26 Feb 2013

The Liebster Award

A lovely friend of mine, Lulu from Berry Diaries has nominated me for the Liebster Award. 

I am soooooo blooming excited! How cool is that?! Thank you fellow Lulu!

It's basically an award given to new and up and coming blogs by other bloggers.  A way of getting to know other bloggers out there, who also have less than 200 followers. 

Here's how it works:
  • Each person must post 11 things about themselves. 
  • Answer the questions that the nominator set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer.
  • Choose 11 lovely blogs and link them in your post.
  • Go to their page and let them know!


11 things about me

1. I have a big family. My mother was one of 6 and my Dad one of 5. I have a lot of cousins! Amazing family Christmas'!

2. I am half Australian... I have possibly the most laid-back (practically horizontal) father around.

3. I love 'me' time: I am perfectly happy spending a day on my own. At the moment I have taken to wandering around town, sitting in a coffee shop and nursing a latte for far too long, reading a book. However I'm not quite on my own.  Pippa is with me! Obviously. She's not the best conversationalist yet but her raspberry blowing skills are astounding.

4.Orange squash makes me wheeze. I can't explain it but it just does! I go all tight-chested. Other flavours seem to have no effect at all. Odd.

5. I used to have a half-sister. She very sadly died when she was 20.

6. I am about to move to my 3rd house in 2 years.

7. I really can't be bothered with big nights out anymore.  I love long boozy, evenings in with friends, or a drawn out afternoon at a restaurant or in the pub though.

8. I absolutely love house building or renovation programmes on telly. I would love to do that one day.

9. A pet hate: I can't stand it when shop assistants natter to each other when they're supposed to be serving you….it's just rude!!

10. I'd like to retire in Devon.

11. I love stationary.  Buying new stationary at the beginning of the year or being given a new exercise book was one of the few things I loved about school. That and school choir! Ha random!

It's surprising what random ideas or facts come to mind when you have to brain dump quickly! 

Questions for me from Lulu:

1. Why do you Blog?

Mainly as a form of diary for myself and family & friends to be able to look back on in years to come.  Although I'd like to start including stuff to actually interest others: issues about motherhood, life and the sort of posts I love to read on other people's blogs. 

2. Favourite post that you have ever written?

Probably my "Breast is best" post.  I wrote about my experiences with breastfeeding.  These are the sorts of posts I'd like to write more of.

3. Top 3 Favourite books that you have ever read?

I love to read and I know I have missed some whoppers, but I have a mind blank....!
Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher
The Far Pavillions by M. M. Kaye
A bit of a cheat here...anything by Dan Brown or J.K.Rowling!

4. Favourite city?

Salzburg or Sienna

5. When I grow up I want to write a blog as cool as......

Alice Harold's More Than Toast

6. Dream job if money were no object?

Hmmmmm....I don't know!  I could've given you lots of different answers a year ago but now, as cheesy as it sounds, being a Mummy is satisfying pretty much all my yearnings.  The only thing I'd change is to be able to study something, or at least feel like I'm using my brain.  Right now I feel as if any intellectualism I had is slowly evaporating!  If money were no object I'd love to just work 2 days a week,  but do something really challenging and satisfying on those days.  If anyone has any ideas what job that could be then let me know!

7. Shoes or Handbags?

Handbags.  Can't have enough.  Ever!  Plus, I am crap at walking in heels.

8. My perfect chilled out Sunday would include...

A lazy morning with a lie-in (as in 8.30am),  eggs benedict/royale for breafast, a long walk with Rufus, Husband and Pip, then meet friends for lunch in a pub where we while away the rest of the afternoon playing silly boardgames.  Then home for a filthy takeaway of some description.  Oh and a good film, PJ's and a big, squishy sofa.  Soooo wild!

9. The one 'healthy' habit I wish I could stick to is....

Doing some form of exercise every day.

10. What do you usually have for Breakfast? 

If I'm feeling lazy then either a bowl of cereal (bran flakes or Shreddies) or toast with peanut butter.  If I am feeling virtuous (which I tend to do for a couple of weeks and then slide back to laziness) I'll have a smoothie or porridge with lots of fruit and yoghurt.  Need to get the virtuous days to outnumber the lazy ones!

11. Current Obsession?

Highchairs.  Researching every one that has ever been made.  I have concluded that the one I want does not yet exist.  Oh and pureeing for Britain.....actually surprisingly satisfying!

