Home is where the heart is. Valentine fantasies.

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Good afternoon guys! Okay, I admit that the title of this post may seem misleading, I best correct myself before setting you readers up for disappointment. This is no fifty shades of grey theme, you can keep your pants on. I am keeping things clean and talking about fantasies that as a family we hold for the future.

It is shrove Tuesday, pancake day as it is better known. A day to celebrate and eat my favourite food and just to mix things up, I recieved a Valentine bouquet from Euan a day early. With my favourite food day now combined with Valentins, I can only assume that this ought to be a good day.

I have woke on this day to some beautiful flowers delivered and a day is planned out with the main ladies in my life, my baby, my Mother and my sister. Galentines! With that in mind, I am feeling optimistic, high on love and plan to share with you bunch some recent topics of discussion in our household. Home is where the heart is.

Opportunities, higher wages, better quality of living, the great outdoors..we all strive and crave more. I mean, there has to be more to life than a 9-5 dead end job and British weather. Surely? There has to be a key to finding a happy work/life balance all while finding peace of mind too?

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We aim to find a place to reside that will bring us better prospects to raise a family and a place we can live minimally with access to a large variety of activities and opportunities. I would love to have three children one day, i grew up in a busy household and want to bring that chaos into a family of my own. A large family would mean a big move and many changes so that our children would have the best start that we can offer.

We hope to find a location with good education, health benefits and a healthy lifestyle, vitamin D on the occasion value for money and homes that we can only dream of. The grass isn’t always greener, no but in our circumstance,  we have nothing to lose in all honesty.

We dont seek much, nor do we have crazy expectations, we just crave a change that will bring something more, I don’t think it is wrong to want better and to do well and I think a fresh start would be welcome. I think we all want to start over from time to time. This time, we are willing to work to make that happen. No more pipe dreams.

During recent talks myself and Euan have decided that we wish to move away from home to raise our family. It’s been done many times by people in both better and worse circumstances and ther are plenty of success stories with regards to big moves with many folks saying once leaving home and finding settlement elsewhere, they have never looked back.

A move of any accord with a family is no small task, the way we see it, go big or go home. We have much research to do in regards to finding the right place for us to settle and see our children through school but with the information that is out there and the help available online, I’m certain we can come to an informed decision with location and area planning.

Once we are set with a base, we can then further explore our options and expenses. We can get estimates for the money we require to save and work our butt’s off to make life happen. I certainly feel it is time for big changes and a new climate. There is so much to life and this world away from this City.

As a family, we want and encourage new adventure, we want to live our best life together. I am sure all this planning and saving will be no easy task and bring plenty stress but together with the hopes of a better future in mind for ourselves and our family, we can achieve anything we wish.

Persevering and patience is key so it is a good job that I have left Euan at hand to do all the dirty work and the researching. I don’t cope so well with being patient, I only end up frustrated and upset. We don’t have time for that with all the planning and prep that must be done. I’ll simply take a back seat and advise on this occasion, the easy ride. No pun intended.

The Valentines hype has had us in a wee love bubble and brought us to some thoughts and new hopes. We have been thinking about our future and all that family life will hold, it has us both feeling motivated and excited which has led to this post and thought sharing with you all. We dont know where will be be five years from now but we have a plan to find a new place to call home and claim residence for the benefit of a happy family life. After all, family is the most important gift and to grow together with an ever flourishing relationship is what really matters. Happy Valentines everybody.

To you and yours, love always wins.

 

Keren.

Appreciating family. A Valentine ode to my Mother.

I am thankful of many things in my life and all that I am blessed with but most of all, above anything, I am so grateful and thankful to my Mother.

I am dedicating this post to my Mum as having some time to reflect on pregnancy and recent months since having Eleanor, my Mum has become a huge factor in my life and her support, wisdom and friendship has filled me with gratitude and her kindness has filled me with love.

Growing up, from a stroppy child to a gruesome teenager, you could say that my relationship with my Mum was somewhat strained. We pushed one anothers buttons and we fought like cat and dog. Don’t get me wrong, our relationship was never bad, but I was acting out as a spoiled teen and didn’t take enough time to thank my Mother for all she would do for me and the care that she provided each day.

I wish that I would have said thank you more and taken more quality time to spend with her. Perhaps had I listened to her more and took notice when she told me things such as “do not dare dye your hair that ridiculous blue”, I’d have made less bad choices (and had hair in better condition).

