Today is the NHS’s 70th birthday! Happy birthday to our NHS which was started not far from where I am currently based in Trafford.

For all my working career I have worked for the NHS. Have worked for the NHS now for 18 years. In September I will be going back to work for the NHS in a new role for me at a different trust than I currently am employed at and I cannot wait. As I enter my 19th year I will be starting at the bottom of a very tall learning curve.

Everyday at work I see staff going above and beyond their roles to help people.

It takes a special sort of someone to work in the NHS.

This past weekend unfortunately yet again we had to use the wonderful NHS emergency services, wards and operating theatres when my 4 year old injured himself.

Everyone we encountered was lovely, kind and caring.

I know it’s not always the case, I have come across people in the past who clearly don’t enjoy their jobs or were having bad days but on the whole I have always had nothing but praise for the staff.

For a health service its amazing, we are so lucky to have it. Free at point of access. There when you need it for emergencies or non-emergencies.

To all the wonderful staff who work there, in such difficult situations. To everyone who daily is reminded of the financial pressure we work under. For anyone who’s ever made a patient smile. From consultants to cleaners who daily dedicate their lives to others, thank you. Thank you for everything you do.

NHS

Happy 70th Birthday to our NHS today!

Theres no other point to this post except to list all the things I am grateful for today and to put in words what a great day I’ve had.

Today as soon as the older two were at school and nursery I headed out to one of my favourite places to go to spend some time…. Intu The Trafford Centre! If you don’t know Intu Trafford Centre its a huge shopping centre. Now this might sound like I’m a massive spender, I’m not. I like to browse, get ideas, have some lunch. More browsing. Grab a bargain or two. Have a coffee. Meet a friend.

I’ve been coming to the Intu Trafford Centre for years, probably around 18 now. I love the place.

So Roo and I drove there, he slept and I drove!

When we arrived I sat in the car for a little while whilst he finished his nap. In those moments just sitting there watching him sleep I realised again how lucky I am. I always have a grateful attitude. I know that by being grateful for ever little thing it makes me a happier person. The realisation once again that I have three beautiful children in my life who I adore. My husband is a wonderful man, he works hard to provide things for us and he comes home from work and helps around the house and helps with the boys too. He’s always there for me when I need him, he is my rock.

Once Roo was awake I put him in the Bugaboo and set off for a browse.

We are going on holiday later in the year so I’m on the lookout for a really comfy sandle/shoe for the boys to wear whilst we are there. Ideally they would be waterproof and made of quick drying material.

I found these in Schuh and thought they’d be great. The boys weren’t with me so I couldn’t try them to buy but has anyone already bought them? If so please do let me know what you think.

 

We wandered around for a little while and stopped for a coffee. Roo was getting hungry so I breastfed him in the coffee shop whilst I tried to eat a yoghurt. After eating and burping he seemed tierd again so I took him for a walk outside. The weather has been so sunny and beautiful. I’m so grateful to be able to walk in the sunshine under the amazing blue sky. I listened to the birds and took in the smell of the flowers.

When he finally fell asleep I walked over to the canal nearby for a wander along the tow path. There were people out for a cycle and boats passing by. Others were walking their dogs. I loved it. The trees provided enough shade to not be too warm and the breeze was really refreshing.

At a recent blogging conference I heard the keynote speech about happiness. In the presentation it was mentioned that a certain hotel chain has a 5/10 rule for staff. If someone is within 5 feet of staff you should say hello. If they are within 10 feet you should smile and acknowledge them. I don’t know why I remember this above all else but I really try to practice it daily now when I’m on a walk. Obviously not in a crowded place, that would be daft. However along the tow path I said hello to everyone I passed, or the people on the boats. There was only one person who didn’t reply. That’s ok though, maybe they were having a bad day?

gratitude

It made me think though about how much I’d love to do a canal boat holiday. I’ve never done one and it seems so peaceful. It’s on my bucket list now for sure. I have a feeling though we’ll have to wait until the boys are a little older.

