Being braver and bolder – a life update! 

Firstly, I am massively sorry I’ve not blogged for AGES! I am a ridiculously rubbish human. All I can say is, this last couple of months have been a bit of a whirlwind…

I wrote a post earlier this year about being brave and bold in 2015, so this an update to that entry. In January, I started the year still on maternity leave, unquestionably fatter than usual and slightly apprehensive about putting Little J in nursery due to his mummy’s boy ways 🙂 

Since then, I’ve managed to lose 17 pounds, I’ve started work as a PR freelancer and J has indeed started nursery. I’m still trying to be brave and bold – which isn’t always easy – but I’m trying!

Here’s my update in detail:

Losing the baby weight

I have always been pretty slim and into healthy eating, so when I found out I was pregnant I decided to take it as a license to eat EVERYTHING in sight. In the early months I crammed in the stodge and sugar to get me through the insane tiredness, in the second trimester I craved creamy Thai green curry and raw pickled chillies, and in the final three months I ate A LOT of chocolate (and Rennies. Good Lord did I crunch those bad boys down!). I ate lots of good stuff too, but the sheer amount of calories I consumed meant that I stacked on over two stone during my pregnancy. 

I absolutely thought that this would drop off me when I started breastfeeding but nothing could be further from the truth! In those first few months when J would feed for four hours (four blinkin’ hours!) from 3am – 7am every night, I used to make myself four rounds of wholemeal toast with butter and Tesco crunchy chocolate spread, plus a pint of milk, just to see me through. I’m not quite sure what I would have done without that chocolate spread and crap Made in Chelsea re-runs in those dark days. So, erm, a big thank you to the makers of both! 

Anyway, losing the weight didn’t happen at all until I discovered a diet that could be done while breastfeeding. It’s essentially based on clean eating and nutrition rather than calorie counting, which is great – and so far I’ve managed to ditch a stone and a bit (with one more to go). I’m so happy! It’s a very healthy way to lose weight. My face doesn’t look quite so porky and I’ve managed to get into a few of my old clothes. I’ve got one pair of size 10 skinny Levi’s that have become my ultimate goal. I’m coming for you, you beautiful creatures! 

Starting work after maternity leave 

I left my job of ten years while I was on maternity leave. I wasn’t expecting to go down that road when I waved goodbye to my colleagues last February armed with my maternity gifts and cards, but various circumstances have meant that I’ve been given a fabulous opportunity to try freelancing, which I’ve always really fancied but never quite been brave enough! 

Going it alone with no planned pension, sick pay, holiday pay and private healthcare has been slightly scary, but not half as scary as I thought it would have been – especially after leaving the lovely bubble that is maternity leave! I’ve been lucky enough to land a few contracts with a couple of lovely PR agencies and I’ve got two of my own clients too. So far so good! I still find it almost cringy to ask for money for my services, if that makes sense. I suppose knowing your worth comes with time and it’s a new journey for me to invoice people rather than just wait for my salary to magically appear in my account! I feel very blessed though. I really believe that because I’ve been positive about the whole journey, I’ve been rewarded with positivity. It’s been a great learning curve! Sometimes, extending yourself out of your comfort zone is only ever a good thing, 

I’ve been fortunate enough to only work three days a week (plus a few hours in the evenings writing my press releases and copy) which has meant I can spend more time with my little guy. This is worth its weight in gold and I’m very thankful. 

Nursery for J – Eeeeeek!

This was the biggie for me, I was completely bricking it about dropping my boy off at nursery and leaving him. Honestly, the thought of that first day hung over me like a big scary hammer (sorry, I tried to think of a better analogy but inspiration has escaped me!). I once read a story that a mum got a phone call on her first day back at work from her child’s daycare worker, instructing her to pick her cherub up immediately as he ‘wasn’t ready for care”. Oh sweet CRIKEY how those words haunted me! 

My Little J is a breastfeeding monster (even now at 14 months old). He loves da boob. He has refused all bottles and dummies from nine weeks old when I tried to express a bit, so it’s me or nothing. He will drink water or juice from a sippy cup, but he’s not exactly enthusiastic about it and the majority ends up on the floor. This was the main reason I was crapping it, plus the fact that he screams if I dare to go to the loo most of the time!  

