Wednesday, 14 August 2013

London, Baby

So a good few months back, my sister and I decided it would be a good idea to schedule in a "sisterly fun" weekend. We don't live very close so we don't get to see each other that much. 
We both get very envious and sad when we see people just popping to their sibling's houses for dinner or a cuppa, if only we could have that! 
Anyway, our weekend of fun finally came along, I was very excited!
Ant was having Violet for the weekend, and my lovely brother in law was coming up to ours with my two nephews so they could all hang out together and not be lonely and wifeless all weekend (although I think they had more fun without us there anyway!) 
So Gareth arrived at lunchtime and had all three kiddies by himself for a bit so I could set off before rush hour kicked in which was great, I blasted my music the whole way there and drove as fast as I liked! 
When I arrived I was soon escorted back out again as we wanted to make afternoon tea at Beckworths (local amazing garden centre), luckily we made it just before the cut off time and ate scrumptious sandwiches and delicious cakey treats washed down with a good old english cuppa! We managed to catch a glimpse of some aircraft doing practice runs for an air show which was pretty cool, we watched them whizzing around for ages!
We then headed off to my sisters fancy spa/gym place and had a swim, jacuzzi, steam room session followed by a coffee in the gardens on deckchairs while wrapped in towels in the sunshine, bliss! 
We had a quiet night in and plotted our day in London for the following day, showered then went to bed.
Saturday morning: up bright and early, nice coffee, spent a while trying to get Louise to pick an outfit that went with one of her fancy mulberry bags, if you know my sister, you will understand that this took some time and various outfit changes! She did however, allow me to use her green Alexa which I am very fond of, although I spent most of the day checking on it! 
We got the train in and made the first pit stop at Starbucks then off we went...!
We seemed to fit in a tonne of stuff in just one day. We first went Selfridges to mooch about the fancy stuff. I mainly admired the new Victoria Beckham collection and Louise mainly admired the entire handbag department! 
After that we went on our way to Fortnum & Mason (while stopping at many fancy shops and peering in snooty galleries on the way!) I have never been to F&M but given its the go-to confectionery place for HM The Queen I thought it was about time I sample their delights! 
The building was just beautiful with cute topiary of teapots and cups on the front canopy, and once inside there were so many fancy sweets to look at! We took the teeny tiny fancy lift up to the top floor and kinda made our way down through the different departments. I spent £6:50 on some fancy nougat (which I am yet to eat as I feel like I really need to savour it!) and bought some rather glorious french salted caramels. 
After that we hot-footed it to Liberty. I love this store, I visit it every time I'm in London. I love the outside, I love the architecture, I love everything it sells! They have an amazing haberdashery department, what I would give to run that department as my job! 
So after swooning over all the pretty fripperies, we stopped for a bit of lunch then got the tube over to Liverpool Street to go and find Spitalfields Market. 
Saturday was probably the wrong day to be there as neither of us seemed to have the patience for large crowds, so we kind of mooched around a little bit, then I realised I'd dropped my train ticket which but a dampner on things (I got a stern telling off by my sister - thats the problem with being out with family, you do something wrong and you pretty much feel like you're 6 years old again and about to get a smacked bot!) 
So then we decided to go back to Bond Street and find somewhere to eat. After a kir royale and some nibbles, we then mooched all the way down the river which was my favourite part of the day. I've always wanted to walk alongside the river for the views mainly. We walked past the Shard, saw London Bridge, over another bridge, down a bit more, over the "wobbly death eater" bridge as I call it, (briefly) admired Tate Modern, back over WDE bridge, admired St Pauls then legged it to the station and got the train home!
I had ridiculous blisters on my feet but it was worth it! When we got home we had a yummy thai takeaway followed by some yummy macaroons, a good chin wag again and then off to sleeps. 
I woke up to my sister bringing me a coffee at around 9am! I've not slept that long in months! I slowly got ready, had a bit of breakfast and sadly said my goodbyes. 
I got really sad on the way home as I really miss my sister and the fact she's not conveniently close to visit. But I was happy that we'd made the most of my visit and we'd had a great time. The fact that we never once put the tv on or even sat in the living room must be a sign of being in good company. 
Here's to next time, my beautiful sister x

Sunday, 30 June 2013


So this time last year... (Time of writing this, not posting!)
I was on my way back to the hospital determined that after this visit, I would return home with my baby, and luckily for me, I did. 
And my what a year it's been! 

