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We Have Steps!!

It was a warm sunny afternoon, on a rare weekend where both Sharon and I were together. We’d just had dinner and decided to let things digest before bath time by having bit of a play in the lounge.

Suddenly, this happens…

First Steps

STEPS! Actual, on-his-own-nothing-is-getting-in-his-way, steps.

As you can tell by the screaming, we were over the moon. T was pretty chuffed with himself as well. We must have spent the next 45 minutes watching T go back and forth between us, throwing himself onto us and giggling as soon as he got to us. It was fantastic. There may have been tears (on my part) and we were definitely late for bedtime.

Shake your head if you will, but I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. I’ve been looking forward to the (independent) walks in the woods and the museum, the ball games in the park, the chasing. I know there will be time when I will say; “just sit still!” but the fun stuff will simply outweigh those times.

T’s not always been the greatest mover, with crawling only really happening a few months ago, but he’s always had strong legs and has enjoyed cruising round furniture. I think he’s just been too lazy to give it a go; but I’m so glad he finally has. He seems to enjoy the independence as everything seems more accessible to him. The lounge is now an obstacle course with hidden toys gems along the way.

Aaaaaaaand we're walking. He's been taking every opportunity to do this all day. I'm so so proud.

A video posted by LesBeMums (@lesbemums) on

At the moment, we’re still at the cautious stage with T looking around before he pushes off to go for a walk. He happily comes to me when I ask, and he’ll gladly walk to nursery whilst holding my hand.

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I don’t think he’s far from going for a bimble round the garden, but we’re quite away from walking to the shops and back, which I’m totally cool about right now.

K

 

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Weaning: Top Places to Eat with Babies

One of the main reasons we chose to do baby-led weaning was so that I wouldn’t have to prepare separate meals, especially when we go out. There’s no way would I remember to get something out the freezer that morning or night before, let alone find a place where I can heat it up and then feed T – all whilst eating my own meal! Plus, the sound of T enjoying the same food as us (spice and all), sounded much more appetising.

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Over the past year we’ve been to our fair share of cafes and restaurants, and most of the time T’s awake during a mealtime, so we have to share. Long gone are the days where he would be happy with a spoon toy. He wants food.

So with this in mind, I thought I’d share our top places to eat with little ones. I’ve based this list on their menu, as well as how pro baby they are (you’ll know when they’re not, going by what facilities they have available, whether Highchairs actually fit their tables, or if the floor is a little too clean (the sure sign that a baby hasn’t visited recently!)).

Of course I’m going to make a mess.


A carvery – Regardless of what Carvery is near you, you should find that they’re pretty family friendly. Because of their buffet style dining, you can pick the perfect amount for little one’s plates.

Wagamamas – By far my favourite place for T to eat. Not only because of taste, but because it’s relatively healthy (and cheap!). I like how their menu doesn’t stray far from the adult menu apart from the portion. I also LOVE how they use Mountain Buggy pod highchairs as their choice of highchair. When we went last week, the atmosphere was so relaxed even after T had made a mess.

Bills – One of my favourite places for brunch, they were a haven when I started breastfeeding T. I felt so comfortable feeding him there, and the waiting staff are so kind and didn’t bat an eyelid when clearing the table. Plus, the food is fabulous.

Pizza Hut – Cheap and cheerful, with so many options to choose from. Whilst S and I can be a bit naughty, we still have the option to give T something healthy from the salad bar.

A few for the locals…

Iydea, Brighton – A lovely little vegetarian cafe based in the heart of Brighton. Ideya serves wholesome food at a decent price and is, again, really healthy (if you want it to be). What I love most about Ideya is the amount of choice available.

Riverside Cafe, Lewes – part of an old warehouse, the riverside building not only contains a cute little cafe, but also a barbers, fish monger, and a butchers. We went there a few weekends ago and had homemade sausage rolls with coffee. It was lovely and reminded me why I love eating locally.

credit: https://wednesdaysinthecountry.wordpress.com

Shoreham Airport (Hummingbird Cafe), Shoreham – Bit of an odd one, I know, but we found this place on a whim when we were desperate to find a place for breakfast. Although the menu is quite small, there is a lovely selection of food available, from cereal to pastries, to a full English. Plus, it’s next to a runway!

So there are our favourite places to eat, but we’re always on the look out for new places. Any recommendations? Where do you like to go when eating out?

