Here’s a quick list of some family events happening in and around Edinburgh at Christmas, these are all things that I’ve been recommended recently by pals, however, I obviously haven’t had the chance to try them all out – so please use your discretion!
Christmas Fairy Trail @ Archerfield Walled Garden, ran by Rogue Village – we were really fortunate to be invited along to this and it was stunning! We would definitely pay to go again. Beautiful immersive experience for adults and kids alike (*gifted experience)
Project Elf @ Fort Kinnaird – elves are roaming Fort Kinnaird during the weekends of December, why not stop by and get an ‘Elfie Selfie’? They are also encouraging shoppers to give back to those in need and have partnered with Forth 1 Mission Christmas Appeal. There are a number of donation points around the centre where visitors can leave a small gift for charity! We’re nipping over the weekend before Christmas to make a donation.
Festive Forest @ Beecraigs – billed as being a ‘mesmerising secret forest’ light show with a Santa’s Grotto amongst other things, we have booked (and paid) to go to this and I really hope it’s as good as it looks!
Breakfast with Santa @ Conifox – on from 21st-24th December. I’ve not been, but I’ve heard that their Superhero Breakfasts are good, so I think this would be too!
Christmas at the Botanics @ Edinburgh Botanic Gardens – this is the events third year and it’s running till 29th December. This has been highly recommended by quite a few pals… maybe I’ll finally make it next year!
Giant Lanterns @ Edinburgh Zoo – This year the theme is Lost World. We went two years ago with Oscar who was 2 and a half and it was our last day out as a family (on Hogmanay!) before Scout arrived a week and a half later. We really enjoyed it, and I remember Oscar loved it – I’d defo go back.
Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets @ Edinburgh City Centre – Food, drink, rides for all ages and a Santa’s Grotto! Great for a day out with or without kids, a bit pricey, but markets always are, aren’t they?! Remember, you get 10% off ride tickets with an EH postcode (we weren’t asked for proof).
Sleighbell Sundays @ Brewhemia – for Sundays in December, Brewhemia in town are putting on a christmas experience for the whole family where you can meet Santa and Mrs Claus, hang out in their Grotto and even watch a festive film all alongside a Sunday Roast dinner… sounds pretty decent!
Spectacle of Light @ Dalkeith Country Park – on from 7th December till the 5th January where you can experience Fort Douglas by night and see the magical Sky Maze all lit up! I very nearly booked this… However, we used to live close to DCP and spent a lot of time there, so went with Beecraigs for a change. I’ve seen a few people go to this though, and it looks great, especially for slightly older kids (and by that, I mean 4+… I always find Scout is a bit too young to enjoy Fort Douglas to it’s full potential!)
Christmas Adventures @ Callendar House, Falkirk – Now, this is supposed to be a VERY good Santa… I’ve booked and paid for tickets to this so I hope it lives up to the hype. Fairly reasonable at £7.50pp – I hope the gift for the kids is good, I’ll report back!
Porter & Bramble Bauble Workshop @ Skapa Studio, Falkirk – Go along and create a custome bauble with your little one! I fear these may now be done for the year and I’m gutted I never made it to one as I know Oscar would have LOVED it! Keep your eyes peeled for next year! On a side note: they do loads of cool workshops all year round!
If you were looking to go along to something, I hope this is helpful, and if you have any suggestions or recommendations, please let me know!
BUT – Most importantly, these are just ideas. Events like these are aplenty, but remember, they are not essential. They don’t come cheap and no one can do everything, and no one should feel guilty if they don’t have the time, money or inclination. Instead, for FREE, why not try –
Walking around the town or your neighbourhood and looking at Christmas lights!
Try making some homemade christmas paper using some kraft paper (I got mine in Wilko for £1) and stamps and/or paint… or ya know, glitter again, if you’re brave.
Toasting some marshmallows at home and having a movie night – current fave in our house is Arthur Christmas (it’s on Netflix just now)
Make some Christmas cookies, or maybe even a gingerbread house – this is something we’ve never got round to… maybe this year?!
