Formula haters- you did not pick a good day to mess…

I’m in a seriously sweary mood today, it’s 3 weeks since my last silent coffee. Ordinarily sweary wouldn’t  be a problem. You’d never have known that I’ve shouted expletives into the fridge with the frequency of a bad case of Tourette’s today.
Usually you’d be none the wiser….
But I saw a blog post judging women who formula feed their babies, even suggesting that women that choose to formula feed are somewhat uneducated: and I’ve been giving all the fucking fucks for this. My swear jar (like I have one of those! Pah!) would be overflowing. I’d have saved for the Christmas splurge in an hour. 

What gives anyone the right to judge mothers who formula feed! It’s been a while since I let my mind wander back to our #breastisbest journey. Basically one clear thought ran through my mind: 

Get back in your bastarding box, pretty please

I’ll admit this is a sore subject for me (literally- if you’ve ever tried breastfeeding you might relate!). 
I take maje offence to anyone slating Apamil and the like. Without this my baby wouldn’t have survived! With a projectile case of reflux I was told to express milk and add this magic powder to aid the ample Pukage which had covered every surface of our home over those first few months of manic Babydom. 

My anxious awol confusion of a brain simply couldn’t handle the timing of expressing, feeding, winding, sleeping, expressing, freezing, powder mixing, winding mind-fuck of a routine. 

-How do you think I came up with the name ‘Muma on the Edge’ in the first place?! 

Formula was mine and my baby’s life line. Once we had made the decision to switch to formula the relief was mahoosive. Finally someone else could feed / wind / clear up the puke. I could share the hum drum newborn survival routine with my husband (or anyone else who was offering!). My anxiety levels began to reset and I actually gave myself moments to enjoy this mum thang. 

Guess what: my baby was less sick AND began to thrive. Well well- formula being responsible for a baby THRIVING. Did you hear that haters? 
And I assure you I am not uneducated, I even have a degree AND a private education, fancy! I engaged brain and made a conscious decision to saunter down to Tescos and buy up a crate of Aptamil Nectar.

No one raised any eyebrows as I bought the illicit products either. Bottles, a steamy cleaner, even DUMMIES… Oh yeh, to fuck with it, I went the whole sodding hog. 
Here’s a confession for you: the 2nd time around I chose to bottle feed after just 3 weeks. Because I wanted to. 

I’ll skate over the fact that my left boobage refused to refill. It looked a little like the surgeon had forgotten to pop the silicon in my sad looking pyramid tea bag to my left. Selfishly I wanted my body back, I wanted to wear clothes that didn’t unhook and flap open. After 9 months of growing a baby I needed to be in charge of me again. 

It wasn’t that I was frightened of breast feeding in public, no one had ever made me feel uneasy. I simply chose. And I’m not a bad person btw. I can be quite nice- if I like you…  

My girls are now 6 and 3, they walk, talk, run,hop, skip, answer back, learn, wash, cartwheel, swim, eat, and, touch wood, have never been in hospital. So far I’m not seeing any adverse effects from our formula decision. All present and correct thanks very much. 

So Judgey McJudgeface, before throwing your magic wand of Formula hate around why not locate a ladder, clamber down from that trogan horse and rejoin the rest of us on cloud normal. Please. 
#fedisbest bitches. 

Yup, looking fairly healthy here- blackberries in the potty might pose some questions however…

Win an InfaCare Baby Bathtime Hamper!

Well it’s another dreary January Monday evening, so it must be Giveaway time!

This week I have teamed up with the popular baby brand InfaCare , to giveaway  a gorgeous baby bath time hamper which includes:

  • 2 bottles of InfaCare Baby Bath,
  • 2 bottles of InfaCare Night Time Bath,
  • 2  fluffy flannels!

It’s the perfect time of year for snuggling up and enjoying bath time (or staying behind the shower screen as I have to do, thanks to my highly enthusiastic little bathers…)

InfaCare comes recommended by hospital midwives and healthcare professionals to cleanse and protect your child’s skin. -What more could you want…

About InfaCare

“Both formulas are clinically tested and Ph balanced, creating natural levels of Acidity and Alkalinity in skin and hair. Reassuringly, each is designed to prevent irritation, helping with allergies in the process.

