#camerarollcringe

I’ve accepted the challenge from Hannah at HiBabyBlog to share my #camerarollcringe!

Basically the challenge involves looking through your camera roll and sharing some of your “classic” pics! Not sure that mine are as great as Hannah’s (check hers out here   #camerarollcringe  – http://wp.me/p5lxX7-4Q …but here goes!

My friend sent me this – and why not its super cute!

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Baby B trying to escape her cot during daytime nap time…..

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Baby B got her hands on a pack of post it notes…

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Baby B stole a chip from great grandad plate….

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True fact:

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Erm….

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Me modelling a sensory necklace I made for my friends son for their plane journey (blog post coming up on this soon!). Was trying to send her a pic but cat kept getting in the way!

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Nom nom nom – afternoon tea with mum & my twin

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Bedtime reading…..

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Selfie fail….

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Yes I am inside a child’s playtent. Alone.

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An important message for Mr B!

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A watering can from my local garden centre for £2. Baby B’s favourite bath toy…

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I like cheese alright?!

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Yes it is nearly summer but its a cute hat!

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Messy baby!

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Baby B’s first passport photo!

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Some summer holiday shoes from Shoezone that I was asking my sister if she liked….

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So there you go! That’s my #camerarollcringe! Not quite as fun as Hannah’s though.

Can’t wait to see yours!

X Becca

Fun Free Friday

Now that I’m on Statutory Maternity Pay zero pay, I’m trying to keep an eye on the pennies and reduce any unnecessary spending. Trust me as a major shopaholic this has not been an easy task for me so far!

I think many families experience a bit of a tight financial squeeze during the last part of maternity leave, so I therefore thought it would be a fun idea to put together a list of my top free (or very low cost) things to do outside of the house with Baby B. Hopefully this will show that you don’t need lots of pennies to get out of the house and have a great time with your baby.

1. Check out your local Sure Start centre

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Before I had Baby B, I didn’t actually realise what Sure Start Centres were. I just assumed that they were only available for “qualifying” families or people referred there by their GP. However, Sure Start children’s centres are open to all and they generally have a range of free and low cost activities available for you to join in with.

Baby B and I were fortunate enough to attend a free 4 week Baby massage course, a weaning workshop, a weekly sing & story session and a weekly breastfeeding support group at out local Sure Start centre all for free!

Unfortunately some Sure Start centres are being closed and they are all facing budget cuts which I think is a real shame. However its worth checking out what they are still running in your area.

2. Visit your local fish shop!

This sounds like a really random idea but trust me, if you find a good one then its basically like visiting a free aquarium or sea life centre!

There is an amazing tropical fish shop in our local garden centre with about 100 different varieties of fish (including Nemo!) and Baby B would be happy in there for hours. Our shop also has a special tank where you can pay 20p to feed the fish!

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3. Visit your local pet shop!

As above, Baby B loves looking at all the animals in our local pet shop and she doesn’t yet know that there’s a difference between an expensive zoo and a free pet shop! Baby B particularly loves the birds.

Also if you have any friends or family with child friendly pets then a visit to theirs will be a great fun activity for your baby too! Baby B adores playing with our 2 cats and giggles every time she gets close to see them properly. Sooo cute & educational too!

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4. Go to the local park

Baby B is now big enough to go on the swings and she absolutely adores trips to the park. Who needs expensive soft play when you can get into the great outdoors and have a swing?!

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5. Check out any council run museums local to you

I hadn’t thought of taking Baby B to our local museum as I assumed that at 9 months old she was too small. However, our large local museum has a sensory room for toddlers which Baby B loves! Even without the sensory room she really enjoyed our visit because there was lots to look at – she was fascinated by the large dinosaur skeleton and the Egyptian mummies!

The best thing about our local museum is that it is free!

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6. Have a play date with a friend

Baby B loves seeing her little friends so we often have play dates. All you need is some tea and biscuits, take it in turns to host and both mums & babies have some fun!

7. Check out your local churches

Our local church runs a mother and baby group which only costs £1 and includes unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits! Beats Starbucks as they usually have toys for the babies to play with!

They ran a lovely session at Christmas with carols & a Nativity puppet show. Baby B was fascinated!

8. Organise a buggy walk with your friends

Its a great way for you all to get out in the fresh air for a good gossip and the babies can enjoy observing different sights and sounds. Combined with number 3, this is a cracker of a free day out!

9. Visit your local library

Baby B and I love a good book and what better way to try new ones than by borrowing them for free from the library?!

Our library also runs very low cost (£1 per family) story and song sessions which are a great low cost activity comparable to many of the more expensive franchise alternatives. Its worth checking out whether your library does too!

10. Have a picnic

If the weather is nice, take your lunches outside and have a picnic together! Baby B loves it! If you don’t have a garden then the park is fab as it has the added benefit that Baby can people watch too!

What fun free activities outside of the house would you recommend? Would love to hear more ideas!

X Becca

Mums' Days

Am I expecting too much?!

So yesterday Baby B had her first “stay & play” session at her nursery. I’m not due back at work until July but I want to ease us both into it very gently so she will be doing one full day a week in May, 2 full days a week in June and 3 full days a week from July.

