Mummy Fitness


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This post is for every mum who wants to get fitter, lose weight, feel better about themselves, and have some time to themselves.

This morning, I got up with the kids at 7:30am, and by 8:15am I was in the gym, on the treadmill. I did 5km, my weights routine, 10 press-ups and stretched.   I introduce you to a newer version of me, one that likes to go to the gym now.

Before I start, I imagine a good number of you will have already groaned, or had some kind of thought about this being a chance for me to show off about my new hobby.  It is absolutely not.  Believe me, I’m not one of those.  I used to be you, in fact I still am you.  I used to groan if I saw someone post about the gym, scroll past and carry on devouring my chocolate bar.  In reality, I was jealous.  Jealous that someone could find the time, the energy, the money and the willpower to get themselves fitter and healthier.  This post is just a little insight to the start of my journey (uugghh I sound so clichéd), but if it helps to inspire any other mums, or anyone at all, to start on their own fitness journey, then happy days.

I’ll begin by saying I’m nowhere near where I want to be fitness or weight wise, and judging by some of the conversations I hear from very slim, fit looking people, we never will be.  However, I’m on the road to it,  I’m doing it every week, and I’m finally seeing some progress, which makes it all worthwhile.

Having children did things to my body that I’ve had to face and come to terms with over the last 4 years.  Stretchmarks, aching pelvis, fat in places that I never had fat before, more grey hair, mood swings, mummy rage, irritability, tiredness…just a few in a long list of ailments you suddenly encounter.  After Malachy I lost feeling in half of my right leg and toes for a few months post birth, and I could barely walk to begin with, but as with anything, time heals.

That’s point number 1: Allow yourself time.  Having a baby is traumatic for your body so you need to let it rest and recover.  I’ve heard that it takes the length of the pregnancy, post birth, for your body to get back to what is was before, so allow your body that time.  So hitting the gym at 6 weeks post natal isn’t always the best way to get rid of that baby belly.  Take small sensible steps, and eat well.  After Lylah, I didn’t worry about weight.  A lot came off straight away, and I walked everywhere during the summer of my maternity leave, which I think made the world of difference.  After Malachy however, I was more obsessed with it.  I wanted to lose weight quickly, so after the 6 week mark, I started slimming world (I was breast feeding so had to do this carefully so as not to affect my milk supply), and lost 2 stone pretty quickly.  I had stints at the gym between the children, but have never really stuck at it.  I went to the gym and saw a trainer at the same time as starting slimming world, and after 10 minutes on the treadmill, I could barely walk my pelvis was hurting so much.  Not advised!  Take it really easy, and re-introduce exercise into your diet gradually, doing stuff that works with the children.  Go for walks, run round the park, get lots of fresh air and dance around the kitchen.  Eat well and drink lots of water and the weight should fall off.  It won’t happen overnight, but you can exercise more later.  Enjoy the baby cuddles and rest your aching body.

In October last year, I realised that I really needed to get fitter and lose weight.  The weight had crept back on (yep, that 2 stone I lost at slimming world) and I was feeling really rubbish about myself.  My mood swings and temper were starting to get worse as well, and I blame a lot of that on tiredness and a bad diet.

I started back to the gym with a good friend and fellow mummy.  Her baby was only about 4 months old at the time, so she had to take it really easy.  When discussing how often we should go the the gym, we decided to commit to just 1 night a week, at a set time.

This leads me to point number 2: don’t over commit.  You’re a mum, you may or may not be working as well, you’re doing school runs, ballet classes, bath times, bed times, plus you’d quite like to actually see your family occasionally – when are you going to fit in gym sessions?  The chances are that if you start by committing to 4 sessions a week, you’ll fail.  But luckily, exercise is addictive, and it can become a habit fairly quickly.  It was manageable for us to do 1 session week in October.  Last week I did 4 sessions and a ballet class, and I would’ve done more if time allowed.  The key to fitting it all in is organisation. There is time in your day (probably when you’re sat watching TV when the kids are in bed), and if you organise work, childcare etc around your gym slots, and manage to do 1 or 2 a week, then you’re winning.  And believe me, when you want to do more, you’ll make time. Mu husband was off work today, and normally I’d enjoy the lie in and late breakfast, but instead I was on the way to the gym at 8am.

3: Find a workout buddy – things are so much more fun with friends, and this is especially true with exercise.  Our gym sessions are not only a good chance to exercise without the interruption of dirty nappies or a 4-year old wanting her princess dress put on again, but a lovely time for us to catch up, have a chat and clear our minds from the everyday clutter.  Saying that, we quite often talk about the children, but the point is, its our time to talk about whatever we wish.

The other thing I’ve found with keeping up the exercise is to find a little variety.  We always try to do a different exercise, or take advice from others at the gym, to keep our workouts varied.  I’ve also just done 2 sessions of adult ballet, which is amazing.  I came away and my calf muscles were shaking, and it was a completely different workout to my gym sessions.  So, point number 4:  find something that works for you, exercise that you enjoy, and mix it up.  Then you won’t get bored, and your body will feel the benefits of everything you’re trying.

