Some Things That I Have Been Told To Do

People have a lot to say when you have a baby. Especially about feeding them. Just when you think that all the unasked for, over-opinionated well meaning advice about whether you should breastfeed, pump, combination feed, formula feed or do all of the above is behind you, you then have to start weaning your baby. And then the whole blooming saga starts all over again!

It turns out that people have strong feelings about how you should wean your baby. And then weaning is a right mine field! Do you do baby led weaning or purees? How much food do you give them? What should you give them? When should you feed them? And will my little darling be a picky little bastard, refuse to eat and make my life hell?

Anyway, this is not going to be a how to/advice type of baby weaning blog post. Nope, not from me. Dylan is 8.5 months old and has only been eating solids for about 2 months, so I still have my L plates on. And to be honest, I am not really sure what I am doing!

I just want to share what Rob’s and my parents fed us when we were babies and some of the weaning advice that we have been given. I hope that this is not too dull and that this post does not have the same effect on you as Dylan pictured below! But somethings we have been told made me chuckle, so I feel the need to share them here while my blogging mojo lasts!

ZZZZZzzzzzzz! Yep, this actually happened, the poor little mite fell asleep during lunch time! And yes, that is a cat hair on his highchair tray, oops!

So its all coming out of the woodwork now! What we have learnt is that my Mum used to feed me mashed up bread in a little marmite gravy (salt content alert!), lots of liver and then honey sandwiches (back in the days before they told you not to give it to babies under one years old) all the time, as I refused to eat anything else.

This is explains why I am such a bloody carb queen and I love my bread and stodge! But my Mum tried her best, as she did not know what else to give me and I was a nightmare fussy eater. Poor Mum!

Rob’s Mum has told us that when she needed a break, and Rob would not stop crying, that she used to put him in his pram and leave him in it at the bottom of the garden! But we mustn’t judge, this was the norm in the 70’s! Its just that Rob was born at the end of June, so the poor love must have been outside in the middle of winter! She also used to feed him mashed up baby rusks (which apparently have more sugar in them than a doughnut!) pretty much every meal.

This explains why Rob is such a biscuit monster!!! The man craves sugar 24/7 and cannot eat just one biscuit, he has to demolish the whole packet in one sitting! Another story that made us laugh was how when Rob was a toddler, he used to wake up in the night and come in his parents bedroom. So to stop him from coming in and waking them, they used to leave a plate of biscuits out in his room. Again, this kind of explains a lot really!

So yeah, you think that the parents would accept that times have changed and the official parenting advice is a lot different now. But no, not really! Here is what we have been adviced to do by family members when it comes to weaning Dylan –

Give him a chip.

He can have some fishfingers for tea.*

He should be eating what you eat.*

You don’t wanna do that baby led weaning malarky.*

You don’t wanna listen to her (Annabel Karmel).*

Give him a rusk.

Can he have some (raw) celery?

Give him more food and less milk.*

He should only be having three bottles a day.*

You’re horrible, you are feeding him gruel.*

So and so’s baby eats the same as what they have for dinner.*

You are forcing him to be a vegetarian.*

Ah well, they mean well at least! (Those marked with a star are my mother’s pearls of wisdom!)

TBH from what I can gather, like most things in life, with weaning there is no right or wrong way. All babies are different and you just have to do what works best for them. Some babies prefer the BLW approach and some like to have purees shovelled down their throats. Some parents make everything from scratch and some parents nearly bankrupt themselves buying Ella’s Kitchen squeezy sachets and pre-made snacks etc. You gotta do what you gotta do really. But whatever you do, it will always be wrong in the eyes of some people…. especially over opinionated granmothers!

Some Things That (I Hope) I Will And Will Not Do

So I said in one of my recent posts that I am not planning on becoming a Mummy blogger anytime soon.

And while out there in the blogosphere there are some really great family/parenting/lifestyle type blogs, there are a few (in particular a couple of the bigger American family blogs that spring to my mind) that slightly concern me about how the parents of the, admittedly very cute hipster kids, pimp out their offspring to advertise products and earn a living. Sometimes I just want to scream at them “DID NOBODY LEARN ANYTHING FROM MACAULAY CULKIN???!!!???!!” And then sometimes I find myself clicking on the links within the blog post! Hey, I am not immune to a good bit marketing, Im only human!!!

