Minnie Mouse Mascot Madness


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Donna and I were busy planning Stacey and Lylahs’s 2nd birthday party over a cup of coffee. Donna had already been extremely organised, and had ordered napkins, balloons etc all in the desired theme of Minnie Mouse for our Minnie crazy little beauties.

Looking at everything you can order for a birthday party can be overwhelming, and it all starts to add up rather quickly, and at 2 years of age, they just want to run around, eat a few cocktail sausages and stuff their face with cake! Mum was geared up to make the Minnie Mouse cakes, and we were going to dress our girls in Minnie inspired outfits for their big day.

Whilst having a peruse around the online pages of Amazon and eBay, I came across some Minnie and Mickey costumes. Not just the basic, plastic masked fancy dress type get ups, but full on, Disneyland style, mascot outfits, with the massive heads! Brilliant! What better thing to add to a Minnie themed party than the real (ish) thing appearing from behind some curtains and surprising our little ones. Of course they would be delighted, all smiles and cuddles for Minnie, and amazed to have met their favourite Disney character in ‘real life’!

Donna was up for the idea, so I proceeded to find the best priced mascot on the internet. Unfortunately, the reasonably priced ones to buy would all have to travel from China and wouldn’t make it to us in time for the party. I then found some that you could hire. The faces weren’t quite as good as the China ones, but they were still pretty fab looking, and compared to some of the scary attempts at Disney mascots I’d already come across, these were looking like a winner. Seriously, whoever designs some of these things really don’t have the children in mind when doing so! I ordered the hire of Minnie, and shortly after, received an email from the supplier, who convinced me to take Mickey as well (I’m a sales person’s dream!)

The two ginormous heads and their costumes arrived in the post a couple of days before the party. As we were having lots of work done on the house at the time, there was no where to store them, and it wasn’t long before Miss Lylah nosey pants had dug them out. I thought perhaps this was actually a good idea, it would get her used to them. Someone had already asked me wouldn’t she find the mascots scary (Lylah has cried at every Father Christmas she has seen so far in her life), but as she had quite a nice meet and greet with Peppa and George earlier in the year, I was pretty confident about this one. She cuddled those Minnie and Mickey heads all the time, threw them around, played with them, tried to put them on. This, I thought, was the best idea I’d had in a long time – the mascots were going to be a winner! I dragged my sister Kayleigh, a natural entertainer who loves the spotlight, in to perform as Minnie, and managed to persuade her husband Adam to be Mickey! I told them it was their duty as Godparents to do things like this for Lylah.

The morning of the party, I stuck the heads and costumes in the car and took them to the hall. Lylah wasn’t amused by this, but we told her that she would see them at her party later, which kept her happy for while. So, a few hours later, the party is well under way, Lylah has had a good nap so isn’t to grumpy. All the kids are running around and playing like mad things, getting stuck into the food and having a great time.

Donna and I took to the mic to announce the arrival of two very special guests! Kayleigh and Adam were behind a curtain, getting into their costumes, blinded by the misplaced eye holes, and off balance from the size of the heads. They made their grand entrance…Lylah was in my arms, I was proudly holding the birthday girl, excitedly anticipating her reaction. I looked at her face, exclaiming, “Look Lylah, it’s Minnie and Mickey”, eagerly awaiting her delighted expression, expecting her to struggle out of my arms in a race to run to them. But no. The grip to me got far tighter. Her face dropped and her lips quivered, and she let out a howl of upset and poured frightened tears. Her now bright purple face lit up with pure fear as Minnie and Mickey entertained the birthday crowd, and my heart sank. The next five minutes of trying to calm Lylah into at least looking in their direction didn’t work, so Chris and I resorted to taking her behind the curtain and explaining who the mascots in front of her actually were. Kayleigh came back with us, head still in tact, which only frightened her more, as Lylah seemed convinced Minnie was going to come back behind the curtain and eat us all, and when she removed the head, Lylah’s screams grew even more hysterical, as if she couldn’t make out what weird decapitation had just occurred in front of her young and innocent eyes.

Meanwhile, the other birthday girl Stacey was loving every second, and gave Minnie and Mickey lots of hugs. Most of the other kids were fine, some tentative, some loving it, but none screaming like birthday girl Lylah! We gave up trying to convince Lylah that these two monsters in front of her were actually the loveable Disney characters that she plays with every day, reads about, and watches on the TV.

Once Kayleigh and Adam emerged as their true selves, Lylah calmed down and the party continued as it was before. She enjoyed some singing from Aunty Kay Kay, and loved the birthday cakes, as well as picking at the icing from the top when no one was looking.

We got home that night, and I brought in the Minnie and Mickey heads, diverting Lylah in an attempt to avoid upsetting her again. But no, she spotted them. This time however, instead of screaming the place down, she proceeded to play with and hug them. So, she likes the mascots in head only, scary decapitation form, but not in full motion, human body like form.

The lesson learned from this? Don’t force your child to like something. Be prepared that anything will scare them. Avoid Minnie and Mickey mascots even though your toddler is obsessed with them on a normal daily basis. But always try to bring a smile to your children’s faces, even if you fail, and never stop trying to make their dreams come true.


So it’s 2015…


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It’s 2nd January 2015. When did that happen? I’m sat in my new PJ’s, thinking back over the last few days, weeks, months and the whole of 2014!