I’ve liked talking to new people about exercise, mainly in the gym, and have taken tips and advice from a few different people about things I’m doing right/wrong.  The main thing I’ve taken away from this is to not worry about feeling stupid or doing something wrong – the important thing is you’re moving your body, and you can work on technique and more advanced exercises as you progress.  These people (Sarah, Mel, random gym man 1 and crazy fit gym man 2) have also made me realise its important to set yourself goals and targets.  Point 4:  try and improve.  Every session, try and do something more than you did last time.  This relates back to my point about variety, you’re trying something new, pushing your body that bit more, and improving your fitness as a result.  My goals for this year are to run 5k or 10k race, and to learn a ballet routine.

5: Motivation and Inspiration.  It is easy to feel inspired by someone or something, less so to get motivated by that same thing.  I’ve found that I get inspiration from lots of different places, my super fit Facebook mummy and non-mummy friends, my gym obsessed buddies, the Khloe Kardashian ‘Strong’ book, my sister doing a boot camp for a month, my little girl working hard in two dance classes every week.  There is so much to be inspired from, but you’ve got to turn it into motivation.  If you are seriously ready to get fitter and healthier, then the only person that can do that is YOU.  You can take help from others, be inspired by others, even say you’re doing it for others (I am doing this not only for me, but for my family), but your key motivation has to be that little voice inside you’re head egging you on, as opposed to keeping you down.

6 months into this new lifestyle, the one thing I’ve learned which is the thing I believe stops most people in their tracks early on, is to manage your expectations.  Point number 6: it won’t happen overnight.  Work hard, stay motivated, allow time to heal and then grow, enjoy it, get inspired and listen to the voice shouting “YOU CAN DO IT” and you’ll get there.  I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.  We all have little slip ups, a week can pass with no gym trips, but don’t let that stop you going for ever,  just get back on the bike.  I feel stronger, I can do things I couldn’t before, my moods have improved drastically and those endorphins feel good.  The best thing is I haven’t had to diet to lose weight.  I eat far more sensibly now because I don’t want to undo the hard work I do at the gym, but I allow myself treats and certainly don’t feel guilty about them anymore.

At soft play last week, I held my 2 1/2 stone son in my arms whilst bounding up a rope bridge without holding on.  I could feel my core working and my legs aching, but I could do it, and I climbed that soft play energetically 3 times, so my kids could go down the slides over and over again.  I can dance round the kitchen with them for 1/2 hour solid, and feel good rather than feel exhausted.  And it’s only going to get better.

Get up off the sofa, get outside, to the gym, to a class or on your bike.  Do it for your future,  do it for your family, but most of all, do it for you.

Booby Milk – The Final Chapter

Well, I’ve got to hand it to my boobs, they’ve done a pretty good job since they were first introduced to the mammoth task of breast feeding an actual human being almost 4 years ago.

I’ll never forget that time.  It is etched into my memory now, the overwhelming feeling of love, the bond, the feeling that I was so needed by my first-born.  At the same time I felt exhausted, like a cow, every last drop of energy being sucked from me, and mentally drained from the constant worry of whether I was doing it right.  My nipples were always sore from the round-the-clock feeding, I was making up tunes to the humming of the breast pump, I do actually think, in fact I know, looking back, that I was going a little crazy.

And now, with my second and most likely last baby, 17 months into his little life, he has finally opted for the bottle over me.  There isn’t much there now, and bless him, he knows it, and the hitting, biting (!) and constant climbing up and down means it isn’t much fun anymore.

It is so surreal to have to finally let go of that attachment.  He is growing up, I understand that, and he doesn’t want that from me any more.  But it makes me feel so sad.

When you start on this journey of becoming a mother, everything is so mind-blowing.  There is so much to learn, and you are always questioning yourself.  Breast-feeding was no different to all of the other new experiences.  It was hard work, tiring, painful…excruciating sometimes, nothing can prepare you for the amount of energy that is consumed being awake during the night, worrying, settling, feeding, settling, winding, settling, feeding, winding…you get the picture.

Even when Lylah was about 4 months old, and I settled into the feeding routine, there were constant problems that popped up.  And don’t even get me started about trying to get them to take a bottle!  Yet now, as if it is nothing, Malachy takes hold of a bottle and sups, smiling, happy that there is milk the other side of the teat.

With this comes something else though,  a small sense that I’m getting some independence back.  A chance for me to separate my body from my children’s.  This has happened gradually with Malachy.  With Lylah, we cut some feeds when I went back to work when she was around 10 months, and she was happy with a bit of boob and a bit of bottle.  With Malachy I have been so fortunate to be working far less, and therefore the feeding has continued for much longer.  Recently it has cut down to just morning and night, and the fact he happily drinks from a bottle or cup means I have some freedom back.  I speak to new mums who are desperate for a break, a night out, a drink with some friends or their partners, just a taste of freedom for one night in the chaos of it all, and I get it, I was there, needing that break, wanting that glass of wine.

