My Red Shorts

I wrote recently about how I am trying to lose weight at the moment, in an effort to getting back to being me. To feeling like myself again. The diet is having ups and downs, good days and bad days but I am not stressing about the bad days. I am trying not to be too hard on myself or trying to do this too quickly. I am a pretty impatient person and want results yesterday, but I know it is going to take time. It is not even 3 months since I had a baby and my body is still recovering. I am walking a lot more and trying to build my fitness up a bit. This week I am also trialling a post-natal yoga class as my back is killing me at the moment and I would be interested to see if that can help.

What has any of this got to do with red shorts? Well, as part of the not pressuring myself I am trying not to base my idea of weight loss success purely on the scales. According to the scales, after 5 days of dieting I had lost 5lbs but then 2 days later on the same diet I was back up to my start weight again. Very demoralising. But, actually, I feel like my clothes are not quite as snug as they were before I started this diet so I do think I am on the right track, whatever the scales say. I always find clothing the best way for me to judge my weight, just because there can be so many fluctuations on the scales.

I have this pair of red shorts that I have had for over 10 years. They have been all over the world with me and I have worn them at different weights and they have gone from being loose to tight to loose to tight as my weight has fluctuated. They are now completely battered and mainly used for doing things like painting or dying my hair but they always help me judge what size I am.

red shorts

As well as tracking my weight loss, I will also be periodically checking how my red shorts fit me to hopefully keep my spirits up along the way! This photo was actually taken a few days into the diet when I had lost a few pounds, but, well, as you can see, they are extrememly tight, and I cannot remotely do them up!

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I doubt I will ever be out and about in them again (note the paint stains) but hopefully my red shorts will fit me again at some point, then I will know I have achieved my goal size and am back to feeling like myself!

Mama and More

New Year, Time for Me

Happy New Year Everyone! 2015 I am pleased you are here 🙂

Are you making any resolutions? I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions as I feel that if you want to do something then you should just do it, not wait for an arbitrary date to start. However I do think that New Year comes at a good time for those of us that have over indulged over Christmas and want to make a fresh start so I never begrudge anyone that.

I have definitely over-indulged lately… not just because it has been Christmas but because the last couple of months since Little Miss arrived have been really hard. And I am a comfort eater. I have been sleep deprived, poorly, exhausted and generally unhappy. So when I feel like this I eat. Chocolate yes but actually crisps are my biggest vice. And coleslaw, and pate and cheese and lots of other full fat options! So even though I lost some of my baby weight shortly after LM was born, I have now put it all back on and my clothes are definitely getting tight. I gave away my maternity clothes already and refuse to buy bigger sizes so it is time to do something about it.

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A Winter Wedding

The last couple of weeks have been pretty rough and this weekend on the whole wasn’t much better. Hubs had seemed like he was getting better, then got hit with a hideous sinus infection which took him out for most of the weekend. We were abandoning various plans, but knew that on Sunday we were due at the wedding of some really good friends. So Sunday morning Hubs was at the walk-in centre getting antibiotics for both sinus and chest infections, and some strong painkillers to get him through the day.

We questioned the wisdom of going to the wedding but really, its a wedding! It’s a one off event for the bride and groom and we would have hated to have missed it. Monkey was already planned to spend the day with Grandparents, so off he went leaving hubs and I a bit more time than normal to get ourselves ready.

So for the first time since LM was born I sat and straightened my hair and put some slap on. I got into a pretty dress and control tights (squeezing into them was a bit of a challenge as I very much still have baby weight on!) and it felt really nice to make a bit of an effort for a change. Lately has felt like survival and even having a shower, let alone washing my hair, has been like a luxury some days so this felt very special!

LM had a new dress for the occasion and I have never put a baby in a dress and tights before so the tights were interesting (they were a bit big too so she looks slightly nora batty ish) but she looked adorable. 🙂

So off we went and had a wonderful time. It was a beautiful day and we were so glad we went. LM was good as gold and slept throughout, meaning that actually hubs and I could sit and relax and just chat, with each other and with friends. At home life seems so busy with the baby and the toddler and there is always so much that needs doing that sitting and relaxing doesn’t happen much at the moment. Being there actually forced us to do just that and it did us both the world of good to just be us for a while.