So much has changed since I made a photo book of year 1 for Lylah for her first birthday in December 2013. I was scrolling through some pictures of this year, in order to make photo book year 2 for her second birthday (just to be clear, it’s almost 2 weeks after her 2nd birthday, and the book still hasn’t been put together or ordered! Anyway, at the start of 2014, Lylah was still a baby. She was walking well, but still wobbly, she was still breast feeding, she was in a cot, she still didn’t have many teeth, she couldn’t say a lot, and she still looked like a baby, with a good head of hair, but still short and spiky and sticking out all over the place.

Looking at my little princess now, it’s like looking at a different child. At 2, she’d rather walk everywhere we go than sit in her push chair, she likes to choose her own outfits in the morning, she’s chatting to us about anything she can manage at every opportunity (even though sometimes still makes no sense!), she has beautiful, longish, bobbed blonde hair which has been cut 3 times this year, she has a full mouth of teeth which help her eat the chewiest of foods, and she sleeps in a big girl bed with very little fuss now. The difference across this year has been astounding, and for us, every Christmas will also mark Lylah’s birthday, and the chance to look back at the year and see what has changed, January to December.

So, here’s our year in review – 2014…

January – Lylah was still a baba, and at approaching 13 months, I knew it was the right time for us to stop breast feeding.   This was far sadder for me than it was for Lylah, but for a variety of reasons, it was necessary for us. The change happened overnight, and she was fine with it, which made me feel better. This was the start of my little baby girl becoming a toddler.

February – By February, I had been back at work from maternity leave for nearly 5 months, and I think it was around now that reality hit and the hard work really started. The first few months back had been fun, I had been hitting target and I enjoyed getting back into the swing of work. But from this point, I started to feel the strain of working all day and getting home to Lylah to be a mummy – I really started to miss her, but was happy in the knowledge that she gets to spend time with lots of people that she loves while I was at work.

March – We took a much needed trip to see our family in Belfast. This is so important for us, and for Lylah, as she needs to know and remember the close family we have over in Ireland. At this point in the year, she probably didn’t remember much from one visit to the next, something which has definitely changed as the year has gone on, as now she can talk about her relatives in between trips and visits, and is far less unfamiliar when she sees them all. We also experimented with green milk for St Patrick’s Day!

April – Lylah began her toddler growth spurt! Overnight she seemed to change into a little girl, started wearing age 2 clothes, and also became a little madam! We had a fab Easter, and I spent a lovely few days off with Lylah, making sure we had quality mummy and daughter time, cooking, eating chocolate and going to the park. One particular picture I took of Lylah walking with my mum in a pretty Spring dress was a moment in time that I will never forget – she looked so grown up and beautiful and that image will stay with me forever.

April also marked the start of Chris working in Street, which has changed our family life for the better, and the time we get together now as a family is priceless.

May – May is always a lovely month. It starts with us celebrating my mums birthday on the 1st, and for me, it has always felt like the month to start getting excited about summer! It also meant that the following month was Kayleigh’s hen weekend in Paris, and a month after that was the Wedding. Excited much?!

June – It was finally here – the month of the Disneyland Paris trip for my sister’s hen weekend! And what a weekend it was! It was amazing to have some time away for myself, and to let my hair down (a little too much according to Saturdays hang over!), but it also made me realise how lost I am when Lylah isn’t by my side. On the train over, when someone asked me if I was missing her yet, I burst into tears. I didn’t know it would hit me like that, but I’m glad it did, as it means I cherish every second I have with her.

July – The Wedding of the Year was here! It was incredibly emotional watching my little sister get married to Adam, and I felt very lucky to be able to have Lylah and Chris by my side all day, sharing these special moments with me. Lylah made the most beautiful flower girl, and looked like an Angel in her dress. She showed me that day what a grown up, smart and well behaved little girl she was, and it was also the first time we saw some serious dance moves from Miss Boyd!

August – It was back to summer in England following a late July break to Portugal, and I’m sure you will remember the ‘sick on a plane’ post!

Lylah chose August 2014, age 1 year and 8 months, to jump out of her cot twice during the night! We made the very quick decision to put her in a bed, which was like starting all over again with a sleep routine, but after a few weeks, she was perfect and goes to bed with very little fuss now (there are still some occasions where she has us pulling our hair out). We marked this milestone and her 18 month (ish) age with a family photoshoot, where our cheeky monkey posed her way through a series of photographs! August also marked our 5 year Wedding Anniversary, 5 happy years not without its ups and downs, but certainly worth it when we look at our daughter.

September – I announced to my nearest and dearest that we are expecting baby Boyd number 2. I also celebrated my 31st birthday with a non-alcoholic brunch, and celebrated the joys of pregnancy with lots of sleep, some vomiting, and plenty of carbs!

October – By this point in the year, we had welcomed some chickens (one of which turned out to be a cockerel and has since been returned to farm life) into the family, and I announced the pregnancy to the wider world, including work.   I had a fab month at work, and really started looking forward to the festive period (hopefully with no more sickness!).

November – This month was all about some quality time for myself, before the madness of birthday and Christmas hit, and before I am too pregnant to do very much! I enjoyed 2 trips to London with amazing friends, a spa day and lunch with the gorgeous mummies, a hen night, and a fab carnival night with Chris and Lylah.

December – WHAT A MONTH! Firstly, my beautiful best friend Nichola and her man Andy, had the lovely baby Lily on my dad’s birthday!

I enjoyed plenty of Christmas celebrations at work and with friends, watched my fab sister sing Christmas Jazz at Clarks Village, which Lylah loved, and then came the birthday weekend!