Recently launched, Night-time Baby Bath is now championed by mums across the country; up to 70% hailing it ‘ideal’ for their bedtime procedure.

Not only does it look great the product performs too. You don’t need much for it to produce masses of long-lasting bubbles, perfect for your little one to have fun with.

A gentle, powdery and oriental fragrance is sure to relax, easing your tots first into bed and then off to sleep.”

To win simply follow this link to my facebook page where you can Like, Share & Comment to be entered!

Best of luck!


xx

 

Cash splashing baby must-not-haves

There is SO much baby crap out there, all gleaming and shiny just waiting for unsuspecting adoring (petrified) new parents to splash their cash on. 

Sharing is caring, and with this in mind I thought I’d divulge our top 5 parenting purchase nightmares with you… It’s not pretty.

1)A rocking crib.


What a seriously bonkers invention.

This at No.1 because it is without doubt the most rookie of all the bad purchases we made as parents in-waiting. The helpful teen at ‘Babies R us’ swore blind a rocking crib was a new born essential (I’m sure she knew best). Jolly good; we’ll have one of those then.

The first time I attempted to put the baby-that-did-not-sleep into the rocking crib proved that this ‘essential’ was in fact the polar opposite.

Into the crib she went milk-drunk. I looked just like a member of bomb squad edging nearer and nearer to the crib with the armed device, armed with this sleeping new born. One. False. Move… of course the rocking crib did just that– it bloody rocked all over the place. Bam and that was it: baby rave time, mummy cry time.

We tried it a few more times before we chopped it up and used it to re-board our fireplace


2) Gro-Clock


Desperate times call for desperate measures. And we were just that. Our 2 year old had never slept through the night, and never in her own bed. We were trying everything and anything to try and achieve just one night’s sleep before baby No.2 made her appearance.

Make way for The Gro-Clock. Promising that toddlers will obey its creepy sun face.

The Gro clock should come with a warning that you will only be able to figure out how to program the bloody thing if you have the IQ of a frigging genius. I don’t.

It is not simple to use. Even less simple if you are heavily pregnant, sleep deprived and quite literally a Muma on the Edge. When we eventually did get it working our daughter LAUGHED at it. We basically spent £25 on a night light.

Fu*k you Gro clock.

 3) Skirts n headbands: Baby Accessory Gate


Ok let’s get this straight-

Skirts: They ride up. They look awkward. They show off the nappy to its optimum. And it looks SO uncomfortable.

Headbands: I tried, I really did; to dress up my baby’s wispy bald head. I was always paranoid the gypsy-style headbands would slip down and we’d have a horrific ‘strangled’ situation on our hands. More often than not she would rip it off her head and chuck it overboard. (She clearly has more taste than I do!)

Why did I bother?!

Baby No.2 escaped the wannabe Doll phase, onesies forever.

 

4) Holiday with a baby


(Ok this isn’t strictly an ‘item’ but I just felt I couldn’t leave it out of this Rookie list.)

Just why?! If it isn’t hard enough to look after a sub-1 human at home with the entire contents of Mothercare at your fingertips, how do we convince ourselves that a holiday will ever be just that?!

We were so lucky to go away with my parents and sisters when Darcie was 3 months old. A ratio of 7:1 is the ONLY way I would ever recommend a holiday with a baby.

The heat was too hot for her, the cot was too netted for her, the pool was too cold for her, the air was too airy for her, she wouldn’t sleep OR she only wanted to sleep.

How is that a holiday?! That’s just normal life thrown in with a touch of nightmare.

 5) The baby sling


It was awkward. I swore. The baby cried. We gave up: Back to ebay it went.

I have seen serene ‘Baby Carriers’ in the real so it must be possible to front tie, back tie, strap up and pop the bambino in. I however found it impossible: frustrating and confusing in equal measure, and frankly a complete and utter bloody mystery.