K

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Growing Up With Lilly and Sid 

For the past few months T’s really been sprouting up and outwards. As a result, several items of clothing are now barely making it past his ankles. This is so frustrating as some of our favourite brands are now too small for him. So when the lovely folk over at Lilly and Sid invited me to prepare for future growth, I accepted their challenge! T’s been wearing Lilly and Sid since he was born, with their famous chevron suit being one of his first pieces.

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First up, these roll up shorts are perfect for T’s ever growing trunks. He can wear them as smart trousers, or shorts for when the trousers become ankle swingers! Priced at £15 (originally £30), they come as part of a set.

Staying with the ‘roll up’ theme, these roll up hem trousers are also perfect for smart or casual occasions and will stay with T a little longer than other trousers we currently have (£24). I really like the bold colour of the drawstring.

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You can’t go wrong with jumpers, especially when summer decides to finish abruptly, which is why I absolutely adore this monster pocket sweatshirt (£14, was £28).

What I particularly love about some of the jumpers from Lilly and Sid is that they all come with hidden little features, whether it’s a zipped mouth for a pocket or super hero goggles on the hood. Furthermore, these features don’t make the jumpers look childish – I’d gladly wear super hero goggles in my hood, but they don’t come in my size!

And finally, this ‘message in a bottle’ t-shirt (£9, was £18) is perfect for the beach, with the soft fabric keeping T cool in the summer and at nursery.

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Sale!

Whether you need to prepare for up and coming growth spurts, or just want to get hold of your own pieces, Lilly & Sid are currently holding a sale where some items are up to 50% off!

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K

We were offered these items for the purpose of a review, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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Six Reasons I LOVE my BabyMule Changing Bag – Review

Last year, I was lucky enough to win a Babymule changing bag. I was over the moon, it was one of the few items on my “really want” list, but I never thought I’d get my own, especially as we already had a changing bag. But you can’t have too many, right?


If you’re not familiar with Babymule, they are the creators of the adaptable changing bag.


Over the past year we’ve used our Babymule dozens of times, enjoying every minute. Here’s our favourite bits, and why we would recommend it:

Pockets galore. 

Probably one of my favourite features, Babymule have a huge selection of pockets. There’s two main compartments, one of which containing a security pocket and carabiner for your keys, as well as further external compartments and various grab handles.

Three way usage. 

Despite its size, the Babymule bag is completely adaptable. I can wear it on my back when wearing T, clip it onto the buggy when we’re out all day, or wear it as a messenger bag when we’re on holiday. Whichever way you wish to use it, there’s a smart pocket to store away unused straps and handles.

Unisex designs. 

From brown to purple, the Babymule come in a range of unisex colours and designs, which is perfect for those who aren’t particularly girly.

Accessories. 

In addition to the main bag, you also get a changing pouch for baby wipes and other bits, as well as a wipeable, padded changing mat. In other additions of the bag, you also get a bottle insulator.

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Water resistant. 

Maternity leave + coffee + grabby baby = a lot of spillage. With Babymule, your stuff can still look relatively clean!

Comfortable.

Whether it’s the padding on the back, or the support pads on the messenger straps, I have yet to get an achy back or neck with the Babymule. I have packed everything from books and clothes, food and drink, to stones bought back from the beach, however you wouldn’t know it as the bag seems to distribute the weight so evenly across your back.



We’ve been through our fair share of changing bags, so we can’t show enough love for our Babymule bag, it really has been a godsend.

Have you got a Babymule? Where has it taken you?

K

We were given no compensation for this review, we just seriously love this changing bag.

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Making Conversation.

It didn’t take long after T turning one that his words started becoming more word like and less like babble.

Although I had no qualms about having a conversation with him, it got tricky after a while, especially when T would look at me in confusion, knowing full when I had already asked him “how much” something was or “what else” someone had said.

I know, mate, I'm confused as you.

I know, mate, I’m confused as you.

  • Of recent, however, those babbles have now turned into full blown words, with “mama” and “Bebe” being his favourite words.

    Here’s a few other words I know T can say:

  • Dada (yeah, I know, I was surprised as you).
  • Duck.
  • Ockar (Oscar).
  • Tat (Cat).
  • Meeeeeeee.
  • Nana

In addition to this, I’m overjoyed at how T can also understand me as well…

He knows how to kiss (me, preferably):

He currently enjoys kissing every character in 'Rabbits nap'.

He currently enjoys kissing every character in ‘Rabbits nap’.

