National Breastfeeding Week; Our Story so far.

Euan is sixteen weeks this week, and our breastfeeding journey started a few moments after he was born. It’s luckily been, after his initial weight loss, a pretty straightforward journey. Not that it particularly felt that way at the beginning.

I am, as you know a second time mum this time round but it made me none the wiser on breastfeeding. Delilah never took to it, she had a tongue tie and due to not holding out in fear of her losing too much weight I took to pumping and combi feeding for her. Pumping lasted 6 months and then it became too time consuming along with everything else I was trying to do at the time.

This time, I had read up a whole load, I was so much more determined and I knew it was a normal occurance for a newborn to lose some weight a few days after birth (because these are the things they don’t tell you before you have babies). Euan was pretty easy to latch, we didn’t struggle but despite this being the case and havijg our latch checked by every midwife we saw, he lost 9% of his birth weight over the first 2 weeks. We were referred to “the feeding team” who failed to help in the slightest, not even a phone call. It was suggested that I use formula to top up initially to get his weight in check, this bothered me no end. It was however the right thing to do for my boy to help him get started.

Along with pumping after every feed, topping him up with the expressed milk and one bottle of formula every day, we managed to get on track but the help and support was somewhat none existant. Hubs bought formula and heavily suggested to go that way too, which killed me inside even though I knew he meant well. Failure this time round was not so option in my head, so I battled it all. Even my grandmother who had 2 kids herself bluntly ask “why the bloody hell are you doing that?”. I’m still met with “well how long are you going to feed him” to which I now simply say un-flustered, “till he decides otherwise”.

Being stuck to the sofa for weeks with our newborn schedule was tiresome but I was so determined not to give into the formula pressure from all sides. I just knew it wasn’t the end of our journey, I knew formula wasn’t right for us. And because of that I will be forever proud of us for sticking with it, the lack of support has been the hardest thing to get through. For a community of midwives, Dr’s and health professionals I was perplexed at how easy it was for them to all say “formula” despite me being so avid about breastfeeding.

Dont get me wrong, I’m on the side of “fed is best” but I was 1000% sure I wanted to breastfeed my son, so the lack of guidance or help postpartum has been diabolical. Maybe it was just because of lockdown? Postpartum care in fact has been lacking. As an individual I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer with any baby blues or depression despite having a history of mental health issues, but one phone call asking “how are you” in regard to the purely physical aftermath is not enough.

Why are we not looking after new mams?  The lack of care for us mums after this monumental change is possibly the most shocking thing. We’re checked up on at regular intervals over our pregnancy, yet as soon as baby is born we get one phone call and no further check ups. What has your experience been like with postpartum care? Was it the same as mine? What’s your postpartum story?

Going back to breastfeeding, we’ve hit leap 4 and I’m not going to lie I’m finding feedingbcrazy tiring. Euan constantly wants to be feeding. He will not nap and it’s so hard to put him down for even 5 mins. Trying to go for a wee holding a baby is all kinds of hard, pulling up your jeans after is beyond difficult. He naps on boob, as soon as he falls away I’ll try put him down but he will be right awake within seconds most of the time. Mix that with very nearly 4 year old who would like all the attention still, it’s been a rough leap so far. It seems delivery drivers always call when he needs feeding or mid feed too. Typical.

I’d just like to say, to mums (dads) all over, breastfeeding or not, well done! Parenting is hard. Bronze, silver, gold awards for breastfeeding boobies, higher awards or not at all, you are doing amazing things everyday just raising them little humans. As long as they’re loved, fed and cared for you are winning.

I’d love to hear your feeding stories, share them in the comments with us and know that this is a judgement free, safe space.

Love,
L, xox

How To: Mini Home Spa Evening

This is my plan for a mini spa evening. Little one will be in bed, I’ll be turning on the shower and getting my mini home made spa treatments going. I can not stress to you how important it is to take time out for yourself. Especially at the moment when there is an endless pile of washing up, clothes washing, cooking, cleaning, entertaining small ones and yourself. It is paramount. Give my little home spa treatments ago and invest some time on yourself.

Fresh faced, dont forget the toner and moisturiser!

