Feeling better & enjoying the sun

This week has, on the whole, been a really rather lovely week. There has been ups and downs of course but on the whole I have been a feeling a lot better than I have recently. I have to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been so supportive since I shared my post about postnatal depression last week as I have received so many lovely kind words of support. I feel that accepting it and accepting treatment has made a huge difference and I do think the tablets are starting to help me too.

So what have we been up to? You may have read that it was my lovely Mum’s birthday last week so at the weekend we had a bit of a family celebration round theirs. Sadly it was a wet and miserable day so we were indoors but it was still very lovely. I didn’t take a huge amount of photos but both LM and Monkey loved playing with their uncles, aunty and Great Aunty Maggie, and Nanny & Pops of course :).

mums birthday

LM was pooped out by the end too and fell asleep in the car seat, cuddling her foot!

Then of course we were hit by the heatwave this week, so Monkey, LM and I have spent quite a lot of time in the garden enjoying the sunshine. We set our gazebo up to give us some shade and, of course, got out the paddling pool.

LM absolutely loved her first go in the paddling pool, splashing and laughing to her heart’s content, it was adorable so I have included a little video for you if you’d like to see :)

She and Monkey had a whale of a time in there together with lots of splashing and laughing which was very lovely to see and hear.

fun in th paddling pool

There was a really lovely moment, when Monkey was playing happily in his sandpit, LM was playing with a toy and I was just sat back watching them, feeling really relaxed and content. Moments like that are when I love being a Mum, just watching my healthy, happy, beautiful children, playing and enjoying themselves.

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It was also a moment when I was so glad that we spent so much time, effort and money renovating our garden last year. It was so so worth it as we spend a lot time out there, and I hope for many more days like this to come.

On the whole it has just been a happy week and it has been a really nice change. A lot of this year seems to have been spent with one of us being ill. Hubs bless him still isn’t 100% and had some bloods taken earlier in the week to hopefully rule out anything serious as he has gone from cold to sinus infection to chest infection to throat infection. He was getting better but has said today his throat feels a little sore again :( I hope it’s just a tickle or hayfever and not him getting ill again!

The rest of us are at least healthy, LM’s teething isn’t bothering her as much so she is very smiley and Monkey is back to full spirits after a low couple of weeks reacting to my mood (sensitive soul that he is). I generally just feel much better. A bit more energised (although not today as I am very dozey after a hot sticky sleepless night last night) and more myself.

All I can say, is long may this continue!!

My word this week, is better :).

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LM’s hairstyles at 8 mths

Our Little Miss’s hair is growing thick and fast these days but it is still wispy baby hair and is at that real in-between length where it is something and nothing. Hubs and I have slight disagreements over how we should “style” her hair (I use that term in the loosest possible sense – i.e. brush it or not!) so just for a bit of fun I thought I would share some of my hair styling experiments.

Hubs says some of them are plain mean (ahem the centre parting one) but I think she looks gorgeous in all of them :)

LM hair 1

Rough towel dried & unbrushed/Messy vs Cute side parting (the way it naturally goes)

LM hair 2

Brushed centre parting/ Brushed forwards (though it doesn’t stay that way and ends up messy)

What do you think?

I’ve also had a try with a girly bow – I am not girly at all so wasn’t sure about this. Of course, she looks gorgeous, but I am not sure exactly where it is meant to go or how to keep it on! What a cutie though eh?

LM bow

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Me & Mine June 2015

I can’t believe it is the end of June! Seriously where is this year going??? Anyway it is Me & Mine time, time to share some family snaps to show how much we have grown.

I haven’t got the best photos, just a few family selfies I took while we were testing out the Samsung galaxy S6 for a few days.

First up was a very early morning photo call – I am not a huge fan of 5am starts thanks to a crying toddler waking everyone up, but the cuddles together on the bed as a family were lovely so I had to take a couple of snaps. I inadvertantly had “beauty” mode on so hubs and I look very smooth skinned compared to normal!!

