So I promised I would update on my fitness progress after my June update. So here I am!
A new baby can be so consuming, and it is easy to forget the relationship you had before they came along. We try our best to get time together, either a day out, or going for a meal, but it can be quite hard when you don’t have a long list of babysitters to call on.
Rich was given tickets for the Red Bull Air Race at Ascot Racecourse. We were invited as ‘Friends of Red Bull’ (FORBS), which included complimentary food and drink all day, the best view of the race course, and all day entertainment. We packed Harry off to his Grandad’s for the weekend, and managed to squeeze in a visit to the cinema on the friday, two lie-ins, and our day out to the air race.
Red Bull, as usual put on a good show. The whole set-up was vintage / retro themed, with all the staff dressed up, the interior of the FORBS section was fantastic, the cocktails flowed (all Red Bull based of course), the food was never ending and we had a front row seat to the air race.
The whole day was great from start to finish, to relax with a morning cuppa in bed, take my time to wash and style my hair, do my make-up and have breakfast together. The day at Ascot was such a treat, and we managed to talk about a lot more than just Harry. We finished the day off with a visit to the local Chinese, just like old times. However I do think I had a little too much Red Bull, as the insomnia kicked in soon as I leapt in my bed.
After a whole weekend without my baby, on Sunday I was like a kid waiting for father christmas, I sat looking out the window, waiting for him to come back! I was so excited to have him back in my arms. I thought him going away would get easier, but I think it is getting worse!
“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” —Sophia Loren
Lots of people who have had children are so excited when you’re pregnant (Which I now understand, as I have pregnant friends, I am bursting with excitement for them), however no one ever tells you how hard the first weeks of having a baby really is. In prep for this post, I decided to speak with a few friends who have all recently given birth, and find out what they thought were the hardest things.
I had a natural birth, and felt fortunate to only needed gas and air, and came through it with one or two stitches, some cuts and bruises. It was only the next day that the adrenaline started to disappear, the painkillers wore off, and the tiredness kicked in. My whole body started to ache, it hit me like a brick wall. I had pushed a baby out after being awake for over 36 hours, barely eating for 24 of that, and not had any solid sleep since Harry arrived. I just hadn’t expected to be in so much pain, you think you do the hard bit by giving birth, but oh no, there is more. I just kept taking the painkillers, and telling myself that in a week or so I would be healed, and i would be fine…but then came breast-feeding!
One of my biggest challenges, and I am sure many will agree was breast-feeding. I tried, it was hard, very painful, I got mastitus (breastfeeding infection), but I worked through it, and fed Harry for 16 weeks, but I did have cracked nippled for at least 8 weeks, and no one can explain how painful they are. However I do know many people who have wanted to stop, and were told by their health visitors not too, that it wasn’t healthy for their baby to be fed formula “breast was best” apparently.The pressure for women to breastfeed is completely unnecessary, I believe it should be up to the mother if they decide to breast-feed and their decision when to stop.
I recall a moment when Harry was about 2 weeks old, it was 2am, and I was up feeding him. I had gotten about half hours sleep. I was so tired I could barely hold my head up, and I remember thinking “I am never going to sleep properly again”, I felt overwhelmed by my emotions, so happy to be feeding my baby, but so desperate to sleep longer than an hour. It only dawns on you once your baby has arrived, that you may not get uninterrupted sleep again and you will never have a day off from being a mum….’weekend’ for mums don’t exist.
I was warned a little about this by a one or two friends, they told me “five days in and you will cry, ALOT, for no reason”. Yes this happened, I would just burst in to tears, for no reason. I think everything kicks in, the sleep deprivation, the breast-feeding struggles (buckets of tears over this), the enormity of the challenge you have taken on, the post-birth pain, no wonder your body doesn’t have a clue what to do. The crying did ease for me after about two weeks, and most of the time i cried, i would have no idea why, but knew it had to be my hormones as i certainly wasn’t sad.
A few of my friends mentioned in their responses how they struggled once their partners had gone back to work, and were alone with their baby most of the working week. One of my friends (who must be wonderwoman), had twins, and her husband worked away during the week, and that not only did she miss the support, but it was difficult for her partner to bond with their children. Luckily she had her family close by for solid support, and her partner has managed to changed jobs, so he is back living with his family.
