Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

I have been thinking about changing my blog name for a while now, but I hadn’t figured out the right domain to suit it.

You know, its because I am such an influencer/Instamum/world famous lifestyle blogger and because all my posts are #ad and sponsored, so I need a better fit.

Nah, as if!!!

I want to change the name because I am worried that people might accidentally Google their cockney ryhming slang wrong and find my silly little personal blog!

I have said it before, and its daft but true, I like that I have a small readership and my stoopid thoughts are hidden in the deepest darkest depths of the internet! I always try to think of the most un-SEO friendly blog post titles and I have deleted some posts that seem to get Google hits! What a weirdo, eh?!

But there is always room for improvement and its time to bury things even deeper in the murky internet!

My new blog name is….Drumroll please……

Hels Tells!

Yep, its a bit shit, but its the best that I could come up with. Hels Tales might have been better, but nah.

Its still going to be more of the same round here – a bit of vintage and retro, a bit of Pyrex, a bit of food, a bit of decorating, a bit of my personal thoughts and the usual random life stuff. But sometimes with all new added bonus content – boring baby shit™! So if you want to keep following me I guess that you will have to check that your feed reader is still getting my posts etc. I hope you do. If you don’t thats cool – I don’t blame you really, as I do drone on a bit!!

See you on the otherside! xox

Some Things That I Have Been Told To Do

People have a lot to say when you have a baby. Especially about feeding them. Just when you think that all the unasked for, over-opinionated well meaning advice about whether you should breastfeed, pump, combination feed, formula feed or do all of the above is behind you, you then have to start weaning your baby. And then the whole blooming saga starts all over again!

It turns out that people have strong feelings about how you should wean your baby. And then weaning is a right mine field! Do you do baby led weaning or purees? How much food do you give them? What should you give them? When should you feed them? And will my little darling be a picky little bastard, refuse to eat and make my life hell?

Anyway, this is not going to be a how to/advice type of baby weaning blog post. Nope, not from me. Dylan is 8.5 months old and has only been eating solids for about 2 months, so I still have my L plates on. And to be honest, I am not really sure what I am doing!

I just want to share what Rob’s and my parents fed us when we were babies and some of the weaning advice that we have been given. I hope that this is not too dull and that this post does not have the same effect on you as Dylan pictured below! But somethings we have been told made me chuckle, so I feel the need to share them here while my blogging mojo lasts!

ZZZZZzzzzzzz! Yep, this actually happened, the poor little mite fell asleep during lunch time! And yes, that is a cat hair on his highchair tray, oops!

So its all coming out of the woodwork now! What we have learnt is that my Mum used to feed me mashed up bread in a little marmite gravy (salt content alert!), lots of liver and then honey sandwiches (back in the days before they told you not to give it to babies under one years old) all the time, as I refused to eat anything else.

This is explains why I am such a bloody carb queen and I love my bread and stodge! But my Mum tried her best, as she did not know what else to give me and I was a nightmare fussy eater. Poor Mum!

Rob’s Mum has told us that when she needed a break, and Rob would not stop crying, that she used to put him in his pram and leave him in it at the bottom of the garden! But we mustn’t judge, this was the norm in the 70’s! Its just that Rob was born at the end of June, so the poor love must have been outside in the middle of winter! She also used to feed him mashed up baby rusks (which apparently have more sugar in them than a doughnut!) pretty much every meal.

This explains why Rob is such a biscuit monster!!! The man craves sugar 24/7 and cannot eat just one biscuit, he has to demolish the whole packet in one sitting! Another story that made us laugh was how when Rob was a toddler, he used to wake up in the night and come in his parents bedroom. So to stop him from coming in and waking them, they used to leave a plate of biscuits out in his room. Again, this kind of explains a lot really!

So yeah, you think that the parents would accept that times have changed and the official parenting advice is a lot different now. But no, not really! Here is what we have been adviced to do by family members when it comes to weaning Dylan –

Give him a chip.

He can have some fishfingers for tea.*

He should be eating what you eat.*

You don’t wanna do that baby led weaning malarky.*

Give him a rusk.

Give him more food and less milk.*

He should only be having three bottles a day.*

You’re horrible, you are feeding him gruel.*

So and so’s baby eats the same as what they have for dinner.*

You are forcing him to be a vegetarian.*

Ah well, they mean well at least! (Those marked with a star are my mother’s pearls of wisdom!)