However, let’s not dwell on the past,  I do not wish for this post to be negativen Rather, I want to express my thanks the best way I know how, in writing. Sometimes writing can express more than words, I hope to express my love and thanks through this post, something that I don’t think I can summarise with words out loud.

Some times, it takes some time apart or a life changing experience before you begin to see and appreciate a person for all that they are. Good or bad. In this case, I have nothing but good to report.

It was not until moving out and beginning my own family journey that I have truly come to appreciate my Mother and see her for the true soul that she is. A woman who would offer you the world and is worth her weight in gold. I can only hope that as I grow, I will become as kind of a soul as my Mother is and have the ability to shine some light to each person I meet, much in the way that she does. I would hope to pass this trait of kindness on to my daughter, it is important for me to raise Eleanor to be kind and honest.

I’m not going to gloat about my Mum as that is not necessary, all that you need to know is she is a kind hearted, hard worker who raised four children and has the soul of an angel. A realist who through her own struggles never fails to remain optimistic. Something which i find quite inspirational. Mum has fast become my best friend, the first person I call for advice and my first choice to hang out with. A day out with my Mum is no longer cringeworthy, it is exciting and a day to look forward to.

I’d not have dreamed of hanging with my Mum a decade ago, and now here I am, twenty five and craving her company almost each day. I can’t thank my Mum enough for the running around she does for not just me, but the whole family. She goes above and beyond come rain or shine just to drag my butt out. The help she provides is the help that only a Mother can provide and her love is unconditional.

From the beginning of maternity leave, my Mum has worked so hard to provide me with company, comfort and a dose of good old fresh air along with her wit, wisdom and a helping hand. You wouldn’t believe just how much help changing a nappy can be, or having a cup of coffee made for you, to rock my baby as she cries so that i can run to take a wee. It really is the little things, the things we all too often take for granted.

As Valentines day approaches and I’m half way through my spell of maternity leave, i deemed it appropriate to send a little love out in the direction of my best friend and biggest support, my Mum. Someone who is always on hand and has helped me tremendously over the years, knowingly or not.

I’m so thankful for my Mum and the help she provides each day, the love she has for my wee Eleanor, the magic she can bring to the day. My Mum has taught me that life is about the little things, kindness goes a long way. Smalls gestures tower over grand gestures and to be kind, to love, is one of lifes greatest pleasure.

It has not been until recently and beginning a family of my own that I have fully come to appreciate my Mother and take on board all of the lessons that she has taught me over the years. I am proud to call my Mum, Mother and will forever cherish this time we spend together.

I am looking forward to many more trips out and the stories that Eleanor brings to me from her days out with Grandma too. We can all learn something from someone and our Mothers are very wise women. Let’s show them the thanks that they deserve. Happy (early) Valentines day, to my light and inspiration, my Mum.

 

Keren.

 

 

 

 

Mum guilt; The real deal.

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It’s a funny old thing, you become a parent and all of a sudden you are no longer your own person, you are a Mother, a Father. You lose a sense of identity but gain a whole new realm of responsibility and love that you didn’t even know was capable.

The love for your baby, your child, is like no other. I have not experienced so much love nor emotions prior to the birth of my wee Eleanor. The best and the worst of myself has been put to light and I see the world from a whole new perspective.

I am not as easy going and care free as I once was and the world is now a scary place through the eyes of this over protective parent. I would like to focus this post on something that I have recently began to notice creep up on shopping trips or days out. A feeling that has rised from within and hits like a tonne of bricks ,a feeling that all you Mothers are well aware of.

Mum guilt. No matter what you do, it simply does not feel good enough. It is a losing battle where we are the sole contender.

Guilt, we all feel it, with the exclusion of active sociopaths, add a baby or child to the mix and guilt is suddenly intensified. What exactly is Mum guilt and where does it come from? It has seemed to appear out of the blue for myself and has prevented me from doing the things that I love and taking some time out for myself. Wether that be a half hour shut away to read, getting out for a lone walk or even (god forbid) having a day of pampering.

No matter what my intention lately, I always have a terrible feeling of guilt hang over my head, ready to exploit my mind with shameful thoughts whenever I dare put myself first. I feel that I have lost a sense of freedom and self worth since becoming a Mum, something which is quite hard to adapt to and take control of.

I no longer deem it acceptable to treat myself, not without fear that I should have treated my baby over myself. Do I need this? I ask myself this often. A shopping trip is short lived, and rather than taking items I pick out to the till, I return them to the rack or shelf which I plucked them from. I feel guilty for wasting money on myself no matter the sum. I could have utilised any spenditure on Eleanor rather than myself.