The independence does mean one thing though – more nights off, more sleep, the ability to get more done – not that that’s what matters, but it does take the pressure off a little bit.

But this 4 years has gone in a flash, and it makes me want to cry.  What I would give to be back at the start of it all, embarking on the greatest journey of my life.  I was so excited by it all.  When we decided to have children and I fell pregnant with Lylah, everything was so new and I couldn’t wait for any of it.  This feeling comes over when you become a mum, that nothing will ever be the same, because you are a mummy now, you own a buggy, you make up bottles, breast feed, have a steriliser on the side in the kitchen.  You talk about babies, their poo, their eating habits, their sleep.  Oh the baby sleep talk!  This was my life, for a year or so, then Lylah got bigger, the mummy independence crept in, I even went on a hen do.  But in my head I know…I’m hopeful for number 2, the chance to do it all again, but this time without the stress.  Oh but there was still stress, but then that’s having multiple human beings living in your house all at one time isn’t it?!  With Malachy, I knew what I was doing.  I fed and fed and fed him…they normally lose weight at first, he piled it on.  He was in my arms constantly, my baby boy, needing me, and I was able to nurture him.  That feeling didn’t go.  As he grew, he frustrated me in other ways, but at the end of a stressful day, I was able to cradle him and connect with him in a way I don’t think you can understand until it happens to you.  That’s what I’m struggling to let go of.  His little face lighting up as I settle down on the sofa at 630.  All I have to say is ‘Mummy Milk’ and he will stop what he’s doing and be by my side.

Stopping breastfeeding once and for all, means the end of that new experience I was so excited for 4 years ago.  I know I have so much more to be excited about now, a whole future with my little sausages that I when I think about, I can barely breathe.  But the first chapter is done.  Booby milk is diminishing, and again, that makes me so sad I could cry.

Well, I did cry.

My boobs and me have been on quite a journey over the last few years, and I feel so blessed to have been able to experience it.  Here’s to your milky boobs and the miracle job they are capable of.

As a side note, I realise it has been 6 months since I last posted.  What can I say, but that I don’t have time for much anymore!  I have wanted to post so many times, and have so much to fill you in on, but haven’t put digits to keyboard.  But tonight, after boob snub, I thought what better way to get back to it, than to talk about my breasts!  Happy Saturday everyone x

Our Children and Their Technology


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I was talking to a man in the pharmacy this week about this exact subject.  Technology, and the fact that it makes the world so fast, and that our kids know nothing else.

I have had children in an age where everything we need is literally at our fingertips.

Music, photographs, groceries, any baby item we may need to purchase, the gym timetable (!), videos, the latest episode of Paw Patrol, or Peppa Pig on loop, all at the touch of a button or two on our phones.

Despite growing up without such luxuries, it is something that as an adult, I have become accustomed to.  I don’t really have to make a lot go effort to access any information I need, and I get frustrated if I can’t get it it quicker than the few seconds of load time my current iPhone operates at.

It goes without saying then, that my children will know no different.  They have only ever known me with a phone in my hand, tapping away sending messages, checking email, watching YouTube videos for some downtime, or checking Facebook.  They don’t know the old version of me, where I actually went to a record shop to purchase music.

Having children in this world has meant that there have been quite a few helpful shortcuts in parenting.  From even before you find out you are pregnant, there is no doubt that many women are on Google, checking when they should be ovulating via a number of online calculators, or checking out the symptoms of early pregnancy, even though I can’t imagine  that there are many of us that don’t already know what these are!  Then the moment arrives, you’re pregnant!  Cue the downloading of one of the many available pregnancy apps, which detail what stage you are at, how you should be feeling, what you should be eating and even what your little fig looks like at 13 weeks.

Then pass months of checking out every twinge you have on every pregnancy page you can find, downloading books, the Mothercare app, and shopping for your forthcoming arrival.

Then the baby arrives, and those little pieces of technology really come into their own.  There were nights where Lylah was screaming and screaming, and we didn’t know what to do.  Do you know what I can remember from those nights?  Chris hunched over a faint blue light on the edge of the bed, frantically Googling what to do with a 2 week old screaming baby who likely has colic.

The Mothercare app was a Godsend.  Lylah fell asleep instantly to the hairdryer noise, and that soon became our go-to solution.  Never mind singing lullabies, rocking her to sleep or anything else; we tapped the screen, let the hair dryer noise come out and watch her drift off to sleep.  I discovered YouTube on our Smart TV and played white noise that way as well, meaning naps in the living room in her chair whilst I was able to do stuff in the rest of the house.  It has come in handy the second time round as well, but with baby number 2 I found an app with an advanced feature.  It switches on as soon as baby cries, and fades out again!  Pure genius!

As Lylah has grown, her access to technology has only increased.  TV watching (no matter how much I said before children that it would be rare occurrence) allows me to get some housework done.  The smart TV means that I can access anything she wants on YouTube at any time.  Sky Plus means box sets and instant downloading.  If Lylah asks for something and I say sorry, it isn’t on at the moment, she says “but Mummy, just load it up!”

