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Family, Lifestyle

45 things we did during #30dayswild

Throughout June we took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30wilddays initiative. The idea being that you do one ‘random act of wildness’ each day for the whole month. It wasn’t until I started writing down this list that I realised how many things we did. Nothing complicated, just quick and simple acts that helped us to enjoy nature and explore our surroundings. It’s been such a fun month and it’s really changed my outlook on life. (Yes, really.)

I thought I’d share what we got up to inspire anyone reading who would also like to incorporate a bit more ‘wild’ into their lives. Why wait until next year?!

1. Enjoyed the grass between our toes.

2. Listened to bird song.

3. Planted wild flowers.

4. Downloaded The Great British Bee Count app and logged some bees.

5. Had a mini beast hunt in the garden.

6. Went on a woodland walk.

7. Visited Westonbirt Arboretum.

8. Watched Spring Watch on the BBC.

9. Paddled in a stream.

10. Made a nature collage

11. Collected feathers

12. Went to the beach and played with sand and seaweed as well as paddling in the sea! (Brean)

13. Made a painting using feathers as paintbrushes.

14. Blew dandelions.

15. Went puddle jumping.

16. Photographed a bee (much trickier than I thought it would be!)

17. Climbed a tree.

18. Made daisy chain necklaces.

19. Went to Bristol’s Festival of Nature.

20. Got up, close and personal with an owl.

21. Had a BBQ/ate alfresco.

22. Hugged a tree!

23. Explored things that had fallen from trees.

24. Did a litter pick at the park.

25. Fed the ducks.

26. Drew and painted a picture of a gold finch.

27. Looked at spider webs.

28. Became a member of my local Wildlife Trust.

29. Watched the sunset.

30. Put a bug hotel in the garden.

31. Made a nature dreamcatcher (using sticks and feathers that we found).

32. Stacked stones on the beach.

33. Explored sea caves in Wales.

34. Did nature-inspired yoga poses in the garden.

35. Made a bee drinking station.

36. Looked at Jellyfish that had washed up on the beach. (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

37. Watched a diver bird try to catch lunch! (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

38. Played Pooh Sticks.

39. Watched the clouds.

40. Followed a Bee.

41. Went steam dipping.

42. Went butterfly spotting.

43. Discovered local nature reserves.

44. Climbed on boulders and shouted into the distance.

45. Got to know lots of other ‘wild’ enthusiasts through Instagram and Twitter.

If you took part in #30dayswild, I’d love to hear what you got up to?

 

Jenna xx

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pancake day fun with robinsons
Family, Food, Lifestyle

Pancake Day Fun with Robinsons

The lovely folks at Robinsons recently got in contact with us to ask if we’d be up for the challenge of creating some Robinsons Squash inspired pancakes this pancake day. Never one to turn down a challenge, especially one that involves pancakes, I said ‘Yes, please!’

First things first, we selected a range of fresh fruit from the supermarket including; lemons, mangoes, strawberries, kiwis and oranges (all of which are fruits that are used in Robinsons Squashes).

Robinsons Fruit Squash contains no added sugar, and a 250ml serving contains 5 calories or less.

Jasmine holding her ‘dinosaur egg’. :)

Once we had our selection of fruits prepared and Robinsons squash ready to enjoy (pancake making is thirsty work) we set about making our tasty pancake creations.

This was the first year that Jasmine could really get stuck in with making the pancakes with us. She loved helping me weigh out our ingredients, prep the fruit and she quickly became Chief Whisker! We opted to make fluffy American-style pancakes using this recipe and they were THE best pancakes we’ve ever had.

 

Jasmine opted to load up her pancake with mango and strawberries.

Some of the strawberries never made it as far as the pancakes though! ;)

Stephen tucking into a strawberry pancake with added chocolate sauce (naughty!) and sprinkles. Or “sfinkles” as Jasmine calls them. Elowen looked quite jealous. You’ll have to wait a few more months yet, Baby Girl!

I enjoyed some Strawberry and Kiwi Robinsons squash – there’s real fruit in every drop!

Tucking in!

Oh so delicious!

We were kindly sent some bottles of Robinsons Fruit Squash in 3 different flavours – so here’s our 3 squash inspired pancake toppings:

Stawberry and Kiwi

Lemon – you can’t beat a good ol’ traditional lemon pancake!

