August Firsts

August Firsts – collated late due to our first holiday! (More on that next month…) Again, I thought I would be struggling for firsts, as the beggining of the month sort of saw Travis plateau if you like, getting comfortable at this wee stage of his life. I should have known it wouldn’t last for long though!

First time he worked out how to get into a packet of snacks
This was so cute, and partly a relief to be honest. Usually feeding snacks results in Travis trying to eat the packet or squish it or shout till you provide him with the treats that are in the package. However, he worked out how to get his hand in – and more importantly, back out – of a pack of veggie straws and hasn’t looked back since. Of course we still keep an eye on him while he is eating, but it just makes it so much easier to do other things like tidy toys, sort lunch or even put his shoes on while he chows down on his own snacks by himself.

First European Championships
Ok so this was a first for everyone, not just Travis, as the inaugural European Championships took place in Glasgow and Berlin in August 2018. Fortunately for us, Loch Lomond, which was being used as the outdoor swimming venue, is close to our house, so we got to take part in some festivities without having to venture very far. On the weekend of 10-11 August, we walked down to see the event area and everything that was happening, and also participated in the community’s European Championships Festival. The festival involved a parade through the town, a stage with music and dancing, activities for kids and stalls from local makers, crafters and experts in the local area. It was great to know that Travis got to be a part of the celebrations in this very first sporting event.

First steps unaided in his walker
Ok so we let him try to go unaided before but he would usually just run for 2 or 3 steps then crash into something or fall over. However on 17th August he seemed to master going in a straight line. I should probably point out that this is a push-along walker rather than one of those sit-in ones (he has one of those at his gran’s house too!) so we were thrilled when he managed to go in a straight line across the living room repeatedly without falling over. I’m sure walking can’t be far away now!

First trip to Innellan
This is a double-whammy first, as not only was it the first trip to someplace new for Travis, it was also his first big anniversary party! Innellan, which is a beautiful wee town sitting on Scotland’s coast, not far from Dunoon (where Travis visited for the first time in February), was the chosen location for the celebration of his great gran and grampa’s 60th wedding anniversary. Can you believe that – a whole 60 years together and still going strong! We took a drive over there on 18th August to celebrate with a meal in a lovely restaurant before heading back to Dunoon to continue the festivities. Travis behaved so well, being passed around loads of family members I hadn’t even met before, never mind him!

First passport
You might remember I mentioned our first holiday at the beginning of this post – well seeing as our first family holiday is to far sunnier climes abroad, Travis needed a passport. Not that we like to leave things to the last minute or cut things fine, but his very first passport arrived on 24th August, about 10 days before we needed to use it! Not that I’m biased in any way, but his photo is so cute, and it’s something I’ll definitely be keeping in his memory box once it has expired.

First Happy Meal
I know loads of mums out there will be horrified that I took my baby to McDonalds, but realistically, he’s learning to eat new things all the time and I believe everything has its place in moderation. Chicken nuggets and chips happen to be some of the easiest finger foods for babies to pick up too, so he could happily feed himself. On 24th August we popped in to McD’s for lunch as a pit stop on our holiday clothes shopping mission. I’m glad he tried the Happy Meal, but he didn’t take to the batter on the chicken nuggets and ended up just eating the inside of the nugget along with his chips. The side of melon however, went down a treat!

First Foods in August:
Toastie – as sampled when he nicked it off my plate in Costa one afternoon!
First melon and watermelon, breadsticks, crackers and cheese dip, all tasted and enjoyed at nursery
French toast – I’m surprised I waited this long to let him try this, after all it’s only bread and scrambled eggs essentially?

What to pack for a holiday with an infant

We are off on our first family holiday in September (Its so soon I can’t wait!), and truth be told it’s the first holiday in about 4 years where I’ve taken more than hand luggage with me. I’m always one for packing light, so I’ve been a bit overwhelmed at the possibility of going abroad with a baby and all the luggage that comes with him. After all, it took me about a month to stop taking everything but the kitchen sink with me on a walk to the park when the little man was tiny!

Over-packing can be just as much of a problem as under-packing, and I think the only real way to combat this us to have a super organised checklist of things to take before you go.

Here’s what’s on ours, hopefully you find it useful!

packing-essentials-infant

Aside from the obvious things like nappies and wipes, it’s important to pack some food and milk, at least to get you started. Sure, they can weigh down the case, but it saves you scouring the whole holiday destination trying to find your little one’s brand of formula or favourite dinner!