The bride was beautiful and they were both so happy it was a really lovely, I love a good wedding. It was a really intimate ceremony and we felt so privileged to have been included and would have hated to have not been able to go.

So here is a few snaps of us in our glad rags, enjoying a lovely winter wedding :).

winter wedding

Mama and More

Super Busy Mum

38 weeks and a bit of last minute pampering

38 weeks pregnantI am 38 weeks pregnant today and honestly this pregnancy has flown by compared with my first. It has also, thankfully been so much smoother. With my SPD rearing it’s head at just 6 weeks pregnant I was so worried about how hard this pregnancy would be, but thanks to the physio throughout we have kept it at bay and I am so much more mobile. I haven’t needed to use my crutches at all and just generally feel so much better and still have quite a bit of energy. I think because I have been more mobile this time I haven’t put on nearly as much weight as I did last time either, which is also no bad thing.

It hasn’t been a bed of roses and I still get a lot of pain in my back and pelvis, and of course I am shattered and ready to not be pregnant anymore… But with just over a week to go I am trying to focus on the positives now.

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Monkey’s day out with Daddy & Family

After a few busy weekends and a difficult week I was in need of a bit of a break this weekend so Daddy very kindly agreed to take charge with Monkey on Saturday. After a conversation with his mum on friday night it was agreed that they would go to a lovely country house – Burghley House near Stamford.

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I stayed home but Daddy and Monkey went, along with Granny, Granddad and Uncle Simon, and they had a lovely time!


Monkey climbed on some fab logs and trees that are there for the purpose,


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Some have had steps cut into them for kids to climb up, which is perfect for our little climber.


Monkey had so much fun running around everywhere,


and knocking on trees (of course)


Come with me Grandma!

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I love this shot of him amongst the Daffodils!


And they ended the day with some lovely lunch and a cup of tea 🙂

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So I got to have some lovely me-time while Monkey ran his daddy, grandparents and uncle simon a bit ragged! They all really enjoyed themselves though!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Word of the Week – Testing

That’s right this week has been


It didn’t get off to the best of starts with the terrifying ordeal that was Saturday Night, and unfortunately the stress and worry and lack of sleep has leached over and affected the rest of the week.

Despite minimal sleep on Saturday after our ambulance trip to the hospital we still had work to do on Sunday. Monkey was out of danger and we had hired some heavy duty (and costly) equipment for the garden renovation and we knew that work had to go on despite our tiredness so that we didn’t waste the money. It was positive and a lot has been achieved – more on that next week, but the exhaustion has permeated our week.

And let’s face it, when you’re tired, everything feels more difficult.

Monkey has really been testing me this week. He is becoming defiant and obstropulous at times. Normally I know I would cope with it better but when I am tired and not feeling myself, I find it harder to deal with. We have been lucky with him so far and other than firm “Nos” and explaining why he can’t do something, we haven’t had to venture into the realm of discipline. But I think we may be approaching something along the lines of the naughty step, because he just doesn’t listen and needs to understand that there are consequences if he disobeys or refuses to listen to mummy or daddy. no fun and we will see how we go, not making rash decisions, but we knew this day would come.

I’m also feeling, pretty selfishly, that I need a break. With all the work on the garden over the last month, all of Monkey’s care has fallen onto me as Hubby has had a lot to do in the garden. I understand and it’s been fine but I feel like I need a break. I know I’m lucky with how much hubby helps out with him normally, and not sure what it says about me as a mother that I am struggling, but I am struggling and I need a bit more help. Thankfully though we have a quiet weekend planned and hubby is very much looking forward to spending a bit more time with Monkey, phew!

We’ve also been a bit tested by other matters this week. The tenants are moving out of the flat I used to live in before I met hubby, and we’ve just found out that they have led it get damp and mouldy which is a real pain. I lived there for years with no damp, but in the two years they have lived there this is the second time. I don’t understand to be honest but I guess it’s a good thing they are moving out.

We were thinking that we would like to sell the flat rather than rent it out again, as I hate it hanging over our heads, but now we are not sure that is going to happen yet. It is leasehold and we’ve found the deeds and realised that there is only 61 years left on the lease, which basically means it’s hard for anyone to get a mortgage on it. To extend the lease is a process that takes 6 months – a year and costs in our case, wait for it, about £15,000. Yup £15,000. Which we don’t exactly have, just lying around. But it needs to be done as the costs will only increase as the remaining lease decreases. So we need to get tenants in there again after all while we get the process started.

