‘Enjoy your sleep while you can’

If I had a pound for everyone who gifted me with this nugget of  ‘advice’ when I was pregnant, I probably would’ve had change left over even after we cleaned out the Nursery Department in John Lewis. However, sleep isn’t the only thing children control change, here are a few more things that will never be the same again:

  1. Social occasions. No longer are social occasions a time to indulge in food, mindless chatter and one too many glasses of prosecco. They’re now spent grabbing mouthfuls of food in between chasing around a toddler who just wants to leg it over to the old ladies at the next table because he’s clearly spent too much time in M&S cafe and knows that they’ll shower him with attention (you know, because he gets none of that from me. None at all. Pfftttt.) And all I can manage is a sip of prosecco because we’ve developed a co-sleeping habit and I’m terrified that if I drink too much I’ll fall into a deep sleep and not wake up if he rolls out of bed, falls on the floor, gets up and walks out of the room and tumbles down the stairs. Which leads me to….
  2. When we talk about sleep, it’s not just a reduction in hours. I don’t think I ever fall into a blissfully deep sleep anymore, I just lay with my eyes closed, like a TV on standby ready to jump back into action. Well, roll and stumble back into action with my eyes half closed until I’ve woken myself up with a coffee.
  3. That Friday feeling. Everyday is a workday. Or everyday is a weekend. However you want to look at it. But losing the Friday feeling also means losing the Sunday night feeling and I don’t miss that one little bit.
  4. How much milk we get through. There’s three of us and we get through about 15 pints a week. Craziness.
  5. Shopping. It’s hard to reach to the back of the rail for your size while simultaneously trying to keep your child from teetering off the edge of meltdown mountain, keeping one hand on the pushchair so they’re not abducted while your back is turned and apologising to the poor woman you’ve unintentionally trapped in the corner with your pushchair. However, as much as I used to love clothes shopping, there’s now a million other things I’d rather do that Henry loves too that will make for much better memories.
  6. The use of both arms. There is very little I can’t do with one hand. Make coffee, hoover, hang the washing out… I’ve even made a one-handed spaghetti bolognese and it wasn’t half bad.

So ‘things that will never be the same again’ might be a little bit dramatic for a title. Before long I know that Henry will be independent and I’ll regain the time to shop, use both hands and eat a meal at my own pace. I’ll pine for our first few years together, filled with milestones, playdates, lazy mornings, and long walks. Things are different, but different in the best way.

things that change when you've had a baby




A picture of a footIn year 9 P.E I suffered severe psychological damage which I believe has impacted upon my relationship with exercise; I was hit in the face with a rounders ball.

Since then, I’ve never really had what you might describe as a friendly relationship with exercise. We’re much like acquaintances who meet up so infrequently that we never build a proper, lasting friendship and ultimately drift apart, only to reunite a few months later and repeat the whole stop and start process again.

Pre-baby it wasn’t all that difficult to stay slim but now my skin has been stretched to the mother of all limits it’s another story all together and it’s about time I got my sorry arse in gear and got a little more active. Last summer I started, and subsequently abandoned Couch to 5k when it turned a little cooler -I’m not about that running in the rain malarky. So when Flex TV* asked if I was interested in reviewing their online classes I shrugged off my usual excuses, dusted off my trainers and signed up.

I’ve tried a couple of fitness DVD’s over the past year, but one of two things has always happened:

  1. I’ve quickly become bored of the repetitiveness of doing the same routine everytime you put the DVD on.
  2. *Someone* – not mentioning any names but rhymes with MARL – thinks that since it’s a DVD and can be paused, it’s ok to interrupt in the event of a number two nappy.

With Flex TV I didn’t have these issues. Once you’ve joined, you’re able to select types of exercise you’re interested in and the times you’d prefer to do a class and classes will be recommended to you, or you can browse what’s on using the menu.  There’s loads to chose from including barre, pilates, HIIT, yoga,  and dance…Then you just stream the live class using any device connected to the internet – If you use your phone don’t do what I did and forget to switch it to ‘do not disturb’ because it’s really annoying when you have to interrupt your amateur plié to deal with your ringing phone.

Because you’re actually ‘booking’ a class, even though you’re doing it at home I think it’s more of a commitment that can’t be interrupted, almost like having an exercise buddy who you don’t want to let down. You can also invite friends to join the class too, so you’re working out together but from your own homes. And since no one can actually see you, you can do it in your pyjamas. Heck you could do it completely starkers if you so wished. All the classes I did were about 30 minutes long, which is perfect for me to fit into even the shortest naps.