First thing is first, grab everything you need and shut the bathroom door. No distractions, you deserve your full attention. Get the shower on; as hot as possible and create some steam. This will help open up your pores and let which ever products you use do their magic. My essentials for locking myself in my steamed up bathroom are; some icy water (add in some fruit or cucumber, mint if you have it), body brush, body scrub, razor, shampoo, conditioner, hair mask, face mask, hair brush or comb, body lotion/cream (your favourite, this is about what you like).

My recipe for body scrub is super simple and just below, but if you have your preferred which you use anyway, go with what makes you happy. First get your hair mask on. Give it enough time to soak up into your hair and do what it’s supposed to do. Time is the essence with this my lovelies. Spend the time on yourself, you owe yourself.

Let’s talk body brushing! I love my body brush. I aim to use it every time I shower or take a bath. Mainly on legs, but I’ve been using it over my entire body these days. The benefits of body brushing are endless, but to name a few; Exfoliation, getting rid of the dead skin cells that build up between showers is a really good idea if you want to have glowing skin. Dead skin cells make you skin look dull, and not one person I know wants that. Also supposed to be good for cellulite, I’m sceptical about this but it certainly dose promote blood flow to the area you are brushing. Ergo no downsides, in my opinion at least. Brush upwards, make you sure you are brushing towards your heart. Keep sipping that icy water.

Get your scrub on, but firstly turn down the shower. Hot water, as good as it feels aint all that for your hair; and that comes next so get prepared! Exfoliation is amazing, and with my DIY super simple body scrub you just have no excuse not to scrub your pins. The simplest recipe ever. 2 part granulated sugar to 1 part coconut oil. The coconut oil should be liquid form, I normally melt mine quickly but gently on the hob, but if you don’t have coconut oil, try olive oil its great for your skin. Mix thoroughly, and let cool. When you’re ready to use, slather your legs in it. Work it in to your skin in circular motions and then rinse off under a warm shower (not hot), before shaving your pins to leave them gloriously smooth.

Hair pep. Get under the warm (not hot, warm is better for your hair) shower and soak your hair and shampoo your roots, not your tips – just your roots. This will clean your scalp and save you drying out your ends. I’ve switched my products recently to a natural product. I’ve really enjoyed using it so far and its paraben and sulphate free. It’s good for the curly girl method which ive been doing for about 6 weeks now, it’s a work in progress but my hair seems to have improved in texture already, so my current method is based on my findings (if you like) so far. Remember, just your roots, not your lengths or tips. Same for conditioner. Use it like a wash, only on your roots and leave it in for the suggested time. When you rinse the product out the water will help work it through the rest of your hair, it is your scalp that needs the attention. While you’re waiting for the conditioner to do its thing use your fave body wash. Rinse that wash off and as you do use either a comb or your fingers to untangle your mane and rinse your conditioner out.

Absolute new staple, wouldn’t be without it.

Before jumping out of the shower, when your hair is still sopping wet run a little leave in conditioner through your lengths and tips. Do not get close to your scalp, if you do you’ll most likely be oily before the drying process is out let alone the day. Squeeze out the water with your hands and t-shirt dry your hair. Yes, you read right, use an old t-shit. It is less harsh on your hair. Towels create frizz; they are simply too rough, and no matter your style -curly, straight, wavy or coiled no one wants the frizz. I ‘plop’ my hair at this point after some scrunching with curling creams and gels (curly girl method – post for another day), but get it off your face regardless of the method your using and apply your face mask. I’m using Garnier’s moisture bomb sheet mask at the moment which I have on subscription through amazon. I buy two a month, so aim to do one every other week. This one is really hydrating, but feel free to use your fave or get creative and make one.

Plopped hair dont care.

Enjoy your face mask and as you do smother your body in lotion or body butter as soon as you can to lock in the moisture from your shower. When your face mask timer is up, rub in the remaining serum if there is any and get a toner on your skin; again to lock in the moisture. Running theme here, but skin hydration is a must.

Dry your hair in your own fashion, I’m avoiding heat when using the curly girl method meaning air drying for me. Get in your comfies et voilà. Basic spa evening completed, add in mani/pedi for extras. Most importantly, feel good and do this for yourself. Enjoy, you deserve it.

