Happy 18 Months, Bug!

Bug turns 18 months!

Bug turns 18 months!

Bug turned 18 months on the 9th September (the same day I got my beloved Tefal Actifry….it was a good day!!)

I decided I wanted to mark the occasions somehow, other than a declaration on Facebook, but really only because actually I am just documenting my survival as a stay at home parent of two ;-)

I’ve talked in the past about how uncreative I think I am, and this great big old box landed on the doorstep, containing my much coveted Actifry, and it shouted out to me ‘PUT BABY IN BOX AND PUT TOGETHER A PHOTO COLLAGE!’

Big bro had to be in on the action naturally, and this really is very ‘them’.

No edited shots, no change in order, no hiding how they really are, no glossing over the bad bits –   this is how much they adore each other and how they spend 80% of their days, rolling around and rough and tumbling on each other!

 

Bug at 18 months

Bug at 18 months

She has enriched so many of our loves, we are so, so lucky. xx

 

Summer, visits and funfairs!

It’s been a VERY busy summer. It’s safe to say the school holidays have flown by (even though I know they aren’t over!) I am so glad that I have managed to do the things I would usually be rushing about trying to do a day before school starts… which is namely buying school uniform!

Becky’s Mom came to stay with us for 10 days, which was lovely. We all really loved having her here and there were lots of tears when she left. Then a day after she left, a friend of mine – who I have known since 1998 (we ‘met’ online by accident – longish story), came to stay with her daughter. It was the first time we had actually properly met!

It’s safe to say, we’re a bit chalk and cheese, and on paper you wouldn’t have as pegged as friends, but there weren’t any uncomfortable silences and her 11 year old daughter and Luke got on fabulously.

Unfortunately as soon as she left we only had one good family day on the Saturday, before Bug came down with a virus :-(

She’s been ill ever since, with a temperature. Doc says virus, so we are waiting it out but with a prescription on hand for antibiotics, if it goes on longer than 5 days! Poor baby… and Mom and Mummy are very tired from lots of getting up in the night. Zzzzzzzz.

I obviously hate hate hate it when any of my kids are sick, BUT as any parent or carer knows, the cuddles that go with it are very very nice. Bug is so independent at the moment and doesn’t really sit still for a moment, so it’s been nice to have her chill with me for a bit. We (Bug and I – in the spare room) even did some co-sleeping again last night, she hasn’t co-slept with us for ages because she usually thinks it’s party time when she gets in to our bed!

Just before she got sick, we went on a day out to a local funfair! Its a travelling funfair and touts itself as Europe’s Largest travelling theme park.

I had seen some posters advertising locally it a ‘pay once and go on as many rides as you want’ type thing (within a 4 hour block) and was intrigued. I asked around on a few local FB groups, fully expecting people to tell me how rubbish it was and what a waste of money it was – and everyone was full of praise!

Well Saturday was the second to last day they were local to us and the only good day with good weather, so we seized the day and went.

It was brilliant! Even Bug enjoyed her first ever rides (I was slightly neurotic mother stood to the side  of camera ready to jump in and catch her and considering running around in circles around the ride as she went!)

We went with some friends and their 3 kids too so Luke had friends to ride with – although I LOVE a funfair, you couldn’t keep me off the rides.

There were also 3 giant bouncy castles along with all the usual rides you would expect to see at a funfair, a few portaloos (alway pretty grim and I’m afraid these didn’t disappoint on the grim-ometer), and a couple of food stands; one selling burgers for about £3 and some thai noodles- oh and the all important ice cream van!

The Waltzer’s are always my favourite and it didn’t disappoint, we were spun round and round and round! This was us on the on the Orbiter!:

The wife and I, before and after a ride at the Funfair!

The wife and I, before and after a ride at the Funfair!

 

As much fun as we had, of course we went for the Kids – who had THE most fun. Here are a couple of pictures of the day and a few of the things we went on:

ride2 ride3 ride4

 

I felt like the 4 hours we were there, went by SO quickly! It is such good value for money, I would recommend it to everyone.