The first class I tried was a post-natal core workout which left me aching for days. But despite my complete lack of core strength it felt do-able and the ache was strangely satisfying. The instructor was great at explaining how to ensure you’re getting the most out of the workout, offering options for different levels. I also tried Barre and Pilates, both of which were enjoyable, and the perfect length at 30 minutes so I could squeeze them into a naptime, although there are classes ranging between 10 and 60 minutes.

I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and how good it felt to get moving. Sometimes the gym can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re trying something completely new like barre was to me. I’m so uncoordinated that I’d never have dared go to an actual class but with Flex TV I’ve found a way to exercise that I don’t just not hate, I actually like, which after 29 years is a pretty good result.

The only problem I experienced was that any thing that involves jumping or banging around isn’t really a go-er for me when I’m doing it during a nap, because my house is tiny and my child is the worlds lightest sleeper. But since most people don’t have this problem don’t let that put you off! I’ve been picking up the pace with my walks a little to try and get my heart rate up, or walking with Henry in the carrier to add a little weight and once the mornings are a little lighter I plan on trying the couch to 5k again, running before Carl goes to work.

Flex TV is a great option for Mama’s because it allows even the most reluctant of us to get back into exercise without having to worry about childcare. Going out to do a gym class would probably take almost double the time of the actual class when travel is factored in. With Flex, you just sign up to a class and get on with it, leaving more time for changing nappies, prevention of electrocution by sticking fingers in plug sockets, saving the pug from being run over by the V-Tech Train and everything else I fit into a day. Flex TV are currently offering a 30 free trial which you can sign up to here.

*In collaboration with Flex TV – all thoughts my own.

Finding time to work out as a mum http://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2017/02/22/overcoming-fear-exercise/


Diary of an imperfect mum

Offspring; the apple of your eye, your sweet little darlings, sponges of love, thieves of sleep and all round controllers of life. They give you joy you’ve never experienced and love you’ve never known. But that doesn’t mean they’re not bloody hard work, their moods can change completely at the mere wake of a nap – or lack thereof – taking the day in a completely different, frazzled direction.

I’m a natural worrier, but I want Henry to look back on his childhood and remember me laughing and smiling rather than with an expression of stress etched across my face. So far this year I’ve been pretty successful in embracing a new-found laid-back persona, so much so that I actually think I’ve always been relaxed and carefree, and started masquerading as a highly strung worry wart around 2011 when I had the job from hell. So here are a few tips I’ve found to leave me feeling chirpy, because happy big = happy little:

Take each day at a time…

I used to panic at the prospect of a week without plans, worry about the future, in particular –  returning to work. It turns out that I’m not going back to work and the decision was largely out of my control so I spent far too many hours wasted worrying. I’ve learned to take each day as it come and it ultimately means I’m living more in the present, enjoying moments as they happen and not having them tainted by fretting about what may or may not happen the next day, week, month or year.

…But that’s not to say don’t have goals intentions*.

While I like to take each day at a time I also like to keep one eye on the future, keeping in mind where I want to be and focusing on the steps I intend to take to get there one at a time, rather than worrying about how I’ll get there. Having children is actually a great time to evaluate what you want in life and even a great time for a career change. I enrolled in a college course which I attend two evenings a week and I intend to work towards a new career which I can work around and adapt to my family. *I recently read a great post about the power of mindfulness, and using terminology to make things feel more achievable. Having intentions, rather than goals doesn’t come with the connotations of failure and is therefore much more positive.

Do something for yourself everyday.

Whether you’re on maternity leave, a stay-at-home-mum or a working mum it’s hard work. Have a little bit of time everyday to do something you enjoy – reading, having a bath, watching Corrie – to keep you sane. If you can’t do it solo that day, walk to the park via the coffee shop, bake a cake, arrange some flowers. There’s loads of grown-up activities that the tiny’s can get involved in too and so everyone’s a winner.

Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air & a smile…

If you’re stuck in the house and everyone’s miserable, it’s amazing how going for a walk can be a game-changer. Smiling is also infectious, be the weirdo who smiles at strangers. You might brighten their day too.

…And don’t overestimate what you see on social media.

People only show what they want you to see. What you see is a beautiful picture of a well-turned-out toddler.  What you don’t see is that ten minutes after the picture was taken, said toddler poured the dogs water down his front. True story. Appreciate a nice picture for what it is, but don’t think the person behind it doesnt share similar problems to you. They probably do.

Choose laughter.