We are hoping that we can add the costs onto the existing mortgage of the flat as otherwise we don’t know how we are going to finance it, and hopefully we can then recoup some of the costs when we do sell it, whenever that may be.

We just don’t need the hassle, to be honest. it’s just a pain but then life is like that, it’s not easy and there’s never a good time for something like this to crop up. It is a bit of a testing time and puts a strain on things. I got really cross with hubby yesterday, like fuming mad for no real reason other than over-tiredness, stress and frustration.

I like to think I am a positive person but I am struggling to find the positives this week. Here’s hoping next week is better. What word sums up your week? Hope it’s happier than mine!!

The Reading Residence

The importance of Mummy Me Time – BASAHM Survival Kit

The next instalment of my Becoming a SAHM Survival Kit is all about me-time, or you-time 🙂 I’ve mentioned it in some of the other posts in the series already but it is so important that I think it deserves a post of it’s own.

WP_20140128_15_52_15_ProLife as a SAHM is busy! I’m not saying working mums are less busy (surely you must be more busy?) or need downtime any less then SAHM’s though I guess it does depend what your job is and how much you enjoy it. But what I am saying is that when every day of your life involves wiping bums, cooking, cleaning, playing, walking, trying to teach your little ones all while being clambered over, clung too, pulled around, screamed at, and cried on, etc. it can feel like a lot of hard work. You don’t really have any personal space, be it physically or emotionally.

Even when the grandparents look after Monkey for the odd hour during the week I spend the whole time cleaning, then Monkey’s nap times are spent cooking, doing a bit more cleaning and I squeeze in blogging and tweeting where I can. I do sometimes just sit in front of the TV during nap times too, I’m not ashamed to admit it, some days I am too knackered by the afternoon nap to do anything other than rest before the onslaught of the rest of the afternoon!

After a while of no  time to just be me, to do what I want, I get steadily grumpier, bicker more with my husband, and sex, well, it doesn’t happen because I just want some personal space. That’s not to say I don’t love being a SAHM, of course I do otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. It is just wearing to put your needs last all the time.


I am very lucky with my hubby, he’s happy to look after Monkey on his own sometimes, he is very understanding of how hard it can be as a SAHM and is very supportive of me needing a break occasionally. Even then though I often find weeks go by without me feeling like I have had any kind of break because I feel guilty. Weekends are family time so I feel we should make the most of Daddy being home so we can do things together. Likewise evenings are our grown up time so we spend it together rather than me going off to read a book or have a bath.  I feel guilty for wasting time that could be spent together. I forget that spending time on myself isn’t a waste – it’s a necessity!

Last weekend hubby gave me some time off (haha that sounds like he’s my boss, but he offered to look after Monkey on his own for the day so I could have a break), I had crazy bad PMT because I have come off the pill and I NEEDED some time alone. I didn’t do much, just had a long hot bath, wandered round some shops (which let’s face it you can’t really do with a toddler in tow), made a vegetable soup for the first time ever, and sat and read my book. It was lovely. Monkey and daddy had a lovely day together so we were smiles all round. That week, even though the PMT was still there a bit and I was on a short fuse, I was generally much happier than previously, and feeling much more romantic with my hubby.

WP_20140201_17_31_58_ProThis weekend was one of my best friends’ birthdays and she was planning some drinks in London. Hubby and Monkey were invited too and we did plan to all go, then I asked hubby if he minded me going alone. We could have managed to keep Monkey entertained for the afternoon but it would have taken a lot of effort and honestly, all I wanted was to sit and relax for the afternoon and drink and chat with my friends. Hubby had no problem with this and so off I went. It was such a lovely relaxed afternoon and I enjoyed myself so much more with not being climbed over, drooled on etc. No distractions and I felt like I could just be me for a few hours.

The result is that I come home happy and rejuvenated  and ready to face another week of being the primary caregiver and living a life centred around Monkey’s needs rather than my own.

