Friday, 24 June 2016

Wobbles, motivation and seeking inspiration.

So the past few weeks I have been feeling a little apprehensive, confused and demotivated to be honest. The reason being that I am wondering what route I want my little blog to go down, how I want to make a career for myself and the fact that I have a ticket for a blogging event tomorrow, my first ever time attending Britmums Live. From what I've read on social media, it seems like a wonderful place for the blogging community to connect, reach out to one another and embrace what we all love to do. For me though I'm excited, but feeling more on the nervous side. I think deep down its a case of not feeling 100% about the fact i'm taking my 10 week old baby to a busy city & event, but also the fact that I get so nervous and shy when meeting new people, lack confidence when it comes to introducing myself and just over all feeling like a fish out of water - despite the excitement of learning so many cool things, the feeling of learning more about myself as well and meeting lots of people I've only spoken to through social media, blogs or only met once. Its a big thing when you're not use to doing it isn't it? but its something, a fear almost that I want to overcome as I know I want to 'find myself' in this blogging community and take my little blog bigger places. 

So as mentioned above, I've been feeling a little distant from my blog lately, obviously having a new baby along with three little children leaves me with very little spare time but in my mind I know I want more for my little space on the net and that definitely takes planning. So with the small amount of time I do get I've been doing just this, but most days I end up in a rut in my brain where I think about trying too much then get frustrated of how I can 'get there', reach my goals. One of my biggest passions is my photography, and even videography. I love that it challenges me, I love to capture our life and find the beauty in the everyday. So thats something I don't doubt, its things like how I want my blog to look, actually completing draft posts and not leaving them until its too late, how to promote myself to brands I'd love to build working relations with, what I want my blog to cover without doing it all with no purpose you know?

I have so many things I want to write about, photograph, video. Push my self and my create ability including that in building a small business. Mr T has recently taken the plunge and started up his own business too which is amazing and inspiring. I just sometimes get dampened spirits sometimes when I feel like anything i'm attempting makes no sense, or I struggle to complete something, the moments when i'm thinking about so much that I find it hard to focus on anything at all. a couple of years a go I started up my photography & design business, it was small beginnings but confidence issues slowed me down and I don't want this to be the case anymore, in any aspect of my life. In a few months I'm definitely hoping to get things back on track with a fresh perspective, including the business start up. At the moment, all I know is that I have ideas, I just need to be wise to which ideas I pursue with my passions and time.

I want to do these things I love, I want to show my littles to feel confident in themselves while growing up too, to know that their abilities are worth everything and to believe in what they can do if they set their minds to it. Even if its little things such as stepping out of your comfort zone to attend an event in London.
So tomorrow, I'm going to hold my head high even if it doesn't feel easy, I want to feel at ease while meeting new people, I want to go home at the end of the day having gained a little bit more inspiration from some people who have a creative mindset too and to know that i'm not alone in this way of thinking. 
Do you feel like this sometimes? If you do i'd love to chat!

And if you're attending Britmums tomorrow, come & say hi!
 I'll be with my littlest baby girl and i'm sure she will offer lots of welcoming smiles too!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Gentle skincare for pregnancy & beyond.

Something that seems to alter throughout my life is my skin. Now it can be so sensitive at times, then fine the next leaving me wondering what I was concerned about in the first place. In my case though, I know diet changes these things, especially when I haven't had enough water or eaten enough foods containing nutritious factors. This has always been the case when I have been expecting a baby, or breastfeeding.

All of your goodness can easily be drained from you when experiencing these two things and for me, it wreaks havoc on my skin sometimes. This obviously goes hand in hand with all the added hormone changes and the not having enough time to tend to your drink and water needs quick enough sometimes which ultimately leaves you feeling pretty rubbish anyway so to have dried out skin or skin thats breaking out added to that it can be a bit 'blah' in all honesty.

Where I do experience these changes, and have done for the past 6 years with the four pregnancies & breastfeeding journeys i'm cautious as to what I put on my skin as I don't like very heavy, thick products that will make my skin go bubbly or erupt with blemishes, particularly products that use harsh chemicals are a no-go. 

So when Green People asked if I wanted to review their new sensitive and scent-free collection, I agreed instantly as I've used their products before with our little ones and was definitely impressed. I was sent the light day moisturiser and the hydrating calming serum for night time application. These came just in the nick of time as I was expecting our fourth baby, and was soon to be breastfeeding.