Clothing
As a general rule, I’d suggest packing 50% more of each main clothing item per days you’re away. (E.g. if you’re away for 10 days, take 15 vests, t-shirts etc)

packing-infant-clothing

Sun and pool safety
Obviously this is only really relevant if you’re travelling to a warm sunny country or planning a pool/beach type holiday.

Hand luggage
You’ll need to take the usual essentials plus some extras and probably more entertainment to keep your little one occupied on the flight! Not too different from packing for a long car journey or day out, there are a couple of extra must-haves in the baby bag for a flight. For instance you might be changing time zones when you fly so perhaps a change into PJ’s is needed in mid-air? Flights – particularly long ones – can be boring for infants so be sure to take as much as you can reasonably fit to keep them entertained.

Plus, not really hand luggage, but you will probably need to take it throughout the airport – don’t forget the travel buggy!

Just listing this out has made me giddy with the prospect of all the packing and organising to come! Let me know if you can think of anything I’ve missed. I’m sure I’ll come back to this post with much hindsight once I’ve been abroad and back!

Things to do in the summer with an infant

There’s no shortage of information online about things to do with kids in the summer holidays, but unfortunately most of those articles revolve around kids of school age. It can be a little more tricky to find or think of things to do with an infant in the summer, as some of the activities suggested in other articles simply aren’t age-suitable.

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with, handily split into rainy-day and sunny activities:

Sunny day activities

Feed the ducks
This is a great one that gets them out and about, seeing animals and doesn’t involve spending a lot of money! Most of us tend to find ourselves with with stale ends of bread at the end of the week, so rather than throw them away, pack them up and head to the nearest pond/lake/loch/seafront and feed the ducks. Remember to watch out for the seagulls, and don’t anger the swans!

Go to the farm
Another fun animal-based idea is to head to the nearest farm, pointing out the different animals you see. Of course this can be a bit smelly, but it’s usually a great experience teaching your little ones about the animals and the noises they make. Singing Old MacDonald is optional.

Safari Park/Zoo visit
Can you see a theme appearing here? Obviously zoos and safari parks tend to be more expensive than farms and feeding ducks which is usually free, and they tend to be further away too. However, you may find that kids under 1 get in for free. The major selling point is that it’s an activity you can make a whole day of. Take a picnic and enjoy spotting the animals, playing in the play park and maybe even petting or feeding some animals if you’re allowed.

Get out in the garden
Who said outdoor activities had to cost a fortune or take you far away? Little infants get just as much enjoyment from the outdoors whether it’s in their own back garden or at an attraction 70 miles away. You can plan different activities in the garden for different days – playing in the paddling pool, having a big picnic outside, practising kicking and playing with balls or if you have a lovely, well-kept garden why not walk around pointing out the different flowers and their colours, trees etc? There’s scope for playing peekaboo, bringing toys outside and even buying your own slide or swing, depending on what stage your infant is at and how confident they are.

Rainy day activities

Learn a new thing
Days indoors needn’t be boring, filled with the same toys and cartoons routine. Why not make a plan to try and teach your infant a different new thing on rainy days? This can be anything from helping with speech and recognition to improving motor skills. Simple things like naming items in the room and pointing to them, using “my first…” books, playing with building blocks or stacking cups, naming colours, singing nursery rhymes and more will do the trick.

Become rockstars
Why not turn your kitchen into your very own concert arena with your rock and roll baby? Pots, pans and wooden spoons make a great drumkit and drumsticks, whilst filling plastic tupperware with rice or pasta makes for excellent shakers. Bonus points if you use teddies as your captivated audience!

Have a sensory day
I’m sure there are plenty of items in your home that you probably haven’t thought of for sensory play. Sponges and different textured cleaning cloths are great for their little hands to explore, as are hair rollers, hairbrushes, and much more. If your little one has a nightlight or projector, this can be great for sensory play, along with other light-up objects like glowsticks. (I realise the last one may not be an everyday object for some but I always have spare glowsticks lying around thanks to my love of Clubbercise!)

Go to soft play
If all else fails, or the weather is permanently bad and you feel like you’re getting cabin fever, you can always go to soft play. Also known as UFC for kids, soft play can be a pretty scary experience for first-time mums on arrival, particularly in the school holidays! The plus point is that those under 1 usually get in free, and all that play will surely tire your little one out. An added bonus is that you could make new mum friends, which is always welcome after days stuck inside with no adult company!