I tried again and again to get to grips with Slinging. I tried different brands with ties, & knots to clips & Velcro. I ended up looking like id been subjected to Mummification; Wrapped up in endless cloth with a screaming baby hanging out of the front of me.Bugaboo I salute you.

So come on- spill the beans on your useless baby impulse buys…!!???? 

Best of Worst
Mummuddlingthrough
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Jennifer, you legend.

At last: She has spoken.

Jennifer. Jen. Rachel has come right out and said what has been on the tip of the tongues of so many successful woman in the spotlight who just so happen to be outright awesome without *whispers* Being a Mother. Shock horror.

I love Jen’s article, it’s honest, thought provoking and kicks some serious female butt. Read it in full here.

Here are my highlights:

“…This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status…Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child…We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.”

It’s a crying shame that Theresa May couldn’t produce a similar response to Andrea Leasom’s ghastly attempt to get the edge over her opponent this weekend, based on her reproduction ‘achievements’.

I seem to remember a time right after school, probably through to my mid-20’s when a pregnancy was announced it was an ‘OH MY GOD THEY’RE PREGNANT’ moment. We seemed too young to have babies and it was almost a scandal that you would dare to reproduce. I’m now the other side of that (weeps), and this other side is worse. Much worse. Because this other side questions why a woman may not have borne a crying sh*tting machine yet.

Why is this? Why do we as a society, pivot a female’s success around the presence of a child? I feel lucky, not successful, to have 2 children. I certainly wouldn’t measure my success or suitability for a job based on the fact that I have children.

I wonder if Jenifer Aniston’s words will actually hit home to the Paparazzi and magazine bosses? (who might actually be fully grown women without children! IMAGINE!).

 Sadly I think her statement will fall on deaf ears. Inevitably, lining the newsagent’s shelves will continue be glossy post-lunch stomachs belonging to the A-Z listers, complete with speculation over the presence of a bambino within.

All the while we keep buying the Mags or sharing the articles and spreading the hype, they will keep dishing it.

It’s pretty sad when you think about it.

It’s a big day for Women today, a great day. Our 2nd female Prime Minister EVER will take up the reins and is set to be appointing top cabinet roles to some fabulous women. I know their gender is neither here nor there as long as they are the right people for the jobs, but I can’t help doing a little fist pump for Girl Power today.

Mummuddlingthrough

The guilty (professional) Muma

guilty muma

As many of you already know: I am a stay at home Mum. I think that phrase is a bit naff, but it does what it says on the tin (although I am allowed out occasionally…). I used to have a career outside of our home. But now we have 2 little girls, my career is here, in the middle of my family. All day. Everyday.

It’s like any job really: it has its ups- mostly when the bosses are out. No, not at the quarterly finance meetings, but at school and nursery. And it has its downs, like when I miss my weekly washing targets. The hours are slightly longer than I was used to, I seem to be in my office by 6am. But the commute is a staircase and dressing gowns seem to be acceptable office attire. The slight stinger in the tail is that the pay is shit, well, non-existent actually. My bonuses are now paid in kind; lots of snotty cuddles, kisses and the odd punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, those are priceless bonuses right there for the taking. But they aren’t exactly a lunch-hour-Warehouse-dress-spurge are they.

So this Mummying thing is my profession now. A professional Mummy in my mind creates innovative organic meals, has a home which may as well feature in House Beautiful – a place for everything and everything in its place. The children must attend a host of clubs and after school jollies – ferrying around is quite high up on the JD. Weekends can be nothing but activates and socialfests as all of the house work can be done during the week… surely.

But somewhere I seem to have taken a wrong turn. This isn’t how my approach to Professional Mummying is working out despite my very best efforts to be a real life super mum and nail this job.

Muma Guilt has reared its ugly head once again. And not just guilt that I should be doing a better job at home, but guilt that I DO have all day everyday, to get my shit together, while so many Mumas work long hours on top the full time Muma gig – and seem to be doing a better job!

If I were to have an appraisal tomorrow, I would be issued with a disciplinary. I stopped and glanced around at the chaos that seems to have tied itself around me: my car is always a wreck. From chewed sweets to fruitshoots, abandoned items of clothing and half of shoe zone seem to have a magnetic force to our foot wells. Darcie actually decided that the undetectable smell in our car was in fact, Bum. Great.