TBH from what I can gather, like most things in life, with weaning there is no right or wrong way. All babies are different and you just have to do what works best for them. Some babies prefer the BLW approach and some like to have purees shovelled down their throats. Some parents make everything from scratch and some parents nearly bankrupt themselves buying Ella’s Kitchen squeezy sachets and pre-made snacks etc. You gotta do what you gotta do really. But whatever you do, it will always be wrong in the eyes of some people…. especially over opinionated granmothers!

Lately #21

I think I have my blogging mojo back again…. by back again I mean that I have the urge to share my mundane thoughts and life happenings in the form of bullet points! Whoop!

  • Hey Internet, thanks for listening to thoughts in my last post. Once again I have used my blog as a counselling session! And yes, before you ask, I have not got PND. I am fine, believe me. I have hit rock bottom before so I know all my signs and triggers. I can get out of bed and I am functioning fine right now. Its all good and I am happy etc, I just find where I currently live too quiet. People have much, much worse problems and its a minor blip in the bigger scheme of things. But it turns out that I prefer all the things that I wanted to get away from like busy traffic, crowds, crap crowded public transport, rude people and busy supermarkets and busy high street chain stores, to all the peace and quiet in the countryside. There really is no pleasing some people, eh!
  • Or rather, lets put it this way – the grass is greener on the other side, but I prefer the grass that has been shat on!
  • I have also decided that I am going to talk about baby stuff on here a bit more. Sorry! I know, I know – I said that I wouldn’t. But its kind of my life right now, so I might publish a post about weaning soon. Nope, I am not turning into a Mummy blogger, I just want to share my thoughts and (maybe) give someone a giggle with some of the “advice” that I have been given.
  • On the subject of baby D – he is doing great. He is 8.5 months old now and looks just like me. I thought that babies were supposed to look like their Dads because of the caveman thing or something? But yeah, the poor fella has my looks ATM and my Mums face and her Mums face! The only thing that he has in common with Rob is the same gender! Anyway, the other day I took him to the doc’s to have a look at a red rash on his neck, which I though was a dribble-teething rash. It turns out that poor Dylan has eczema. The same as Rob! Its why Rob always has a beard, because he has dry, itchy, red skin on his face. Rob was almost pleased that his son was taking after him for once! (Obviously he is not pleased that poor baby D has eczema, but you know what I mean!)
  • I have one of these and have joined the #aldipansbandwagon. Mother managed to pick me up the casserole dish in her local branch (as my local branch only had the baking tray which I was very good and left behind). Its nice to cook in, I still love my LeCreuset dishes best, but enamel is a close second to cast iron. Unfortunatley I nearly ruined it by burning some olive oil when I left it preheating and nipped outside to put something in the wheelie bin. Who knew that oil burnt? Only every fireman who put out far too many chip pan fires in the eighties and the rest of the world except me it seems! The pans are the perfect blend of overpriced vintage Cathrineholm and overpriced Orla Kiely kitchen pieces, AKA right up my street. Anyway, does anyone know how to remove brown oil burn stains?
  • In other news it seems that the cat is finally growing back the fur on her belly. I guess that she has stopped stressing about Dylan and overgrooming herself. Phew.
  • We grew some veg in growbags this year. Just some courgettes (a disaster we only got three from three plants!), tomatoes and peppers. I think that I am going to make some chutney with the pickings.Wish me luck!

  • And finally, who is watching the C4 version of the bake off? I am and I am getting into it. I miss Mary, although Prue is growing on me. Other than the adverts it still seems the same even without Mel and Sue. Change is a good thing really. I think that it needed a teeny-tiny-barely noticable-shake up otherwise it would have gone a bit stale eventually (crap baking pun alert!)

Back?

I have been wanting to share my current feelings about our move to Devon for a while now, but it has felt inappropriate to voice my stupid, minor, first world privilege problems when so many people in the world are displaced, live in war zones, have lost their homes or live in poor conditions in substandard housing. After reading this I don’t expect (or want) anyone to sympathise with me – TBH I expect that you will more likely want to punch me in the face!!!

The fact is that I am not loving where I live. In fact, I kind of hate it here.

Firstly I must point out that I am aware that I am extremely lucky. I have a lovely house, that is warm, spacious and secure in a nice part of a first world country. I am very, very fortunate. Very lucky and very fortunate.

