Monday, 29 October 2012

I can't get no sleep!

To us parents whose babies don't sleep, the term 'slept like a baby' is a bitter sentence to swallow. For us sleep deprived parents it often means being woken up several times a night and daytime naps are a continual battle.

Our current sleeping situation is as follows. During the day we take our usual drive around 11am, we take the same route everyday and quite often pass my friend who does the same journey in reverse. If I am really lucky, they may give me an hour but sometimes it's ten minutes.

At night my toddler goes to sleep in our bed, after pleading with him for up to an hour to go to sleep. During this time he climbs all over you, whilst you lay there pretending to be asleep. My 11 month old is currently rocked to sleep in his buggy and then carefully placed in his cot once he is in a deep sleep.

When we go to bed, we move Damien back into his own bed and that lasts around five minutes. He then ends up in our bed for the duration of the night in a star fish position. Dennis on the other hand wakes frequently and is put in his buggy and rocked off! Hmm, what would Supernanny say about that?

One of the problems is that Dennis is such a light sleeper. He would literally wake up to the sound of a pin dropping. I try to be super stealth like but somethings are beyond my control:

1: after the sleep run and the holy grail of both boys being asleep you can almost count on the following.
A - A window cleaner will park his van behind us and make the most almighty rackety.
B - A car will arrive to pick up a neighbour and will beep the horn to signal it's arrival rather than getting out. Or get out and proceed to talk at the top of their voice right outside the window.
C - I will get out of the car and shut the door a fraction too hard.
D - Be pulling up outside the house and my mobile phone will ring. As its connected to the Bluetooth it will come blaring out of the radio.
E - I will undo my seat belt and that little click sound will wake them up.

It's not just the day naps though but any noise at night time is an automatic alarm clock. These are just a few of the latest wake up incidents.
1. You can guarantee I will trip over a toy on the way out of the bedroom. Not a soft teddy, but a massive plastic thing that will not have been switched off and starts playing some hideously loud music!
2. Find the creakiest part of the floor board and walk directly over it.
3. Need a wee and have to go resulting in lights and chain flushing. Although I am now a firm believer in if its brown flush it down, if its yellow let it mellow.
4. Pull the duvet covers on just a bit too loudly.
5. Wake up Damien who will in turn wake up Dennis. The result = watching Baby TV at 3am downstairs.

Think about it, next time the phrase slept like a baby just rolls off the tongue.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Introducing Spots and Stripes and things OH so nice

I have asked the lovely lady behind the fantastic, 'Spots and Stripes and things OH so nice' to write a post on my blog about how she manages to run her own business creating fantastic bespoke handmade items, which are just beautiful whilst being an amazing mum to Olivia 3 and Harry 1. Have a read at how she copes and take a look at a selection of her stunning products.

"So when Lisa asked me to do a guest for her blog post all about Spots & Stripes (and things OH so nice) and how I manage working from home AND looking after a 3 year old and a 1 year old it got me thinking. Actually, How DO I manage it? Well its easy really…organisation! Well that and pure LUCK! Some weeks I get nothing done and I mean nothing. I may reply to a few emails but that’s about it. Other weeks I sew more than I usually manage in some months!

On a normal day we get up around 6.30am and whilst my hubby sorts the kids breakfast I get dressed, make beds, get clothes needed for the day, pack any bags if we are off out anywhere, take any washing down and generally leave the upstairs of our house lovely & tidy. For all of five minutes, until the kids decide to venture back upstairs. 
I then head downstairs and get the kids dressed, have my breakfast, sort any washing that’s dry and take that up and put it away. I will hoover if needed and empty the dishwasher if that’s been on. That’s then my ‘chores’ done for the day! By 9.30am Harry is usually whining for his nap so off he goes and if he is a good boy he will sleep for 2 hours and this is my sewing time! It’s amazing how much I get done in this time (even more if Olivia is at pre-school). Once he is up I just check emails whilst we play etc and then 6pm comes round and its bed time and I start all over again – sewing, emails, sewing, prep. I have an organised order process which helps.
Oh and I also get my shopping delivered and pay my mum to do my ironing. It saves loooooads of time.