Those are just a few suggestions of things to do with your little one in the summer. I’ve tried to avoid things that cost the earth, and hopefully include a mix of busy attractions and one-to-one play/experiences. If you can think of any other great activities I might have missed, let me know!

July Firsts

So it’s finally happening, the rate of new experiences is starting to slow down. Don’t get me wrong, that’s partly our fault for not seeking out many new things to do in July, as a result of work, timing or just plain lack of creativity!

However we did manage to get up to a few new things last month, so here are our July Firsts:

First Highland Games
The Highland Games are a great Scottish tradition encompassing what I can only describe – for those of you unfamiliar with the concept – as a ridiculously Scottish sports day. There are events like tug ‘o war, tossing the caber and more alongside the normal stuff like running races. Adults get fiercely competitive, probably more so than the kids, and in case it didn’t sound that Scottish, girls and boys from all over the world come to compete in Highland dancing. The games take place in loads of towns and villages up and down the country throughout the summer, and our local one was on 14th July. Typically, you know when the games are on because it’s usually pouring with rain, but as with our uncharacteristic summer, it was actually a beautiful day so we couldn’t pass up the chance to take the wee man for his first Highland games experience.

First roallercoaster/fairground rides
Alongside the sports and the dancing and the bagpipes and the Scottishness, there are plenty of kids activities at the games, from typical fairground stalls like cans and shooters to bigger rides like teacups, mini-roller coasters and bouncy castles for example. The bouncy castle looked like UFC for kids so I didn’t fancy taking Travis in there, but we did sit nice on the teacups and wave at dad from his first fairground ride. Then dad ramped it up and took him on the mini-rollercoaster. It was one of those little circle tracks with one main up-and-down part, but I don’t think Travis particularly enjoyed it – that was probably a first that could have waited another year or so!

First trip in the double buggy
We are heading on holiday in September, with my bestie, Trav’s bestie and the manchildren, and thought a double buggy would be a practical solution to getting around while we are abroad. Also, my bestie sometimes takes Trav for a day a week while I’m stuck at work, so it’s easier for her to get out and about with a double buggy than either make her little one walk (he’s 6 months older than Trav and 100% confident on his feet) or make sure her other half is there so they can go out with a pram/buggy each.

We had ordered the buggy a couple of weeks before, but hadn’t really had the chance to use it, so one Sunday we decided to venture out together and see how the kids got on. The buggy itself is a Hauck tandem or inline buggy (this isn’t a buggy review or sponsored thing so I’m not going to check specifics soz) and is the perfect size for the boot/trunk of my medium-small car – so that’s already a bonus! Both boys seemed fine, and we tried each in both the top and bottom seats and neither seemed to mind too much – their only moans were for snacks so that can’t be a bad thing!

First pipe band championships
Just in case we weren’t having a patriotic enough month, we decided to pop along to the Scottish Pipe Band Championships in Dumbarton on 28th July. For the uninitiated, it’s basically a really long day of pipe bands from all over Scotland competing for a place in the final at the World Pipe Band Championships in August. There are loads of different categories of pipe band, people of all ages and backgrounds taking part. Like the Highland Games, there are plenty of stalls, activities and rides for kids to enjoy. The weather for the pipe band championships was unfortunately not as good as the Highland Games so we didn’t stay too long. Travis enjoyed waving at some pipe bands as they marched past, ready to go into the arena and compete. Mummy won him a little dinosaur teddy and he got his first ever shot of a see saw while we were there.

First foods in July:
At the beginning of July, Travis turned 9 months old, so he has been able to try more and more new foods as the month has went on (and will no doubt continue to try more and more new solids as we continue our year of firsts). This month he tried a lot of new foods at nursery, as part of their snack menu. He got to try potato scone which he loved, pancakes – which have now become a staple snack in our house, because, well, yum – and also buttered rolls. I wasn’t sure about the latter as I wasn’t sure how much butter and dairy in general he was allowed to have, but he has been fine. At home, he tried some totties and mince for dinner (again with the Scottish theme!) and also some wee willy winkies with potato waffles, which are another favourite. Thanks to Aunty Kristen for letting him steal peas off his bestie’s plate too – he really enjoys them much to mum and dad’s dismay as we hate them!