Right, now for my 11 questions....(I'm going to cheat here and steal one of Lulu's as I am always up for book recommendations!)

My questions for you girls!

1. What are your three favourite books you've ever read?
2. What is your biggest pet hate?
3. What would be your biggest ambition for 2013?
4. Recount a happy memory from childhood.
5. If you could hold a dinner party for 6 people of your choice (dead or alive), who would you choose?
6. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
7. Your life is going to become a script for a movie. Who would you want to play you?
8.  Not counting family…what do you feel your greatest accomplishment is so far in life?
9.  You get to become a villain for a day from a Disney movie. Which villain are you?
10.  What is your current vice?
And finally.....11. What would be your top 5 entries on your bucket list?

Blogs I've nominated

And the 11 lovely bloggers I'd like to nominate for the Liebster Award: (I confess that I am not entirely sure how to work out how many followers someone has so if any of you have more than 200, which I'm sure you do, then I apologise!  Apparently I have 2 followers on Google+, but I'd like to think a few more read all this waffle than that! Anyone? Helloooo?)

1. Rachel at The Little Pip
2. The lovely lady at Mama London (she likes to remain anonymous)
4. Another lovely lady at Little E and Bean
5. Elspeth at Yellow Fields
8. Wendy at Red Boots
9. Alice at More Than Toast (She has way over 200 followers but I'd love to hear her answers!)
11. Charlotte at The Crumbly Mummy

There! All done, looking forward to seeing all your answers ladies!! 

Pureeing marathon!

I recently posted here about how I thought Pippa was potentially ready to start on solids.  I know the current DoH advice is to wait until 6 months before starting ("unless other wise advised by your doctor") and that was indeed my aim.  They say that baby's digestive systems aren't developed enough before 6 months to process many food types and this can make them susceptible to various allergies, sensitivities and digestion issues. However, on the flip side, by 6 months many of a baby's nutrients and especially iron stores have reduced significantly.  Formula milk is often fortified with iron and other vitamins etc. so these babies do get to replenish their stores earlier, however breast milk contains no iron, so anaemia is a big factor to watch out for when planning the step to weaning for a breast fed baby.  

A lot of people want to start weaning to hopefully help their babies to sleep better.  We are lucky that Pip has always slept really well so getting her onto solids for this reason was not an issue.  Whilst I have been really excited for her first tastes and to be able to see her trying new things, a part of me has also been dreading the day when I had to start....  

While Pippa is still exclusively breast feeding she is still my little baby and she is still wholly dependent on me. I know it's selfish but I can't help but feel like my little baby is making a massive leap forwards in independence once she is on solid foods. Thankfully she still needs to have significant amounts of milk each day until she's 1 so I can keep going for a while yet!  (But don't worry, I am not going to become one of those long-term breast feeders.  That's just odd.  There'll be no "Bitty" in our house.  Ugh! Each to their own though I suppose, don't want to offend anyone!)   

So.........Pippa has now had 3 days of eating baby rice mixed with milk at 11am!! Wahoo!!!

It is now time to introduce fruit and veg in so I am having a pureeing marathon day. 

Gone are the days of being able to take nothing with me for mealtimes except a muslin and myself!

24 Feb 2013

Baking day!

Today I made some ginger biscuits.......they worked well.  No complaints from Husband at least, they're vanishing fast.

However.........my "mocha toffee cupcakes" don't quite look like the picture.  Renamed "Poo Cakes" for obvious reasons! 

21 Feb 2013

Roll, baby, roll!!

Today Philippa rolled on her own for the first time! 

She's learnt to roll from her front to her back so my days of administering enforced tummy time are over.  There've been a couple of weeks of Husband and I giving her the odd nudge to help her over but she's always got stuck trying to get over her bottom-most elbow.  Well, she was happily playing on her tummy, on her playmat, whilst we were having a cuppa and suddenly we realised she was no longer on her tummy but on her back, smiling away, so I'm sorry Pippy, we in fact missed your very first solo effort!  

She thinks rolling over is the best trick ever now, as every time she managed it before (with help) we cheered and clapped, so now she grins whenever she rolls over, expecting lots of smiles and applause.

What a clever girlie....another milestone reached!  What next....sitting up?!  That might be a challenge when you have Rufus wanting to cuddle up at every opportunity!