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Then there are a couple of selfies from our day out in London. It appears I need more practice with the selfie stick as for some reason mine and hubs’ heads are stretched in one shot!

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Monkey doesn’t have a clue what is going on and LM is completely uninterested so not the best shots but definitely a change from our usual sofa shots :)

dear beautiful

Making Egg Box Caterpillars and Butterfly Painting

When I knew that we were soon headed to London to see the Sensational Butterflies exhibition I knew I wanted to do some related crafting with Monkey in preparation. So I googled a few things and got some lovely inspiration from Twitter (thanks guys!) and then gave Monkey the option of making butterflies or caterpillars. He chose caterpillars so I showed him a few pictures online of different ones we could make – finger painting, pom poms etc, but he chose the ones made from egg boxes and tissue paper.

So I duly cut up an egg box (we have the big long 12 egg boxes and I’m not sure they are the best ones for the job as they were slightly one-sided caterpillars but it sufficed anyway) and some tissue paper, dug out some googly eyes from the bottom of the craft draw and we set off doing Monkey’s favourite thing – gluing and sticking!!

caterpillars 1

As mentioned I don’t think our egg boxes are the best ones so we tried making them two different ways – first with a long caterpillar but with holes down one side, and second with a short one as I folded the row in half and then taped it together. I’m not sure which is best or if it makes much difference actually, Monkey loved making both!

caterpillars 2

The first I chose the colours (note The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme) but the second one was Monkey’s choice and it had to be all red (his favourite colour).

egg box caterpillars

Googly eyes were stuck on, and apparently they needed to have a smily face too, and I wasn’t sure what to use so I just grabbed a couple of pipe cleaners, snipped short lengths to be bent into shape and we glued them on, which I don’t think looks too bad really!

We did then go on to do a bit of butterfly craft too, in Nanny’s birthday card. It was the first time we had done the traditional, paint one side and fold together, butterfly painting, but actually he did really well with it! He painted in the lines I told him too and splodged some lovely patterns on the right hand side and it looked lovely after folding toegther. then of course we had to do some more gluing and sticking with sequins and give it a smily face using some glitter glue :)

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#MaternityMondays week 26

Hello you lovely lot and welcome to week 26 of #MaternityMondays! I can’t believe we are on week 26- that means we have been running our lovely linky for 6 months! Awesome and thanks so much to you all for continuing to link up every week, I am loving our little community, celebrating the joys (and sharing the challenges) of pregnancy, life with babies and motherhood in general.

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Our Family Day in London with the Samsung Galaxy S6

If you follow me on social media you may have seen that I was hugely excited last week to be given the opportunity by Three Mobile to review the brand new Samsung Galaxy S6 phone. In addition to letting me put the S6 through it’s paces for a few days, Three Mobile also very kindly gave us a day out in London where we visited the Natural History Museum and their wonderful “Sensational Butterflies” exhibition.

The Samsung Galaxy S6

WP_20150618_11_50_36_Pro (3)A little bit about the phone first. It is really slim and light though a bit longer than my current phone. I tend to carry my phone in my pocket and I was concerned it wouldn’t fit, but actually, although taller than my current Nokia, it is slimmer so fit a little better if anything, result!

It runs on Android, and being a Windows Phone user this did take a bit of getting used to but is much more user-friendly than the last time I used Android (we are talking a few years ago now) and I soon got to grips with it. I also found the phone very fast which is nice as being nearly 2 years old my phone can be a bit sluggish!