At What Point is it ok to Admit You’re Exhausted

Let’s be honest, whether you have one kid or 10, we all know it’s no easy feat raising a child or children. There’s a reason the saying “it takes a village ” exists. However the times are constantly changing and unless you are to the manor born, have retired parents or win the lottery, it becomes more and more likely you will have to go back to work to provide for your child if nothing else.

I enjoy my job, I really do, and I thrive when I can get stuck into a task and give my full focus and efforts to a project. And while that may have been second nature before, it takes a little more focus and added extras (hello, caffeine drip!) To get you there when you’ve got a whole other role to play after 5pm. And then it starts over again. You have this whole little being you created, who relies on you 100% for everything, who loves and cherishes and thrives off you, needing that same focus, enthusiasm and ambition.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you’re used to being so always-on and filling every day with 100% energy, enthusiasm and activity both with your child and at work, what point is it ok to say you’re exhausted?

I didn’t say I was exhausted when my house went on fire
For the months of displacement, recovery, anxiety, rebuilding and dealing with insurance companies (a job in itself fyi), I never said I was exhausted. When I had half an hour of sleep and couldn’t close my eyes because of adrenaline and fear, much less sleep, I didn’t say I was struggling. When I couldnt sleep properly for days after and had to cope with a baby who just got their first set of jags, I seemed to be coping. So there sets a precedent.

I didn’t say I was exhausted when I had tonsilitis
The first time you get ill as a parent is definitely an eye opener. You may think that you didn’t get muchsympathy for illness before but boy will that perception change when you have a newborn. They are still the most important thing and should come first, (I don’t disagree) but as if it isn’t hard enough adjusting to life with a tiny human, than you have to go and get ill and try to cope. But it was only tonsilitis. I get it a good 4/5 times a year. I know how to manage it, what to do, what to take. So everybody knew I’d be fine. How could I possibly be exhausted?

I didn’t say I was exhausted when I went back to work
No matter how we prepare, I think mammas can all agree that returning to work is a bit of a struggle. There’s a new level of tiredness unlocked when you return to work, not to mention a new routine to adjust to, and inevitably a change in your baby as they get used to a different kind of day. But still I kept calm and carried on then. Knowing that this was the logical next step, something that the majority of women have to do all the damn time, so what was my problem?

I didn’t say I was exhausted when I was left with routines, household chores, work and no long lies or catch up naps while daddy worked nights.
When daddy worked nights and mum was left in charge of wake up and bedtime routines, preparing food, clothes and necessities for the day, doing the nursery run, bath time and play time while somehow managing to organise herself and work in between, there was no utter of exhaustion. No cry for help. Just a conscience that said nobody else was going to do it, and nobody had time for my pity party anyway.

So what makes me think it’s ok to say it now?
Now I’m at the edge. I’ve never felt an illness like this before so I don’t know how to deal with it. With tonsilitis I know what to expect, how to manage it, how to cope. I’m grasping at straws here while Travis is ill as I’m so helpless with him too. They give you nothing for colds, except maybe cough syrup which the doctor admits has no curing powers. So I lie in pain waiting for sleep and when I get there, Travis wakes with his coughing. And before I know it it’s 5am and I’m basically just hoping for a nap in the next hour before I have to get up and rinse and repeat. I feel completely exhausted physically whilst being constantly mentally drained. Maybe I forget the severity of the tiredness in the first few weekend Travis life but this just seems tougher. I don’t feel like I can be a parent, a nurse, a house maid, a competent employee, a fiance, a friend, All at the same time as being an invalid. And I know there’s people out there who do all this on their own, who do all this with other kids in tow and I absolutely salute them because I don’t know how they do it. And I definitely don’t think I can say I’m exhausted when they have it so much harder.

And now I’ve lay awake for an extra hour writing this blog so I’m going to be even more exhausted. Go figure!

Rimmel Volume Shake Mascara

One of my makeup must-haves is mascara, due to having been blessed with short, mostly blonde eyelashes. That means I’m always looking for a great new mascara, so I was delighted to be able to try Rimmel’s Volume Shake mascara.

Clumping is one of the most annoying and disappointing features of a mascara, but thankfully Rimmel’s Volume Shake mascara promises to stay clump-free. The promise is made clear on the product tube, which I found to be particularly heavy for a small 9ml makeup product. It made me wonder what lay inside!

Thankfully there were no nasty surprises awaiting, and the wand itself appeared to be lightweight and super bristly, which is just how I like it.
As I mentioned, my eyelashes are pretty blonde and invisible until coated with mascara, so I normally have to apply a few layers to get them looking visible and with some length. One thing I noted about the Volume Shake mascara is that no matter how many layers I coated my lashes with, the mascara refused to clump, which was great.