 

London Pride 2014 with a little help from Cosatto

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but alongside this blog, I also run a London based LGBT parenting group.

We’ve grown to about 340 members now and just had to move from our old shared web page to a new website purely for us.

I am HUGELY proud of the group and how much we have grown and the events and meetups that happen and the subsequent friendships that have developed as a result of it, that  I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and where better to do that, than at London’s Gay Pride. I felt it was time we let the rest of London know we exist – so I booked us as a walking group, and I organised it as an ‘event’ our our website and hoped people would come.

I have to say, no matter how long I have been organising events for people (and I used to do it for Expats in Rome, when I lived there several years ago), I am always nervous that nobody will turn up! I felt like that at our wedding, and nobody else was invited!

After I had booked us on and organised it, I went on a bit of a search.

I wanted us to be as bright and colourful as possible – and I REALLY NEEDED a rainbow pram for Bug. Now, honestly there is only one pram company who comes to mind when you think of bold colours, prints with personality (AND  who are a which best buy) – it had to be Cosatto. So, I contacted them and prayed they could help.

And help, they could.

The good people of Cosatto knew too, that there was really only ONE pram who who help us to stand out at Pride, amongst 240 other parading groups, and create visibility to what turned out to be 30,000 spectators.

The Giggle Pixelate

It is SUCH a sexy pram. And there’s no denying it, you won’t be missed with this one! It’s definitely not for wallflowers.

I was SO excited when the boxes arrived:

It's here, it's here!1

It’s here, it’s here!

 

And you know what? I didn’t need anybody to help me lift it up or get the bits out. I did it all by myself *puff out chest*, mostly because I was excited and stubborn, and not heavily pregnant – do get some help if you are pregnant! ;-)

Plastic wrap

Plastic wrap

It all slid very nearly out of the box, wrapped in plastic to protect it.

It's up!

It’s up!

It was SO quick and easy to put up, I didn’t even need to read the instructions! Now, I have been lucky enough to have had (another brand) new pram from scratch before and it took me a good hour. I would say at most, this took me 10 minutes!

Accessories

Accessories

And look at the goodies that come with it – a changing bag!

Raincover

Raincover

And a raincover! Now I am a cloth bummer, and currently use an Avon changing ba (though sadly it is on its last legs) – I love it for the size of it. While the Cosatto free changing bag isn’t as big, it surprisingly did fit everything in there and 3 cloth nappies for a day out, plus all the other bits and pieces we need with a 1 year old and nearly 7 year old…..I was very pleasantly surprised with what I could fit in there.  The changing mat that comes with the bag, can also be folded in several ways too, making it easier to play Tetris with your bag belongings!

We really enjoyed testing the Cosatto Giggle 3 in 1 Travel System out, before Gay pride, London. Also, I had never used a 3-wheeler before, and I am a convert, they are so easy to steer! AND it was light – nowhere near as heavy as I thought it would be. Here’s Bug giving big brother a loving kick on the nose!

We enjoyed testing it out

We enjoyed testing it out

It also comes with a car seat, and a bassinet, both of which Bug unfortunately is a bit big for – but we used the bassinet part of our Pram when Bug was born and totally loved it – so I can see how useful it is. And for such an amazing price, I cannot believe you get a car seat too, no wonder it is a Which best buy!

You also have the option of having the seat in parent facing mode, though Bug prefers to view the world, because she is incredibly nosey.

Everywhere we went, people commented on how beautiful the design was and how they would like one! It was no different at Pride either, the other parents thought it was fantastic and fit in so beautifully with our theme. What’s not to love about a rainbow!?

Rainbow Balloons

Rainbow Balloons

 

Loaded up ready to go

Loaded up ready to go

On the day, we drove into town as we were responsible for carrying our groups banner, 100 balloons and sticks, picnic blankets, a shade, things we would need for our children for the day, drinks for everyone….

Look how much we managed to fit in!

Look how much we managed to fit in!