It was in that moment walking along in the sunshine that I felt total happiness and took a moment to just be silently thankful for the day and all it had given me.

I guess the point of the post is to prompt you to be thankful too. List all the things right now in life you are thankful for and it will give you a lift and make you feel happier. Gratitude truly is the key to happiness.

 

 

 

 

Last bank holiday we headed to the beach. Living in the UK we are very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful beaches. No matter where you live you’re never that far away from a beach. Even if you don’t drive you can get out and about with a trian or bus!

On bank holiday Monday we went to St Annes beach in Lancashire. We are quite practised at beach days. We tend to go to the beach quite a lot. So we know what to take with us to have a great day. However while we were there I realised there are still things I’d forgotten. So this is how the blog post was born. A list of things to take with us, a reminder to myself and others what things make a great day!

Beach Essential List

  1. Sun Shelter

We have had a few beach shelters in our time. The one we found to be most useful is a pop up one as it offers the most protection from the sun as well as being ready in seconds. My only word of warning though is practice putting it down before you use it on the beach for the first time! Once you know how to put it down its really easy to do in future. You don’t want to look like a complete fool on the beach though when you come to pack up! This one is a fab pop up version as it has mesh panels which are great if its windy!

 

2.Wind shelter

When you think of a beach wind break, you think big stripes and poles. Thats exactly what I’m talking about. I made the mistake first of buying one that you would use at camping and on the beach its no good as the poles you drive into the ground aren’t sturdy enough for sand. You need to get one with big wooden poles. This one is so cheery and I love it!

3.Dry Bag

Use this once your set up to store your valuables in so you know where they are when it’s time to leave. Things such as house keys, car keys, wallet, purse etc. The last thing you want to do is get to the end of a wonderful day to find that you’ve lost your car keys in the sand somewhere when they fell out of your pocket! As the description says the bag will keep things dry (and most importantly safe!)

 

4. Picnic Basket

Apart from the obvious a picnic basket is great for storing all your food in to keep it cool of rite day. IF you get a silver lined one like below the frozen ice packs will keep your food and drink nice and cool all day long. Be sure to store it in the shade of the sun shelter though.

beach day essentials

5. Chairs

Rather than lugging big fold out chairs with us to the beach we prefer these anywhere chairs as they literally fold up when your done and are so easy and light to carry. The weight of your bottom makes a great support for the back part and as a breastfeeding mum you defiantly need that when feeding on a beach. No one wants to come home with a sore back after a day in the sun!

beach

6. Towel

I always take one or two travel towels with us. They are super lightweight but absorb a lot of liquids. Great for drying of wet children (if they venture into the sea) or mopping up spills if there are any in the sun shelter.

7. Bucket and Spades

It’ kind of obvious but I forget nearly everytime and end up having to buy more! Theres so many great sets you can pick up for making sand castles etc. Our boys use the buckets and spades in all sorts of different games using their imagination.

8. Picnic Blankets

Now I’ve purposely written picnic blankets as a plural because we always need more than one. We use one to line the bottom of the sunshade tent to sit on then one out a little bit onto the sand for picnics etc. They are not expensive but save wet bottoms for those not wanting to sit on any wet sand! Again they fold up small and are lightweight.

There are other things we take too like spare clothes just in case I need to change the boys as well as a travel potty. Of course all the things that you need with a baby nappies etc. As long as I’ve got the above items though I feel like we are set up for a fab day on the beach. Is there anything else you like to take? I’d love to know so please drop me a line in the comments below!

I’ve dropped the link below for the short video I made of our day out!

Items on this list are affiliate links which means if you click through to buy an item I will get a couple of pence at NO EXTRA cost to you at all.