The only thing I would say is that for me, this is definitely a daytime mascara. In the evening, I prefer my lashes to be quite dark and dramatic, but this mascara is so light and airy that I found it near on impossible to achieve this sort of look, no matter how many coats I put on. Not that this put me off the mascara, as I definitely think it’s good for a more subtle daytime look, whether at work, out shopping, or even sitting in the sunshine on a nice summer’s day. I would definitely recommend it to friends for this sort of thing, and to those of my friends who don’t go for such a dramatic evening look.

 

 

*I’m a BzzAgent and got this product free to test. I wasn’t asked to provide a blog in exchange for the product or anything else, this is just purely my opinion.

June Firsts

Who can believe another month has come and gone again? The heat has made May, June and now July roll into one, so it’s taken some real thought to remember what actually happened in each month, and what date it was actually a first! I’m blaming this partly on going back to work, so things have been even more hectic than usual, but in reality I should probably just keep better note of things when they happen! However we still managed to get up to plenty of new activities together as a family.

First weekend without mum

So, I braved it. At the beginning of June, I had a girls weekend planned. This is an annual trip we take to Dunoon to celebrate birthdays, catch up and generally have a great stress-free girlie weekend. Most of the girls who go are mums too, so they feel the pain of the double-edged sword that is much-needed me-time and missing your kid(s). We usually go on the Friday and come back on the Monday, but I decided I wasn’t quite ready to leave Trav for that long, so opted to come home on Sunday, with Trav and dad coming to get me. It was a great weekend for me, with some much needed adult-only company, but it has to be said that I did miss the wee man, and facetimed him before we went out on the Saturday night. It was a weird feeling, going back to being my old self for a weekend, not being responsible for anyone else, but knowing that he was at home with his dad didn’t fill me with the dread that I thought it might. Although Travis has spent a night at grandparent’s here and there, I’d never been away from him for longer than that. It’s not something I’d look to repeat in a hurry, but I do think that the break from mum was probably a good thing for him, especially as he would have to get used to going to nursery and being away from mum for most of the day, all week.

First trip to the farm

Making the most of mum’s final few days off, we decided to do and see as much as we could – especially with the weather being so good. One place none of us had ever been to was Ardardan Farm. It’s in Cardross, which is really local to us, and has lots to see and do, so it was a no brainer to head along on 8th June. There are trail walks (some of which weren’t so buggy friendly), a farm shop, cafe, garden centre, and most importantly – there are animals! Travis got to see some wee lambs, some hens and some Clydesdale ponies for the first time. Unfortunately the main attraction, the pigs, had moved on to pastures new, and the farmers were awaiting new pigs in their place. Ardardan Farm also offers loads of activities for kids, families, and even has its own private space to rent for functions and gatherings, so it’s somewhere we will definitely be visiting again!

Mum first: First day back at work

Who can believe the last 9 months have flown by in the blink of an eye?! On Monday 11th June I returned to work with a bang. Craig was off, so the first day wasn’t as hectic as it could have been, and could rest somewhat easy knowing that Travis would be fine with his dad. The first couple of days seemed really long; things didn’t revolve around feeding and napping (boo to the latter!) and I could make tea and coffee, use the bathroom and even check email in peace! After the first few days passed, and the adrenalin wore off, I definitely needed to be fuelled by caffeine. It almost felt like back in the early days when Travis would be up 10 times a night and we were still trying to decipher night from day. But we’re getting there, and although I miss seeing the little fella all day, every day, it’s nice to get back into the swing of things and be around adult company and stimulation during the day.

First Hartbeeps with dad

So as mum went back to work, dad took on the responsibility of taking Travis to his classes, including Hartbeeps. I was unsure how Craig would get on, especially since the class is usually all mums, with the exception of a granny or a dad on haydays and bank holidays. I shouldn’t have worried though, as both of them loved it! The sun was shining so Laura decided to take the class outside for sports day. Travis got a wee photo with his medal (not sure what for, mind you. Maybe doing the most roly polys rather than crawling?)