The Cosatto Giggle managed to fit in/on everything we needed for the entire day. We are both definitely over-packers, so I hope this shows you what can be achieved!

And finally after a LOT of organising, and stressing …. it was Parade time YAY!

The rain came down for some of it (particularly the start and I did worry that a few of our parents would give up and go home by this point), but it didn’t spoil our day at all, and I am in awe of the families who came to march with us and tell the world all about their family. The rain cover was tested several times and I can tell you, in a central London downpour, it works beautifully ;-)

Here is Nanny pushing Bug in the Parade. How lucky we are to be surrounded by such supportive family <3

Nanny Debbie

Nanny Debbie

And here are two worn out kids, after a day of Parading. Loved London Pride 2014, can’t wait to go back next year.

Tired kids

Tired kids

And of course a special and very big thank you to Cosatto, for helping us to stand amongst such a wonderfully colourful parade. <3

A little bit of a holiday…

It’s been very quite of late. After Bugs accident at Gambado’s in Beckenham (which I am increasingly angry about and they have been completely and utterly USELESS about dealing with.  They were all lip service, but the tone in the email and the lack of contact and follow up, just proved – they dont care. They are a business all about the bucks, first and foremost. I’m STILL waiting for a refund on my summer membership, which I had to ASK for!

Her scar is still huge and we are moisturising with Rosehip Oil every day in an effort to reduce it, but its the first thing you see on her face. I am fuming still. And still very emotional about it, even I type this I want to burst into tears.

2 days after ‘The cut’, we had to take Bug back into A&E as she had developed an infection of some kind. Too cut a long story very short, we spent the next 4 days going back in and out of A&E while they gave her antibiotics through a cannula in her hand, which she had to sleep in every night. It as massively uncomfortable for her, and just a horrible horrible time all around.

The wife and I had two rounds of antibiotics to get rid of a nasty chest/cough infection that took several WEEKS to get rid of and we’ve been playing catch up with the house stuff, as everything fell by the wayside. Not just my darling blog, but everything!

And then I threw an entire glass of red wine over my macbook. My beloved macbook. And beloved wine!!!

So apologies, but I am back, with lots of things to look forward to!

We’re marching with www.lgbtfamilieslondon.com at Pride in London in 2 Saturdays! I am VERY excited about that! More on that in a bit…..

X

 

A difficult week (the start)…

It’s been a pretty difficult week for us here, so apologies for the radio silence on the blog front. Since the beginning of the year, we seem to have been continually knocked down by a bug. If I am not sick, the wife is, if its not her, it’s Luke and it it’s not Luke, it’s our own little ‘Bug’.

Poor Bug has had a horrendous cough for what feels like forever, so we went to visit the doctor who gave her a Steroid pump to try, which appeared to be making a difference – and then all of a sudden, She, The Wife and I were struck down with a yucky cough/cold thing than none of us could shift. We were all on a dose of Antibiotics last week and getting to the end of it, feeling a bit better – when The Wife and I were struck down YET AGAIN! I honestly couldn’t make up how sick we have been this year, and how unusual this is for us. I could maybe understand it, if Bug had started nursery and was catching all the usual germs, but she’s not. I have had to re-arrange Bug’s 12 month immunisations four times to date! FOUR! Because she has been too sick to have them.

So we’ve been suffering through it waiting for it to go away. Then on Thursday, Luke’s school was closed for polling. I was VERY excited, as I had bough a summer membership to a huge indoor play centre near us and arranged to meet my friend (aka weekday wife Sally!) and her two boys.

We hadn’t been there long before there was an accident – and unfortunately it was my littlest. She tripped (over her own feet, I think?) and hit her cheek square on the metal button of a ball boggler. Quite why there was a metal button in a soft play area, beggars belief!

ball boggler

Metal button on ball boggler

The cut was a fairly substantial cut and quite deep and resulted in an ambulance trip to our local hospital. The ambulance crew were nothing shot of fantastic – and despite the injury (Bug had calmed down and was now throwing raisin’s over the back of the Ambulance!), Luke was quite excited to be riding in an Ambo!