What I really struggled with, was the fact our relationship was no longer just us, and we couldn’t watch TV together in the evenings, go see a film etc, we had a third person, who seemed to be hogging all the couple time. I started to miss my boyfriend, even though we lived together, slept in the same bed, I missed having a conversation and staying up to watch tv with him in the evenings, but I was so tired, I would have to get some sleep before Harry woke again.
There are so many more that I want to write about in this post, but it is already getting far too long.
Even after all of the above and more, nothing can compare to the incredible love and affection you feel for your baby, and at least you can feel much more prepared for baby no.2.
Huge thank-you too Julia, Jane, Keri and Kate for your help!
p.s. I love this quote!
“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” —Dorothy on The Golden Girls
I will be the first to admit I am a sun worshiper, 99% of my holidays have been about sitting in the sun, reading a book with a glass of vino, working on my tan. I would possibly dedicate one day to either shopping or sightseeing…if the weather was bad. Well I can kiss those holidays goodbye for the next 10 years….at least!!
We decided for our first holiday with Harry we would drive to France. Contemplating having to get all of Harry’s stuff on a plane made me want to cry , whereas driving we could shove it all in the car, stop when we wanted, and do everything at our own pace.
We opted for Normandy / Brittany as the drive wasn’t to long, and my best friend lives in Normandy so we were able to stay with her for a few days for a real French experience. We had 5 days in Fecamp, a small coastal town about 2 hours south of Calais. We stayed in a typical French home, ate fresh croissants each morning, and stuffed ourselves with bread, cheese, meats and wine for lunch. Sylvie (whose house we stayed in, and she spoke very very little English) was an excellent cook and made us a homemade cheese tart, it was divine, and I think rich will definitely be trying it at home.
We spent our days relaxing, and catching up on some sleep, visiting an old Mill recently bought by Katy’s family, checking out the local markets, also we had a day trip to Rouen and a walk through Fecamp and along the promenade.
Rouen’s famous gold clock / our trip to the mill / Rouens beautiful architecture /date night!
Each evening we did something different, we attended a French birthday BBQ, where we were taught how to lasou, had meat fondue (not sure it was my cuppa tea, but glad I tried it), went to a steak restaurant where the meat was cooked in front of you on an open fire (this tasted AMAZING), had another BBQ, and our final night we ate so much at lunch we couldn’t face another meal, so had a lovely date night whilst Katy babysat Harry, and we went for a few drinks.
We decided to take the scenic route to our next stop in Roz sur Couesnon, until we saw it was a 7.5 hour drive. So we took the motorway to Caen (our half way point), and then took the scenic route, admiring lots of tiny French villages along the way. We had rented a cottage for 3 days / 4 nights, based in between Mont St-Michel and St-Malo. We spent a day at each of these locations, and then a day in the cottage when we had the best weather (make sure to read my blog post about the cottage we rented, it was wonderful and a reasonable price). We’d not had the best luck with the weather so far, but on our last day we had glorious sun, and were able to get the paddling pool out for Harry, and being typical Brits, soon as he was down for a nap, we were out trying to catch what we could of the sun, so at least we come back looking a little healthier.
All-in-all we had a great time, but I must admit going on a holiday with a small baby was much harder than I thought despite packing our car so it was bursting with all his stuff. Harry really missed his jumperoo, and I think just having playtime, as a lot of time was spent out and about so he was either in his buggy, his car seat or the sling.
I guess it also didn’t help that Harry had a stomach bug for the first week and projectile vomited multiple times over Sylvie’s sofa, which I might add is black. It rained for our first two days, Harry screamed for 2 hours on date night, so we nearly never made it out, and to finish it off, we spilt red wine down the cottage’s white curtains on our last night, and the owners didn’t speak English so trying to express how deeply sorry we were was very hard.
Would I do it all again? YES! Spending a week with my boys and a few days with my best friend was totally worth the hard work.
Despite our child being ill, and vomiting everywhere I would like to thank Katy, Greggers, Sylvie and Katy’s family for making us feel soooo welcome! We had a great time and a true French experience.
