21 . London
Mama to Dylan and (soon to be) Isla

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

It's been a while

The title of this post sums up everything I need to say, and it's obvious anyway, I haven't posted here since June.
All summer I thought about posting but something held me back, we've had a lot going on and it feels like there isn't enough time in the day to fit it all in, let alone sit down to concentrate on a blog post or YouTube video. But today I'm back and I'm not going to vanish again. I have posts to post and videos to record and we have several new journeys to embark on which are both exciting and terrifying. 
Dylan started nursery today so five mornings a week I have some one on one time with Isla and come nap time to time to myself and I'm looking forward to using that time to write and record the craziness that is our life.
This post isn't particularly interesting, I'm not using it to catch you up on our summer or our goings on and achievements, I'm just using it to say hi (again). 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

You'll have noticed that I keep promising to update my various social media platforms more then fail to actually do so. 
Partly this is to do with laziness and also a strange anxiety I seem to have developed regarding peoples expectations of my blog content (weird I know). But mostly it's because of this.
Quite out of the blue I've started a fledging business. I've mentioned it before and if you follow me on instagram you'll have been bombarded with my creations recently.
But this is what is taking up a decent chunk of my time these days. In general I have two, possibly three orders a week to make on top of making sure I keep the children alive and as a result this blog, and my youtube have suffered. I tend to find myself either making fondant toppers or doing design research in my spare time rather than sitting down and updating.
So as a peace offering to try and make up for my lack of posting, here are a few of my cakes, 

Dear Dylan

I've noticed that I've been so caught up in life that I haven't taken the time to sit and write recently. Living our lives is such a whirlwind these days that by the time you and Isla are asleep I can hardly keep my head up.
You turned three! And we had such an amazing weekend, so full of excitement and love, with your first birthday party where you invited your friends and enjoyed their company as we enjoyed the company of our friends and family.
Your party theme was pretty telling to how we spend most of our days now. Firemen!
You love Fireman Sam with a fierce passion that surprises most people you meet. You have all the engines and characters now, in fact our house is overflowing with fire engines of various different sizes and designs and most of your games revolve around some form of rescue.
Last week your friends next door had a fire in their house! I marvelled at you compassion, although there were thirty fire fighters right outside our window your first thought went to your friends. 
"I hope Sam and Elvis saved my friend Mummy"
Of course they did, we spotted them playing across the road safe as can be, and once assured they were fine you couldn't keep your eyes off the engines and fire fighters. They even invited you outside to talk to them and explore one of their fire trucks!

Days like that don't come around often, most of the time we spend out days exploring the world around us, crafting, shopping, going to playgroup, ballet or the park and running as fast as you can. And those days, normal days are amazing. Watching you learn and run and find excitement and freedom fills my heart with joy. And watching you embrace your sister as part of you life makes my heart feel like it could burst.
You're kind to her and mostly patient, even when she crawls over and ruins your games.
You share your toys (mostly) and her food and want to teach her everything that you know. She loves you so much, every time she spots you she makes a beeline for you. 

Watching your love for each other is beautiful. 

Right now we're waiting for the next step. 
We're waiting for your passport so we can go on holiday.
We're waiting for the confirmation of your place in your new nursery.
And we're waiting for the summer to finally come and stay so we can run wild in the woods and parks and meet new friends.

So far three has been kind to us. Although we're only a few weeks in you already seem bigger and more grown up.
Each year I learn so much more with you and about you. This year is set to bring a lot of change and I'm ready to hold your hand through it all.

love always
Mummy x

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Almost a year ago (well exactly a year ago from when I started writing this post but apparently I can't write and post an entry in one day) I decided that by his birthday Dylan would be putting himself to bed.
Up until that point every night he would nurse then have a small bottle of almond milk while sitting on me to fall asleep. With a new baby fast approaching I decided that this just wouldn't work and so I gave us seventeen days to crack bedtime. 
And we did. Within a week Dylan was going to bed in his own bed with a bottle of almond milk and falling asleep without a fuss. 
This lasted for a good eight months or so until a few nights falling asleep to movies on the sofa and Harrison being around for bedtimes threw a spanner in the works. Since then he refuses to self settle. Not only that, he takes a good ;5 minutes to settle with someone else in his room. Bedtimes are my least favourite time of the day these days. This new routine ensures that Isla is woken up at least twice, that we're all stressed and that Dylan doesn't go to bed time at least 9pm which leads to far less sleep than he needs and a grouchy toddler during the day.
So one again with his birthday looming I've vowed to crack bedtime. I've put my foot down, I will not go to bed with him. He can have a film on Netflix, his milk and a kids goodnight, but I will not go to bed with him.
Thus far, he's taken resettling but it's going smoothly. He's ready and able, bad habits just got in the way and aren't doing any of is any good.
Sleep training is not something I agree with but breaking bad habits is.