This terminology presented itself in normal conversation in the car yesterday.  We were on our way to the shops, and she asked me whether we could play a game (where we pretend we are Anna & Elsa) when we were in the car and going.  I said yes, but asked why we couldn’t play it while we were getting into the car?  She said it’s because the game hadn’t finished “loading up”!

The other day, we were playing a game of musical chairs.  She send she wanted to do the music, which was basically her singing a song.  She said “the music is coming on” and pretended she was holding a mobile phone, tapped the screen and said “bleep”.  My three year old thinks that music comes from a mobile phone!  Which, in her world, it does.

As parents, we can control and monitor our children’s access to technology.  Reading the above back to myself, it sounds like Lylah is constantly on some form of gadget, which actually isn’t the case.  But is she familiar and aware of it?  Yes, of course, because we live in 2016.

Yes, it would be good to slow down.  Yes, it would be great to have more patience and not rely on technology for everything; that’s down to the individual to control.  We need some balance, yes, between the world of everything being ‘right now’ on the other side of our phone screens, to playing outside in nature and forgetting what time it is.

Could I have brought children up without the helping hand of technology?  Well, yes, people did, and I would have had to.

Am I grateful for the white noise app?  YES! Yes  I am.

That Perfect Photograph


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I have written before about how social media has turned us into a society of people who are constantly documenting our day to day lives, our most cherished moments, our big announcements & life-changing memories.  We do this mainly through photographs, and use various Apps like Instagram and PicCollage to make sure every detail looks perfect.

Position photo opp, take photo, apply filter, apply hashtag, post, await the likes and comments.

I think we are now more than aware that it can be dangerous to take this too seriously, especially when viewing others lives through their Facebook feed, and more often than not through a rose-tinted (or in the case of my Instagram shots, a Valencia filtered) lens.

This trend is especially true of those with little ones.  Cue lots of photos of kids with animals, children on days out, little angels grouped together on play dates, mummies & babies lunching.  Not a snotty nose, grubby face or crying meltdown in sight.  I am especially guilty of this, I am not writing a preachy post here, I hold my hands up and admit that when I look at photos I’ve posted of my two children, I get a little tingle of pride, and those photos represent great times and memories, and do a great job of erasing any bad moments we may have had on those particular occasions!

It used to bother me if Lylah wasn’t smiling perfectly at the camera, but now I’m used to having a temperamental three year old, it is something I’ve had to let go of.  No more true than on Malachy’s Baptism Day, in the church, when all I wanted was ONE photo of us as a family, just Chris & I with our two babies.  Lylah’s face says it all in the photo that I have proudly framed in my living room.  I look at it now and chuckle, and still laugh about my nan plying her with sweets trying to get her to smile and stop wriggling to get down for one minute!

What I’ve started to see a little more of recently, is people posting more realistic photographs of their little ones.  I’ve seen more crying in photos, more grumpy faces, and less of the “I will stand here as mummy told me to” type photograph.  And it’s so refreshing to see!

Let’s take each occasion I mentioned above.  In every one of these scenarios, as any one with children/or has hung out with children knows, there is often only one or two “perfect” moments!

Kids with animals = meltdown because they are scared of something and won’t go close enough to get into photo frame.

Children on Days out = many moments of screaming, tiredness, boredom…do I go on?

Little Angels grouped together on play dates = if you get this shot then you’re a miracle worker!

Mummies & Babies lunching = no sign of the food on the floor, the struggle of squeezing them into the unfamiliar highchair or the overpriced cake that has gone to waste!

Chris has been off this week, so we have and a few family outings and a little party at home for St Patrick’s Day.  Cue lots of opportunities for cute photos as perfect mementos of our time spent together.

I’ve posted some beautiful photos on Facebook this week of my family, but what I haven’t posted are some of the classics on my camera roll, or documented the happenings around each shot!

First, there was our day out at an animal sanctuary, which overall Lylah loved.  Lots of cute photos of Lylah looking angelic, but not one of her screaming whilst being chased by oversized Bantum Chickens!  Or moaning for about 27 minutes because she was cold and she wanted to go home and watch Kinder Surprise on YouTube (don’t ask).

Then there was our walk in the woods.  There is a wooden carved chair in our local woods that people often post photos of their children sitting on.  I wanted this photo!  Have a look at the camera roll evidence of Lylah’s progression into a meltdown.  And the smile on my face moving slowly to a grimace!  I also just about managed to save Malachy from being wheeled down the hill and off the edge.


Then there was St Patrick’s Day morning.  I wanted a nice picture of the two of them in their green outfits, sat on a flag.  Standard.  These were just a few of what we had before I was happy!




The one where Lylah was squeezing Malachy in a head lock shortly led to him toppling backwards when she let go quickly, followed by 5 minutes of crying and snot and a puffy red face.

So, you can see, not all of life’s moments are filled with picture perfect memories, but they are memories all the same and make us what we are.  It is okay to show people these, it might even make them feel a little more normal about their own lives.