The day cream gives enough hydration without leaving your skin feeling greasy and clogged with product, its light but maintains great coverage. It also contains powerful yet gentle skin-balancing plant actives including willow bark and prebiotics. Whats great about these properties is that they contribute to soothing and help prevent skin blemishes and also suitable for people who suffer with eczema, psoriasis, along with other skin allergies.

The night serum again is a perfect formula twinned with the day time cream. I love to apply this after having a soak in the bath then I know my skin is really absorbing in the great aspects of it without leaving my skin feeling clogged. Its an organic product oozing with skin firming elements without the nasty chemicals. This product also contains clinically proven firming actives to help with anti-aging - anything with this is a must right?!
Green People also very kindly sent me an exclusively new product called the Beauty boost skin restore cream that acts as a little 'pick me up' and boosts your skin rather than spending time doing face masks, or other treatments - this is cost effective, and easy for busy Mamas such as myself. I absolutely love the smell of this product, its aroma is from organic lemon, mandarin, Ho wood and essential oils with all oils being 92% certified organic ingredients too. It's known to be a 'first aid' for all skin types and I can totally agree, once I've applied it, I instantly feel my skin reaping the benefits.
The day & night moisturisers retail at £17.50 each and the Beauty boost retails at 18.50. Now for some this may seem a bit pricey (I would've usually thought so) but they are genuinely so well made, and to be honest, what price is the right price when it comes to the care of your skin? I would definitely recommend these products for anyone really, but especially those with sensitive skin, or at times where your skin may seem more sensitive such as in pregnancy or when nursing a baby. Since starting to write this post, I have been feeding my sweet baby and maintaining these products in my facial routine and they've definitely helped keep my skin in a good balanced state.

They also have a fantastic baby & childrens collection which you can see more about here.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Our siblings in June 2016

I know I say it quite a lot but I feel so extremely fortunate to be my little tribes Mama, that added with the pride I feel that I was able to carry and birth them. I feel like this parenting journey goes in stages and this stage I've been introduced to once again with adding a new sibling and watching my little loves bond so well together is something just so special. 

They really have been brilliant with baby É in each of their own little ways and together as a whole. 

The older girls have been having moments of squabbling but will make up within minutes due to the fierce love they hold for each other. It's so funny watching them as they bicker like a pair of old ladies then giggle at the most simple thing the next. Watching them practice their climbing skills on the swing frame, with biggest sister offering her guidance and just looking at how they can work together on things makes me sit and take it all in just for a moment. You'll often catch Halle singing to baby E, or saying "I'm your favourite cousin" and when correcting her saying "You're sisters Hal", she'll then say "well she likes it when I say this more!". On many occasions you'll see Yve's getting huge smiles from her too by making silly noises, cuddling & pulling funny faces, its such a blessing to watch.

They're so great with their little brother too, he's ridiculously forward for his age, this has also been said to me by strangers and health professionals too but me being his mama I can see it first and foremost. He is a complete chatterbox and has definitely been spurred on by his bigger sisters but also maybe being the third child he has wanted to put his stamp on things and bring his part to our family since learning how to interact. Its hilarious though as they all have a slight obsession with the ninja turtles at the minute and get in huge debates on who's who, and then you'll catch them all play-fighting with light-sabers in the garden, then creating tea parties the next. Affection is something we have floating around the house, I love the way they take in turn to just go and snuggle with each other or all together without any prompts, catching them talking to each other seemingly in their own little world.

Phoenix has taken the role of big brother so well, he absolutely loves to make sure E is okay, and insists on giving her big kisses and cuddles throughout the day and 'helping' Mummy pick her up by assisting her head too. Its adorable when he tells her how much he loves her, and even more adorable when he says "I think she likes me Mummy"

I look at these photos, and my heart skips a beat. Aspects of their childhood together, the honest and most simple moments together as a unit. I say it every time but I am extrememly thankful to have these four in my life, as much as I want time to slow down (majorly) I am also feeling so lucky to have watched them grow together so far. I also look back at our April photos and to see how much baby has grown already is crazy!

Our little tribe.

The Me and Mine Project

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Our family in May 2016

What a busy and fast month May has been?