He knows where his tongue is when I ask him:

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He smiles when I ask him to (sometimes):

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When I ask him who’s on the phone, he finds out:

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There are a heap of other little tricks such as; clapping along to songs, and passing me objects I’ve asked for, that T can do and I’m so proud. I’m also often dumbfounded as to where he picked certain things up – I’ve certainly never taught him how blow raspberries, for example!

I’m confident that this is the work of nursery combined with us reading to him.

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He absolutely loves books, and often brings us several throughout the day to read over and over and over and over and over again. I’m pretty sure I now know where fox’s socks are and what pet the zoo gave to the little kid.

I know we’re a little while off, but I cannot wait to hear T’s “talking voice” – I know it’s going to melt me. I can’t wait for him to start asking questions or even just being able to say please and thank you.

What were your little knew first words?
K

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13 Reasons Why We Don’t have ‘Heterosexual Pride’

Less than a month since we wrote about the devastating massacre in Orlando, this  week I was shocked to see the following hashtag trending on Twitter:

#HeterosexualPrideDay.

Discussing it with my friend Laura, we were appalled. Angry. Sick.

I don’t know where it originated from, or why it came about. Whether it was genuine, or whether it was a joke. Quite frankly, I don’t care.

The fact that it was there proves the point that ignorance still exists, and that (Gay) Pride is still a joke to some. It proves why we still need (Gay) Pride, and why we DON’T have a straight pride:

1) Straight people don’t need to check who’s around before they kiss their partners.

2) You don’t have to consider whether to tick “straight” on a form as you might have more chance of getting the job that way.*

3) Straight people don’t have to awkwardly correct people when you say partner and they assume it’s someone of the opposite sex.*

4) Straight people can go to any country for a holiday.

In red are all the countries where it’s illegal to be straight


5) Staight people have never been stoned to death or pushed off a building as punishment for being straight.*

6) Straight people don’t have to worry about walking into gay bars, unlike gay people in straight bars. 

7) No religious book says straight people are an abomination.*

8) Straight people aren’t token characters in films or books. 

9) Straight couples don’t sit in the “no same-sex stag/hen parties” section when it comes to booking holidays (it happens, trust me). 

10) You don’t hear kids saying something is “so straight”.*

11) Straight people have never had to fight for marriage.*

12) Straight people don’t need to check whether the area in which they want to live is “gay friendly”. 

13) It’s never, ever, been illegal for straight people love someone.* 


This is in no way a pitch-forking exercise against Heterosexual folk, and I apologise if I have caused offence in anyway. 

*Contributed by the lovely Laura from Mama, Eden, and Me

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My First Blogging Conference – BritMums Live. 

This weekend saw the biggest blogging conference in the blogging calendar, BritMums Live (or #BML16 if you’re partial to the occasional hashtag).

Sponsored by Cheeky Wipes, I took myself off to London for the day to meet fellow bloggers, network with brands, and learn a few things about blogging and social media. In black and white that all sounded pretty simple, however once I got there it was actually quite a challenge.


According to other bloggers, this year was the first year that BritMums was a one day event. Previously, it was a two day event, and I could see why. As well as several breakout sessions to pick from throughout the day; ranging from ‘The Dark Net’ to Instagram, you also had the option to network with brands, as well as the mammoth task of meeting other bloggers.


None of this is mandatory, of course, but why wouldn’t you want to try and experience everything or chat with the people you’ve been chatting to for months, if not years?

Starting my day with a 6:30 train to Farringdon, I was lucky to meet up with a few Brighton bloggers on the way – this definitely made walking into an already busy forecourt a lot easier.

The location was great. I’ve been lucky enough to visit The Brewery before with S as part of Christmas Do’s so thankfully I knew my way around.

Before the conference even began I was already recognising a few faces. This was my first challenge of the day; go up to them and say hi, or wait and save myself from looking like a fan-girl. I decided to wait, register myself, and go get (a few) pastries. This is where I met the lovely Emma and John.

After the opening talk I made my way to the “networking” room. I actually found this room to be quite overwhelming, and the majority of the brands didn’t really suit our blog, so I decided to say hello to some bloggers! This is where I met Tom, Tim, Martyn, Dave, Tony, (honestly, I didn’t just aim for the dads), Leanne, and Hannah.

In no time, the first session was about to begin so I took myself off to learn/discuss creative writing. This is where I met Lucy, which was the only plus side to the session. Maybe it was me misinterpreting the session description, but I did leave this particular breakout session feeling quite deflated. With this, I decided to miss the second breakout as I wanted to catch up with the lovely ladies from the BlogBumpClub. Chelle, Hannah, Hannah (I know, a lot of Hannah’s) and Katy were there and I had a blast chatting about (and sniffing) babies. It was hard not to become incredibly broody!


