It’s the end of an era

So, I’m sitting here on my first day without Violet. I dropped her at nursery at 9am this morning and managed to leave without tears (from either of us!) As I ran through the reception I hoped no one would stop to chat as I felt the tears burning my eyes. I only just made it back to the safety of the car as they started to roll. It’s only natural right? Today is actually a really significant day for both of us. It’s not just the start of nursery – it’s the end of an era. Life is changing now in a big way. I’ve only had a couple of hours away from Violet since she was born so this will come as a big shock to me too. I think to myself – am I upset as Violet has to go to nursery or am I sad my maternity leave is over? Both. It’s been the best year of my life! Its not been the easiest but it’s been the most rewarding, hands down and I’ve loved every moment of being a stay-at-home Mummy to Violet.

So, with my new found freedom before work begins I’ve decided to treat myself to a ‘me day’ as a present to myself for surviving a years maternity leave and keeping another human alive for that time too. I’d saved some vouchers over from Christmas to I headed into Brighton and went head first straight into the make up stores (after a brief blip Mothercare, until I realised today is about ME for once and avoided ALL baby shops). Browsing the bright cosmetic displays I almost felt like an imposter – in my frumpy raincoat and maternity jeans, I certainly feel a different person to that before children but I’m determined to pick myself up some new treats and get myself back on my feet as ‘me’ instead of Violet’s Mummy. I pick up all the products I’ve lusted after over the last year, skincare to make me feel glowing, foundation, concealer, a new gel polish, it all goes in the bag – time for a treat! 

Next up was my hair appointment, drab hair be gone! I finally tackled the roots that I’ve put up with for 10 months as I’ve not had time to get my hair done. I swear getting your hair done makes you feel like a new person again!

I’m feeling reflective today so looking back over my maternity leave – I feel like it’s gone by in a flash! The first few months was adjusting to life with a baby. I’d sit for hours on the sofa feeding Violet and watching endless Netflix series in a haze of sleepless nights and learning how to keep a baby human alive. The summer was packed with walks along the beach in the sunshine, I had the best tan I have ever had from being outside so much, I worked hard on my blog – mainly as Violet couldn’t move far so looking after her was a breeze! The last part has been busy – Violet is on the move and needs so much more interaction so I’ve been flitting between softplays, play dates or just chasing her round the house, she doesn’t stay still for two seconds, I think this has been the hardest part overall as it’s hard to get anything done with a baby who wants to pull the entire kitchen cupboard out, repetitively.

Before my maternity I wrote this maternity leave bucket list post – I think I’ve done pretty well ticking a few things off my list, I think Violet’s must have missed the memo when I said I planned to ‘rest and relax’ though! Crafting also went out of the window, Violet’s scrapbook is still in pieces will a stack of photos that need sticking in – I’ll get round to it one day (not sure when!).

I have spent 80%  (at least) of my maternity leave at home with Violet and I wonder if maybe I should have got out more, made more Mummy-friends or given Violet more stimulation – but actually being a full-time Mum and looking after the house is REALLY hard, I don’t give myself enough credit for the amount of housework, cleaning, night feeds, nappies changes and meals I’ve cooked over the last year – that is a job in itself!

So, this is the end of my maternity leave and I can safely say being a parent has shaped me into a different person to that I was before. I’ve learned to be confident, to speak my mind, to be independent and to care unconditionally for others. I don’t feel I’ll be returning to work the person I was before, I am the same ‘me’ inside, but I’ve added so many more strings to my bow and my priorities have changed so much. All thanks to a little girl, named Violet.

It’s the end of an era. Onto the next chapter…

Pregnancy #2: First Trimester

When my pregnancy app flagged up a notification saying ‘Welcome to the Second Trimester!’ I had to do a double take. HOW are we in the second trimester already? It feels like I’ve only just peed on that stick, it doesn’t feel real at all! This pregnancy has just flown by in comparison to Violet’s. The first time round, I obsessed over every detail, sitting in bed reading ‘What to Expect When you are Expecting’ and trying to find that elusive heartbeat with our home doppler. This time, it’s just flown by, I wouldn’t have time to obsess even if I wanted to!

