I can’t believe it’s a month since my last post. There was good reason for the gap and that’s because we’ve been away. We’ve just got back from our favourite place in the world…Walt Disney World!

The whole family with Goofy at Walt Disney world

My love of Walt Disney World started in 2004 on my first trip. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to go back 10 times, including our honeymoon.

We first started taking the boys when Thomas was just 16 months old (obviously he was our only boy back then as he’s the oldest). This was Thomas’ 4th trip to Walt Disney World. I try to make sure he realises how lucky he is to be able to visit such an amazing place.

If you haven’t been to WDW it’s hard to explain the hold it has on you once you’ve been to experience the magic. We are absolutely addicted.

This year we had booked two weeks at the Beach Club resort staying club level. We had never stayed at the Beach club before but knew we were in for a treat with the resort facilities. The Beach club has the best pool on Disney property (if you don’t count the water parks). Staying club level meant we had access to the club level lounge at certain time for snacks and drinks. This is something I will cover in a later vlog.

For now I have managed to edit and go live with our travel day vlog. I’m already onto editing all the other days. I took a lot of footage so it’s taking a while to go through it all! However I am loving the memories I’ve captured.

We travelled from Manchester Airport to Orlando International airport on a Thomas Cook flight in the Premium Cabin. Roo is too young for a seat so he travelled on my knee for the flight.

The flight was roughly 9 hours in duration and we arrived in Orlando late afternoon.

We are already missing the place like crazy! Roll on the next trip!

Having three children keeping on top of skin care needs to be quick and easy. Nobody in our house wants to be spending ages with creams and rubbing, they want to be off to the next toy or game.

So with that in mind I’ve written a list of the top tips around skin care I’ve learnt over my years of being a parent.

5 Top Skin Care Tips

  1. Baths – Unless your child is covered in something sticky or icky then don’t bath them everyday. From the moment they are born the skin produces amazing natural oils to protect itself. Bathing excessively washes these off, leaving the skin prone to drying out. We usually bath the boys once every other day. Unless of course they look like they’ve been in a pile of mud!Three boys in a bath all soapy
  2. Soaps – Be aware of what you are using in the bath, most soaps are harsh on little ones skin and again cause the natural oils to wash away. Did you know that Epaderm junior can be used as a soap substitute? It’ll get little ones clean whilst keeping them moisturised.a child sits with glasses on all soapy
  3. Cloth nappies – Now I know not everyone likes the idea of them. With my eldest I used cloth nappies full time and I never ever had a problem with nappy rash. With the other two I’ve used cloth part time. I notice a massive difference in their nappy area skin when we are using cloth. It much less prone to rash or any redness. So if you do struggle with this then it’s worth considering the use of cloth nappies. Even if it’s just part time. Just one nappy a day would make a difference not only to their skin but to the environment too.baby in a cloth nappy
  4. Moisturise after bathing them – Just as we do it’s nice to have soft skin after washing so little ones are no different. Be aware what you are using though as some creams can be full of extra unwanted chemicals and highly perfumed. Epaderm is fragrance, colour and SLS free. The cream which comes in a pump top bottle is super easily absorbed into little ones skin so you won’t be spending ages rubbing it in. It’s also suitable of eczema, psoriasis and dry skin.two products of epaderm
  5. Stay Hydrated – This is especially important during the summer months. We’ve been lucky to have had an awesome summer in the UK this year. If there’s one thing though that’s going to give you glowing healthy skin from the inside out its water. I like to have reusable bottles all over the house and garden so that it’s easily available for the boys to drink. If your children don’t like plain water, try adding a small amount of sugar-free squash or make some fruit tea and let it cool. Studies have shown that water helps them learn better too, so make sure they take a bottle to school.

Disclosure

Thanks to Epaderm for sending us some samples, I do already use Epaderm products prior to being sent these items. I only ever write about things we would genuinely use and so I felt this fit perfectly. This post has been written as part of the Epaderm competition  #OneTwoFreeYourSkin

Oh dear, we’ve come to the end of day 2 with the childminder and again you’ve been upset.

I so desperately don’t want her to hate you. I don’t want her to think you’re the difficult baby.

I love you so very much and know she never will but I want her to like you. To see your adorable smile.

I want her to like playing with you and to help you to develop.

I just want you to be safe and happy in her care.

I know it’s not her. I see her all the time at school and all the other children are happy.

It’s such early days and I know you need time to adjust but it breaks my heart that you are so sad in the day. She’s told me that today whilst you were out and about you were better but from 3pm you cried. She reassures me theres no tears but still you are obviously distressed.

You’ve barely drunk the breastmilk that I have left for you but she said you’ve eaten so that’s good I suppose.

I wish you could understand why I have to leave you there. I leave you there because I love you and want to be the best person I can be by going to work.

Please don’t change little guy, it’ll be ok. We can work through this.

Off to the Childminder

Today is the day. Today I had to do it. I had to hand over my baby to someone else. Someone who doesn’t love him. Someone I pay to keep him safe so I can work.