I remember starting off by being in a baby bubble of "am I doing this right?" "what if I get her in a bad habit" "how can I get more sleep" etc etc. I breastfed Violet for her first week, something I now feel I could maybe have managed longer for if I wasn't talked out of it by a midwife!

I want to remember all the little things, mostly because they're the first things you forget.

I remember being in the birthing pool and cradling her in my hands the second she was born.
I remember seeing her face for the first time and even though she was covered in a sticky mess she still looked beautiful and had a really cute pout.
I remember seeing Anthony hold her for the first time with a look of both complete fear and sheer total happiness on his face.
I remember the first time I fed her, and it felt like nothing could go wrong in the world.
I remember being in the post natal ward and feeling very lonely.
I remember not wanting to put her down in the hospital crib because she looked so much cosier on me.
I remember waiting for Anthony to bring the car round to the hospital entrance and catching a glimpse of my soft, smaller belly in the window.
I remember that her skin felt like velvet and smelled like fluffy towels.
I remember all the snoozy sleepy cuddles, rocking her to sleep, patting her to sleep, taking her in the car to sleep, (you can see a recurring theme here I'm sure!)
I remember the way her fists seemed to be clenched together for weeks and weeks and how she always had them up beside her head at bathtime.
I remember how she had gloopy eyes and how gently and carefully we had to clean them.
I remember the sound of Ewan the Dream Sheep in the middle of the night and Ant swinging the crib with his foot to make her sleep.
I remember being scared of her umblilical cord stump and always trying to keep it clean.
I remember seeing her smiling when she was just a couple of days old and trying to figure out if it was wind.
I remember watching Wimbledon and having her in her moses basket sleeping soundly throughout the Murray/Federer final. 
I remember being terrified of Anthony going back to work.
I remember sitting in the bathroom and crying for 45 minutes for no reason whatsoever.
I remember bursting into tears in Tesco because I had gone out on my own for the first time.
I remember how it felt to not be able to stand up from sitting without feeling like I should be given a gold medal.
I remember savlon baths and smelling like an old biddy.
I remember waking up to find Anthony asleep downstairs with her nestled in his dressing gown and it making me cry.
I remember that she first laughed for me while in the bath because I made duck noises at her.
I remember how she used to stare at trees and the sky during the summery days.
I remember when it was too hot and waking up all night long to check she was ok and not too hot.
I remember being scared of weaning.
I remember the mess of weaning.
I remember resenting annabel karmel and her perfect recipes.
I remember thinking Gina Ford was the devil.
I remember throwing the Gina Ford book in the freezer.
I remember a little bit of Gina Ford can work when you tweak it and stop trying to follow it exactly.
I remember being intimidated by other mothers at baby group.
I remember how much Violet loved meeting new babies.
I remember that she was wearing her pink with grey stars sleepsuit when she first sat up on her own when she was 18 weeks old. 
I remember how excited we were about her first Christmas and how she thought snow was for eating.
I remember feeling proud and excited that she started rolling (properly) on New Years Day.
I remember how nice it was to always have people comment on how happy she is and that she will always smile at people when we go places.
I remember the sleep regression phase.
I remember having no sleep.
I remember feeling like things will never get easier.
I remember feeling happy that things got easier!
I remember the day she walked holding my hands.
I remember the day she was really poorly and I cried because I couldn't make her better.
I remember the day she ate a roast dinner and I felt like the proudest mama ever because I knew all the hard work with weaning had finally paid off.

I remember every single thing about her, her smell, the way her nose squishes when she gets really excited, the way her toes curl like mine, the way her fingernails are curved, the way her hair curls at the nape of her neck, the way she laughs at her Daddy, the way she rubs her eyes when shes tired, the way she flaps her arms when shes flustered, the way her lip curls when shes really sad and the way her eyes puff when shes really happy.

Most of all, I remember that she is my baby daughter, she was made in my belly and I brought her into this world safe and sound. 