Orange and Mango

What do you think of them? Which flavour do you think you’d like best?

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Family, Photography

The Home Life Project {February 2017}

Wow, I cannot believe I’ve already taken part in my second month of The Home Life Project (hosted by Clare). We’re a little late to the party again this month as we were away from home last week, house hunting in Bristol.

It was a slow, chilled out family day as often is the case at the weekend. We didn’t do much except take a trip to the cinema and then head back home to relax for the rest of the day.

I still feel like I’m fighting a losing battle against the crappy winter lighting (or lack thereof) but hey, Spring is in sight. There are still a few photos here that I’m proud of and I am so glad I’ll have them to look back on.

Date photos were taken: Sunday 12th February 2017

Camera used: Canon G7X

Edited using: VSCO App

I woke up and pulled back the curtains to see the houses outside dusted in snow. It’s been snowing for a few days here in Suffolk but until now it hadn’t settled.

Well, at least somebody gets a lay in!

Trying to think of a non-self-deprecating caption for this photo. I can’t so I’ll move on…

Ahh, Sunday mornings… waking up slowly to the sweet sound of you daughter playing the… oh no wait. This toy sounds HIDEOUS.

My second ‘reflection’ photo of the day. I feel I’m cheating a little by using a mirror but look… cute baby!!

Heidi the snow dog.

Daddy and daughter snuggles. And a less than flattering photo of my hubby’s giant feet.

Remember last month I said I hoped our ‘For Sale’ sign would be a ‘Sold’ one in February’s photos? Hurrah!

A family trip to the cinema to see Trolls.

Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos during the latter half of the day. I was so exhausted from night feeds that I went to have an afternoon nap with Elowen and the next thing I knew we woke up at dinner time! But whatcha gonna do? My aim next month is to stay awake the whole day! ;)

Post-nap snuggles with Elowen.

A game of pirates before bedtime.

Goodnight!

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I’d love to know which photo is your favourite from this month’s bunch?

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Home Life Photography Project
Family, Motherhood

Life Lately:
Selling up, coping with two and a career change

Selling up:

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve really struggled with being lonely and isolated over the last couple of years. Motherhood can be lonely at the best of times but living hundreds of miles away from my support network has been incredibly difficult. I think it was the main factor in me developing antenatal depression whilst pregnant with Elowen. I’ve been desperate to move back down to the South West, closer to my friends and family, for so long. Finally, at long last, the wheels are in motion. We put our house up for sale over Christmas and last week we accepted an offer. I’m trying not to let myself get too excited because I know that selling and buying houses is rarely straightforward, things happen – buyers drop out, sales fall through – but we’re on the right track. Keep everything crossed for us, please.

‘Coping with two’:

We’ve been a family of four for over two whole months and I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things now. Whilst pregnant with E, I worried so much about how I would cope with two children (probably because I was in such a bad place, mentally). I didn’t believe I was cut out for it. But you know what? I feel more capable as a mother than I ever did before. It’s as if, with the birth of my second child came this new found confidence and belief in myself. I wouldn’t just ‘cope’ with two. I’d thrive. I’ve come to accept that I don’t always get it right but I am, undoubtedly, always trying my best. And my best will always be good enough.

Don’t get me wrong, adjusting to having two children is hard. There are days when I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve fallen asleep whilst sat upright playing dinosaurs with Jasmine (genuinely) or I’ve googled “Can you die from tiredness?” (genuinely). Some days, both girls will be crying at the same time and I still haven’t worked out who I should be dealing with first. Some days I want to lock myself in the bathroom and not have a 2-year-old ask me to fetch her a snack for the millionth time that morning. Or have my nipples yanked every which way by the mouth of a fussy baby. But they are just some days. The rest of the time I am so utterly besotted with my two girls and I could not imagine life being any other way. I’m embracing the chaos.

