our tickets to go back to NEW YORK (eeeeek!) for the end of October, as a family of four. I’m already so excited for that trip. We’ve had a fairly modest )though lovely) Christmas in anticipation, but the gift of travel is the best thing we could give each other!

I’m not big on resolutions, and while I could make massive claims that I’l allow the babies less screen time, give up chocolate myself or loose my patience less, I’d rather just focus on continuing the good habits I try and instigate all year around. Because in reality, be it 2017 or 2027, I’l still allow too much postman pat in our house, I’l still demolish that jar of nutella and likely still loose my sh*t on a daily basis. And that’s okay too. So in the interest of not failing, I’l just do my absolute best to continue making beautiful memories and an amazing childhood for our babies. Things will never ever be perfect, but I’m okay just focusing on the positives and making that count for more than the bad stuff.

So, Happy New year everyone! From me and mine, to you and your’s! Wishing each and everyone of you a happy and healthy new year and may it lead you in exactly the direction you need it to. Here’s hoping that 2017 is kind to us all.