It shouldn’t be this way. My car should smell like freaking roses, using tips I picked up on pintrest, during research on ‘How to avoid your car smelling like bum’, because that’s the sort of thing I should have time for. But I don’t.

The wash bin is always overflowing (should I introduce naked Tuesdays?!) even though I am at home all the time. Doing washing. And folding. And putting away. We run out of bread and milk, nappies and formula on a weekly basis – but never coinciding with the weekly shop and at crucial shit-explosion moments, or the breakfast rush.

I dish up ready meals, Ready meals!! I’m at home all the time. This shit is my job and I dish up ready meals. We never seem to have enough time (or calm) to fit in reading the school book every night. I should be devising word games and *crazy* maths challenges to get those intellectual juices flowing through my 5 year olds head. Instead we get our interior design heads on with their Sylvanian world, and cut up Kinetic sand.

I am getting better at remembering own clothes days and those super fun random music shows that the school seem to enjoy springing on us. Clearly the parental form of SATs. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the first 5 years of being a professional parent is just your probationary period.

 

Any other stay at home mums feel this guilt?

The way of the world: according to my ToddlerMonster

  1. The louder you scream the more you shall achieve.
  2. The word Me should be included at the beginning and end of each sentence reinforcing ones importance.
  3. Eat with your hands: it’s quicker and you can lick them later for a little dinner reminder.
  4. Only Paw Patrol should be on the television. Anything else is simply an oversight by management.
  5. Pasta & grated cheese IS the ultimate dinner. Don’t be cute and mix it up: you cannot improve on perfection. I will only feed it to the dog. And smear it up the wall.
  6. Washing hair is an unnessesery torture occurring right in the middle of the most fun part of the day. Scream & then scream some more: Chase is surely on the case.
  7. The Park is the single most important destination goal of each day. Do not rest until you have been on the Weeeeeeeeengs.
  8. Closely followed by soft play: Nothing beats seeing management spat out by the foam rollers.
  9. Run, don’t ride. Why would you want to sit in a buggy when you could be running everywhere so much faster. Efficiency is key.
  10. Teeth are the most successful persuasion tool we have. especially on siblings.

Thank me later- I’m off to update the memo board on the back of my bedroom door – with management’s eyeliner.
DomesticatedMomster

DomesticatedMomster

10 hacks to nail your CenterParcs Longleat break…

*Not a sponsored post*

cover pic

We have just come back from our debut family weekend trip to CentreParcs. Here are my top hacks I’ll be referring back to for next time – and yes, there will be a next time: Toddlers are not aliens here.