I find myself anxious of time and feeling bad for dragging my baby out just so I can pick up a carton of milk for myself or browse the stores when I could be at home, holding her, giving my undivided attention. I tend to get out but feel panic and pushed for time, I can’t relax for fear that she will want a feed or begin to get uncomfortable and cry.

Crying is perfectly normal for a baby to get attention and I know I have the security that she is always changed and fed before I take her out, I can’t help but feel unsettled at the thought of her crying in public. I always feel that it’s my fault for dragging her out and that I have led her to be unhappy for my own pleasure. Mum guilt.

I no longer indulge in any alcohol or nights out as I feel that my baby could need me at any time when I am apart from her. I just can’t leave her behind knowing that she is my responsibility and could need me at any time. I have reluctantly left her for no more than four hours with my Mother so that Euan and I can catch a screening at the cinema. This has only ever been around four separate occasions, a month apart at least.

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I can’t bring myself to leave her no matter who with or how capable they are. Knowing that Eleanor is so tiny and may need me at any time. I know that my baby is loved and nurtured and with that understanding , I must implicate healthy changes for the benefit of my own health.

I am not just a Mother, I am my own person with interests and needs that I need to fulfill every once in a while. It is important to take time for myself and my own sanity, i owe it to myself to give myself a break without feeling the need to explain and justify my actions.

With that in mind, I am off to the hairdresser next Saturday on a solo outing for a bit of me time and pampering. I am after a fresh dye job and cut, both much needed and long overdue. Oops, blame Motherhood on that one. Free time does not come freely.  A trip to the salon may not seem a big deal to many of you, I’d previously not have thought anything of it either but these days a little time out to spoil myself is a rare occasion.

Following this, we are going to see Stereophonics at the end of the month for a parents night out. How dare we? I’m absolutely looking forward to this and an evening out with my love, I fully plan to make the most of being child free, let my hair down and have fun. I have plans to go all out with a glass of wine in a plastic cup and greasy gig chips.

The last time we went to a gig together was back in July and I was heavily pregnant and spent most of the gig nursing a sore back. This time, I can make a better go at it and not retire early. I got this.

I’m sure that my Mum guilt will be in full swing but im going to really try to get myself into a good mindset and forget Mum duties for the night. It will be time for my partner and I to enjoy. Eleanor will be in capable, loving hands, I just need to let go, chill and live a little. If I can push the Mum guilt aside for even just one night, it will be a milestone itself.

I feel that as Mothers and Fathers, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best parents we can be, we get ourselves down when something doesnt go to plan or work out as we had hoped and we hold ourselves responsible for any setbacks, the guilt can be too much to take some days.It’s time to start pushing that unnecessary guilt trips that we love to drive down aside and putting ourselves first once in a while.

Book a pamper day, take yourself out for a coffee, set a date for a night out (and follow plans through) and for God sakes, buy the dress. Life is too short to spend it consumed with guilt, we all deserve a break once in a while.

Parenthood is hard, it is testing, it is wonderful. Let’s not be so hard on ourselves, our babies will still love us after a few hours without our company.

Keren x

Yes, babies cry. Deal with it (and love them hard)

I am writing this post having been inspired by a recent trip to the GP for concerns over the health of our baby daughter, Eleanor. A baby who has always been, in my opinion very vocal and dependent. I believe this to stem from her connection with me due to breastfeeding. I could be wrong.

My partner had suggested that we call the GP to make an appointment regarding an issue with our baby who seems to cry constantly and wriggle around in pain. Eleanor has reflux which is currently controlled by medication, however, some days not even medication seems to help.

I called the doctor to make an appointment for as soon as possible. I didn’t want Eleanor to be in pain but nor did I expect much was up. She was after all, just being her usual self.  Euan arrived home to attend the appointment, I discovered that we were taking the car to the GP which is a short distance from home, I became upset and wound up.

You see, this sounds silly but it’s tough for me to get out alone. I spend much of my time alone with her and a lot of this is spent indoors as it’s just too tricky to get out, especially with being in a first floor flat. If I want to go anywhere, there is a whole battle with the Pram getting down stairs and out the door before we even get moving.

Some days it isn’t worth the fight with Eleanor if she is in a particularly sleepy or in a grumpy mood. I find I don’t have the fight in me to battle through the cries very often, blame it on the lack of sleep.