I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to see Elton John play a charity gig for Sports Aid at the amazing Stoke Park Golf Club over the weekend.
Having grown up listening to Elton John, I had always wanted to see him live, but never really thought I would have the opportunity. However my partner surprised me with a ticket to a charity gig at a spectacular venue only 15 minutes from our house, how could I say no.
On the day of the gig, after a glorious week of baking hot weather, we had a day of thunder and lightening, and constant down pours. I wasn’t so much looking forward to standing in the rain, but it was Elton John so i wasn’t prepared to give up my ticket.
The event started at 5pm, we arrived at 6pm, just as the sun comes out and all the clouds disappear. The venue was breathtaking, when walking past the ticket office it dawned on me, this was a small but prestige event. There could of been no more than 3000 guests (if that!), with a couple of (what i can only describe as) luxury food and drink stalls, serving Stone baked pizza, paella, fish and chips with Heineken, Pimms and Champagne.
I was gobsmacked when I saw how small the audience would be, even standing at the back of the seats you would have a clear view of Sir Elton John.
We made a beeline for the bar, and ordered a Pimms and Heineken, and it went down far to well. We indulged in fresh fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce, it was DIVINE. The fish fell apart! This was not your ordinary gig food. We found a spot on the grass and basked in the summers evening. However 30 minutes before the gig was due to start, the clouds came in, and our sun was no longer, we threw on our macs / ponchos and headed for cover before the music started.
Sir Elton John kicked off on time, and we took our seats in the rain, prepared with waterproofs, and ponchos, we sat for the first initial songs. It was just him and his piano, and was superb. He sang ‘Your Song’, i had goosbumps and it took me back to the days of watching Moulin Rouge with my sister (its her favourite film – or one of). About 4 songs in, I was drenched, not even two ponchos could keep me dry, so we decided to head for the trees at the back of the seating area. Surprisingly, it was completely dry under these bad boys , and the view was better than our seats.
We stayed under the trees for the rest of the gig, danced, sang, and adored this talented genius! He gave us Still Standing, Rocket Man, Daniel, and of course The Circle of Life. He had no band, just him and his piano! Outstanding! He played for 90 minutes and it seemed like 9. I was devastated when it finished, but it had been an experience I will never forget. What makes it even better, is he did this for free, and all the ticket sales go to Sports Aid.
We were lucky enough to meet two of the sports men being supported by Sports Aid, and they told us a little about the charity. It is fairly unknown, and had been running for 4 years, and last year the Duchess of Cambridge became patron. Sports Aid helps young athletes to make their dreams a reality, from funding travel to competitions to new equipment. You can find out more about this charity and how you can get involved, or support by attending an event at http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/
This was an experience i cant wait to tell Harry about.
Harry was 17 weeks when I considered weaning. I had read so much about the government guidelines being 6 month (24 weeks),plus the health visitor drills it in to you, but Harry was always hungry, and I had already moved to combination feeding but he still wanted more. He had slept through the night from 11/12 weeks old, and all of a sudden he was waking at 1am for another feed. We brought back the dream-feed, that did the trick, but i felt we were going backwards instead of forwards.
Both my own mum and my mother-in-law told me I should start weaning. I was a little scared, and I didn’t want to damage his digestive system, but I could also see the signs. He was sitting up by himself, he was watching us eat and drink (i constantly felt guilty, and even hid when I was eating), so I gave it a go with a tiny bit if baby rice, well he nearly took my hand off!!!
We gave him 1 teaspoon of rice mixed with his milk, and he ate it so fast we had to make more, he wasn’t bothered by the spoon, right then I knew we’d made the right decision to start him weaning.
I had no idea what to do next, how do you make the transition from milk to food. What foods can you give him? Is there anything dangerous? what happens if he chokes, When do you cut down their milk? I needed guidance, so who else to turn to but Gina Ford (and my mum – of course!).
Gina Fords book ‘The contented little baby book of weaning‘ actually addresses how to wean a baby before the recommended 6 month mark, this helped a lot. She takes you through introducing food in groups, so fruit, veg then protein etc.