But I am just not liking the quiet life in the countryside. I miss living in a town and I miss Kent. And I really miss having my family close by.

So yeah, I feel shitty about this. I wish that I didn’t feel this way, but I do. Sorry again.

Its tough because Rob loves it here, but I don’t. Its such a shame because we have wanted to move house for a long time and I had high hopes that I would be happy here and that this was the right area for me. But its not.

Its funny, because moving to a nice village in the countryside is supposed to be what you aspire to. A nuclear family in a nice house, in a nice middle class village, with good schools, a church hall with a toddler club and a nice cafe where all the yummy mummys can meet up to show off chat about how their little darlings are doing.

We have all that here. But its so safe and boring and so dull that it bores me to tears.

The pace of life here is too slow for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice here and we could be really happy and have a good, fun, wholesome, outdoorsy life for Dylan growing up. But its just not for me.

I miss our old estate (which I never thought I would!) And I hate saying this, but I miss the supermarkets and shops of our old town. Its not so much about the shopping, but more about having somewhere to walk to and employment oppotunities (minimum-wage-unskilled-retail-work-4-lyf-4-me!!)

I guess I could learn to drive to get out the village more and eventually find a crappy job to drive to, but I am not that keen on the surrounding towns and having a car would mean that I would not get any exersize and wellbeing warm fuzzies and be skint(er) etc.

We both wanted to move here and have the fresh start that we so desperately needed. We wanted to live in a better area, which we have achieved, but we had to move to the otherside of the country to do so!

I love the beaches and countryside and our house here in Devon but its not enough to keep me here.

The main things that I don’t like about living here are –

The isolation – it feels like we live at the end of the world here with no motorways and major rail connections.

The lack of diversity – Nuff said. In the village, its very white middle class here. Its not much better in the surrounding towns. I like people who are rough and ready from all walks of life and from different cultures and backgrounds. I do not want Dylan to grow up in a bubble.

The little differences – I miss the Kent accent and sence of humour. I miss seeing foxes go through the bins (there are weirdly none here in the countryside) and hearing areoplanes fly overhead and the hum of the motorway and the Eurostar link train in the distant background. Silly little things, I know, but things that I am used to.

My family – I miss them so bad. Its too long a journey traveling 7+ hours in the van to Kent and the Isle of Wight. I want to reduce this travel time by half and be able to catch a train on my own with D when he is older to visit them.

So yeah, I have made a bit of a major life choice mistake moving here (again, Rob loves it here but I do not). But nothing is a mistake if you learn from it. I feel daft because I really thought that this was what I wanted, but it turns out its not. I guess that you don’t know these things until you try them, eh!

So yeah, after lots of tears (from me) and heart to heart discussions, we have decided to move again in a year or two. Moving and relocating is hard. And I am dreading doing it again. But unfortunately I cannot make things work here, or rather, I do not want to make things work for me here. Rob understands this and is being brilliant, agreeing that we should move, so that we can find somewhere that works for all three of us. Even though we will probably need to borrow a shitload more money and extend the mortgage further so we will finally pay it off in our eighties or something! I have properly fucked up our #lifegoals of a quieter life and paying off the mortgage early now! Feel free to punch me in the face, I would!!!

The next house that we move to will be in a town or small city. It will be nearer to the Isle of Wight with good transport links to London and beyond. It will have a museum, budget supermarkets, lots of traffic, shops, a Nandos, a park and good schools. All the things that 16 months ago I thought that I could live without! We are still trying to figure out where that will be ATM. Will it be Exeter (I love it there but its still a bit too far away from the fam), Southampton, Bournemouth, somewhere on the Isle of Wight (my family are emotionally blackmailing me to join them there ATM, its hard because we could significantly reduce our mortgage and be near them etc, but I am not sure its the right place for D to grow up or for me) or back in Kent in our hometown of Maidstone again?

New Old Stuff

Since we moved I have hardly bought any vintage. I have been very good and even left Pyrex behind! I am trying to operate a “one in one out” policy with any new bits. Because I like all my current stuff, I am not rushing to replace it any time soon.