Anyhoo, in honour of one of my favourite family/parenting/lifestyle blogs Mother of All Lists (please click on the link and have a gander, its a great blog that has something for everyone, kids in your life or not!) I thought that I would write a (over opinionated and rather ranty!) post about what I hope that I will and will not do when I become a parent, both online and in everyday life.

….And so that you can all laugh at my naivety and remind me how I am a hypocrite and have completely contradicted myself in a few months time!!!!

  • I am not going to put any photos of the kid on my blog. Sorry about that. I will probably put one or two up when he is born to announce it, but that will be it. This is my personal blog about my life in general and thoughts and feelings etc. So I will stick to writing about the usual mundane stuff like decorating the house, days out and camping trips (if we manage to have any that is!) etc, rather than mundane baby stuff like sleepless nights, weaning and potty training etc. If I find the time to keep blogging of course.
  • The same goes for social media. Rob and I have agreed that we want to respect the kids privacy and we will only share his photos online with our family directly through Whatsapp, a private shared iPhoto album and personal emails. Plus I really hope that I do not post statuses moaning about sleepless nights and all the rest on Facebook! But who knows what my hormones and extreme tiredness will drive me to?!!!
  • I hope that I do not become a baby bore who talks about nothing but their kid. We all know that person. Even after politely listening to the latest news about the sprog, when you try to change the subject and get them to talk about themselves, they somehow always turn the conversation back to junior, bless ’em! BTW I totally did this when we first got the cat. I didn’t realise that I was boring people going on about her all the time!
  • I am not going to neglect my cat. She is still my little baby. Be it a 10 year old black and white, slightly chubby, totally spoilt, furry one who poops herself occasionally, pukes on the floor, has fishy breath, whinges a lot, cries to be fed on demand and needs to be cuddled to sleep all the time!
  • I am not going to call myself mamabear, wear a mother of dragons t-shirt or change my Instagram profile name to “*****’smummy” (whatever we decide to call him, still not made up our minds yet!)
  • I am not going to allow my house to be taken over by toys and kid clutter. Please do feel free to laugh at my naivety here!!! I just really hope that our lounge does not turn into something looking like a soft play area. I have loads of empty storage space in the lounge Ladderax unit for any future Lego, games and craft supplies etc. But who knows who will win the battle against the influx of plastic crap entering the house!
  • I hope that I will not become one of these “holier than thou” types who thinks that they are a more compassionate, understanding person just because they are a parent. True story – one time Rob and I were sitting in the pub next to a friend of a friend of a friend, who asked if we had any kids, then started going on about how wonderful parenthood is and how much having kids makes you a better person. I had to bite my tongue and hold back while he waffled on and on about how selfless and wonderful he was. What a dick!!! In fact, at one point I did actually say to him “so you are telling me that I am selfish because I don’t have kids” but it seemed to go over his head. Surely common sense tells you that not everybody has a choice in these matters and there are plenty of terrible, evil people out there who also happen to be parents? Grrrrrr, what a dick!!!!!!!!!
  • I hope that I do not say to other first time expectant mums or couples, the one cliche that everyone has told us that “our lives are going to completely change”! For some reason this perfectly innocent, meant well statement has grated me a bit during my pregnancy. I think its because its so obvious. And your lives also change with other major life events – like when you break up with someone, lose a loved one, get made redundant or change your job and move house etc, but no one seems to say it to you then. On a personal level, I have sometimes wanted to tell people “yeah, well so does having a miscarriage (*change your life that is*). It makes you appreciate that you cannot predict anything in life, that life is short and you need to be thankful for what you have”. But I am too polite to say so and I do not want to make people feel uncomfortable!
  • I also hope that I will not tell child free couples when they see my future babe that they “will be next”! As if just by looking at my child it will magically cure their infertility or make them change their minds about their personal choices in life!!!
  • I hope that I can bring my boy up to be a feminist.
  • I hope that if he does like Disney’s Frozen that I can support his interest and will not have a near nervous breakdown after hearing Let it Go for the millionth time! Gah, I hate that effing song so much!!!
  • I will not be a miserable cow about Xmas anymore and will try to make their childhood memories of the festive period good ones! Bring on the Elf on a shelf, tinsel and turkey!!!
  • And I hope that this will be my last personal/thought dump type of post on here about the kid. But who knows?!!!