I was really looking forward to the weaning, and it was exciting to be starting a new stage of Harry’s life. A couple of my friends had warned me about weaning, about how tedious it could be, and you get sick of pureeing food, boiling fruit, filling ice-cube trays and cleaning it all up. To begin with it was novelly, but now I am 10 weeks in, I can not wait for Harry to be able to eat what we eat!
I followed GF’s book to the tee for about the first 8 weeks, but I found Harry was getting a bit bored of the same food, and he was starting to reject his own food, and be grabbing for ours instead. I had heard of ‘Baby-led weaning’ when I was pregnant, but as I started weaning Harry early, and he couldn’t hold his own food, I didn’t think it would work. Now Harry was gone 6 months and could easily hold his food, I tried it out a couple of times, just giving him chunks of broccoli, cheese, fruit etc to eat himself. They say it encourages the baby to develop quicker, better hand-eye coordination, and plus it means they can join in family meal times.
Once I let Harry pick his own food, I realised he could chew more than I thought (and not choke!), and so I stopped pureeing his food (hurrah!!!), and I started to make the things we were eating but mashing them up, so tuna pasta, pasta in tomato sauce with cheese and ham, roast dinners and salmon with veg. I would mash it so it was ‘textured’ (not lumpy), and he loves it. I do also give him finger foods, so pieces of pear, strawberries and in the mornings, and he either has porridge which I feed him, or I make him wholemeal toast very lightly buttered, and just cut one piece in to strips.
Harry’s nearly 7 months and seems really happy and content. Over the past two weeks, I have experimented with what I can make for him, and stopped worrying so much about following a plan, and gone with what i think is best for him. I dont include salt in any of my cooking, and use low salt, sugar free, and wholemeal ingredients where possible. I tend to give him a mixture of finger foods and mashed foods now, but i am working towards giving him more solid foods when i can.
Cutting down his milk was a bit worry of mine, and I really went with my gut instinct on this one. I cut down his lunch time milk first and about 2 weeks ago removed it completely, and spent time trying to get him to drink from a sipy cup instead, either water or juice. This took about 4 weeks, but now we have a cup of water/juice every day, and drinks it between his feeds and milk. I haven’t figured out when i will take down his afternoon milk, probably when he doesn’t drink it all, or even seem to want it anymore.
What I am really learning with each of these new stages and experiences, is you need someone to give you an initial guidance on how to manage the next stage, such as weaning, breastfeeding, but once you start working with your baby, you seen realise you will always know whats best for your own child, and you have to go with your gut (maternal) instincts. I still find the best advice comes from my mum. She brought up 4 of us, and works with children, but she will always remind me ‘mum knows best!’
If anyone has any advice or tips, i would love to hear, as i am still in the thick of the ‘weaning’ stage, and so welcome the help.
To follow on from my maternity ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ I have jotted down my tips for maternity shopping.
I’d really like to hear any tips you have or advice you can offer for others currently looking to revamp their maternity wardrobe.
As mentioned in my previous post Part 2: when it all becomes real we took a holiday when I was 16 weeks and I was certainly more rounded (when you basically look like you’ve eaten too many pies), but it wasn’t till about 20-22 weeks you could really tell I was pregnant. At this point I was struggling to get into my skinny jeans, I held off buying maternity for as long as possible, so took myself off to Primark, and bought the next size up skinny jeans. At £10 a pair, these were a bargain. They also came in useful once I had given birth, and my maternity clothes were too big.
I searched high and low for fairly inexpensive maternity clothes, I didn’t want to spend too much, as they would only fit for a couple of months, but I did still want to look and feel good.
Here is my ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ maternity wardrobe list!
SERAPHINE was recommended by a friend, and Kate Middleton had been seen in lots of their dresses, but I found them very overpriced, and the styles were quite dull.
ASOS has a big maternity range, so i ordered a variation of tops, dresses and jeans, but the quality was really poor. Most of the tops were see-through, or didn’t have much room for growth. I ended up keeping 1 top, mainly as I had a weekend away and just needed something that would fit, but even then I had to wear a cami underneath it.
They do stock other brandS though so it’s quite a good place just to have a browse.