It’s easier for me to simply just return home than to deal with the stares of strangers passing judgment as I still past with my baby screaming out from her Pram. I’m not cut out for public judgement, it brings a great deal of anxiety. So, with that mental image and sound of a babies cry echo through your eardrums, forgive me for getting upset having had my dream of five minutes in the fresh air, shattered.

What might not seem a big deal to some, can be a huge deal for others. Something which I have recently learned. We all handle things differently and lately, I feel like I can barely handle things at all. I spend most days alone and some times I feel as though I am losing my mind. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I lack social interaction.

I understand that my partner has work commitments but a five minute walk is not really going to make such a big difference to the working day when  opposed to three minutes in the car? I feel alone much of the time right now and the inability to get out can lead me to feel like I’m stuck in these four walls, all I wished for was my partner to take a short walk to the GP clinic with me. I was once very active and I crave to lead an active life again.

A life that has more challenging excercise to it than the constant bending to change nappies or emptying the tumble dryer. I need to walk, I need to have fresh air. Without it, I go crazy. I’ve given up on my fitbit for the moment as the step count became so pitiful, I felt ashamed to even track and document it.

Back to the GP, the reasoning of this post, I had a feeling that I knew what the doctor would say, having been in this position before. I’m usually lucky to get an appointment as its normally an automated phone service. Nonetheless, the story never changes and the outcome is always “babies cry, it’s a phase” or something along those lines.

I’m never taken seriously with the GPS and feel as though my worries are over looked and brushed off as though I am a mere hypochondriac. Even if I were, I would expect better care and time in the hands of the professionals than what they tend to give.

There was no answer. Babies cry and that’s just how it is. Some are more vocal than others yes, but it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. It were suggested that we try control crying.. as if this would help with her round the clock cries. I wasn’t looking for answers of how to get my baby into a night sleep routine, and I didn’t want advice for control crying, I’d get more information from a book to be frank.

I wasn’t looking for anything actually,  I knew all too well how the appointment would go and knew that I would leave feeling stupid. My partner wanted this appointment as he was certain something was up. I merely booked it to prove a point and to show him that what I tell him when I call the GP each time is not a lie. I wanted him to see for himself how it goes. I wanted to prove my point and stamp my feet at the same time. My inner diva was out to play. I fear you not.

Some babies cry more so than others and they want held. This I know to be true with Eleanor. We were told that she was on the top dose for her reflux medication and to keep with this. When solid food becomes more frequent, her reflux should improve. Other than that, deal with the crying and just get on. If I felt it necessary, I could make an appointment to see the Health Visitor for advice on control crying but there was no cause for concern.

This was all said as I sat there choked up and crying spontaneously myself. I was crying because I was mad to have taken the car when I had hopes of fresh air. I was crying because I was drained, physically and emotionally. I was crying because this was the first outing of the week that involved human interaction  and it was now Wednesday afternoon.

I was mad at my partner, Euan for making me book an appointment to which I knew the outcome. I was told that he would get answers and yet here we are, no further than I have ever got before, Eleanor still crying.

I feel an element of guilt. Guilt that I can’t help my crying baby, I can’t take away her reflux and stop the back arching pain soar through her tiny body. I feel guilty that I want so desperately to have a break from her, even just for five minutes of peace. I feel guilty that I feel the need to have a break from her. As her Mother, I shouldn’t want a break from her. Should I?

I often can feel a whole lot of guilt and it seems that my best is never nor ever will be good enough. I ponder over thoughts about my parenting and I wonder if I’m a good Mother. I wonder if my Daughter knows how much I love her and I worry that I am incapable of the around the clock care she requires.

The Gp, I assume was left wondering who the appointment was initially made for. The sobbing mess of a Mother that I presented to her, or the baby sleeping in her car seat as though butter would not melt? Typical.

The thing is, the GP was correct, babies cry and all that we can do is hold them close and love them harder. It’s hard, it’s real tough, especially when you feel so hopeless and can’t help them take the discomfort of reflux away. Or even know the reason behind the cries. Is it reflux, teething, ear ache?

The guilt you feel along with the pain can be overbearing and overwhelming and I forget that as parents, we too are only human and we need to give ourselves a break and cut some slack or we will lose our minds. Its hard to always remain on top on situations and it’s hard to mimic what a baby wants at all times. Some days, there is just no pleasing these tiny humans.

I guess, I should be both grateful and thankful of Eleanor’s super dependent personality. I am lucky that I have my baby to hold and come time, I will look back and miss the cuddles and the closeness of my baby girl.