I do love working from home (and doing what I do) and it’s great being able to work around the kids but there are times I feel guilty for the kids when I occassional have to work whilst they play. I also sometimes feel guilty for my hubby for working in the evenings but once the Christmas rush is over, I plan to take from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime off every weekend! Well that’s the plan. I'm supposed to be off now but here I am on my laptop. I guess one of my overall tips on how I manage it is to make the most of every minute. And I mean every minute! Ive been known to whip up a bag in the 25 minutes before the pre-school run. That’s 25 minutes less I have to find later that evening.
If you want to see what I do check out

Here are some of my biggest sellers…
The Leanne Bag – starts at £22.50

The Emma Bag – starts at £40
The Harry Rucksack - Starts from £32
The Gemma iPad and E-Reader bag - Starts at £20
But these are just a few of many designs I do.

It also helps to have supportive customers, often mums themselves who understand why their email may have been missed (baby brain) or why I haven’t found fabric ideas for them yet (clingy whiny children not allowing me to wee let alone surf the web) or why I didn’t make it to the post office with their order (thought of going out of the house was too much to handle!). A few days after Lisa asked me to do the guest post I got this from one of my customers…it made all the hours I work worth it: ‘You are seriously like Wonder Woman, there's no harm in saying no sometimes and giving yourself a bit of down time! Us women are too demanding of you, and I'm the first to admit that! Facebook makes it easy to forget you're a human being with LOTS of orders/ enquiries to deal with as well as a gorgeous family to look after!!! Xx’
Oh and one last thing…. In order to get things done I usually allow my 3 year old to help. She often ends up looking like this though.

She likes Art Attack so often creates her own out of ribbons.
Remember if you like what you see, please head over to her page and check out her full range.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Since having children I appear to have become a liar, not a massive liar, perhaps exercising flexibility of the truth would be a better description. I was thinking about this the other day whilst I heard myself saying: "Right, I'm leaving without you, only Dennis and I are going" during our usual battle of trying to leave the house.

I seem to make up all sorts of elaborate tales just to get my toddler to cooperate. There are three main areas where my story telling or down right lies come in to play.

Number One: Getting him to go to sleep.

Every night is a battle getting my three year old to bed. We have tried everything, here are a few of the lies I have told:
• If you go to sleep now Mike the Knight will come and sleep over.
• If you don't go to sleep, I'm cancelling your birthday party.
• You can eat an entire bag of sweets in the morning if you go to sleep now.
• I'm throwing away all your toys if you don't go to sleep NOW!

Number Two - Meal times. I am the queen of making up different names for food just to get them to eat:

•That's not cauliflower - it's mini white trees.
• it's not macaroni cheese it's penne cheese.
• That isn't courgette it's sea cucumber.
• This is what Power Rangers have for dinner.
• Sweet potato, butternut squash and anything orange are actually carrots.
• Parsnips are not parsnips they are chips.

Number Three - the battle to leave the house.

Is it just us that takes forever to leave the house. It's a nightmare and a constant bone of contention in our house.

• Yes of course your toy is in the car! Clearly it isn't but shhh, don't tell him that.
• let's go and see if we can find our neighbour Helen, she wants us to chase her.
• Yes, you can wear your welly boots and PJ bottoms. But I don't say that you will be getting changed when we arrive at our destination.

Then comes the standard lies,

• We can't go there it's closed.
• That ride doesn't work - it's broken.
• Of course you don't have to go in the trolley.
• The swimming pool needs refilling there is no water in there.

I know I don't have much longer to get away with these tales, but whilst they work, I'm sticking with it!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Birth Partners and Ham Sandwiches

Here is what I wrote to become a new BabyCentre Blogger. I really need your votes so if you like the following, please vote for me by following this link...

Giving birth is one of the most monumental occasional of your life. So, who would you choose to share such an intimate event with, your partner, your mum or your best friend? But how far up the list is your mother-in-law?

I love my MIL to bits, she is kind, thoughtful and amazing with my boys, but that aside, I wouldn’t want her in the delivery room whilst I exposed my most private parts. Sunday lunch would never be the same again, right? It’s embarrassing enough when she irons my pants, firstly because it’s my underwear, and secondly that my pants are so big they need ironing!