Motherhood is hard. Nobody, absolutely nobody can prepare you for how hard it is. Anyone who tells you it is easy is lying. I’m sure there are many many fantastic blog posts about how hard it is but this is mine. Today I feel I need to write it to remind me how far I’ve come.

motherhood is hard

When your little one is screaming with tears and has been for over an hour, you feel useless. All the tools in your parenting toolbox have been used. You’re out of ideas. It’s hard.  It’s even harder if it’s the middle of the night. You feel like you are the only person in the whole world who is up when you should be sleeping.

When you’re at the shops and all you want to do is a food shop but your baby is screaming and everyone is looking at you. It’s hard. Hard to keep your compose. Hard to keep your cool. Hard to think straight.

When you’re toddler won’t let you get anything done in the house because they need you. It’s hard.

When you can’t do story time at bedtime because the baby needs you to feed them to sleep. It’s hard.

When one of the children is ill but you can’t be there for them. It’s hard.

When you’re trying to cook the dinner and the baby needs holding and another child is screaming for you. It’s hard

When you can’t spend time of your eldest homework and see all the other parents on the playground bringing in wonderful project that you haven’t had time to complete. It’s hard.

Today I’ve had a hard day in my motherhood journey. Walking around the living room staring at the same four walls. Listening to the screaming in my ear. Just looking at all the things that need to be done. The washing, the laundry folding. The kitchen needs cleaning. The bathroom needs cleaning. The floors need hoovering but my children need me. Today I have to try and step back just a little and ignore the mess. But it’s hard.

Focus on Gratitude

When I feel like this i try to practice gratitude. List the things I’m grateful for. Grateful I have three beautiful boys who call me mum. So grateful that despite me feeling trapped in the living room I do call that living room ‘home’. Grateful I have a home that I love. Grateful that I have a husband who loves me and who works very hard to keep us in our home. Grateful that I have a job to go back to when my maternity leave is over. Grateful we have food in the cupboards to feed ourselves. Reframing my focus to gratitude does help, but it doesn’t make it any less hard some days.

To all the mummies (and wonderful daddies) out there you are doing a fantastic job and with a smile and a big hug the hard melts away into the distance.

motherhood is hard

Would I change a thing?

No I wouldn’t. The hard is sent to make me stronger.

The hard times make me appreciate the easier times even more. I know I am blessed to have such a fantastic life and as such I will try to enjoy every single minute.

Even the hard times.

 

With three boys school uniform is a plenty in this house. Obviously baby Roo is far too little for a uniform yet. But when he gets to that stage his school uniform will easily fit into the system I use.

So my first tip is the key to this working well. Have 5 sets of the same uniform (if you can afford it) as it makes this system easy! It helps keep mornings smooth with no running around wondering where jumpers or trousers are. No frantic last minute dash for a missing shirt.  The only thing I don’t have 5 of is the school tie. I do have spare ties but they tend to wear the same one throughout the week.

Getting Started with School Uniform

The second part of the system I use involves having somewhere to store the 5 sets of school uniform. Somewhere the children will know where to find it. A place they can reach. Somewhere they can access easily. For us these ‘Really Useful‘ drawers are ideal. There are 5 drawers. One for each day of the week. No refilling midweek.

So to get the system working, on a Sunday evening I get out all the drawers and line them up on the sofa.

I then gather all the relevant clothes. I do mean all, socks, underwear the lot! Five of everything for each person. I then count out each one as I go for each boy.

For some reason I always like to start with the socks and undies!

Next I’ll fold in the trousers, shirts and finally jumpers for each child. Once each drawer has a full set for each I’ll then put them back into the stack.

The Final Outcome

school uniform

Each morning after breakfast I either retrieve the relevant drawer or ask the boys to get it out themselves. They can then easily get dressed and ready. It’s not without its flaws. Sometimes jumpers that are put on are too big or too small because they haven’t read the labels properly! The pjs they take off go straight into the drawer the uniform came out of to either be worn again or washed depending on its state! So it also stops random pj parts being flung around the room!

Hopefully it’s given you an idea for how to hack school uniform mornings and make things run a little smoother!