NEW LOOK have a small collection, their jeans are good value at £20-£25 a pair. I found their t-shirts a bit kitsch with things like ‘I love my bump’ ‘hands off the bump’. Some people love these, and if so this is your shop, but they weren’t for me.
MATALAN, I was recommended to for maternity by a pregnant friend, but my local store only ever stocked maternity leggings. I did purchase some over the bump leggings once it started getting colder. These were okay but I would probably go for H&M leggings if I was to buy again.
MOTHERCARE have small ranges in most stores, better online, but I felt its target market was a slightly older mum, they did great pj’s and underwear though. I got my nursing bras from here.
NEWLOOK (non-maternity ranges) do great plain colour stretchy dresses in normal sizes, I just bought a couple in my size, and they stretched around my bump, and at £10 a dress I wasn’t bothered that I had stretched them too much to wear post-baby. They were perfect for summer or with leggings once it got a bit colder.
TOPSHOP have a good range, and not to overpriced, their jeans were the most expensive at £38/£40 a pair but by far the comfiest I had tried, I bought two pairs, but I could of bought SO many more.
They do lovely maternity underwear, which I was tempted to get, but once bubba arrived and I was nursing the last thing I was bothered about was matching underwear.
H&M has by far the widest range, great value for money, and stylish but practical (AND MY FAVOURITE). My BEST buy was a pair of leggings, with leather panels down the front, and they were great for both day and evening wear. I also got a cardigan that covered my bump, and I can still wear it now I am back to my pre-baby size. Their range is really affordable, and by the time I got to 8-9 months, I was so tired of wearing the same outfits, i didnt mind spending £10-£20 on a new top to vary things up a little.
They also have shirts and smart tops for work but also t-shirts and vests for as little as £3.99 that were great for wearing with jeans.
If anyone has any other suggestions for great places to go, to avoid, or just any tips for stocking up a maternity wardrobe, let us know.
So, I thought I’d post an update of my June fitness progress, especially as I am having a total fat day so need to get motivated!!!!!!
Week 1: 2nd – 8th – disappointing!
Only did two Fitstar sessions and still no runs! Harry has cut down his morning naps to about 40 mins – 1 hour so I chose to do Fitstar, as these only take 30 mins and my run is at least 40 minutes, and I hate having to stop before my app program finishes. I was eating unhealthy but I did probably have a drink every night! I vowed the rolling week I would be better.
Week 2: 9th – 15th – an improvement
I did 3 Fitstar sessions this week, and three two mile walks with Harry, plus I cut down my alcohol consumption! I also started hula hooping. This was really hard, I did ten minutes, and in that only managed to continuously spin for 25 seconds! I have got a play hula hoop, after a quick Google I soon realised I needed a proper fitness hula hoop if I want to take this seriously. I read an article written by a mum vying to loose her baby weight through hula hooping. This has inspired me to continue, but not sure I want to invest in the real deal hoop until I know I will continually make use of it.
Week 3: 16th – 22nd – getting motivated
I am writing this on the 22nd, having been on holiday with my parents, Rich an Harry in Cornwall most of the week. I did my Fitstar, and a 4 mile hike on Monday and Fitstar again on Wednesday and Thursday and I did ten minutes of hula hooping too. I am really proud I still did my exercise whilst away, my healthy eating went a bit off track as mum only bought white bread (rich is in heaven as I only buy wholemeal) and we have had a couple of drinks each night. Today I am having a day off, mainly so I can get this blog post out!
As motivation to continue my exercise, I decided to take a picture and post it on here (feeling brave!!!!)
Waist: 30″ / Hips: 36.5″
In August I am going to post an update picture (gives me chance to recover and make up for holiday drinking in July). Fingers crossed I will have trimmed at least an inch.
I am also considering buying a FitBit Flex, my sister has one and loves it, and a couple of my friends have them. This is a wristband that records your daily movement and documents everything in an app. It also monitors your sleep (and I am not a great sleeper). Recording how long you slept for, how many times you woke up and also wakes you up silently so you don’t wake your partner up. This may help me find out why I don’t sleep great, whether it’s my diet, my exercise or lack of.
