Thursday 27 October 2016

We love to spend time outdoors as a family and visiting the pumpkin patch is fast becoming a tradition of ours. I always considered Halloween as an American holiday that wouldn't pick up in the UK, but I am so pleased to see that it is becoming more mainstream over here. We took Oliver pumpkin picking last October but he was a little too young to get involved being only 10 months old at the time. This year he was in his element, he loved racing around shouting 'mumpkin' (he hasn't quite mastered the 'P' pronunciation) and helping us pick the best one.

We ended up settling on one large pumpkin for carving and a smaller one for Oliver. As Oliver is still a little too small for actual carving, I thought he could paint and use glitter to decorate his pumpkin. If you haven't taken your children to a pumpkin patch before I would highly recommend it. It's such a fun and inexpensive day out, best of all the pumpkin you pick gets to come home with you to carve or decorate. So a 2 for the price of 1 activity, which is great for those of us looking to have family fun on a budget!


Monday 3 October 2016

In celebration of the beginning of Autumn (yay) we went blackberry picking. Autumn is my favourite season; I love the cold weather, cuddling up on the sofa under a blanket and the leaves changing colour. There is something so pretty about this time of year. 

Fruit picking has become one of our favourite things to do as a family because it gets us outdoors and is a relatively inexpensive activity. Oliver absolutely loves helping us to pick the berries and place them into the carton. One of the sweetest things is to see him picking a berry and shouting 'berry daddy!' as he races over to Steve to give it to him. 

If you watch our weekly vlogs, you will know that I love cooking for my family. One of the most satisfying things is going out and picking our own fruit, then coming home and making something with it. I made a blackberry pie which came out much better than I was expecting considering it was my first attempt. 


Blackberries (we used one full carton pictured above)
Demerara sugar
Plain all purpose flour
Pre-made shortcrust pastry sheet (or you can make your own)

1. Combine the blackberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon on a low heat. I didn't measure out the quantities as I prefer to taste until it is to my preference, I kept adding more sugar/flour/cinnamon until I was happy.

2. For the pastry I used a ready rolled shortcrust pastry sheet (shh don't tell anyone) and simply assembled in in a round 9" pie dish. I brushed the top with egg and sprinkled a little sugar on the top to sweeten it.

3. I baked for around 35 minutes at 200C, but again I didn't follow timing religiously as I prefer to just check every 5 minutes or so to see if it has browned. 

And voilĂ , a really quick and simple blackberry pie!


Sunday 25 September 2016

Outfit details:

White long sleeve top (Primark) - SIMILAR HERE
Burgundy cord pinafore (Topshop) - SIMILAR HERE
Silver Hoop Earrings (ASOS) - HERE

We have been loving the autumnal weather recently and have been making the most of the last few days of sunshine. Oliver has been fascinated with the brown leaves and the crunchy noise he can make with his hands and feet. We also found some pinecones which we are going to spray paint gold and silver for homemade Christmas decorations. I love this time of year, I feel like there are so many activities you can do with your little ones. On our list of things to do is blackberry picking, visiting the pumpkin patch and conker hunting.

What have you got planned for this autumn?


Tuesday 20 September 2016

This is the best shot I could get of Oliver whilst trying to be quiet and sneaky, he's a big time belly sleeper!

I wanted to share with you all how we managed to get Oliver sleeping through the night from 6 weeks old. Since then he has always been a fantastic sleeper, usually doing around 11-12 hours per night unless he is ill or teething. Obviously part of it is down to your baby - some babies are naturally good sleepers, some cry more than others, some have problems like colic. Oliver was also bottle fed, which I know can lead to babies sleeping earlier than those who are exclusively breast fed. However, I do believe that routine also had a massive part to play in why Oliver slept through from such a young age.

From the moment Oliver was born he had a routine. During the day time he would typically have his bottle, have his nappy changed, some cuddles and then be put down in his moses basket. We rarely let him fall asleep in our arms or rocked him to sleep. From being a newborn he was used to being put down in a moses basket on his own to sleep, so he never knew any different or longed to be held to sleep. We also made sure he knew the difference between day and night. During the day he would be put in a room that let in some light and we were never conscious of noise. We wanted him to learn that during the day time was when people were awake and moving about, where as night time was for quiet and sleeping.

At night time we had a different routine. Starting around 5pm he would have a bath, then a bottle, then be placed down in a dark room to go to sleep. We did this even when we knew he would be waking up in 3/4 hours for another feed. He began to feel secure in his routine because he always knew what was coming next and at 6 weeks old he slept through from 10pm until 6am. 

At around 12 weeks old he began sleeping for longer periods and he would have all of his bottles during the day, effectively dropping the night/evening feed. It was at this point that we moved him into his own room. I know a lot of people advise that you wait until 6 months to transition them into their own room, but we did what we felt was best for our baby. As he was in bed by 6pm, we found we were disturbing him when we had to come into the bedroom to get ready for bed, grab something or go to sleep ourselves. 

He did fantastically well in his own room and because he had never become accustomed to co-sleeping, being held or rocked it was completely normal for him to go to sleep on his own. I know some people love co-sleeping and it works really well for them, but it was never something we considered. I am an extremely light sleeper and also very paranoid, I know I would have been terrified to be in the same bed with him. On a more selfish level, we also wanted our evenings back. Time alone and as a couple is so important, I really cannot stress that enough. I didn't want to have a baby who wanted to sleep with me 24/7 or needed to be held all the time.  Of course if he had been the sort of baby that wanted to be cuddled a lot we would have done that, and he had his fill of cuddles in the day time, but I didn't want to be sleep deprived for months as that isn't healthy for anybody. 

