Returning back to work after maternity leave and becoming a working mum.

It was 6pm on a Sunday night and I was flapping about juggling bathing my little one, getting her ready for bed, breastfeeding and packing hers and mine bags for NURSERY AND WORK! It was here and I would be moving onto a new chapter. I felt a mixture of emotions from anxiety to happiness, but mostly anxiety for sure.

For most of the duration of my maternity leave I had buried my head in the sand about work. I was in a whole new world of motherhood, associating with mums, talking babies and napping! My past career that I had worked so hard for was just brushed under the rug and I was ignoring it, well subconsciously aware but certainly not addressing it. I originally intended to have just 6 months off for maternity leave, but I extended this until 9 months. I just didn’t feel ready what so ever. 9 months meant that I would be going back January 2018, little R would be almost 10 months old and I would also have time to wean and get her sleeping through the night. Plus a very important factor is my statutory government mat pay would have ceased and I would be earning £0!

I managed to get little R sleeping through the night after 6 months which was great as there would be no way I could function on broken 4-6 hours sleep, especially in such a responsible position where people’s health would be at risk. In addition, weaning for us has gone exceptionally smooth (fortunately) so dropping the breast feeding to just twice a day before and after work works very well for us. This was all preparation into her transition to nursery and not being around me all the time. Becoming more independent and I guess, growing up. *cry!

KIT days (keeping in touch days) were extremely useful and I definitely recommend using them to your advantage. Not only does it prepare you for your return, such as refreshing yourself on computer programs, familiarising yourself with your role and keeping in touch with colleagues, but it also gives your little one a chance to be separated from you for a long period. Whether it’s in the nursery or with family, we utilized them well and in addition you get paid! Bonus!

So we opted for a nursery very close to my employment. I chose this particular nursery based on its ofsted report and the vibe I got from the staff and it’s facilities. I was exceptionally lucky to get a nursery at all, I cannot believe people register and put their names down when they are pregnant! As a result I had to base my working days around the nursery days but I couldn’t be fussy and was just grateful we managed to get a space.

That first day. There is no sugar coating it.. it was horrible. I thought I would be ok however after handing over my bubba, I instantly burst into tears and tried to keep strong. Watching her little face as I walked away. I was really upset on the drive to work but felt like I needed a good cry before getting there or I would probably start again.

Although we had 3 settling in days the week before, nothing really prepares you for dropping off your baby with strangers whilst you go off to work. With the added anxiety of your first day back after such a long time. I was like a flappy bird at work and kept checking the time thinking: “shall I call now?”. I decided to call during my lunch that way it was kind of half way through the day. I didn’t want to come across as a needy mother, but I wanted to know she was ok. Knowing full well she would be absolutely fine and I’m the one worrying. Has she eaten? Has she napped? Is she crying? I had to just switch off and get on with my work.

I literally could not get to the nursery quick enough after that first day. I burst through the door to see my little girl in one of the nursery workers arms. Fortunately she was reaching out for me as soon as she had clocked that it was me, which was a great feeling. I talked to her the whole way home as she was screaming back at me. Bath and bed. I was so tired and to think I have to do it all again tomorrow and so does she! I have been back now for almost a month and we are used to our little routine. It doesn’t take long at all to get used to the whole nursery thing, it just means that she gets sick so frequently. Already had 2 colds and a chest infection! I guess this is something I need to get used to.

The only and I say only thing that really grates me down is the extortionate costs of childcare. Almost half of my wages is spent on childcare. Half. I’m left with virtually nothing after my monthly bills and some may question is it worth it? To be frank I am not a stay at home mum (unless I had bucket loads of money to spend doing things)! I obviously don’t and I also don’t want to lose my skill and career that I had worked so hard for at university. I have no other choice at this moment in time and I keep thinking of the positives. Little R gets a lot out of nursery and it does her good mixing with other children, playing, making and learning. I must admit it is nice having “adult” conversation and continuing along with my career, having almost some me time at work. I shouldn’t moan as many other women out there are in the same boat and it is exhausting. We just make sure now that weekends are about family time and the days off that I get, I really do appreciate mother daughter time.

But do you know what? If I can do it, other mammas can do it! Are you a working mum with young children in the same boat? Ild love to hear from you!

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Baby classes.. are they really worth the small fortune?

A month or so after birth, I emerged out of the baby fog. My stitches had almost healed, I was slightly more confident with my baby rather than being completely clueless and I had managed a solo trip or two in the car setting up the buggy and away I go. Now what? 