At the same time I've decided now is the time to tackle potty training. 
We started prior to Isla being born and we were doing well but after her arrival Dylan was adamant he needed nappies. It was generally accepted that this was just his way of expressing some anxiety about no longer being the only baby and so we went with it. But almost a year on its time for the transition.
Two days in we've had no accidents at all. And today, day three we're tackling pants. Not having instant and easy access to his potty and generally having a barrier in the way was where we faltered last time. 
Potty training is something I've always dreaded and was happy to leave it as long as I could, but having realised that Dylan was completely ready we didn't have too much of a choice.
It's a little like the blind leading the blind though as with most things when you're a parent. I don't know how Dylan will react to things and while some things come easily the next will be a nightmare.
But we have sixteen days left.
And I have full confidence in him.

On Peaches Geldof

I think that most people would be lying if they said that they weren't surprised when Peaches died.
A far cry from the girl she once was, Peaches had blossomed into a young woman, a young mother who used her voice to promote a natural way or parenting. Who loves and doted on her family and spoke gently of her past.
Currently we're still waiting for the inquest findings to be made public, but that hasn't stopped the media, and sadly much of my Facebook feed condemn the selfish mother who died of a heroin overdose like her mother.
Now, whether or not drugs were the cause of Peaches' tragic passing has become mostly irrelevant to me. Whatever the cause her death is no less tragic. The cause of her death does not take away the pain her friends and family are experiencing and it does not take away what she gave to the voice of natural parenting and especially young mothers.
However, what has become alarmingly apparent to me is just how much judgement people face. And not just those who are struggling with addiction. Those who struggle with mental health issues, their families and friends and those who support them. 
Today rather than question why a young woman, a doting mother who seemingly had everything would possibly be so desperate she would turn to drugs people have branded her selfish and a bad parent.
Instead of trying to understand the reasons people have taken the tragic outcome and spewed hate all over the internet.
So few people have spoken kind words, although that may be because those people don't feel the need to take their opinion to the internet as those who take a more negative view do.

In my opinion, if Peaches was struggling with substance abuse we should learn from her not condemn her. We should wonder why such a passionate young woman wouldn't seek help and rather struggle alone. Consider why anyone at all would struggle in secret. Although I feel I know the answer to that already.
Fear of judgement, fear of more guilt being piled on top of your already crippling guilt. Fear that maybe your children will be taken away. Fear that you may not be a fit mother.
Fear is far less crippling than an addiction to an addict.
Fear is far less crippling then starvation to an anorexic.

We should look at the situation as it currently stands with the judgement and stigma and hate and realise that this behaviour is exactly what breeds fear. It is exactly what stops people from reaching out for the help they need. It is exactly what keeps people indoors spiralling out of control until one day death interviens and then we can all pass judgement on how selfish that person was.

We should remember Peaches as the inspirational young parent she was, who admitted her mistakes and spoke openly about how difficult things could be but also of how beautiful life was with two young sons who she adored.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The direction of my blog seems a little wibbly wobbly right now and I think that's mostly to do with the inconsistency of my posting.
While I mostly put this down to every day life being jam packed, I've also noticed that when I'm under pressure and starting to suffer a little more at the hands of my depression and anxiety I tend to step back a little from my social media. While my Instagram is always active my other platforms tend to go a little quiet.
And while I no longer feel obliged to post as I used to, I miss it.

Right now I'm focusing on grounding myself once again and finding a solid footing on life. Isla's three months shy of turning a year old and I can honestly say it's only within the last month or so that I feel truly comfortable in our routine and my life as a parent of two. 
And within that time I've managed to start a small business quite out of the blue (watch out for my post about this). And through the craziness I've found peace.
But I'm still working on it. I'm and I'm still anxious. And there are still days when I don't want to face any of my responsibilities. 
And while I'm still finding my way through this my blog and my YouTube will continue to suffer.
But I'm working on it, along with myself.

I'm dedicating this spring and summer to finding my happy place. For years now I've been in a constant state of flux and I find myself even more desperately yearning for a solid footing in my life as an adult and a parent.

For now I'm going to settle on once a week and make it a goal. Once a week I will post something, be it about the children, baking, mental health or random thoughts about my personal progress along the path of self discovery.