    1. Arrive for 10am & head to the pool – Although you won’t have access to your lodge until 3pm (2pm if you pay the supplement) you can use the facilities on site from 10am. We were told at the CenterParcs check in point that we couldn’t use the pool until 2pm, we obeyed and instead dragged 2 kids around in the rain until it was time for us to check in. However, others in our party did use the pool from 10am with no problem at all, and this is what we would do next time for sure! (There wasn’t a Rottweiler guarding the entrance!)longleat pool map
    2. Hire Bikes: from 11am on day of arrival. It’s by far the quickest and easiest way to get around CenterParcs. There are brilliant cycle routes, and the fact that cars have to be in the main car park by 10pm on the day of your arrival means you are safe from traffic, apart from the odd service vehicle. Our girls are 2 & 5 so we hired a carriage for the back of Dan’s bike (lucky him!) The girls LOVED it. Even better is the serious amount of storage behind the seats for carting around all of the usual ‘under the buggy’ crap. You can hire balance bikes, bikes with stabilisers, traditional chick cycles and mountain bikes. They were all really good condition and came with locks.
    3. Pay to be central. Yes, it is extra – again. But the site is huge, and if like us you have 2 small children in tow the last thing we wanted was long hikes between the pool and our lodge. We figured this is where our girls would be most keen to hang out and so choose a lodge as close as possible. It minimised tantrums and cycling effort (I had no idea how unfit I am, CenterParcs is massive!) so worth the extra £ at the point of booking.
    4. Afternoons at the pool. The difference between the mornings and afternoons in the pool was unbelievable. The famous CenterParcs pool opens at 10am – Think Black Friday, with the amount of people waiting to get into the changing rooms on the dot of 10. The queues for the 4 big slides were seriously long, 20 minutes was the longest we waited for. The outside pool was so packed it was like watching pasta come to the boil! The afternoon was the opposite, especially on the day we arrived. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.Longleat_subtropical_swimming_paradise_header_1920x500
    5. Bring inflatables & Bucket n spades with you- and don’t get ripped off! We bought a beach ball in Morrisons for 99p. The exact same beach ball was being sold at CenterParcs for £5.99! We also took a bucket and spade each to the pool. There are sandpits in the toddler area. Yes, I was crouched over in my bikini making a Dinosaur nest: Because of course,  we were at Jurrassic Park, not Center Parcs. Mild confusion for entire trip as Toddler Monster roared her way around the place in search of a T Rex. There is also a sandy beach around the lake for keen diggers… beach6. BOOK BOOK BOOK! If you want to do it, Book it. The activities at CenterParcs get really booked up, especially things like the horse riding, children’s jet skis and the tree tops high wires. Although with the massive pool, the adventure playgrounds, & lake-beach you could get away without doing extras if you have under 5’s. Click here for the list of included activities. The Pancake house was seriously popular, we couldn’t get in without a booking on our first attempt to stuff ourselves stupid. We had more success when we arrived for when it opened at 11am. It has a lovely sunny terrace out the back, the pancakes were delicious – and almost guilt free thanks to the cycling! Next time I’d love to book into the Spa…pancake pic

 

  • 7. Take a BBQ & kitchen essentials. They do sell pretty much everything you need in the little shop at CenterParcs, but you’ll pay a premium for it, and you won’t have your car boot handy to pop it all in to take home… So it’s a good idea to plan out if you will be eating in or out and take your supplies with you. (Even down to the nitty gritty of washing up liquid, loo roll and bin bags! Oh the glamour!) The lodges all have outdoor tables and chairs with a BBQ area, we made use of it one evening and it was lovely amongst the trees!
  • 8. Restaurants at Center Parcs: The sports bar is on the lake, in the big sports complex. It serves Weatherspoons style grub. Not particularly special BUT it serves wine, AND has a soft play area which our girls loved. Tick, tick. Café Rouge is in the Plaza and is one of only 2 places that serve breakfast. Again, it has a little soft play area. The only thing about Café Rouge is that it has a stream with no fences running in between the tables with fish in. If you have a wobbly toddler then you’ll be on your guard… But it is pretty! Hucks is the American restaurant and serves your burger / steak / chip classics. It does a children’s buffet which was basic kids food, but good value. It has a soft play for toddlers, an adventure play Castle for the older ones and an i-station for older kids. VERY child friendly and serve a mean Daiquiri. There are a couple of Starbucks (plaza & Sports complex) No soft play… but essential caffeine fix to get around all of the activities and pander to whinging kids.Cafe rouge9. Take your joggers, some decent swimwear & get a Tan! There is absolutely no point taking anything nice to wear. Embrace the opportunity to leave your skinnys at home, cycling in them would be impossible and so uncomfortable! Pack wellies, trainers and hair bands: no heels needed! Same for the kids. I did however have a spray tan. Knowing I’d be spending more time standing out of the pool than submerged I decided it would be a good investment. Well, tanned cellulite always looks better doesn’t it… Same applies for the bikini. Get a tight one – those slides are fast. You know what I’m saying. 
  • 10. LONGLEAT SAFARI PARK is literally 3 minutes up the road from the main CenterParcs entrance. We did this on the Monday, our check out day. You can stay in the park and use all of the facilities as long as you are out of your lodge by 10am. But if you haven’t been to Longleat zoo then you just have to do it! There always seem to be a few deals online for booking tickets in advance. We arrived before 10am and had the safari in our car almost to ourselves. Lions, roamed around our car, we fed Deers out of the passenger window, saw Tigers a few meters away… It was incredible. RECOMMEND RECOMMEND RECOMMEND!
  • longleat

