Dear brother and sister in law,

I’m so so happy for you both. I can’t wait for you to make your announcement about the baby whenever that might be. I know how annoying it is for people to be asking if the babies here yet. I’m not asking, I know you’ll tell me when it’s arrived. I just want you to know I’m constantly thinking about you both.

So many people will try and give you advice. I know it’s annoying. I won’t give you advice. Or at least I’ll try my best not to. If you ask I can tell you what I did in situations but it’s not advice and you will be lead by your own instincts in making the right decisions for you and your family.

I’m sure lots of people have told you how hard a baby is. It really is and soon you’ll be there yourself. But in so many many more ways it’s the best thing in the whole world. Enjoy it, every single second.

Do what ever feels right to you for your baby. You will become a team together. Sometimes a tag team! But do what you feel. They don’t come with a handbook. There are books, but they’re not written about your baby and you.

Be kind. I mean to each other. Of course you’ll be kind to the small person. It’s so easy especially when you’re tired to snipe at each other. Take an extra moment to be kind, kind words, kind actions. Tiredness is a bitch, but it won’t last forever, I promise that.

Take time for each other, to admire and gaze at the small person you made. Make each other a brew if you have a spare hand. Throw a load of washing in if you can, but don’t expect to have everything the way you used to.

You will both change, after all you will be known as mum and dad. But it’ll be an amazing change. Stay close.

Don’t make decisions in the night, nights are hardest but I promise things always look better in the daylight. Someone once said it to me and it’s absolutely true. If you hold onto one thing hold on to that.

I can’t wait to meet the small person you created. I can’t wait to hug them and you both.

And lastly, the nights and days may be long but the years so short. Hold the baby as much as you can. They grow so quickly.

I love you both very much.

Good luck with your new adventure.

J xxx

Ever since I can remember I’ve loved making things clean, tidy and organised. As a little girl although my bedroom probably wasn’t that tidy I loved the idea of organising it. I likes to move furniture around, rearrange. Since I moved out 14 years ago I’ve loved making my own home tidy. As I sit here now typing this I can see from the corner of my eye that there’s a packet of baby wipes on the floor and not in the drawer, it’s bothering me!

I hate things being out of place. I get cross when people don’t put things back properly or leave things dirty. I was over the moon when one of my surprises at Christmas was a wifi controlled robot vacuum cleaner! (Which at some point I need to write a review for…spoiler I love it!)

Thats why I’m so thankful for the current craze of cleaning and organising. It’s made me realise that I clean things not for anyone else. I clean things to make myself feel better. I struggle to relax and always think that if I’m sat down not doing much I should instead be cleaning or tidying.

I read the Maire Kondo book back in 2014 way before it was main stream and a Netflix series. I even wrote a blog post about it. At the time there were no guides for how to fold but I read the book and followed the instructions.

My drawers have stayed the same since 2014. You couldn’t get the book in bookstores back then or in a supermarket it was not mainstream. I used to mention the book to friends but no-one had heard of it. Now everyone knows who Kon-Marie is! Now theres a whole series on Netflix starring her.

Theres also been a rise in social media ‘cleaners’. Theres a few books out. I’ve not read them but I’m sure they are great. I love that I can pop on instagram and have wonderful pictures of tidy houses and cleaning products straight away according to who I follow.

So it’s now socially ok to love clean and tidy. It’s ok for me to list it as a hobby. I realise its totally normal to love this stuff and I’m thankful for the current craze!

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.

If you want to see our travel day video click here.

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 plate showing room number 5708

 

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

  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.

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.

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)

Potette travel potty 

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.