Everyone told me it would be ok though, and guess what? It was! That first day was pretty crappy, as you can imagine! Having to peel him off me while he sobbed and tried to cling on to me like a spider monkey was devastating, but ever since then he’s been fine. He usually stops sobbing before I’ve even left the building nowadays! Honestly, he is due an Oscar for his emotional performances 🙂 And he has a fabulous time with his new friends. 

If I’m out all day at work, I feed him in the morning before I leave, usually once when we get home (as he’s usually pawing at my top at this point and trying to expose my bangers) and once before bed. If I’m off work with him, he will happily feed like a newborn still! I’m hoping he will self-wean at some point (which basically means I’m taking the lazy/meandering/see-what-happens approach to parenthood as per usual!). I still have nightmares about having to appear on This Morning and explain to Phil and Holly why I’m still breastfeeding a ten year old, but I try to quiet those invasive thoughts 🙂 

The only downside to nursery is we seem to have been non-stop poorly since he started! Eurgh. 

So all-in-all, it’s been a crazy few months! Onwards and upwards though – I’m moving house in August now, and then maybe it’s time to think about adding another baby into the mix. We never give ourselves a break, huh?! 🙂 

Evie xxx

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Posty cakey review!

Hey mummies! 
Apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I’m not a regular blogger, more of an occasional “inspiration hits me and I write something’ type girl, but the last few weeks have been more than crazy! 

After a fabulous and lengthy 13 months on maternity leave, I have finally returned to the world of work – albeit as a part-time freelancer. Even though I’m only working three days a week, the transition back has been a busy one. My Little J is finally settling in at nursery, even though he screams blue murder whenever we drop him off and then pretends that he’s having a rubbish time when we pick him up (which is rather amusing because if we arrive and doesn’t spot us for a few minutes, we can tell he is quite clearly having the time of his life!).

During this hectic time though, I did get one blog-related email that stopped me in my tracks and captured my attention. It was from a rather unique and amazing new company called Bakerdays who asked me if I would like to try one of their postal cakes (!) in exchange for an honest review. In my brain, I read it as thus: “Hello Eve, would you like some free cake?”, so as you can imagine I replied with a hearty YES PLEASE. Especially as I’ve just spent the last six weeks or so on the juice plus/clean eating plan to get rid of some of this baby chub. Man I need the cake. 

After perusing the website that showed off designs for children’s birthday cakes, Mother’s Day cakes, birthday cakes and even personal photo cakes, I decided (selfishly) on a rather cool cake that bore the legend “Keep Calm, the Best is Yet to Come” which I thought was rather apt for this period in my life as I embark on a new career path. 

The cake was POSTED to me, and rather excitingly it fit through my letter box! It arrived in a beautifully presented retro-looking tin which could be kept afterwards as yet another place to collect general bits and bobs, hair bobby pins and the like. 

The cake itself was extremely cute, beautifully iced and above all, very tasty! It was super sweet and sugary but went down nicely with a large mug of tea. I’d probably opt for a bit more jam and cream-type filling if I’m being honest but as you can imagine cream probably wouldn’t post that well! 

   

   

Altogether, I think that these little postal cakes are an absolutely gorgeous way to show people that you’re thinking of them, and offer a lovely alternative to sending flowers or even cards. I’d definitely use Bakerdays again. 
Do have a mosey and a mooch over to their website if you ever need some cakey inspiration, or if you fancy sending one of your friends or family (or even yourself!) a sugary posty cake! Very cool indeed, lots of choice and loads of ways to apply a really personal touch. 
I was sent a posty cake from Bakerdays in exchange for an honest review. 
Www.bakerdays.com

Love & Fear

One of the biggest things to change in my life since embarking on this wonderfully wondrous parenthood journey is the sudden, powerful and quite overwhelming introduction of FEAR. 