A career change: 

I’ve never really mentioned much about my work life before children on my blog before. But for those who don’t know, I’m a qualified Youth Worker and for a while that’s what I did for a living. When I moved to the other side of the country to move in with Stephen, I struggled to find paid work in the Youth sector and so I ended up bumbling through several dead-end (mostly retail-based) jobs before becoming a mum. I didn’t mind all that much, I liked going to work, doing what I had to do and coming home and thinking no more about it. I’ve never been particularly career minded. Work was a means to an ends as far I was concerned. As time went on I realised that actually, I wasn’t really missing being a youth worker. Yes it was rewarding (most of the time) but once I had children of my own, my focus was on them and I was less keen to spend my evenings being spat at and called unrepeatable things by a group of angry-at-the-world-and-all-who-sail-in-her teenagers (it wasn’t always like that but you know, it did happen).

I decided I wanted to be at home with my own children until they were both at school and that’s still very much the case. I’ve spent most of my adult life looking after other people’s offspring, I kinda want to take this time to be there for my own. And I realise that I am very, very fortunate to be able to do that. (I won’t say ‘lucky’ because my husband works hard to support us and allow me to be a SAHM – that’s not ‘luck’.) I’ve been very conscious of how quickly the time has been going and before I know it the girls will both be at school and that’s got me to wondering. What do I want to do for a job when that happens? I was worried I would never really feel that there was a particular career path for me – one that I’d feel passionate about. One that would have me jumping out of bed in the morning. I felt destined to continue going from dead-end job to dead-end job until I retired because it ‘brought in a little extra cash’. Which, in times like these, does make a difference. I think we’re all feeling the pinch and I suspect with Brexit and alike, things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But lately I’ve found myself wanting more for myself. I don’t just want ‘a job’ – I want a career. I want the opportunity to learn and grow.

This week I had a lightbulb moment. On the verge of turning 30 years old, I finally realised what I want to do ‘when I grow up’. It’s been staring me in the face for so long and whilst the thought of following this path had occurred to me the past, I brushed it off as ‘impossible’ because I wouldn’t be good enough at it, or be able to make it work around my family, or there would be people better at it than me… These excuses had always stopped me in my tracks. I was paralysed by self doubt.

A twitter friend, Nicola, recently recommended an audio book to me – ‘You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life’ by Jen Sincero. You’ve gotta love that title, right? Well anyway, I dutifully downloaded the audio book to my phone and began to listen to it whilst doing chores around the house. At first I found it a little cheesy. But by chapter six I had an epiphany, my light bulb moment. I stopped whatever it was I was doing, I paused the audio book and I just sat with happy tears streaming down my face. It’s at that moment I decided I wanted to become a Birth Doula and not only that, but I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. 

Since then I’ve been researching courses, making contacts and coming up with plans. I don’t want to waste any more time talking myself out of this.

I can’t think of anything better to do as a ‘job’ than helping women through their pregnancies and labours. It wouldn’t just be a job. It would be a privilege. And an opportunity for me to learn and grow.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about becoming a Birth Doula over the coming months and years. I’m thinking about maybe even starting a separate blog for that – it would great to record my journey.

But for now I am so very, very excited.

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Family, Letters to my girls, Motherhood

Letters to my girls {January 2017}

 

 

I want to tell you how proud I am of you. You’ve taken to being a big sister so well – better than I ever could have hoped for. From the moment you walked into our bedroom that morning to find our newest member of the family laying on the bed, you have been obsessed with her. Several times a day you will ask me to let you hold Elowen. You sit on the sofa, hold your arms out together expectantly and say “I hold baby!” I place her in your arms and you tilt your head to look at her. “Hello Eh’wen! Hello sweetie. You’re sooo cute!” You say in a high-pitched ‘baby talk’ voice that I thought only adults were capable of.

You are so proud of your baby sister and you love to show her off to just about anyone. Not a day goes by where you haven’t gotten the attention of a stranger to say “Look – my baby!” Every time I pick you up from nursery, when you spot me standing in the doorway with Elowen, you run over to us and it’s her you are most pleased to see. “Baby, my baby!” you shout. “Look, it’s my sister!” you announce to the nursery staff, as if they had never seen her before. My heart bursts.

I know it hasn’t been easy for you, adjusting to sharing me. Trust me, it’s been hard for me too. I miss that we don’t get any one-on-one time anymore but this won’t be forever. It’s just that Elowen is so dependent on me right now (I’m exclusively breastfeeding) and I know it must be so frustrating for you that I’m always saying “In a minute, Jasmine” or “Not right now, I’m feeding baby.”

