So Margot hit six months nearly a month ago now… six whole months of being alive. So innocent and sweet – and bringing so much joy into our lives. As well as sleepless nights, milk spewed clothes and an ongoing back ache from the usual hip carrying that happens all day most days. But its been incredible… so here is the story so far. How we have found it as a family, me as a mum and Vivienne as a sibling. The products I have loved the the equipment I swear by.

The Family story

I think it took us a good two months to find our groove. I am a routine-mum, I love a good help-book (Baby Whisperer my favourite) and so when Margot came along it was straight back to the E.A.S.Y. routine that worked so well for Vivienne. But not quite as simple, you have nursery school pick ups and drop-offs to consider, feeding Vivienne breakfast lunch and dinner on schedule, an over excited Vivienne at Margots nap time or bedtime…. It was much trickier. And I had to learn to be a little more chilled out – if she wasn’t having her milk at exactly 11am on the dot – it didn’t matter. The rules I stuck by and still do are – awake no longer than two hours at a time. Any longer and she gets overtired. After the first month we would never feed her milk in the night, she was ‘tanked up’ before bed at 6.30pm and given a dream feed between 10pm and 11pm. If she woke in the night we would settle her and leave the room swiftly. It doesn’t stop her occasional 5am wakes but she knows she’s not being fed and drifts back off. Wish I could do the same but that mind just goes into overdrive – as does the Instagram thumb! We dropped the dream feed last Thursday, accidentally really after we forgot it and she slept through until gone 7am. Tried it again the next night and she slept through again – the extra milk was leaving her filling her nappy each morning and hence the early wake ups.

The E.A.S.Y. routine is simple but not always easy to establish, the earlier you start the better – and once you have its heaven! So ‘E’ stands for eat, ‘A’ for activity, ‘S’ for sleep and ‘Y’ for you-time. We are on a four hourly schedule so she eats for example at 7am, plays until 9am and then naps – this is when I will try and shower/clean the house/tidy up or actually blog/shoot my outfit for you. Heres the link to the book I follow – its fantastic right up to toddler years… Baby Whisperer solves all your problems.

The Mother Story

I remember the feeling I used to get when I would drop Vivienne at nursery and skip back home to work… on my own. Yep I miss that feeling. With nearly three years between them I definitely got used to the freedom you have as your children grow older. Not having someone attached to your hip 24/7. So it was and still is sometimes quite hard always being with the girls. I just have to remind myself how precious the time is, and just hug and kiss and soak it all up as I am also so aware how quickly the time passes – soon I’ll have another bossy little three year old I am sure! And Vivienne six and even more of a diva! Oh dear! But the things I have found the hardest is loosing that me-time I got used to and I am not talking long lunches or mani-pedis, just the simple things. Waking up to a shower, being able to pop out for milk, being able to go the loo when I need to and not being tied down to feeding schedules. But having a baby again – oh it is just gorgeous. Seeing all the stages again – she’s just incredible, her smile makes me feel a million dollars – even better than a shower would! And this time next year I know I’ll have that me-time back. Nothing is forever – sadly.

The sibling story

Theres nothing better than seeing your babies play together – the look in their eyes when they look at each other, like real love. Margot just thinks Vivienne is the world, she’s obsessed with her. She just has to walk in the room and Margot will start giggling with joy. When Vivienne helps Margot up if she falls down it melts my heart – when she runs and gets her a toy or a tissue for her (forever) runny nose, just the sweetest. After a lot of reading up beforehand I wanted to be prepared for any sibling rivalry from the start. But with a lot of talking to Vivienne and making sure we are never giving Margot all the attention at home Vivienne has been very good with her. In larger family groups she can act-out for attention but she’s learning. She hugs her and plays with her handing her books and toys. She gets quite upset when Margot is upset I can see that sisterly looking out for one another thing there already. I am in no way delusional having two sisters myself – I know its going to be rocky but so far the foundation has been laid and its so magical watching them together.

Highly recommended….