Pre baby I was the most unstructured, spontaneous and off the cuff person. I had no regular routine, I worked shifts and barely kept a diary. Really unorganised basically! Now I was home, alone, with the rubbish on the TV in the background and the sounds of intermittent crying from my baby, I was feeling like I needed to get some regularity in my life. Fortunately I had met some awesome girls from my NCT antenatal classes and they were in a similar situation, just emerging and wanting to get out there with their babies before going mental and getting cabin fever at home with Jeremy Kyle on the TV.


I began researching. Something I love to do just simply Googling “mum and baby classes” and “baby groups” in my local area to get an idea what was offered in my local community. Fortunately, there were a good few options and so I took the plunge booking some of them up. The first commitment I made was to Baby Sensory, which was aimed a 0 to 6 months. Perfect! Little did I know that I would be attending weekly right up until I was going back to work, with my bubba at 9 months old! 

Baby sensory is a fantastic class that promotes stimulation through sounds, sight such as colours, movement and also signing. The first lesson consisted of being confused by the “say hello to the sun” song with simultaneous signing and stopping my bubba sicking up her milk and keeping her awake for the class! As the weeks went on, it was much more valuable for me than her as I was able to meet up regularly with likeminded first time mummas, it started to give me structure for my week and get her into a routine too. 


After joining sensory, I added Water Babies and a locally run baby massage class so my week was getting filled up. Luckily they were spaced apart so I had rest days on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s but the others had activities and although just an hour long, this made so much difference to me. It stopped me going insane at home, it stimulated my little one so she slept more and allowed me to make some new friends! Winner!



As the weeks progressed, so did my confidence. It was amazing. The feeding, sleeping, playtime was much more structured that enabled her to be a happier baby, me to get rest time and have a much more relaxed time. As for my little one, attending a regular class such as baby sensory enabled her to

  • Become more self aware
  • Awareness of others
  • Become more aware of her senses
  • Increased coordination 
  • Communication skills taught

Sometimes I would sing, sign and wave flashing lights and props and she would either be asleep, look in the opposite direction or cry. However, sometimes she would attempt to sign, beat a drum or laugh and interact with others which was great and valuable to not miss these mini milestones.

There are many themes each week from jungle, to olympics and festive special Christmas sessions so it’s not boring for us mums! 


Now the weeks are approaching to my return back to work, I am looking for an alternative class to attend weekly with her. Perhaps a tumble tots type session as she like to get around a lot more so she can roam free. I will really miss the early days of baby sensory meeting up with the other mums, but it is the end of an era and time to move on with her growing up! All I can say is that baby classes whatever they are, are a fantastic “investment” to both your sanity and your babies development! 

Travel by Eurostar with a baby… It’s easy!

I’m currently in amidst of planning more adventures with The London Mum and her beautiful babies and we are debating to travel via Eurostar again. We recently embarked on a mini city break to Paris last month and if you follow me on insta I’m sure you saw some of my picks and stories with our 2 night adventure.


Not the best pic of her dodging the camera!

Firstly I would advice (if you are a bargain hunter like me) to book well in advance or better still, when you see the ads popping up with promotions of “£58 return fares” snap them up and you will have a little adventure to look forward to without breaking the bank. That’s exactly what we done. Another fantastic bonus, is traveling with kids under 4 means that they travel for free! As long as they’re on your lap and one child per adult, you’re on to a fantastic perk of family travel via eurostar. Plus pretty much unlimited baggage so no weight limit of petty rules of one bag, so you can pack all of your babies goodies without any weight/fluid restrictions again for free! 


On our trip, we requested a table seat. This gave us more room and there was no risk of our little ones kicking seats in front of us and passengers opposite are another helpful distraction rather than a plain back of a seat. 

The thing I love most about traveling by Eurostar is how quick it is and you get on in one country and off in another. It also opens up a whole possibility of adventures if you were to go longer and explore more by traveling via train. I have always wanted to do an Interail adventure round Europe rather than jumping on planes. Even more adventurous and another one for the bucket list is the Trans Siberian Express, the ultimate train adventure! Myself and the London Mum have been discussing both possibilities! 

With regards to the Eurostar, I would advise:

  • Book in advance to save money
  • Book a table seat for more space
  • Board early to ensure that buggy gets in the nearest luggage storage spot
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance – the steps boarding the train are very steep and the Eurostar staff and even other passengers helped lift the buggy in and off.
  • It has changing facilities
  • And a bar for your prosecco!

So get booking especially with the Christmas markets approaching and enjoy what Europe has to offer via Eurostar!

Seasonal delights at Camma’s Hall Farm Essex 

Firstly I have been totally shite at posting! Oh my goodness I have no one to blame other than myself being part human, part Zombie with the lack of sleep my little human is allowing me to have! However, here we go!