When my mother in law arranged to come and stay a week before D-Day I thought what could go wrong? How little did I know my waters would break on the first night of her stay! Off we trot to the hospital with MIL, only to be sent home two hours later. By this time its midnight and I can say her idea of stopping at the 24hr Asda didn’t come as a welcome suggestion.

By 3am my contractions started getting stronger and closer together and I knew it was time to go and have our baby. So off we went again, with MIL following behind in her car. Now MIL is Greek so imagine the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” only now “my Big Fat Greek Labour” the news spread across the Greek community like wildfire.

So after hours of labour, my midwife popped her head around the door and said: “Ben, your mum is here and has ham sandwiches for you, what should I tell her? Well…My response was: “Tell her to buggar off!” “I’ll just tell her to wait in the canteen then.” Said the midwife very diplomatically. I honestly don’t think I can look at a ham sandwich in the same way ever again.

With all that said, once I had given birth to our beautiful son, that ham sandwich was one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Help Me

Hello my lovely readers!

I need to as you all a massive favour, please could you all vote for me to become BabyCentre's newest blogger!

It only takes a minute and I'm Lisa Watts incase you don't know my real name.

Thank you all and more adventures from Damien and Dennis to follow!


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Support Breastfeeding Mothers

I'm back to the boobs...

In my latest article for the Independent, I look at the recent report published by UNICEF which highlights the NHS could potentially save £40M if breastfeeding rates increased. A staggering figure and one which could see great savings on an already stretched health service. With this in mind, what can we do to increase breastfeeding rates, it can't all rest on the shoulder of the mother. Support, support, support, is what new mums need, not only to start breastfeeding but to maintain it for as long as possible.

New mums are pushed really hard to breastfeed, yet when it comes to it, the support isnt always there. My own personal experience of breastfeeding has been a mixed journey. I found that in my antental classes not enough information was given, it was made to look and also sound a very easy thing to do. As a mum who has breastfed two children I can say it actually wasn't for me. No one tells you about the six week growth spurt and how they will continually feed and you may have to sit there for hours on end. Or about the hourly nightfeeds or the feeling of 'get that baby away from me please' as it gleefully eyes up its next dinner. How about the really painful nipples, you know the feeling where you have to grit your teeth and curl your toes everytime you latch the baby on.  Or having to wear savoy cabbage in your bra, because you are so engorged, the leaky boobs and the joys of having to wear a breast pad 24 hours a day. I think we need to be honest with m

When I went to the class on breastfeeding second time around, I wish I could have given the talk. When the midwife asked the group: "How often do you think you will need to feed?" The room of new expectant mums was silent, I answered "All the time" and when she then "asked how long do you think a feed takes?" My response was: "Forever!" I was honest and this was my experience with my first. However the advice we were given was if you do it right it should be around a twenty minute feed every 3 - 4 hours.

Perhaps, that is something which could be introduced to all antenal classes, peer supporters could be there to give their honest account of breastfeeding and the problems they encountered on their journey.

To see the full story click here:

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Pimp my Pumpkin

Its no surprise with a name like Damien that Halloween is a very big occasion in our house. He has been truly captured by the magic of this spooky season. We have bats flying above the beds, broomsticks and vampire outfits and its only mid October. Damien's latest interest is with the magic pumpkin.

This year we have decided to pimp out our pumpkins and we wanted to share with you our trade secrets.

Step One:
Draw a circle or hexagon around the top of your pumpkin and with a sharp knife cut around your shape to make the lid. This has to be a job for a grown up!

Step Two:
Scoop out the insides using a spoon and place the contents into a bowl. You can then roast the seeds in the oven with a dash of olive oil for twenty minutes for a yummy snack.

Step Three:
We have cheated and brought stencils for our pumpkins to give them that pimped out feel. Once you have chosen your design you need to stick it to your pumpkin.

Step Four:
Take your carving tool and carve around the shape of your stencil, pushing out the shapes as you go.

Step Five:
Have your hair pulled by your youngest child!

Step Six:
Light your candles, again a job for the grown up! Have 999 on standby!