We are going to Peppa Pig World tomorrow, and I promise that as soon as Lylah has any sort of meltdown I will photograph every moment of it, along with the bright backdrop of Peppa and George’s house and Mr Potato’s city, or whatever it is we are in store for!

All of that photo stress is so worth it though, when I get to capture my two looking like this…


P.S.  I often find that bribing children with Kinder Surprises helps capture that perfect “smile”


They need me…


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As a mother, your children, naturally, need you a lot.

They need you from the minute they wake up, until the minute their lights goes out, for a variety of reasons.

With Lylah these include; pulling up bottoms after a wee wee, cue “mummy, this is the hard bit!!”, making her breakfast (even though Miss Independent does get it all out and ready for me these days, she still hasn’t quite stretched to putting it all together, she is only 3 after all!), dressing her, plaiting her hair, helping her put Anna and Elsa’s dresses back on, (then off again, then on again), doing her puzzles, finding the lost parts of Sylvanian Families (they are soooo small!), writing letters, writing numbers, more post-toilet help…it goes on and on and on.

This all runs alongside Malachy also needing me, but needing me far more than Lylah does.  From the minute he wakes up, he needs me for comfort, for milk, for basic hygiene, for breakfast, for playing, for moving…he’s a baby, you get it!

Often, all this neediness can get on top of you.  Even though you know this motherhood lark is going to be demanding, you never quite realise it for real until its happening to you.  And then you get a small segment of your day, where they are maybe both napping at the same time, and there is a fifteen minute period, where no one needs you for a moment.  That moment goes far too quickly, though the rest of the day, somehow does not!

This all happens without thought.  You don’t stop and think about your every action being crucial to your children’s happiness, development, health.  You just do it, because, well, that’s what you signed up for.

Then there are times when they really need you.  And this happened to me yesterday.  It made me stop and think.

Malachy was feeling poorly, and had woken yesterday with a temperature, and after his afternoon nap, he was burning up again.  After Calpol, and whilst I was waiting for it to kick in and cool him down, he just wasn’t a happy bunny.  Nothing I did made him happier, and you realise, that although they really really need you, you don’t actually know what it is they need.  After a long snuggly feed, he eventually rested his head against me, and I began to stroke his cheek until he fell asleep.  After some tossing and turning to get into the exact right position for his maximum comfort, he finally fell into a deep sleep on me.  Meanwhile, at the other end of the same sofa, I noticed that Lylah’s head was dropping up and down.  Monster’s University just wasn’t entertaining enough, and the little lady was nodding off as well.  I got her comfy as best I could with Mally lying on top of me, and they both slept like that for the next hour or so.

There wasn’t much I could do.  I debated putting him back in his cot.  But this was a different sleep.  This was a sleep that was relaxed and comforted because he had fallen asleep on mummy.  He was warm from my body and full from the warm milk he had just guzzled.  I had made him feel better from whatever he was feeling a moment before.  No, I thought, this sleep is for us.  He wants to be comforted and to lie on mummy and cuddle in close.  Lylah was comfortable and lying against my legs.  I felt like I could burst with happiness, and was overwhelmed with a feeling of love.  They both NEEDED me.  Not in the usual, every day ways, but in their moment of tired, exhausted, poorlyness, I was needed to be a mummy, someone they could snuggle into to everything better.

It is the most beautiful feeling in the world being needed.

Why I’m falling out of love with Facebook


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Whilst I was busy hoovering my kitchen a moment ago (STOP PRESS!!), I was aware that I was muttering away to myself about a subject that has been bothering me this week.

It has to do with the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ Facebook game that has been circulating our news feeds.

Cue lots of retorts from non-mothers about why its okay to be a non-mother, further response from mothers defending their right to post pictures of their children etc etc…it goes on.

It’s things like this that really get my goat with Facebook.  It’s not a friendly place anymore.  We seem to live in a cyber world where it is okay to make someone feel bad about just about anything they choose to post on their social media pages.

Back to the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ posts.  I myself have been nominated to do such a post (I simply haven’t got around to it), and I personally don’t see any harm in it.  I have seen lots of friends posting their happiest pictures, and these have made me smile.  I’m almost certain this would have been my reaction to their pictures if I didn’t have children of my own, because, well, I quite like cute babies.  I say almost certain, because there is a small part of me that saw the posts, and cringed slightly.  There are so many women out their who can’t or choose not to have children, and posts like these do form a kind of us and them situation, whether you choose it to come across that way or not.  If I was in the no children camp, would these posts have started to upset me?  Well, yes they probably would, if children is the one thing you wanted most in the world.

There is no right or wrong here – Facebook is a place where people should feel free to upload whatever is going on in their lives at that time, and believe me that can change drastically over the years (believe me I WISH I could post as many holiday shots as I used to!).

I think my point is that we shouldn’t make each other feel bad about it.  The people on our Facebook pages are (supposed to be) our friends.  It is not a competition.  I LOVE looking at people’s drunken night out photos, because quite frankly, I want to be them.