Camma’s Hall Farm is a cute little farm located near Bishops Stortford on the Cambridgeshire/Essex border. I have driven past the signs a few times but have never visited. Today we decided to venture out to pick a pumpkin for Halloween! I am a huge Halloween fan and LOVE pumpkin carving too so what a fab seasonal day out and an excuse to take more gorgeous pics of my tiny one. 



As you walk through the tea barn (totally went for lunch as it smelt delicious!) you are greeted by the most wonderful display or perfectly picked pumpkins laid on crisp hay for you to pick up and buy. However we wanted to physically pick our own and decided to hover about until the next tractor ride was ready to leave and head over to the pumpkin patches!



It was a glorious day for it and I highly suggest getting there early. We spent just a few hours here arriving at 10am, but by the time we had left at about 12, it was heaving with keen pumpkin pickers so if you want to have the place a little more to yourself, arrive early! There were a team of Camma’s Farm staff on hand so when you found your perfect pumpkin, the staff would cut it off the stalk and give it a clean for you to take home. 


I opted for a mid size pumpkin. Although if I had it my way, I would have got an absolute monster, which would have given me great enjoyment carving and eating it ready for the 31st. Post tracker ride we popped our pumpkin into the car after purchasing and decided to head to the corn fields to pick some corn on the cob for dinner! There is something awesome about picking your own produce, I mean it would be better to have grown it but I am such a rubbish gardener so I opted for the next best thing! 




All that picking gave us an appetite for some home cooked food. In the tea barn is a small cafe serving various tasty lunch goods and I went for the home made pumpkin and chili soup with toasted brown bread! Yum!! The little lady opted for a smoothie! (Chilli probably not a good idea for a weaning babe!)



For a fab morning/afternoon out, I would definately suggest Camma’s hall farm. There is no entrance fee but you pay for what you pick. Over the duration of the year there are various seasonal goods to be picked such as apples, strawberries, corn etc. Take a look at their website that can be found HERE

Enjoy!! 

8 Essential baby items when traveling overseas

August 2017 marked the first time I would be going away with my daughter at just 4 months old. Ensuring you have all bases covered with the packing can be stressful (as I found) and overpacking is a simple mistake (as I did!). So I am sharing with you, 8 extremely useful items that I found very useful and wouldn’t travel without in the future with a young baby.

1. Calpol.


We were at Gatwick airport wandering round the shops in departures. Little one was getting grizzly, irritable and red in the face. At 4 1/2 months, teething was definitely happening and she started to cry. Overtired and refusing to nap was an additional bad combo but thank goodness I had packed in my rucksack Calpol. Gave her a dose and it helped to settle her before take off. You just never know when you may need it!

2. Sanitising Water 

Why have I not discovered this sooner? Don’t get me wrong I’m all down for a little germ exposure to help boost and build her immune system but obviously don’t want her poorly and so at times things need sanitising. Dummy. Hands. Sippy cup.. just simply spray this water onto whatever needs sanitising including hands, et voila! Well done Aquaint! Safe for in the mouth and germs are gone! Brilliant! Especially on those highly germ ridden planes. Can be purchased direct from their Website or simply from Boots.

3. Koo Di Travel Bassinet


I have both the bassinet and the cot. Koo Di Are a very clever company that have the most Lightweight, practical and handy travel sleeping bassinets and cots! They literally pop up and take less than 2 minutes to assemble. We travelled round Italy and slept in various hotels so I would have to take down and put up the bassinet on several occasions but I can say it honestly wasn’t a problem. The bassinet even has a mosquito net built in ideal for tropical climates! I honestly love their products and very affordable too.

4. Skip Hop Changing Station

Firstly why did I not purchase this before rather than having to always stick to my huge changing bag and plain rubbish free mat inside the bag? Not only is this Skip Hop changing station a compact bag filled with everything you need, it is light, easy, affordable and looks fab. I could change my baby in the smallest of areas hassle free such as on the plane and in the car. The great thing about this is that you are not always having to search through your bag for what you need, but you can transform any bag into a baby bag! Woohoo! It’s so good I think 4-5 of my friends have purchased since I have had it. Amazing!

5. Pampers

Obviously you need nappies. I am definitely one for reusable she where possible but when you are on the move with limited wash and dry facilities there is no better nappy than Pampers. From explosive poops to long sleepy nights we had no accidents at all. There are other brands that I am sure are fabulous however I love these nappies and have never had nappy rash. Says it all really. However I would suggest buying them prior to your trip as they were quite s bit more expensive in Italy. 50 nappies did us for the week.

