Monday, 23 September 2013

Happy First Birthday Our Darling Boy

At the weekend we celebrated our little boy turning 1!

This year has really flown and so much has happened!  I'm not sure how he went from this...

To this...

We had a lovely day with family and friends popping in to see him.

We hadn't planned a party but a lot of people had said they wanted to see him so we told people to simply pop in whenever they want.

He is a very lucky boy.

He lasted all day without a nap and was passed from pillar to post, which he of course loved! All that in spite of having a horrible cold.

The toppers for his cake took far longer then they should have but it felt good making it all from scratch.

I also made a ruffle cake and will do a tutorial on this soon as it was good fun.

Button cupcakes for our little button...

Apr├Ęs blowing out the candles

Soapy Jopey we love you so so much.

You slotted into our family like a missing jigsaw piece and brought so much life and laughter.

You smile at everyone you meet and your giggle is contagious!

You and your sister have an amazing relationship, although she does like to hide your dummies, she loves you so much.  You watch her and try to copy her already. She reads you stories and she sure knows how to make you laugh!

When daddy comes home from work you charge up to the front door at such a speed, you light up his life!  You light up all our lives.

Happy First Birthday!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Guilt and Blogging

I set up this blog without a single thought of it 'growing'.  It was solely a way to document the first years of my daughters life and to write about those precious times.  I completely disregarded the fact that people (other than family and friends) could read it.

But alas, it did grow, and some amazing/unusual opportunities came with it.

Since Boo came bounding into our life I haven't put aside much time to blog.  There have been ample opportunities (I have over 30 draft posts half written) my 30th, holidays, moving house, new schools, milestones etc etc.  Everyday has been filled with some activity and every evening has been spent having quality time with the family or working on my business.  This blog has become an old hobby that I just pick up whenever I fancy it.  Which is what it should be some would say.

Tonight I was going to pop on some pictures.  Hubby has just left for his martial arts class, both kids are in the land of nod and I am sitting down with a cup of tea and the tv on in the background.

I wasn't able to do it.

Images of the people, specifically children, affected by the chemical weapons attack in Damascus brought me to tears.  All of a sudden posting some pictures of my pretty little life seemed an almost nasty thing to do.  Hell, me crying feels like a self indulgent thing to do so blogging certainly does!

This is nothing new. 

I have been battling with this for years.  I think about the hundreds of children that have been killed in Afghanistan and the poor mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers around the world who don't even have a meal to look forward to. How insignificant would a bloody "mummy blog" or "parenting blog" (for those who care to debate the difference) be to them?

I know my intentions are good and I know this blog is for me, my little memory book and my creative side manifesting itself.  I also know I have made some 'real life' friends through the blogging community but I also can't shake the guilt I feel when I post.

This does NOT mean I am judging anyone else, this is simply about me and my guilt.  It is the same reason I don't drink.  I have lots of very close friends and family who drink, they have amazing hearts.  Our lives are very personal journeys.  

I tell myself I am helping other mum's...Not on any significant scale! There is a ton of information out there on weaning, breastfeeding and what products to buy for our privileged children.

I tell myself I am creating a lovely memory book for my children...Perhaps yes...but I want them to grow up knowing what suffering there is in this world, what injustice there is.  Pretty pictures of their life on a blog isn't going to help that is it!?

I tell myself I will carry on, with the intention of turning this into something good, beneficial.  I will post more about current affairs and I will do more charity posts. 

So here I am again, not wanting to post anything to my blog and wanting to help others in this world but not knowing where to start.  We give Zakat each year and I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who are very aware of what goes on in this world and the politics behind it and so I give money accordingly.  Mummy's Shoes seems to contradict the deep me, the growing me.

As Belle is getting older (4 going on 14) I also worry about her and the whole social media world.  I see the dangers and it scares me.  I have to lead by example.  I spend so much time reading and trying to be a good mother and endeavor to bring up a strong, confident, compassionate and patient girl.  I try to never raise my voice and I take time to listen and answer her questions, so naturally I question the affect of my "blogging".

So...where to from here?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Eid Mubarak!

Yesterday we celebrated Eid!  

Belle has been very excited this year and curious too about why we celebrate Eid and why we fast during Ramadan.

The weather was really good to us so we headed to my brother's to have a picnic.  

It was a really lovely day and my mum and dad came along to join us too, armed with a few treats.

Look at Belle here two years ago on Eid.  Where has the time gone?

I have a million posts in my drafts at the moment and I keep meaning to blog more.  I will, honestly, very soon.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Monday, 29 July 2013

A weaning great time!

I can not quite believe that we have gone through the whole weaning process again.  It seems two seconds since we were doing this with Belle.  I even wrote about it on this very blog.