Where you can, when something frustrating happens try to see the funny side rather than how inconvenient it is. Probably best to delay or stifle a giggle when your child is flinging yoghurt at the dog – I like to think of myself as a reasonably responsible parent – but losing your temper over it achieves nothing and it’s probably best to take it in your stride. Embracing a bit of silliness livens up the day. I dance and sing for Henry to distract him from his hunger while I’m making breakfast and he finds it hilarious. His little giggle is contagious so I’ll do (almost) anything for such an appreciative audience.

So there you go, do you have any tips to share?


How to be a happy mum http://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2017/02/12/how-to-be-a-happier-mama/

My Petit Canard
The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum

Vase of flowersI love filling my house – mainly my kitchen, where all surfaces are out of arms reach of sticky little fingers – with fresh flowers. They smell nice, they look nice, they distract the eye from the mess and garish toys overrunning the rest of the house… what’s not to love? Arranging your own is tremendously satisfying and, unless you’re a professional, gives them a little somethin’ somethin’ you just don’t find in the supermarket. Plus if you can walk for your flowers via the swings, it’s an activity that’s fun for Big and Little. Winner in my book.

I thought I’d share how to make a little arrangement to add some pretty to your day.

Note – I’m definitely an amateur, so if you’re a professional it’s probably best you look away now. I could be breaking some floristry rules causing you to hate me forever. And I don’t want that.

You will need:

  • A few different varieties of flowers. I used Tulips, Carnations & Gypsophila
  • Scissors
  • A vase


  1. Lay out all of your flowers and trim the stems to bring all of the flower heads in line.
  2. Choose one flower to sit in the centre and add two small sprigs either side. I chose a tulip for the centre and sprigs of gypsophila surrounding it.
  3. Holding the flowers in your left hand, (if you’re right handed!) select another stem and place it slightly diagonally across the centre flower.
  4. Twist the arrangement so that the flower added last is at the front and add another, again diagonally and twist again. Keep twisting to keep the last flower facing you, adding flowers until you’ve used them all up. I added tulips and carnations alternately first, then started alternating carnations and gypsophila once I’d ran out of tulips. You should end up with a bunch of flowers in an hourglass shape.
  5. Trim a little more from the stem if necessary & then place in a vase, jar or bottle.

Et voilà! A beautiful, handmade arrangement that will brighten your day and make you feel like a Pinterest mum.

How to arrange your own flowers. http://nowmynameismummy.com/index.php/2017/01/29/how-to-arrange-your-own-flowers/

My Petit Canard

31D2A495-E60A-4A9C-B891-F8C8ACA31DB9548D9061-615D-471E-A2A2-5DE5F09B5F04Tomorrow my teeny tiny little boy is turning one. How in bejesus did that happen?! I literally feel like I’ve blinked and he’s gone from a newborn to an almost-toddler and I haven’t even had time to breathe. So there you have the biggest cliché in the world; time flies.

Since I’m totes emosh over ‘ere (as I type this he’s fallen asleep in my arms and I don’t want to put him back down) I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my favourite Henry moments. I could go on all day so I’ll try and keep it concise. By the way, have you ever tried to pick nine favourite photos of your child?! Well it turns out its impossible. I narrowed it down to 18 which is why I have two pictures in this post, just in case you were wondering why I’m being so generous… Anyway….

  1. Him being born. Obviously I had to start there. After 36 hours of labour he was born at 12.40pm, on my brothers birthday. I worked bloomin’ hard for him and he’s worth every painful second.
  2. The first time he smiled. It was a Sunday morning and we were all having cuddles in bed when he smiled at Carl singing a celebratory ‘Henry only woke up twice last night song’
  3. The first time he laughed. He has the most infectious little giggle. After the smile, Carl was also the instigator of the giggle which he achieved by pretending to eat him. I like to think that I laid the groundwork because I taught Carl to pretend to eat him, I just didn’t get the same reception. As is life. Sigh.
  4. His first swimming lesson. He’s such a little water baby, he loves the bath, the shower, the pool. Heck even spitting his drink down his front amuses him.
  5. Our first family holiday in Norfolk. We went with my mum, grandparents and brother and Henry had a whale of a time, basking in all the extra attention.
  6. Other than to the dog, Henry is pretty stingey with his kisses. But sometimes he clambers over, pinches my cheeks and plants a big, sloppy kiss on me and I love it.
  7. His first Christmas. Charging around with his trolley while relatives coo-ed over him, he was in his element and it was very, very cute.

I could continue but I’ll leave it there. My year with Henry has been the best of my life and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

What’s your favourite memory of your baby’s first year?