The nursery we selected has an amazing Ofsted report (outstanding in all areas). It has wonderful outdoor play areas, a sensory room and lots of fun activities and messy play! Mr B and I both loved it when we visited to book a place during my pregnancy. In fact, I have visited twice when pregnant and twice since Baby B was born and I was really pleased that we had managed to get her a space there.

Baby B is an outgoing and inquisitive baby and loves being around new people (especially other children and babies) and I know that she will love being around other children more as she is starting to become frustrated when alone in the house with just me. I’ve therefore not really been worried about her starting nursery because I know that she will love it, the nursery looked great when we visited it and I’m also looking forward to going back to work because I love my job.

During the stay and play session yesterday, Baby B spent time with her “key person”, a lovely girl called Nikki. Baby B seemed to take to her straight away and they had a lovely time playing together with some of the other babies. Baby B was smiling, laughing and chatting and really seemed pleased to be there which was so reassuring for me. All of the staff seemed lovely and commented on how Baby B was settling in great and would love it there! I am sure that they are right!

However, I’m not sure if I’m expecting too much because there were a couple of things that I witnessed that I wasn’t particularly happy about. The first was a baby napping in a cot who woke up and stood whinging. Now obviously if Baby B did this at home I would be straight to her immediately. However this baby was left in the cot whinging for about 5 minutes before anyone went to him. The child wasn’t crying properly, he just wanted out of the cot! It breaks my heart to think that Baby B could have been that baby whinging in the cot yet realistically with a ratio of 1 staff member to 3 babies, there are going to be occasions where Baby B will have to wait for attention. Therefore am I expecting too much if I expect the staff to be able to respond to her as quickly as I can when I only have Baby B to look after?

I saw another thing that I did not like when I was watching the ‘bigger’ children playing outside.  A little girl fell off her bike and got stuck. It took her allocated staff member about 30 seconds to notice what had happened and rush off to comfort her….again am I expecting too much to have thought they should have noticed and reacted more quickly? The staff to child ratios at this older age mean that it is probably unrealistic of me to expect them to notice everything!

So at the moment I’m wondering if this is just me being a normal ‘worried mummy’ who is panicking at the thought of leaving her baby with “strangers” for the first time.

I know that nursery can never replace me because it is just not possible to have 1-1 care in a nursery setting. And it can never be as devoted a caregiver to Baby B as I am. However because she is such a “people person”,  I do know that it will provide her with other things that she badly needs. For example, the interaction with others that she craves and which she doesn’t get enough of at home with me. It’ll also give her lots of different fun play opportunities and messy play and hopefully prepare her for school. Therefore, perhaps I need to just “get over it” and allow my Baby to grow as a little person without mummy always there.

This mummy malarkey can be tough!!

We have another session next week which Mr B can come to, so I am looking forward to getting his second opinion on this!

In the meantime – what do you guys think? Am I expecting too much and/being unrealistic in what I should expect?! How have you and your little ones found the transition from home to nursery? Would love to hear from you!

X Becca

Wicked Wednesday #3

At 9 months old, Baby B certainly knows her own mind and definitely let’s us know it!!!

Little monkey does not like sun hats and has had several full on tantrums this week when I tried to make her wear one.

Eventually I gave up and sat her in a tent in the shade instead! Look how smug she looks at getting her own way!

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X Becca

brummymummyof2

My Monday Night “me” time

I love Mondays. Yep that’s right, I can’t believe that I’m actually saying that! I never thought that Monday would become one of my favourite days of the week but it has!

Now to be honest, because I’m on maternity leave, all weekdays tend to merge into one and mostly I have no idea what the day is. However Mondays are my favourite weekday (after Friday of course!) because I get ‘me’ time on Monday night at my weekly yoga class!

I’m not a particularly active or sporty girl and have never been a big fan of exercise but I LOVE my yoga class.

I first discovered yoga when I was pregnant and I signed up to a local pregnancy yoga class on the recommendation of my midwife who was concerned about my stress related high blood pressure. During my pregnancy I loved the opportunity to take some time to connect with my growing baby and to focus on me and my health and relaxation. The class focussed on breathing exercises, gentle stretches and meditation/visualisation to prepare for labour. Each class would also end with a 15 minute yoga nidra (yoga sleep!) practice which always left me feeling amazing afterwards. Immediately after my first session I felt so much less stressed and I continued with the classes right up until my due date.

Once Baby B arrived, I was thrilled that my pregnancy yoga teacher also ran baby yoga classes and we started attending as soon as I had been approved for exercise by my doctor at my 6 week postnatal check. Both Baby B and I loved the baby yoga classes and it was clear that Baby B recognised my yoga teachers voice and the background music used during the class which I found amazing. During the class, each baby is laid on a baby “nest” (a changing mat with a fleece covered pillow on top) on top of a yoga mat. Us mummies then performed our yoga moves on the mat. Sometimes over the babies, sometimes holding the babies and occasionally we would do some very gentle stretches on the babies (not like some of the crazy baby swinging yoga you see on YouTube!!!). Of course because this was a baby class there was also the obligatory singing of silly songs! I was devastated when at 7 months, Baby B started crawling off the yoga mat and fussing during the class so that we had to stop going. However, having now attended yoga classes with my teacher for over a year in total, she suggested that I join her “normal’ beginners yoga class.