Or, why not try putting together a food parcel for the local food bank. Oscar’s old childminder did this a few years ago and he had to take an item every day that he was with her and then just before Christmas all the kids took it down to the collection centre and handed it in. Or maybe donate a few small gifts, picked by the kids to the collection points at Fort Kinnaird mentioned above!
Whatever you get up to this Christmas, have a good one and spend it with the people that matter most!
Kept this short and sweet, hope it’s not too obvious that I threw it together while Scout had been napping today – OVER & OUT!
I was recently asked by Edinburgh Baby Company if I’d like to borrow a Babzyzen YOYO+ for a week to try out and review as part of a wee collaboration, and well, I jumped at the chance, as it’s a buggy I’ve been looking at on and off for a while, and had heard great things about, and I was also already a fan of the shop! On a few of Oscar’s hospital admissions, I’d ended up in their Marchmont store a few times while floating about like a bit of a zombie potato (kids wards are LOUD… all night long), while out getting some fresh air and a quick lunch.
So first off, Edinburgh Baby Company are fab! Single-handedly ran by mum of three Sara for local families and she sells everything from pregnancy, to baby and beyond. The selection of ethical clothing is wonderful, variety of wooden toys incredible and if you’re thinking of making a switch to cloth nappies, look no further… not to mention Sara has great knowledge if you’re in need of some advice on where to start on these, she’s your woman.
So, before I go any further, for transparency sake: I was given a loan of this buggy for a week in exchange for an honest review. Views are of my own and I was not paid!
The Babyzen YOYO+
So what is it? And why’s it supposed to be so special?
So, I thought the YOYO was just a buggy, but upon picking it up, I realised it’s quite a bit more – from a parent-facing newborn cocoon right up to a toddler/child buggy that can be popped up with one hand and folded down small enough to pop in the overhead locker on a plane – the YOYO+ is a pretty cool piece of kit.
The Main Selling Points (as told by Babyzen)
Reclinable and can lie flat (great for napping!)
Featherweight: 6.2 Kgs, with a shoulder strap for carrying
Newborn pack from birth to 9kg – a supersoft sherpa lined cocoon
Parent facing or forward facing
Fabrics are machine washable, cause ya know, kids are minging
Improved 4 wheel suspension
Car Seat Compatibility – Popular car seats can be popped on the chassis
UPF 50+ sun protection canopy which is great for holidays
Fits in the smallest spaces (more on this later) and in the overhead compartment of an airplane
Exclusive soft-drive system: no need to lock the front swivel wheel, even on rough terrain
The Pros… As Told By Me!
So let me say first off, I was impressed from the start, I’d never seen a YOYO+ in real life and honestly, it looks great. It looks sleek, premium and pretty nifty. I was also surprised to see it comes in a variety of colours. I didn’t get to choose but the trial model was a beautiful orangey-red colour, and was the one I’d have chosen. Similar to a Bugaboo (which we currently have) you can buy different colour packs to change the colour of the hood and lining as well as newborn inserts – this is always good if you’re looking to refresh a pram system to use with a subsequent child, or just fancy a change!
With both of our children we’ve bought a pram/travel system to use from birth (with Oscar we had an iCandy Peach3, and with Scout I decided to get a Bugaboo Cameleon3) and then, once they have reached a certain age and we needed something more convenient for popping into the shops or going on holiday, we’ve used a cheaper foldable buggy (in our case, we bought a Mamas + Papas Armadillo)… But here’s the deal, buggy’s are rubbish! They steer like a triple decker bus, can feel rattly, wheels get stuck in cobbles (hello, Edinburgh), never as easy to put up and down as they say, and they can still be bulky when folded… so to be honest, I’ve always hated ours!
This was where I was going wrong though, as I said before, I thought the YOYO+ was “just another buggy”, but in reality, it’s so much more. The YOYO+ can contend with the more traditional prams and travel systems, similar to the Bugaboo Bee I’d say, as a city pram. It would do away with the need to buy an additional buggy/stroller further down the line, making it a truly versatile and a good investment.
Babyzen do all the “extras” you’d want in a travel system, from their newborn pack with a flat nest for infants, a 5-point harness, a 2-position pop-up canopy, a foot cover and a headrest (oh, and it folds flat with this on too – no need to remove first), to YOYO buggy board with seat, to parasols and the new parent essential – cup holder!