Despite all of this, you have never taken your frustrations out on Elowen. Yes, you get upset. Yes, you start to act like a baby yourself at times. And of course, you have tantrums (you are still only two-years old, after all). But you have showed nothing but kindness to your sister and I don’t think it’s ever occurred to you to be anything but gentle to her. (We’ll see how long that lasts when she starts stealing your toys!)

You often get quite upset if Elowen is crying. “Oh no poor Eh’wen. She’s shying!” You’ll tell me, as if I hadn’t noticed the wailing. “You need to calm baby up, Mummy” (I love this turn of phrase of yours). You are so incredibly caring. Elowen is lucky to have you as a big sister.

You have become so chatty over the last few months. I love the utter randomness that you come out with. There’s never a dull moment when you’re around. You like to pretend you’re a superhero and will charge around the house shouting “I’M SUPER SPEEDY!” Which, is pretty accurate to be honest.

Last weekend I took you the cinema for the second time to watch Storks. The last time I took you to see a film I was still pregnant and I remember feeling sad that we wouldn’t be able to have these mummy/daughter dates anymore once the baby arrived. I realise now that I was being silly. OK, so it’s not quite the same now that it’s the three of us but it doesn’t mean our mummy/daughter dates are any less special. I held Elowen on my lap whilst we watched the film (she slept through the whole thing) and every now and again you would turn to us, lean over and kiss her on the head. Clearly you are less bothered about sharing me than I sometimes think you are.

Every day I marvel at how cool, funny and beautiful you are. Although I’m not allowed to say any of those things out loud because you do not take compliments well! The other day you corrected me after calling you ‘cute’. “No mummy, I’m not cute. I’m spiderman.” I think that sums you up perfectly.

I love you, Spiderman.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

 

 

 

Or should I say Smooshy? As that is what I’ve nicknamed you – sorry about that!

You are such a mummy’s girl. I don’t know if it’s because I’m breastfeeding or it’s just the way you are – but you are one clingy baby. You cannot bear to be more than a couple of metres away from me. Poor Daddy gets frustrated that he cannot ‘calm you up’ like mummy can. And when you first started smiling – they were reserved only for me. That’s changed now though, I’ve caught you giving huge gummy smiles to strangers on the bus stop! Although, we all know you give your biggest smiles out to your sister.

Although I have started putting you in your co-sleeper cot when we go to bed at night, every morning I wake up with you in my arms. We’re both happier with that arrangement. You will spend most of your life sleeping in your own bed so I’m going to soak up those sleepy snuggles for as long as I can. (I guess this whole ‘clingy’ thing is mutual, huh?)

You will, almost certainly, be my last baby. Because of that I’m finding the speed at which you are growing a little unbearable at times. I’ve a bin bag full of outgrown baby clothes that I keep meaning to donate to charity… and yet, can’t quite bring myself to do it. The thought of it makes me feel physically sick. It’s silly really, keeping a load of too-small-for-you baby grows doesn’t achieve anything.  But I’m not ready to let them go.

I don’t like comparing you to your sister because you are two separate people. But it’s funny how differently I’m parenting this time around. At this stage with Jasmine, I’d already started implementing a bedtime routine which involved a bath every night. I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve given you a bath since you were born. Rest assured, you smell devine. Well, most of the time anyway! ;)

But seriously, routine schmootine. This time I’m just rollin’ with it…

You have recently started to coo when you smile and it sounds like you are on the cusp of producing a giggle. You are such a happy, little soul.

As I write this letter, you are asleep on my lap. I’m listening to you snore and I cannot imagine life without you. Daddy often asks why his snoring doesn’t have the same effect on me!

Elowen, you are the baby that I had been waiting for. You have brought so much joy to our family.

Thank you for making Jasmine a big sister.

Thank you for giving me and your daddy another reason to look at each other say ‘Aren’t we lucky?’.

Thank you for making me the happy, content and confident mama that has always been lurking within me. You’ve brought her to the surface.

Buckle up my girl, because our adventures have only just begun…

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Family, Photography

The Home Life Project {January 2017}

I took part in Claire’s brilliant Home Life Project last January and had every intention of taking part each month. Except I didn’t, and I really am kicking myself about that. Since then a lot has happened, most notably- we have a new member of the family! We are now a family of four after welcoming our gorgeous girl Elowen into the world back in November.