Deep cut on Bug's face :(

Deep cut on Bug’s face :(

And here is my beautiful girl with her butterfly stitches :(

Stitches

Stitches

I was so grateful it wasn’t any worse – but unfortunately, there was more to come…..

 

 

Entertaining a toddler by a SAHM

I never know whether Bug is officially classed as a toddler. To me a toddler, for some reason means 2 years old (don’t ask me why specifically its 2!) BUT, I guess she (Bug) toddlers/walks around – so she is a “Toddler’.

In my eyes of course, she’s still a baby at 14 months. I still catch myself looking at her wondering where the hell the  last 14 months went, and how on earth we go from 8lb5 oz at 0 days old ‘I-am-a-baby-who-can’t-fend -for-myself’  to 14 months’I-am-throwing-tantrums-because-I-cant-lick-my-mothers-deodrant-roll’.

SLOW DOWN TIME!

But anyway, what I wanted to ‘talk’ about was entertaining a child at home, because as a SAHM (stay at home mum/mom), I seem to have an endless amount of guilt over what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my child. Don’t get me wrong – as a MOTHER, I have an unending supply of guilt, on it’s own! This is a new level of guilt.

Before I had kids, I always considered myself a bit of a creative soul; I love music (especially singing), and people say I can carry a tune. I quite like art,  but I am no Picasso and I like fashion, even though at the moment – I am too fat to wear what I really want to! Maybe I was grasping at straws calling myself a creative soul – but I needed a bloody label, thanks!

Anyway - I had a vision. Of me as a mother, spending each day with my darling children making pasta necklaces, painting artwork for their other parent with their feet and hands, sewing, knitting, singing ‘the hills are alive’ and prancing with them in their dresses made out of our old used curtains –  and.. oh, wait.

This is so far from my reality!

When pregnant, I spent bloody agesssss planning and pinning things to do on Pinterest and in 14 months, the most we have done is make a pasta necklace. And actually, I made it. And it was completely rubbish.

I have friends and family who are constantly sharing the amazing things they are making on Facebook; their own playdough, amazing lunches they make, sewing projects and with each picture/update they share – a tiny part of my zen-like-mother life is stolen away in front of my eyes.

My reality is this, my child has a 3 SECOND attention span and isn’t even interested in TV or distraction techniques.  I do a 1 hour round trip school run twice a day, TRY keep a big house clean and tidy and keep up with washing (including cloth nappies now, woo!),  try to entertain a semi-demanding 14 month old with toys who I swear is absolutely NOT interested in the TV at all or even just sitting still (damn!), entertaining a 6.5 year old after school and keeping up with his after school activities, keeping to Bug’s napping and eating schedule, keep in touch with mummy friends in person sharing a cup of tea every now and again, and keeping up with my mummy friends on social media sites (TO STOP ME LOSING MY MIND!), trying to keep up to date with Bug’s agency and any modelling work, planning our  weekly shopping, stop Bug from colouring on the walls, and from puling the dogs tails, vet appointments for our super old and sick dogs, doctors appointments, cooking our dinner, blogging (obv!), organising our weekend plans, bathing and dressing our children, running my 300+ membered LGBT Family group (which is super busy at the moment – more on that later!) and just generally try not to feel guilty for spending too much time on the internet and not making bloody playdough with my kids.

On a good day; we goof around a lot, take lots of picture’s, Bug pulls ALL the Tupperware out of my cupboard, go into the garden and smell some flowers and  we share it on FB for the family, but yet I STILL feel guilty for not DOING MORE?!

I want to be the Mom who makes the playdough and paints the pasta necklaces and makes the smiley faced lunches all the time, but realistically, the other important bits of me being me, will fall by the wayside. If I don’t run my LGBT group and blog and keep in touch with my Mummy friends – I am scared I will lose some part of my identity. The bit I had, when I worked. The bit that helped my brain tick over. The bit that makes me Me.

So, no judging folks? It’s hard. Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors or how a family works. It may look like we’re not doing our best, to everyone- but we really are trying.

