Monday, 31 August 2015

Here we go again :)


I've been waiting for ages to share the news on my blog that I'm pregnant, again.

I haven't really felt like I could talk about it until now, after a successful 3 month scan, and an extra month for good measure - the first trimester is such a nerve wracking time.

It's hard to even share the news with family and close friends - both times now I've felt so vulnerable.

Thankfully I feel I can share it on my blog today, and hopefully get to work documenting some of my new pregnancy journey - it's been a completely different ride so far!

For starters I've felt debilitatingly sick and tired - I felt fantastic the whole way through carrying Ernie.

This left me feeling horribly anxious and slightly depressed at times, which really scared me.

I'm so emotional this time!

I am pleased to say that by my 13th week, pretty much after my scan, I started to feel much, much better - on all fronts, and am now starting to feel what I felt so guilty about not feeling before - happy and excited.

I'm beginning to believe that I can cope with two children, and a newborn's needs again.

Slowly but surely I'm looking forwards to doing it all over again.

So here marks the beginning of this new journey, which I'm really excited to share, I just hope I can find more time to blog, and some more courage to share pictures...



Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday


My little boy is turning two!


It's so exciting. He's grown up so much recently, and I'm really excited for what's to come.

So I thought I'd write a little bit about what he's like at two, as I haven't done an Ernest update in ages, and these are my favourite posts to look back on.

So...

Ernie, you're about to be 2 - at 6:59am on the 23rd August - and you've already impressed us with how eloquent you are, you're a proper little chatter box.

My favourite phrase of yours - that you ask me at least 50 times a day is 'Watcha DOO-in Mummy' it's so cute the way you say it, that I never get bored of answering you.

It's not just chatting, you love singing too. You've managed to learn all the nursery rhymes from YouTube - alongside Peppa pig, you watch them on repeat. I love your rendition of the wheels on the bus.

You are sleeping in your own 'big boy bed' now, and that's been a fairly smooth transition, almost insultingly so! So I'm quietly pleased if you sneak into bed with us in the early hours of the morning - even if it is just to ask for milk...

You love the kitchen more than anywhere else in the house. It's probably because your father and I do so much cooking. We're a bit naughty and let you sit up on the side, you make lots of mess trying to help out - but I'm so impressed with your skills, I'm fully expecting you to be able to cook me a meal by the time you're three!

Asking you to get down is another story... You're incredibly strong willed, and rather wild at times. I struggle to tame you, but I respect your spirit, and I'm told repeatedly that 'he's just being a boy' so I try my best to get down onto your level, and see the entertaining side of your antics - it's hard though, considering that your idea of fun is throwing everything we own down the stairs!!

Which leads me to your promising athletic ability, you have a scarily accurate shot! You always manage to hit your target. So it's probably time I put those skills to better use, and found you a few clubs to join.

You'll have to forgive me but one of them will have to be ballet - I can't resist!

As I've already mentioned, you still love your milk - but you're eating more and more everyday. You love olives, raw mushrooms, nuts, porridge, and pancakes! How could I forget the pancakes - you request them daily - and 9 times out of 10 I'm only too happy to make them for you.

You're so sharp, and such a sweet heart. Even on the really hard days, there's no where else I'd want to be.

Your the best thing that's ever happened to daddy and me, and we can wait to wish you a happy 2nd birthday!


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Blackberry Farm


We visited Blackberry Farm, on a whim, last weekend - and what a great discovery.


It's set within 18 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside in the village of Whitesmith.

A family run farm, open to the public, that's home to lots of animals, a huge outdoor play area, ‘Clucky’s’ undercover adventure playbarn and sensory zone, farm walk, picnic area and baby area.


There's also the Garden Barn cafe. Which has this great playpen full of toys to keep little children occupied - don't you wish that every restaurant had one of these!


We found it to be really good value for money, and we didn't even get to do everything on offer.


There are animal handling sessions, tractor rides, pony rides, egg collecting, pig feeding, and more.