This year brings with it even more big changes for us (we don’t do things by halves). Our house is currently up for sale as we’re planning to move down South. Stephen will be working remotely for the company he currently works at. And I’ll be back living closer to family and friends – the support network I’ve been lacking for the last few years. Exciting times ahead!

With all this in mind, I am even more determined to take part in this project for the rest of the year. I want to capture our beautiful, ordinary and mundane moments in what will be our last few months in this house. The house we brought our first child home to and where I gave birth to our second. Equally, I’m excited to capture snippets of our lives as we settle into our new home. (Wherever that ends up being!)

Date photos were taken: Saturday 14th January 2017

Camera used: Canon G7X

Edited using: VSCO App

I wake up to find that Stephen is already downstairs with Jasmine. I feed Elowen and then enjoy some post-milk sleepy snuggles with my littlest lady. I’m soaking up that baby smell. I never thought I could love a photo where I have messy, greasy hair so much. But I really love this photo.

It’s not long before the peace is disturbed. Jasmine climbs into bed and hides under the covers. She is a bundle of energy this morning.

I went to have a shower. It got hijacked. Left her to it. (She’s ‘cleaning the window’ with Daddy’s shower gel!)

At 10am we have a potential buyer coming to view our house. We spare them the chaos and head out for a walk so they can view the house in peace. I really hope that come next month, when I take part in the next Home Life Project weekend, this will be a ‘Sold’ sign.

Elowen is dressed for the cold weather. And yes, she always looks this petrified.

It was super chilly outside but we enjoyed the glorious sunshine.

My Tribe. :)

Tummy time. Nailed it!

Clearly all that tummy time was tiring work. E falls asleep on the sofa and is sparko for several hours.

Smush! ❤❤❤

Stephen goes food shopping. Elowen is still asleep. Jasmine asks to play with her train set so we have a bit of mummy/daughter time.

Watching ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ for the millionth time since Christmas.

Bedtime stories with Daddy. Jasmine’s clearly knackered as she lays there quietly listening to the story. (She normally talks over us!) The soft toy pile at the end of the cot seems to be growing bigger every day. I’m pretty sure I can see some of her baby sister’s toys in there. The scamp!

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So there we have it, my first set of Home Life photos of the year! There’s plenty of room for improvement and I did the best I could with the rubbish lighting (let’s face it, this time of year sucks for indoor photography). I’m already looking forward to next month!

I’d love to know which photo is your favourite from this month’s bunch?

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Home Life Photography Project
Family, Food, Lifestyle

Dinner Diaries #1

I thought I’d share something a little different on my blog today – a meal diary! I think meal planning posts and food grocery hauls are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. I, personally, love reading these kind of posts. Probably because, in our family, it’s my job to plan our meals and do the weekly online food shop. I’ve noticed that over the last few months (excluding Christmas) I’ve been stuck in somewhat of a meal planning rut. Sometimes it’s hard to think up new meal ideas to keep things interesting but I’m hoping that by doing these ‘Dinner Diary’ posts regularly, it will help me to be a bit more adventurous. Hopefully these posts might even help others who also find themselves struggling for meal ideas.

Now, I have only included our weekday meals as we tend to have ‘something Mexican’ on Saturdays and a roast dinner on Sundays. I should also point out that Stephen and I tend to eat dinner together during the week, after Jasmine has gone to bed. (Although she will often have a leftover portion of our meals for dinner the next day).

Bear in mind that we do have a 7-week-old and a (fussy) toddler so lately I’ve been going for ‘simple meals’. As much as I love doing it – I currently don’t have the time or inclination to cook completely from scratch. I also don’t claim to eat uber healthily either – although I try my hardest to incorporate plenty of veg!

Anyways, enough rambling – here’s our 5 weekday meals from last week…

Monday:

Lasagne with Garlic Bread and Spinach

Tuesday:

Minted Lamb Grills with New Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables with Mint Gravy

Wednesday:

Jerk Chicken Drumsticks with Corn on the Cob and Golden Vegetable Rice

Thursday:

Pulled Pork in Brioche Buns with Potato Wedges and Side Salad

Friday:

Meat-free Chicken Style Kievs with New Potatoes and Mixed Green Vegetables

I’d love to know – what is your favourite ‘go-to’ easy midweek meal?