The Snuzpod – such an attractive little bedside crib – we had it in blush and loved everything about it. You can rock it to soothe the baby, it comes with great handy accessories, perfect storage area underneath, great matching bedlinen and although we didn’t attach it to the bed you can – there are straps for different bed styles. Its a great size too – Margot was not a small baby and she was in it for quite some time with our house move and having to re-plaster and decorate her bedroom.

The Bugaboo Donkey – if you’re looking for a double buggy I highly recommend this. We have actually only used it as a double a handful of times. We mainly use the buggy board which is great and off centre so you don’t trip up. The side cart basket is perfect for your baby bag so when Vivienne uses the buggy board the bags not in her way. And then you have a giant basket underneath for all your shopping – whether thats food or clothes! The basket also makes the perfect place to slot the scooter into when they’ve had enough scooting and want to climb on. I love it! Its huge and takes up a tonne of space but I love it so much I am not ready to let it go quite yet. Plus Margot sleeps like a dream in the cosy-toes!!!

The Babyzen Yoyo – the best travel buggy ever ever ever! And hopefully eventually when Margot is napping less that this will be our only buggy as much as I LOVE the Donkey I am having to store it in the car boot these days as its so big in the house. This folds down like a handbag, is so lightweight and easy to use. My husband loves it too! But using the buggy board on it is a little tricky as Vivienne pulls on the buggy handle and it can topple back plus it weaves around a lot with the extra weight of Vivienne, so I tend to use just when I have Margot.

The Sleepyhead – does what it says on the tin – makes them sleep! We have just taken Margot out of hers actually as she was getting too big. We did consider the next size up but decided to trial without and she’s been fine so going cold turkey. But for young babies it gives them the security they love to feel as the sleep.

Ewan the dream sheep – we had to buy Margot her own one of these as I worried Vivienne would kick-off if we gave the baby her one. I also chose a different colour deliberately so there weren’t any upsets. Money well spent though. Seven months in and as soon as she hears Ewan she turns her head to the side, snuggles up and closes her eyes.

Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine – we bought this when Vivienne was a baby and was the best piece of baby equipment we purchased. Out of storage and cleaned up its proving incredible again. I think they’re much cheaper these days too – heard offers at Asda for about £40!!! Sure we paid close to £200!

Cybex Cloud Q car seat – this is amazing if you expect to be out a lot with the baby in the car seat as it goes completely flat. No more worrying about how long the baby has been in the seat for. A gentle warning though – it is a little heavier than most because of all the incredible safety features so with my nursery drop-offs holding the car seat I had to swap back to Viviennes old car seat after a few months as Margot was such a whopper I couldn’t manage her anymore.

Stokke tripptrapp – bought Viviennes second hand on gumtree and was the best purchase so Margot got a new one… went for walnut again so they match our Ercol chairs. In my opinion the most stylish highchairs and they grow with your child. We used the newborn seat at the start which Margot loved, now on the babyseat and eventually, like Vivienne, she will just sit on the chair part. I actually sit on it sometimes to work too, and makes a great ’emergency’ chair come Christmas!

Stokke Tripp Trapp

Mamas and Papas chair – this was an impromptu ‘dash to the shops to buy’ purchase when Margot couldn’t sit up on her own yet but was getting upset on the floor. Love it! Used it at the start of weaning too and so easy feeding them as they sit in front of you on the table.

Baby seat

Jumperoo – love! I had a second hand one for Vivienne and then sold it on… my sister lent me her second hand this time… probably sixth hand by now who knows but as long as its cleaned up who cares. They’re fantastic pieces of kit!!

Jem and Bea bag – I had this from before Margot was born and still use it everyday. Its an investment piece so great if you’re having your first and expect more. When I had Vivienne I had a nylon iCandy bag that went with the buggy. Served its purpose but looked horrific after a few months. The Jem and Bea still looks brand new, nothing like a nappy bag, and I am always proud to use it.

Pacapod bag – I have a backpack version and my husband and I both love it. You keep everything separate so things actually stay clean and it looks good on men and women. Again its not the cheapest bag on the market but with baby bags I do think you get what you pay for. Bear in mind you will be using it everyday for atleast a year probably longer – and more than once if you have more than one child. Its a great gift for people to club together and buy at a baby shower too.