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So, if you are like me and put your own needs last all the time – Stop. Just for an hour or so. Talk to your partner or a helpful relative and take some time for yourself. Read a book or a Magazine if you prefer. Don’t think about what jobs need doing or what your child is up to. Think about yourself for once, paint your nails, do your hair, go for a walk, take a bath. Just do something that you used to take for granted before you became a mum. You’ll be amazed how refreshed you can feel after just a short break.

If your partner needs some convincing about you taking some time off, remind that it helps them in the long run too 😉 !

If you enjoyed this post, why not have a look at the other posts in the Survival Kit, Perspective, Resilience, Creativity and Confidence.


BaSAHM Survival Kit – Confidence

Part Three in my Becoming a SAHM Survival Kit series. This week, Confidence. Do you have confidence in yourself as a parent? I do … sometimes … but not all of the time (as evidenced by my recent post!). I’m not just talking about having confidence in your parenting skills though, but more about how you need a bit of confidence in various situations if you decide to be a SAHM. As always this relates to dads too, and some of it relates to all parents, working or otherwise.

As  SAHM you need to have enough confidence to do the following:

  1. Get out of the house. Go to Mum and Baby/Toddler groups, I would go insane if it was just me at home with Monkey all day, every day so in my opinion getting out to these groups is vital. I know not everyone agrees with this, and it can be scary to go on your own to somewhere new, but it’s great for the little one – to socialise with other little ones, and it is great for you as you do not have to be the sole entertainment for your baby, even if just for half an hour or so. It also gives you a little bit of adult conversation….
  2. Talk to other parents at these groups. It can be pretty intimidating, especially if the group is well established. Other parents probably know each other already and cliques sometimes form. If you are intimidated and think they are judging your parenting or giving you funny looks, remember that they are there for the same reasons you are, are probably as intimidated as you and are probably far more judgemental of their own parenting than they are of yours. I spent a lot of time worrying about what other mums thought of my parenting, until  I realised that if I wasn’t thinking about what they were doing, then presumably they weren’t too fixated on what I was doing either.  Also in these situations empathy can go a long way and be a real ice-breaker. You see a mum with a clingy wailing child, she’s slightly red in the face and you can see she is not having much fun that day? I find a friendly smile and saying something like ‘oh, one of those days is it?’ goes a long way and makes them feel less judged.
  3. Talk to other parents at play parks or play centres. I know some of my mummy friends never do this and are too nervous, again largely because they worry what they will think of them. But I have had some lovely conversations with parents at the park or play centre. If your kids are playing (or fighting) try and spark a conversation with their mum or dad. In my experience most of us adults feel a bit self conscious standing around watching the kids playing, and on bad days when it has been just you and the little one all day it can be nice to have even a 30 second conversation with a complete stranger as it makes you feel less alone.
  4. Try a new activity or play idea at home. It breaks up the day. Yes the little’un may hate it. Yes even if they love it it may only last a few minutes before they get bored again. Yes it may make a massive mess or be a disaster, but you will never know if you don’t try. If they do hate it, maybe try again in a couple of months time. If it makes a mess, take a deep breath and try and think of a way to contain the mess next time. It passes the time, can teach them new skills (and you) and is something nice to tell your other half about when they get home. And you never know, it may turn out to be their favourite activity and keep them occupied for a while!
  5. Walk away and take a deep breath. Thankfully I don’t need to do this as often these days but when Monkey was younger and he seemed to cry for no apparent reason, or wouldn’t stop regardless of what I did, it really helped. As long as they are safe, in a childproofed room or in their cot, sometimes for your own sanity you need to walk away and take a deep breath. It’s not easy, especially when they are little as your mummy instincts hate to leave them crying, but as someone once said to me, no baby ever died of crying. And you are not neglecting your child by walking away, gathering your thoughts and then coming back fresh. I actually found sometimes that after a couple of minutes crying Monkey would get it out of his system a bit and was easier to soothe second time round.
  6. Have some me-time. As a SAHM you need to take it when you can get it. I sometimes feel guilty about leaving Monkey with his daddy for an hour or two at the weekend so I can do something for myself (like browse some shops without a toddler in tow, or have a bath), but it always does me good. And actually, it does them good to have some Monkey and Daddy time. I suppose I feel guilty as weekends should be family times and I want to spend time with my hubby too, but sometimes it just does us all some good so I feel less guilty about it now. A night out with the girls is wonderful too, as most of us are mummies now it’s not quite as late or raucous as it used to be (not quite as tempting when you know you will have a 7am wake-up call regardless of how you feel!!). It also doesn’t happen as frequently either (matching up dates with babysitters, partners, work shifts etc make it more complicated when there is a kiddy at home) but when we can sit together for a meal out and have a good natter without having to constantly watch what the kids are up to it is just so relaxing and I feel quite refreshed after a night off!
  7. Disagree with others, be it family, friends, strangers, the media about how to parent your child sometimes We are all individuals and every child is different. You as mummy or daddy the primary caregiver, know your child best. Just because something worked with so & so’s child, doesn’t mean it will for yours. You want to wean using pureed food rather than baby-led, or vice versa, do it. Be open to new ideas and of course accept that people may only be trying to help – and sometimes their advice will work. But if you disagree with that advice then have the confidence to stick to your guns.
  8. Feel proud of yourself. Easier said than done I know. But you are doing your best at this parenting lark and doing your best is always something to be proud of.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. If you struggle with any/all of the above, I have one more tip for you. Fake it. Put a smile on your face and pretend you have the confidence to talk to a stranger or try something new. I have a lot of insecurities and find social situations really difficult sometimes, but I have learnt that hiding behind these insecurities doesn’t do me any favours. And you may be surprised that if you fake something for long enough it starts to become real. The fake smile, isn’t so fake any more, and the nerves at speaking to a new person, the slight stutter… become less noticeable.

