Four years

Four years ago today I met the love of my life. Never could I have imagined the journey we were just beginning that day. We’ve crammed quite a lot in over these last few years, in the last 12 months alone we have bought a house, become owners of a gorgeous puppy, got engaged and brought an amazing little girl into the world. I feel so incredibly privileged to be with Stephen and share this life together. I’m a very lucky lady indeed.

Here’s just a few reasons why my fella is definitely ‘a keeper’…

  • We have always been on the same wave length and even from the first day we met we could finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes we freak ourselves out with how similar our thoughts are. We even bought each other the same Christmas present once! 
  • He takes such good care of me – when I was in my first trimester with Jasmine and was pretty damn sick, Stephen went to the supermarket and bought 5 (FIVE!) different types of ginger biscuits. I think they were a panic buy really but it did make a very poorly pregnant lady smile. Even pre-pregnancy I was always offered foot rubs in the evening (my job involves A LOT of standing up) and back massages whenever I liked. He’s not half bad at them either. 
  • Stephen always says he loves nothing more than cooking me nice meals which is good because I love nothing more than eating them! He’s making one of my favourites tonight, carbonara! 
  • Watching him with Jasmine makes me melt – he adores his little girl. I loved listening to him read her bed time stories when she was still a bump. Every day since Jasmine arrived he’s told her that she’s beautiful “just like mummy”. ❤ 

I cannot wait to be Stephen’s wife and continue on this journey together. I wonder what else the future holds for us…
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What’s in my make-up bag

I certainly don’t intend for this to be a beauty blog (I’ll leave that to the beautiful people) but I know that you don’t have to be an expert in make-up to appreciate a good nosey in somebody else’s stuff! I love reading ‘What’s in my make-up bag’ posts as it’s always fun to read about new products to try so here’s mine…
I was pretty late to the ‘wearing make-up’ party as I grew up as a bit of a tomboy. Whilst most girls my age were practising the art of applying eye liner I was in the woods with my brother and our friends making dens. I even remember my mum once asking me when I would like to start wearing bras. “Never!” I snapped back at her. In my late teens I allowed myself to become a little more girly and thankfully I now recognise the benefits of a good bra! I also started wearing make-up, usually electric blue mascara and some garish coloured eye shadow because I thought it was cool. It was cool, right?
I adore watching my friends put on their make-up before a night out, something about it just fascinates me – the faces they make as they put on their mascara or as they circulate their blusher brushes around the apples of their cheeks whilst making a fish face. However, whilst it’s OK for me to gawp at my mates beautifying themselves, I can’t stand to put make up on in front of people. It’s always seemed like a really private thing for me. I’m not too sure why? I feel nervous when I see girls apply make-up whilst sat on the train because one jolt of the carriage whilst applying lipstick could end in them looking like an Adam and the Ants tribute act and also I could never put make-up on in a public place like that!
These days I like to keep to a relatively natural look so I have just a few key products that I use:
First up is Garnier Skin Naturals Hydrating Day Care moisturising cream. You know the old ‘If you were stuck on a desert island what items would you take with you’ question? Well, this would be on my list of items. I’ve bought this same cream for the last few years and refuse to use anything else to moisturise my face. I’ll use it after having a shower and/or before putting on make-up. It’s so refreshing and that little tub will last me ages. Price: £3.60
Then we have my foundation which is Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid – Nude 021. It’s nice and light and doesn’t make me feel like I’m putting on war paint also I think this shade suits my skin tone. Price £8.19
After putting on my foundation I like to use Boots Natural Collection Pressed Powder (WARM) – as I am prone to looking like Captain Shiny Head without it and trust me, it’s not a good look. Price £1.99
Next up, Maxfactor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush – I will never, ever use powder blush again. This stuff is amazing and has lasted me ages, as you can probably just about see from the photo the plastic case is shattered and falling apart but I will use this blusher till death do us part. I love it. Price £6.00
I’ll then move onto my eyes by curling my lashes (never understood why people did this until I tried it for myself!) and applying Boots Natural Collection LashBuild Mascara (In Black – oh how things change!) This mascara is good value and I’ve never really gotten on that well with more expensive brands of mascara. I don’t really want my eyelashes to look like spider’s legs. *shudders* Price £1.99
Finally, and this is something I’ve only started using recently – Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil 002 Hazel. I’m quite fair haired and in the summer months my eyebrows get lighter and lighter until they just look bizarre. I googled my problem and saw that lots of other ladies had the same issue and there were quite a few recommending this range of pencils so I ordered one for a few quid and it has now made its way into my little bag of make-up essentials. Price £2.89
For the finishing touch I use Boots Natural Collection Lipgloss – Sherbert Fizz. Even if I’m not wearing anything else on my face, I will normally always stick this in my bag as it makes my lips look the same colour as strawberry milkshake and it tastes nice. Price £1.99