6. Baby Banz Sunglasses

Most people don’t forget a sun hat for a small baby but what about sunglasses? According to Made for Mums babies eyes are highly susceptible to harmful UV damage from the sun and that children under 1 must wear them to protect their eyes. I understand that this can be tricky to keep on with little hands grabbing and pulling, but we defo found that Baby Banz we’re practical with 100% protection and comfortable and stay on snugly with the adjustable strap. Look how cute they are too!

7. Car seat check in bag

 

If you’re not hiring or using a car than you can skip this one, but if you are than this was so handy. With the need for a car seat for my little one on our Italian road trip I was worried our car seat would get completely destroyed in the check in luggage. We only have one! I invested in one of these red check in bags to protect the car seat and it worked! No spills, damage and came off of the conveyer first! You cannot miss it! I purchased mine from Amazon here.

8. Haakaa Silicone breast pump

This breast pump is awesome. I decided to take it away for a few reasons: to carry on practicing with her sippy cup and just incase I started to feel engorged at any time to prevent any mastitis when I could have just pumped a little to keep it at bay. It is small enough to be sterilised whilst away, it squeezes into small spaces and does the trick! I have recommended this product to friends that have amazing results too! Haakaa Can be purchased here.
So there you have it! Just a few essentials in my opinion that have helped with my travel experience with a young baby. It’s all about adapting and being flexible to enjoy it fully! We even bathed in a bidet! I hope this blog helps! Happy holidays!

How to survive your first flight with a baby!

I have recently embarked on my first trip abroad with a baby. As an avid traveler, I was keen to get back in the driving seat so to say and restart my travels after being heavily pregnant and learning to be a mum for the first few months of my daughters life. At 4 months old, I felt comfortable enough to be able to give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? 🙄


Starting off gently (no 13 hours flight to Singapore just yet!) we opted to fly to Italy. We love the country, it’s beautiful, the food is incredible, friendly and no too far for our first flight. We also had a friends wedding so thought we could kill two birds with one stone.

 We chose to fly with Easyjet not just because we are frequent fliers with them pre baby, but because the flight went to Pisa our base for the trip. Being August one of the peak months to fly, we headed to the airport slightly earlier to allow time for security, food and all things baby if needed – feeds, poo explosions, you know the score!

In a nut shell we had two very different experiences on the flight out and inbound. So what is the worst that can happen? Screaming, uncontrollable child for the whole flight that was delayed, came with poo explosions and dirty looks from all directions. Yes. This was our flight to Italy. On the way back, we had a sleepy and giggly baby that was happy to smile at every passing passenger and I even managed to watch half of the movie bridesmaids! Result! After surviving my first flight, here are 10 tips to help you if you decide to go – which I highly recommend and encourage!

  1. Preparation 

Babies can be very unpredictable. Who is saying they won’t projectile vomit, be happy, be sad, struggle with their ears or decide to sleep for the entire flight (we can wish!). So pack your bag carefully. I had a rucksack type changing bag from Amazon by Bebemour. It’s fab and has loads of sections to pack everything you need for both you and baby. Think about changing mat, calpol, dummies etc – I will blog about essential travel items soon.

      2.   Take someone.

Obviously this can be impossible if you have to travel alone for whatever reason. If that’s the case, just bear in mind there are some incredibly supportive people out there that I’m sure will be in your flight. We had people asking to hold her, smiling, general distracting which is all helpful. If you can, take someone! I traveled with my husband and it helped to pass the baby when one needed the loo or carry a bag etc. It makes flying much easier!

      3.    Hygiene

A little extreme but on our flight home someone projectile vomited down the aisle. With no windows, I had to just breathe through my mouth and sit tight till we landed. That flying tube is FULL of nasty germs and with people sneezing, coughing and not washing their hands I defo don’t take risks even more so with the bubba in tow. I packed sanitising gel, wipes and ensured that prescious dummy was well attached to the little one. This tip is a precaution rather than having a sick bubba whilst you are away.


     4.     Temperature

Many planes crank up the A.C once you are airborne and the plane turns into a flying fridge. I definitely feel the cold so the baby is too. Layers and a change of clothes are a good idea with a thin blanket to keep snug if it becomes cool. Layers to peel off if you are like us and sit on the runway delayed for an hour sweating! Don’t forget those socks or babygrows to keep those tootsies warm! 

     5.     Check Baggage Allowance

Flying with easyjet meant that we were entitled to 2 extra items to check in plus a changing bag in the flight. We opted for the car seat (as we were hiring a car) and a stroller (with an ergo baby stuffed underneath!). The car seat was checked in and the stroller used around the airport and dropped at the gate – very handy! Check this useful guide by Sky Scanner that shows all the airlines and luggage for babies. A good tool!

