diary, planner

Personal Planner

When I started back at work I knew I needed a new diary. Like most people nowadays I use my iPhone calendar which is linked to my husbands but obviously work stuff is of no interest to him. I wanted a physical planner that I could write in and access at work (no phone rule) and there is just something lovely about a new diary.

My friend introduced me to personal-planner.com. A Swedish company which makes unique diaries.

I loved that I could put a picture of my gorgeous baby boy on the front and back cover so when I am at work I can still see his cute face. I loved that you could pick different layouts and banner designs and that you could add extras like the weather, a 'to do list' and 'ideas of the week'. It comes with a ruler/bookmark and a sheet of stickers and you get to choose extra pages such as square/plain/ruled pages, sudoku, colouring and address book.

You can pick the Month you want the planner to start. So you can have it start in October for example. No more waiting until January or September to start a new diary or getting one and wasting pages.

I opted for the week days to be split half plain and half ruled. I have used the rules section a bit like a journal, just writing a few lines about what we have been up to that day.

It was lots of fun to set up and you can even input people's birthdays if you wish and they will be printed on for you. I didn't this time but may do in the future.

If you are after a new diary then definitely check them out!

Personal-planner.com

Baby products, Child development, Early Years, First time Mum, Parent

Samuels First Shoes

Now Samuel is standing independently and trying to walk we thought it was time he had something sturdier on his feet, so we went and got Samuel measured for his first ‘proper’ pair of shoes. We took him to our local Clarks store. A definite right of passage in the UK. 

The Sales Assistant alongside a trainee asked us to sit Samuel on the edge of the seat so his feet hung down. She then used a handheld foot measure (no idea what they are called) to measure the length and width of Samuels feet. I remember as a child they had a machine that you put your foot in and it closed in around it to work out the size you needed. Surprisingly in this day and age there was nothing that technical. 

Samuels feet measured at a 3.5 F and the shoes that we liked also happened to be in the sale at 50% off. 

Samuel was such a good boy trying on his new shoes and the Sales Assistant even commented on how good he was. His cousin Henry was with us and he helped to feel Samuels feet to make sure they fitted in the shoes. My Dad was also there, he always said he would buy Samuel his first pair of shoes. 

I took my camera with me so made sure I got some pictures of Samuel trying his new shoes on and standing in them. 

When we got home I went on to Clarks Kids Facebook page and via their link I uploaded a picture of Samuel alongside his name and date of birth. They then created for us a lovely animation to celebrate Samuel getting his first pair of shoes. Such a lovely touch that can be shared (see my Instagram page) and such a lovely experience overall. โ€‹

Breastfeeding, Child development, Fertility, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

National Breastfeeding Week

As it is national breastfeeding week I wanted to share my breastfeeding journey so here goes.
I always knew I wanted to try and breastfeed but I also knew that it might not work for me and I was happy to just see what happened. If my baby needed to have formula instead then that is what would happen. Fed is best after all. I even had bottles and a perfect prep machine just in case. 

Let me start at the beginning. When Samuel was born he was placed on my chest for that first skin to skin cuddle. Like all mums, I’m sure, who had just experienced labour I was in a bit of a daze and to be honest those first moments are still a bit of a blur. Samuel was then taken to be checked over and then placed back on me. The midwife suggested that I encourage him to latch on and feed. Before Samuel was born the midwife had asked if I wanted to breastfeed. At no point did I feel pressured to do so. You hear stories about how newborn babies move up their mothers chests and latch on by themselves and that’s exactly what Samuel did. He just knew what he was doing straight away. Within minutes we had established breastfeeding and it just felt so natural. 
Samuel was born at 12:01am and at 6:30am of that same morning we were sat at home on our sofa with Samuel still feeding like a pro. The next day a feeding consultant came to see how we were getting on and to be honest it seemed like the easiest thing in the world. Two days later Samuels weight was checked and he had actually gained. After 4 years of struggling to conceive I felt like my body was finally doing something right. 
When Samuel was about 3 weeks old I expressed my first bottle and Samuel happily took it. However expressing is not something I have done a lot of. From about 4 months old Samuel took a formula bottle and if I ever needed to leave him he would just have the formula. 
Thankfully I have never suffered with any of the pain associated with breastfeeding. Even at the beginning I didn’t get the engorgement people talk about and other than the odd leak through my top it has been pretty plain sailing (touch wood). 
Now Samuel is on solids and has extra formula bottles he breastfeeds less. We are down to morning and night feeds and the occasional afternoon one but it is still working for us. I go back to work in just over a week and it will just be those morning and night feeds that continue. Samuel also turns 1 in 6 weeks time and after that who knows. I don’t have a plan. We will continue to do what works for us and what we feel comfortable with. 

Early Years, First time Mum, Parent, Parties

Samuels Christening Day

On Sunday 11th June we celebrated Samuels Christening. Although we are not strongly religious it was something we wanted to do. We chose to have the service in the village where my husband grew up and the local church there also had strong links to his family with both his Dad and Grandad being choir boys when they were younger. 

The vicar had just retired but we knew how fabulous he was having been to his services a few times before and he agreed to come back and conduct Samuels Christening for us.

It really was a celebration of Samuel and the service was so family orientated. We chose 3 godparents for Samuel; our 2 best friends and our Sister in Law. 

Samuel has so many important people in his life it was a difficult decision. We decided against having our own brothers and sister as they had such important roles in Samuels life already. That being said my brother did play a big part in the christening. He did a reading and lit (helped by my nephew) and presented Samuel with the candle. Our own goddaughter filled the font which was such a lovely touch.