Happy 1 Year Birthday Violet

(Pre)Birthday Party

I am writing this on the morning of Violet's birthday, the day before her actual birthday. 
Tomorrow, my little baby turns one year old. I can't help but feel nostalgic and a little sad. How did one year pass so quickly? Yet also, it feels like a lifetime ago that she arrived in our world and became a part of our family! 
Today we are having a party for her. Our friends and (some of) our family are coming to celebrate with us. 
I have been planning it for a while now. There is a purple and yellow colour theme with the occassional rabbit thrown in for good measure.
We have balloons, streamers, lots of toys for the kids (there are 13 coming!) a bbq, a gazebo, blankets for picnics, a tiny house (courtesy of Ant's parents!) a sand & water table, a birthday flag (yes, really), bunny bunting and a homemade birthday cake crafted by my own fair hands.
My first guests are arriving now so I will sign off for now and report back afterwards...!

Well here I am, sitting down after a hectic yet awesome day. Violet is having her last bedtime bottle as an "11 month old" and I am feeling pretty strange! 
Today was brilliant. The kids had fun, a big old mess was made, we ate a lot of food (huge thanks to our brilliant Mum & Dad Slattery for the organising and cooking of the entire barbecue, a massive help to us, we can't thank you enough), we had no tantrums, the sun was shining, everything was just fantastic. 
Violet has a very generous stack of presents to open in the morning, something I am most excited about, as, lets face it, me or Ant will be opening most of them!
Huge thank you to all who came and thank you for your generous gifts. We hope you had a lovely time, we feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends and family to share memories like this with. 

Bye for now my pretties...

Monday, 10 June 2013

The Maternity End is Nigh

Today is four weeks until I go back to work.
I feel a tad conflicted about it but I'm excited for the following reasons:
• Hopefully we'll have a bit more spare cash;
• Violet will thrive on being around other babies;
• I will have a whole lunch hour to myself (which has an added bonus in that I work in the centre of Leeds!);
• I can enjoy hot cups of tea; 
• I can have adult conversations; and
• I can go to the loo in peace!

However, I am not excited about the following:

• Being away from Violet;
• Having to do work when I will be thinking about all the housework left at home;
• Someone else taking care of my baby;
• The cost of childcare;
• Violet hitting milestones without me; and 
• Figuring out a new routine!

Granted the list of things I'm not looking forward to is mainly Violet related which hopefully shows that I'm not too bothered about my place of work. I don't get paid nearly half as much as I think I am worth, but I lack that switch that makes me demand more from myself.

Hopefully we will fit into our new routine fairly easily, (after a few manic weeks I'm sure!) and Violet will love being around other babies. I am secretly hoping they can crack getting her to feed herself with a spoon as I'm certainly fighting a losing battle with that one!

I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this blog is, but it has been a while since I have written something and thought I best crack on!

I guess my point is that yes I am sad that I won't get to see Violet all day, but at least (for now) I am only working Monday to Wednesday each week, which means I can still see my mummy friends who are also off work those days and I will still get some quality time with my daughter.

I'm not one for public gushing or "pretend" happiness (i.e. people that only blog about the good stuff!) but at the moment, Violet is pretty damn awesome, she giggles like a menace, she chatters non stop and she melts my heart just at the smell of her hair. These little things and so much more are what keep me going and they certainly won't be going away just because she'll be going to nursery. 
Also, I am not a bad mother because I'm looking forward to some free time, I'm just a normal person who needs a bit of time to zone out now and again.
It helps me to remember that. 