On a side note, I also loved that it has a wee zip pouch in the hood for putting your purse and phone if you’re just nipping into the shop. As well as a handy little window on the hood to check if they’re sleeping (spoiler alert: mine never was!)
The YOYO gives a good, comfortable, upright seated position but can be adjusted easily using a toggle on the back of the seat unit to recline… Unfortunately for us, Scout never decided to nap while we were out (standard) but the seat does lie flat which is a selling point for us, because it’s great on holiday for being able to get them to sleep in the evenings and comfortable enough to stay asleep so you can enjoy a cocktail or 5!
Plus, despite the YOYO’s compact size, the seat is a brilliant size. Oscar is 4 and easily fits. A 4 year old might not ordinarily use a buggy, but if you’re on holiday it could still come in handy. Babyzen have thought of everything, and if you have an older child sleeping, you can even buy a leg rest that clips on the front to extend the seat for sleeping.
As well as being comfortable for the wee one being pushed around like a king and/or queen, the YOYO+ is also really nice to push. It feels light and responsive which isn’t always the case for a run of the mill buggy, and a city prams go, it felt great on our little mini adventures. We put it through its paces and it really excelled – even Robin was left impressed and that’s a tough ask (he hatesour Bugaboo Cam).
Teeny Wee YOYO
So I suppose one of the main selling points of the YOYO is it’s size, and it’s impressive! Our current pram (Bugaboo Cam3) and buggy (Mamas + Papas Armadillo) both take up the floor space of the boot of our cars (see below) meaning any shopping or bags have to be placed on top, this is fine until you have any more than 3, then it becomes some sort of balancing act while hoping you can squish the parcel shelf down far enough to be able to peek out the back window… it’s far from ideal.
In comparison, the YOYO+ really is tiny. It folds so easily and can be carried with a shoulder strap before being chucked in the car. A few people have asked to see it in the car, both in the boot and in the footwell in the front (note, the passengers seat was not even all the way back), so here it is! I must admit, even I was surprised at how little room it took up.
The YOYO+ can also be stored in the overhead lockers on a plane, and a separate travel bag can be purchased if needed. I can definitely see the advantages of this having wrestled with a wild toddler while waiting to get through security and to the baggage reclaim to collect a buggy that’s been checked at the gate!
That brings me onto a feature that Sara at EBC told me about that I’d never heard of – YOYO+ twin! Turns out, you can get two YOYO’s and clip them together to make a double pram! How cool is that? Sara herself has twins as was telling me about the struggles of the double buggy and how something that could come apart in this way would have really helped her out and having the option to split them when needed or for subsequent children must be a huge plus.
Where’s The Catch?
Truthfully? I don’t think there is one. However, there are a few wee downsides that I have to mention.
This is a city pram on the whole. We live next to a country park and we did put it through its paces on some bumpier terrain, and although it fared ok, if that’s the sort of environment that you’re looking to explore daily, then the YOYO probably isn’t for you… but you probably knew that already as ultimately it’s not marketed as that and that’s ok – it can’t be everything for everyone.
We also found that the narrow wheelbase means it can feel like its tipping slightly on a tight corner, especially with Scout being partial to leaning out one side to peer behind her. However, the stroller is light enough that this is easily corrected and you never feel ‘out of control’, it’s extremely responsive on the whole.
Robin did mention that he would prefer it to have an extendable handle. He’s 6ft 1 and said it wasn’t uncomfortable, however, it would have been preferable. At 5ft 3, it’s safe to say I didn’t have any problems, but considering most newborn+ prams have this, it’s a shame it doesn’t.
The Babyzen YOYO+ is pricey –
Babyzen newborn stroller from £579 – from birth to 4+
6months+ YOYO+ from £380 – this is the one we have been trying out… Obviously we didn’t need the newborn bit!