Do you also find yourself in meal planning rut?

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Family, Homebirth, Pregnancy

Introducing Our Rainbow Baby: Elowen Faye

I’m very pleased to announce the safe arrival of our beautiful Rainbow Baby, Elowen. She arrived on Sunday 20th November (the day before her due date) at 7.55pm, weighing 8lbs 4oz. She was born at home (as planned) on the living room floor. Myself, Stephen and big sister Jasmine are absolutely smitten.

I cannot wait to share Elowen’s Birth Story with you all. In the meantime, I’ll be adjusting to life as mum of two little people (I still cannot believe I have another daughter) and getting to know my newest little lady!

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Baby, Baby Button Nose, Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy, Toddler

Life Lately: The Calm Before the Storm

With less than one month to go until Baby Button-Nose’s due date, I thought it would be nice to sit down and just write. Not about anything in particular but whatever springs to my mind in a period that I’m currently calling the ‘calm before the storm’. Before our lives change again. Before we become a family of four.

Yesterday we had our house deep cleaned in preparation for a homebirth and regardless of whether or not that’s the kind of birth I end up having, I’m glad we’ve had it done. It’s just another one of those things that make me feel a little more ‘ready’. I’m a bit of a clean freak at the best of times so you can only imagine what I’m like when I get into nesting mode. However, I’ve realised that I need to start taking it easy – this pregnancy has been so much harder on my body. Some days, walking up the stairs is a real struggle due to hip and back pain so scrubbing walls and floors myself isn’t an option. I have been going crazy with my label maker though – now that’s my kinda nesting!

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As the cleaners were working in our house for 6 hours, I decided it would be best for me and Jasmine to go out somewhere, to get out of their way. I thought it would be fun to take Jasmine to the cinema for the first time (if you don’t count the Big Scream showings I took her to when she was a baby). I was a little nervous as although I know she is able to sit and watch a whole film at home, I’m wasn’t sure how she’d behave at the cinema. Especially as she seems to have developed a fear of the dark. I booked tickets to a Junior showing of Ice Age: Collision Course which only cost £3.60 for the both of us (bargain!) so I figured if she played up or wasn’t keen on being there – we’d just go to the park instead and there was no real loss.

I needn’t have been so worried because she was as good as gold – sat through the entire film perfectly. She’d occasionally get excited and shout something like “Look mummy, a hotcano! Look everybody, a hotcano!” (That’s a volcano to you and me.) She munched her way through a big bag of popcorn whilst I spent most of the film watching her watch the film. I couldn’t stop from smiling. I also felt a little sad that our days alone together are numbered. Having another baby is so bittersweet. On the one hand, I cannot wait for Jasmine to meet her sibling and become a big sister but on the other, I will miss our time together, just the two of us.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

We had our annual visit to Undley Pumpkin Patch at the weekend (we’ve gone there every year for the last 3 years). It’s only when I look back at our photos of our visits that I realise just how much Jasmine has grown and changed. This will probably be our last ever visit to this particular pumpkin patch as we are relocating back to the South West early next year. I’m sure we’ll be able to find somewhere just as awesome to pick our pumpkins!

undley-pumpkin-patch-3-year-collage

I’m not sure how much Jasmine understands about the ‘baby in mummy’s tummy’. We try to talk to her about the baby but it’s a lot to take in for a 2.5 year-old. Hell, sometimes I can barely get my head around it. To think that I’m growing a brand new human inside of me – it boggles the mind. I do think Jasmine understands more than I give her credit for though – the other night she pointed at my tummy and said “baby”, completely unprompted. When asked “Do you want a brother or a sister?” which tends to be something that family, neighbours and strangers ask her a lot. She’ll either reply “no” (oh.), or more often than not, “a baby brother”. No pressure then.

She’s also become quite protective over me, shouting “my mummy” at strangers in the supermarket. As if she suspects the lady buying milk and baked beans is going to pick me up and carry me away. To be fair, she reacts the same way with the toy cars at playgroup. (“My cars!”) But at least there, the threat is real. You’re gonna have to learn to share real soon, baby girl!

noo-laugh-bw

I should probably touch upon my mental health, seeing as I’ve written about it a fair amount on blog over the last few months. I’m still taking my anti-depressants and I feel like I’m currently in a good place. Yes, I feel quite anxious at times but at 36 weeks pregnant, I think that’s perfectly normal. On the whole, I am excited about meeting our newest addition and whilst I know it’s going to be a big adjustment. I feel I will be able to cope – and if I can’t, I won’t be afraid to ask for help.