However there is alway room for a few small bits of tat cute vintage pieces. Here is what I have required in the last 15 months –First up is the seven Babycham glasses which I went to a huge effort to style for this photo in the cupboard! They used to belong to my grandparents, and when my parents moved Mum gave me them to Ebay. I seem to have kept them. Oopsy.Next is this Hornsea tea storage jar. I wanted one to go with my new kitchen colour scheme. I hunted for one in the local charity shops for a while, but then I got impatient and cheated and bought one cheap on Ebay! Next are the two Staffordshire Pottery Kilncraft bowls which I found for £1.50 in an Isle of Wight charity shop. I actually left them behind, but then got the regret big time, so I sent mother back to buy them much to Rob’s dismay! He hates them! Currently being used to store eggs and for teabags and compost scraps (thats a bit of avocado skin in there in case you were wondering!)And finally this 1980’s National Dairy Council tea towel. It was 50p down the market. It has a few stains on it, but for that price it would have been rude to have left it behind!

7 Months In The Hood

Todays post is a summary of my feelings about motherhood and why I changed my mind about having a kid (a post that I said aaaaages ago to Janet I would write!)

Remember when I said that I would not talk about baby stuff on my blog?

Oops! Oh well, shit happens (a lot in our household, since Dylan came along!) Oh dear, I really have turned into a baby bore!

Let me start by saying that I am enjoying being a Mum. More than I thought I would. I know that its still early days and things will get tougher, but even the fifth shitty nappy of the day doesn’t bother me.

Ok, it kind of does, ‘cos they stink to high heaven. But thats what babies do, isn’t it? They just shit themselves and cry all the time? Well, thats what I used to think anyway. And that was one of the many reasons why I didn’t want a kid.

Some of my other reasons were environmental, because lets face it, the ever growing population is the biggest threat to our planet, what with our increasing needs for food, housing, fuel and consumables etc. Some were emotional – I felt that I was not up for the job, that it wasn’t fair for a kid to have me as its Mum, plus Rob and I had our relationship problems over the years. Some were practical – we couldn’t afford it, we were living in shitty areas where I wouldn’t want to grow up in let alone any poor future kid of mine, and the world is pretty fucked up and not a nice place these days and things are getting worse with the current austerity etc. And some were pretty minor reasons, but still valid reasons non the less – like I wanted to go out clubbing without worrying about finding a babysitter, I prefered animals to humans (still do TBH) and would rather loads of pets than kids, the amount of work involved in looking after them, and just because everyone else was having kids it didn’t mean that I should as well.

Basically there were far more reasons not to have a kid, than to have one. And I was quite happy as I was, thank you.

But over time, in my thirties, I did come to change my mind and I ended up wanting a kid. So why did that happen you ask?

TBH there is no one reason why I changed my mind. I wish there was, because it would make this post a hell of a lot easier to write and a lot more interesting! It was more the case that, gradually over time, there were shifts in my outlook and thinking, and motherhood started to feel like something that would make me happy and maybe I did want it to feature in my future.

Maybe I grew up? Maybe I finally felt ready for one? Who knows? I just kind of knew that I was in a good place, life was good and having a kid would not be game over like it would have been in my twenties, it would enhance things and make life more fun.

Maybe my three nephews also helped me change my mind? Spending time with them was (and still is) the best thing ever and I love them all so fiercely. Athough it is nice to give them back at times – Aunty privileges and all that!

Our journey to parenthood was not the easiest. Is anything in life easy though? But other people go through a lot worse than us and I am eternally grateful that we have Dylan.

So yeah, things are all good. Dylan does cry and shit himself a lot. But he also has the dirtiest laugh ever, a great sense of humour, is starting to cuddle us, is cute AF and is growing and learning so rapidly that no two days are the same. Plus at the moment he is so sweet and innocent, he doesn’t realise what dickheads his parents are!* Its great!

For years we have listened to our friends talking about their lack of sleep (yet another reason why I didn’t want kids. I like my beauty sleep!) and how their kids do not as they are told and have epic meltdowns etc. These days its kind of in our culture for parents to complain and grumble about what a little bastard their kid is etc. Heck, some people have even made a lot of money from it!

I dunno, I don’t feel hard done by. I feel just lucky. Yes, its hard and challenging at times, but so many people cannot have kids and have lost babies and children, that to me it seems a bit disrespectful to bitch and moan about mundane stuff on Facebook etc.

Maybe I will not be saying this when D is a toddler and a threenager though!!!