 

 

You and Me Time

Toddlermonster proudly handed me her poo, as casually as if she was passing me her flannel or toothbrush. This was bath time last Thursday. Ordinarily I would have been a bit pee’d off that not only had I been handed an actual poo, but I had to then fish about for the extra bits in amongst the bubbles. Haul both girls out of the pooey contaminated bath water, before beginning the Getting Ready for Bed ritual. However last Thursday was not your average Thursday. It was the night before Hubster and I were escaping to Berlin together. Just together. For an entire 48 hours.

The trip was my birthday present. A present which would take very careful planning to co-ordinate one ToddlerMonster, our 4 year old young lady, an excitable Chocolate eating Cavapoo, (who was still recovering from having his stomach pumped after devouring a box of Dark Lindt) and an incontinent old cat.

Thanks to having very understanding and kind parents and willing Neighbour the plans were all in place. The bags were packed, school and nursery pick ups organised with Nanny. Cat food left, dog food and dog dropped off.

Blimey whatever happened to spontaneity?!

It’s just you, and it’s just me.

I had been so busy with the preparations for the trip that I hadn’t stopped and contemplated the fact that Hubster and I were going to have time. Just for us. We both love being parents, But we were a couple first and I strongly believe that taking a bit of time out to remember the reasons we became parents together in the first place is so bloody important!

I have to admit that I was a bit concerned we may end up doing nothing but chat-child and stare into the distance. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. We talked, with no interruptions. We talked about trivial things, things that don’t really matter. Things that we wouldn’t usually have time to natter about. We people watched, always entertaining. We ate our breakfast first; Before having to feed the girls and the animals. I used a small handbag – wet wipes wouldn’t have fitted. We laughed, a lot. Mostly because we were acting like loved up teenagers. We rode bikes! What the…

We put ourselves first for 48 hours and it was pure bliss.

Sure, we missed our brood, but the break from responsibility was like breathing really really fresh air.

I’ve come home really refreshed and really ready to be a Muma again. Meanwhile, our girls had a seriously fun weekend with their Nanny Chickens and Big Papa spoiling them with time and attention. Being granddaughters is a pretty big deal.

I’m really hoping the Bath-Poo incident isn’t going to be a phase. There’s no Berlin tomorrow to cushion that delight later.

 

If you are thinking of heading to Berlin below is a little directory of or trip…

We stayed:

http://www.parkinn.com/hotel-berlin

Newly refurbishes, great cocktail bar, a spa and so central, surrounded by restaurants and bars.

http://www.visitberlin.de/en/spot/alexanderplatz

Tip: Ask for a room with a view. We stayed on the 33rd floor and had the whole of berlin sprawled out in front of us. Its an extra 15E a night but well worth it. From the airport you can catch a direct train to within 100 yards of the hotel for 3.50E each. Bargain!

We visited

Checkpoint Charlie. There is a museum there called The Wall. It gives you a real life Snapshot of what it was like when the Berlin Wall was up during the ‘80’s. Cleverly done, it brings the history to life (essential for me!)

Topography of Terror http://www.topographie.de/en/  located at remains of The Berlin Wall, just a block from Check Point Charlie.

DDR museum – http://www.ddr-museum.de/en pretty small interactive museum. Beautiful location right on the river and below a great coffee / Crepe shop.

The Reichstag Building   http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/kuppel/kupp/245686 we didn’t actually go inside but it’s pretty impressive to look at.

Brandenburg Gate Its super touristy, complete with entertainers (who aren’t hugely entertaining) but nonetheless it’s a pretty epic gate!

We ate

Block House Steak House   http://www.block-house.de/block-house-restaurant-best-steaks-since-1968/?L=6 NOM NOM NOM! Gorgeous Steak! This place was packed with a queue out of the door by 8.30pm so maybe ask the hotel to book for you or get there nice and early.

There are lots of pizza and pasta places in the Alexander Platz area. We stayed clear of Schnitzels and Currywest! http://www.visitberlin.de/en/spot/alexanderplatz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the click; The importance of having mummy friends and how it wasn’t easy to find them.