Less Judging, more supporting.

 

.. and more cake.

My cloth nappy trial and the end of Real Nappy Week

My (self imposed) trial of cloth nappies is now at the end. I had given myself a full week to see whether it worked for us.

The most important test for us, was whether I could use cloth out and about (yes) and I also wanted to see if we could get through a 12 hour sleep, without a leak – and the amazing news is that we can. So, I am selling 5 boxes (I had already stashed of disposables) and I now consider us full time cloth users.

I am Cloth Bummed!

I am Cloth Bummed!

 

We tried a Tots Bots bamboozle, with a bamboo booster and  Tots Bots wrap for our first sleeping trial of 12 hours, and it was a huge success. I am completely converted and the great news is, the whole family are on board too! Luke loves telling anyone and everyone about Bug’s nappies! :)

My small ‘stash’ is made up most of Tots Bots and Bambino Mio’s and none of them at full price either (Natch!), I’d definitely be open trying others (poppers, too) and seeing their fit and how they compare. Who knows if I find something I love even more?!

I’m afraid I do have to say though, how disappointed I have been by the offers during Real Nappy Week.

The biggest discount I came across was 20%. Which I feel are just usual sale prices – it didn’t give me that extra special feeling and warm glow about RNW, like it did last year.

I feel that an extra special effort should be made BY Cloth Nappy Companies for a bigger discount during RNW.

Last year, I was SO very nearly swayed by the Little Lamb offer, I can’t remember what it was off the top of my head, but it was amazing enough for me (a disposable user then, to consider buying some and trying cloth again!)

I know several of my friends took it up, it was just too good to miss out on. This year, they decided not to participate. I had been telling a friend how amazing the offers were in the run up to it, and actually – they were really disappointing. I know this is a view shared by many of my cloth mummy friends, too.

Anyway, to end on a bit of a happy note, this landed on my doorstep this morning:

Fluffy Mail

My Tots Bots Incy Wincy Spider was inside that I had completely forgotten ordering! Happiness!

E x

My view on the cloth nappy market

I am loving our cloth journey, really I am.

Bug showcasing our Cloth journey

Bug showcasing our Cloth journey

But I am not loving the prices that some cloth nappies sell for!

Used, limited edition nappies can fetch anywhere from £100-150 pounds on eBay, and an unused one over £200! How utterly ridiculous. Yes it was pretty and yes only 300 were made in 2013, but lets be honest – it’s something your baby craps and wee’s into. Are you envisaging turning up a the Antiques Roadshow in 50 years with it? “Hold it, but don’t sniff!”

Even at £17.99+ for a new nappy, I think it is pretty expensive.  If we break it down, it is after all just a piece of material with pretty pattens on it.

Those that use cloth nappies, generally do so for environmental and financial reasons. But making limited edition nappies and pricing new nappies on the slightly higher end, just does not make cloth accessible for everyone.

Think about a mum or dad on benefits. A packet of nappies to see you through the month or half a month at a cheaper supermarket is £5ish pounds. A £17.99 nappy for someone who scrimps by is just not do-able. Yes you can get ebay cheapies, but should we really be supporting this Industry in China, when we have our own here?

Behind the scene’s people are buying and selling used and un-used nappies in older prints that are no longer in stock at ridiculous prices, which in my opinion pushes up the cost of cloth for everybody and creates an overinflated market and a false sense that these nappies are exclusive.

I love a bargain (obvs!) so I jumped at the Tots Bots offer in Tesco – a 5 pack for £34.99. I bought 2, and then had a £10 spend off your first Order. Making them £5.99 a nappy. Now, THAT is affordable. Unfortunately they were in the clearance section, and now not available.

A lovely friend has just this minute picked me up and posted, some Miosolo AOI’s for £5.99 each. Again, affordable and opens up a much bigger audience to the use of cloth.

I’d love to see the cost of cloth coming down – wouldn’t you?

 

 

A great fluffy cloth bum day!