The days when I’m back at work and wish I could be curled up with her lovingly by my side at home, when she is a stroppy pre teen and I’m no longer cool enough to cuddle. I should take these moments to appreciate my ‘needy and vocal’ baby and love her as hard as I can all while embracing her before it’s too late and she no longer cares for the comfort of my company.

I hope that through weaning, the reflux will ease off. Our journey with food has only just began and we are still on select puree foods. I hope that when we venture into more tastes and textures, introduce baby led weaning her reflux will slowly disappear and we can forget about the difficulties that it has brought. Until then, I will continue to monitor and control it as best as I can with medication and a whole lot of baby cuddles. I hope that as she grows, she will become more independent and less reliant on myself, with this, the tears will stop too.

If you too have the struggle of a very vocal baby, don’t feel so alone. There’s always someone going through the same and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

We as parents are often too hard on ourselves and can be our own worst enemy, let’s be a little more appreciative of our efforts. After all, we are only doing our best and there are days that push the limits but we have to see past this. Take the good with the bad.

So here I am, sat on the sofa, same spot as always with a lukewarm cup of coffee, staring at a blank screen with a numb buttom from lack of movement,  preaching to all you parents out there, to take your baby and love them hard.

Keren x

Searching for baby day care as I prepare to ‘let go’.

The time has come for me to let go of that ever precious newborn stage and begin to shop around local nurseries to utilise when my maternity leave comes to an end. This is not something that I carry lightly as obviously, I wish for my baby to be in the best hands possible. If I didn’t have to return to work and could spend my time dedicated solemnly for her, I would.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of being a stay at home Mum, I have to go out to work to earn money and continue to lead a comfortable lifestyle and offer the best that I can for my baby.

Besides, as much as I would love to stay in my baby bubble forever, in order for Eleanor to grow and become independent and strong I need to get over myself and get back to it. To regain a healthy work/life balance.

Plus, I think I need to regain some sanity soon as spending my days alone and chatting to my baby has let this young mind get a little hazy and lost. Even more so than previously. I swear mum brain is a thing, a really bad thing.

My memory is not the same as it once were and I struggle to out sentences together some days. Wether this is a lack of a social life outside of those four walls or sleep deprivation, I don’t know. Regardless, I must return to work and live my life again. Come four months time, my spell of nine months maternity leave will be over and reality has to kick start. Staring with returning to work and having Eleanor into a care routine.

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I’m well aware that Eleanor needs to start living her life and interact with other babies of her age to learn from them. I can’t offer her everything that she needs on my own and I feel that interaction with other babies and children can only benefit her development and personal growth. I can imagine she will come on leaps and bounds from the day she steps into her first nursery session.

With starting back to work in the pending months, I thought it best to get stuck in early and begin the search for a local nursery that will cater to our needs. I wanted some place close to home and close to my Mum’s all the same, a care centre that provided healthy and home made meals, introduced plenty of play and interactive activities with support from staff around the clock.

I hope to be return to work for three days per week. My Mother will care for Eleanor some of those days and the other days, she will be on the care of a private nursery. I’d happily have my Mother watch her each day I work but I deem it unfair for my Mum as she too works and I would hate for her to struggle with Eleanor on a bad day then have to get ready to go to work in the evening for a twelve hour shift. That isn’t fair.

With that thought, I decided to look local and check out a nursery in Cove Bay. Close by and handy for my Mum should she do the pick up run for whatever reason. I went to view the nursery and meet with staff to get a better idea of the daily running of the centre and the care that the children receive. I must say, I left really pleased with what I seen and the information I received.

There are several rooms for the children, three outdoor play areas all of which were spacious and there were staff around wherever you looked. The manager met with myself and gave the walk around tour with the appropriate information and answered any questions I had. There is a kitchen on site where both a vegetarian and meat option of meals were cooked and snacks were home baked goods with limited salt, sugar and fat content.

I was really pleased with the whole home made food consensus and with Eleanor going to raised as a vegetarian, this too was perfect as it would suit her dietary requirements and I could be at ease knowing she was getting a healthy meal provided. I can’t stress just how important healthy eating is to me and I want my baby to be well catered for with a wide variety of healthy and nutritional foods.

I actually caught feeding time during my visit and it was good to see that the staff were at large and sat with the children, helping to feed when necessary. I also discovered that if Eleanor is still taking her milk, I can provide the nursery with breast milk for her and they would store a supply to give her as she wanted. It was really nice to see how the staff cared for the children and that the meal times were well organised and ran smoothly.