The best thing about the S6 though has got to be the cameras. Yes, plural, because both front and back cameras are very impressive. The back camera is a whopping 16megapixel and the front is a lovely 5megapixel. I love a good family selfie so it nice to be able to take a quality shot with the front camera for a change. To show you the difference here is a couple of selfies taken with the front camera on my current phone compared with the front camera on the S6. I have no make up on so apologies but you can see the difference. The third shot has “beauty mode” switched on which kindly smooths your skin out for you – definite improvement I think! :)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Front Camera

I also loved the speed of the cameras. It loads super fast even when the screen is timed out, and, best of all it takes the photo almost instantly when you press the shutter. Kids move around seriously fast and I often find with my current phone that by the time it has focussed and taken the shot, I have missed the moment. This happened a lot less with the S6 which is a HUGE plus in my books.

That’s about as technical as I am going to get as I am not that technical! So that you can see for yourself how great the cameras are, here is our day at the Natural History Museum.

Our day at the Natural History Museum

We set off on the train to London first thing in the morning. Monkey was so excited to be on a really fast train and loved every second of the journey, especially the tunnels.

on the train 1

We had hoped LM may nap on the train but it would seem she was too excited too as was not remotely in the mood to nap. We had a lot of fun keeping her entertained instead.

On the train 2

Getting around London on the tube with two tots, a buggy and our bags was interesting. The tube was absolutely packed, and we were squeezed in like sardines! Monkey was such a good boy but LM was not a fan…. though she was charming everyone by making sneaky grabs for people’s jumpers and sunglasses etc! Thankfully everyone she chose to grab was friendly and in a good mood.

We finally arrived at the Natural History Museum which is such an impressive building, and after a cheeky selfie (though I really need to have a bit more practice with my selfie stick) we headed inside to see the huge Brontosaurus.

natural history museum

We were concerned Monkey may be a bit wary of the dinosaur but he loved it and decided it was smiling hehe. We just had time for a quick cup of tea and slice of cake before heading out to the Sensational Butterflies exhibition.

Sensational Butterflies

In the grounds of the Museum is a tropical tent housing lots of beautiful butterflies who are free to fly and roam as they please. As you go through you follow the trail which charts the life cycle of the butterfly, from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly, while all the way you are surrounded by butterflies fluttering past.

Butterflies 1

Unfortunately Monkey had a full on freak out about the butterflies. He found them really scary flying so close to us and one landed on my back which really set him off. LM seemed to love watching them flutter past though! I managed to get some gorgeous shots but we did have to rush through a bit to get the screaming, clinging mess of a toddler out of the tent :/

Butterflies 1

It was such a shame as it was a wonderful exhibition and lovely to see the butterflies up close and learn more about these gorgeous insects, but that’s kids for you, always unpredictable. I was glad that the camera was so fast to load and at taking photos, I would have liked a bit more time in there to play with manual mode – but was dead impressed with the shots captured with the auto focus.

The Museum

After calming Monkey down we headed back into the museum for more of an explore.

in the museum

Sadly the queue to see the dinosaur zone was massive so we went for a walk around the mammals instead. Monkey had a few initial jitters about the stuffed Lions and Bears but once he realised they wouldn’t move he relaxed and he loved it – he even told the Polar Bear that he loved him… bless him, such a softy.

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We had a great time wandering around and looking at all of the animals, skeletons and the other models. Monkey loved this big rotating earth and I love this picture of the two of us, again I am just so impressed with the photos we took on the S6.

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LM dozed off on our walk round (thank goodness) then we headed for some lunch. The service and speed in the restaurant were great considering it was a busy Saturday but it was pricey and the food wasn’t very good quality. We were hungry though so scoffed it down. Hubs had fun taking photos of the four of us in the huge mirrors in the restaurant.

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After lunch we checked on the queue for the dinosaurs again but it was even more massive so after a bit of a wander in the museum we headed outside to the ice cream van we had seen earlier – only to find that they had turned the ice cream machine off! We couldn’t believe it! We had promised Monkey an ice cream by this point and as the afternoon was getting on we decided to make our way back to the station. We found an ice cream along the way then had another hot and busy journey on the tube back to Kings Cross where we got the train home.

journey home

It was a long day and very tiring but so much fun too and I am proud of us for stepping out of our comfort zone and taking the kids on the train and tube on such a busy day. It proves we can do it, though I am not sure we will do it again in a hurry.