None of this is easy and I by no means succeed at this all the time and I hope it doesn’t come across as preachy as that’s not how I mean it. I wish I had this kind of confidence all the time, but like I say, on the days that I don’t I try and fake it and sometimes I succeed….


If you enjoyed reading this post, why not check out the other posts in this series so far, Perspective, Resilience and Creativity. Thanks!


What’s New this week – The Theme Game

I am linking up with two lovely ladies, Jocelyn at The Reading Residence and Iona at Redpeffer for The Theme Game. This week’s theme is New. There is so much you can right about with this theme that I have been wondering what to write about… and I have been thinking about how New is quite transitory. Nothing stays New forever and there is always something New… so in that vein I thought I’d write about a few things that are New in our house this week.



My New crochet project. I haven’t done anything since before Christmas so am excited to get going with my crochet hook again! This will be a cushion cover… though not quite in the same colours as the pattern as I want to use up the wool I have… and I have a weird thing about colours being in the right order of the spectrum… anyway, I’m sure I will write more about this as it progresses.




I have finally bought a New Family Recipe book. We love cooking and baking in our house and have a book to write recipes in, but it’s a bit of a hodge podge so it’s difficult to find what you’re looking for. It also has Jamie Oliver’s face on it, and nothing against Jamie Oliver but I’d rather have a family recipe book that doesn’t have his face on it. I’ve been looking for ages and just wanted something simple. I know it doesn’t look much, it’s just a plain notepad, but it also has a handy pocket on the front to put some of the handwritten recipe cards from our mums in. Anyway it may not seem like a big deal but it is new and exciting to me.


Our New Yellow wall in the conservatory. Since we moved in it has been quite a depressing shade of grey green and was a bit patchy and peely. We’ve planned to paint it since we moved in (2 years ago in April) and finally got round to it at the weekend with leftover paint from Monkey’s bedroom. It’s mainly used as a playroom so we wanted it to be a bit brighter and more fun. It just makes the room feel so much brighter, it’s lovely! We still need to paint the wooden doors into the house, then the little bits of wall under all the windows, but small steps and I am pretty pleased with it.





Our New Scrapbook, for our Days Out Scrapbook idea. I will make a bit of a cover for it and then need to get some pictures printed from our day at Lyveden New Bield but I love the thought of a New project and I hope that Monkey will love to look back on it as he gets older, and that it will be something we can do together too.



WP_20140121_19_08_40_ProNew Play-doh – it was on sale for 50p a pot so I couldn’t resist. We play with play-doh a lot in our house and even when you remember to put it away each time (which sadly, we don’t) I find it doesn’t last that long, so it is good to stock up while it is cheap. I have made homemade play-doh before but at 50p a pot it’s much less effort to just buy it!