Chris, Lylah and I celebrated Lylah’s second birthday with our birthday buddies, Chris, Donna and Stacey. Stacey’s birthday is the day after Lylah’s, so we celebrated together and took a trip on the steam train to see Santa. We then celebrated the next day with a joint birthday party, where we were visited by Mickey and Minnie Mouse (Lylah was terrified – more on that in another post!).

It was lovely to spend the weekend with close friends and family, and although probably quite overwhelming for Lylah, she seemed to enjoy every moment (except the Minnie and Mickey moment!).

Christmas was a lovely, relaxing family affair this year, and of course, Lylah was spoilt. I read a lot of posts of Facebook about whether or not people should ‘show off’ their kids and presents at this time of year, for the sake of children who don’t have as much.   I agree with this in principle, but equally, you shouldn’t be ashamed of the products of your hard work and special time with your children. I am happy to see posts of others sharing their happy times at this time of year, but understand that equally there are people who aren’t having such a lovely time. I remembered throughout the whole festive season, that this time is so precious, and however you celebrate, or whatever you can do or provide for your children and family, it’s more about the quality time you spend with them.

We are currently spending a lovely week with Chris’ parents, who Lylah is bossing about all over the place, and enjoyed a fab New Year’s Eve, thanks to the kind offer of babysitting from my nan – thank you Nan and Grandad!  It’s very special to see Lylah enjoying some precious time with her Grandparents that she doesn’t get to see very often, and great to see them witness how very special our little girl is.  It makes me so proud to watch her chatting away to them and show them all her toys, it makes you realise that it’s so easy to take these things for granted when you’re witnessing them every day.

To top it all off, I am feeling the kicks and movements of our little boy every day, and it’s these tummy nudges, and my kisses and cuddles from Lylah, that remind me how blessed Chris and I am.

So, in the year that Chris grew a very ginger beard, we have had some amazing moments and experiences, but have also had our ups and downs. It goes without saying that you can’t have a full year without sad experiences, heartbreaking news, and hard times, but they are there to challenge you and make you stronger, and pull you together as a family.

We have seen arrivals of new babies amongst friends, and exciting pregnancy news amongst others, and it’s this burst of new life that shows you what this life is all about. It’s about love, and family, and making sure you cherish every moment. I’m excited about 2015 and what’s to come, but most of all, I will make sure that I take every moment in and not miss a moment.

Lylah dress

Those ‘non-baby’ friends…


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Every mother has them, they are your friends from before babies, and they are the ones that haven’t yet joined you, or that maybe never will, on the roller coaster ride that is having children.

Normally these friends are innocently naive about what you are going through as a new mother, and this isn’t their fault, as they haven’t experienced the excruciatingly painful experience that is child birth, the aftermath of a caesarean, the long term effect that nearly a year of sleepless nights has on a person, or the huge impact that these little people have on your life which means they just don’t understand why you can’t drop everything and go to the pub/have a weekend away or go mental on a Saturday night.

Seeing these friends casually carrying on with their carefree lives while you are up to your neck in baby poo and puke can be disheartening – sometimes you desperately want to experience just one more night of madness, or a coffee meet up without having to contend with a mad toddler emptying the sugar sachets all over the floor.

As a result, your time spent with these friends naturally becomes less and less, as you save those meets up for the times when you can have a break, leave your little one with someone, and go and have a glass of wine.  You spend your time with your little one, accompanied by other like-minded mummies, where you can discuss the long night before and your child’s latest eating habits without worrying that you are boring the pants off them.

However, this post is dedicated to one very special ‘non-baby’ friend, who I am very lucky to have in my life.

Her name is Sarah, and is a mutual friend for both myself and another old friend of ours, Adele, who has also recently become a mummy.  Adele and I are typical new mums, constantly chatting everything baby and toddler, so you’d think very boring for Sarah, who doesn’t have children.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and if she does get bored during these conversations, then she hides it very well!

Sarah was the person in my life growing up that I went out with, got drunk with, met boys with, and generally partied with!  We parted ways for University, but our meet ups would obviously consist of catching up, and then going out.  As we matured, we might have thrown a nice meal in there, and obviously as I got married and settled down, there were now nights in added to the equation.  We’d often meet up with Adele and Jamie, and have all grown up into ‘proper adults’ together over the last 12 years since the mad days of college.

Since I’ve had Lylah, Sarah has been one ‘non-baby’ friend who has been so thoughtful and considerate about spending time with us.  She often initiates days out to baby-friendly places for all of us to go, and is hands on with helping out with the children, giving us tired mums a much needed break.  Not that Sarah isn’t tired as well…working full time and long hours in a law firm, training for a half marathon and travelling to and from Somerset often to visit her family, she is as exhausted as most I’m sure, but she doesn’t mind spending a Saturday carting our children around Puxton Park, talking to them about all the animals, and getting involved with the all of the activities, like a big kid herself!

When I was still breast feeding Lylah, she came round for a takeaway and a night in, and bought me a lovely bottle of red.  Knowing I wouldn’t be able to drink because of the feeding, she had found the best tasting, closest to reality as possible bottle of fake red wine that she could, and paid highly for it as well.  It meant I could enjoy something close to the taste of a glass of wine, but without the fear of getting trollied!

She offers to babysit regularly, gives me help and advice about certain health things for Lylah, as her lovely mum is a nurse, and buys thoughtful presents for my little girl.  But mainly it is about the time she spends with us, not a second of it a tiresome task for her.