Lunch was suddenly upon us and after much deliberation I enjoyed a lamb curry with a side of nachos. I also managed to find room for some pudding.


The third breakout session was the most enjoyable as it was based around the Sketchbook Club. I’ve never done anything like this before despite always enjoying colouring-in and doodling, so it was no surprise that this session was really enjoyable. If anything, it completely took the pressure off making the conference solely about blogging! I already have a few ideas about how I can integrate sketching into the blog/Instagram.


The fourth session I attended was about Instagram and unfortunately, again, I didn’t come away feeling like I’d learnt much, which was good; without sounding arrogant, as it made me feel that I was actually doing something right!

Apart from meeting fellow bloggers, my favourite part of the day was, by far, the keynote speeches. The highlights for me were Tim and his x-factor worthy parody of ‘Pretty in Pink’ and Al’s ‘Job interview to become a Stay-at-home-dad’.

After the keynotes, the BiB (Brilliance in Blogging) awards commenced. Sadly, quite a few of my favourite blogs didn’t get the award they deserved, but I was still proud as punch to see their names up there as finalists!

The evening finished with cake, wine, and more socialising. Here I was finally able to meet a few more of my favourites; Donna and Stephanie (aka Clarke Kent!).


As you can tell, it was quite the Saturday. I still have a few reservations and criticisms of the event and, as other people have mentioned, I’d be reluctant to go again based purely on the breakout sessions – but maybe that was just me. I was, on the other hand, impressed with the variety of sessions available. 

The socialising aspect, however, was totally worth the journey and I’d like to hope I’ve made some friends this weekend.

Even if you’re new to blogging, I would recommend giving at least one conference a go. It’s a great way to find like-minded bloggers, and the gift bags are pretty sweet.

The environment is lovely, albeit busy, and the bloggers I’ve met this weekend are some of the nicest people I’ve met. I just wish I’d found time to meet more people! I’m sorry if I didn’t get round to saying hi!

Did you go to BML16? What did you enjoy/not enjoy? Any tips?

K

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“Making a Bum Job Better” – Cheeky Wipes: Review.

I’ll start now by saying that that snappy title isn’t my doing. I saw it on the Cheeky Wipes’ website and thought it was brilliant!

Anyway.

I first started using Cheeky Wipes when T was a few months old. We should have probably used them sooner – what with the poonami’s we were encountering – but in the midst of newborn chaos, we didn’t get around to “setting it up”, which is daft as it’s hardly a difficult, or time consuming task.

If you haven’t heard of them before, Cheeky Wipes are the makers of reusable wipes.

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If you’re not a family that cloth bum, don’t worry. Neither are we. We, too, were disposable city. So when we first saw Cheeky Wipes at a Baby Show we were dubious. We didn’t think we’d get round to using them, we thought it would just add to our wash load, we thought it’d be expensive. Neither of those points have come true for us.

To use Cheeky Wipes, you have two lidded tubs. One labelled ‘Fresh’, one labelled ‘Mucky’.

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You also have two bottles of scented oils labelled the same for each tub. I’ve found that even with the lids firmly shut, you still get a nice aroma in the room once the oils have mixed with the water and remains even when the mucky bin is getting… “Mucky”.

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In the green, mucky bin, place the drawstring net in the tub (there’s even neat little hooks to hold your bag in place), put 6-8 drops of the green bottle; we have teatree and lemon scent, in and then fill the tub with water.

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In the blue, fresh bin, place 6-8 drops of the blue bottle; we have lavender and chamomile in ours, fill with water up to the first line and then place enough wipes (roughly 8-12) up to the second line. Each wipe consists of a square, flannel-like, terry nappy material.

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Easy.

One flannel should deal with one nappy change by wiping, folding, wiping, folding and then potentially wiping again. I don’t think I’ve ever had to use more than one wipe, even for the messiest of changes.

Once the mucky bin is full (for us, it’s around 15 wipes or when the water is rather mucky) simply do the draw string bag up and put it in the washing machine with the rest of your whites (obviously remembering to take the whole bin down to the washing machine otherwise there’ll be drip issues).

The package we bought came with 25 white cotton terry wipes, two bottles of oil, and a travel option that consist of a mucky and clean bag in a PVC style fabric. This costs £39.99, however cost us around £35 thanks to Baby Show discount! You can also purchase microfibre or bamboo velour wipes. Wipes also come in a range of colours.