Monday, 6 May 2013

A little week of happiness

I don't often think of doing blogs about my random day to day business but I've had a very rare but very lovely past week.
After going to see the wonderful kinesiology therapist Andrea, I felt a little glimmer of positivity trying to poke out of my otherwise rather gloomy view of myself.
So Wednesday my very good friend Kate came round with her awesome little boy Jake, who Violet loves playing with and they also like to give each other kisses which is ridiculously cute! We went for lunch together followed by a walk around Roundhay Lake whilst putting the world to rights and let the babies have a play in the park. All in all it was a very lovely day indeed.
Also, Wednesday night was a little more successful with V's sleeping, not awesome, but better.
Thursday morning I packed up the pram and baby bag and hiked into town on the peasant wagon (aka: the bus) and did a little shopping for a first birthday preset, stuff for V and secret presents for my best friend's baby who is very excitingly due in September. We met up with Rach (the bestie due in Sept- and yes I hid the presents!) and went fabric hunting in the market for her baby blanket project and sat and had lollies in the sun, it was lovely.
Violet and I sat in the garden when we got home and just chilled out, she was a happy little bundle all day.
Thursday brought a bit of sadness too though as my mam told me that unfortunately she wasn't going to be able to come over from Canada this year as I had hoped, so naturally, I was pretty gutted. If it is 2014 when she next comes then Violet will be almost (if not older than) 2 years old. Given that mam last saw Violet when she was four months old, this will be quite a jump! Anyway, Positive Mental Attitude and a bit of calming thoughts and all that...etc etc blah blah blah!
Thursday night, much better sleep, a few wake ups but ok.
Friday I drove over to see my lovely friend Nicola. She has recently broken her arm during a skiing trip and has been housebound so Violet and I thought we would visit her to cheer her up. Violet was good as gold all day. Seeing as I was pretty close to where my in-laws live, I thought I would pop in to say hello on the way home so Violet got to see her Grandparents for an hour which was great as we haven't seen them in a while as they've been housebound with training a new puppy (Oscar- he is the cutest puppy ever!)
Friday night was a good night, Violet slept a lot better with just one big wake up.
Saturday we sort of lazed around in the morning and Ant refused to let me do any housework (I didn't argue!) so we just pottered about then got ready to go to our friends' baby's naming ceremony. I've never been to one before so wasn't sure how to dress or what to expect but it was lovely, quite informal, lots of people and a good buffet and even more awesome cakes made by Laura, the little boy (another friend of Violet's) is called George so there was a George and the Dragon theme going on which was cute.
Violet crawled around in any space she could find and wanted to be helped to walk everywhere so Ant and I were pooped by the end!
Saturday night was great, Ant and I watched a film and he made us a lovely tea, but Violet decided to wake up 12-1am which was not so lovely!
Sunday we headed off bright and early to Ant's parents for the day. Heather (my MIL) and I popped out to buy a travel high chair to keep at their house and also had a sneaky peek in Mothercare and got V some clothes for her holidays. We all had fish and chips for our lunch and V was quite entertaining at the table, bashing her fork and blowing raspberries at everyone!
Heather took V out for a walk so she could nap a bit, Ant and Bernard (my FIL) had a snooze and I perused Heather's knitting and quilting books and post-it noted a few (erm, about 10!?) that I liked!
We had a lovely time catching up and chatting about Violet's progress and Heather showed me some of her projects she's got on the go, she's really into quilting at the moment and told me she is making me a Cath Kidston fabric patchwork quilt and an Amy Butler bag, very exciting! She puts me to shame with how well she cracks on with things and how neat she is!
So we headed back home and pretty much flopped once Violet had gone to bed, we watched a load of naff tv and went to bed early.
We had an awesome night's sleep with just one teeny quick wake up, and a 6:30am wake up call, only problem is that once you get a good sleep like that, your body craves more and you end up more knackered than when you've had a rubbish night's sleep!
Which brings me to today. Which has been a very productive and lovely day. We got up early and V and I went off to tesco for ingredients for tea, I also may have purchased a pop-up ball pool and a bag of balls for a bargain £8, they turned out to be quite a hit though!
We popped in to say hello to Rach on the way home and she took some cute photos. While I was out Ant had done about a million chores (unprompted I might add!), I think he was on a mission as he'd already had a beer and was sipping the wine I didn't like at lunch time: Whatever works!
We lazed about in the garden while V napped and our landlord came round to fix the washing machine which had conked out, this resulted in a flooded kitchen floor and a very soggy load of towels! On the plus side we are now getting a new washing machine but we have a towel stuck in the current one!
I made kedgeree (a curry rice dish with haddock and eggs, sounds rank but is delish!), Violet had it for her dinner and loved it which always makes me happy when she loves the food I cook for her. I have also made sticky sausage burgers with mozarella balls inside for mine and Ant's tea, they are currently in the oven. Violet is now fast asleep, so once the washing is done I will enjoy a nice evening with my lovely husband and hope for a good night's sleep, if that doesn't happen then it's nothing we can't cope with 😊
Bye for now x

Tuesday, 30 April 2013


So this morning I am off to see a Kinesiology therapist (
I have a friend who also has this treatment and given how I don't really agree with the prescribed incessant pill popping when you tell the doctor that you're having a particularly blue couple of months, I thought this was worth a try.
I'm remaining open minded rather than dismissing it for being a bit "hippy dippy", so hopefully this lovely lady will help me rebalance myself a little and then my head and heart can be all sunny again ready for the (rumoured) summer!