Ernie's really into farm life, so it was really great to get so up close, and actually interact with the animals, and ride on tractors.


We can't wait to go back, and share it with family and friends.

For more in visit blackberry-farm.co.uk


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Peppa Pig World !!!


So,  I finally made the effort to take Ernie to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Family Theme Park - and it didn't disappoint.

I say made the effort, as it's quite a trek from where I live, but we had an opportunity to stay in Dorchester for a few nights - so decided to do it.


It's situated on the edge of the New Forest National Park - which is a really beautiful place to visit. So if you've got the time, you could make a bigger trip out of it.

There are lots of lovely things to do in the surrounding area - and really we could have done with spacing it out over two days - as I found it hard with a child of Ernie's age to fit it all into one day - he didn't quite have the patience (to queue) or the energy.

I've just seen here that they've introduced glamping, in a fully equipped bell tent, which would be an excellent way to extend your stay.


Paultons is easy to find being just off exit 2 of the M27. It's well signposted by brown tourist signs along the motorway.

My favourite part of the whole experience was Mr Potatoes Playground. It's really sweet, and a great place for under twos.

It's worth familiarising yourself with the map online before you get there, so you have an idea of what you'd like to prioritise.

Or do what we did and just head for the rides with the shortest queues!



On that note, here's my top tips for Peppa Pig World...

* Keep all your valuables in an easy to carry bag, as you'll have to ditch your buggy for most of the rides.

* If you can bring a picnic, there are lots of nice spots throughout the park to enjoy it.

* Bring swimwear, swimming nappies, and towels for your little ones, so that they can enjoy the  muddy puddle fountains in Mr Potatoes Playground.

* Pack socks for everyone - for inside George's Spaceship Playzone.

* Get there as early as you can, so that you've got time to see the rest of Paultons - theres a beautiful river walk, lots of exotic birds, penguins, and meerkats to see too.

*Cream your kids beforehand, with plenty of SPF, it's hard to pin them down once you get there!

* If you want to avoid buying anything in the gift shop, bring a handful of the Peppa stuff you already own to distract them with.

* And beware that theres no way of completely avoiding said gift shop - you're forced to exit through a pretty amazing one.

* On the flip side, if you're in the market for some new toys, this is a awesome place to shop.

* Children under a meter get in for free, so you might want to capitalise on this before it's too late - and ditch any adults who aren't that bothered - as they'll bump up the price considerably.

* Tickets are cheaper online in advance, and cut down on queuing.


Monday, 8 June 2015

My return to fertility after Breastfeeding


‪I read recently that Dr Geeta Nargund, a consultant gynaecologist at St George’s Hospital in London, has said it’s important women and girls learn about fertility from a younger age - and I couldn't agree more!

‪I was really emotional and angry after first reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler after months of failing to conceive. I realised that I knew hardly anything about that part of my body, you know the part that makes me a woman - I now strongly believe every woman and young girl should know about how their body works and to be able to interpret their fertility.

‪I've since read it from cover to cover, before/during/and after pregnancy, I have been able to use all her wonderful information to actually know what’s going on in terms of my reproductive health - which has been so empowering!

‪I've shared the information with countless (equally clueless) friends, and my copy of the book is currently doing the rounds too.

‪So in this post I'm going to try my best to document my return to fertility post childbirth and breastfeeding - as I found there was hardly any legit first hand information on the web.

‪There's plenty of professional advice, but maybe my experience could be helpful for anyone of you who, like me, have been left wondering what’s going on inside you, and if/when you might be able to get pregnant again - after breast feeding for bloody ages!

‪I gave birth to Ernie on 3rd August 2013. I conceived him 8 months after coming off the pill Dianette. It took a long time after coming off of the pill for my menstrual cycle to return, and the few months before I got pregnant I still had a fairly long 34 day cycle.

‪I was ovulating around CD20 and had roughly a two week luteal phase.

‪I can' tell you what length my cycles were before going on the pill - as I didn't have a clue about any of this stuff - as no one seems to see it fit to educate girls on such matters!