First day with Auntie Kristen and his bestie

On Day 2 of mum’s return to work, Travis went to spend the day with his Auntie Kristen, and his bestie, Evan. Dad was working and he wasn’t due to start nursery until the following week so Auntie Kristen saved the day and even took the wee man to Bookbug so he wasn’t missing out! They got up to all sorts together – trips to the shop, a ride on the bus, playtime and even feeding too. There’s no denying, Auntie Kristen is a hero and superwoman managing to take care of and amuse 2 kiddos under 2.

First trip in mum’s new car

So my old car was a total treasure and I loved it. I mean it was 12 years old, had 3 doors and had so many ‘quirks’ to it that it wasn’t even funny, but I loved it nonetheless. So it was a real shame to have to get rid of it, but it was getting to the point that there would be something wrong with it every other week. Apart from the fact it was costing so much (and on a maternity wage!) to repair, it wasn’t practical for Travis with only 3 doors, and it certainly wasn’t convenient getting stuck with him anywhere if we broke down! I also drive a 50 mile a day round trip for work, so I need something reliable. So mum opted for a newer version of the same model (I’m a creature of habit), and with 5 doors this time, which meant Travis could get upgraded to a big boy car seat that fits comfortably in the car and is easy to get the wee fella in and out of.

First Father’s day

Last year, I wondered if dads-to-be should get Father’s Day presents, but this year there was no ‘to-be’ and dad got to celebrate his first Father’s Day as a parent! The way it worked out, Travis was actually staying at his grandparents on the Saturday night before Father’s Day, in a bid to let mum and dad get a sleep after mum’s long first week back at work. What that meant was that Travis didn’t actually see his dad till later than usual on Father’s Day, so he managed to get out of making breakfast in bed! We had a good but quiet day, but I’m pretty sure dad enjoyed it.

First full week of nursery

Travis was due to properly start nursery in the last week of June, something which I was quietly nervous about. He had a few settling in visits, and didn’t seem to be coping well with being left at nursery. The first week was definitely a struggle in terms of tears and snotters – not to mention him teething – but the girls at the nursery are absolutely lovely and so reassuring. Travis gets a diary filled in every day, telling me what he got up to, what he’d eaten/drank that day, which is comforting now that I don’t get to share all those moments with him every day.

First illness

With a first full wee of nursery came something we were dreading, but inevitably knew would happen – his first illness! We had noticed a runny eye near the end of his first week, but just put it down to the weather and made sure we kept it clean. However by the weekend it was clear that it was something more serious – conjunctivitis. Luckily we managed to get a doctors appointment and some prescribed antibiotics fairly quickly, but for the few days he suffered, along with teething and the unusual heat, nobody got much sleep!

And here was me thinking we didn’t get up to much in June!

May Firsts

I realise we’re already halfway through the month of June, but we’ve had a lot going on lately (cue loads of June firsts!) so this and any other blog posts have taken a bit of a backseat, sorry Trav!

First taste of summer
The weather significantly picked up this month, even the first few days in May were nice. So not only did we go from jumpers and jackets to short sleeved vests, we got to wear shorts for the first time, and sunglasses too! Although he prefers to chew rather than wear the latter..
With such a change in temperature I was worried about colds but luckily we just had a few days of runny noses and not much more than that. More importantly, we had a mad dash to buy sun cream as both Craig and I are pretty fair-skinned (Craig burns even when it’s cloudy in Scotland) so we knew we would need to be extra careful with Travis in the sun. I love the little roll-on sun cream from Nivea, as it’s small enough to fit in the changing bag with everything else, and it makes the least mess when re-applying out and about.
As the month (and glorious weather) went on, this also led to firsts like first shot in his own paddling pool (28th May) and first feeding the ducks (12th May).

First shot in his travel stroller
Unfortunately this wasn’t due to any exciting travels, but it was good to get a feel of the stroller before we went afar with it. His regular, usually-reliable 3 in 1 pram/buggy got a flat tyre so we had to get about in the travel stroller until we could get the inner tubes fixed. I have to say, although I love his Vennicci pram, and it’s ability to take on just about any terrain, the replacement of parts is a bit of a faff. Fortunately, Halford’s can replace the inner tubes with their smallest bike ones, which fit the back tyres fine, but if there wasn’t a Halford’s near us we would have had to order parts online from Venicci and waited for delivery, meaning a few days in the travel stroller which wouldn’t be ideal. Although lightweight and compact, there’s pretty much no storage on ours, so popping to the shops with it was out of the question.