The link I used to the drawers is an associate link so if you go through to purchase them I will get a tiny percentage of the cost, this is at no extra cost to you whatsoever. Really Useful or amazon haven’t had anything to do with this post, its the system I use myself.

Well I can’t quite believe the Easter holidays are already over! Part of me was dreading them to begin with. Three boys on my own for two weeks was always a daunting prospect. As it turned out we had the most fantastic time with friends and family. We made plans for each day and thankfully hubby managed to have some time off too.

Christening Time

 

It started on a high with Roo’s Christening which was on Easter Sunday at our family church. It was a beautiful day spent with family and friends. After the service we came back to our house for some food and drinks. By 6pm everyone was gone again and the house seemed early quiet after such a fantastic build up to a wonderful day. In some ways sad for me as it’s most likely my last baby and so in turn is the last Christening celebration we will hold.

Roo behaved beautifully and when the time came to have him Christened he didn’t cry and was lovely.

During the later part of the service I was grateful to his wonderful God mummy for taking him outside to settle him to sleep as he was getting tired and moany.

The main man himself wore a lovely outfit I bought 7 years ago for the boys Christening. The outfit has been worn by all of the boys for their special days and I’m not sure now the best way to display it. I need to do some research and see what inspiration I can get (all ideas welcome) as I don’t just want to put it in a box and leave it for years to come.

I wore a dress my mummy bought for for me from Monsoon and although I haven’t got back to my happy weight yet I felt good. My shoes I wa thankful to find in the recent Next sale and they went so well with the dress.

The dress wasn’t breast feeding friendly so in order to be abel to feed Roo before and after the service I wore a vest top under the outfit so that I could unzip the dress and lift the top to feed whilst keeping myself covered (for my own dignity as I don’t like to show my tummy etc)

The other two boys wore matching shirts form Next which I bought last year for a photo shoot with some dark jeans.

Back at the house I got to sip some wonderful champagne (keeping the cork for my collection) and was a bit tipsy by bedtime! I had even made his Christening cake, and for a complete novice like me I was quite proud of my work!

christening christening cake


When  bank holiday monday came I was a bit hung over so thankful for our house to hang around in and not get up to too much!

The Rest of the Holidays

Since the christening the rest of the holiday s have been a bit of a blur. I didn’t want to do a day by day list so will do some highlights.

During the first week hubby had to go away for work and so my mum came to stay with us. This worked out well as it was a day we’d been planning for a while anyway. We went out to a local country park with  a great adventure play area. It did rain for a while which cleared the playground off but it didn’t dampen our spirits!

The following day mum took middle boy out with her early and I got to enjoy some time with the original boy (and Roo of course). I needed to pick up a package from a shop so we went together to the Trafford Centre. It was nice to just enjoy some time together. I treated him to a coffee (well not a coffee for him but you know what I mean!)

cafe nero

Easter eggs were abundant in out house despite us not buying many ourselves we are lucky to have such lovely family and friends who gave the boys eggs, my favourite was this chocolate chicken, sat on chocolate eggs with an edible basket! I’m pretty such it’s from Lidl.

There was time spent at St Annes pier and beach on a sunny day, and another afternoon at Blackpool Zoo.

Towards the end of the holiday my middle baby turned 4, how have 4 wonderful years passed so quickly?

He got what he’d asked for, a batman car and a Spiderman outfit! My little superhero loving dude. We spent  the day at Cheshire Ice Cream Farm. Another wonderful day out if you’re ever in the area. Free to get in and you just pay for what you do.

cheshire ice cream farm

And so we are at the end now, the last day. Back to normality tomorrow. Back to school and nursery. There are some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks. Thins to look forward to. I’m trying to enjoy every single day of maternity leave that I have left. Knowing it’s my last time. Here’s to the future and many more happy memories made. I am as always grateful for all that has passed, it has been amazing.

Thank you universe.