Now to try and persuade her to love her Bumbo.....she's happy for 5 minutes or so and then tries to fling herself backwards.  Oh well, let's make the most of our relatively immobile baby....before we know it she'll be crawling and then life will get considerably more hectic!

And so it begins...nom, nom, nom!

I have realised that Philippa has been showing quite a lot of interest in my coffee cups and food recently.  I remember hearing friends saying that their babies starting grabbing for their mugs or following every mouthful of food from plate to mouth with their eyes, but Pippa didn't seem that interested (and was also nearly always asleep when I was eating - my mealtimes mostly coincide with her nap-times).  However, one day in a coffee shop she really tried to grab my coffee cup and pulled it straight to her mouth.  Now, this could well be just another example of absolutely everything going into her mouth (I think she may be on the fringes of teething, but shall write more about that soon), but it did really look like she knew full well what should be done with that mug!!

The next morning I was having a banana for breakfast and she was staring at it with her arms stretched out.  So I decided to give her a taste........

Well she grabbed it and started chewing away instantly......there were a couple of funny faces at first but she loved it and protested quite a lot when I took it off her. 

I think this may be a sign that she's ready for solids?!

15 Feb 2013

I've got that "day-after-the-night-before" feeling....

Well we had a lovely Valentine's Day yesterday.  I guess, technically it was just Valentines evening as Husband was obviously at work until 6pm.  But I had a nice day with Rufus and Pippa beforehand....there was a very muddy walk in the park, a large amount of biscuits with several cups of tea and then catching up with some lovely neighbours in the afternoon.  Frightfully civilised and leisurely!

Anyway, back to Valentine's day.  We had both agreed in advance not to bother with presents or flowers as,  a) There's nothing that Husband wants which isn't in the 3-figures bracket, £-wise,  b) As I have very little of my own money I'd technically be buying him a present from his own wages and c) We were both just feeling lazy!  

With our darling Philippa upstairs and snoozing by 7pm our options to go out for supper at a restaurant were limited, but we did push the boat out and splashed out on an M&S Valentines Dine in for Two for £20. Wahooo, oh the high life!!

These offers are normally Dine in for £10, so I was a little sceptical that they had just doubled the price purely because it was Valentine's Day, but you got a starter, main course, side dish, pudding, bottle of wine and a box of chocolates....a pretty good deal I think.  And very nice it was too! 

Well....the wine was very nice and so were the three....yes, THREE glasses of Amarula I had afterwards on the sofa.  We had Amarula (a kind of Bailey's-type liqueur) on our honeymoon every evening as a 'sundowner' on the safari drives, so it seemed the perfect way to finish off Valentine's day.  I was by no means drunk but certainly more tipsy than I have been since getting pregnant. Which is now well over a year ago....crazy thought!  

My poor body had forgotten what alcohol is and I am paying for it today.  Ugh. Oh well, we have swimming to look forward to this afternoon, yey!  I just pray that Pippa doesn't choose the half an hour we're in the pool to relieve herself of 8 day's worth of poo.  I think I shall vomit, cry and have hysterics all at once if that happens.  Ohhhhh it doesn't even bear thinking about. 

11 Feb 2013

Into the deep blue....

I have been going to 'swimming' classes with Pippa for the last few weeks.  As you might well imagine there isn't a whole lot of swimming going on, more like a bobbing and spluttering class! 

The class is really just a social thing and a way to get the babies used to water and to become confident in it.  There are other classes which actually focus on teaching the babies to swim or learning survival techniques (yes, apparently, even for Pippa's age!), but these are really expensive and I wanted something a bit more relaxed for now.  The class consists of rhymes and songs and lots of swooshing about in the water. Then there's 15 minutes of play-time where there are lots of toys and floats.  For the first few weeks Pippa seemed a little bemused by the whole affair - she was content but pretty quiet.  However this last week she started to seem to really enjoy it, there was lots of kicking and squealing! 

The big finale at the end of swimming term is having an underwater photograph taken.  Each week we practice submerging the little ones and then passing them to each other, over a distance of about a foot, underwater.  Apparently the idea is that they'll be able to swim towards you underwater for about a meter or so! Exciting stuff!

10 Feb 2013

The challenge is on!