First top teeth
After his first teeth coming in pretty quick succession in March, we haven’t had to wait long to see a top tooth. The top right broke the gum around the 20th of May and the second one is right behind it, just scraping it’s way through just over a week later. I have to say, he’s had a lot more trouble with these teeth than the first two, with more visible signs of pain as well as nappy changes (always fun). Having said that, he seems content in himself most of the time, even if everything remotely solid gets fired straight in the mouth for a chew!

First swim with dad
On the 25th May, I was going to a breakfast meeting at work, and had planned to be back in time for swimming. The idea was that I would show dad the ropes and he could take Travis next week. However, since nothing ever goes to plan in our crazy world, his dad ended up having to take him – and without mum there until the end! After a stressful car breakdown, a loan of the company car and a lot of rage at roadworks later, mum missed the whole thing and only managed to make it for shower and change time afterwards. But since they are both still alive to tell the tale, I take it that it wasn’t as scary as dad thought it might be.

First night in our house
So once upon a time in December, we were rudely awoken in the night by a house fire and hadn’t been back since. That’s the short version of an otherwise long story I’ll get round to telling in another post on another day. After a number of mishaps and disputes, we were finally able to stay back in our own home from 25th May. Travis probably has a grand total of 0 memories from the house as he was exactly 2 months old when the fire started, so it was a weird first for him to have to experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s like a whole new house now, with new decor and furniture making it feel like a first for all of us in a way.

First sleep in his big boy cotbed 25th May
As with the first night in our home, Travis experienced his first sleep in his cotbed. We had previously built his cotbed pre-arrival, but he was still quite small before the fire, and was happily sleeping in his moses basket or Sleepyhead, so we didn’t push it with the cot at first. In the meantime before we got back into the house, he had been sleeping in a travel cot due to our change in circumstances. So, with a shiny new cotbed (such a shame as the first one had never even been slept in!) in his very own room (another first in itself!), in a house he couldn’t remember, mum and dad prepared for a long and eventful night ahead. In actual fact, Travis took to it really well. He barely moved all night and just moaned his usual few times for a dummy. Since the first night, we’ve had roly poly’s in bed, hugging the bars, blankets discarded in a corner and more!

First visit to nursery!
Talk about saving the biggest till last! Mum’s first day back at work is in June, and so it means time for Travis to go to nursery. We’re really fortunate with one retired grandparent and Craig working different shift patterns, but I still really want Travis to be mixing with other babies/children, learning and growing, and so nursery seemed like a no-brainer to me. As part of the nursery selection and placement, parents can usually book in for a visit to a nursery to see the facilities, chat with the nursery manager as well as nurses (if that’s even what they are still called?) and find out the things you could expect your child to get up to. We all had a wee trip to our preferred nursery on 31st May. The facilities available were fantastic, with the nursery even having its own soft play area, eco-friendly garden and more. The staff could not have been friendlier (it helped that I went to school with one of the nursery nurses), and there’s so much in the way of feeding back your child’s progress and development to you, so I would never feel in any doubt or panic about leaving Travis there while I’m at work.

How to Make the Most of a Baby Event

With regular baby events throughout the year, it can be difficult to navigate your way through them, whether you’re a first time parent or have experienced the events before. With online and in-store events, exhibitions and shows, there’s no doubt all the information and products available can be a little overwhelming. Speaking from experience – and with a lot of hindsight in mind – I’ve come up with a few tips to follow to ensure you make the most of a baby event.

Make a list before you go
The best way to make the most out of the day is to make a list of the things you need or want from the day. Are you still looking for big items like cribs and car seats? Or are you looking for travel items, everyday essentials, or feeding equipment? Perhaps you’re looking for something specific like a Sophie La Giraffe or Ewan the Dream Sheep that your friends have told you that you simply can’t live without? Either way, it makes the shopping and navigating much more efficient if you know before you go. Plus you’re less likely to miss anything than if you go in aimlessly without having specific ideas in mind.

Know what you need
Similar to tip one, know exactly what you need and what you don’t. This helps to avoid getting suckered by any so-called deals on offer. If there’s a steriliser that’s half-price, but not suitable for your needs, for instance if it’s a microwave steriliser or perhaps just too big for your kitchen, or indeed microwave, then actually the deal isn’t worth it at all. Similarly, there are always great deals on clothes at in-store baby events, with promotions at bigger shows too, so you can get distracted by pretty patterns when actually you have everything you need in that size, and really should be buying clothes in 6 months or above, if at all at this point! Maybe this point should be called “know what you don’t need” as this is probably a better way of looking at things. If you know you don’t need a 3 in 1 changing system, or state of the art changing rucksack before you go, chances are you won’t then be talked into buying one.

