Brilliant Christmas jumpers for babies

Before I had a baby, children’s Christmas jumpers and costumes fell under the category of ‘things I swear I’ll never dress my child in.’ Then once she was here…? OK, my resolve weakened slightly. Christmas came round and I thought I’d take a small look at what was on offer, then before I knew it I was seized with a festive fever that saw about five different Christmas Day costume changes including a snowman sleepsuit and even a Santa outfit. I blame the hormones.

Christmas jumpers for babies and children from Joules

This time round I thought we’d sneak in some Christmas in a more subtle way early on, with a Christmas jumper or two suitable for babies for Florence. Continue reading

The ‘S’ word

Colour wall, The Southbank

I’m not quite sure how it happened. One minute, I had a tiny mewling baby and my brain was filled with all these thoughts, on patterned babygros, how to get my non-napping child to sleep anywhere but on me and how to keep impossibly small socks on her octopus feet.

Colourful wall, The Southbank

And now, all of a sudden, we are being thrust head first into a whole new world with a completely different language that’s all about uniforms, Ofsted and complicated discussions about catchment areas.

Three things about schools: Continue reading

25 things they definitely don’t tell you in NCT classes (but probably should)

Things they don't tell you in NCT classes

Did you take an NCT antenatal class? This weekend we were having lunch at the pub and at the next table was an NCT group on their first post-baby reunion.

It was obviously an NCT group. There was a lot of handshaking, hugging and barely contained hysteria. All the babies were tiny, new and being clutched slightly too tightly by the glazed-eyed dads and happy / manic-looking mums. There was a line of sparkly, mud-free prams, no-one had a clue how to fold them. One of the mums freaked out about getting hers up two steps because ‘There’s no ramp, what do I do?’ There was a small ruckus every time a baby cried, and much respectful eye averting every time someone got a boob out. It was awkward, sweet and lovely, and I was both very glad it wasn’t us and also weirdly nostalgic for the time when it was.

Often billed as an expensive introduction service, we took an NCT pre-childbirth course because we wanted to make friends with other pregnant couples, obviously, but also because were pretty clueless about babies.

While we got lucky with our group and still see them all the time now, for parties and play dates and wine, we did also cover a reasonable amount of valuable baby info (breastfeeding a doll upside down, looking at photos of a placenta and simulating labour while bouncing on a ball aside).

But thinking back to that time, and watching the group in the pub, it struck me that while NCT does a good job of telling you some things, there’s a whole load that’s missed out, about birth to babies and far beyond, much further down the line.

So here’s 25 things they won’t tell you about in NCT classes, but probably should:

  1. No matter how many courses you take or books you read, nothing prepares you for that first moment when it’s just the two of you and the baby at home, and you look at each other to say ‘now what?’
  2. Afterpains
  3. The hormonal horrors of Day Three
  4. How to fold your freakishly expensive pram
  5. The post-baby night sweats (no-one ever mentions those! Why?)
  6. This
  7. That this is real
  8. And all these
  9. How to function on no sleep…
  10. …and that despite no sleep you will still function. Honestly
  11. That at some point you’ll probably cry about how much you love your baby, or because you’ve run out of biscuits, or both (see 3)
  12. How despite taking multiple exams, getting a degree and climbing the dizzy heights of the career ladder, cutting your tiny precious baby’s nails will be the most stressful thing you’ve ever done
  13. All that lovely thick pregnancy hair? It’ll fall out and you’ll be left with a halo of uncontrollable re-growth
  14. How the only topic in baby groups from months and months after is giving birth, which you’ll discuss time and time again
  15. How easily you’ll talk about the state of your post-baby vagina after a bottle* of wine (*glass)
  16. And just how bad the first post-pregnancy hangover is
  17. What it’s impossible to do one handed (butter toast) and what it is possible to do one handed (everything else, including using the Calpol syringe, because you’re a wonderwoman)
  18. That you don’t have to love it all, but there’s an awful lot you will love
  19. That it really does get easier
  20. And it can be tricky but also a ridiculous amount of fun
  21. That birth and the early days are only a tiny percentage of the story, and it’s what comes next that’s the ongoing challenge
  22. That pretty soon you’ll be applying for schools for your child and be completely floored, because didn’t you just give birth to them and how is this even possible?
  23. How nothing changes when you have a baby but everything does, from not being able to watch films to relationships and jobs, from never sleeping normally again to looking round every time a baby cries in public and having that jarring feeling when your children aren’t with you, and that having a child really really is like having a piece of your heart outside your body, which is at once both amazing but also frighteningly fragile at times
  24. At what point you should stop calling your NCT friends NCT friends and just call them friends, because you’ve spent the majority of the last couple of years with them and they know more about you – and your post-birth sex life – than most people
  25. That it’s OK that you still don’t really know what you’re doing, because everyone else is basically winging it too. 

More posts…baby milestone cards for mums, things I love about being a mum of two and an open letter to sleep.

An (anti-seasonal) outdoor toy round-up

Looking for some outdoor garden toys..? What do you mean, not at the moment? I know it’s cold and drizzly outside, and we’re firmly into autumn territory now, but here’s a look back at a couple of the toys we’ve been playing with outside over the summer (it might be useful at some point next year, so consider this either fashionably late or freakishly early).

Fish and splash water play tray Little Tikes review Continue reading

Playful presents for grown-ups

Block Design pegboard and bear postcard

Looking for good presents for grown-ups? I’ve been working with quirky children’s gift site The Kid Who to make my picks from the site on a play theme.  As my first posts were around our rules for play and playful presents for one-year-olds, this month I thought I’d pick out playful things for slightly older kids. Continue reading

Why I’m not embarrassed about public breastfeeding (and you shouldn’t be either)

How do you feel about breastfeeding in public? Fine, comfortable, relaxed…or slightly awkward and really reluctant to do it?

Breastfeeding in public

A new poll out this week found that a third of breastfeeding mothers shy away from doing it in public and feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, with 1 in 5 feeling people don’t want them to feed in public.

Breastfeeding in public can be pretty intimidating the first few times you do it, I completely get it. The first few times I felt for sure like everyone was looking, as if I had a giant neon sign on my head and someone with a negative reaction was just waiting for me to start. There are always times where it’s more awkward, you feel more exposed. And you’ve spent your whole life covering up your body so it goes against all your instincts to just get them out in public. It’s very…un-British, isn’t it?

But feeling free to feed is something I feel really passionately about. So here’s all the reasons I completely, absolutely and utterly refuse to be embarrassed about breastfeeding in public, and you shouldn’t be either: Continue reading

A blog about London life as a mum of two; UK pregnancy, baby and parenting lifestyle blog. Top 10 UK baby and pregnancy blog