#Photo365 Photo Challenge: March in Pictures.

Another busy one this month as I’ve really pushed to make sure we’ve made the most out of our last few weeks together before I return to work and T heads off to nursery.

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll know I’ve shared my fair few gripes with a teething baby, therefore I’m surprised we have so many pictures with genuine smiles in them!

As usual, you can follow us on Instagram, but in the meantime, here’s what our March looked like:

 

Returning to work: What I’m looking forward to. 

With less than one week to go until I return to work, I’m actually feeling alright about not only returning to work, but leaving T at nursery (maybe it’s because they’ll then be dealing with a teething baby).

Taking myself out of the role of ‘mum’, there are actually a few things I’m looking forward to when I return to work:

1. Hot drinks. 

I never thought I’d miss something so much as I do a hot drink. Drinks these days are either thermonuclear or luke warm, and are hardly ever consumed at a relaxing pace.

A poor excuse for a coffee

A poor excuse for a coffee

2. Completing a task.

I’m forever completing tasks, but never the original task I planned to do. Breakfast? In between that I would have diverted to put the washing up away, diverted to put a wash on, and walked T around the lounge a few times; thus leading to point 1.

Returning to work will mean starting something and finishing it without getting interrupted.

3. Adult conversation (that doesn’t include baby talk). 

I’m so proud of T, so of course I’m going to want to shout it from the rooftops, not to mention talk about the stresses of parenthood, but every now and again I miss chatting about non-parenting matters.

The other day, whilst chatting with friends, our topic of conversation went from feminism, to music, to our favourite sandwiches. It was brilliant. It gave me a break from being “mum”.

4. Me time. 

Although work will be work, so I won’t necessarily be able to think about much else, I know I won’t be thinking about what I’m doing for T’s dinner, or that I need to get that white vest out of the bucket of vanish.

5. Clean clothes. 

After a day with T, I often look like someone who’s just completed a bush-tucker trial; with debatable stains on my top, and crusty patches on my jeans that I can’t remember putting there.

I’ll be wearing a uniform at work which not only means that I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear, but it’s unlikely I’ll end my shift with sticky stuff on me (unless I miss my mouth whilst eating a jam doughnut).

6. Missing T. 

This sounds like an odd one, but hear me out.

At the moment I spend every day with T, so I don’t often get a chance to really “miss him”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t aim to get rid of him, but the only time we part ways is when T is in bed, and even that is short lived as he often still wakes in the night.

Going to work will give me a chance to miss him, and him miss me (hopefully).

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There’s no doubt about it that the first few weeks are going to be tough, especially on days when T isn’t happy about being left, but thinking about the above points is going to make it easier (for me, anyway), not to mention the fact that I genuinely think nursery will be good for T. He’ll make new friends, and learn new things.

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How did you cope returning to work? What made it easier for you? What did you look forward to?

K

Maternity Leave: More Than Just Babies. 

With less than two weeks to go until the dreaded return date, I wanted to reflect on what maternity leave has been like for me (in a nutshell, mind you. We don’t want to open THAT can of worms).

Maternity leave. It’s a big one. Not just in time; although for some it isn’t, but in meaning. When you go on maternity leave there’s this HUGE expectation that you have, let’s face it, a lot of time off. Time off that you think will last a lot longer than it actually does. It doesn’t. Time off that you think will give you a chance to “get stuff done”. You don’t.

 

I just tidied up!

More often than not, there’s this assumption that maternity leave will be this magical time filled with Instagram worthy moments, and days that flow nicely from start to finish. Sure, some days are like that. Some days you will just “win”. But other times you’re just happy you’ve got to the end of the day.

Maternity leave is far from a holiday, which is why you have to take the little things as a gain, although for me they’re definitely not “little things”. Instead of thinking what you haven’t done, remember what you have done. 

Here’s what my maternity leave looked like in addition to, of course, keeping a baby alive:

Blogging.

I started blogging to document our TTC journey and capture T growing up. Little did I know that I would still be doing it years to come and that I would gain several friends from the process!

Babywearing.

Before T was here, babywearing was alien. A skill there was no way I’d be able to master. In fact, I thought the buggy would be my friend. But thanks to an idiot dog who likes to run in front of the buggy, and a Velcro baby, I quickly got into babywearing. So much so that I now hear myself telling S about the different threads and carriers, and how much of an “investment” they are.


My OCD

Before babies I had a strict routine. Not just related to timing, but how I would deal with certain scenerios. For some reason, with all the chaos that comes with babies, my OCD has been toned down a little which has been one of the biggest leaps for me. A relief, in fact.

It was a genuine concern of mine, when I was pregnant, that I wouldn’t be able to cope with having to prepare a baby bag as well as check that all the plugs in the house were switched off. I still have bad days, but more often than not I do ok managing a baby and my OCD.

TV

Oh the TV. Some would say the TV is counter productive but I love TV. I defend my opinion with the fact that I don’t watch trash TV. Sure, I don’t watch University Challenge, but I watch shows that require some thought (that’s my defence, anyway).

Over the past 11 or so months, I’ve watched several box sets (they’re almost like books, right?) as well as films I never got to watch the first time round. These are genuine accomplishments for me as I rarely got to watch much telly whilst working shifts. They’ve kept my brain ticking as well as let me escape back into the land of Kate for a while.

Reading

I LOVE READING. Like the TV (kinda), books let me escape for a bit. Not only do they take me into a new world, but they also take me to a hotel poolside or the beach. To me, books aren’t just about the subjects they’re about.