Questions Asked And Statements Made To Rob And I Recently

In the last few weeks Rob and I have heard a lot of the same questions/statements in conversations lately…….

Pretty much everyone we chat to“Your lives are going to completely change.”
Our stock response – “Yes, we do realise this.”
The response in our heads – “Well, duh. We do know this. Maybe we want the changes in our lives.”

Pretty much everyone we chat to“You do realise that you are not going to get any sleep.”
Our stock response – “Yes, we know this.”
The response in our heads – “Well, duh. Again, we do know this. We have heard all the horror stories. We know that it will be hard. Hopefully the pros will out weigh the cons”.

Pretty much everyone we chat to“Are you going to buy a new sensible modern car?”
Our stock response – “No, we have not felt the urge to go out and order a high purchase, butt ugly, massive, gas guzzling Citroen Picasso/Renault Scenic/Vauxhall Zafira. The camper van will be just fine. Plus Helen/I does not/do not drive, so whats the point?”

Pretty much everyone we chat to“Have you brought any stuff/equipment yet?”
Our stock response – “Nope, not yet. We like to leave things to the last minute! Plus we want to finish decorating the house first.”
My response in my head – “No way, its way too early, and you never know what might happen. I do not want all that stuff in the house just in case something goes wrong. As it has gone wrong before”*

Pretty much everyone we chat to“How is Helen feeling?”
Our stock response – “Sick.”
Pretty much everyone we chat to“Really? Still?”  Then they will launch into a long monologue about how they/or their other half did not really suffer from it,  just that one time that they were sick in the bin at work. But they had this symptom or that symptom.

My boss at work“Have you got twins in there?”
Me – “No, just one. Why? Am I huge?”

Me to Rob in Tescos the other night“I got to push one of these out of my fanny hole soon” as I put a water melon into the shopping basket. (Yes, this really is how I talk. Its pure poetry all the time with me!)
Rob to me in Tescos the other night – A stupid, non-funny, blokey response about if one of them came out he would be seriously worried and wonder what I have been up to etc.
Needless to say, I made him pay for the shopping that night, which included green, round, expensive, imported fruit.

Everyone we talk to“Congratulations.”
Our standard response – “Thanks.” Followed by a slightly awkward silence. How do you respond to people when they say this when you are a bit of a socially awkward, introvert who doesn’t really like being the centre of attention? (That’s just me BTW, Rob is a pretty normal person! I never know what to say after peeps congratulate me, other than thanks! Where do you lead the conversation to next? More about yourself, the conception, the life choice you have made or the weather???!!)

A Female Friend to me“Are you going to have a shower?”
Me to female friend – “No way! That is my idea of hell!” Any situation where I have to sit in the centre of a room, wearing a sash, pretending to enjoy playing stupid party games, unable to have an alcoholic drink, and then have to pretend to go all mushy over tiny clothes is not my thing. Tiny clothes are cute, but they do not make me squeal and coo etc. Yes, I a horrible person with a heart of stone!

…….Yep, its true, I am pregnant. 24 weeks, in fact. Due 21/12/16. Its going to be an interesting Xmas!

I finally feel ready to talk about things on here, although I have not put anything on social media yet. We are being a bit old fashioned, but big social media announcements are not our thing. We have only told our close friends and family in person, on the phone or by text. The good thing about doing an announcement on here (which I hope is not too dramatic or attention seeking!) is that no one really reads my blog! I just thought it would be nice to say something to some of you (if you are reading this!) as I do enjoy our internet correspondence (you know who you all are – thanks again!)

I suppose this explains why I have not talked about cycling, hill hiking and camping on here lately. I have been too effing sick to do all the things that we hoped and planned to do when we moved to Devon!

sick note

A note I passed to Rob the other day when he was on the phone to one of his business clients! Poor Rob will tell you that he is suffering too having to listen to me heaving and cleaning up after me!!!