I loved giving the S6 a real test out and it has really got me thinking about what phone I am going to go for next. I’ve always loved the Windows Phone OS but I found Android to be really user-friendly and the cameras are just amazing on the S6. I use my phone largely as a camera since becoming a blogger so it really is important to have a good one. There are things about the Windows phone OS that I would miss on the move to Android…. but not as much as I thought, so I may have been converted as the camera is such a big temptation.

I really cannot fault the Samsung Galaxy S6 at all as it was so fast and just so easy to use and I think the pictures speak for themselves. I was using it all day, taking tonnes of photos and a few videos, and the battery lasted well until we got home which I did find impressive. I think I will be hard pressed to find a better option when it is time to upgrade my phone in a few months’ time!

Is your phone your main camera? Are you a lover of Android, Windows, or Apple?

I was loaned the Samsung Galaxy S6 for a few days and Three Mobile gave us tickets to London and entry to the Sensational Butterflies exhibition for the purpose of this review. All opinions and images are entirely my own.

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At the park with Nanny

Wednesdays are normally a day where Monkey spends the day with his Nanny & Pops, but every now and then Pops is at work on a Wednesday. Sometimes those days are just Monkey and Nanny days, but sometimes LM and I join them for a bit of fun, I don’t quite make up for Pops’ absence but it’s nice to spend some time with my Mama too :). Last Wednesday we went to our local country park together for a picnic and playtime, and it was just lovely.

The forecast was for a lovely sunny day, and it certainly started off bright, but then clouded over and turned decidely grey but it didn’t stop us having lots of fun.

park with Nanny

At one point we the only people in one of the play areas so Nanny, who loves a bit of silliness, went on the slide with Monkey, who thought this was brilliant!

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Then I thought LM should have a go on the slide too, purely for her sake you understand ;)

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Just an ordinary day having fun with the littlies and their Nanny who they both adore. It is her 65th Birthday today, so Happy Birthday Nanny/Mum!

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Accepting that I have Postnatal Depression

PNDIn general I am quite an upbeat positive person but for some time I have been feeling very very low and not myself. I have felt very negative about pretty much everything and feared I was sounding like such a misery on my blog. I considered the possibility of Postnatal Depression but the label seemed too big, if that makes sense. I think of PND and I think of Mum’s suffering with it and I just feel like “no, not little old me, I’m just a daft woman struggling to cope. I just need to get on with it and sort myself out.” So for some time that is what I have been trying to do.

I’m a big believer in faking it till you make it. I felt if I told myself I was happy then eventually I would get there. So I kept trying and making myself take deep breaths and stay positive and fixed on my goals. But the problem is that anytime anything went the slightest bit wrong I would crash and be right back to rock bottom. My attempts weren’t working. My motivation for my diet has gone too and I have been comfort eating like crazy but not feeling any better.

A good friend of mine used a great analogy for depression recently. “It’s like you’re constantly cycling uphill and you’re giving all you’ve got. You can’t stop peddling as you know you’ll go downhill, but you can’t keep going the way you are either.” I felt this summed it up perfectly and I have been trying so so hard to just keep going but it wasn’t working. I know how lucky I am and I have a wonderful husband and 2 amazing kiddies but I really haven’t been enjoying, well, anything, for some time.

It has also started to affect Monkey too. The last couple of weeks in particular were really low for me and I have been in tears quite a lot and very snappy. Monkey is a sensitive little soul and he really takes it to heart when I shout at him or am upset. He obviously copes with the odd time but the frequency lately has had a cumulative effect on him. He has been going through a bit of separation anxiety at playgroup and crying a lot about going and when he is there. He is waking up some mornings crying. When we ask him why he just says “Mummy.” Which makes me feel awful I have to tell you.