If anyone has used a Fitbit please let me know whether you would recommend one? They are fairly expensive so would be a big investment for me.
Hints and tips welcome for eating health eating as I really struggle for non-carb based breakfast and lunches. I am having a juice for either one at the moment.
Wish me luck!!
Living in London, I don’t think I will ever run out of new things to do or places to see. My downfall is I always think I am too busy to go do new things. My other half works in the drinks industry, and his patch is the city and Shoreditch, so he is constantly telling about cool new bars opening, or events happening. Before Harry, I would meet up with him after work, and check out a couple of his bars, or we would spend Saturdays trying out new places. Since Harry has arrived, I haven’t been able to make as many of these nights as I would like, in fact I think only once, but sometimes an opportunity comes along that you just can’t turn down. We were lucky enough to be offered a night in the most exclusive, and sought after room in London. Has anyone ever noticed there is a boat sitting on top of the Southbank centre, as i hadn’t and i have been there enough times! A room for London is a ‘boat’ perched on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.
The boat is in fact a one bedroomed self catering space, where visitors are treated to an incredible view of London. With a two tiered deck, you have this fabulous panoramic view from Big Ben, to St Paul, to the more recently built Shard. We were offered a nights stay at very short notice, so we were desperate for an overnight babysitter. Thankfully my sister came to our rescue, and so we got ourselves ready for a night away from the little man, and prepared to embark on an adventure watching over London. On arrival, you sign a contract that you won’t breach any of the rules, such as taking guests back, no parties etc. You are then taken to a secret lift, that takes you up to the boat!! Unfortunately on our visit it was pouring with rain, I prayed for it to dry up so we could spend some time on the deck, but ultimately it poured even more.
I brought the champagne, and we decided to order takeaway from my favourite place, Wagamamas. This was just below the Royal Festival Hall, so just a short trip down the secret lift to collect our dinner. We opted to eat in, as we can eat out anytime in London, but we will never get our time back in this exclusive room. We sat down at the table, (which we never do at home), and had our meal. No TV, no iPads, just our own company and our food. It was slightly surreal, but great to just chat about our experience, and how lucky we were to be there.
The room comes with dishes, cutlery, glasses, tea, coffee, milk etc, the usual you would find in a self-catering room. The bedroom looked over the River Thames, you are provided binoculars to spy on the city, we had fun trying to guess all of the buildings, seeing if we could see inside the rooms of The Savoy opposite, and seeing what bars we could spot. The rain continued, and we made an attempt to go outside and get some photos, but it was too wet to risk taking our SLR camera outside. It seemed a real shame to spend all of our time inside looking out, but even after a last minute umbrella purchase, the rain finally beat us. I had assumed it would be freezing, so had packed jumpers and joggers, but the heating was quick, and within 20 minutes of whacking the radiator on, it was like a sauna!
We stayed up drinking, admiring the view, reading the books provided (there was a library of books about London’s history), and reading the log book, which all guests were recommended to detail their stay and sign (some people giving a little too much detail of their bedroom antics). We wanted to stay up, to not waste any of our time sleeping, but having been up with the little man at 6am, by the time midnight came, I couldn’t stay awake anymore, and gave in to my tired eyes.
Rich was awake at 6am like a kid at christmas, wanting to watch the morning hustle and bustle of London in our final hours. Due to work commitments, and our babysitters, we had to leave at 8am (you have the room till 11am), we quickly got showered (whilst admiring the The Shard from the porthole in the bathroom!), dressed, and wrote our notes in the log book, we stood at the doorway for ages, trying to hold on to our last moments of this amazing experience. It was over, and we were so sad to be leaving.
Living Architecture is the company behind ‘A room for London’. You have to enter a ballot to be in with a chance of staying in the room, and it is £300 for the night – but worth every penny. You are limited to one night, and can only stay there once, and the boat may possibly move location in the future. Living Architecture also have a number of other properties around the UK, and some more opening during the next 18 months. If you get the chance to stay, or even enter the ballot, then go for it!
This is one event I really wanted to capture on my blog,and share our experience with everyone. The pictures do most of the work!
This is something I hope to be able to tell my children, and grandchildren about.