Yes, I am still throwing up, feeling sick, unable to brush my teeth without nearly puking, unable to drink water, tea, herbal teas, lemonade, orangeade (the list goes on – basically I can only drink chocolate milk, blackcurrant squash and vegetable stock!!) and dry heaving/gagging/wretching at any funny smell at any time of day or night at 24 weeks pregnant. Still. But I am not complaining (honestly!) its all part of the process (for 1 in 10 of us according to the NHS website) and its all good. Plus its not as bad as it was in the early days.

I am due to finish work in October, so I will (hopefully) have more time to blog soon. The finishing in October thing is not my choice, but due to the timing of things I could only take a temporary summer job. I wanted to move down here and find a secure job first before giving things another go, so that I could eventually let down said employers at said secure full time job by buggering off on my maternity leave on full pay benefits! But hey ho, this is how things have happened and I am not complaining!

*I might write about our experience eventually. For now all I will say is that it was f**king awful.

Edit 04/09/16 – I felt that I should say some more about my dislike of baby showers. Basically after publishing this post I felt like a bit of a dick for saying that they are my idea of hell! I am just a horrible, miserable cow who dislikes harmless nice things, things that are not hurting anyone, things that make other people happy like the X Factor, musical Disney cartoons, pantos (gord help me in the next few years, eh!), Christmas, weddings and baby showers.

I dunno, they just all seem too forced, contrived and just another way of the man making money from us. But that’s just me.

I have attended several baby showers in my time and played along in all the games, felt sorry for the poor mum to be as everyone guesses how fat big she is with the string around the bump game, drank the warm lemonade, given the cute tiny clothing gifts and survived! Baby showers are not all that bad. I just don’t want one myself thanks.

I also did a Google search to see if anyone else out there thinks they are rubbish and I found this link. Do have a read if you have the time, it made me chuckle!

Do You Like Bikes and Blogs? Then You Will Love These Links

Because my last post was a bit of a grumble about how I am sick of reading about ‘slow living‘ all the time (which I should have just said outright instead of ranting on as per usual! And, surely ‘slow’ is just blogland’s new trendy bandwagon word for procrastination, eh?!!), I now feel its time to redeem myself and balance out my internet karma by putting a little bit of love back out there.

I love blogs, I honestly do. They are the reason why I have an internet addiction, why I don’t buy magazines anymore and why my book reading productivity is at an all time low! I relax by sipping a cup of tea and working my way through my Feedly feed. I still enjoy blogging as a hobby too. I wish I had more time for it and I could make my blog better, both in appearance and content (plus I hate the name of it!) but I am far too lazy to up my blogging game. Maybe its because of all the slow living I do…..!

Anyhoo, I have discovered some brilliant blogs this year and I want to share them on here.

It just so happens that they all are blogs about cycling and written by thirty something women, but please don’t let that put you off!

I fully appreciate that not everyone is sporty or interested in cycling (TBH this time last year, I wasn’t either!) but if you give them a chance and click on the links, I promise you wont regret it. Some of these blogs are so thoughtfully and intelligently written (like Tour de Lindsey B!), that I want to approach random strangers in the street and tell them that they have got to read them!

BTW I have not done so yet. But I may well do if I am lubricated enough. Take this as a warning random strangers on the streets of Maidstone!

So if you like blogs that are positive, fun, stylish, well written and also sometimes inspire you to get your feminist ranty pants out of the wardrobe and wear them with pride (as cycling is traditionally a bit of a boys thing) then do click on the links below!

Total Womens Cycling – Technically not a blog, but an online magazine covering everything you need to know about cycling what ever skill level and interest you have. Even if you are not at all into cycling and you are just a total woman, then you should still read it anyway. Check out the lifestyle section, or this post, or this post to get them ranty pants on.

Velocity Girl – I love this blog. Its a fashion/cycling/lifestyle blog. What more could you want?

Lovely Bicycle – Lovely photography, writing, knitting, countryside and lovely bicycles(!) from Northern Ireland.

Bikes-N-Stuff – Juliette is passionate about female cycling and an all round awesome bird. Check out her about page for starters.

Tour de Linsay B – My current favourite. Read it.

I do have plenty more recommendations (I currently have 18 blogs filed in my Cycling section in Feedly!) but I have left them off here for various reasons like they are a bit more specialist, made up entirely of sponsored content or not really updated anymore.

And because I am blogging slow of course!*

*Ok, I will shut up now!