I recently saw a meme on FB or Pinterest that said “To the world you are just a mum. To them you are their world”  or something along those lines, and that statement kind of sums up the ‘hood for me. You are just one of many. No one really gives a shit if you have kids or not, about how you parent them, if you breastfeed or not, work or not and if your kid is being an arsehole, the perfect angel or is the next Einstien. There is no right or wrong. You just have to get on with the job, do best you can and enjoy it for what it is.

I fully intend to parent the shit out of life and enjoy the next 17.5 odd years of Dylan (as they move out when they are 18, don’t they? Right??!!!)

*Bring on the teen years! Rob said speak for yourself here.

Bournemouth Mini Break

Last weekend Rob, Dylan and I went on our first mini break together as a threesome.

We stayed in a questionable hotel (more on that soon) for one night in Bournemouth, Dorset. It was my treat to Rob as a joint B.day and fathers day present, and my last big spending blow out before my maternity pay ends soon (whaaa!)*

I last visited the Bournemouth as a kid with my family around 25-30 years ago, and all I can remember about the town was that it had lots of trees and it was sunny!

To be fair, I do like trees. And lots of trees are more than enough reason for me to visit somewhere again!

We lucked out with the weather as it was just at the begining of this heatwave with pleasant, managable sunshine right before things became unbearable like they have done in the last few days with the melting tarmac and stupid 30+ temperatures. We enjoyed walking around the gardens and beachfront, dodging the drunk students (there were lots, Bournemouth is a bit of a party town) and sniggering at them constantly taking selfies,** beers on the pier, browsing round the shops, a Nandos meal (my first in over a year!), our first ever Five Guys (what can I say, I am a sucker for a hyped up chain resturant!) and we took Dylan for his first ever swim in the hotel pool.

A post shared by @helshelshels on

Dylan rubber necking in Nandos!

Ah yes, the hotel. Shall we talk about the hotel now?

Rob is not letting me live it down, but I managed to book us into one of the grottiest hotels in England!

I am kind of notorious for not doing my research properly and once again I came up trumps!*** I blame booking.com. Its a kind of twisted, evil Ebay type of site with too many hotels, and they keep telling you that so many people have booked rooms in the last 10 minutes, that there is only one room left and the prices keep going up and down etc. So you end up making a snap decicion based on price rather than the star rating of the hotel and its reviews! Or at least I do anyway.

I booked us a twin room in the cheapest hotel that I could find online. It had dated, broken 80’s furniture, a tatty grey bathroom suite with broken, cracked floor tiles, windows with broken handles, watermarks on the ceiling and bit of a funny smell. But the worst thing was that the wardrobe was really wonky. It was propped up by a piece of wood, it wobbled when you walked past and it looked like it was going to topple over at any given moment! In all seriousness though, I really don’t know how they can get away with furniture like that in this day and age with all the health and safety rules and the tragic lawsuits in America against Ikea.

At first we were being terribly British, unsure whether to complain and not wanting to make a fuss etc. But we had D to think about and even if the wardrobe was fine while we stayed there, what if something happened to the guests after us and we ignored it and said nothing?

So we reported it and got upgraded to a much larger family room (with three large beds! One each!) This room was slightly less grotty and had more sturdy furniture thank goodness! In the end the hotel redeemed itself to us, as all the staff were so friendly and helpful and we had fun using the pool (and there were only a few dead flies floating in it! Win!)

It could have been worse – I could have booked us into this hotel that I spotted and posted on Instagram!

Where shall we go for our next holiday then? Maybe one of these hotels??!! As I said, I am never going to live this down!

*Even though they do want me back again where I worked last year, I want to stay at home with Dylan for the time being. We will tighten our belts and manage just fine. Maybe I will return to work in 2018? But for now I will be a SAHM.

**I am showing my age here, but as someone who hates having their photo taken and who got their first camera phone in their late twenties (when my partying days were long over) it never fails to suprise and amuse me how often some peeps take selfies!

***It feels so wrong to use that expression now thanks to a certain person in America! I cant think of another, sorry!

 

The New House – Dylan’s Bedroom

Its about time that I got my finger out and wrote another blog post isn’t it? And I must share more of the finished house, because we all love a good nosey round each others gaffs, don’t we? Well, I do anyway!

Can you believe that we have lived here for over a year now? Time goes so quick doesn’t it? I really must get round to writing up my thoughts and feelings on moving one year on.