At first I was a little apprehensive (I’m really not a sporty girl and am very inflexible!). However, I couldn’t bear the thought of no longer having classes with my teacher every Monday so I nervously agreed and am so glad that I did!

The thing that I love about yoga is that it is non competitive and can be easily adapted to different ability levels. I believe that pretty much anyone can benefit from some form of yoga practice. There are different styles of yoga and the style that I am learning is Hatha Raja yoga.

For me, yoga is not just about physical exercise. In fact, the word “yoga” means “to unite” and refers to the fusion of body, mind and spirit through meditation, breathing and physical postures. I find that its therefore a great way for me to focus on me and allows me to relieve stress, anxiety and tiredness. For me, as a new stay at home mummy, this time is so important and definitely helps to keep me sane.

I have to admit that most weeks, I feel like I would rather go to bed than leave the house at 8pm to do a yoga class. However, I always make myself go because I know that I always feel amazing after the class even if I felt awful before it! The timing of the class is also perfect as Baby B is usually fast asleep when I leave.

One of the things that also surprised me about yoga is that it can be a great aerobic exercise too. My previous misconception was that yoga wouldn’t give you a cardio workout. However, last night a dynamic series of poses certainly got all of our heart rates up! I am also very uncoordinated so I worried about not being able to keep up or follow the postures. However providing I watch the teacher carefully the first time we learn a posture then I’m usually OK because postures are repeated often so once you know it you can focus on practising and improving it rather than learning it.

I particularly love dynamic postures which allow me to push my body and focus my mind also. I love standing series with my favourite posture being Warrior 1 because it reminds me of being pregnant with Baby B. I also love Triangle & Downward Facing Dog. I’m not so keen on floor postures though….

Since beginning my yoga practice, I have also noticed that I have become stronger and my flexibility has increased. Unfortunately I’ve not noticed any weight loss results but given the amount of chocolate I eat, that is hardly unexpected! I am sure that yoga combined with healthy eating would give weight loss results.

To anyone thinking about beginning yoga practise I say “go for it”!

Does anyone else practice yoga? Or are you considering it? Would love to hear from you!

X Becca

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Binky Linky

Is your Baby a good Baby?!

As a new mummy – I’ve discovered a question that EVERYBODY likes to ask and it makes me SOOOO mad!

Is she a ‘good’ baby?

What a strange question! How can a newborn baby be a ‘bad’ baby??? To be honest the first few times that I was asked this I wasn’t quite sure what the person was getting at and just assumed that they were a bit odd so I gave them my stock response of:

Erm yes she’s great I think

Obviously as a first time mummy I have nothing to compare her to but she seems great to me!! Anyway, it soon became clear to me that “Is she a ‘good’ baby” actually translates into “Does she sleep through the night”? I am actually shocked at how many people ask me this!

As mummy to spirited Baby B who at 9 months still doesn’t always “sleep through the night” (although she did last night hurray!!), being asked this question at 8 weeks and 12 weeks did not endear me to the asker!

I found it insulting that my Baby was considered to be a ‘bad’ baby just because she woke up during the night to feed (which FYI is totally normal for newborns!). I found myself spouting off the following to anyone who even hinted that they were about to ask “the question”….!

I’m so lucky, she is a very good baby but because I’m breastfeeding she wakes for a night  feed but she goes straight back to sleep because she really is a very good baby, the very best of babies, a very good baby indeed. I’m sure she would sleep through the night every night if I wasn’t breastfeeding because she really is a very very good baby, a very good baby indeed…..*continued frantically for the next 5 minutes*

I’m sure that the people who were on the receiving end of my frantic assertion that my baby was a ‘good’ baby ended up thinking that I was the odd one!

Anyway, eventually I decided that secretly people want to hear that your baby is a ‘bad’ baby. A baby that doesn’t sleep. Its almost like some people think that new parents *should* be awake all night…!

Confession time – as a sleep deprived mummy to a ‘bad’ baby, I secretly love it when other parents tell me that they have a ‘bad’ baby too as it makes me feel better about it! I am also ashamed to admit that I may have also had a secret snigger to myself when non sleep deprived parents with no bags under their eyes, who have bragged often of having ‘good’ babies suddenly hit the 4 month sleep regression. Ha welcome to my world I think! The benefit of having a ‘bad’ baby was that we had no sleep to ‘regress’ from at 4 months.

My ‘bad’ baby is a delight to be around. She rarely has tantrums, is engaging, smiley and interested in people and the world around her. She is happy most of the time, crawling, pulling herself up and fun to be around. I may be biased but I think she gives all those ‘good’ babies a run for their money!

And now at 9 months, Baby B sleeps through *most* nights and even when she doesn’t, the sleep I do now get feels amazing anyway because my clever, beautiful ‘bad’ baby trained me to cope on less.

X Becca

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MaternityMondays