She organised a day out for us at Puxton Park yesterday, and as I am starting to show quite heavily, and am feeling pretty tired and rubbish still, she carried Lylah when I couldn’t, jumped into the soft play ball pit to get involved, held her hand and walked her around, or pushed the push chair when Lylah was clinging to me.  It makes such a difference to a day out for me, and I’m so grateful for that.  She made the most of the day out, and got on a digger, rode a pig car, and bounced on the child only trampoline, so I actually think our children are just a guise for her to go to all these child friendly activities!

So thanks to Sarah, a ‘non-baby’ friend yes, but a BEST friend to us and our babies, definitely.  We love you!


tractorstractor sarah

sarah on pig

An Announcement and Some Chicken Antics!


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I’ve got some news…Chris and I are delighted to announce that I am 13 weeks pregnant!  I have been feeling pretty shoddy the last few weeks, and the pile of juggle that is my life seems to be building and building, as I have little or no energy to do anything!  Needless to say, we are delighted, and are looking forward to our new arrival, who I expect to follow in Lylah’s footsteps and arrive promptly on their due date of 23rd April 2015!

For the odd day here and there, I have been feeling better, and luckily for me, Friday this week was one of those days, as I had the Somerset Business Awards to attend on Friday night (the first of many non-drinking occasions for the next 2 years!).  Friday’s are my day off with Lylah, and I had been feeling pretty rough on Thursday, so we, well I, decided that we would have a PJ day, lazing on the sofa, watching copious amounts of Peppa Pig.  It was a perfect lazy day.

I decided I would start getting ready at 6pm, leaving me plenty of time to get to my destination for 7:15pm (gone are the days of taking 2 hours to get ready).  This would have been fine, but at 5:45pm I decided to let the chickens out (yes we now have three chickens, they are…fun).  As  I was juggling a few different things, including getting ready, watching/playing with Lylah and changing the bed sheets, I decided that I could keep on eye on said chickens through our bedroom window.  Lylah and I watched them for a few minutes through the window; they were having a great time pecking around the garden and pooing everywhere (one of the downsides).  I turned to continue making the beds up for what seemed like two minutes, only to look back and realise that I was a chicken down – Dusty the grey one to be exact.  Thinking she was cowering behind the tarpaulin, hiding from the other two (she gets bullied by them, literally the bottom of the pecking order),  I dashed outside to check she was okay.  But she was nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE to be seen.  I quickly plopped Lylah in front of Peppa for five more minutes (I am very grateful to that annoying little pig) and ran around the outside of the house like a mad woman for a while, shouting out for Dusty, but to no avail.

I summoned my Nonno who came and joined the search straight away, swiftly followed by my Uncle Joe and then Chris when he got home from work (the benefits of having my family close by), but Dusty was no where to be seen.  Chris told me she had probably been eaten by now, and I was devastated!  Meanwhile, Lylah was flapping around the house shouting “Dusty gone, Dusty gone!”, and while all of this commotion was taking place, I wasn’t anywhere nearer to getting ready.

Time check, 6:30pm.  Dusty was nowhere to be found (I was sad, but also angry at her Chicken Run antics at the same time!).   After another 15 minutes of telling Chris how I had “literally turned around for 2 minutes!!”, I decided to get a shower.  At which point, I realised I had no shampoo left.  I had a mini tantrum in the bathroom and told Chris how I wasn’t going now, as “EVERYTHING WAS GOING WRONG” (hormones people, blame the hormones), when Lylah grabbed her children’s tangerine scented shampoo and thrusted it at me.  If she could talk more she would have said “seriously Mummy, stop moaning, take this, and get yourself together woman!”  So I washed my hair with Lylah’s shampoo, swiftly got ready, and left the house at 7:20pm (my team had already taken their places at the dinner table and it would take me half an hour to drive there, ah well, better late than never).

I arrived exactly half an hour late, my hair wet from the rain, trying to walk in my heels, and hoping my nausea would keep at bay until dinner was over at least.  I was stressed to the max, but I had made it (even thought Dusty may not have).  I approached our table and took my seat as the starter was being positioned on my place setting – perfect!

I had a lovely evening, but at the back of my mind, little Dusty kept squawking at me, telling me what a rubbish Chicken mummy I am.  The story was a great ice breaker for the night though!

The awards finished at 11:30pm, and pregnant me was ready to go home to bed (my bed times are MUCH earlier at the moment).

I didn’t sleep well that night, thinking of all the places Dusty could be roosting if she had been clever enough to not get eaten.  It was rainy and windy, and I felt so guilty.  Poor Dusty.

Chris was up bright and early the next morning, popping off to the gym, and Lylah and I resumed our positions from the day before on the sofa.  Around 8am, I took a quick walk outside to check next door’s garden, as there are lots of bushes and trees in there.  Nothing :(  Then, as I was walking away,  I heard a rustle, and saw a flap of a wing.  It looked white, not grey, so I wasn’t hopeful, but thought I’d check anyway.  And there she was!  Dusty was alive and well, living it up in next door’s garden!  The next hour of Dusty’s life was probably quite traumatic, and involved ladders, the highest branch of a tree, her longest flight yet, a capture and a wing clipping, but thanks to my Nonno and Chris, we have got her back :)  She wasn’t very sociable for a few hours, but was back to her normal, mental self this evening when I let them out in the garden.

Honestly, an evening out when you’re in the first trimester of pregnancy is challenge enough, let alone facing our very own version of The Great Escape – chicken style.

Lylah is well used to our manic, crazy lives by now, and hopefully this little one is looking  forward to joining the Jugglehood as well.