 It's been a whirlwind of battling and overcoming breastfeeding problems, lots of back and fourth doing school runs and getting used to the new dynamics of four littles to get into the car each morning - it's busy as hell but easier than I expected this soon to be honest. Some mornings don't always go to plan, and we're usually racing through the school door at register time but we try our best and thats all that counts right now! The harder mornings do test us, especially when the toddler needs the toilet upstairs when I'm all ready to go out the door, strips his clothes off, or when the baby needs changing or feeding again, or the two bigger girls decide it's absolutely compulsory to take socks and shoes off to try on Mamas pretty heels on - all at one time by the way! It drives me bonkers some mornings particularly with little sleep but looking back I've got to laugh as these small, ordinary moments are the ones I'm going to miss the most when they're bigger and not needing so much guidance ...and actually stealing all of my shoes!

Mummy has been:
Loving the newborn snuggles, smell and feeding.
Although feeds can be tiring as É is a snack feeder!
Wondering how to have my hair done next as its been over a year since its been cut/coloured.
Planning lots for my blog/photography.
Getting anxious for my first time at Britmums.

Daddy has been:
Back to work after nearly three weeks off with us when baby was born.
Doing the garden up.
Making plans to start his own business in the future.

Yves has been:
Showing us her cartwheels and handstands.
Doing lots of adding & subtracting.
Practising her cursive writing skills while making up stories, and writing people's names.
Holding her baby sister and helping Mama out.
Received her second set of medals for her dance exams.

Halle has been:
Loving fancy dress.
Practising her dance moves- she's got the most amazing moves.
Singing "am I your favourite cousin" to baby É which she said "she loves".
Coming out with the funniest conversations ever.
Holding baby É.
Received her first set of medals for her dance exams.

Phoenix has been:
Obsessed with ninja turtles and shouts "turtles in the house, shout turtle power", his stance is so adorable.
His speech is unbelievable for a two year old, everyone comments how well he speaks. 
He's loving giving É kisses and says it in the sweetest way, even if the kisses are too much sometimes!
Idolising his Daddy.
Completely out of nappies for about 8 weeks.

Baby è has been:
Loving Mama milk.
Settling into our family like she's always been here.
Smiling and cooing lots from about 3 and a half weeks.
Started the explosion poohs!
Piling on the weight, 11lb 2 at 5 weeks and getting chubby :)

May was also the month we These photos are a mixture of ones taken from my 27th birthday meal (well the day before my birthday) When Mr T surprised me with inviting my Dad, Brother & Sister to join us at this lovely pub in Bessels Leigh where we've been before and the food is delicious! The best part was that it has this tractor in the garden so the kids were made up!
 That thumb!
 Mama & her girls.
Our tribe of six.
Dad, me, Yves, E, Mr T, my brother, Phoenix, my sister & Halle.

And on the 30th of May our little Halle turned four. This year we decided to give her the choice of what she wanted to do, either a party, day out where we live or the seaside for the day. Her precise choice was in fact "a trip to Mudeford to have afternoon tea please!". So we accepted her wishes (with ease actually as kids parties are hectic at the best of times! especially at the minute!) So off we went to the beach for the day (which I will write about more very soon! but here's another couple of pictures of our family in May in a little spot that we visit almost every year).
 Quick before the horses come! I love these images too as the sun was so golden shining on us, but just look at how dark those clouds are behind us. Luckily, they never broke out on us though!
 'What a bonkers and tiring day it's been!'
Just a bit closer so you can see that its actually an outtake, ha!
The Me and Mine Project

Friday, 27 May 2016

Spring reading & Growing sunflowers

Something we love as a family is to be outdoors. Children thrive on it don't they? And to be honest so do adults, so when combining that and doing simple things together can be such a pleasure. When living at our old house, we had a great time growing things one year with that being fresh strawberries to pick each day,  an apple tree, herbs and two huge sunflowers. 

Kids love to see progression for something they have done themselves, so physically watching something grow from the moment you've planted the seed to each little step of the leaves popping out and then the height ever growing is something they love to see. We've put our sunflowers into the garden now for the next step, we're just hoping that snails don't get hold of them! We've planted four, one for each child and we're going to see how they get on, care for them and read more about growing our own. 
Our kids have always been ones who love to be outside. They love adventure, exploring and creating, they love collecting bugs to try learn about and are always on the look out for different butterflies and are hoping to see a dragonfly one day. Something they have found fascinating before was watching the evolution of frog spawn in Grampy's pond, they watched them grown into tiny frogs which they held and saw hop around the garden and admired some 'Mama frogs' too. This is an extra special thing for me to watch as it brings back my childhood memories, i used to do the exact same in my old back garden and loved it!
The best thing is that fresh air is something that relieves us, opens our minds and unleashes opportunities for learning, it's free, fun and available anytime. I know from experience that it helps me to also clear my head, even if for five minutes. Kids thrive on this too, anytime they seem to be out of sorts, or in need of a change of scenery - the outdoors is always almost the best remedy. Do you feel this with your kiddo's?
The early stages of this years sunflowers.
 We have some lovely books all about nature and growing in gardens so it's nice to go through them this time of year especially & I thought it'd share them with you. All of these except one were actually found in charity shops, fates, or given to us from the nursery. I absolutely love them as do the little ones. YM's favourite is the garden wildlife book that her Grampy got for 20p at a fate, Usbourne books are fab!
Spring and nature book seletion
Back in 2013, our tiny Yve's with one of our sunflowers.
Amazing plants aren't they?
And here's our apple tree (that got two apples! ha)