Step Seven.
Place your candle inside your pumpkin and then turn down the lights and watch the magic take place.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Shouting for Tamsyn

Last week Babyhuddle launched their Do One Thing for Tamsyn campaign to raise awareness of Tamsyn Wood’s tragic situation. If you’re not familiar with her story, please see

There are lots of different reasons why a person may find themselves having to rely upon benefits. Illness, job losses and accidents are just the tip of the iceberg. Tamsyn Wood’s story is, unfortunately, one of many. We know that cuts need to be made, especially to those who do not need benefits as much as Tamsyn. But we want the Chancellor George Osborne to know this:

By cutting benefits to those in dire need of them, the government is sending a very strong message- you are on your own.

We want to tell the government that they are wrong.

Tamsyn is not on her own. YOU are not on your own. We shall stand strong together to make sure that our voices are heard. We shall make sure that the government realises that families like Tamsyn’s need benefits- to which they are entitled- in order to survive. We want to tell the government that families like Tamsyn’s will never be the same again if we turn our backs on them.

We’ve seen the power of social media when it is used for good and we know the difference that we can make. Together, we are many voices. Many voices turn up the volume for the repressed and the lonely. Many voices empower the people who need to stand strong. Many voices can make a difference for people like Tamsyn.

On Friday we shall be shouting for Tamsyn and we want you to join us. Share Tamsyn’s story. Share the petition. Lend your voice and make changes happen.

When: Friday 12th October 2012, 8.30 pm
Where: Twitter:
What: #shouting4tamsyn
Why: to make changes happen

Are you in?

Do One Thing for Tamysn

Do one thing for Tamsyn:

Share Tamsyn's story:

Share the petition:

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Pampers are my new best friend

This week has been particularly taxing, I'm exhausted and looking after the decorators (if you know what I mean . Wink wink!) One particular trip out was eventful for all the wrong reasons and perhaps the straw that broke the camels back.

After lunch, I decided to take the boys to the Range to pick up a new colouring book and colouring pens. We left the house in our usual rush and after piling them in the car, I was feeling pleased with myself over our record speedy exit.

Now if any of you are men reading this you may want to avert your eyes...

Only the day before had Mother Nature blessed me with my monthly gift, but as I have been lucky enough to escape this for ten months due to breastfeeding you could say I'm not in the habit of being prepared.

I step out of the car and immediately notice my mistake and make a quick dash with the boys in a trolley to the toilet. Hmmm, now what do I do, if I ignore the situation I will have end up with red jeans, but I don't have any lady products. So my quick thinking leads me to wonder what I can improvise with.

I rummage around in my changing bag and come across a nappy. Perfect! That should do the trick! Yes, I wore a nappy, a size 5 Pampers. How embarrassing, what's worse is that I actually tried to see if it would fit. Clearly not, so I just placed it inside my best granny pants.

The boys witnessed the entire event and my three year old found it highly amusing. He kept asking me: "why are you wearing a nappy?" How do I explain that to a little boy!

Needless to say, I then had to walk around the shop with my legs very close together in fear that it might slip down my leg and end up on the floor.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Mothers with attitude

Got to love a rant on a Wednesday, it's becoming quite a regular aspect of my life.  This week it is my turn to host, so please feel free to link up any thing that has annoyed you this week.  Myself and the lovely Emily over at Family Four Fun are always happy to listen to what's got on your nerves this week.

For me, it has to be hearing parents swearing at their children. Not content with swearing in front of them, its actually directed at them. Yesterday, I was sitting in ASDA car park whilst the boys had a rare snooze, when the owners of the car that was parked next to mine rocked up.  All I heard was a loud voice shouting at a toddler, 'don't run in the f*ing road!' I appreciate that this was a dangerous act, but there are better ways to deal with things than to swear at your child.

What is with this behaviour? Why are there some parents who think it is acceptable to swear at their children? How do you ever expect your child to grow up with manners, if that is the way they are spoken too? I know swearing is a part of everyday life and we all occasionally make the odd slip up. I for example, tend to find my potty mouth rears its ugly head whilst driving and I forget I have the children in the car, however I think its a totally different kettle of fish to direct that language towards your own children.

It's just not cool people! Perhaps think a little bit before you let off your colourful vocabulary. It's no wonder you hear young children swearing a lot because that is all some know. It really makes me cringe when I hear it and I do often find the worst place for it is in the supermarket, especially at the checkout.

I am not going to rant on too much this week, as I feel ranting so much in my post last week has actually made me feel less stressed.

Right, it's your turn now,  just add your rant to the linky below...