We got a package I had been waiting for. I missed it by actual moments, but thankfully it was delivered to the neighbour.

I think I probably would have cried if they red carded me. I had a text to say they were going to deliver during the time I do the school run, so I tried to get there a little earlier to make sure I would make it back in time. I knew if I didn’t get them today, who knows when they would get re-delivered. Anyway, Phewwww!

Here they are – Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee! What you can see below is:

  • 1 x Tots Bots Easyfit V4 – Hickory Dickory Dock
  • 1 x Tots Bots Easyfit V4 – Hey Diddle Diddle
  • 1 x Tots Bots Frugi  V4 – Birdie
  • 1 x Tots Bots Frugi – Sea Life
  • 1 x Tots Bots Frugi - Easter
  • 1 x Tots Bots Stretchy Wrap – Incy Wincy Spider (I really wanted this nappy, but they had sold out :-( )
  • 1 x Tots Bots Stretchy Wrap – Hickory Dickory Dock
  • 1 x Tots Bots Stretchy Wrap – Sixpence
  • 1 x Tots Bots Stretchy
  • 1 x Tots Bots Stretchies – Stripes

I also got a few other bits that aren’t pictured; some Little Lamb Boosters, some Little Lamb Fleecy liners, a sample bottle of Balmy Notions in Baby Powder,

 

Nappy arrival

 

 

Bug was equally as excited to check out the contents of the package, and of each nappy!:

Bug inspecting cloth nappy

Bug inspecting cloth nappy

And then she inspected some more!

Choosing her favourite

Choosing her favourite

I showed 91 year old Nana Joan the nappies today who of course brought up  2 children on Terry towelling nappies. It was SUCH a different experience for her, there was a lot of folding, and pinning – and they were washed differently of course.  She was so impressed and said she wished these were around when my Mum and her sister were little.

So, the Nappies have all been pre-washed and are currently drying. I am DESPERATE to try the Bamboozle as a night nappy. I’ve not been brave enough or had anything suitable to try as a night time nappy. Bug (usually) sleeps 12 hours straight through (god I hope I don’t jinx it just by writing that) and to date, only expensive disposables have been able to keep it in. So the real test will come tomorrow. My plan is to boost with Bamboo, and use a wrap. I have a Little Lamb to try the night after, boosted with Bamboo too and a TB wrap.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed (to me) that I have somehow managed to time our return to cloth, with Real Nappy week! I can assure you that wasn’t planned at all, but it’s been nice to buy things at discounted prices.

Anyway If we manage to go leak free, for two nights in cloth – I am selling ALL of the boxes of disposables I have saved up!

I just want to put this out there – I am also considering giving cheeky wipes a go. In all honesty, I wonder if that will be too much to ask my wife to do (after all, I have already been pushy on the cloth nappy front), so am giving this a bit more thought.

I also have no real experience of any other cloth nappy brands yet, so would like to explore others to see how they compare. I have 4 Bambino Mio’s (one of which I have tried), and I am keen to try some Charlie Banana’s. Any others that I should look out for?

More on our back to cloth journey later.

The cloth nappy challenge continues for us….

It’s been a fun and interesting week in cloth for us!

I’ve gone from not being a cloth user (but desperately wanting to be), to finding myself having crazy dreams about cloth for 2 nights in a row and spending (far too long) trawling the internet for good deals in the space of a few days. How quickly it can take over your life!!

AND it just so happens that this has all coincided with Real Nappy Week this week, so there are discounts galore to be had. Yay *fistpump*

I have to say Bug has been fully testing my resolve, this week- with a 5 poop spectacular yesterday and one today! *eyeroll*

The wife is slowly but surely getting on board, even Luke is excitedly telling everyone about his sisters new nappies!

And the wife was specially happy when I showed her the London nappy I received today. I am wishing it dry right NOW so it can go on tomorrow.

Oh and I have developed a new LOVE for our postie, who left my beloved parcels of nappies somewhere safe for me, even though I was out! He must have known I was desperate! <3

Happy fluff