Thank you for putting up with me for this long. I won't promise to be better, but I'll be more consistent.
Or I'll try.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Our cloth journey: from disposable to nappy stuffing.

Our cloth journey started later than with most people.
When I was pregnant with Dylan I dismissed cloth nappies as vaguely gross and definitely something I didn't want to do.
Nine months on I changed my mind after watching several 'internet friends' successfully use cloth and love it. I was also growing ever more conscious of how  many baby products were completely destroying my attempts to lead a more Eco friendly, natural life.

The switch to cloth wasn't as clean and simple as I imagined it would be. I had no idea about different brands or fits or types of nappy. And I was clueless about things such as liners, double stuffing, wash bags  and prefolds. So blindly into the fray we went ordering a few Gnappies and Itti Bitti's.
Maybe it was because we started later on when Dylan was already eating and drinking as well as breastfeeding but our successful no-leak days were few and far between. A change of clothes suddenly became a changing bag staple again because I just couldn't figure out how often Dylan needed changing. Night times also repeatedly resulted in a middle of the night change which given that Dylan didn't sleep through the night anyway wasn't disruptive, but I didn't enjoy our 3am nappy changes at all.
I hated having to rinse dirty nappies before putting them in the wash (touching poo has never been a strong point of mine) and it took months to find a detergent that removed any stains.
It took a month or so for us to get I to the swing of things. Morning nappies were always an Itti Bitti, during the day we'd use a gNappy and for nighttime a double stuffed gNappy. Rinsing nappies stopped being a big deal after I discovered flushable liners and unless he was at crèche he was happily in cloth.
But as with everything in life things change and you have to adapt.
All too soon cloth nappies were gone. By his second birthday no cloth nappy could stand up and fight against Dylan's liquid consumption. Prefolds and double stuffing no longer worked and so back into disposables it was.
I was sad but it was ok, Isla was about to arrive and I felt ready to tackle the world of newborn cloth and armed with a whole load of new birth to potty nappies I was in a dream world of cute cloth patterns.
It transpired that for a good eight weeks or so Isla was too small for her cloth so they stayed folded away in the cupboard. 
But all in good time they came out and we haven't looked back.
These days we use a mixture of itti bitti's, Gnappies, random prefolds and yellow bloom nappies. We also have a whole stash of *another brand that I can't remember right now but will go and check later and insert here* that I'm not a fab of at all and wish I hadn't wasted my money on. Mostly because of how bulky they are so despite being fine for night use, which is actually quite helpful so maybe I should be more forgiving about them, they're mostly redundant.
With Isla it's a lot easier. Maybe because the trial and error period happened with Dylan or maybe because we started when she was younger so have transitioned through different prefold folds and times between changes as she's grown.
While I still love my Gnappies I have newfound love for prefolds. They last longer than any other nappy we've tried and are so much cheaper than anything else.
And also the hugely affordable yellow bloom nappies. They come in a huge range if colours and patterns and as long as you change them regularly they hold up really well with no need (as of yet) to double stuff them.

The thing about cloth is the washing. You have different choices when it comes to washing cloth. You can either store them in a pail to soak till you build up enough to do a cloth only wash. Then wash on high (not so environmentally friendly) with some natural stain remover or you can just throw them in your usual wash and accept the fact that until you do an annual cloth wash with a stain remover your inserts will be vaguely stained for a while.
We tend to opt for the latter in our house. I don't like letting my nappies build up, I like to have them in a constant loop which means putting up with the stains for a few weeks, then once every six weeks I do a hot, stain removing cloth wash.

The other thing about cloth is how frequently you have to change them, a lot. As absorbent as cloth is it's no match for disposable nappies and if you don't change them you'll notice a soggy bottom or two (I watch way too much Great British Bake Off). While if you're transitioning from disposable to cloth this can be off putting I generally feel that disposable or not nappies should be changed every three hours anyway. A baby should go through at least five nappies a day just to make sure they aren't left sitting in a dirty nappy which is horrid for their skin for too long. Because it's less absorbent cloth demands this which can be difficult if you're out and about. We've had a few times where we've been stuck out and had some leaks but those are few and far between if you remember to change nappies before you get on a train/in a car/leave the restaurant.

Cloth, in my opinion is the best option for us. It's saved us an insane amount of money and removed so many chemicals from our lives. I mean, have you ever split open a disposable nappy and seen what's inside? 
Using cloth shouldn't be any harder than using disposable nappies, that's the beauty of it. You don't need to wash them differently, you don't need to store them in any special way or buy anything special to carry them in.
They're simple. And simplicity is always handy when you're juggling life and parenthood.