Humidifier – we have used this so many times for Margot now, when she has had a cold and now she is teething. It really helps her breathing when she’s all blocked up/runny nosed. We have the Vicks one and works so well all night.

iPad – there I said it shock horror – but when you need to deal with a newborn emergency, or even just separate bed times,  having the iPad for the toddler is a god-send.

Baby skincare products…

This Works baby – I use the pillow spray for Margot, I just love it for myself and she does drift off well so I hope she loves it just a much. Such a beautiful scent too.

Aveeno – the hair and body wash is great for dry-skin, and I love the soothing wash especially when they have rough patches or nappy rash.

Weleda – I have been using their products on Vivienne since she was tiny and their new range is great for both the girls. I can wash Viviennes hair with it and she’s doesn’t get (quite as) fussy because of the colourful animal themed bottles.

Mustela cradle cap cream – used it once and worked immediately!

Mustela

Little Aurelia – the most beautiful collection of baby skincare I have ever seen. I’ve been using the pillow spray on Vivienne, she loves the little drawings on the bottle. And the wash on them both in bath. It bubbles up if you run it under the tap – Vivienne loves to have a few bubbles in her bath but I have to be so careful as she’s had eczema in the past and I don’t want it returning.

Water wipes – the best – enough said. Buy them in bulk size to keep costs down like these from Asda. And use them for Everything!

Any baby questions please don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll come back asap – i.e. the next nap time!

Ashley

xx

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 This year will be my husbands first Fathers Day as a dad of two. He treated me like a queen on Mothers Day so I want make sure he gets spoilt rotten this year too. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know I am a huge fan of Notonthehighstreet.com and collaborated with them for Mothers Day, so I couldn’t wait to work with them again on their new Father’s Day campaign. This year, they are encouraging everyone to get to know their dads better and discover things about him that they didn’t know before. Whether he is Part Dad, Part Rockstar or maybe Part Dad, Part Style Icon, they want the nation to #GetToKnowDad and surprise him with a gift that shows him you really know him.
With Vivienne now three (how did that happen?!) she can hold whole conversations and the things she comes out with make me laugh so much. We wanted to find out more about her dad and using her three-year old insight really be able to get him a thoughtful gift – something with real meaning to him. Bring on the questions…it was time to delve into what she thinks she knows about her daddy…

Here’s how our conversation went and what her dad had to say about her comments…

Me ‘What’s the coolest thing Dad’s ever done?’  Vivienne ‘he lets me watch golf before bed’  Richard ‘I love having this time together each night when I get in from work and its something I don’t share with you so its nice that Vivienne enjoys it with me’

What’s Dad’s favourite thing to do? V -‘go to work’ R ‘I am putting this down to how happy I am when she sees me each night’ 

What’s the most embarrassing thing Dad’s ever done? V ‘dancing’ ‘haha thanks Vivienne’

What does Dad do at work? V ‘he sits on the train’ ‘I might need to explain the commute a little more here’

If Dad could have any job in the world what would it be? V ‘errrr… drive the train’ R ‘at least she gets the concept of promotion’

What makes Dad really happy? / What does he love doing? V ‘watching golf – oh and chasing me on the scooter!’ R ‘she’s hit the nail on the head here’

What’s Dad really good at? V ‘making mummy happy – and hide & seek’ R ‘that is adorable – I love that she sees how happy we are together – and I do love a good game of hide and seek haha’

What’s the cheekiest thing Dad’s ever done? V ‘when he gets me – and tickles me’ R ‘this is when she always calls me a cheeky monkey copying you’

If Dad could be anyone in the world, who would he be? V ‘Dustin Johnson’ R ‘This is incredible – I love that she remembers his name! Our golf sessions are working – she’ll be a golf pro in no-time at all’

What’s the funniest thing Dad’s ever done? V ‘silly voices when he reads me books – he sneezes funny’ R ‘Glad the voices haven’t gone unoticed’

What was Dad’s favourite holiday? V ‘skiing with his friends – without mummy’ R ‘Shows she knows I like my alone time perhaps?’

If Dad could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? V ‘in the sea’ R ‘more alone time?’

