Afternoon tea for two (and a half)

Afternoon tea, The Sanderson Hotel

Looking for the best place to have afternoon tea in London? Last week Eliza and I braved the joys of public transport and Oxford Street on a weekday, and headed over for the Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea at The Sanderson Hotel with the guys from Netflix.

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33 weeks pregnant: measuring up

33 weeks pregnant, bump shot

“So, you’re measuring slightly small…” The midwife said, as she hovered above me with the tape measure.

I have to admit, my mind had been elsewhere at that point (my train of thought had included: Oh, how lovely to listen to the heartbeat just now. What shall I have for breakfast no2? Wouldn’t Eliza love the toy horse that’s in the office? Isn’t lying on the bed relaxing? What’s on my to-do list today? Need to write loads of emails. What shall we have for dinner?) But even when I realised what she said, I wasn’t really worried. Isn’t that what midwives always say?

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The soundtrack to my 6am

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When do toddlers turn into teenagers who never want to get out of bed? Tell me it’s soon, please. Although Eliza’s moved on quite a lot from her days of 5.30am starts, and occasionally we’ll even get an astounding 8am out of her (on nursery days, of course) most of the time she’s up just after six and raring to go.

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Nine unavoidable truths about pregnancy (when you have a toddler)

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What’s the perfect age gap between children? Answers on a postcard please, or the back of a copy of Emma’s Diary. But there’s no right answer and it’s different for each couple, isn’t it? When I was pondering this question pre-pregnancy, a wise person told me that the age gap you end up with is the one that’s perfect for your family.

And indeed, there was never any grand design with us, but we always figured that about three years sounded about right (which is what we’re getting, give or take a few months). But this kind of age gap means me being pregnant smack bang in the middle of the dizzy heights of toddlerdom.

It’s not all terrible, as toddlers are absolutely brilliant. But as Jerry Seinfeld said, ‘a two year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.’ And as someone said to me the other day, ‘are all children this energetic?’ Just as I was stifling a yawn.

And the timing means there are certain things – the good, the bad, and the occasionally exhausting – about pregnancy when you already have a toddler… Continue reading

Would you choose a video baby monitor?

tommee tippee video baby monitor review

What’s everyone’s view on video baby monitors? (See what I did there…)

With Eliza we had the tommee tippee sensor pad monitor*. It was a traditional sound monitor with a movement-sensing pad you placed under the baby’s mattress, and it beeped if it didn’t sense movement for a certain amount of time. We used it constantly, and took it everywhere with us. No exaggeration.

I’ve heard people say that motion monitors would make them more paranoid, but it gave me such peace of mind. Although Eliza slept right by us in our room for months, it was really useful for evenings and I’m sure it stopped me waking her up a million times by checking she was still breathing.

We’ve been sent the tommee tippee digital video monitor for the new baby, thanks to the guys at Asda. The next step up from our old monitor, this one includes a digital video monitor. A baby monitor with a video camera; is this be an over anxious step too far?

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Bus rides, babyccinos and blog posts

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What are your toddler’s favourite things to do? As well as baking funny cupcakes, making loads of mess with paints and running around for hours, one of Eliza’s most loved activities is go to a ‘cafe’ and get a babyccino. Which really makes me laugh in a ‘kids today, eh?’ way.

She also loves public transport – the ‘train that goes under the ground’ and the tram are firm favourites – and sitting on the top deck of the bus makes her really happy. Especially if there’s a babyccino at the end of it.

We’re trying to cover all of these as part of my master plan of toddler activities before the baby arrives. Admittedly, I’ve really never been a massive over-scheduler when it comes to activities. We have been getting out a lot, but we’ve also been spending lots of days where we just hang out in the house as I think we both need this balance.

And because today will probably be rainy (of course!) here’s some blog posts to read if you’re staying close to home:
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32 weeks pregnant: not just a river in Egypt

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Am I in denial about the new baby’s imminent arrival? Very possibly…It’s not that I’m not excited – I really am, every time I see a newborn I’m overwhelmed with the loveliness of thoughts of what’s to come – it’s just that I’m more than happy to wait. And at the moment I’m still at a liminal stage where it seems like a long wait, so that’s fine.

But I’m 32 weeks already (33 weeks at the time of posting). That’s less than two months. The house isn’t finished, I don’t finish work for a while, nothing’s really ready. Should we be panicking?

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How pregnancy makes you like a superhero

Buzz Lightyear

During your first pregnancy, everything is new, exciting and different, isn’t it? Last time I dutifully listed all the unexpected symptoms (all I can say is thank goodness the awful ad with the gravy cow isn’t on any more). But basically, there are hundreds. Twinge in your back, dry nose, can’t sleep? Yep, yep, perfectly normal, let’s blame the baby. Some of them are fine, some are vaguely annoying, some are worse.

But if you think about it in a different way, pregnancy side effects are a lot like magical super powers  I’m not talking about growing a baby giving you the ability to fly, read minds or move things just by thinking about them – although how amazing would that be? – but the more subtle and everyday things. There’s the superhero effort of putting up with it all for all that time, Then there’s the heightened extremes of senses and freaky abilities that have been granted to you just for nine months. 

So forget Superman, Batman, Ironman, Spiderman (why are they all men?) pregnancy powers are where it’s at: Continue reading

Counting sheep, newborn sleep and second babies

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“My baby won’t sleep in the Moses basket…help!” I remember saying to the midwife when she visited the house, about 12 hours after our return from hospital.

She gave me a sympathetic but knowing look, before saying “Yes…that’s perfectly normal.

In my just delivered, highly hormonal and not-slept state I was stunned. Did this mean there wasn’t an easy answer that we’d missed?

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The Britax Affinity pram; is it suitable for toddlers?

Pushchair review Britax

Are you thinking about buying a Britax Affinity pushchair? We were sent one to review as part of the Britax Ambassador programme, and have been testing it out for the past few weeks.

I wrote about our first impressions of the Affinity, so here’s the full review. Our initial impressions were good; it seemed really comfortable, and it looks pretty sleek. So how did it fare after rigorous testing with a two-and-a-half year old? Continue reading