And that’s it!
I tend to only wear make-up a few times a week max – probably less now I have a baby. I’ve never wanted to be one of those women that rely on it and can’t leave the house without being plastered in foundation. I just wear it when I’m in the mood and when I’m not, I don’t – simple as that.
Have you written a make-up bag blog post? Please leave a comment with the link so I have a gander!
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Going home

If you’ve read my previous posts then you will know that aside from my mum living all the way in New Zealand, the rest of my family and friends are based 195 miles away in Bristol which is where I was born and raised. When I moved away from the city it was always my intention to go back home as often as possible. In reality, it is a lot harder to get back there on a regular basis but now that Jasmine is here I am going to try even harder to get back to Bristol as much as I can. I want to share Jasmine with the people I love and likewise I want them to be part of her life.
This weekend, at almost 6 weeks old, Jasmine met my Dad, brother and friends for the first time. Better late than never.
Here’s some of my favourite photos from the weekend (I got a bit snap happy!):
Jasmine’s got her hat on, she’s coming out to play!
We tried to cram as much in as possible each day. On Saturday the weather was glorious so first on the agenda was a dog walk with some friends…
Cuddles with (Fake) Auntie Laura
Cuddles with (Fake) Auntie Sarah
That’s right, there was a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer on fake aunties (every kid has them!) as Laura and Sarah are identical twins! 
L & S with their pooches – Bella and Spencer
Laura is a neonatal nurse and Sarah works as a nanny so they’re great for little hints and tips when it comes to looking after tiny humans! 
I think this might be our first proper family photo!
Next up – Stephen, Jasmine and I met up with my best friends Jeni and Jodie for ice creams and sandwiches in the park…

I adored watching my bezzie mate Jeni hold Jasmine. It was the first time she’d held a newborn baby. I think she looks like a natural! :)
Jodie having cuddles with a rather windy Jasmine.
❤ Love these girls! ❤
Later that evening (after a little siesta back at the hotel and a shower to freshen up!) all 7 of us met up again to go for a meal at Frankie and Bennys. It was a brilliant end to fabulous summer day with some of my favourite people. 
A post-frankie and bennys girly snap sans Stephen and Jasmine.
A visit to my Dad’s house to meet the famalam…
Jasmine and very proud Grandad!
Huggleberries with Uncle Matt.
Snoozing in the arms of Auntie Bethany ❤ 
After a long, hot and tiring car journey home, I let my Dad know that we’d arrived back safely and I got this reply from him: 
This in itself made every second we spent sweltering in our little car on the M25 worth it. Every second. 
I’m so happy that my friends and family have finally met my baby girl. It was an awesome weekend and now that I’m home I’m trying hard not to feel deflated and down. The sun is shining and I intend to enjoy every second of it while it lasts and contemplate my next trip home… 
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PS. Keep an eye out for my next post, I’ll be writing about my favourite Newborn Travel Essentials! 

Expanding the pack

I must admit, even before the arrival of Jasmine I had considered us a ‘family of three’. As far as I was concerned I was already a mum to my furbaby, Heidi. She is a huge part of my life so I thought it was high time I introduced you to her…
For over 10 years I have wanted a Miniature Schnauzer, ever since I got my first job working as Dog Groomer’s Assistant at the age of 16. I fell in love with the breed, with their characteristic beard and eyebrows. I also adored their sweet nature and to this day have never come across a bad-tempered or nasty schnauzer. Circumstances meant that I wouldn’t be able to get my own puppy until I had reached the ripe old age of 26 and had settled down with my fella. In July last year we moved into our own place with a garden big enough for a dog and month later we were on our way to Norwich to pick up Heidi, our miniature schnauzer puppy!
Little did I know that just two weeks after collecting Heidi from the breeders I would find out that I was expecting a  baby. Initially I was overwhelmed with guilt, I had brought this dog into our lives and now I felt like we wouldn’t be able to give it the love and attention she deserved. This wasn’t helped by the fact that it took me a while to bond with our pooch because I was spending all day, every day with my head down the toilet puking my guts up. Stephen was brilliant and took Heidi for all of her walks in those first few weeks, and more importantly took care of the poop scooping! The thought of dealing with that made me gag.
Heidi was very curious about what was in Mummy’s bump!
Slowly the morning sickness wore off (thank God!) and I was able to spend more quality time with Heidi. Our bond grew stronger and now, I quite simply cannot imagine life without her. Throughout my pregnancy it was always in the back of my mind that things were going to change so significantly and I wondered how our puppy was going to react to the new addition to our pack.
Butter wouldn’t melt!
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried quite so much…
Bringing Jasmine home from the hospital I was anxious to see how the first meeting would go. Heidi was clearly very curious as to what, and indeed, who this noisy, dribbling bundle was. She had a little sniff and that was that! Since then Heidi has been brilliant, exceeded my expectations as to how well behaved she would be. She doesn’t get jealous when I’m busy feeding or cuddling Jasmine, she knows to back off and let me get on with it. She doesn’t go short of food and cuddles either and she still gets all the love and attention she did before baby’s arrival. In fact, in the evenings when Daddy gets home from work and spends some time with Jasmine, Heidi and I head out for a long walk together, just the two of us. These walks have kept me sane over the last few weeks and I cherish this time even more now.
Family snuggles: Our first day home from the hospital
The truth is, having a puppy and baby isn’t the disaster that I thought it would be. It hasn’t been like the images I had in my head of me stuck at home with a screaming baby and a dog tearing the house apart.She’s part of the core family unit and I cannot wait to watch Jasmine grow up with Heidi. I’ve got a feeling they are going to be thick as thieves!
My girls: making my heart melt on a daily basis!
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NB. I would just like to point out that I NEVER leave my dog and baby together unsupervised. I trust my dog entirely but would never, ever take that risk.