Love,

L xox

The Broken Crayons and The Ginger Whale

Sorting out the littles colouring box and finding a hell of a lot of broken crayons. I’ve seen it countless times online, pinterest, and Insta ect when people melt down the old crayons in silicone moulds and reuse the results. Getting the best out of the broken bits. I’d just like to take a moment to drift back to my own childhood when the paper jackets on crayons would slip off countless times for you to be able to slide the crayon right back in, or they’d be easy to rip back the paper to expose more of the crayon. I remember the waxy smell of them and still to this day love it.

However I can confirm that crayons are no longer easy to separate from their paper jackets. As it took me a good 20 mins to take all the paper off before melting them. But its imperative you do so I did endure it. I filled up an old silicone cupcake tray with the broken old crayons and tried to keep similar colours together. Keeping them similar makes me smile but feel free to mix them up and put in all the colours you would like or stick to one colour per hole.

Pop them in the oven and bake till melted completely. On my lowest setting it took about 15 mins, but my oven is beyond ancient so isnt the best (roll on the new kitchen in the atumn – can not wait). All I can tell you is heat until melted, remove from the oven and cool till solid making sure they are thoroughly cooled before letting little hands touch.

Grab some paper or a colouring book and enjoy those new colours. Dee loved them, easy to hold and they look cute stacked because of the puck shape. I implore you to have a go, in the name of reduce, reuse, recycle and of course as a time filler if you’re lacking bits and bobs to get the little ones involved with.

Dee forever asks to make “gingermans” and today I folded and helped her make some. We made circles, gingermans, stars and whales which initially I thought was a strange looking bunny. Man put me right and hands up it deffo looks like more of a whale than a bunny. What do you think? I can kinda see both. Dee says it’s a bunny.

Recipe to follow shortly for these. They’re certainly a winner in my house. Crisp and spicy with a lingering ginger flavour, for lovers of ginger these are a must.

Love and wishes,

L, xox

The Reality of Redundancy – The 2nd Edition

I took a break for a while from blogging with the full intention to come back. Initially it was for other writing. I was concentrating on a new novel idea when I had the steam to do it. More recently things came to a head with my work situation. I was made redundant (as if you haven’t already guessed that from the post title). My professional contacts are aware now, as are my family and friends.

So I find myself two months away from my 30th birthday and I am redundant for the second time. I am a new mum finding it hard to come to terms with the fact I’m going to have to pay a lot of what I will potentially earn to childcare. I cannot get my head around it. I’m going to work (when I find my vocation) to pay someone else to look after my child. I find this a difficult concept. I love spending time with my little one. It’s been amazing getting to be with her, and watch as she has developed.

Let me get one thing straight, I want to work. I am ready to find my career, to rock it like the boss I actually am. I’ve never been one to shy away from hard work, I’m organised, and I thrive in an office situation where I can be in control, but have a little friendly banter. I work best when I’m left to it and I like feeling that I have contributed to something bigger. I love to see projects through and I can’t wait to get back into work.

Why Me? – This is the questions that runs on repeat in my head, and if you’ve ever been in the redundancy boat you’ll know exactly what I mean. I feel like in administration I’m on the most at risk list from the start. Working in a smaller family run business is where I found my place and each of the small family businesses I’ve worked for made me redundant. So what? Am I cursed? I am ready to have a little job security over here!

If you’ve been in the boat you’ll most likely agree – they say it’s not personal; but when it’s you losing your job, your income, the people that you considered a second family because you spent that much time with them and the fact you actually liked, no scratch that, LOVED the job you had; it is personal. Not for them, not for their business but for you. Redundancy is a highly emotional process and it hurts. Going into it the second time round is no easier than the first.

The Job Hunt – When you put out feelers on LinkedIn and on Facebook. LinkedIn was utterly helpful. I got a ton of hits on my profile, lovely messages of support and potential job leads. I even got a beautifully comprehensive email saying that I would be the perfect candidate for a position, the only thing in that director’s way of offering me the job was the fact I’m based at the other side of the country. Relocation is not an option, although the email was a perfect booster for the bashed ego and I appreciated the email, most especially on a down day.