Accessories prices are as follows and I think are inline with ‘normal’ accessory prices the likes of Bugaboo, UPPAbaby etc:
YOYO bag £84.95 – we had this, and I completely forgot to photograph it (SORRY!) but it hooks into your YOYO with a small wheeled attachment and can carry up to an additional 10kg! Great if you’re on a full day out and need a picnic or if you’re shopping.
Board £99 – buggy board with a seat, similar to the Bugaboo one
Cup holder £24.95
Footmuff £99.95 – beautiful cozy cocoon that can roll up into a small storage bag
Travel bag £59.00 – fab for holidays to keep everything protected
Leg rest £29.95 – this would also be fab for an older child on holiday
If I were buying for a new baby I’d purchase the newborn stroller, cup holder (gotta stay hydrated) and a footmuff at a cost of just over £700. This is still a whopping £500 less than I paid for my equivalent Bugaboo Cam3 and Mamas & Papas Armadillo stroller.
Now, for a buggy that you’re going to use to nip to the shops every so often with or for a holiday or two, it really might not be worth it. However, I think it would be a great alternative to a traditional travel system. When I look back on how often we used our pram in the first 6 months with both Scout and Oscar, it really wasn’t that often. In particular, with Scout, she was always worn in a wrap and could count on two hands how many times we used the carrycot of the pram. I feel like a YOYO+ would have been ideal and actually saved a lot of money. It would even have been worth it if we’d known about it when we bought our rubbish buggy for holidaying with Oscar as I could have paid for the 6month+ stroller then upgraded it with the newborn pack when we found out about Scout… hindsight is a wonderful thing, eh?!
I love it. Probably more than I thought I would and I think Scout liked it… she certainly enjoyed eating snacks in it (sorry Sara, I’ll dust the crumbs off before I return it!). All in all, it has lived up to the hype!
Like I said, if you’re on your last baby (as I am) and they’re 1 year or above and you’re looking for something to scoot around town in and nip to the shops, then truthfully, this probably isn’t the buggy for you, it’s a pricey option -I’m pretty gutted that we didn’t discover it before now!
However, if you’re on your first or subsequent baby and looking for something that will see you from birth through till… well, whenever they might still need a buggy (bearing in mind this could be when they’re 4 and you’re on holiday) then this could be the one. It will save you money in the long run, and it’s a great wee piece of kit. You won’t ever have to wrestle in the pouring rain to dismantle it and fold it in the the boot in a car park while your baby screams in the car (been there), you’ll have plenty of room left for all your other baby paraphernalia and shopping and I don’t doubt you’ll enjoy scooting around with it.
In my (humble) opinion, the YOYO+ really is FUN and stands up to its rivals! Safe to say I was sad to return it to Sara today. Happy YOYOing!
Hi, Hello! Been a while since I wrote anything, not really been feelin’ it, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, lots of people (really, I’m not just saying this) have been asking me about Scout’s room as we finally got round to giving it a lick of paint… only took me 11 months since we moved in… whoops.
As you may have seen, I created a scalloped half wall round her room and I ended up with an influx of messages asking how I did it. And the truth is, it wasn’t that difficult, but I also didn’t have the foresight to document how I did it – rookie mistake. So instead, here are some photos and a little written guide as to how I went about it. I’m not that artistic, so believe me when I say – it’s doable for a novice… and really striking.
For the colour, we chose ‘Plaster V’ by Paint + Paper library and had it mixed by Decorating Centre Online (who were SO helpful!), it’s not dissimilar to Farrow & Ball ‘Sulking Room Pink’ but it also comes in lighter shades. We loved it because it’s quite neutral and not overly “girly” so it’ll grow with her and can be complemented by loads of different colours. I used this little Raduga Grez piece as loose colour inspo (on a side note, Bon Tot now stock these!)
How to Scallop
So, I was considering doing scallops for a few months and thought of a few ways to do it. my initial plan was to draw a line around the whole room as a baseline for the scallops, but to be honest… I couldn’t really be bothered. What I did instead was use a piece of string.