“I’m a total loner, and my baby has no buddies!”

This was the sentence which I found I had on repeat when we moved out of the city and into the sticks. Our daughter was 18 months old and we had made the decision to move to an area where we could afford those mummy luxuries. No, I’m not talking about a Granite kitchen Island with built in wine fridge- sadly. I’m talking about a garden and a drive way: Proper mummy luxuries. If you have ever tried to unpack a weeks load of Lidl with a 9 month old baby in tow, from a parking space 100 yards from your house, then you too will understand the importance of a driveway.

The sparkle had slightly tarnished on the café culture we were enjoying in Hove before Darcie was born. We no longer needed to have a host of restaurants and bars on our doorstep, and longed for the ability to park outside our house without a permit, or actually park outside our house at all. It was with a heavy heart that we left our beautiful little house in the bustling hub and switched over to a very different pace. Hello Suburbia.

But what’s a driveway without friends?!

Once the initial excitement of unpacking had passed, and the endless decorating had finally petered out (for now!) my attention firmly landed on the pint sized 20 month old girl, with the big brown eyes who had a lovely new toy room, and no little pals who lived nearby to share it with.

So I began the hunt. The hunt for playmates for both of us. Surely there must be some mamas who don’t produce the contents of Holland & Barrent from the kids lunch pack and believe a little Prosecco in the afternoon is good for the soul. Basics.

It turns out we are quite lucky in our little town; everyday there seemed to be some sort of baby/toddler group where we could go along and share germs, snatch toys and if we were lucky sip on a weak cup of coffee, while I hunted out like minded Mumas. September had arrived, and I slapped on my best ‘please come and talk to me I’m not a complete nutter’ face (yes, this was my first hurdle!) and put Darcie in her least stained clothes, attempted to brush her unruly mane of dark hair and repeated the mantra ‘be gentle and kind, be gentle and kind’. For these things did not always come naturally to our little treasure, but are fairly imperative attributes when seeking out a new tribe.

It was all a bit of an anti climax if I’m being honest. It took about 2 months of going back to the same group before someone actually spoke more than 2 words to me and didn’t just look at us like we were trespassers! You see the thing with a small town is the Click factor. I hadn’t anticipated that. How naïve!

That someone who branched out and spoke to me changed everything. We quickly became buddies, and our children didn’t seem to hate each other. Bonus. I could feel it: play dates were on the cards. Perhaps the rest of the group could see I was one of them after all and began to accept me too. I wasn’t going away, I would be back week after week…

I was on a role and beginning to settle into this small quirky seaside town. Being a small town now-familiar faces were beginning to pop up. I was actually being greeted in the street: hurrah!

But it was the very wonderful Nursery school and dancing classes Darcie went too where the friendships really started.

Here I found a group of girls, My Muma girls. Like minded Mamas that I can call my Friends. Girls I adore, who I can laugh with, and at times cry with. Each of these girls came neatly equipped with a little girlfriend for Darcie, and better still, a sibling for our newest addition. Our daughters have been through Nursery school together and last September began their big school adventure, all in the same class.

Life would be very different as a Muma without these girls. They turn a would-be mundane, sometimes freezing school drop off into a bit of a social, I look forward to seeing them. Comparing our morning struggles to get out of the door. It sounds simple, but as a Muma sometimes just getting your 4 year old out of the door requires the skillset of a Hostage negotiator. I like that I’m not alone in this. I’m not the only one suffering this and I have the Muma friends to back me up.

I’m fairly abysmal with administration, little did I know starting Big School would require me to set up a home office! I’m constantly checking school details with the girls – nativity costume comparisons, non-school uniform day reminders, homework panic (a 4 year olds homework is trickier than you think. I’m going to need to take night classes to have any hope of assisting Darcie past year 1!) You name it, I ask it.

At last, I found my own Muma click, and frankly I’d be lost without them.

 

 

 

Bugaboo Bandit: My Confession.

Homage to my dear Bugaboo..