Before becoming pregnant, I – like most people – felt pretty immortal. I was young (ish!), healthy and happy. I had no real fears. I was a bit of a stress head, probably verged on being classed as a worrier, but I wouldn’t say I was massively SCARED of anything. I brushed off newspaper headline scaremongering and war threats, I took the chance and dashed across the road when the tram was looming, I smoked the odd cigarette and ate crap at weekends, the usual. 

When I discovered I was pregnant, the feeling of immortality dropped off me like a stone into a river. And as my baby and my belly grew, I was suddenly scared of everything. Everything. As well as being occasionally crippled with fear that I’d eaten something forbidden or slept on my wrong side, I also felt really vulnerable for the first time in my life. I’d be overly careful when walking home from work to make sure I didn’t walk down any backstreets and I even felt slightly suspicious of any unsavoury looking characters in the city in case they wanted to do me (or mainly my baby) any harm. I hope I’m not sounding like a complete lunatic here! The rational side of my brain always kicked in and luckily my fears didn’t spill over too much so they affected my life, but even so – it was a strange new feeling to suddenly become untrusting of the world. As my baby wriggled and kicked inside me, I also knew in my bones that I would have done anything, absolutely anything to protect it. 

My friends all told me that the feeling of love for your baby was incredibly beautiful and overwhelming – which was true – but nobody warned me about the fear which followed! Consequently, I’ve had conversations with many of my mummy friends who feel exactly the same way – one of them summed it up perfectly when she said that having a baby “made you take your heart out of your chest and wear it forever on your sleeve.”

When Little J was born, I did find the first few weeks pretty crazy. I loved it, absolutely loved it, and I loved him so so much right from the first second, but sometimes irrational fears would creep into my brain and I’d be extra extra careful when say, straightening my hair, just in case I dropped them and they somehow bounced up and touched the baby. I was far too scared to leave J sleeping in his Moses basket and go for a shower in case he cried or choked and I didn’t hear him. I also wanted one of us, myself or my husband, to be awake with the baby all the time, so I used to make poor Mr Muddle stay up until 4am with J so I could get a few hours sleep!  I mentioned this to be health visitor and she told my husband to keep an eye on me as this could be one indicator that I may develop PND, but luckily I kicked myself into touch and the more irrational fears melted away eventually. I know not all mummies are so lucky so I’m very thankful for this. 

As well as being more fearful (although I must say, this is improving and I’m beginning to feel slightly more back to normal), I also want to cry for the world most days. All of a sudden, homeless people aren’t just a bit sad to me, they are someone’s children. Someone lost at sea in the Pacific is somebody’s son. Any world tragedy affects babies. It’s cripplingly sad, it occasionally makes me want to run off with my family to a remote Scottish island with no internet connection or newspapers (although I think I’d miss Facebook too much 😉 ). 

I think (well, I hope!) that these feelings are part and parcel of being a parent. I suppose the overwhelming love and incredible protective instincts towards our babies are part of our DNA and inbuilt into our genetic make-up since prehistoric times. 

As my Little J nears his first birthday, I must say that life, and my brain, does feel more “normal” again – but I also know that my life has changed forever. 

What about you mummies? Did you have similar thoughts or was your experience different? I’d be very interested to hear your perspectives… 


Single Mother Ahoy

Frugal mummying 

I think most people who know me well would testify to the fact that I’m not really a frugal kind of girl. Before becoming pregnant, I would merrily swan off on mini breaks with the girls at the drop of a hat, I was always pretty carefree when it was my round, I flounced off for fancy lunches on a regular basis and I cheerfully spent a hefty percentage of my monthly salary in Topshop. 

I’m not really sure what happened to me when I became pregnant but I suddenly became very…careful with money! I was convinced from the off that I wanted to take a full year off work with my baby, so I set out to save as much money as possible during my pregnancy so I could be sure to have enough cash to enjoy my maternity leave to the absolute fullest. This part was quite easy though really as I could not BELIEVE how much money I had left over when I wasn’t throwing dosh around on clothes, wine, fags (sorry) and nights out. 

The second thing was, I discovered the world of mothers on social media and it blew my mind! In my hometown, we have a very successful and popular mummy group on Facebook which, as well as providing a sounding board for mummy rants, advice, general support and hugs, it has a buy/sell section. I don’t want to sound like a mean mummy here, but I’m well aware of the fact that babies go through clothes, toys and pretty much everything else faster than Lewis Hamilton with a rocket up his arse, so I decided to take advantage of some bargains.