I wanted the scallops to be high enough to be viewed over the top of Scout’s cot and chest of drawers and higher than the window sill so I played about with different heights and finally settled on the scallop baseline being 90cm from the skirting board… it was time to start –
First, I marked 90cm from skirting in each corner of the room. Scout’s bedroom isn’t a rectangle and has an angled wall where the door is so I had a few extra corners to do. I then used small pins and ran a length of string round the room pinned at every corner on the 90cm mark this gave me the baseline round the entire room without having to worry about drawing it or using rules or spirit levels etc. I reckon it made it a lot easier and quicker!
I used a really technical piece of equipment to draw my scallops… an IKEA pasta bowl. I played around with a few pieces of crockery before I settles on this one. Side plate was too small… dinner plate too big… pasta bowl was Goldilocks! I then used a Sharpie to mark the diametre points on the edge (I told you this was technical…)
I then moved along the wall placing the marked points on the bowl edge on the string and drew round them using a pencil.
I also drew round the bowl and cut it out on a piece of card to form a template that I could then bend into the corners of the room so that the scallops continue without any breaks… and well, that was it really! it was all marked out and ready to go.
The next week my paint arrived and I had a whole child-free day (and night!!!) to get it painted. I bought a round furniture bruch on a bit of a whim in Wilko’s and it turned out to be the best! I cut in all the scallops free hand, and as long as you really load the brush, remove any excess and paint with confidence it’s really easy. As I said, I’m not artistic at all, and I was concerned about getting clean lines, but it was easier than anticipated. the first coat took me around 4 hours to cut in and then fill with a mini roller, not a piece of frog tape in sight! the second coat was around 2 and a half hours as it doesn’t need to be so precise on the cutting in.
I was really impressed with the finished product, even if I do say so myself! It’s a really effective way to jazz up a room and add colour. Plus, the fact that it’s a half wall means you don’t have to faff about with ladders which made a huge difference.
Here are a few more pics, and I’ve added some details of where bits and bobs are from too!
So, here I am at 1 year and 1 month (and a bit) of breastfeeding my second baby. To date, the longest I have fed from my trusty boobs having previously weaned Oscar at 8 and a bit months. It’s something I’m incredibly proud of and I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding for so many reasons – not least because it reduces the risk of breast cancer, and having had the Big C once, I’ll try anything to prevent getting it again 😅
However, we need to talk, because something isn’t right, and it hasn’t been since before Christmas and it’s only now, just today, that I finally feel able process it and hopefully, do something about it.
Up until now, I’ve not fully opened up to anyone, not even Robin, about how I have been feeling these past few months. My close “mum pals”, who actually now are just “pals” know nothing about this. I speak to them every day, however, if they’re reading this, it’ll be the first they’ve heard of the true extent of it. I’ve kept this to myself partly through shame, guilt, at times disgust, but mostly just sheer confusion about the thoughts I’ve been having, unable to process what it all meant… you name it, I’ve felt it.
[Read: I’ve raised a Bottle Refuser]
Please, bear with me while I try and articulate this ramble. This is my way of getting it straight in my head, processing it all and working out what to do next!
I’ve mentioned that Scout hasn’t taken a bottle on Instagram recently and had influx of messages saying “hey, we’re the same!” and “you’re not alone!” and I had originally started writing a post about this… but the truth is, this is only a tiny part of the story.
That’s bit I’ve been able to talk about openly. Because it happens – sometimes kids aren’t great sleepers, sometimes they don’t take a bottle, sometimes people admit that it can be a bit much and they need some space. All that stuff sounds fairly “normal”. I was happy to write that post and follow it up with “this too shall pass” etc. But truth be told, I was gonna keep a few secrets because I was worried about what they meant and quite frankly, struggling with the fact that I felt they made me a bit of a sh*t mum…
So here it is – in the tiny hours of the morning, as I’ve been lying feeding Scout back to sleep, these “normal” niggles have been completely eclipsed by irrational, intrusive feelings of anger and agitation that have felt far from any sense of normal. As the minutes and sometimes hours tick on trying to get her back to sleep, I feel it slowly starting to creep in. As she suckles for comfort, I get more and more agitated, irritable and to be honest – angry. When she is still awake and feeding, I have to hold her hands away from me to help me cope because I feel physically repulsed by her touch (even using the word “repulsed” is making me wince – but I’m trying to be as honest as I can be here). I’ve talked about the feeling of being “touched out” before, but this is next level.