 

new baby roo

Homebirth – Planning Ahead

If you’re pregnant you may have been asked by the midwife or friends if you’ve done your birth plan. If you haven’t got a clue what that is or what to write then you’ve come to the right place.

home birth birth plan

 

A birth plan is written down plan of your wishes when it comes to giving birth to your baby. It’s a guide for anyone looking after you during labour. Of course every birth is different and birth plans can’t always be followed to the letter due to circumstances. It is however a good starting point.

Some women don’t want to write a birth plan and just go with the flow and that’s ok too.

It is though good advice to think about what you might like to happen at each stage if things go as you hope. I’ve had birth plans for all three boys. I’m also lucky to have been able to access the services of One to One midwives with two of the boys.

Thankfully my wishes were followed for those two births as my midwifes were familiar with my wishes and birth plan before the boys were born. At my most recent birth there was also a student midwife present who read my birth plan upon arrival.

If you want to watch my birth it’s on youtube and I’ll leave the link at the bottom of the post.

I thought it might help other parents to be if I published my birth plan. Please do remember that this plan is individual to me and my circumstances so feel free to pick and mix bits that you want. This plan is for a home birth and I have blanked out an personal information.

My Birth Plan

I plan to have a home birth as discussed with my One2one midwife

My one2one midwife D****** (07***********) is aware of all my wishes with regards to the way I wish to be treated during labour.

I wish to have a gentle labour, I prefer not to be spoken to while having contractions and I know from previous experience that I don’t like other people to be talking around me. I’m happy to speak in between contractions.

I prefer not to be offered pain relief and will ask for it if I wish to utilise any.

I will not consent to vaginal examinations during labour routinely but may ask to be examined, please do not offer.

I wish to try for a water birth.

I wish to be the first person to touch and hold the baby, when he is born I will pick him up from the water or his place of birth.

If I need to transfer into hospital I wish to go to ****** hospital not ******* hospital

In the event of a transfer to hospital before birth:

I do not give consent for anyone to cut the umbilical cord other than myself or my husband N***** once the baby is born

I plan to have the placenta encapsulated so please do not discard it, please label and refrigerate the placenta as soon as possible after separation from the baby until my husband is able to take it home.

In the event of a caesarean section needing to be performed either under a local or a general anaesthetic I ask that the placenta and umbilical cord stay attached to the baby (Lotus birth) and that I be given the baby for immediate skin to skin contact. In the event that I am unable to give skin to skin, please give the baby to my husband N***** so that he can give immediate skin to skin contact with the baby.

In the event of a transfer to hospital after birth:

If I am to have a manual removal of the placenta please be aware that I plan to have the placenta encapsulated so please do not discard it, please label and refrigerate as soon as possible after removal until my husband is able to take it home.

If the baby needs to go to a special care unit then please do not give any artificial feeds, I will be breastfeeding the baby exclusively.

Emergencies

I or my husband will discuss all eventualities as they arise. Please share any concerns with us as soon as they arise. It will help us to know the answers to these questions:

1. What is wrong?

2. What do you suggest and why?

3. What would be the possible outcomes with and without this intervention?

4. How much time do we have to make a decision?

5. Are there any other courses of action open to us.

We will be guided by balanced, informative advice. We want a healthy baby and mother and will take all necessary steps to achieve this.

 

 

I’ve written about breastfeeding before on my blog. If you want to go back and read them then the link for the posts are here:

Firstly – Breastfeeding my experience

Work – Breastfeeding my experience at work

Problems -Breastfeeding Strike

Breastfeeding Bleb

I’ve breastfed my other two boys and am proud I managed to feed for so long. Believe me I couldn’t have done it without help from lots of people.

Breastfeeding

My second babies first feed.

If theres one piece of advice I’d give it’s know where to access support when you need it. Because believe me if you need it, you’ll need it there and then and not have to wait.

In the UK we are lucky to have lots of lovely charities and helplines.