So recently I blogged about starting to get a bit fitter and shed some baby-weight.  Well, one of my favourite bloggers, Ruth, at A Model Recommends had uploaded a post on exercise and fitness tips.  In it she talked about getting a pedometer as it helped her to keep track of how active she was each day.  I think this is a great idea, as just being more active and walking more, is such a good way of getting more fit.  It doesn't always have to be about doing a massive work-out and is certainly less daunting and easier to fit in.  If nothing else, I find that if I have been active enough in a day I am less inclined to go and scoff rubbish or crave a filthy take away in the evening (not that we have these much really).

So I have bought one!  The advice is to aim for 10,000 steps a day (sounds A LOT to me!).  On Friday I did just under 18,000 steps!! On Fridays we have Philippa's 'swimming' class, it's about 3.5 miles from home and I drove to the first couple of classes, but whilst Husband and Rufus were away at the end of January I decided to walk there and back.  I really enjoy it and I congratulate  myself on my efforts with a coffee and cake after the class with the other girls. Only problem is that I keep enjoying the coffee and cake bit too much and end up walking home in the dark! 

Yesterday I only did 2,000 steps and today 3,000....not so great!  It makes you think of how you can fit in more steps and excuses to get walking...I could get competitive about this!!

Ruth's other recommendation was a home fitness DVD called '30 Day Shred Workout' by one of The Biggest Loser USA's trainers Jillian Michaels.  On the opposite end of the spectrum from the pedometer this is a 20 minute intense workout.  There are 3 phases, each getting more challenging, with the idea that you spend about 10 days on each.  Each daily workout session works on a 3-2-1 program, that being: 3 minutes cardio, 2 minutes strength and 1 minute abs...repeated 3 times with different combinations of exercises on each cycle.

Well, I've done two days so far....and it's hard work, you're not allowed a breather so it's pretty relentless.  But you're never doing one move or action for longer than a minute so it doesn't get boring and Jillian's surprisingly un-annoying! Also, I love that I can do the workout, have a shower, get dressed and hair/makeup done all in under an hour.  Pippa seems to be rather amused by the whole thing from her rather unfortunate angle on her playmat.  I just have to remember one key thing when doing these workouts..........

Keep.  The.  Curtains.  Closed!!  

I don't think I could leave the house again if anyone ever spied me in my red, blobby state of wheezy disgustingness at that hour in the morning. 

I shall keep you updated on my progress......I can hardly walk today and going downstairs is rather emotional so it's definitely doing something!

Anyone want to join me in my challenge? 

6 Feb 2013

So tragic...

I shall keep this short but sweet.  In fact I am afraid it'll be short and pretty damn tragic.

This evening I read about a fellow blogging mummy's horrendous, awful experience of losing her baby to cot death a couple of nights ago.  I simply cannot imagine her family's agony.  I think once you have had your own child those imaginings or thoughts become firmly locked behind a sealed door in your mind.  To access them would be to invite in the most evil of nightmares.  To begin to try and comprehend the impact such a tragedy would have just doesn't bear thinking about.  I actually can't make myself start to comprehend it,  I get so far and wham, the door comes down.  A kind of self-preservation I guess.  I have dealt with my fair share of loss in my life,  but to think of losing Pippa just doesn't compute.  I write this in tears, a state I've been in since reading poor Jennie's post about an hour or so ago.

As much as it pains me to think of such an awful thing happening, tonight I must.  I shall think of that poor darling baby and her family.  My prayers go out to you and I shall be thinking of you.

Suffice to say Pippa will be getting an extra big hug tonight at her dream feed. Now and every night.  

Here's Jennies blog post.  Please, do bear in mind that you will sob.....a lot....so pick your moment to read it.  If you have a baby or a child you will find it pretty bloody difficult to read, so if you're alone or feeling delicate, maybe just don't.

Right, I'm off to cuddle my darling.  Tonight the baby monitor will be turned up to full volume so I can hear every snuffle.  Oh Lord, life is cruel.

For some reason on my computer Jennie's site gets flagged up as suspicious....it's fine, just press ignore on the warnings.

5 Feb 2013

Calling all stylists....

Tonight I have been doing some blog-surfing (I may have just made this word up) and I have stumbled upon an awesome website through the lovely Erin's blog at Living In Yellow.