The nursery also has an online journal that is updated daily and gives parents the opportunity to check on what their child has been up to each day and of any news that is new to the nursery. There are day trips out to the local community and local parks and the children are encouraged to go out and play together.

Getting out is something which I too find very important and part of a healthy and active lifestyle. I’d hate to return to work and think that my baby was couped up inside all day, I do not feel that would provide a full release of energy and I imagine come time, Eleanor will be full of plenty of energy!

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I felt really content with the nursery and the whole running of it. I liked that healthy food was provided with plenty to choose from, there were staff at hand and the children can play outdoors and get on trips. It makes the day a bit more exciting and offers a little fun for Eleanor. The opportunity to meet and play with other babies will be real great for her and help with learning life lessons and her personal development,  such as sharing and kindness.

I have opted to register Eleanor for this Cove Bay nursery for the days in which she is not at the care of my Mum. I looked online for reviews and input from Mum’s for many nurseries, Clive included and this certainly came out near enough the top of my searches. I’m unsure where I will return back to work, the days of work I will be offered and what days my Mother can care for Eleanor but I’m happy and feeling a little more settled now that I have found a nursery for her to register with and attend for some sessions each month.

The nursery offers morning and afternoon sessions as well as full days, I think that to begin with, I may opt to have her attend for around three afternoon sessions per month. This will give a better idea of how it will all pan out before committing to any set plans and full days or weeks of care.

I will get to know how she is coming on with her sessions and if they are worthy for her development. If I were to think that her development was being hindered, I’d have to then rethink my plans and look to find a new replacement nursery.  However, I think that this could be a great day care centre for her and I felt really happy with my insight of the building and staff.

I’m thinking of it more as a taster right now, before devulgung in and going for full days right from the get go. I’d like to break her in easy, if not just for Eleanor, but for myself. I imagine waving her off to her day care will be a very upsetting experience. My baby will be growing up, drifting a little further from me to allow herself room to grow and mature into her own person.

Before attending her first session, parents are encouraged to meet with the staff and create a personalised profile for their child. This means that the staff will try to cater to your child’s needs and each child is seen as an individual with their own choices, strengths and weaknesses. The nursery work on the strengths and weaknesses of your child and allow them dedicated time to do the things which they favour. Your child isn’t seen as just a number, they are allowed to be their own person and encouraged to be the best version of themselves.

I think it is something quite powerful yet saddening when you send your first born off to nursery care. I know I will feel an element of guilt that I can’t be there with her each day forever and I will definitely see tears but it will be a proud moment all the same and I can’t wait to watch her grow into the most perfect little human.

I know that I still have time to cherish and treasure with Eleanor for now as she is only just five and a half months or twenty two weeks if you’d rather. I’m due to be back to work for mid May but will stretch it out to June if possible through use to annual leave. I’m desperate to hold onto the time that I have with her. I don’t want to let go. This is the first time and only time I will ever have with her to myself for such a long period and I’m not ready to wave goodbye just yet.

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Waving goodbye to baby will be tough and finding routine again – another new routine will take time. My return to work will be such an emotional rollercoaster. I will be once again, stepping into the unknown and I won’t have my daily companion by my side, she will be in day care or with her Grandmother and I don’t know how I will cope being at work and not at home raising her by myself.

It’s a daunting feeling that will hang above my head until the end of my leave period but I am certain that I have found the right day care for her and knowing she will be well cared for puts me at ease (a little). I’ll have to stop myself from calling my Mum or the nursery every few hours to check up on her,i just know it. With time, I’ll adapt as she will and it will get easier.

Until then, I’ll just hold her close for as long as I can. Unwilling to say goodbye to the newborn stage and those first months, those first moments that are, oh so precious.

Has anyone recently went back to work after having a baby? Any coping mechanisms for this new Mum who is afraid to let go? I feel guilty and fear to be leaving her,  I don’t know how I can work to get over this fear and just embrace this whole new and ever changing lifestyle that I have taken on?

This family life. My family life. My family.

Keren x

 

The hunt for the perfect dress. Diary of an unconventional Bride to be.

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I’m a self confessed shop addict with a love for the High Street. I favour the likes of Topshop, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, Mango and Free People to name a few.

My wardrobe and clothes drawers are bursting at the seams and refuse to close, this is no exaggeration and I boast a collection of probably around sixty dresses in a variety of shapes, styles, prints and colour. All hanging on top of one another in a big mess of clutter.