See also – Do You Like Pyrex? Then You Will Love These links & Do You Like Mid Century Modern? Then You Will Love These links.

A Teeny Tiny Rant!

Hello! I am afraid this is yet another post from a blogger making excuses about why they have not been blogging recently. Im afraid its all down to that old chestnut – life getting in the way again!

Im working loads ATM, and I seem to have no energy. I don’t know if its because of the dark nights and colder weather, but I just want to sleep all the time! I can manage to do the bare essentials like go to work and feed Rob and I (and the cat of course), but anything else like clean the house, blog, comment on other peoples blogs has fallen by the wayside!

Whats worse is that I have started to become a little cynical about blogs and Instagram in general. We all know deep down that they are not real life, and are highly edited, but I think that I have finally run out of patience with it all. I have my favourites, but all the rest just seem to copy each other and are so staged its like they have nothing genuine to say anymore. Plus I am starting to find a lot of the lifestyle advise/self appointed expert type blogs a bit preachy!

Oh dear! I was starting to think that I had outgrown blogs and blogging, and that I was too old and boring for all that stuff. But then yesterday I came home from work with a Kinder Egg each as a treat for Rob and I, all because they had Minion toys inside! So maybe I am not quite as mature as I think I am!!

On the flip side I have found some amazing blogs recently, so my love for blogs and blogging is still going strong. And I will continue to blog, even if my posts are sporadic and no one reads them!

Anyway thats my little rant over with there. I have got things off my chest now! Phew!

What have I been up to recently I here you ask? Well Rob and I have been doing lots of talking recently and we are going to make some big changes soon. No, we are not separating, having a kid, getting a dog, building a conservatory or changing our images and becoming steam punks! Nope, we are hoping to move house in 2016!

Its time for a change, although we love our house and we are so close to getting it finished, we both want to improve our lives by living in an area that offers us more of what we want – like spectacular walks, bike rides and better camping options. We have found an area that offers us this, but is not too rural that it freaks out the 100% town girl born and bred in me, as it has all the high street shops, supermarkets and out of town retail parks which I hate going to, but I am far too conditioned in living with them close by, so I need them really. Plus I will need another crappy, minimum wage retail job that deadens my soul in one of these places.

Anyway, I don’t want to jinx things by saying too much in case it doesn’t happen! But watch this space……

I Still Like Big Old Books And I Cannot Lie

So as I mentioned in a previous post, the parents recently had a sort out of all the junk stored up in their loft and asked me to collect the last of my books from my childhood which had languished up there for the last 15 – 20 odd years.

We collected a large suitcase full of trashy Point Horror, Point Romance, Judy Blume, Nancy Drew, Babysitter Club books and GCSE english books. This was donated straight away to the charity shop and not photographed for my blog Im afraid.

And then, the mother load – a huge box full of Enid Blyton books! (With some added Laura Ingalls Wilder et al for the keen eyed!)big booksol booksBrace yourselves for lots of badly composed pictures of books!80'sI discovered this 80’s tactic encyclopaedia type book for young girls which also has tips on how to keep fit and stay slim, beauty tips and some recipes to try. I wonder if the young boys version included these? #feministrantalertL I WI loved the Little House books when I was a booksI also loved the TV series All Creatures Great and Small and Mr Majeika. Unfortunately I could not get into the James Herriot books and I never did read them (sorry Mum!)st claresmallory towersBut I did love a good book about an all girls boarding school or two! Midnight picnics and Lacrosse ahoy!mystrysecretsecret 7famous 5adventureAnd books about gangs of children solving crimes and mysteries.books againSorry for the blur on this photo. The box of books took me all afternoon to sort out! Its funny, in a telephone conversation my Mum, her exact words were to me “I never knew that Enid Blyton wrote so many bloody books!!” I know what she means!random EBbooks galorebooks galore 2So what did I do with all these lovely old books you ask? Please don’t hate me but after sorting them and photographing them for my blog, I decided to donate most of them to charity. I kept a few of the older books and some of my favourites, but the rest had to go. I have spent years working hard on curbing my hoarding habits and they would have only been stored up in our loft for decades. Its best that they can be read and enjoyed again and raise some money for a good cause rather than gather dust and mold.