A New music group. Nanny and Grandpops took Monkey to a new Rhyme Time group at a local Library on Monday. Lovely ting for them to do together and they all really enjoyed it. So much so that they want to take him every week – Yay for me as it also means I have a New hour of me-time to clean/blog/whatever 🙂

So there you have it, some of the things that are New this week, but by next week will have lost some of their novelty value.


Redpeffer The Theme Game

Dropping daytime naps at 17 months??? Nooooooo!

Monkey has been worrying me slightly this week. For a while now we have had an awesome routine, where we are busy all morning and then he naps really well in the afternoon. (And I can get some jobs done, or blog or rest etc.) The amount of time he sleeps can fluctuate quite a bit, but apart from the odd occasion where he only sleeps for 40 mins, he generally sleeps for a good hour and a half at the very least, and most of the time it’s more like 2 and a half hours! Which is amazing. He always sleeps really well overnight too, generally from 7.15 to about 6.30/7am. Sometimes he is still randomly awake (and happy) in his cot at like 8pm, but not often and he usually sorts himself out.

Anyway, it started at the weekend, and on Saturday afternoon he went to bed (seemingly tired) at around 1.45 ish, which is pretty normal, but then didn’t actually go to sleep until nearly 2.40. He was perfectly happy, chattering and giggling so I didn’t worry and he did sleep in the end, it just meant we had to wake him up at 4.30 so it didn’t mess up night time. Anyway then on Sunday, he went for his nap, but DIDN’T SLEEP AT ALL!! Me no likey! He was perfectly happy the whole time, and we kept hoping he would go off to sleep, so he was up there for nearly 2 hours! I guess he was resting at the least but the worrying thing for me was that he was happy the whole time and happy all evening, in other words, he can cope without a daytime nap, WHAT???!!!!

Ok, so I know I am lucky with the routine we have had. It wasn’t always so easy, we did the Ferber progressive wait when he was three months old and it changed our lives, he became a brilliant sleeper. I know it isn’t for everyone and for a long time we didn’t want to try it, but it absolutely worked for us. Anyway, I also know that at some point he isn’t going to need to nap during the day any more and I will have to cope with him being awake all day. But, I have really been hoping that it won’t be for some time yet. I was hoping that in 6 months to a year, when he is happier playing more independently, and using his imagination at playtime, and basically not needing my input or help as much, then I will be able to cope with the no more daytime naps. But 17-18 months seems so early!! I also in the back of my mind thought that no more naps, may coincide with playgroup or something 1 or 2 afternoons a week, but we will see.

All week has been up and down but it has pretty much taken him ages to get to sleep everyday, although Monday and Tuesday he did sleep. Yesterday however, he did it again! No sleep! Just chatting and happy in his cot for about 2 hours. We both got a rest obviously and who knows maybe he did doze a bit, but it’s concerning me a lot. We had had quite an easy day though as his grandparents came round and we were nattering and chatting a lot. So maybe he just wasn’t tired enough?

I took to my good friend Google and searched various forums online and found other mums in the same situation. Some whose children dropped their naps at around this age and never slept in the day again (Yipes!) others where it was just a phase and they carried on putting them down and they just started napping in the day again. (Please please please)

I have decided I am not going to let him drop his naps without a fight, this may seem selfish, but seriously how can he go from a 2 1/2 hour sleep to 0?? No way. So today I have been on a mission to tire him out! We have been out at the shops without the buggy. Interesting and I got laughed at by a passer by when I was trying out a ‘look, don’t touch’ method, but otherwise it was fine and we had fun.

Then after lunch we went for a walk to a local play park. Normally we go in the buggy and it takes about 10 mins to get there. At Monkey speed it took us 40 minutes! Was fun though, and we had a short play at the park then I wanted to come home before he got too tired. I failed in this though as his poor little legs were far too tired for the journey home! I don’t blame him because my legs are tired too! I managed to get him to walk about half way but then had to carry him the rest, and boy is he heavy now!! We came in and started to play a little but he was getting very easily frustrated, which is a clear sign of tiredness with him.

So up he went to bed and after just a couple of minutes chattering he is fast asleep! Phew! So clearly I need to tire him out more to keep this nap, we shall see how it goes. When did your little ones drop daytime naps? How did you cope?