What’s Dad’s favourite food? V ‘meat – he’s always eating meat’ ‘I do like a good steak’

If you were going to get Dad a gift, what would he like? V ‘a bigger car – he says it is far too small’ ‘is it too much to ask for a newer for Fathers Day?’

What makes Dad laugh? V ‘me!’ ‘she certainly does’

I’m sure Vivienne’s dad would rather be part rockstar but Vivienne and I agreed on Part Dad / Part Sportsman. Golf seemed to be weaved throughout the conversation and to be fair Richard completely agreed with all of her comments even if her comments did make him chuckle.

Notonthehighstreet.com Fathers Day Gifts

After a browse together on the iPad we (me) chose a gorgeous leather score hard holder which we personalised with his favourite quote he always has Vivienne tell him before setting out the door to play a round… ‘One shot at a time’ and signed with love from both Vivienne and Margot. I love that he will always have something from his daughters when he is out playing.

Personalised Leather Golf Score Card Holder

I wish I had filmed the converstaion to show her dad – so funny watching her ponder the questions and how certain she was of some of the answers. So this year grab your phones and become the interviewer asking your kids what they think of dad, get the perfect most thoughtful gift from their answers, and then you can show him the interview afterwards! Memories to treasure!

#GetToKnowDad @Notonthehighstreet

These are the pick of products for all the other Part Dad / Part Sportsmen.

Ashley

x

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The past few months have been pretty busy. Having a baby and buying a house has certainly kept me busy. But as the dust is starting to settle and we are in our new home I thought I’d go old-skool and bring back my Sunday inspo posts. And today’s inspiration centres on feeding the soul… looking after yourself, taking some time to yourself, relaxing and resetting.

It’s all too easy when you have little people to look after to neglect yourself and it’s something my blogs always promoted – happy mother happy child…

 ‘always put your own gas mask on first’

So whether its taking time out to read a book in the evening, going for a run, using a face mask, or just sitting in silence in front of trash tv – don’t forget to indulge yourself.

And my favourite ways to restore the equilibrium

  1. The cliche of a glass of wine in the bath exists for a reason. Mine is always red and large.
  2. Exercise – still not quite back into that but when I am it feels great. And my gym has an amazing creche – even better.
  3. Dancing – alone, or with Vivienne, to loud music (Kisstory always a winner for me)
  4. Cooking. Being in the kitchen preparing and cooking a meal from scratch. Less common since the arrival of Margot and the end of ‘bedtime’ but hopefully it’ll return soon.
  5. Blogging – saved my sanity when I started after having Vivienne. It’s an outlet that allows me to be creative and have fun. And I am so grateful to you for reading it.

 

 

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After spending nine months looking forward to being able to wear ‘normal’ clothes again along comes breastfeeding and all the sartorial complications it brings with it… but it doesn’t have to be hard. With a few simple rules to take with you to the shops and key styles to look out for you can still wear your favourite looks and confidently breastfeed.

  1. Buy a handful of tight, stretchy vest tops – H&M are perfect – make sure they’re long and can be popped under the boob when you feed. I wore these when I was pregnant too – the longer length is great over a bump.
  2. If you’re wearing a ‘normal’ top I just like to choose something looser I can easily pull up. I’ve linked the Stradivarius breton I have been wearing a lot so far just below. The fabric is great on the post birth tummy too. And this where the vest comes into play so you don’t get an eyeful of belly whilst feeding. Top up, vest down.
  3. Wrap dresses and shirt dresses are everywhere right now and so easy for feeding in.
  4. Test the top in the changing room – literally whip a boob out and check you’re comfortable. If you feel too exposed you’ll end up never wearing it out.
  5. I like to have a really lightweight scarf with me that I can just drape over my shoulder if I feel exposed out and about. Zara scarves are great for this – really big but light fabric.

 

I have rounded up some of my favourite breastfeeding friendly pieces here, from wrap dresses, shirt dresses, button dresses and jumpsuits – to loose tops perfect with a vest underneath, stylish shirts and silk blouses.

Ashley x

Dresses

Jumpsuits

Tops

 

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How can you still feel like you when knee deep in nappies, nipple pads and having no sleep?