Are they family heirlooms? Yes and no. A lot of these books were bought secondhand in jumble sales and so on. I have 3 nephews and no children of my own so there is no one to pass them on to. If Rob and I do start a family, I reasoned that this is my childhood, not theirs. A lot of these books are dated and not very PC. Any possible future kids of mine can chose their own interests and books. And if they decide that they like Enid Blyton and old books then I will kick myself!

Why We Live Where We Live

I do try to not get on my soap box here, but today I want to get a little ranty about postcode snobbery and why we chose to buy a house (or rather two houses) in a perceived rough area. I could make this a very quick post, as to be honest we bought both our houses because they were all we could afford with our budget. I just want to write about how glad I am that we made a Kirstie and Phil style ‘compromise’ on location rather than carrying on renting.

My beef is that I have lost count of the number of people who say to Rob and I about our house “its a nice house” and then finish their statement by adding “but I would never live in this area”.

Sometimes when we meet people for the first time and they ask the inevitable question of “so, where do you live then?” When we give our answer, we are met with a sympathetic look and a pitying oh dear type of sound!

Friends of ours who are long term renters think that we are mad for buying a house in our area. They would rather carry on renting and hand over the majority of their pay-packets to line their landlords pockets each month than live in an less desirable area.

Needless to say, I live in a large council estate. And before that we lived in Chatham, Kent. A town with a bad reputation that I would not recommend anyone to visit!

Our area where we live is an area that people love to hate. People in my hometown slag off the people from our area (thats people who they do not know or interact with), think they are all illiterate wasters and will not venture into the estate if they can help it. Even my own Mother mouths off the area and voices her concerns to my sister (who rents a house around the corner from me) and I about us both living here.*

So what exactly is the big problem with living here? – The answer to that question is absolutely nothing. We talk to our neighbours and know them by name, and because I work in one of the local shops, I know many more people in the community who always say hello to me when passing. Its a friendly area with lots of green open spaces, a good bus service and amenities.

Ok, so a lot of the locals prefer to wear tracksuit bottoms, swear a lot, don’t mow their lawns and have broken down cars rusting on their driveways (and thats just Rob and I for starters!) Plus there is a little too much dressing on some windows for my liking. The real only downside to living where we live is that the schools in the area are below average. But that is not something we have to worry about.

Because we moved to a cheaper area we were able to buy a three bedroom house with a driveway. If we had moved to a more desirable postcode in our town, we would be lucky to afford a one or two bedroom terrace with no parking, a higher council tax rate and less internal space than our last property in Chatham.

When we were looking to move, I would have been happy to buy one of these houses as I love period properties. I grew up in Edwardian terraced houses and they are my favourite type of property (along with mid century Modernist homes), but I made the compromise of a more modern suburban house for Rob as he really wanted our next house to have a driveway for his VW fleet.

Our house might not be perfect and it still needs a lot of work, but thanks to coming out of a fixed rate mortgage and the current low interest rates we pay significantly less each month for our house than we would do if we rented a two bedroom town centre flat which currently go for £750 – £950 per month.

I read a lot of blog posts in defence of renting and I agree there are a lot of pros for it – like flexibility, not worrying about maintenance and boilers breaking etc. But personally, I would have rather spent my last 9 years living in my own homes in areas that my peers would never step foot in, rather than still be a renter. Its great being able to decorate as I wish, keep pets, hang pictures and shelves and not have to worry about our land lord deciding to sell our home and giving us a months notice to move out etc.

Even though we have paid out for two new boilers and spent a small fortune in Homebase and B&Q, hopefully it will be money well spent. Its an investment and adds value to our property (although who knows with property values these days). If not, then at least we have had fun stress hell fun decorating and can hope to break even with the money we have spent. I know that if we were to sell up right now, we would walk away with a nice chuck of money. We would be homeless mind, but at least we would have a nice chunk of money!

After all, with renting you are lucky to get your full deposit back and you will never see any of the rent you pay each month again.

As a side note I want to add this link from The House of Humble blog. You know how it is, you decide to write a post about something and while that post is lurking in your drafts folder, another blogger publishes a beautifully written post that says what you want to say much better than you ever could!!!

Image from Handz Etsy store.

Image from Handz Etsy store.

*Although she does appreciate that Rob and I are lucky to be on the property ladder and she wishes my sister was in a position to buy her place.