It's called Stitch Fix and it is a kind of online personal stylist.  Being the  incredibly un-stylish person that I am I have never considered that such a concept exists.  It would be my absolute dream come true to have a personal stylist (and hairdresser......it's not fair that I can't look like Katherine Middleton every morning!), I don't even know if this sort of thing exists in the UK?  Let me know if it does....

......if not then all you stylists out there should jump on this ol' bandwagon. 

An effort to get back on the wagon

Recently (I lie, pretty much since Pippa was about 4 weeks old, actually) my approach to a healthy diet has been shocking.  Breastfeeding seems to give me the worst sweet tooth and constant cravings for sugary and crappy foods.  Maybe my sugar craze only feels so significant now because I went off a lot of sweet things during pregnancy and so the contrast is more marked.  I can't say, but admittedly, whatever the cause, it's definitely being buoyed along by being able to drag out the breastfeeding excuse / justification at every possibly opportunity!

Well enough is enough!  I am still about 1 stone heavier than I was when I got pregnant and I know for a fact that that poundage could be long gone if I'd put more of an effort into being sensible over the past few weeks.  I still find it utterly repulsive to think that I reached the blubbery heights of 14 stone 10 the day I went into labour with Pippa.  Sheesh! Worst of all, I know that at least 1.5 stones of that was from my guzzling during the 1st trimester, when you don't have any reason to put any weight on. But at the time I did not care.  Not one bit. For the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, whilst I was eating (anything unhealthy, I wasn't fussy) or sleeping were the only times I didn't feel as if I was going to be violently sick.  Anyone who's been in that situation will know what levels you'll go to to just get rid of that feeling, even if it only lasts for the 10 minutes it takes to eat that toasted sandwich. Oh to have been one of those girls who couldn't bring themselves to eat because of morning sickness.....I envy you! I was ill if I didn't eat for an hour. Ugh!

Christ!! There's a whale in the garden!!!

For me, healthy eating, making the effort to exercise and refraining from the delights of crappy food is a full-time job.  It does not come naturally and nor do I find it remotely easy (hence the fact that I am a fatty!).  And so in order to really make an effort with a healthier lifestyle I need to have nothing which might distract me, unnecessarily put temptation in my way or demand too much of me.  Well.......being a first-time mother, having a new screaming bundle wholly dependent on you, feeling drained and needing a sugar rush  and having to attend numerous coffee (and cake) catch-ups kinda scuppers my plan!

I feel as if it's only really been since Christmas that I have truly relaxed and become at ease with motherhood.  Of course I have loved every second of it since day one and have never really felt stressed or worried, but I did feel like I was being stretched a bit too thin if I tried to give my concentration to something else as well as Pippa (for example, before Christmas when I was trying to get lots of artwork done). So...it is only really now that I feel I can take motherhood in my stride enough to be able to dedicate some more of my time back to me! 

Whilst Husband was away recently he had taken the car with him and so if I needed to get anywhere I had to walk (we are a one-car family). So over the past couple of weeks I must have done the 4mile return walk into town about 6 or 7 times....walking into town seems like my immediate go-to if I am bored or with no specific purpose for the day!  Husband had also taken Rufus with him and so I had no added guilt of being out and about without him.  I really enjoyed it and liked being able to get a little out of breath marching along with the pram, without having to really class it as a workout (and therefore avoidable at any cost!).  

Anyway these walks have got me back into the right frame of mind and my eating is back on track. Most mornings I'm having either a smoothie similar to the ones we were having whilst I was pregnant and for the first couple of weeks once Pippa arrived or porridge. Lunch is usually something similar to these caprese wraps / pittas or soup. 

I really would love to get back into running, as I got so hooked on it before I got pregnant, but I think right now it is taking all my determination just to do what I'm doing and throwing in a concerted effort to go and exercise for exercise's sake will be one step too far (especially if I have to give something(s) up for Lent)!

So for now I'm going to keep up with having a more consciencious attitutide towards my diet and just keep as active as I can. It may take a while to get back to where I'd like to be, but I've had my fair share of quick weight loss plans in the past and I can say from experience that they are not for me!  There's no real rush either, I figure it took 9 months to get to that "state" so I shall allow 9 months to get it off.  However I would like to be back at my pre pregnancy weight (or below, ideally) before the next pregnancy, so I can't take too long about it. Lord, that's rather alarming to think of the next pregnancy when I feel like I am only just starting to feel non-pregnant now!