It was purely a christening service and Samuel was the only child being christened. We even got to choose the hymns so we made sure they were upbeat ones. It definitely felt like such a happy occasion. 

The after party was at my Sister in laws parents pub in the village I grew up in. My very talented Mum had organised the decorations and baked cupcakes and we had so much delicious food ( always a big part of our family celebrations). We hired soft play to keep the children entertained and my godson provided background music. 

It really was a beautiful day and we are so grateful to my parents who paid for it all as their christening present to Samuel. 

Baby products, Child development, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

Weaning Wednesday – Embrace the mess!

A couple of weeks ago something just clicked. Samuel had started refusing food, especially anything taken off a spoon. Weatabix and yogurt that he had once loved he was now turning his nose up at. Then one day I just left the spoon on the table and Samuel grabbed it and put it to his mouth. I placed the bowl in front of him and he began to attempt to scoop out the food using the spoon and put it to his mouth. 

By the end of the meal there was food everywhere with Samuel using his hand to scoop and then licking it off. But he had eaten it and he enjoyed it. The next meal we did the same, gave a spoon to Samuel and placed the bowl in front of him. Again lots of mess but the food was being mostly eaten. 

Now we just give Samuel his food and let him get on with it. We don’t interfere and weatabix and yogurt are back on the menu. Yes it can get messy but let’s embrace the mess. Who said having children was a clean job anyway!

Baby products, First time Mum, food, Parent, Weaning

Weaning Wednesdayย 

It has been a few weeks since my last Weaning Wednesday blog so I thought I would do a quick post on some of the new weaning products that we have been trying.

Mini Easymatยฎ

The Mini Easymat is a silicone tray/plate that is perfect for sectioning off different bits of food and encourages Samuel to feed himself. It sticks well to the high chair or table (Samuel is yet to pull it off) and comes with a lid and storage bag so any leftovers can be saved. 

Coverall

Now Samuel is desperate to feed himself we needed something that covered more than a bib. We got this coverall from Morrisons and I just loved the cute fish print. It keeps Samuel nice and clean (well his clothes anyway) whilst he eats. 

Ella’s Kitchen Melty Hoops

Samuel is really starting to develop his fine motor skills and these hoops are perfect for perfecting that pincer grip. Samuel finds them very tasty too. 

Ella’s Kitchen Smoothies 

The pink one, the red one, the green one, the yellow one, Samuel loves them all. He is happy drinking them from a cup, taking them from a spoon or just sucking them from the pouch. Whatever way Samuel usually finishes a whole pouch in one sitting. 

Aquaintยฎ Sanitising Water

I discovered this spray on a mums YouTube channel and then came across it on Ocado when I was doing my shopping. It is quite pricing for a 500ml bottle but it lasts ages. I still haven’t used a whole bottle and we even took it on holiday. It is a disinfectant that is safe to use on anything without rinsing. It is safe to swallow so it is fab for high chairs, little hands, dummy’s etc. 

So there we go. Are there any new weaning products you have tried? 

Cruising, First time Mum, Parent, Travel

Why Cruising is the perfect baby friendly holiday!

Lee and I went on our first cruise at the tender age of 22 and since then we were hooked. So we just knew that we had to take Samuel on one and we had been desperate to do the Norwegian Fjords for years. 

Lee and I on our first cruise

I know a lot of people wouldn’t consider taking a baby on a cruise and you know what they really should! Here are 10 reasons why cruising is the perfect baby friendly holiday:

  1. You can take as much luggage as you like. There is no limit to the number of cases or bags. Plenty of room for all that baby paraffernalia (we even took our perfect prep machine). 
  2. Check in literally takes 20 minutes! You arrive at the port, hand over your bags (see reason 3), go through security and passport control and then on to the ship to start your holiday. There is no waiting around so babies don’t get chance to get bored. 
    Samuel with all our luggage
  3. Your bags are delivered to your cabin and at the end of your holiday you place them outside your door so they can be taken off the ship. No need to worry about carrying all those bags and carrying a baby. 
  4. You are in a different place everyday so there is always something new to see and do. You will have a very well travelled baby with all the different ports of call. And just think of all the lovely memories you are creating together.
  5. The ship is so big with shops, swimming pools, bars, cinema and theatre. Lots to keep you and your little ones entertained. 
  6. There is a kids club with a play area suitable for babies and toddlers. The equipment is sterilised twice a day and the toys can be loaned out so you can use them in your cabin. No need to bring any with you. 
  7. The ship is so clean. There are constantly people cleaning and hand gel pumps everywhere to encourage good hygiene. Samuel loved crawling around on the floor and I never once felt worried about him picking anything up or getting dirty. 
  8. Travel cots are provided along with towels and beach towels. Again more luggage you don’t have to worry about taking.
    Samuel preferred playing in the cot rather than sleeping in it!
  9. Every cabin has a fridge. Perfect for storing milk and baby food. 
  10. At the end of the holiday you are given a time to depart the ship (which you request) so you can go and enjoy breakfast before heading home. 

So there you go! We travelled with Celebrity Cruises this time and as you can probably tell from previous posts we had a fantastic time. The only thing that went against them in terms of being baby friendly were the lack of baby change facilities on board the ship. There was only one baby change unit and that was near the kids club on deck 15. So if you were no where near that you had to go back to your cabin or make do with the toilet floor (it was very clean). A small thing but annoying if there was a poosplosion incident for example. Despite that I would definitely recommend cruising with babies. It was so easy and a lot of fun!