The thing is though, I’m all for casual wear and dresses you can team with boots, or trainers taking you from day to night. I don’t actually have a clue about wedding dresses or dressing for a wedding. Heels are also a no go, I own countless pairs as I can’t refrain from buying them, aren’t they gorgeous? but,  I can’t walk in heels to save my life. It’s shameful really.

A wedding dress, It’s never something I had plans for or thought about. I’ve never had the illusion of my dream dress float above my head. I didn’t expect I’d ever marry so I didn’t have to worry about the planning aspect that comes with a wedding or decision of choosing a dress to wear. Formal wear let alone Bridal wear is an unknown territory to me and where I know what styles look good on me causally, I don’t know what to picture myself in as a Bride.

I thought that I had the perfect dress tucked away but one look from my Mother’s face and I was instantly uninspired with it. With that notion and a look I will never forget, the hunt for a dress began. A new dress that I will be keeping all to myself until the day comes to get up and put it on. If I were to go by different reactions to different dresses and styles, I’d never settle on one that I like. It’s too off putting having the input of others.

Now, this is something not to be taken lightly. Where I want a small and intimate wedding event with a mere few family and friends, I still wish to wear a dress that flatters me and my personality but without the expense of a bridal dress. I want to look pretty and wear a dress that I can feel good in, a timeless item that I can return to and wear again and again. Much alike Keira Knightley and her wedding gown, only I won’t be rocking Chanel couture (and I don’t look like Keira either, sigh).

A wedding dress is certainly a dress that you want to remember for the rest of your life, hold so many memories of the special day each time you look at it. Now, that leaves big shoes to fill for any dress you buy that follows. Wether full on gown or simple pencil dress, it has to be perfect for me and our special day. I don’t want to look back in dismay for the dress I wore.

I’m a fashionista, I love clothes and putting outfits together, it comes easily to me and I find it fun but with the whole aspect of wedding dress hunting, I am struggling. I can’t find a dress that suits my shape or style.

A long gown is too long for my petite frame not too mention a little too formal for an otherwise informal ceremony. I think long gowns or long tuelle skirts just make me look frumpy and awkward. A short gown on a bad leg day could be a disaster and leave me looking more like a sausage roll than a glowing Bride. Not ideal.

Tuelle can be difficult to style and if you buy cheap, it looks cheap. A dress too white could look well, too white yet a dress with colour poses an issue with what flowers or shoes to match with, patterns can be too busy and aging. I don’t mind mis match, in fact, I quite like putting fabrics and patterns together that clash but for this day in particular I just want something that is one all over style and is easy to dress.

Two pieces, I like but it’s finding the perfect two piece. A satin skirt with a sequin crop? Too glamorous. A paper waist midi ball gown skirt and a cropped cardigan? Too 1950. I have seen real nice two pieces online from searching but the price can be crazy high, I’m excited to find the right style for me but I am not easy to please on this one. I don’t want to pay more for a dress than my whole wedding day, that would be silly, I’ll take the expensive shoes instead!

A drop waist I do like but the wrong style of drop waist could leave me looking shapeless. You have to be careful with length with a drop waist. So here is my issue,you see? What does the modern day Bride wear to her informal wedding day?

I don’t hold a budget specifically, but I don’t want to be paying crazy money for a dress that I may never wear again. A dress can be just as special without the price tag. As soon as you search tag with the word ‘Bridal’ you see prices increase.

I want something different yet acceptable to wear as a Bride, I don’t want too much glam as I’d feel really silly, it’s just not me. I need to wear something that feels like ‘me’ only a slightly more formal vision. I’ve scrolled Debenhams, Ghost, Zealand, ASOS bridal, Etsy and more.

So the hunt continues to finding the perfect dress. So far, I’ve returned two that I have been unhappy with, and I have two on order, waiting to test out. With that said, onto the next one, and the next one…

and the next one. Wish me luck, let’s see what I can come up with in the coming months. Here’s hoping I can find my dream dress and don’t end up looking like a glammed up sausage roll. Here’s to hours of hunting.

Keren x

 

Diving into the realms of a vegetarian diet.

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I’ve never been a big meat eater or a fan of meat. Growing up my family were not vegetarian and we were taught to eat what was given to us, whatever that may be. My Mum was big on home made, hearty meals. Mince and tatties, stews, stovies. All the classics.

However into adult life, and especially post partum my diet has changed substantially and I no longer opt to eat meat through choices and opinions of my own.