I ordered our last few baby essentials last night. I’ve packed our ‘just in case’ hospital bags. Put a box together for my homebirth. Bought biscuits for the midwives! Written a birth plan.  And so I’m feeling as ready as I’ll ever be.

There are a few things I’d like to do before baby arrives such as have a dental check-up (joy!), get my bump Henna’d and treat myself to a haircut and some reflexology. Time is of the essence so I need to get a move on!

Any advice for a soon-to-be mummy of two?!

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Family, Featured, Motherhood

On toddler groups and why they are NOT the answer I’m looking for…

I had my 16 week midwife appointment the other day. Leading up to it, I had played the whole thing out in my head several times. The bit where she asks “and how has your mood been?” and I casually lie “Oh fine” and we move swiftly on to checking my wee or blood pressure.

Except it didn’t happen like that. When asked how my mood had been lately, I felt my eyes fill with tears and my face get hot. “Up and down” I replied. And then I broke down. I sobbed as I blurted out about how I am struggling to cope with feelings of isolation and loneliness. How I don’t have any support network. How I hate living in this town. How I tell my husband every. single. day but he just doesn’t get it. How I have no idea how I’m going to cope with two children.

The midwife passed me a tissue and looked at me sympathetically. She then asked if I took Jasmine to toddler groups to which I told her “yes, most weeks we’ll go to them”. My heart sank because baby and toddler groups are not the answer I’m looking for. In the last two years since having Jasmine I feel like I have given those groups a ‘good go’ – we’ve done baby sign, baby massage, visited the play sessions at the local children’s centres, sang hymns at toddler church groups (I’m very much an atheist), met fellow mums off the internet for cups of tea. I can, hand on heart, say that I have tried to ‘put myself out there’ and make connections with people. But, for whatever reason, it just didn’t really happen.

I made a couple of mum friends when Jasmine was a baby who I saw regularly but as soon as they returned to full-time work I stopped hearing from them. That’s OK, I get that. I’m busy, they’re busy – life goes on.  I probably didn’t make as much effort to get in touch either. I felt guilty for even asking to take up any of their ‘free time’.

But honestly? I’m now at the point where I’m bored of trying. I’m tired of trying to make conversations with strangers. I’m fed up of hoping and wishing people might just like me enough to want to hang out sometime. It’s exhausting trying to build up a support network from scratch. And after 3 years of trying (that’s how long I’ll have lived here in July), I have nothing to show for it. NOTHING. I’m embarrassed by that and I feel like a total failure. People move to different parts of the country all of the time and they seem to make it work. They make connections. Why haven’t I? It’s a question I ask myself a lot.

The problem is, I don’t think I’m ever going to find what I’m looking for at toddler groups. They’re great for Jasmine and that’s why we still go to them. But going to toddler groups won’t stop me from feeling isolated and lonely.

What I need is support. Not small talk from other mums about toddler tantrums and potty training every Thursday morning over a cup of tea and some stale biscuits. That’s no more stimulating than talking to the Tesco delivery man about the weather (which is often the only adult conversation, other than with my husband, that I have all week). I need more than that. So much more.

I need people around me who love me. I need genuine connections with people who like me for being me. Not for being mum to someone who is the same age as their own child. Does that make sense? I want my old friends. The ones I’ve known for years – the ones that came before motherhood. But I feel so far away from them.

I want to move back to Bristol and it’s just not going to happen anytime soon – if at all.

I feel trapped here. Completely and utterly trapped.

I don’t want to look back on these early years of motherhood and remember nothing but how sad and lonely I was. But I fear that could end up being the case if things continue the way they are now.

Jasmine’s just woken up from her nap and is throwing things out of her cot so I need to go and be ‘mum’ again now. I wish I could say I feel better for writing this but I don’t. I’m still no closer to finding a way of making things better for myself and my mental health. I just know that going to ‘Rhyme time’ isn’t going to solve these issues. And I only wish people would stop suggesting that it would.

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