‪I experienced some minor bleeding in early pregnancy around week 6/7, but thankfully everything was fine.

‪After giving birth I had around a month of normal lochia (post birth bleeding) and then nothing for 19 months.

‪Hurrah for the joys of Lactational Amenorrhea.

‪Basically because I exclusively breastfeed (on demand), no dummies or comforters, and co-slept, my body remained infertile - I also think the fact that Ernie fed frequently throughout the night helped matters most.

‪Now obviously there are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to this, but for me, it wasn't until I stopped breastfeeding at 16 months, that I got my first post-birth period around 8 weeks later.

‪Towards the end of breastfeeding I had started to experience symptoms - in the form of random fertile quality cervical mucus - that my body was gearing up to ovulate.

‪I also suffered from PMS-type symptoms – symptoms of an oncoming period without the period – for months before my period returned.

‪So it was around this time that I took precautionary measures to not get pregnant.

‪Before then I was pretty certain that I couldn't - and I didn't. You could say I was practicing LAM - the Lactational Amenorrhea Method of birth control - though I've never temped or charted, so not officially.

‪When my period did finally return I was experiencing delayed ovulation and a luteal phase too short to sustain a pregnancy - which is to be expected.

‪However, on my third, I experienced a text book 'normal' 28 day cycle with a two week luteal phase, so I going to assume, that my body has finally made it's return to full fertility - as mother nature intended.

‪I've also been using some cheap internet ovulation tests (I can recommend these ones) to confirm when I've felt that I might be ovulating.

‪This is only my experience - just like everyone’s pregnancies are different - I'm sure all this stuff can be too, but I wanted to make a record of this information, as I now know what it feels like to be breastfeeding and wondering when my fertility would make a return.

‪Please feel free to ask me any questions in comment section below. Or share your own experience!

‪And let's hope that Education Secretary Nicky Morgan listens to Dr Geeta Nargund's plea for fertility lessons to be included in the national curriculum to “empower people to take control of their fertility”.


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Peppa Pig at the Spa Valley Railway

It's fair to say I really didn't get the whole 'Peppa Pig' thing before I had Ernie. I knew that my niece was really into it, and I had gotten her few bits of merchandise over the years, but the little that I had seen of the actual show annoyed me - so much so that I swore I would never let my kids watch it?!

The trouble is, there's something magical about Peppa - one episode and Ernie was hooked!

It's by far his favourite show, and through seeing how happy it makes him, I've grown to like it too.

So when we spotted a poster to see Peppa Pig at the Tunbridge Wells Spa Valley Railway, we couldn't resist - especially considering that Peppa Pig world is bloody miles away from us, and this is basically in our back garden.

So I thought I'd share the wonderful day out we made of it... as I can't recommend it enough.

*Providing that your child is a Peppa nut like mine!!


After arriving at the station we were invited to watch a few episodes of Peppa Pig - which was screening in this cute little cinema.


There were also some really sweet train sets for the children to play with. Along with Peppa, they also do Days out with Thomas the Tank Engine, and Fireman Sam.


Riding on the steam train was really fun. It was packed full of children, so Ernie could make as much noise as he liked, and nobody minded - which made a nice change.



The train travels from Tunbridge Wells, to Groombridge - through some beautiful and unusual countryside.



I thought he might get scared meeting Peppa but he actually really liked it - she even got a kiss out of him... lucky pig.




We headed to a sweet playground just a short walk from the station.
Along with meeting Peppa, you get a balloon too. Just watch out for when it pops!


Then off to the rocks - Groombridge is famous for Harrison's Rocks, the sandstone outcrop to the south of the village. We managed to go for quite a big walk all through the woods - considering that we had to lug the Maclaren along with us!


Lastly we went to The Junction Inn, a pub near the station, for a really good roast dinner. It's also got a great child friendly garden - full of climbing frames.

There's another Peppa Pig day on the 27th August, and plenty of other fun days on the steam train too - including a Teddy Bears day out.

For more information visit www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk


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