Lylah October

Wow. I am seriously bad at keeping this thing up to date. Can I use the excuse that we have had a busy summer and I have been spending my time watching in amazement as my little girl grows rapidly before my eyes! There have been so many changes, firsts and a huge amount of fun, as well as a few moments of ‘pull my hair out’, ‘what the hell happened to my Angel’, ‘I’m going to scream’ moments!

Now the summer is long gone (well-it is in my eyes, I wish this weather would start to flipping realise it), I can sit back and think of the changes that have really stood out for me.

The Wedding was simply amazing, Lylah was incredible all day, and really made us realise how grown up she has become. She walked down the aisle (for a little bit, then took my hand) and sat through the ceremony, she sat at the table and ate her lunch, she napped in the pushchair, and entertained everyone with her dancing!

The holiday that followed was incredible (bar the sick incident), and it was these two momentous occasions in Lylah’s short life so far that have made me realise that I need to give her a lot more credit than I sometimes do. As mums, we worry and worry about every minute little detail, and often find things like going out in the evening with our babies, or taking them out of their usual ‘comfort zone’ a real obstacle. When actually it isn’t, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Now, I don’t agree with the statement that your child should fit in with your existing, pre-child life, because quite simply they can’t. I learnt to accept that very quickly. For example, I’m not sure how comfortable Lylah would be with dancing on the tables in the local nightclub of a Saturday night. However, if you are relaxed with your child, I do strongly believe that you can take them anywhere you want, whenever you want, without very little hassle.

I might just be lucky with Lylah, and naive to think that all children can be like this, but I was worried about taking her abroad, and I really didn’t need to be.

Firstly – what do you take? Admittedly, this is a lot easier when they are a little older, as you don’t have to worry about sterilising etc etc. A quick google search told me what full fat milk was in Portugese, and I made that one of my first things to purchase when we arrived. Everything else was there. I didn’t need to bring food, or drinks, or milk, or even nappies (although I did), as you can buy everything you need. Admittedly this depends on your destination.

Amazingly, I managed to pack for 5 days, for Chris, myself and our toddler, in only 2 hand luggage cases. Along with the car seat and push chair this was enough to manage, but it is unbelievable how much c**p you end up taking if you have the space.

As for the holiday itself, Lylah was in her element. She ate great meals, both in the hotel and out in restaurants, and loved the daytime activities of swimming, swimming and more swimming.

The first evening worried me, as we didn’t go up to our room to change until nearly 6pm (at home Lylah is fed and bathed by then normally and gearing up for milk). By the time we were showered and changed, we didn’t sit down in the restaurant until around 8pm. Instead of looking sleepy and feeling grumpy, Lylah got stuck into the food (starving by this point) and then spent the first evening dancing around until she finally collapsed asleep around 11:30pm. It was brilliant. And that was her every night, enjoying herself until she dropped.

When we got home, we went back to our normal bedtime routine (which changes daily to be honest anyway), and she got straight back to it.

The next big change came a few days later, when Lylah decided that she had had enough of her cot. During the night, we heard her crying, and left her for a while to see if she’d settle. 5 minutes later, the crying was louder, and outside our bedroom door! She had climbed out of the cot and come into us! Shocked, I let her get in our bed and when she was finally back to sleep, I popped her back into her cot, panicking about what to do for the best. I popped to the bathroom, during which time, Lylah (who was ‘asleep’) decided to kamikaze out of the cot once again, this time jumping, and landing face first on the floor. Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt, but I wasn’t taking the risk again. The next day, the cot turned into a big bed, and a trip to Mothercare for new ‘big girl’ jammies and a pillow meant that Lylah was excited about this new adventure. She was perfect for a couple of nights, and then a nightmare for a week or so, but 2 months on, when I stand outside her bedroom door and listen to her chattering to herself for 20 minutes before she goes off to sleep, my heart could burst with pride.

Along with these exciting moments, we’ve had plenty of the new, moodier version of Lylah, the one who has no patience, gets frustrated at everything, and can throw herself against a wall in a fit of rage. This is not my favourite version of my child, but her tantrums have had Chris and I in fits of laughter. Not that it’s funny, I know, but when you’re trying to ignore your tantrumming child, as well as not look at them, and you can see the calculated thought behind every tantrummy moment, laughter is the only thing that helps! Thankfully, these have calmed down a bit, and Lylah turns into a very apologetic cuddly wee soul once she realises that the growly throat scream is not working. She has even learnt how to say “sorry mummy’, although the “sorry” part does tend to get a little lost under a mutter. Bless her :)

She changes everyday, in her words, her actions, her personality. She is turning into such a funny little character and I get on with her like she’s my best friend. She helps me bake cakes, and sweeps my floors (she has some fun too I promise), and is in love with Peppa Pig to the point that I might cry, but the main thing, through every change, she is getting stronger and more confident and turning into a wonderful little person.

Along with every big developmental change, there will of course be challenges, but give those little geniuses some credit, they will get there, adapt and do it when they want/can. I’ve every faith in my child, and therefore I’ve learnt to relax, and I think with that, she thrives.

Embrace the changes, and most of all, enjoy them!

Sick on a Plane


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The smell was horrendous. And it was dripping everywhere. Chris had a pool forming in his cupped hand, and Lylah was screaming in between each projectile shot. Yes, after a wonderful break away to Portugal, Lylah was sick on a plane.