We started Spike on solids a week before he was 6 months old.  Some people start sooner but the recommended age is 6 months and he was very happy on just milk until then so we decided to wait.  In true Mummy's Shoes household style he woofed down his first puree (Pear) and could not get enough!  We did a mixture of baby led weaning and puree. It is what we did for Belle too.

Big sister getting in on the weaning action

Rice crackers - A definite favourite snack...he would eat these all day long if I let him!

Corn on the cob - No teeth at this stage but that didn't stop him!

Aside from a few Ella's Kitchen Pouches (love those things, all natural ingredients) I stocked up the freezer with lots of home made purees.  I took a lot of the recipes from the same books I used with Belle...Annabel Karmel's Top 100 baby purees and the complete baby and toddler meal planner book.
We were sent a fantastic new weaning range from OXO tot to try out.  I can tell you the spoons and training cup are the best I have ever come across.  I was already a fan of OXO storage pots anyway so I had high hopes for this range and it didn't let me down.  

Above is Spike at 7 months old using his OXO sippy cup.  This cup is fantastic as it has three different stages and can be transformed into a training cup as well as a normal cup.

These baby food freezer blocks are great and have measurement markings on the sides

I find Spike a little more stressful then I did his sister, when it comes to feeding.  Belle would suck and gum all her food very well and she was quite delicate with her food.  Where-as Spike seems to like to jam his mouth full with as much food as is humanly possible.  This results in a LOT of gagging!  It took me a while to realise when he was choking and when it was just his gagging reflex (which is much further forward on babies then an adults is).  I still (he is now 10 months old) panic a few times a week and I am hoping he will get better now his two bottom teeth have come through or I may just go grey!

We have been very lucky with both of our babies as there is no food they have refused.  Spike will happily gnaw on a gherkin or a raw onion.  I think introducing these tastes early is a good thing.  Belle still loves so many foods and is a magnificent eater!

So all in all weaning went well.  I just hope Spike calms down on the choking soon so I can have more confidence in giving him large chunks of food.  Did anyone else have a baby like this?

Disclaimer:  We were sent the OXO items for the purpose of review however all opinions, words and photos are my own.

Monday, 1 July 2013

A trip to Hamleys where they reveal the TOP toys for Christmas 2013

It may only be June but last week we ate mince pies, sat under a Christmas tree and played with LOTS of toys!

Belle and I were on a press trip to Hamleys where they revealed their predictions for the Top Ten must have toys for Christmas 2013.  Belle was impressed with a lot of the choices but I shall keep you in suspense a little longer by first sharing some snaps from the day...

Train Station...One of the highlights of the day for Belle!

Belle loved this Hollywood Pedal Car, featured as one of Hamleys "Exceptional Eight" gifts for Christmas RRP £250

Hello Kitty Heaven in Hamleys!

A quick visit to the baby section for Spike

In Hamleys Party Room
These 'Zelfs' (shown on Top Middle and Bottom Left) were one of Belle's favourite things and featured as one of Hamleys 'recommended toys' for Christmas.  They are very similar to Trolls.  RRP £9
I also have my eye on the Limited Edition Tutu (Top Right) by Luvley.  Made with Swarovski RRP £250

Another find of the day which I am going to have to get for baby Spike is the new F1 Lotus Trunki RRP £65

One very happy girl full of Christmas spirit en route home!
Thanks for having us Hamleys!

And without further ado I give you Hamleys Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2013!

(From Top Left to Right) 
VIP Pets £14 - These little pets all have their own unique characters, from a bohemian nature lover to Lady Gigi, a famous party planner
Doc McStuffins Doctor's Bag £26 - Let your little one become Doc McStuffin who 'fixes' toys with her glittery doctor's bag.
Teska Puppy £75 - A robotic puppy that responds to your voice, gestures, lights and sound. Teska can bark, cry, whimper and you can even teach Teska tricks!
LeapPad Ultra £125 - The LeapPad Ultra is tougher than ever and practically an iPad for kids now. Play, write and draw on the 7" hi-res screen and capture the world with both front and back cameras and video recorders.
The Lion Chi Temple £125 - From an Eagle drone fighter to the rotating tower canon, Lego doesn't get much better than this! 

(From Top left to right)
Monster High 13 Wishes Dolls £23 each - With the Monster High DVD "13 Wishes" due for release later this year these "freakishly fabulous dolls" are set to be a big seller!  
Robo Fish £14 - Already one of the fastest selling toys of all time, there are now eight different Robo fish to collect.  This fish, once placed in water, really does act like a real fish!  
Sulley Monster Mask £40 - Not only can you look like Monster University's Sulley but this mask is truly child powered - you control the facial movements! 
Chasin Cheeky £26 - Try to toss rings onto the tail of Chasin' Cheeky as he moves and be the first to grab the banana. 
Furby Boom £75 - Furby Boom, coming soon! A top seller last year and set to be the same this year but exactly what we can expect is still Top Secret so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A tale of two breasts

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Pretty much sums up breastfeeding for me.