Oliver also has a dummy as his main comforter for sleep, but we rarely give him it during the day unless he is ill. We will be weaning him off his dummy fairly soon so wish us luck for that one! I hope this post has been helpful if you are having a baby soon/have a child that is reluctant to sleep. 

Let me know what your top tips are for getting babies to sleep in the comments.


Saturday 17 September 2016

So the time has come for us to put away our summer clothes and get out our winter coats, and truthfully I am glad. Autumn and winter are by far my favourite seasons, I love Halloween and Christmas especially now we have a toddler to excite with the magic of everything. I am very fickle in my relationship with the sunshine - I enjoy it when I am on holiday and the rare days we get in the UK but anything above 28 degrees is a total no go for me. I hate feeling hot, sweaty, being unable to sleep amongst other things. Trying to entertain a toddler who is grumpy from being roasted for days is not fun either.

Bring it on Autumn!


Thursday 15 September 2016

This is a topic I have wanted to discuss for a while, but as yet I haven't been able to articulate it well enough to turn it into a video. As you guys will already know, I became pregnant with Oliver aged 19 and had him shortly after my 20th birthday. Although I’m not the youngest of ‘young mums’  and actually gave birth when I was no longer classified as a teenager, I still fall into that category. 

And its been tough.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, being a parent is hard. It has the most amazing moments yes, and I wouldn't change my life for the world, but it is hard. One of the hardest aspects of parenthood for me has been constantly feeling like I have to prove something because of my age. I have to prove I am a responsible parent. I have to prove I am earning money to support my own child. I have to prove I am a good mum. The media loves to perpetuate this stereotype of all young mothers being these awful women who have no intention of working, go out partying every weekend and dump their children with ‘grandma’ whenever the opportunity arises. I am sure that there are some young mothers that behave in this manner, but I also know that there are older mothers that do the same. 

The truth is I have yet to meet a single young mum who fits this stereotype. Yet I felt the need to prove I wasn’t what society expected. I went back to work part-time when Oliver was only 2 months old, a decision I now look back on and regret. It wasn’t for monetary reasons that I went back to work, although that was nice, it was because I felt as though I had to show everyone that I paid for my own child. That I was the one funding his milk, nappies and clothes.

I’ve felt a tremendous amount of pressure since Oliver was born to show that I am just as capable as a 30+ year old mum. I’ve had other mums comment, trying to be lighthearted, that they wouldn't take my parenting advice because of my age. I had a girl from my secondary school see me in town whilst pregnant and ask me ‘are you happy about that?’ As if I should be unhappy and hide myself away in shame. I’ve had trouble forming friendships with other mums partly because of our differing ages and partly because of my own defensiveness. And that is wrong. I shouldn’t feel like I have to be on guard all the time or like people are judging me. 

I know that I love Oliver and that Oliver loves me back in equal measures. I know that I am a good mum. I just wish that the media would spend a little less time portraying all young mothers as being burdens on the state, because I would hazard to guess that it isn’t true for the majority of us. 


Tuesday 13 September 2016

Some of you may know if you watch my weekly vlogs, that I had a great dilemma recently over whether I should quit my job and do youtube/blogging full time. Well, last week I came to the decision that I really want to pursue what makes me happy and what I enjoy. 
Before I left my job I had been working for 6 years doing the same thing week in week out. Whilst that isn’t a bad thing, I did enjoy my job, I felt it was time for a change. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make, I felt like I would be letting people down if I left, but I know it was the right one. If I didn’t have a real stab at it now, whilst financially we were able to support it, would I ever get the opportunity again? 

Steve has officially started training to be a teacher and as his course is full time, it meant I would have to work on the weekends giving us no full day together as a family. I was getting stressed out and anxious at the thought of looking after Oliver by myself during the weekdays and then going to work on the weekends. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy looking after Oliver because I really do and I am so lucky that I am in the position to, but I need some time with Steve, time as a family and time to myself. Carrying on with my job just wouldn’t have allowed me to do those things. As soon as I had made the decision to leave and had let my employers know, I felt a huge sense of relief. 

I have been making videos on and off for 3 years and at the beginning of this year I decided to be more consistent with it. I’ve uploaded at least once weekly for the past 8 months and it has made me so pleased to see my channel grow. My blog has been very neglected and I am so upset about that. I did English Literature as an A Level, I love reading and writing but unfortunately I just didn’t have the time to dedicate myself to it on top of everything else. I feel so positive about what I am doing at the moment and I am so excited to get started filming, writing, taking photographs and creating a schedule for my content. 

Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and do what you love.


Monday 11 July 2016

I am a huge fan of DIY and finding inexpensive solutions to what could otherwise be an expensive project. When we transitioned Oliver from his nursery to his 'big boy bedroom' we decided we would redecorate to reflect his interests as a toddler. These are some of my favourite parts of Oliver's bedroom - I absolutely love how it has turned out and so does he. The bookshelves are actually Ikea spice racks that we painted ourselves and they display his books beautifully.