Bless her though, it was awful for the poor girl. Not to mention her daddy. Or the unfortunate lady in front of him who managed to stick her elbow in the vomit between the seats! We had spent the last twenty minutes or so trying to get Lylah off to sleep. She had napped on the flight over, and fallen asleep on me by the Vilamoura Marina every night of our holiday, so I thought after a bottle of warm Portugese Full Fat (Gordo – get me) and the motion of the plane, she would be out like a light. Full Fat milk and motion – those are the things that did not mix well inside little Lylah’s tum. After nearly half an hour of scraping my legs with her shoes/feet, pulling my hair/necklace/eyelids, and jumping up and down to get a better view of Nonna and Nonna who were sat behind us, it was a welcome relief when Chris said he’d have her on his lap. Mwah ha ha ha. How did I escape that one?! A couple of minutes earlier and it would have been me dripping with sour smelling, apple chunk infused, regurgitated milk.

The initial fountain of sick made me jump 2 seats away out of my near slumber (thank goodness there was an empty seat next to me on the otherwise full Easyjet plane). I shot up, not quite sure what to do next, and then watched as Lylah continued to empty her stomach all over poor Chris. I grabbed some wipes off my mum (mine were handily packed away deep in the case in the overhead locker – FAIL) and started to throw them in Chris’ general direction. Realising that this was doing very little good, I grabbed about 3000 paper tissues from the lavatory, and started to mop up the mess. Lylah was screaming through all of this let me add. Oh and people were staring, and looking in the other direction all at the same time. The girl sat in the next seat over, who had chirped about how “cute” Lylah was just 30 minutes earlier, was now hiding behind her magazine and earphones; no comments now!

I shouted for the air stewardess who came to the rescue, and gave me a massive tub of blue wipes – which were like all my dreams come true. They were big, and smelled like cleaning stuff, and at least helped me block the pungent odour out. I heaved a couple of times whilst mopping the chunks, but I got through it. Lylah and Chris had to be stripped off, and while Lylah sat with mum and dad, Chris had his moment of glory and did a strip tease at the back of the plane (no doubt showing off his tan – he was secretly delighted!). I in the meantime am on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor. Just imagine this scenario if you please. It hurts my head to think about it too much.

The main thing is Lylah is fine. She quickly recovered and when everything was cleaned up, and we only fractionally smelt of puke, we settled down and tried to get her off to sleep again.

Within minutes she was down again, on the floor of the aisle (thank goodness we were right at the back), and proceeded to squat right down on her hind legs. You can guess what she was doing now. In a 2-hour plane journey, Lylah managed to empty her entire body of that day’s food contents. She squatted until she was finished, at which point we made a trip into the cramped up cubicle to get her cleaned up.

She finally fell asleep on daddy once she was content and comfortable, and we all managed to get a bit of shut eye.

We had an amazing holiday, details of which will come in a separate post, but needless to say this was the highlight.

Sorry if you were eating your dinner.

A Weekend Away and a Wedding


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Date of last post – 31st May!  Oopsy – this blog posting malarkey hasn’t been a priority of late, but as I was sat pondering over recent events, it occurred to me that now was the perfect opportunity to update you all on what’s been going on.

To say we have been busy recently is a huge understatement.  It has been a couple of months of firsts for Lylah, with lots going on including a very big family event – more to follow on that!

Being a working mum means that I am used to being apart from Lylah for a few days every week, but I still get to go home and put her to bed, and have some precious moments before she enters into her nighttime slumber.

So, three days away for my sister’s hen weekend back in June really didn’t worry me.  In fact, as awful as it may sound, I was really really looking forward to the break.  Jugglehood is extremely demanding, and as any mum, let alone working mum, knows, your time alone is precious, so even though I knew I would miss my baby, I looked upon the trip as a chance to unwind, have a drink and enjoy myself.

Sat on the the Eurostar on the way to Disneyland Paris, someone in the party asked me if I was missing Lylah yet.  And then it hit me.  My stomach churned and flipped, I felt sick, and I began to well up.  Before I knew it I was practically sobbing into my Prosecco.  From then on, I couldn’t even think about Lylah without crying.  It was then I realised…even though we are desperate for a break, in need of a glass of wine and a dance with the girls, and for some time alone to recharge, any time without your offspring is like being temporarily detached from something.  I felt Lylah’s absence the whole weekend.  I missed her face, her voice, her crying, her whinging, and her giggling and laughing.  I missed her clinging on to me and rubbing my chin, pulling my hair and giving me kisses.  To go to bed at night and not have her there to say “night night” to felt so unreal.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a fabulous weekend, and I have to admit that the break did me the world of good.  But it goes without saying that I missed my daughter and husband a huge amount – they are my life.  I would rather be with them than anywhere else in the world, and that’s how I know i am the happiest when we are at home together, pottering about the house and garden, just being silly and having fun.

So that was mine and Lylah’s first weekend apart, and it was safe to say that she coped with it better than I did!

Another first was Lylah’s moment in the spotlight as a Flower Girl for her Aunty Kay Kay at Kayleigh and Adam’s wedding on Saturday.  It was the proudest moment of my life.  Not only was I overjoyed for my sister and her now husband, but it felt complete with my little family by my side.  Chris, Lylah and I were all in the Wedding party, and I was so emotional about the whole thing!  We had a fantastic day, and apart from a few thunder storms, Lylah having a tantrum about getting into the limousine and a little power failure, the day ran smoothly, and most importantly, was filled with love and happiness.