I had two very different experiences when it came to breastfeeding my two babies.  I wish I had the knowledge and laid back attitude with my first that I had with my second.

This week is National Breastfeeding Week and I can sympathise with all mums around the globe, whatever feeding method they chose for their baby. A happy mummy is a happy baby and that should always come first!

With Belle I did 7 days of exclusive breastfeeding and ran into a lot of problems so ended up mix feeding (bottle, breast and expressing, until at 3 months my milk supply went down and she was then exclusively formula fed).  With boo however I exclusively breastfed and I am still breastfeeding him at 9 months.

There is no denying the benefits of breastfeeding and it is sad to see Breastfeeding figures falling for new mothers 'attempting to breastfeed their newborns' in England.  For example I was amazed when myself, hubby and Belle all came down with a vicious sickness bug when Boo was only 2 months old.  He managed to escape it as I was able to feed him (in-between running for the sick bowl!).

I think there is a lot of negativity surrounding breastfeeding.  There is talk of being in the 'breastfeeding camp' or the 'formula feeding camp' and it is not necessary or necessarily true either.  I felt terrible guilt when I didn't exclusively breastfeed Belle but it was guilt from myself not from any outside party.  I also feel terribly proud that I was able to pull through the very hard times this time around and so I do 'promote' breastfeeding to friends as it has been such an amazing experience. But I also understand and support those who do not as I have been there too.

Belle and I have a bigger bond then I could have every imagined and I feel the same with Boo too.

So my advice would be to Breastfeed your little one but also relax and don't beat yourself up if you have problems and you know you tried your best!  Also I found my local La Leche League simply fantastic. They were so helpful, supportive and yet not pushy.

Milk Coma Babies coming up...



Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Gallery: Green

This weeks prompt for The Photo Gallery is Green.

I have gone with the obvious choice here simply because I love our garden and now that the sun is shining we can enjoy it to its full potential.

Secret Garden Forest area...

The fields that surround our house have now turned green as crops begin to grow.  We love going for walks down our lane...

Just down the road from us is the fantastic Burghley House which we love popping along to after school for a quick picnic and walk.

I hope you are all enjoying a little bit of sunshine now that it is officially summer.

If you want to see other entries into The Gallery this week pop along to Sticky Fingers here

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Two Little People

Two little people.

Ouch my heart!

Two little people who have managed to fill my life with a love beyond words.

Lives changed forever.

Two whirlwinds of boundless energy.

SO much energy!

Excitement and wonder at everything new put in their way.

My Daughter

My Son

Love beyond Love.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Happy Father's Day

Dear Daddy,

Thank you for being...a climbing frame, a hand to hold, a chef, a chauffeur, a play buddy, a teacher, a pillow, a doctor, a DIY expert, a den builder, a story teller, a boo boo kisser, our biggest fan and the man we look up to!

Love Belle and Spike xxxxxxxx

3 Generations of great men...

...4 including Spike there in Grandpa's arms

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A rare PJ day

 Belle and Boo are both poorly so we have had a rare couple of days in, with lots of cuddles...

We even baked some healthy peanut butter oat snacks

I hate seeing our babies poorly but it really does put everything into perspective.

I have days where I feel everything is out of control.  Running around trying to balance everything from school pick up to housework, to clubs and play dates, to meals and bedtime routines, not to mention answering the hundreds of questions Belle incessantly asks, daily.  This is all whilst trying to give quality time and instill confidence and security in my children.  

Sometimes I can not wait for them both to be tucked up in bed.

A day in the life of a mother!

But guess what...the world waited yesterday. 

When your children are poorly nothing else matters.  

So give me a million more stressed out 'juggling days'.  

Please give me years and years more of Belle's questions, because I can not think of any better way of spending my time then for that of Belle and Boo.

They are amazing.

When I see the love they have for each other. When I see the caring way Belle looks out for Boo already.  When I see them having fun with their friends and when they laugh and giggle.  It is all worthwhile.

I am so unbelievably, eternally, grateful for them and their health

Friday, 10 May 2013

Silver Cross Pink Dolls Pram

When I had Belle, and recently Boo, I longed for a Silver Cross Balmoral Pram!  However good sense prevailed and I just knew it would not be practical as we go nearly everywhere by car (we are surrounded by farms with not a path in sight).  

I'm really not sure who adores Belle's pink Silver Cross pram more!?


Have a lovely weekend everyone!