This time I wanted to write an update on our first trimester to document our journey as it’s flying past at the speed of light. In the early weeks, I also googled MY OWN BLOG to read my first trimester update from last time (to compare notes and such!) and I surprised myself that I never got round to writing one, so being frustrated at myself I made a promise I’d document things better this time. So here goes!

THE PREGNANCY TEST

This time I got pregnant this time by IVF Frozen Embryo transfer (I’ll be writing a WHOLE post on that soon!). I remember about 3 days after our embryo transfer I was changing Violet’s nappy and thought to myself that the nappy bin smelt so strong and being the ‘dettol queen’ I am this is quite unusual. I put Sudocreme on Violet during the change and wondered why I never noticed how strong that smelt either. Only was it about 5 minutes later it dawned on me that maybe my ridiculously strong pregnancy sense of smell had returned, but I didn’t want to get too excited as it was so early.

As I spent a fortune on pregnancy tests with Violet, this time I bought some cheapies on Amazon, so the next morning I thought I’d try one. I was 4 days past the five-day transfer (which is like being 9DPO). It was negative. I was so sad, with Violet I’d got a faint line at this point so I really felt disheartened and I went for a walk along the beach with Violet feeling like everything had gone wrong. On my way home I decided to buy the same brand of pregnancy test as I used with Violet the first time (Lloyds Pharmacy) and I rushed home to try it (even though I was convinced it hadn’t worked by now!). It was positive!!! There was a faint line, just like with Violet. I remember not being able to breathe through the happy tears, I couldn’t believe it. The journey had begun… again!

SYMPTOMS

Amazingly I’ve had very little symptoms with this pregnancy. With Violet I felt horrifically nauseous between 10am-12pm and that daily rough patch was a firm reminder things were ticking along nicely – but this time things have been so different. I’ve had little to no morning sickness at all. I’ve had a few waves but they’ve been completely random and would strike for an hour or so then pass. I’ve certainly had more food aversions this time – at one point I couldn’t stomach eating anything but Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and was having 3 bowls a day with very little in between, which is not like me! The midwife actually told me I’d lost weight at my last check, but reassured me as long as I’m eating SOMETHING (even cereal) and taking my vitamins then everything will be okay.

The tiredness has been my one main symptom. I’ve been EXHAUSTED with a capital E. I go to bed at 8pm every night now and the hardest part has been getting up for night-feeds with Violet which V has mainly taken over during this time, although the exhaustion is fading a bit now. I’d forgotten that pregnancy sleep is deeper than you ever sleep normally, it’s like being completely unconscious so being woken suddenly in the night made me feel instantly sick and so dizzy.

Until week 12 I was on medication for the IVF, which I think left me feeling pretty spaced out all the time. I couldn’t focus to write blog posts and my creativity completely dried up, which makes me so frustrated, I hate not being able to create, think and write – I missed it a lot during this time, but luckily it’s coming back to me now.

SCANS

As well as being a pregnancy test addict, I’m also a scan addict. We’ve had three so far, one at 7 weeks, 10 weeks then 13 weeks. The first at 7 weeks was included with the IVF treatment and just checks for a heartbeat. We saw the little blob on the screen with a little flashing centre and knew everything was ok. I then waited and waited and WAITED for my letter for my 12 week scan, which eventually came through saying I’d be over 13 weeks by the date they’d allocated for me! This seemed SO far away for our little bean and with no symptoms I started to panic (I’m not the most relaxed pregnant person, I admit). So I booked a private 10 week scan, just to check in with the baby. We went along and saw everything was fine, they’d changed from blob to gummy bear with little stumps for arms and legs – that heart was still ticking away. PHEW.