Theres National Breastfeeding Helpline as well as NCT who offer support. In terms of local support you can always ask your midwife or health visitor for a list of local groups. Groups are not just there if you have problems, they are a place to meet other mums and socialise. You never know you might learn something there too you didn’t know. Groups usually have mix of different aged babies so it can be a good source of information about changes that happen with breastfeeding and make you feel normal about the lack of sleep!

I used to volunteer with the Breastfeeding Network in my areas as I wanted to give back and offer the support that was given to me after my first baby was born. I truly couldn’t have done it without the help I had.

Breastfeeding the Third Time

So this is breastfeeding baby number 3 for me. The other two boys had tongue ties so the first thing I asked the midwife to check when he was born was his tongue. It was obvious to me just from looking at his heart shaped tongue that he had a tie. She immediately agreed and sent of a referral the day after he was born.

Thankfully I was able to get it cut at 6 days old. Yet despite the tongue tie being cut he still doesn’t have a great latch and can make me quite sore. I’ve seen a lactation consultant and she agrees that theres no much I can do to reposition him except keep trying to get as much of the breast as possible in his mouth so that he’s not hanging on the end and making it worse.

It just goes to prove that every baby is different. You’d think by baby number 3 I’d find breastfeeding easy. But it’s not just about me. It’s about baby too. We are both still learning. I won’t be giving up. From experience I know that breastfeeding is far easier for me. I don’t have to think about bottles and formula and boiling water all the time. I don’t have to think about how long I’m going to be out or how many night feeds I might need to make up. Breastmilk is just there, on demand whenever I need it (once you’ve established a good supply) and at the perfect temperature. Breastfeeding will continue, hopefully as he grows his mouth will get bigger and we can hopefully get a better position too.

 

 

 

Slimming World – – Week 2 Results

Well Tuesday rolled around rather quickly and it was time for slimming world again!

Have I been on plan all week? Not exactly. I’m trying to follow the basic principles. Trying to fill up on speed and free foods when I can. It’s a little harder when I haven’t been to the supermarket to get the right foods in. Husband has been doing mini shops here and there so I’ve been trying to add things to the list.

Things I love like the free yogurts to have with my oats and fruit in the morning.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to drink lots of water too which isn’t hard given I’m a thirsty breastfeeding mum at the moment. My main let down is being out of the house and not having water. I need to remember to take some with me.

I’ve done a little exercise but not a lot. It’s hard with 3 children and especially with one being so little still, I can’t really leave him with anyone as he needs me very often. I have however been on a few walks and I’ve done housework whilst I’ve been baby wearing him so I suppose that counts.

I really need to concentrate more this week. Knuckle down a bit and focus on what I’m doing. I find that if I don’t write things down I loose sight of whats going into my mouth so I will try and use the new book I’ve been given to make sure things get written down.

The thing I love most about Slimming World is that you can eat the free foods whenever you want. I can literally go to the fridge and pick whatever I want from the free food category (if its in there!) and just eat when I’m hungry.

So I’ve done another short vlog this week about my progress and how things are going. Also my results for this week are in there.

You can find week one by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

My first vlog!

Ok, so new year new start and all that!

I have long been addicted to watching youtube. I love it. My most recent love being the many speed cleaning videos. They are so motivational for me.

However youtube has taught me lots. I’ve learnt how to tile a bathroom. Change brake pads on the car.  How to mend a big hole in the art ceiling. It really is my go to media for everything.

So in 2018 I thought I’d try starting some regular vlogs. I love watching other people’s everyday life.

first vlog

I know I had to start some where. I’m sure most people hate the sound of their own voice and watching themselves on camera. I am no exception to that.

I have however made my first vlog……I’m cringing just thinking about it.

But I figure if I don’t start somewhere I really will never get started.

So here it is!

Drum roll……………my first terrible vlog. Entitled “My first terrible vlog!”

It’s very short as I kinda have my hands full at the moment with a new born and two others and I hereby promise to do better.

Please be kind…….ekkkk