Anyhoo, I want to share some photos of Dylan’s bedroom, now that he has nearly outgrown his next to the bed crib, (man, it feels so good to type the word “outgrown” as Dylan was so tiny and at one stage it felt like he would never fill out and grow big!) its time to return the crib to the rental company and put him in his cot in his own room.

Whaaaa!!!! The cat will be happy at least, as she will now be allowed back in our bedroom. Bless her, her tiny world was rocked when D arrived. No wonder she decided to lick her belly bald and get into nasty fights with other cats that cost us £160 (and counting) at the vets.

Right, rant about vets charges over, lets get down to business. Below is how the room looked when we viewed the house.And below is how it looked when we first moved in. There are more before photos in this post.

Back in November 2016, I talked about my ideas for this room in this post here. And I think that we have achieved all the elements that I was hoping for – like cheery, bright, primary colours, a retro/scandi vibe and a room thats not too twee that he can grown into. Basically, I wanted all the wanky nursery malarky that screams “this person has no life and spends far too much time on Pinterest!”

And here is how it looks now.BTW Apologies for the fuzziness of these photos. They were fine until I resized them. I CBA to sort them out or retake them, Im afraid.

We managed to decorate his room mostly on the cheap with furniture from Asda, Ikea and with things we already had. I did splurge on the prints, but when he is finished with them I will be more than happy to hang them elsewhere in the house. I slightly staged these photos by removing his bath towel from the (fake) Eames Hang it All and hanging a cute stripey vest up, which I cant wait for him to grow into, and removing the pile of (unused) nappies which live next to the G Plan unit (thank you Aldi baby event for letting me stock up on bargains! Also where we bought his cot mobile from). Most of his toys and books were presents. We just bought the wooden rainbow, which is probably more for my benefit and decoration (I blame Pinterest again!) than it will be played with. Never mind! The Ugly Dolls and plastic Star Wars models we already had, and Rob bought him the blue Noodoll as he wanted to buy him his first Teddy bear. Dylan is such a lucky boy to have such a nice room with so many lovely things!

More Baby Talk

Yep, its yet more baby talk! I bet you are thinking – “that Helen, she has turned into a right baby bore. All she talks about on her blog is baby stuff and her cats minge belly!”* And yes, you are right, those two topics have been my main subject matter of late.

So for a change, today I am going to blog about more baby stuff – my plant babies!

Yep, its thrilling content only on here!

For some reason, having completely neglected my plants, and forgetting to water them for, ooh shall we say 16 odd weeks, this seems to be working really well for them and two of them have sprouted babies!

One of my larger snake plants has a couple of what looks like flowers growing (I never knew that they flowered!) And a spider plant on top of the Ladderax unit has sprouted a long stem which grew a pretty little white flower (not pictured as it has since wilted!)

Just call me Helen Greenfingered (insert my surname here), eh! Now please excuse me while I go apply for Alan Tichmarsh’s job!

*On the subject of my cats minge belly – Our friends who have farmland in Cornwall have pet chickens and they have a broody hen. She has stopped laying and plucked all the feathers out on her belly. The plot thickens!

Lately #20

Hello my poor neglected blog. I haven’t forgotten you. I have just not had any time for you lately. I thought about ditching you, throwing in the towel, calling it quits. After all, maybe its best that we leave each other on a high. Its not you, its me, etc.

But then I realised that my last ever post on here would be about my cats minge belly (Yet another personal blogging high!) And before that, a rambly, self indulgent, (now thankfully re-edited) personal post all about me, and, erm, my blog!

Nah, I cannot leave that as my lasting legacy. Surely I have some more blogging left in me? Surely?

Lets gently dip my toes back into blogland (does anyone still call it blogland? I think that’s a bit 2010!) and talk about what I have been up to so far in 2017. Apologies in advance for talking far too much about the baby, but he has kind of taken over my life!