We really like using Cheeky Wipes as not only are we being Eco-friendly, but we’re saving money on wipes! Plus, no more incidents of T emptying a whole pack of baby wipes!

Cheeky Wipes also make a ‘Hands and Face‘ kit, a ‘Sanitary Pad‘ kit, and an alternative to toilet paper. Plus, they also ship worldwide!

If you’d like to try Cheeky Wipes, there’s a great deal over on their Facebook. Spend £35 and get a small double wetbag, plus 10 bamboo & minky wipes, worth £17.95 free! Plus, every Friday is ‘freebie Friday’ so keep an eye out on their page for deals.

K

Cheeky Wipes are our BML16 sponsor this year, however all thoughts and opinions are our own. We purchased our  own Cheeky Wipes package with our own cash. 

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We Are ‘Pulse’.

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you may have noticed a change in usual programming when it comes to our posts of recent.

It comes following a devastating massacre in the early hours of Sunday morning, whereby a gunman (I won’t be using his name; it’ll just showcase him as the martyr he wishes to be) shot and murdered 49 people (probably more by the end of the week) and injured dozens more, in a club full of people from the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida. Not 49 people at random, 49 people specifically targeted because of who they love. Who they are.

They were brothers and sisters, husbands and wives. People closeted to parents or colleagues; who are now only finding out, people who have been “out” for decades.

As with any mass shooting or massacre (how I can say that in 2016 is beyond me), it comes with heartbreak and sorrow for thousands, however for me, this one has affected me the most. These people were my community. A community who already have every matter precious to them decided. Marriage. Children. Giving blood! And now this. Their life.

To top it off, June is the month LGBT communities commemorate the Stonewall riots back in 1969. A time where LGBT folk fought back against injustice. A time that seems to be reliving itself in 2016.

I’ve always prided myself on how truthful I am on this blog. How everything, warts and all, have always been on the table. However, tonight, I’m finding myself writing something I don’t often write about… Fear. Not the usual, everyday fear over whether I’m a good parent, but fear for the future and the things I can’t control. I haven’t stopped thinking since Sunday. Thinking about my family. My friends. My community. And I feel unsafe. Uncertain. I worry about the safety of my family. I fear for what world T is going to grow up in.


Sunday could have happened here in the UK. It sounds dramatic, I know, but we’d be pretty naive if we thought that the same hatred doesn’t exist in the UK. It does.

Did you know that more often than not a a same sex couple has already assessed their surroundings several times whilst walking down the street? Before they hold hands? Before they kiss their partner? They probably didn’t even know they did it, but they did. It’s automatic. As is knowing what pubs not to bother visiting, what holiday resorts, you name it. That is because of the prejudice we face and hear about from within our community every day. Every. Day. We still have signs in windows that advertise whether somewhere is ‘Gay Friendly’, you wouldn’t get that for ethnicity or religion, would you?

I’m lucky enough to be able to walk down the street with my wife and not have something thrown or shouted at in my direction, however that’s because I live in a gay-friendly city. Others, even in the UK, are not so lucky.


The great thing about social media, however, is that you can feel part of a community within minutes, a place you don’t need to check your surroundings. However it’s also a place where you read about hate. Where you see all the injustice still, and thanks to social media it doesn’t go unseen.

In comparison to the other tragic events that have occurred over the past few years, this has seen the least amount of support. Silence in some places. Taking my personal Facebook account as an example, I only saw a handful of non-queer friends discuss Sunday. A handful. I agree that changing Facebook profile pictures don’t work towards the bigger cause, but they send a message. Trust me. On this occasion it tells us we matter too. I’m not advocating that by not talking about it, or changing your Facebook profile, that you agreed with what happened. Far from it. How people deal with things is up to them, however silence is deafening. More could, should, be done. How is it that marriage for same sex couples in England and Scotland only occurred in 2014?! For Northern Ireland, it hasn’t, and potentially never will. That’s how far down the list we are.

So this is where we need you, our non-queer friends. We need you to stand with us, to stop allowing phrases such as “that’s gay” pass, for example. You may not do it yourself, and for that we thank you, however friends, friends of friends, family, may do. Phrases like this are just tips of the iceberg. It spreads inequality.

Sunday may not have affected you, but it does effect you. Until we irradiate this hate, it will continue in one form or another.

In fear of writing war and peace, I’ll stop now. I don’t know whether there was a point to this post, I guess I just needed to get a few things off my chest. I hope you can understand. We’re in pain. We’re scared.

K