My blog was started as a means of making myself feel better… after a years maternity leave feeling less than glamorous and slowly falling into a bit of an elasticated waistband, dry shampoo, make-do hole I missed making an effort and feeling good about myself when I looked in the mirror. So I started taking photos of my outfits in a bid to force myself to make more of an effort again. Even if it was just to pop to the shops or out for a playdate. A Mothers Edit was always about ‘bringing style to the every day’. So taking every day life and making sure you feel good in it, stylish in it, that it makes you happy. Of course there will always be days you spend in trackies or don’t even get out your pjs but not so much that it effects your mood.

With little Margot well and truly here now, I have had two weeks of chaos. The first week in hospital, a few visitors but mostly just me, little MG and the doctors. I had a few tricks up my sleeve to make the stay a little more comfortable though. A silk pillowcase, lavender pillow spray, my favourite music and indulgent fashion magazines (when else do you ever get to read magazines?). There were some days I didn’t shower until the evening, I just sat in the hospital bed feeding and feeling sorry for myself. But as soon as I got myself up, cleaned, fresh and back in a good headspace everything was better.  So I wanted to share with you some of the little ways I’ve been holding onto my personal sense of style, then, and the past week at home in the newborn bubble. How to feel like you.. even when you don’t recognise yourself in the mirror.

Beauty

  • Keep it simple – when I was in hospital I didn’t wear makeup but I did use Dr Lipp lip balm and used the Jurlique rosewater balancing mist. The scent every time I sprayed the mist over my face was just the perfect amount of luxury. 
  • Toe nails – paint them. Get a pedi or do it yourself. When everything else is falling apart atleast when your chin drops you see a good set of talons. 
  • Showers – find time. This morning, my first alone getting both girls up and out the door, I set the alarm for 6am and jumped in for a quick wash before they woke. I’ve been using this gorgeous natural shower gel from Elemental Herbology too, it made even the hospital bathroom feel like a spa! So important its natural post-baby and well worth treating yourself to a little luxury that won’t irritate down below. 
  • Moisturise – when your skin feels good you feel good. The sprays are great when you’re down on time, I’ve been using a dry body oil from Liz Earle which I just slap on before bed. I think you’re supposed to massage on but I have been far too tired. Anything is better than nothing right now. 
  • Body – I am a huge fan of the Belly Bandit range. Mentioned before that I have been wearing the BFF. I am now just wearing at home rather than out and about but I swear by it in getting my stomach back to where it should be. 

Clothes

  • Buy yourself some new pjs. If you’re going to spend a lot of time in them at least treat yourself to a pair you wouldn’t mind being seen in. Just be aware you sweat a lot more after pregnancy – there is a lot of water your body is shedding so cotton pjs are best! 
  • Don’t do what I did and try on all your old jeans a week after birth. I cried. Just for a minute though, then realised I was being ridiculous as well as the fact it totally did not matter. But good to have a few items of clothing that aren’t maternity but are more forgiving so you feel a little more like the old you. Drawstring trousers, shirts, floaty dresses… if you can organise them before the baby comes too then all the better. You’ll be too tired (and emotional) to start organising your wardrobe when the baby is here.

Home

  • Clean sheets – nothing feels better.
  • Pillow spray – I love This Works and Blossom and Bloom. 
     
  • Cleaner – hired help or friends and family helping out. Makes such a difference and not something you want to be worrying about.
  • A special glass for your gin/wine/tipple – get out the special china, crystal or flutes – enjoy.every.last.sip.

Life

  • Music – turn the TV off and just listen to some music. Daydream. It’s good for the soul.
  • Online shopping – one of the only things to keep me sane during the night feeds. Shame most of it gets returned.
  • DO NOT COMPARE – easier said than done but social media is the devil for this. A few truths – that girl isn’t that thin, it was a good angle/lighting, her house is not really that tidy, the crap is hidden behind the lens, their children don’t always have perfect hair/clothes/smiles, they’re devils 50% of the time and remember Instagram is a show-reel of the best bits… not the full picture.

 

Ashley

x

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