Do you love to grow you own and with your littles? Do you have any garden projects on the go?
 I'd love to know!


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Sharing is caring - Supporting breastfeeding Mamas.

So this week saw the 'Big breastfeeding cafe' campaign with Medela, an initiative to help breastfeeding Mamas out there feel supported, get tips from others or even share their own. Hundreds of mamas across the UK uniting in what is such a powerful movement to normalise each of our breastfeeding journeys, and get talking to one another, share problems and not only that - but to celebrate how magical it can be!

I've written recently about our journey so far feeding our fourth baby, its been a tough few weeks but I finally think we've overcome the worst part - hopefully. In these posts, along with others I've written on this topic, i've expressed how I've felt in each of my feeding journeys, that they've all been tough at some point, but equally amazing. This along with the wonderful support I received from friends, and my local baby cafe. So for me, I would highly recommend attending your local Baby Cafe, (I even did the peer support training back in 2013 as I felt so passionate about it) I would also say that even though times can get extremely hard, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but to try and not get yourself down when it seems a bit pear-shaped. How you choose to feed your baby is your choice, happy mama = happy baby and vice versa but I personally have the biggest amount of gratitude for being able to feed my four babies and its something I will cherish forever. 

So for the Breastfeeding cafe, I wasn't able to host this time or attend, but I did make a batch of super breastfeeding flapjack to have with a cup of tea, while asking my friends about this topic. I got some great information from them about their experiences which i've shared below and I will continue to support others and hopefully get the chance to host a cafe soon. I will also be sharing the Medela tester products i recieved to give some of my new Mama friends too.
"I would say that breastfeeding my second baby was the most amazing experience. It made our bond so much stronger. And I'm so proud that I managed it for 18/19 months. There will be hard times but pushing through makes it all worth it. Remember that a lot of health professionals aren't trained in breastfeeding support so going to baby cafes, or taking advice from friends who have experienced feeding is definitely the best way of getting it right."
- Charlotte, Mama to two. 

"I was very lucky, I had no problems feeding my four. At one point with Scarlett, I did have mastitis which was painful but preserved and got through it thankfully. Honestly at times with my first baby, breastfeeding got me down, I used to hide away at family events to feed her and even in restaurant toilets, then with my second my fears went and I happily fed her anywhere! I fed both of them until they were 6 months because I hate to say it now but I wanted to be me again found it lonely sometimes. We did express so Steve could do the odd bottle feed which helped. When feeding my other children, it was slightly different that I had made the decision to feed Lexi until she was one. I think this was mainly due to her being poorly so young and our breastfeeding journey nearly being over at a week old as she was tube fed for a few days. We didn't know whether she would latch on again so it was emotional when she did. Certain family members frowned upon the fact that I fed her and Frankie until they were both one but it's what I wanted so their comments didn't matter! When I was coming to the end of feeding our last baby, I felt quite emotional about it, the closeness you have and that bond is magical! My tips: Don't give up supportive partner helped me, don't be afraid just remember it's natural, don't worry about the negative opinions, & don't put too much pressure on yourself.
- Heidi, Mama to four.

"I always remember the first time I fed my boy, I thought 'wow this feels easy' and it didn't hurt when I expected it would. However over time it became so unbelievably painful and my nipples actually went like black. I used to feel really nervous every time he'd need a feed and I'd wince with pain every time he started sucking to draw the nipple out, that was the most painful. BUT I persevered and it did get better, it became so it didn't hurt at all and I did it for 7months, as well as some formula from a bottle to top him up as he was a big boy. My Mum always says how proud she is of me for carrying on with the breastfeeding when everyone could see how much pain I was in, they thought I would just give up but I didn't. I would say to anyone to give breastfeeding a go at least, as it is an amazing thing to be able to do. Even when the going gets tough and your in pain and want to give up just know that it WILL and DOES get easier. It is just your body adapting to something new, I mean your nipples must think 'Woah what's going on!' when you have a hungry baby sucking on them constantly! That being said, I also respect people who choose not to breastfeed as it isn't for everyone and that no one should feel 'pressured' into it."
- Nicola, Mama to one.