     6.    Flight Time

Sounds obvious but we didn’t book a 6am flight. This would mean getting up at silly o’clock to drive there, check in etc and would result in super tired parents as well as a potentially grouchy baby. Bad combo. If there is a particular time that your little one turns into a little devil, avoid that time. Some say witching hour is around 6-9pm so if that’s the case for you, avoid. 

     7.     Little ears

Babies and small children have much smaller ear canals and do not know what to do if their ears pop on take off or landing. Swallowing is an easy way to pop ears back to normal so encourage this by feeding or using a dummy particularly when the flight is going up or down. This made a huge difference to us and I didn’t notice any discomfort from my little one. Another tricky one is if your baby has a cold. Flying is very uncomfortable for an adult when stuffy and can result in painful ears so just to bear in mind on your next flight. 

     8.     Distraction and comfort

Your baby is likely to be afraid or require more comfort than usual so don’t forget that favourite toy or comforter. We took her favourite Lamaze firefly toy as she can spend long periods playing, chewing and looking at it. I also downloaded a baby app on my phone called Baby View that is just high contrast images of ladybirds and butterflies that she is mesmerised by. Very handy when she decided that she wanted to scream and throw a tantrum before take off! Very useful! Just use anything! We even resorted to the inflight magazine that she found highly interesting! 


So definitely go for it! We are hoping to jet off on a long haul destination at the end of the year so it will be different again to this short 2 hour flight. Good Luck! ✈️❤️

How to keep your baby cool during British heatwaves. 8 handy tips!

Oh my goodness how warm has it been lately? Don’t get me wrong I love the sunshine but when it reaches a certain point (with no air conditioning or pool) it gets really uncomfortable for me, let alone my poor baby! It’s the first summer and first experience with anxieties and worry of “is my baby too hot?!”. With links to SIDS with overheating, which can be particularly troublesome at night, I have really looked into ways to keeping my baby cool.


So here are my 8 helpful tips!

1) Strip them off! 

Sounds obvious but if you’re feeling warm, more than likely your baby is warm and cannot tell you! I was literally in my bra and knickers yesterday and as a result, my bubba was in just a nappy. Simple! Especially at night, I have been stripping off to either just a nappy or a sleeveless body suit using just a light cotton muslin to cover when the night temperature does start to dip but it’s still warm.


2) Keep them hydrated! I exclusively breastfeed and it’s amazing that they need nothing else but breast milk. I have been offering it more frequently and she has been feeding more and my milk is almost more watery to hydrate her. It’s amazing how breast milk changes depending on the weather, but I need to ensure that I am also very hydrated to prevent dehydrating myself. 

3) Cool bathing. If you have access to a paddling pool when outside, brilliant! Just ensure it is in the shade. We went to a BBQ for Father’s Day and we did exactly that and she loved it! I still made sure she had suncream on to prevent any UV exposure. Also switch that warm toasty night time bath just for a cooler bath. Instead of 36-37.5 degrees take it slightly cooler and you will be surprised at how cooler it will keep your baby ready for bedtime.


4) Stay indoors in extreme temperatures or under a UV protecting parasol. Why even risk heat exhaustion or heat stroke for your baby? I tend to stay indoors during peak sunshine hours (11-3) and keep blinds shut, windows open and a fan on. I have also recently invested in a Bugaboo Parasol for my buggy that has a silver UV protection of 50+ that ensures the UV doesn’t penetrate through cheaper simple fabric ones. 

5) Use a fan. They are only cheap and get one before the mad rush that happens each year during a heatwave! They don’t need to be a super posh one, a basic stand up fan does the trick. Even better, this year I have discovered the use of a bowl of ice placed in front of the fan that than blows out cool air rather than circulating the same hot air in the room! Think of it as a home made air conditioning unit, just like Gatsby!

6) Magicool . It’s a cool water spray in a can and you can spray it on your skin, on children, babies and even pets! It’s ideal when things are super hot and provides instant relief! I brought a can for when I was in labour!


7) Cool compresses like placing a flannel in the freezer, ice packs and even placing some baby wipes in the fridge. They are good for sweaty babes and especially good on pulse areas such as wrists and neck. 

8) Use the grill rather than the oven when cooking at home. The oven will generate so much heat when preparing meals so maybe try alternatives. Pop on the BBQ, prepare a salad rather than those slow oven cooked meals.

So enjoy the summer, be sensible and have fun!