The weeks past and soon it was time for our 13 week scan, FINALLY. We had the nicest sonographer who talked through every part of the body, checking the baby had 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers, 10 toes. All present and correct. We also opted for the Downs Syndrome Screening which came back as low risk too. I can’t believe how relieved I was to get the big 12 (well, 13) week checks out of the way – I think I’ve finally relaxed and am ready to enjoy the second trimester!

THOUGHTS

This first trimester I’ve learned that your body is WAY more resilient than you think it will be. With Violet I rested so much, ate all the right foods, went to bed early, had acupuncture and didn’t lift a finger. She was fine, of course – but this time I’ve been up in the night, exhausted, tired, forgotten to eat (or just ate cereal), scrambled round on the floor at baby groups, constant lifting with Violet, the pushchair and car seat – this baby is also fine! Your body can handle pretty much anything you throw at it whilst pregnant, it’s not as fragile as you think!

So, thats the first trimester OVER! Bring on the best bit of pregnancy, the second trimester! 😍

Weaning: Introducing the new HiPP Organic Buddies & Pouches!

If you’ve been following our weaning journey so far, you’ll know it’s been a) a bumpier ride than I prepared for and b) Violet is turning into a way fussier eater than I expected, seeing as I’ve always been a good eater, even as a child. The whole thing has taken me by surprise to be honest, I thought by the time Violet was one she’d be happily eating most foods, but that isn’t the case, yet. She has her favourite things and rarely will deviate from that. Although to be fair to her, she still only has one tooth which isn’t even fully formed yet, so I think she just needs a bit more time. All babies develop at different rates so I’m 100% sure she will ‘get it’ eventually, but of course you can’t help but worry.

So, with all of that going on – I’ve been really grateful for having the support of HiPP Organic, who have worked with us throughout our weaning journey. During this time, their ranges have just been getting better and better, even in the short time we’ve been weaning! Firstly, we introduced Violet to her first tastes (you need to watch the cute video!) and then we added jars for texture and savoury tastes. Now, I’m excited to announce HiPP Organic have released both sweet and savoury pouches, which have been a favourite in our house and we’ve really loved giving them an exclusive trial run before they hit the UK stores to let you know what we think!

So, to introduce the new range, HiPP Organic asked Violet to ‘takeover’ for the day. Letting her decide how her day goes –  from what she wears, what I am going to wear, what is to eat and what we will do. Of course as she’s only 11 months this wasn’t the easiest, but I tried to let Violet decide as much as possible as she’s got a strong little personality in there and will certainly make it clear if she doesn’t like something!

We started with our outfits. Standing in my PJs, I handed her a selection of my clothes for her to chose my outfit. I was totally up for wearing anything she chose, but she picked out two bras, a skirt and a sock, so I thought it was probably best to avoid being in the photos with that selection! I also had to re-fold my laundry pile, so I think I’ll wait until she’s older for choosing my outfits! She did however do a LOT better choosing her own outfit, she is clearly drawn to bright colours and polka dots as you can see!

Next up, we chose what to eat for lunch! I lined all of the new HiPP Organic Pouches out so she could have a good look. I absolutely love the design of the new pouches. The new characters make them so eye catching to little ones. We were also sent the HiPP Organic storybook so I’ve really enjoyed introducing the characters to Violet too. I thought at first she was going to go for a Savoury flavour – picking up Parsnip, Sweet Potato and Broccoli at first, however this girl is not silly – she spotted the breakfast flavours which are her favourite and swiped a Blueberry and Banana Muesli with Yogurt. Not something I’d usually give her at lunchtime, but in the spirit of our ‘takeover’ I let her have the one she chose. She was amazingly happy about that – giving it a full taste test by eating the whole pouch on her own without spilling a drop. The most mess-free lunch we’ve had in a LONG while!