Lylah was brilliant all day, and looked like a princess in her dress; the perfect little maiden for my stunning little sister in her perfect gown.  She ate lots of sweets, boogied on the chequered dance floor and stayed up late, and went down like a dream for the babysitter while mummy and daddy drank a little more and enjoyed the live band!

I am so proud of my daughter, and also for my husband and I, and in the same breath, for all the mummies and daddies out there, who work tirelessly through the first few, long hard months of sleepless nights, teething, juggling work and parenting.  We are getting there, and moments like we enjoyed on Saturday make everything worthwhile.

Now for our next family adventure, a few days on holiday in Portugal.  I’m sure that will make for an interesting next post!

Piles of Beauty


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If any normal, sane, thirty something, responsible adult walked into my house unannounced this morning, they’d look at me with a frown. They’d judge me. They’d turn their nose up at the pig sty that my daughter and I are wallowing in. They’d look at the mound of toys, the food on the floor and the general state of things in our dwelling.

And I’d agree with them. On my mission of cleaning the house up this morning, all I can see around us is a mess. Not just one mess, but a million messes.

If I let this get to me, then I would have lost my mind long ago. Some days are better than others. If I have been organised with my week, and everything has gone to plan, the weekend tidy up doesn’t have to take all day. But today I fear it will, and maybe tomorrow as well!

I’ve already been through the panic of turning my house upside down this morning due to a misplaced (not lost, just misplaced) passport. Thankfully, it has been found, along with £35 in cash – bonus! (That has made the stress worthwhile).

Lylah is pottering around with me. We keep stopping to play and have a mess around (all work and no play makes for a miserable Anni and a very bored Lylah).

I’ve just fed and watered her at the mid-morning pit stop, after which she wandered into the living room, leaving her bowls of snacks tipped onto the kitchen floor, and her drink bottle strewn somewhere else.

I look around the kitchen, searching for the drink to bring it in to her, when there I saw it. Standing atop a pile of perfectly aligned seat cushions (from outside – in the kitchen because of the rain obviously), was her gleaming pink water bottle, precariously placed on top, in the centre. The sight of it filled me with joy. When I wasn’t looking (too busy sorting out old receipts), Lylah had formed this beautiful mountain of a masterpiece, and left it there for me to find later.

With a baby comes lots of mess and therefore constant tidying and cleaning, but this morning, for the first time, I saw these messes as something else. They are hers, they are thought about, they are planned.

They are Lylah’s little Piles of Beauty. And do you know what they mean? What they represent? They stand for a happy child, a playful child; one who adores tipping things up to see what happens, and dropping things from up high to hear the sound. These Piles of Beauty mean that my child is exploring, learning and making messes along the way.

Looking around, these mini masterpieces are everywhere to be seen. In the pages torn out of her nice books, in the piles of toys hidden in the tent, in crumbs nestling on the sofa cushions, and in the things I find hidden in every nook and cranny around the house everyday. Even the little finger prints on my glasses are a sign that Lylah just wants to learn, to create, to be.  With every attempt at wearing my specs, she’s developing that little bit further.

Let your child make a mess, stop and look at it, and think about the effort they’ve put in. Before you get the hoover out, examine your child’s Piles of Beauty, or even better, contribute your own. They can be cleaned up later, when they are in bed.

Putting yourself out there

This evening, I thought I’d look into other ways of promoting my Blog, and so added it to a variety of blogging sites, forums, that type of thing.  The first comment I got on a Mumsnet blogging forum was “Im fed up reading this stuff and the name is cringey”


This is one of the reasons I took so long to start something like this in the first place; I was afraid of being laughed at.

I’ve done it now though, and I’m enjoying it so much, and it’s okay that not everyone likes it!  Im fully aware that Blogs like these are everywhere, being written by mums and dads all over the world, but I want to share my side of things, and so I will continue.

Putting yourself out there…In life you sometimes have to just give things a go, go with it, meet new people and experience new things.  This brings me onto a topic that I’ve long wanted to talk about…my brand new baby friends.

Now, I don’t often admit I’m wrong, but when it comes to this subject, I was the furthest from right I’ve ever been.

During pregnancy, I had a couple of conversations about meeting new friend with babies.  I recall saying on a few occasions that I wouldn’t need to meet new friends, that I have plenty of friends already, and that I wouldn’t enjoy going to baby groups and making small talk about the price of nappies and the latest must have Fisher Price toy.

I didn’t spend the small fortune required on the NCT classes, and therefore I didn’t think I’d ever belong to a group of ladies who sit around during maternity leave, babies playing happily while their drinking coffee and scoffing cake!

Chris and I attended one free ante natal class, which was pretty pointless in that we knew pretty much everything they’d gone through from reading Babycentre.  But it did make me think about the other ladies I was sat in that room with.  Who were they?  What has brought them to this momentous point in their lives?  Do they know what sex their baby is?  I wonder if I’ll be in the hospital around the same time?

i didn’t think anything else of it, and by the time the birth came, and after the first few weeks of sleepless nights and constant feeding hit,  I didn’t have time to think about going to baby groups or meeting people.

Then the health visitor advised that I go along to a free breast feeding group in the local children’s centre.  Lylah was 7 weeks old, and I was so nervous to attempt this outing alone, worried that everyone would witness how nervous I was, both as a new mother and also with breastfeeding in public.  Knowing though that it would help me out with the feeding, I went along.