Thanks to my bucket list challenge, I’m trying really hard to make use of nap time and feeds to read.

Since T was born, I’ve read six books. SIX. Adult books at that. That’s not bad going for me considering I was regularly interrupted as soon as T hit 3 months or when I went weeks without out picking up a book because of other commitments.


New friends

This is a big one for me, and probably the most life changing one. Parenting can be a lonely place, despite being part of the biggest club in the world. You can go to all the groups in the world but as soon as that group is over, you’re back at home. Alone.

I’ve been very lucky over the past 12 months and have gained some genuine friends. Friends from the blogging and the “real” world. They have kept me company. They have kept me sane.

 

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New friends

So there we have it. My maternity leave. It looks pretty bleak in black and white, but it’s hard to put into words what it’s been like emotionally. It’s been one hell of a ride.

When I first started my maternity leave back in February 2015 I had no idea what to expect (apart from said baby… eventually). I didn’t think I’d be so busy, I didn’t know I’d doubt myself so much, I didn’t think I’d need more than S to keep me company – I’ve always been really independent.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been hard. But, if I’m being honest, I’ve enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve completed a dozen marathons and still wanting more.

It feels like an end of a era, but it’s only the beginning!

Do you agree? What else did you gain from your maternity leave?

K

Birthday Giveaway with Puddleducks (ENDED)

T has been swimming with Puddleducks for quite some time now, with his first lesson starting back in June when he was just 2 months old.

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Every week, regardless of mood, we have fun learning how to swim and be water confident together. You can tell T always enjoys himself as more often than not he doesn’t want to get out!

Looking back to when T first started, he was just a tiny baby in this huge swim suit; floating around the pool. Now, as soon as recognises Vicki; our instructor, he’s all smiles. As soon as he’s in the water, he splashes and kicks following word associations, holds onto the side when asked, and even swims underwater. We even had a Photoshoot done to capture this!

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Joining Puddleducks was one of the best things we chose to do together, which is why we want to give one lucky Floatie or Splasher (ages 0-15 months) a chance to win a free mini-taster term for May 2016*!

During the taster term, you’ll learn how to confidently handle your baby in the water, as well as teach them the basics when it comes to water safety (and fun, of course!).

For your chance to win, just follow the link below.

Enter Competition

Good luck!!

PUDDLE DUCKS_FINAL LOGO AW

*Terms and Conditions

Open to UK residents only.
Locations for taster term limited to Brighton Hilton Metropole, Ovingdean Hall, and Chailey Heritage School.
No cash alternative.
Closing Date: 07/04/16 (winner contacted within 48hrs)

Days Out – Bateman’s (Rudyard Kipling’s Estate), East Sussex {National Trust}

Last Sunday, as part of our Mothers’ weekend, we decided to take ourselves off to another National Trust location. The weather was finally in our favour after weeks of rain, and we all felt pretty energetic after a sickness bug.

After a short drive (nicely timed around T’s nap time), we arrived at Bateman’s. Bateman’s is the estate of author Rudyard Kipling.

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A 17th century property based in Burwash, East Sussex, it’s a polite house full of charm and character.

 

Kipling was obsessed with India, which is themed heavily throughout the house, however it still bleeds English charm. There’s also an exhibition room within the property that details all of Kipling’s work – I, for one, didn’t know there was such an expansive collection outside of ‘The Jungle Book’.

 



The grounds surrounding the property are also mesmerising, with a water mill south of the estate after a short walk, and several wild gardens.

Although one of the smaller locations within the National Trust, we had a lovely time getting out and about. We can’t wait for the summer.

 

K

We received zero compensation for the purpose of this post – we just love our National Trust membership. 

Boob fuel with Boobbix – Review

If you’ve ever met me for coffee, you know I love the cake.

Although I’m still actively pursuing the healthier snack as written previously, I still like to enjoy the odd treat-thats-now-not-really-a-treat, especially when I’m out with friends.

At home is another story though. Although still treat-like, more often than not my snacks at home contain oats for boob-fuel (that’s my excuse anyway). Oatcakes, breakfast biscuits and, of course, Hob Nobs are my favourites. They provide the right amount of sweetness but tell me I’m doing my boobs some good.

Unfortunately, they’re probably not doing my waste line any good; which is why I’m always on the look out for specific lactation food.

Boobbix are a cookie company (sold!) but they’re also a lactation cookie company. (Even better). They make delicious (I’ll talk more about this bit shortly) cookies that contain your usual ingredients to help lactation, including; fenugreek, oats, and flaxseed.

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When I tried their peanut butter chocolate chip flavour, I was sent to heaven.

 

 

I’ve tried a fair amount of cookies and biscuits in my time and I can honestly say that I’ve never tasted anything so delicious whilst knowing it’s doing me some good! They even hold out on the tea-dunk test!

Each box contains 10 individually wrapped biscuits that can be frozen for up to 6 months. They can also be heated up in the microwave to act as a warm pudding.

The cookies come in a range of flavours from chocolate chip and oat, to cranberry and almond, and retail at £10.50 so a little pricey but they’re worth it as all ingredients are free range and organic where possible.

I had two cookies one afternoon and I immediately felt a difference a few hours later once consumed with some water.

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I’ve already bought a few boxes for some boob-buddies, although I’m not sure whether they’ll last the week as they’re absolutely delicious. It’s a good job our UK girl guides don’t sell these door-to-door. Our US readers will also be pleased to hear they also ship to the US.

K

We were given a box of Boobixx lactation cookies for the purpose of a review, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.