Fingers crossed

Sunday, 21 April 2013

To sleep, perchance to dream

So this week has been, well, horrendous.
I myself had a pretty bad start feeling particularly run down/lonely/pathetic.
Monday was an ok day, relatively normal.

Tuesday, again, day was ok, but at midnight that night, BAM, the wailing started. literally on and off until 7am. Worried was not the word. Note: Violet isn't (or at least hasn't been up until now) a big crier.

Wednesday morning was a particularly slow period, Violet napped with me at lunch time and when she woke up she seemed really out of sorts. She was just sat with me quietly and then she just went all limp and lifeless, needless to say my stomach turned as she was really unresponsive and I ran upstairs with her to get the thermometer, her temperature was 41.5, so as you can imagine I panicked and was shaking like a leaf while trying to carry my baby. I quickly called the doctors and got an appointment for an hour later. I called Ant at work and asked him to come home so I could get the car, he said he would leave right away. I stripped Violet off completely and put her in a cool/lukewarm bath and wet her hair to help cool her down, she cried because obviously it was a bit cold and she was so warm, I felt terrible. I got the calpol and tried to give her some. She is becoming very reluctant to being fed medicine now so this was quite a challenge. I must have only got half a dose down her. I made her a drink and tried to get her to sip it. Ant arrived shortly after this and she sat with him quietly and I had a very long quiet cry.
We left for the doctors and her temperature was still a little high, I was still shaking. He said he thought she might have a little throat infection and prescribed antibiotics and rest. In my head I was thinking "how am I going to get her to take it if she won't even have calpol?!" The doctor was so lovely, trying to calm me down by making it all light hearted and joking thay maybe she might grow a third leg if I gave her antibiotics!
We got the medicine and went home.
That night was pretty rough. She got upset when we tried give her medicine but had most of her bottle and went to bed easily. I had another very long cry!
She woke up at around 1am and was really upset, like inconsolable. Ant ended up asleep with her in the chair in her nursery for a while until he put her back in her cot and she slept until 6am.

Thursday was an awful day, I was so tired as I hadn't slept from worrying. She was tetchy all day and I was too exhausted to go for a walk. She cried every time I tried to leave the room, like the moment I stood up to go somewhere she started moaning, and pretty much didn't stop all day. Needless to say I was happy to have Ant home at 4:30.
Thursday night was awful again. She went to bed fine and woke at 11 in a frantic state screaming to be picked up. We tried settling her and putting her back to bed but she would just cry her heart out the moment we put her down. We tried for ages to get her to sleep with us but because she's not used to it, she doesn't settle easily. Ant ended up with her sleeping with him in the spare room until 4am, then I took her in with me as she was dozy and Ant hadn't really slept so she napped with me until 7am.

By Friday I was ready to put my head through a wall so I got showered, dressed and ready and hiked up to Aycliffe (where I'm from) to see whoever was free! Violet was really good all day. We went to see my brother James and Violet met Flossy my westie dog which she loved. We then walked to meet my friend Jemma outside my old primary school as she was being a stand-in dinner lady that day, we walked to pick her little boy Riley up from her mam's house (everywhere is walkable in Aycliffe, its awesome) then we walked into town and sat in a cafe for a drink and a catch up. We haven't seen each other in donkey years and we both had babies at around the same time so we have kept in touch via texts and facebook quite a bit. The babies were happy and played and shared toys together.
I then took Violet to my Dad's shop in the town as he was going to do Violet's passport photos for me and I picked a frame and mount for a cross stitch that I finished for Violet (they make frames at his shop). Again, she was good as gold and charmed all the customers as well as her Grandad.
I was quietly hopeful that Friday night would be a good one because she'd had a good day. When we got home she was a bit sleepy but generally ok and ate most of her dinner. She was happy in her bath like she usually is and had her bottle and went to sleep and was out for the count by 7:30pm.
We had the same problem of waking at around midnight, screaming, crying, wanting to be cuddled, until the small hours, once again, exhausted.