  • Tying to nail this mum shiz I am really enjoying being a mum and Dylan at this stage. Dylan is now nearly 16 weeks old and such a happy, smiley, giggly baby (I know that all parents say that about their own, but he is. Honest!). People have been asking Rob and I about how tired we are and I can honestly say that it is not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, its tiring, but to me its the same kind of tired that you get from working long hours with a long commute everyday. I did that for years and it was knackering, but you get used to it and just get on with it. Plus I used to go out on the piss most nights in my early twenties and I worked full time on an average of 4 hours sleep. I guess that I have just been tired for most of my adult life really! At least this is a good tired. (It also helps to look after babies without hanging like a bat in a cave. A little tip there for any would be parents there!)
  • Not cooking anything exciting There will be no “In Hel’s Kitchen” posts for a while! I froze around thirty meals before he was born, and we managed to eek them out until the end of February, with a few toasty type of meals, three takeaways (only three!), lots of pasta parcels, lots of frozen pizzas and microwave jacket potatoes thrown in between. I did bake some biscuits the other day (Lisa Faulkner’s Sunshine Shorties if you are interested) and have started making simple dinners again. I really want to cook some homemade pizzas, but I have not managed to get my act together to make the dough in advance!
  • Talking of feeding Dylan is now fully formula fed and thriving. I wasn’t going to put anything on here about it (because nobody cares and its no ones business!) but after reading The Magpie Girls BF experience I want to share mine, because I think this is a subject that we should talk about more (the shit side of BF and it not working out, that is). I threw in the towel at six/seven weeks because Dylan was gaining weight very slowly, and being a full term 5lb odd teeny baby to start with, this was quite concerning. Yet I was still getting pushed by the health professionals to BF/combine feed him, despite him being sent to hospital to be checked out for his slow weight gain. I was feeding him all the blooming time, stressed out and worried sick about his weight gain (although it turns out that this is a very common thing in babies). But I was still told to continue BFing! Eventually, I decided to stop. He prefers the formula. It is designed to bulk out babies, which is what he needs. He drinks a whooping 36 oz a day! Where as another baby that I know who was born on the same day as him only drinks 20 oz a day, but is heavier and fatter than him. Go figure? Babies are weird. And they are all different. You have to do what is best for yours.
  • I am all for equal opportunities It was not an easy decision to stop BFing him and I went through all the same kind of emotions that I went through when I had a miscarriage, like “what have I done wrong”, “why has my body let me down”, ” why cant I do something so simple and natural and something that other women seem to do so easily” etc, etc. But this time I did not have the added grief and despair. I just got over it, stopped caring about how I fed him and enjoyed my baby. There is a lot of stuff out there on the internet on the politics of how you feed your baby (most of it women judging other women, which really gets my goat) but one of the best things that I read is this article published on The Atlantic which I found via a comment left on A Cup of Jo post. “Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?” After all its only fair that Rob gets to share the burden of night feeds, eh! Have a read if you have the spare time. I never thought that how you feed your baby is a feminist issue before.
  • Doing lots of washing Dylan has reflux, bless him. You think that we had seen enough of vomit with my morning sickness when I was expecting him, but no, we now have a pukey baby! My record for one days wash was 12 bibs and 9 muzzys. Poor little fella. Luckily he is not bothered by it. He usually smiles when he voms, the daft sod!
  • Daydreaming about going camping We have been venturing further afield with Dylan, visiting the Isle of Wight and going on day trips to Weymouth, to visit friends and the Sealife centre, and to Exeter to do a bit of window shopping. But I am not sure that we are ready to camp with him yet. The main issue is how do we sterilise/make his bottles safely (damn it, camping would be a doddle if I was still BFing!) and where will he sleep? There is no room for his cot in the van and I am not confident enough to co-sleep with him at this age. I think that we will have to wait till next year really. And a festival is definitely off the agenda for the time being!
  • Turning into mush at tiny baby clothes Seriously, what have I become? There is so much cute stuff out there ATM! I want to buy it all! OMG I never thought that I would be like this, but there we go. I bought these cute retro-tastic animal baby grows from Next, pictured below, for him to grow into, which are my current favourites. Anything with a whale print on it is a winner in my book!
  • Feeling homesick and missing my family big time It is what it is. Sadface emoji.
  • Trying to not post photos of Dylan on social media and failing I am that annoying person who has gone back on their word. Its so hard not to, though! I deleted most of my photos of him on Instagram the other day which must be even more annoying for my (very few) followers. Sorry about that! Still undecided on the whole sharing thing and how to handle it.
  • And finally, the cat is still fine At first she was a bit jealous and put out by Dylan. She was very sulky and slept/hid in some funny places, like the corners of rooms, behind furniture and under tables. But now she is back to her old self and plonks herself on our laps every time we sit down and tries to sleep in his bed, rocker and bouncer chair etc! She is fine with Dylan. He now smiles at her when she walks past and melts my heart into a puddle of mush! Her belly still looks like a minge though BTW.

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