Firstly, I asked my veteran mummy friends for some advice on what I actually NEEDED to buy brand new, and purchased accordingly. These are the things I have actually bought, from actual shops. 

1. A Baby Jogger City Mini GT buggy

2. A Maxi Cosi car seat that was compatible with the buggy

3. Mattresses for Moses Basket and Cot

4. A changing mat

5. Some Tommee Tippee bottles (that have never been used!) 

6. A lovely changing bag (this was actually a gift!) 

Pretty much EVERYTHING ELSE I have bought has been second hand. Ok, ok, I occasionally get iPad happy when breastfeeding and buy cute (mainly stripy) things from M&S, Zara or Baby Gap, and my other half sticks a few packs of vests and sleepsuits into the trolley when he does his usual pilgrimage to Asda during baby events (great savings to be made on nappies/wipes etc) but apart from that I honestly get all of my baby things from my local Mummy facebook group! 

So far, I have managed to snaffle amazing bargains such as…

– A complete Mamas & Papas bedroom set (crib/chest of drawers/wardrobe all in vintage pine) for £100

– A John Lewis Moses Basket for £15

– A Fisherprice jumperoo that had barely been used for £35 

– An immaculate V-Tech baby walker for £5

– Various baby sleeping bags of varying size and tog for £5 each 

– Most of the fabulous “That’s Not My…” Usbourne books for 50p each 

– Mamas & Papas “Millie & Boris” nursery set – curtains, duvet, mobile, picture etc for £80 

– Clothes, so so many baby clothes, for fractions of the original prices 

I’m also very lucky that I’m more or less the last girl in my immediate friendship group to have a baby, so I’ve been fortunate enough to get given lots of lovely baby clothes too, and I’ve borrowed things like Isofix car systems that would otherwise have been gathering dust in the loft. 

I must admit, I’ve been pretty shocked on occasion when I see how much some baby stores charge for certain items. I remember seeing a microwave steriliser in one of the big baby stores for £26. Being a newly frugal mummy lady, I did a quick Google search and found the same one from Amazon for £8. It almost reminded me of getting married, where suddenly everyday items have a few zeros added to the price. Pretty annoying. 

I absolutely and completely understand if any new or expecting mums fancy buying everything brand new – it’s what makes you happy at the end of the day – but for me, I’ve really REALLY enjoyed seeing just how much I could save by using social media buy/sell sites, eBay and generally shopping around. I’d estimate that I’ve saved THOUSANDS of pounds this way. Thousands. 

Here are my top tips for frugal mummy-ing:

– Be very accepting of people giving you maternity clothes and baby clothes. These things have usually been worn just handfuls of times, and can easily be washed and ironed back to nearly newness. And I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all my amazing friends who have chucked stuff my way. I shall pass it forward! 

– Always check with your veteran mummy mates before you buy things like stairgates, Isofix bases, bumbos etc – these things are usually kept in lofts between babies and can easily be borrowed and given back in the same condition. 

– Join your local facebook mummy groups. People love to sell baby clothes and toys and they are usually always in immaculate condition (or it is stated if they’re not). Things like baby walkers tend to do the rounds but hey, take advantage and pass it on when you’re finished! It’s so much more eco-friendly this way, too 🙂 

– Stock up on boxes of nappies and wipes during big supermarket baby events or even look at using regular delivery options on Amazon and the like. If you buy in bulk, you’ll save more.

– Books! If you have a baby bookworm like mine, find out what they like and buy bundles on eBay.

– Sell your stuff afterwards – it will pay for your mat leave lattes and cakes and will go some way to stopping your house looking like a small branch of Mothercare that’s been ransacked by lunatics. 

It’s great fun, and it’s almost like going back in time to how our grandmas would have approached parenting. Helping each other out and spreading the love. And I, for one, think that Martin Lewis would be VERY proud of me!

What is your best money-saving mummy tip? 

Mummascribbles

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