I kissed his head.

I walked away and didn’t look back.

I heard him cry, which turned into his panicked crying.

I kept walking.

He must think I’ve abandoned him.

What if he thinks I don’t love him?

What if he thinks I’m not coming back?

I walked back into the house as I’m working from home this morning and there was his empty pram.

I’d taken a picture of him just 10 minutes earlier when he was happy. I don’t know why. I just thought I’d forget him if I didn’t.

Image of the baby, sitting in the pram. Smiling and happy in the daylight

I looked at the picture, it made me sad.

I’m trying not to think about him.

I can’t spend the whole day crying.

I desperately want to just go and pick him up but I can’t.

I want to text the childminder every 10 minutes to see how he is, but I can’t.

I want it to be 3pm so that hubby can go and get him early, but it’s not.

Today is going to be hard.

I know he won’t remember this time as the other two don’t but I know that his heart is hurting too not knowing where his mummy has gone.

To the future you…baby boy if I didn’t have to leave you I wouldn’t but I need to work. You’ll be ok baby boy, we can do this. We will do this. It will get better x

Dearest Baby,

Our last week together has begun. I know all too soon time will pass and it will be over. My maternity leave will be coming to an end and I’ll be back to work. You don’t even realise it’s happening.

We’ve been together for 9 months. From the moment I lifted you up from the birth pool we’ve been a team. (If you want to watch the birth or read about my other home birth then click here or here)

You’ve had to fit in with your two older brothers. You were thrown full force into family life and you’ve been amazing.

As our time together comes to a close I’m trying to be happy and not sad. Happy that we are both starting new chapters in life. My new chapter is a new job and a new role. Your new chapter being separated from me and going into someone else care during the day.

You’d think being my third baby that it would get easier. But leaving you with someone else thats not family or friends is always hard. I know you’ll get upset. I know there will be tears, but we can do this. We both have to be strong. Given time you’ll settle into a new routine. You will get used to the new faces and who is who. I just need to trust it’s for the best.

I’m still breastfeeding you so I’ll make milk for you whilst I’m at work and given it to the people looking after you so that you can still benefit from all the good stuff. Hopefully you’ll take it ok from a bottle. If I could not be separated from you I would do it another way, but I can’t.

For now it has to be this way. I need to get back into something that will challenge me, something rewarding. I am looking forward to work but my heart will always ache to be with you as you are still so little. Just like I still miss your brothers whilst they are at school.

Days may seem long for you at first but I promise mummy will return. I’ll return to scoop you up and hold you in my arms at the end of every day. I’ll still be there at bedtime. You will be back with everyone in our home each night.

You can do it little dude.

Mummy will miss you but it’l be ok.

Just remember mummy loves you unconditionally forever and always xx

My last baby was born in November last year. I can’t believe he’s already 9 months.

I had a home birth (my second) and the video has been up on youtube for quite a while now but I don’t think I’ve ever linked it to my blog so thought I’d put out a quick post with a signpost to the video.

If you want to read about my second babies home birth story then I’ll point you to this post.

I’m glad we filmed it. I love reliving the day. It was amazing. I’m sad I’ll never get to do it again so at least I can rematch it whenever I want to.

If it’s your kind of thing then here is the link. I hope it inspires other potential home birthing mums. I’m always happy to talk about home birth so if you have questions get in touch.

How am I going to survive the summer holidays? This is a question I’ve asked myself a lot in the run up to school finishing.

Yet I have to do it. I have to survive each day when theres just me and three people to keep entertained.

Ive have a few days booked out to see friends, which at least is something.

Hubby is off for a few days here and there too which also helps.

I think the thing that  gets to me most is the loneliness. No other adult company during the day. It makes the days long. The hours are ticking by slowly.

I know I should be trying to make the most of the days with the children that I am blessed to have but it doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make the constant ‘mum, mum,mum, mum…’ any less.

I wish I could do more with each of them. My 7 year old wants to play board games. But we can’t usually because the baby is there needing attention or grabbing the pieces. The 4 year old wants to play outside on the scooter or bike but I can’t do that by myself as I need to entertain the baby.

I keep seeing the phrase on facebook that we only have 18 summers with our children. Strictly thats not true, we have lots of summers with them but maybe not all while they are little.

The other prohibitive factor of course is money. Everything we tend to want to do to entertain ourselves costs money. Even a simple lunch outside the house costs money.

I’m trying to be grateful and thankful but its hard. Trying to cling onto the small things each day but it’s hard.

Theres no real point to the post but to record my feelings. If it makes one less person feel as bad as I do. Or realise that maybe there are others fighting their own summer holiday battles then today I’m winning.

We can do it mum’s (and dads).

I’m not going to pretend its easy. I’m not going to be that instagram perfect family, but I do promise to appreciate the small moments. The small victories where they are having fun and enjoying their summer.

We can and will survive the summer holidays.

But for now I have to go as yet again they are hungry……

 

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.