The new HiPP Organic savoury pouches are the perfect meal to pop into the change bag and have on the run, or if you need a quick and easy meal at home too. We have tried all the vegetarian flavours, such as: Mediterranean Vegetable Spaghetti (the firm favourite!), Creamy Tomato and Leek Pasta, Parsnip, Sweet Potato and Broccoli and Sweet Potato, Cauliflower and Sweetcorn Bake just to name a few. There are other ‘meatier’ flavours too like Hearty Cottage Pie and Spaghetti Bolognese but as Violet is a veggie like us we have not tried those out.

Each recipe is full of flavour and has a thicker, more interesting texture than many other pouches too, meaning it feels like a proper ‘meal’ rather than just puree, giving little ones a practice as chewing as well as a new taste too. I also love that the savoury pouches are purely savoury tastes too – many other brands add fruits like apple as ‘fillers’ to baby food to make it sweet and appealing. When you have a fussy eater like Violet thats actually counterproductive as I’m trying my best to stay away from sweet alluring tastes to broaden her savoury palette. Also, with the Fruit Pouches, you know your little one is getting 2 of their 5 a day, so with HiPP Organic, it’s reassuring you know exactly what you are getting in every pouch.

For the last part of our ‘takeover’ I let Violet decide what she’d like to do next. She decided to pull all of her HiPP Organic Pouches out, including the colourful Buddies Masks that we were sent and play with them by putting things into and out of our jar/pouches crate. We also read the HiPP Organic Story book and I put on a couple of masks which made her giggle. Don’t worry, by this point I’d got dressed properly, I didn’t go for the two bras and a skirt look!

The HiPP Organic range as always has got a big thumbs up from us. Weaning is usually such a messy activity but with these pouches they make every meal completely mess free. I love how we know exactly what we are feeding Violet and they will be made of the finest, tastiest ingredients too.

Lastly –  I have some exciting news for you – if you’d like to win a selection of HiPP Organic pouches, head over to my Instagram as I’ve got a little giveaway running, or you can use my money-off voucher for a discount  off the HiPP Organic range too!

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to The Baby Show London (plus get 30% off the ticket price too!)

It’s time for ANOTHER giveaway!  I know, I’m feeling rather generous at the moment, so enjoy! Today I am giving away TWO tickets to The Baby Show in London at London ExCeL, which is being held between 2nd-4th March 2018.

We went to The Baby Show back when I was pregnant with Violet and it was fab! As a first time Mum I had no idea on what we’d need for our new baby. The Baby Show is the best place to find EVERYTHING you’ll need for a baby and try everything out, along with meeting the brands, industry experts and being the first to hear about new products on the market too. The best thing is that you can give most products a test-run on the spot before you decide, plus there are lots of discounts on the day too. The talks from the experts are brilliant too – we did Baby First Aid which was literally a lifesaver when Violet nearly choked and I knew what to do!

Of course, you don’t need to be a first-time Mum to benefit, the baby market grows and changes all the time so there will be something new to discover all the time! I can’t wait to go along and get new bits for Baby No.2 too.

Here is a little video of our day for some more info:

For your chance to WIN, just fill out the below…..

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

Also…. If you’d like to book tickets, I also have a handy 30% off discount code, just follow this link here use the word SUMMER at the checkout (Valid for bookings until 1st March). Have fun! ☺️

 

 

Violet has a BIG announcement…

MEET BABY PEACHES, NO 2 – COMING 08/08/2018!

Violets brother or sister has been cooking away quietly for 13 weeks now so I’m pleased to say we can FINALLY share our big news. Today was our scan and baby was happy, wiggling and healthy, with two arms, two legs and a beating heart. Such a relief as I’d been so worried! We are just over the moon! I wonder if Violet would be feeling the same if she could understand?! Hopefully she’ll be excited about her future sibling, they will only be 18 months age gap, so I hope they’ll be close. We shall see!

Violets Dress: La Coqueta

So, look out for pregnancy updates making a return, this pregnancy has been so different so I’ve got lots to share as well as telling you our successful IVF Frozen Embryo cycle story too. Exciting times!

Baby Peaches 2, due 08.08.2018