The “Be Like Bill” posts were beyond annoying.  Again, post want you want to – it’s your page.  I have resorted to unfriending someone if they annoy me that much.  Yes, it really is that simple!  This also doesn’t mean that an unfriended Facebook friend can’t be a real-life friend.  Because, people, Facebook isn’t REAL!

So for now, my 9 year love affair Mark Zuckerburg’s brain child is luke warm.  I still love it for celebrating special occasions, posting pictures of my children and commenting uselessly about my day, and of course to share these words with you lovely people.  I just think I’ll approach it with more caution these days, and I certainly won’t use it to make someone else feel bad about their life choices and personal situation.






Vom Bears


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This week we decided it was a good idea to take a nearly 3 year old and a nearly 6 month old on a 4 hour car trip to Colchester.  In hindsight, thinking this journey would be smooth runnings may have been hugely optimistic, and thinking back over the 2 day escapade, I’m surprised we returned relatively stress free and still with hair.

My friend Debbie, who I met at University, and her husband Bryn, have just had a beautiful baby boy, and as half term meant they’d be at home together as a family, we decided that we would take a two day, one night trip to Colchester.  On the packing front, this wasn’t too much hard work.  A couple of changes of clothes for Chris and I, 4 each for the kids (it will become clear later just how crucial this decision was), a few toiletries and snacks, and a tank full of petrol, and we were set.  Of course, our aim was to leave nice and early, and we set our alarms for 6ish, ready to be on the road for 7am.  Forward to Tuesday morning, and we were finally ready to go at 745.

Still, we were all packed up, kids in tow, all set for our family adventure to Essex!  I was excited; I hit the road with enthusiasm, listening to a NOW album of Christmas songs at Lylah’s request.  Of course.

The first thing that struck me as we were an hour into the journey and Lylah was fast asleep, was that she may need a wee.  She’d gone before we left, but the last thing we needed was a car seat stinking of fresh and then stale urine!  A quick stop at Fleet services, and the toddler was toileted and the baby was breast fed.  Time to hit the road again.

All was going really well.  We were on track time wise, our destination being a quaint little farm the other side of Colchester, where we would meet our friends and their new addition for lunch and partake in a trail around the farm to see the animals.

With a couple of hours left to go from our pit stop, we made sure Lylah had plenty to snack on in the back seat, not wanting her to go hungry or dehydrate on this epic journey.  About an hour left to go, and we were set to have achieved a stress free journey.  Result!

“Mummy, I feel a bit sicky.  I feel sick”

“You feel sick Lylah?  You’ll be okay, just close your eyes and put your head back and you’ll feel better”

“Mummy, I need medicine, I feel sick!  I need medicine”

“Lylah, you don’t need medicine!  You’ll be okay”


What.  The…..???????

My poor Lylah was vomiting all down herself.  I was trying to negotiate fast moving cars on the M3, whilst glancing at Lylah who was covered in orange coloured vomit.  Chris was looking around from the passenger seat trying to reassure her whilst she screamed and cried.

Chris pointed out there was nothing we could do as I panicked about just how much sick she was covered in.  Then Lylah said exactly what I was thinking; “But these are my best clothes mummy!!”, still crying, with sick dripping from her mouth.  Sorry.

She did calm down a bit and at one point was pointing out the contents of her sick to us.  Look mummy, there is Pom bears!  And its also got some weetabix!!

About 15 minutes later we were able to pull in to a services and get her out to get her cleaned up.  Out came the perfectly packed items from the boot, so we could get the change of clothes, wipes, new shoes, in order to get Lylah not smelling of Pom bear sick.

All sorted, and the car seat cleaned up, we were on our way, when Malachy began his new favourite thing, SCREAMING in his car seat.  He’s done this for a while, but 20 mins of it when you have been in a car for 4 hours, and have just cleaned up sick does tend to try your patience.  We arrived at our destination, and as soon as I lifted him out he was back to his angelic smily self.  Of course.

After a delicious lunch and an autumnal walk around the farm, we told Lylah it was time to check into our hotel.  When we left that morning she had informed us that she didn’t want to go to the hotel and she wanted to sleep in her owl bed at home.  Rewind back to our summer trip to Devon where she told us for 2 days straight that she didn’t like holiday and wanted to go home.  However, all was well upon arrival at the Premier Inn A12 Colchester, and Lylah thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the reception staff and setting off the fire alarm by opening the emergency exit door.

We settled into the room, when Chris informed me he wasn’t feeling too well, and I was thankful I’d packed drugs for us as well as the necessary Calpol, teething gel, teething salts etc for the children.

That evening, we arrived at Debbie and Bryns house, and Lylah had fallen asleep in the car, so woke up feeling a little grumpy.  You never know what Lylah you might get when she wakes up.  Tonight, we had the Lylah that instantly stated to our hosts that she wants to go home.  Delightful.  Bryn pulled out the CBeebies card and all was well again, and by the end of the evening she was making herself at home, with Bryn her new best friend, bossing him around and making best friends with their dog.  Poor Chris was still feeling unwell, and couldn’t finish his portion of banoffie pie, and anyone that knows Chris will understand that this is not normal.  I however, had 2, non slimming world friendly, delicious slices of Debbie’s home made mouth watering dessert.