So last week I finally accepted that this isn’t normal. That it was time to get some help. I went to the Dr and after a chat with a very lovely lady Dr she confirmed my suspicions. I am suffering from postnatal depression and it does need to be treated for my sake and the sake of the children.

As well as the low-dose antidepressants my lovely GP said I also need to let go of my need to be in control. I need to stop trying so hard to be a perfect Mummy all the time as I am dooming myself to failure. She said I need to remember that I am a person too and not just Mum and have to put myself first sometimes. I need to make time to do some exercise as that will help my mood too. She really was helpful and understood exactly how I felt.

I am a few days into the tablets and have felt a bit odd at times, which I think is normal. But in general I am already feeling better. I think even just the act of accepting that I need some help, and taking the pressure off myself instead of constantly trying to pretend all is fine has made a big difference.

Hubs has been great and supportive. He has said he feels guilty like it is his fault and he should have done more and of course that isn’t true. In true man style he wants a solution and he wants to ‘fix’ it but he is coming round to the fact that medication is the right thing for now. I never wanted to be on antidepressants and never thought I would be, not that there is anything wrong with them, I just didn’t think I would need them. But right now, I do. They are low dose, non-addictive so I can stop anytime, although my GP has recommended I use them for at least 4 months.

So we shall see how things go, hopefully the tablets will just help me stay a bit more level and stop the crashing lows I have been feeling, meaning I can enjoy my little ones, and everything, a bit more. The label of “postnatal depression” still feels a little uncomfortable, like I don’t deserve it, but I guess like anything it is a spectrum and there are varying depths of it. I still feel uncomfortable writing this post but I have accepted that I need some help and I will come through the other side of it, I know I will.

Have you suffered with postnatal depression? How did you feel about the label?

My word for the week is “acceptance.”

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Mama and MoreAnd then the fun began...

Christmas Tree Discount Code

Pines and Needles Christmas TreeYes you did read that right, this is indeed a post about Christmas Trees… in June… I know but just 6 months to go now and if you are the sort who likes to be organised nice and early then please keep reading! Regular readers may remember that last year we got a beautiful Christmas Tree from a lovely company called Pines and Needles, who grow their own Christmas Trees and offer a delivery service.

I’ve always loved going and choosing a tree… but with 2 kiddies in the back of the car now there just isn’t the space so we can’t go en masse anyway… and as a busy family having the Christmas Tree delivered just takes away one of the hassles of a busy time of year.

You can read more about Pines and Needles and the lovely tree we had last year here, but without further ado here are two very special offer codes if you wish to order your Christmas tree nice and early, or nearer to the time. With a lovely discount and a few freebies, why wouldn’t you?

STAYHW2C15 – Use this code if you order between 25th June and 25th July 2015 and get:
10% off
Free 10″ Decorated Wreath
Free Holly
Free Mistletoe
Free Mini Tree

STAY15 - Use this code if ordering after the 25th July and you will still get:
Free 10″ Decorated Wreath
Free Holly
Free Mistletoe
Free Mini Tree

While for us it may seem early to think of Christmas, being a Christmas Tree company is not a seasonal business for Pines and Needles. Their efforts continue throughout the year to ensure the highest possible quality trees. Years of experience has allowed them to perfect their craft and encourage trees to grow into the bushy triangular shapes we all know and love.

Happy Christmas Tree buying!!

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Textured Painting, 35 mths

Monkey loves painting and given a choice it is often a go to activity for him. Most of the time I am happy to let his imagination take the lead but a few weeks ago I thought I would spice some things up and introduce him to the idea of painting with some new textures.

We had fun with bubble wrap..

Bubble wrap painting

cotton wool balls..

cotton wool painting

scrunched up tin foil..

tin foil painting

pipe cleaners..

pipe cleaner painting

and feathers.

feather painting

It was great fun and such a simple activity. Monkey loved seeing the different results for each of the textures and we talked about what they felt like.

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