Putting feelers out on Facebook was somewhat of a mistake. As soon as I did, I was tagged in cleaning jobs, shelf stacking work and weekend jobs – don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment behind the tags. AND I really don’t mean to sound ungrateful, or snobby but I have a degree and over 6 years of office experience under my belt. I am not starting at the beginning again. There are nothing wrong with these types of jobs, but I’ve been there before and I got stuck in retail straight out of uni and I’m trying my best to avoid it. It’s just not my thing. I really want something that can grow into a career for me.

Job sites, brilliant for searching. Employers sometimes don’t get back to you, or they take an eon and this can be really demoralising. It’s okay if you’re only applying for a couple of things. BUT when you are on full out on hunt a job down mode and you’ve done a bazillion applications for administration based rolls and one person calls “I’m calling about the admin role you applied for” … Take it from me, even if you’ve kept a spreadsheet of everything you’ve applied for (yes, guilty) it’s still difficult to keep track when someone calls with that opening.

Recruiters – I know them. I’ve worked with them. I’ve used them to get hired before. In the most part they are great at their jobs – it is slightly annoying when they call with a perfectly interesting role. They sell you it, it sounds perfect and then they add (after signing you up for an interview) that it’s full time hours even though it clearly states in your CV and your profile that you are looking for PART TIME to fit round the family. It’s the ‘Oh I’m sorry’ or the ‘Never mind’ that gets you in the gut and makes you second guess what you can get out of a new role if you only want part time. And all because they didn’t read your requirements. Come on you brilliant people, you’ve got the gift of the gab but the research side of things could use some work. I guess us (the applicants) are just numbers and a hefty commission cheque for the recruiters, but again this IS personal – I AM NOT JUST A NUMBER.

The Network Marketing Draw – We all know I’ve dabbled in network marketing. I played with Jamberry and did well with it for a while, and I’ve been signed up with FM world since March time but I haven’t really pushed it. I keep thinking I should give it more of a go. A lot of people fake it to seem like they are making it in network marketing and that’s really not my style. I don’t fake. I’ll have to give it a shot as a hobby and remind myself it’s certainly not a vocation for me. It can provide lucrative if you are that way inclined, but I don’t feel like it’s for me at this moment in time.

Thinking Positively – That’s what all the guides say. Stay positive. It’s just a newly opened door for a better path.

This is all good, but I’m having down days and up days. Yes, it is important to stay positive but the reality of this is it’s not so easy in practice. On paper it is, but battling the internal monologue is the difficult bit. Especially on redundancy number two. Again the thought process of “Why Me?” springs up.

I am using this opportunity to go for something to suit me and to grab a new beginning with both hands. I am ready for a fantastic career, I am ready for the financial abundance that is coming with my new vocation and I am thankful for the opportunities that are waiting for me. The skills that I have accumulated from my work means I can apply for a more senior position. I get to choose which direction I want to take my career in next. I am excited to see where this path takes me.

So that’s where we are, a totally mind dump of a post. I hope you are all well, and I cannot wait to catch up with your blogs. As always, thank you for reading you beautiful creatures – I am eternally grateful for my audience.

All the positive vibes.

XOXO, L

Sandy Toes

After a leisurely morning we took a trip out to Formby just by Southport.

Man and I went once the year we met, but it’s the first time we’ve been back. It’s such a beautiful place, I’d be happy to live on the door step of Formby. The houses are beautiful, the type that are huge with double garages and a gated driveway. Probably well out of our price range (for the moment). Anyone wants to give us a house there, we wouldn’t say no!

The beach is hidden away by a woods and sand dunes, so it’s a fair walk. With pram and bubs it’s a killer walk, especially in flip flops on the soft sand. Dela wasn’t overly sure of sand when man put her straight in it, but a few moments of sand discovery late she loved it. Touching, patting it, crawling it and putting it in daddy’s shoes.

Our day in pictures

We had a down pour as we walked back to the car. Under the tiniest umbrella we didn’t get too wet, Dela of course was okay under her rainhood on the pram.

Happy, sunny, sandy Sunday.

Xoxo, L