We went back after a lovely evening, and I longed for a night of minimally interrupted sleep in the hotel bed.  Of course this was not on the cards for me.  Malachy woke every couple of hours without fail, and I woke up feeling like I was hungover from the severe lack of sleep.  We treated ourselves to an all you can eat breakfast and ventured into town for a play in the park.  But it was peeing it down, and the park equipment was covered in wet slippery rain.  Not that that stopped Lylah and Chris, they had a great time running around, tiring her out for the journey home.

Before we left for the final leg home, I felt absolutely brilliant.  In spite of the vom episode, Chris feeling unwell and the sleepless night, I was bright eyed and ready for the stint home, kids asleep in the back.  After a necessary pit stop 2 hours into the journey, we continued on, and were on the home straight until we hit traffic around Stonehenge.  It was 4:30pm.  Bad timing.  We were trickling through this traffic, when Malachy decides to have one of his screaming episodes.  We took the opportunity to pull over and give him a feed.  Lylah also needed a wee, so we asked her to go in the grass in the layby.  Oh no…tantrum and full meltdown time (kicking seat and screaming style) meant that we couldn’t convince her to go for a wee in the grass.  I wasn’t convinced she could hold it for another hour or so, and I was past the point of being tolerant, and it all got a bit too much inside our VW Golf.  After snapping at Lylah that she has to go for a wee, her tantrum only escalated, so we decided to leave her be and if we have a soppy car seat as a result, then so be it.

Malachy screamed for the remainder of the journey, and the pinnacle was Chris and I singing “Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose” at the top of our voices, attempting harmonies, to a) make him stop crying and b) drown out the sound of his crying.  Lylah slept through this nursery rhyme karaoke session, and Malachy had moments of quiet, but he came out on top overall as I don’t think I’ve ever been so relived to pull into the driveway.

Lessons learned from our road trip:  Don’t feed Lylah Pom bears on a long car journey, pack lots of clothes and wet wipes, take ear plugs.

Totally worth it though to get warm cuddles with baby Thomas.

Does he sleep?

Well hello there, it has been a while. I have been fully immersed in being a mother of two, and all of a sudden Malachy is 5 months old and I haven’t written much about it! I will obviously blame it on the lack of time, energy and brain function.

I feel like I’ve been in a whirlwind for the past 5 months. It feels apt to blog now, as I look back over the summer and the first few hectic months of owning two children! Plus, I have a rare bit of time to myself, whilst Lylah is at play school and Malachy is asleep.

There is so much to cover, which I will in other posts, as I try to resurrect Jugglehood along with my brain, but to start I want to cover the usual. The usual questions that every new mother/mother to a new baby, gets asked:
1. Does he sleep?

I could keep this post really short and say no and leave it at that. Then you would understand why my brain is so fried. But I wouldn’t be entirely telling the truth. Malachy does sleep, but in short bursts, not when I need him to, not much through the night, and hardly ever in the car! It’s bizarre though, because i thought I had trouble with Lylah’s sleep as a baby, but she was great in hindsight! I just couldn’t deal with it then. But being awake from 2:30 most nights and surviving on blips of sleep from that time until breakfast seems to not affect me so much the second time round. Or maybe I’m fooling myself, as there are probably numerous occasions where I could and have blamed lack of sleep. One being this morning one I strapped Malachy into his car seat after I’d dropped Lylah off at play school. I was about to start the engine, but I heard him moaning a tad, but there was something odd about it. It wasn’t coming from the right side of the car! I looked around, and there he was, sat facing forward, strapped into Lylah’s car seat! He seemed to quite enjoy it, he was sat up nice and straight and didn’t look that out of place! I swiftly got out of the car and put him in his correct seat, announcing loudly to the other mums what I’d done, just to acknowledge my stupidity! Yeah…lack of sleep.

2. Is he a good boy?

What does this question even mean? Babies are good, they can’t be naughty. Oh yes, it refers to sleep, and whether they do it. See above.

3. How is Lylah with her new baby brother?

I spent the first three months or so answering this question positively, as she was honestly fine with him, and his arrival didn’t seem to affect her at all.
However, he can now do stuff, and Lylah isn’t enjoying that so much. She finds everything rubbish, she won’t share her toys, she screams when he pulls her hair, and she hates it when his little chubby legs kick her. She doesn’t like it if he stares at her, and tried to manually turn his head around, and she moans when he wakes up with a “Mummy, he’s awake agaaaaaiiiinnnn….” So, I’d say that at the moment she’s not so cool with him.

4. What does he weigh now?

A little bit more than the last time you asked me.

These are the biggies amongst a plethora of questions that get thrown your way, and to be honest, you may get a different answer everyday. He changes all the time, sometimes he sleeps well, other times he doesn’t. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes not so. Lylah mostly loves Malachy, but sometimes I bet she wishes she could put him in the washing machine.