"I would of loved to of breastfed but Tillie was tongue tied so she really hurt me, then she wasn't gaining weight due to a urine infection, so the doctors put her on formula. To be honest, the medical staff were horrid to me, the doctor said that I was her mother and I should be breastfeeding her no matter how much it hurt, that I was letting her down. This didn't help at all being combined with the fact that I had post-natal depression at the time. So for me, lack of sympathetic support didn't help. With my second baby, I lost confidence, I probably should of got help but had too much of a bad experience with my first that it ruined it for me, they where close in age so the memories were pretty fresh from the first time. With this little man I would love to try feeding, but I'm not going to put pressure on myself. I  do find a lot of judgemental people out there about breastfeeding in public which makes me feel very uncomfortable, but I will give it a go. 
Caroline, Mama to two & expecting number 3.

I'm so proud to be working with Medela this year, not only to talk about, & share our breastfeeding journey but to hopefully inspire others to see that its such a normal journey to be on. despite having some extrememly tough stages in each of my feeding chapters, I'm so glad that I sought after the right support, found it and persevered and thanks to BumpPR for getting me involved.
Please do check out the Medela Facebook page where lots of other people have shared their cafe experience, or simply supporting the event. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Our breastfeeding journey - A little update.

So on Friday, it was four weeks since our littlest lady was born, and my haven't those weeks flown past in an instant? I thought I would keep a little journal of how our breastfeeding journey is going, just like I have done with my previous babies, the ups & downs, and also offering any advice to anyone who may have the same issues. I recently wrote about some difficulties in a post called 'The early days - breastfeeding for a fourth time', in this post it detailed just how much pain I have been in and how desperately I wanted to over come it like i've done before. 

So its been another week or so since I wrote that, and I feel like even though we're not 100% there, we are gradually getting there day by day. Some feeds are more awkward than others where i've been using Medela nipple shields to try and help fix my nipple that was cut open from a few poor latches, baby doesn't seem keep to latch onto it as it's obviously a lot different to my actual boob but we've been persevering.

The things i've found that help along with the nipple shields are things like:

Making sure that the breast isn't so engorged, as this makes getting a good latch harder.
 so when feeding on one side I've had to either express or hand express some milk off the other side ensuring that I don't end up with too much milk which could block the milk ducts. 

I've also reduced the feeds on my worst side, up until then I was alternating side with each feed.
Something i've always done but something had to give, and it was out of my comfort zone to change what I knew, but i needed to give my sore side a break, then ease back in with one feed from it, then two etc which is the stage i'm at now.

Making sure that I am relaxed enough to be able to focus on getting the best latch possible. 
So for me, this has meant spending a lot of time at home where I can really concentrate on this, without worrying that i'm flapping around in stress if it's not going to plan. Not only this, I wan't to be able to feel completely comfortable when feeding anywhere, especially in public. I have been feeding in public, but only on my 'better boob' as this has been the best option for us for now. for me, its a matter of making sure i'm healing as best I can before attempting to just be able to pop her on the bad side without any shields or sheer focus. Actually being able to look away from my boob to get some water or something is as an achievement as she would clench down if pooping or needed to come off for a burp, and I would be left stinging and fighting back tears.

As of the past couple of days, we've been feeling less & less pain with each feed which comes with much gratitude, I'm still only feeding off my sore side once or twice in comparison to lots on the other side just to be on the safe side taking it step by step, our littlest lady sure is a piggy when it comes to her feeding and is gaining tremendously just like her older siblings did.
A photo captured by my little Halle.
Here's some other previous breastfeeding related posts:

Comfort in pregnancy featuring Bravado nursing bras.
Some of my favourite breastfeeding books.
The look of love - Breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding peer support training - Day three 

I'm so pleased to be working with Medela over the next few months. If you fancy taking a read of previous posts you'll find them here:

'Breastfeeding - My hopes and fears fourth time around'.
'The early days - breastfeeding for the fourth time'.

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