It was at this group that I met my first very close ‘baby’ friend, Kirsty.  Our babies were 7 weeks apart, and she was going through all the same stuff I was.  We’d talk about sleep, feeding, babies crying, waking during the night, anything and everything that we could think of.  And I loved it.  I loved having someone to offload to, and someone who completely understood me.  It was through this group that I met other like minded mummies, including Rachael, Nikki & Shelley.  Our weekly chats helped me through some really hard early moments, and I’m so thankful to those ladies and the health visitors who were there every week.

I’d still talk to my old friends, but it was hard to relay to anyone who isn’t going through it, just how hard those first few weeks/months are.

Our local children’s centre also put on a free 6 week post natal course for us.  I was now looking forward to this!  Chris dropped me off to the first session, I think I even wore some makeup and put on a nice top, and off I went, transporting Lylah in her stripey car seat, ready to talk babies, with lots of other mummies.

At the first session, I sat next to Donna, who was bubbly, friendly and who made me feel instantly at ease.  We soon established that our little girls are only a day apart and that we were in hospital at the same time!  This group was fab – it allowed us to be open, in a private, confidential setting, and we’d all talk and share stories, advice and tips.  It was here that I met, along with Donna, Rachel, Claire and Naomi, along with lots of other lovely ladies and babies.

Other groups at the children’s centres, the local baptist church, and swimming at the local pools, meant that during our maternity leave, we all saw lots of each other.  We welcomed a new mummy, Jenny, to the fold, when she moved to the area and was looking for people to meet, and she soon joined us in weekly play sessions, coffees and general gossiping!

Since then, we have all spent lots of time with each other, and have watched our babies grow together.  It is comforting to know that Lylah will know these friends from a young age, and hopefully they will always be there for each other.

It’s also so lovely when ‘old’ friends, become baby friends as well.  A couple of people who I’ve known for a long time are also in the new parent category, and it’s great to have something new to share and talk about, on top of an already long and wonderful friendship.  Adele, it’s been fab to share my experience with you, thanks for always being there :)  Having Lylah also made me see what other friends of mine who have had children before me must have gone through!  Some of my hardest early motherhood moments were helped hugely by my oldest friend from school, Claire.  Her help and advice in the early days was invaluable – thank you.

After spending a beautiful spa day with 6 of these ladies recently, it hit me that I am a really lucky person to have met these wonderful souls, and that I get to share this special time as a parent with them, exchanging stories, sharing advice, and being an ear for each other when things get tough.

Thank you to my ‘baby’ friends.  No, scrap that.  Thank you to my friends.  As that is what you are.  Only 18 months in, and I feel like I could share anything with you.  Here’s to coffee, cake, poo stories, a shoulder to cry on, and babysitting help.  Love you all, and  Lylah loves you too.

Putting yourself out there – worth it?  Absolutely.



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I’m sat, on the sofa, comfy, relaxed. Typing.

My daughter is sat next to me, contentedly supping her warm bedtime milk.
My husband is cooking our dinner, having just bathed and dressed our daughter, following a day looking after her whilst I was at work.
I’ve just enjoyed 4 long days off with my little beauty, enjoying the bank holiday sunshine and having fun.

This is balance. This is something we’ve not had in a while, and it feels, well, balanced.

Summarising the above gives me a sense of relief, and makes me realise how very lucky we are.

Tomorrow, Lylah will be at my mum’s, enjoying a day at her Nonna’s, playing and being spoiled! Then on Thursday she will be with daddy again, tiring him out and making lots of messes!

Lylah benefits from spending time with different people on different days, with a healthy dose of mummy every morning and night, and across a nice long 4 day weekend. The point here is, that while Lylah is getting that daily variety, so is everyone else. Chris and I are both parents and workers, on different days of the week, and at last I think our lives are slightly less juggled.

Yes, we still have a lot going on, but there is now a more dominant sense of a daily family life – we’ve even eaten meals together recently! At the table!

For the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, apart from paternity leave and the odd burst of annual leave, Chris has worked over an hour away, juggling long hours, and because of this we didn’t spend a huge amount of time together with Lylah.

Hang on…Lylah has finished her milk…she’s on me…she’s on the laptop…

…I’m back, teeth brushed, cuddles and sleepy kisses done and she’s in bed, ahhhhhh.

So, I was saying, for the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, Chris has worked hard, commuted long hours and been generally exhausted every single day! Combined with the stresses of his job, this led to us both desperate for him to find a job closer to home, so we can make the most of our time with Lylah together. Up until now, I expect Lylah wondered whether Chris and I ever saw each other, as the three of us were rarely in a room together!

3 weeks ago, Chris started a job 10 minutes from home – that’s 10 minutes walking! It has made such a difference, and we now have something that is so very precious – time! Time together, time as a family with Lylah, and just as important, time to ourselves. We have joined the gym, we are getting exercise, we are having breakfast and dinners together. It is wonderful!

On Saturday, we met for lunch, had a coffee together, and had fun with Lylah. It makes such a difference to the day when you get to spend that little extra time together as a family unit.

It does make me feel for those who aren’t lucky enough to have their husbands and daddies at home all the time. Those in the military, working away and with jobs that mean they are working hours on end, starting early and finishing late.   I admire the mummies and daddies out there who are doing it alone, struggling day by day to provide everything that 2 people should for a child. A lot of the time, these situations are out of people’s control, but where you can, it is so important to have a balance.

Work, but not too hard that it has a detriment to your family. Play, but not too hard that it means you are hungover for your one day with your child at the weekend. Spend time together, but also spend time apart, to make you appreciate each other and to give your own mind some space and relaxation.

There is no one set way to be a family, no right way of doing things, but I’m just happy that in this moment, we have found the right way for us.


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