All in all, its been a fun first few months, and as a family, we’ve adapted to having the new one on board. But don’t expect much from me by way of intelligent conversation!


How things are different with number 2…


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Things with a second baby are so different than with your first.  Might sound like an obvious statement, but one month in, and it is is strikingly obvious to me when I look back over the first four weeks of Malachy’s life and realise how we have done things so differently this time around.  This is partly led by Malachy, as by nature he is a different baby to what Lylah was in so many ways, but also partly by us, because as parents we have approached the newborn days with a different attitude.

It’s still a world of unknowns…even though you do go into it with a certain air of cockiness and an ‘I know it all attitude’, a second baby will present many differences to the first.  For example, unlike with Lylah, the breast feeding is going really well this time, and has done from day one.  So I thought I’d got away with it scott free; he’s putting on weight, feeding well, etc etc.  But no, he has developed oral thrush, something new and unknown and which has already had an impact on his feeds.

These are a few things I’ve noticed that we’ve done differently with baby round two:

Google.  We hardly use it!  With Lylah, I recall us being up at all hours in our bedroom, the only light coming from Chris’ iPhone as he frantically Googled how to get this wind out of our little girl!  We Googled everything, from breast feeding (I saved every page I could find on breast milk storage), colic, methods to relieve colic, ‘why is our baby crying’, ‘why is our baby still crying’, and the old favourite, ‘how to stop my our baby crying’.

Going out.  I didn’t properly leave the house for some time after Lylah was born.  I was happy to stay in, dressed in PJs, feeding on the sofa and perhaps freshening up for the occasional visitor.  This time, I was taking Lylah to pre-school, baby in tow, by the end of week two, and had ventured out lots before this with Chris’ help.  A month in and we are out and about most days, Malachy just being dragged along for the ride of our pre-existing toddler routine.

Soothing.  Uh Oh, the baby’s crying!  What, you mean your second baby, who you can’t actually get to because the toddler is having another meltdown whilst hanging from her swing set?  Oh, the baby has stopped crying already and settled himself?  That’s good then!  As soon as Lylah made a sound when she was a baby, one or both of us would be there in a flash.  No such luck for Malachy, he gets to soothe himself while Mummy is pulling her hair out over number one.  This isn’t to say we don’t ever comfort him (I can imagine you’re thinking this poor child is left to fend for himself!), it’s just that it might take a little longer to get to him than it did the first time round!

Cuddles.  On the other hand, Malachy does get a lot of cuddles.  When Lylah is tucked up in bed, and we can spend some one on one time with the little man, we cuddle him, a lot!  We would never have dared done this with Lylah.  When she was settled that was it, we didn’t dare touch her for fear of her never sleeping again!

Bathing.  Washing Lylah as a baby was two person job, filled with the dread that we were going to accidentally scold her/drown her/drop her.  It was a long time before I bathed her confidently on my own.  With Malachy, I can easily bathe him in his baby bath, while Chris is bathing Lylah in the tub, simultaneously chatting away to them, with no fear about whether I’m going to accidentally dunk the baby.

Photos.  We haven’t taken as many photos or videos or Malachy as we did Lylah.  Everyone says this happens, but I didn’t think it would apply to me.  It will save the computer memory.  Please note; I have still taken A LOT!

Socialising.  I would NEVER have taken Lylah out to a restaurant/party/meal, somewhere public, at one month old.  But last night we took our two year old and baby to a birthday meal, in a restaurant with actual people, whilst attempting to have adult conversation and a hot meal.  It was pretty much a success, and just made us realise even more, that number two just takes it in their stride, and slots in to family life.

So, as Malachy continues to settle into our lives, we realise how blessed we are to have such a relaxed little boy, who seems to be becoming as much of a social butterfly as his sister!

In Malachy news, he weighs a whopping 1 stone.  Yep, we’ve started wearing his 3-6 month clothes today, and now he actually looks comfortable!

In Lylah news, today she corrected me and then asked “understand?”  She also told me I was bossy this week.  Our conversations are getting funnier and she is getting cheekier!  We also went bowling, but it was too busy so we ended up just playing in the arcade.  Now Lylah thinks that going bowling is mummy and daddy frantically trying to win her a Sven cuddly from the grabber machine.

Lylah is currently staring at me repeating ‘mum’ ‘mama’ and ‘mummy’ over and over again and the baby has just started crying.  Time for me to go!

First Smiles

Well, our baby boy is one month old today.  I can’t believe these past four weeks have gone so quickly; they have been full of amazing and special moments, as well as the expected tired eyes and lack of sleep!

Can I still say I’ve just had a baby?  Can he be referred to as a newborn?  It makes me feel a little sad that he isn’t the brand new baby he was four weeks back, but as he starts to show us his little personality, it makes me excited for the weeks and months to come.

And to celebrate his one month birthday, Malachy has been treating us to special first smiles this week.

It makes all the hard work worthwhile. Lots more of these to come!

Now we are about to enjoy a weekend together as a family, no work, just fun with our little people.