Saturday we decided not to mope around the house so got ready and drove up to Otley. We parked at the Chevin Forest and sauntered down into the town. It was a lovely day. We sat outside a pub to give Violet her lunch and had a drink, wandered around a bit more and ended up by a lake where we saw a black swan which I have never seen before. We hiked up the massive hill back to the car (Violet was asleep by this point) we sat quietly to recuperate while Violet napped (we must be really unfit but in our defence the hill was huge and we were pushing a pram and carrying bags) and talked about how we would try and deal with her sleeping issues and how we would try and keep each other sane, and once she was awake we drove home. We hoped because she'd had a nice day that maybe she will sleep well that night. Then we got home.
Then the whining started, and carried on until bathtime, by which time we were all a little bit fractious!
She was, again, happy in the bath and had half her bottle and some teetha granules, she had a bit of a whinge when she was put in her cot but fell asleep after about 10 minutes.
At 8:45pm she woke up and was crying uncontrollably. We attempted to do a bit of controlled crying until 9:30pm but to no avail. So Ant went up and settled her with him in the spare room and she was properly asleep by 10:15, so he put her back in her cot. She slept until 4:15 when she woke up hysterical again, so Ant took her in the spare room again and managed to get her off to sleep eventually and she slept until 7am. I, on the other hand, was awake for ages reading numerous articles online about sleep regression, pros and cons of controlled crying, bad sleep habits, pros and cons of co sleeping, needless to say I had a very over-worked brain! (Note: do not google your worries in the middle of the night, it just makes you feel worse!)

Which takes me to Sunday (today). We both woke up feeling stressed and a bit tetchy, we had friends coming at 11 to help take the weight off and play with Violet. Ant seemed completely pooped so I took Violet downstairs while he snoozed. She's been fairly happy all day, crawling around and playing, having a go on her swing and a few naps. It was really nice to have some friends come over to take our minds off feeling like zombies. Jo brought homemade reeces cupcakes for us which was lovely.
I feel quite anxious about how tonight is going to go. Ant is on call and at work tomorrow so I'm in charge tonight.

It's been a really, really hard week. Mainly because in the early weeks I worked really hard to make Violet contented and independent and she has always slept well since she was 10 weeks old, so naturally this is all a bit of a shock to the system. I really hope that it is a blip and hopefully it's either her teeth giving her problems or a temporary separation anxiety issue and will pass in time.
On top of this she has pretty much refused any food I have made her and all finger foods and will only eat the odd rice cake or blackberry for snacks, I resorted to jars or pouches of baby food, which she will eat in no time at all. Obviously, I also googled pros and cons of feeding babies jars of food, which obviously made me feel like a terrible parent!

Not everyone will know that I am quite a self-depricating person and generally lack in self esteem, this does not help with my day to day worries about Violet. This week has really heightened these feelings for me and I've had moments where I'm sure it's all my fault and moments where I feel like maybe I should leave and it will help Violet, all ridiculous I know, but when you're in the middle of a baby-blip, you're tired, your family are all far away, your friends aren't around, you have no self confidence and wonder why anyone would even want to be your friend, its very difficult to pull yourself out! I avoided social networks for most of the week, as really, when you feel this low, who wants to read/see photos of everyones "perfect" lives?! They were having a really negative effect on me, obviously this was just due to sleep deprivation and stress, but I just thought it best to keep them at arms length until things brighten up.

I have to add that Ant has been brilliant this week. I know he is really exhausted too, but he has been really understanding and is trying to get me to stop being hard on myself (an endless battle in this house!) thankfully we haven't argued this week, which is a testament to our relationship.
He has just taken her for her bath and has fed Violet her bedtime bottle, so I am going to do my nightly routine of tidying the kitchen, putting all the baby stuff away so our living room is ready for grown-ups chill out time. Then I am going to say a little prayer and hope to all the gods in this world that Violet is slightly more settled tonight. If she's not, I am going to do my best to suck up the anxiety, give her a cuddle and hope to the high heavens I don't get her into a dreaded "bad sleeping habit".
Here's to a new week...