Be open minded, but not gullible
On the flip side of this, I would say that you have to be open minded when going into baby shows. There may be products or services which solve problems you hadn’t thought of, or which may be more useful further down the line as your baby starts to grow. It can be useful to go and collect business cards or leaflets to keep just in case (again, only for things you may be interested in, rather than collecting cards from every stand at an exhibition).

I would be open-minded but cautious to any “new to market” products. There are only so many times you can reinvent the wheel to make it better, so it’s worth being harsh and really questioning whether the new products serve any purpose.  Or do the products you already have, serve those purposes just as well? For instance, are wet wipe warmers necessary (yes they are a thing)? Do you need a Gro Egg if you have a room thermometer, nightlight and/or cot mobile already?

Stock up on essentials
This is probably the best tip I can give for in-store baby events at the likes of Boots, Mothercare or any supermarkets. By essentials, I mean the things you know you will get use of regardless of the size/weight/stage your baby is at. For example, Craig and I thought we were doing well by stocking up on loads of on-offer nappies before the wee man arrived. However what we didn’t bank on is that he would grow so rapidly that we would end up giving half those nappies away. So while yes it is good to get a pile of nappies organise pre-baby arrival, don’t go mad at baby events for these. Instead look at things like baby wipes, cotton wool, barrier creams, feeding equipment, long-life foods and things like bibs and muslin squares which have either very long shelf life or no expiry (lest your child’s neck outgrows the bibs!).

Question offers available

Quite often at in-store baby events, there will be promotions such as 3 for 2, BOGOF etc. Like with supermarket deals, these might not always be the great offers they initially seem. For instance, do you really need 3 of something when you were just after the one? Often, with things like wipes and baby toiletries, these offers can be useful. But you may only be saving pennies; say for example that wipes cost 60p, but you get 3 packs for £1.50, you are really only saving 30p, so its worth checking if that’s the best deal on offer. It’s also good practice as it means you won’t fill your boot or pram with unnecessary things on offer, leaving room for the things you came to the event for. Similarly, whether you’re at an exhibition or in-store event, it’s worth checking whether these kinds of offers are available online, meaning you don’t have to humph too much around – a godsend when you’ve got the littlies with you. Also question any 10% discounts or similar offers – like with black Friday, some sellers inflate their prices before baby events and then sell them at “discount” during the event, when realistically you aren’t saving that much (if anything) at all. Having said that, most discounts are genuine and it’s worth asking if they are available exclusively at the event, or can be applied either online or until a specified later date.

 

If there are any other baby event tips you can think of, please let me know below, I’d love to hear them!

Simple Water Boost Hydrating Sheet Mask

*I was given this product in exchange for a review as part of a product testing experience, and was not required to write this post. This review is entirely my own opinion.

I was recently sent the new Simple Water Boost Hydrating Sheet Mask to review, and was excited to be included in this campaign as I love Simple products, particularly their makeup removing face wipes, which I religiously use every day.

My skin has changed somewhat since I was a teen, and my beauty regimes have taken a bit of a knock on the head since becoming a mum, so I’m not as aware of new products or those which would specifically benefit my skin. With winter taking it’s toll, not to mention buckets full of snow in March, Simple’s Water Boost hydrating sheet mask could not have come at a better time for me.

I have to say I’m a bit of a sheet mask novice, tending to go for clay or peel-off masks, so I was a bit apprehensive at first. I found the process of unfolding the mask and placing it on my face correctly to be a bit fiddly, but that could be more to do with lack of practice than any shortcoming on the product’s part.

simple-hydration-boosting-sheet-mask

My face looking freakishly plastic with the mask on

After a small battle with the slippery sheet, I chilled out for 15 minutes with the mask on. The main thing I noticed was how instantly cooling the mask felt. I loved the smell of the mask too – nice, fresh, cucumber vibes.

There was quite a bit of excess when it was time to peel the mask off, which you’re instructed to either remove with a towel or rub into the skin. I opted for the latter and am glad I did as my skin felt lovely and soft for the rest of the day (I didn’t add any other products or makeup to my face all day).

I would definitely recommend this mask to others as it’s so gentle and fresh that I’m sure it would be fine with most skin types. I also think it definitely delivers its promise as my skin feels more refreshed not only visibly, but to the touch too.