Blogger Mummy Lauren

Why I never blogged… until now!

It’s 2:25am, I’ve just fed Jasmine and got her settled back to sleep. If only all it took was some milk, a rub on the back and Barney Gumble style burp to get myself back to sleep. Alas no, my mind is buzzing tonight. I’m suddenly overwhelmed with sadness and cry silently into Jasmine’s muslin cloth, desperate not to wake my sleeping other half. I’d hate to have to try and explain “what’s wrong?” as the truth is, I have no idea.

OK, that’s not true, I have SOME idea.

It could be down to the fact that my baby girl turns 1 month old in a few days time and not a single member of my family has met her. Not a single one and it hurts. Now, any new mum will know that when you have a child, even if you’ve never felt that proud of anything you’ve ever done in your life before – the moment that baby is lifted on to your chest at birth; you know they are your greatest achievement. You want to show them off to the world. Forget everything else, I’ve finally (with help from the person I love) created something perfect.

I always knew that for me the hardest thing about having a baby would be the lack of support. Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing fiancé in Stephen. I am so lucky to have him. And I have a new found respect for single mums who do this on their own. But for me, after Stephen, the support stops there.

My mum is great but she’s 1,147 miles away living in New Zealand and has been for the last 6 years! My dad’s 4 hours away and has a young family of his own and hasn’t managed to get up to see me yet. I get a phone call from him every 3 months or so if I’m lucky so it’s no huge surprise he hasn’t made the time to visit. Oh and my younger brother is in and out of prison and barely sees his own kids let alone mine.

Stephen and I moved to Suffolk in July last year due to the relocation of his work and other than a handful of work colleagues, I don’t really know anybody here. I’ve found that being in your mid-twenties is an awkward age to make new friends. You can’t meet people naturally like you would at college or university; you have to put yourself ‘out there’ a bit more. I remember turning up to Italian lessons at the community centre in the hope of meeting some new friends (learning Italian would just be an added bonus) and feeling a tad disheartened to find out that there wasn’t another classmate who was under the age of 92 (or there abouts). I’m not ageist and they were some lovely people but um, not quite what I had in mind!

When I found out that I was pregnant again (after a miscarriage nine months previously) I was overjoyed. As the first of my friends (back home in Bristol) to become pregnant, I found myself turning to mummy bloggers for advice and support. In the last few months I have met some lovely people online through their blogs and Twitter. Many of them will never know what a lifeline they have been for me. It’s amazing how much a ‘how’s it going?’ tweet can make all the difference when you’re having a tough day, especially when I can’t just pop round my mum’s for a cuppa and chat.

Although I love the idea of having my own blog, I’m always able to talk myself out of it. “There’s so many out there already”, “nobody’s interested in what I have to say” or “it won’t be as good as X’s or Y’s blogs”.

We women are terrible when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. It’s a bad habit that intensifies two fold when you become a new mum. It starts when you’re pregnant, secretly comparing bump sizes at antenatal class and then continues once baby’s here. “She’s had better success at breastfeeding her baby” or “Wow, she’s so slim again already” etc. etc.

My point is, whilst I know that starting a blog has the potential to change my life in a positive way I also worry that it could be my undoing. As someone who has suffered with depression in the past, I worry about these relatively harmless comparisons spiraling into something more sinister. I could become the first person in human history to literally compare myself to death!  I’m a perfectionist and the fact that my photos won’t be that great or the layout won’t look so good will drive me potty. But do you know what? I’m finally going to give it a go. If I find it’s making me unhappy, I can just stop, right?

I’m not looking for sympathy; I know everybody has their own problems to deal with. However, I want to be able to reach out to people instead of just living vicariously through them and y’all just have to humour me in the meantime.

I’m currently brimming with more emotions and feelings than I know what to do with and I finally feel like this could be the right time to do something bold. Just writing this has made me feel a lot happier than I did 30 minutes ago. Writing has helped me get through some of my darkest days. So this is me asking the world of parent bloggers “room for a little one?” I promise it won’t always be doom and gloom!