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Yes I know, I know: it costs a FORTUNE. In fact it was so expensive that when we sold my husband’s beloved ‘sports car’ in favour of a car which the bugaboo could fit into (yes the irony isn’t lost on yet more expense being squandered on the Bugaboo here…) the proceeds didn’t even cover the extortionate amount!

That minor detail aside, I had decided long before Darcie had begun to give me morning sickness that the Bugaboo was the one for me. I admit it wasn’t a choice made entirely on its practical merit (I blame Heat mag here) – however I did of course brush up on these points when standing in Mothercare persuading long suffering Hubster that this is the ONLY pram we could consider, and just how could he make a pregnant lady cry.

“Look, it has an adjustable handle – perfect for your 6”4ness.”

I struggled with a second practical based sell so settled for “We will look JUST like Gwyneth & Chris Martin strolling around with baby Apple” – I may have been speaking Marshan but it seemed to clench the deal.

Bugaboo ordered. Muma 1: Hubster -£1000.

Little did I know that this one purchase really was all I needed to buy for our teeny tiny human. Really I shouldn’t have bothered buying any of the following for quite same time:

Rocking crib / Moses basket / big cot / cot Mobile with strange not of this earth animals hanging from it which played Eurovision style music / bath seat / bath sponge floaty thing / bouncy seat (one for upstairs, and one for downstairs) toys – a variety of world discovery essentials promising to ensure your child evolved faster than next doors / baby gym (what the..!) / books / jumperoo – a new born essential, obviously. I may have gone a bit over the top, hormones flowing I wanted to ensure Tiny Human wanted for nothing and that every possible need and whim was provided for.

How naïve was I: The 3 B’s was all I needed for months: Boobs, Bottles & BUGABOO!!!

I remember the Bugaboo arriving like it was yesterday, I was only 10 days away from my Breach inspired C-section. I was one big Muma by this point, up until this moment I hadn’t nested. Hubster was secretly hoping I would have surges of SuperHouseWife – this seemed to have pasted me by. However Bugaboo delivery day saw me spring into action: instructions in about 20 different languages, wheels, metal bits, soft bits resembling seating and an iron will I put the entire thing together, single headedly.

I sat for the rest of the afternoon staring at the Pram, all ready for an actual tiny human to take up residence. I must admit I couldn’t resist the urge to give it a quick wiz around the lounge, how I didn’t take it for a spin down the road screaming “LOOK, I BUILT THIS” I’ll never know!

Darcie arrived unexpectedly 2 days later – I should have guessed something was up: I am the most untechnical person, I can barely work the washing machine. The fact that I had just built an entire object from bits was basically Mother Nature sending me a sodding great telegram: BABY IMMINENT!

Darcie, seemed to approve of our choice in pram too. 8 days after my c section I managed to hobble about 10 meters out of our front door pushing her in the shiny new, flipping gorgeous, pram. Practically bent over double I retreated back to the sofa, but that first little ‘walk’ (in the loosest sense of the word- more of a put the bins out distance!) – really is such a treasured memory.

From then on the Bugaboo did us proud – Darcie slept in the pram top placed inside her big cot for months, she loved walks in it, I loved pushing her in it , look one handed!- Only a few minor collisions occurred… The ease of slotting the ridiculously heavy car seat on top of it was frankly a godsend.

Our newest addition now has the pleasure of the Bugaboo, although she is currently at ToddlerMonster phase and so the pram top is now gathering dust and god knows what else in the garage.

The bugaboo has soldiered on, it has endured Tantrums off the Richter scale, witnessed the knee GENTLY in the chest trick to assist with the little known about ‘Toddler stiff as a board back arch’ condition. It has had more food and drink spilt on it than a playgroup floor, survived being literally thrown into the boot of the car after been dismantled in grotty car parks. Actually it has survived many an argument about how best to collapse it in the early days! But it has gallantly carried our screaming squirming children, and all of my shopping for over 4 years now. What am I going to do with my Primark bags when I can’t hang them on the buggy anymore?!

You have done us proud Buggaboo, I salute you.

Is it just me who has an unhealthy sentimental affiliation with their pram, please reassure me I am not alone here..?