In recent years, I’ve come to not really enjoy cooked meals, meat included. I much prefer to snack through the day and eat foods such as pancakes, Cereals, fruits and nuts for meal times, skipping out key nutrients that my body requires.

Now that I have my Daughter and we are beginning the weaning process, I can’t stress to myself enough how important it is that she can see myself and Euan eating a healthy varied diet and take on good habits.

With this notion in place and keen to change my own dietary habits, I have decided to live life as a vegetarian. This will be of no difficulty to myself (and I’m not bragging by the way) I just mean that I would often opt for the vegetarian option when out for a meal or have something other than what Euan has at home when he eats a meat based meal. I love fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, breads and a variety of beans and lentils.

With the variety that is out there, I don’t think I’ll struggle to find foods to eat and have been living a vegetarian diet most days as it is, without the title of vegetarian over my head.

I really went off meat when pregnant, it was the icing on the cake to give the push to become a vegetarian. The smells, textures and tastes. I remember the nausea that came with the smells and I couldn’t bring myself to chew through certain foods. I realise I can’t live my life eating merely fruit, Yogurt and Bran flakes so through a vegetarian diet, I hope to gain nutrition and strength that my body lacks.

I am keen to make this dietary change a fun experience. To begin to cook more often, especially from recipe books. To pick a recipe, gather the ingredients and cook with Euan on a weekend. I’m quite excited to get stuck in and embrace the culinary experience.

I’ve never been a good cook and meals are kind of just slap up and quick plate fulls that you can’t really call a meal. I didn’t have a child to protect and tend to before now and so diet was not something I took good care of,  I mean, if I could get away with eating porridge oats and pancakes three times a day, I would!

Now, it is changed days and I find it so important to show Eleanor good habits and have her set for life and nourish her body through healthy eating. Of course a meat based diet is just as healthy as a vegetarian diet if followed with a good range of other foods, and I’m not against people eating meat but I just feel it is not right for me and I don’t want to raise my Daughter as a meat eater.

Getting busy in the kitchen is an inexpensive yet fun way to pass the time, especially with having Eleanor at home. The opportunity to go out and do as we please does not come so easily anymore so we need to find good habits and hobbies that we can have at home. I think cooking weekends are a great way to get back into the kitchen, learn to love food again and all the whole, teach Eleanor about food, balance and living a healthy lifestyle.

If anyone has good vegetarian recipe books or recipes, please add a comment at the end of the post. I’m keen to hear from you on this and take on board any ideas and help available. I want to make this a fun experience and have a good range of recipes and foods to try. Build up a bit of a portfolio on the kitchen o suppose. I know that not everything I make and try will be a success, there will be downfalls, disasters and foods that I hate but it’s all part of the fun. Of you would like my journey to be documented, let me know. I’m happy to share with you all.

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I am hoping to raise Eleanor as a vegetarian too, Euan is on board with this and keen to try living the same lifestyle of I can incorporate filling and nutritional meals without the need for meat. I think it makes sense to be in this together as a family and discover a whole new healthy lifestyle as a family and give our daughter, Eleanor the best start on life that we can offer.

If she later in life wishes to dabble into foods and try meat, I’m happy for her to try and to find her own feet, discover new tastes that she too can love. At this stage of her life though, I’m keen to take control and offer her as much nutrition and variety as I can without the addition of meat. With there being so much available at the markets in this day and age, I don’t feel that meat will make or break a diet. There are so many other alternatives that you can draw balance and key vitamins from to supplement the lack of meat.

I encourage the use of daily vitamins and have through my whole life. Currently I take omega 3, vitamin D and a multi vitamin. As I’m breastfeeding right now, Eleanor too gets the benefit of the vitamins but when she is not having her breast milk, I’d be keen to supply her with vitamin supplements suitable for her age. If anyone can recommend a good vitamin for children under two, please, fire away. I’m. Happy to take some ideas and advice.

So far we have made vegetarian pizzas from flat breads and added our own sauce and toppings. Sunday evenings cooking experience was Halloumi fajitas which I will be keen to make again and again. Fajitas can never get boring either, there’s a variety of sauces and vegetables that you can throw in the mix to keep them fun and new. Like I said, fire away any recipes you have that are vegetarian friendly. I’d love to hear from you all. I’m. Happy to try most things and have a strong love of fruit and veggies. If I make meals that look presentable enough, I’d be happy to share the results on my blog and give a wee review.

Remember, keep it simple, I’m new to this gig.

Keren x