A couple of weeks ago I decided to vlog on my day off. I never linked it through on to the blog so thought I’d pop up a quick post with the link so that I know where it is for future and when the boys read through the blog.
It’s nothing particular exciting but to me its daily life which I want the boys to be able to see when they are grown up. My vlogs were never designed to be as good as many of the fantastic bloggers that I watch but I just want to document our days.
In 2018 we were lucky enough to stay at Walt Disney World Beach Club – Stone Harbour Club Level Room for 2 whole amazing weeks. Now when I was doing my research for this vacation although I found lots of info about the Walt Disney World Beach Club hotel. I didn’t find that much about the Stone Harbour Club level rooms or lounge. So whilst we were there I tried to make sure I took lots of film and pictures to share once we were back.
I’m still working my way through the footage and trying to find time to edit it all. For the first one I’ve put together a room tour.
Stone Harbour Club – Brief Room Tour in Photographs
We stayed in a standard studio room up on the Stone Harbour Club level. The room number was 5708.
There were 5 of us, two adults, two children (7 and 4) and a baby (under 1). The Stone Harbour club level room entitled us access to the club lounge which serves refreshments throughout the day. As well as its own private concierge cast members who you can contact at anytime at their desk up until 10pm. Special shout out to Robin from the desk who made our trip magical, the boys miss her a lot!
The room we stayed in had two double bed (I’m not sure what size they were as US sizing is different) so I will refer to them as doubles as they defiantly fit two people. It also had a single sleeper size sofa. It was advertised for a room suitable for 5 people and I’d say that was fair. Before we went I thought we’d be cramped in the room but actually it was ok size wise.
The bathroom area had a twin sink vanity area. A large mirror and a small illuminated vanity mirror. The toilet area was separated by a lockable door and had a toilet, and small bath with shower over.
The entrance area contained a fridge and coffee pod machine. There was also a wardrobe with sliding door with two robes, an iron and board. The safe was inside the wardrobe and suitcase stands. Inside the wardrobe there was also spare pillows for the bed.
The television area had some surface space as well as draws and cupboards.
There was a desk area with a smaller pull out table on wheels. We used the table as a dining table on the days where we ate in the room.
The balcony had a view over the hotel roof, you could see the main entrance area as well as the globe at Epcot.
Video Tour on YouTube
I’ve done a video with a commentary (please forgive my boring voice!) which probably illustrates the size of the room a little better than photographs do.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
9. Travel Potty
Ive had this one for years but its ideal, you can use swing bin liner bags so nothing to tip away and I line it with cheap sanitary pads (the really cheap value ones)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.