Then, as I feel she’s starting to nod off I have to count to 100 over and over again to stop me wanting to just prize my nipple out her mouth to get away, anything to get away. The feeling of being completely trapped is overwhelming and claustrophobic.
Once she’s asleep and I escape back to my own bed, I have to lie and calm myself down, breath it out to settle myself, the pent up frustration, to allow myself to wind back down and sleep… then, more often than not, the itch will start. This has been going on for months now and I have had no idea what the hell it was. It sets in as I’m feeding. At first just a niggle that quickly become an insatiable burning itch all over my boobs and chest that can continue for up to half an hour after I’ve fed her, at times it’s been so bad I’ve scratched it with a hair brush for some relief or left me clawing at my skin while everyone else sleeps.
Now, I KNOW this sounds a bit deranged and somewhat dramatic. This was my worry too. That’s why I’ve never said anything – it’s a little crazy sounding. I’m a relatively calm and chilled out person and I have been genuinely scared of these irrational feelings, completely unable to make sense of it all and feeling so so guilty and ashamed. Guilty that I could feel so incredibly angry at giving my little baby comfort and food. So irritated by an act that I’ve loved and enjoyed so much and for so long with two babies. That’s helped me nourish them and bond with them so beautifully.
There have been nights that I’ve genuinely worried that I may be suffering from some sort of delayed postnatal depression… but then come morning I’ve felt absolutely fine again and that’s just left me more confused. I never felt like this at any point of my feeding “journey” with Oscar, so why now? What does it mean?
The Penny Drops … At 4am!
There’s a reason I’m sharing this now. Turns out everything I’ve been experiencing isn’t as scary or confusing as I thought.
Last night, as I was trying to get Scout back to sleep, I took five minutes away, picked up my phone and opened Instagram and there was a post in my discovery section mentioning “Breastfeeding Aversion” – almost immediately I was googling it, and there it was – an article defining it. As I read it, I honestly felt I could have written it myself. It summed up my thoughts and feelings precisely and in that moment the sense of relief was huge – it’s a real thing and I’m not alone.
The horrible things I have been feeling are all real, and recognised, and valid, and lots of other people experience it! I am not nuts. There is nothing “wrong” with me!
Breastfeeding Aversion & Agitation (BAA)
“BAA or ‘aversion’ is a phenomenon that some breastfeeding mothers experience, which includes having particular negative feelings, often coupled with intrusive thoughts when an infant is latched and suckling at the breast”
It perfectly outlines the intrusive thoughts, the sense of shame, triggers and even the dreaded itch! That’s when I knew I’d found my answer. I hadn’t even made a connection before now that the itch was related to my feelings of anger and agitation all the while being intertwined with my night feeds.
The causes of breastfeeding aversion seem varied – anything from pregnancy, to dehydration, to sleep deprivation to hormones. I’m unsure where mine has sprung from because I struggle to pinpoint exactly when it started.
Why am I sharing?
I still feel a wee bit weird about writing this.
After finding that these feelings have a name and a cause I do feel validated but I still feel really guilty about feeling them because they are no reflection on the bond that I have with Scout, part of which has probably been built through breastfeeding itself. But I genuinely had no idea that BAA existed and I can’t help but think that there must be someone out there experiencing this too and, just like yesterday’s me, has no idea this is a recognised phenomenon. Maybe you are sitting feeding just now feeling all the things, having all these thoughts and crying about it just like I’ve done – worried about what it all means.
Its real, it’s got a name, and I think I can fix it. This discovery has cemented in my head that it’s time to stop breastfeeding and move onto a new chapter.
I weaned Oscar off my boob at just over 8 months to that I could return to work and this time round I thought it would be nice to let Scout self-wean when she was ready but I just don’t think I can carry on with this effecting me the way it has been these last few months. I’m really proud of how far we’ve come and I’ve honestly loved it. I never wanted to stop on a negative note and it feels like it’s going that way, so I think it’s time. I have a feeling it might be quite tough, but we’ll get there. Even just recognising what’s causing these feelings will allow me to deal with them better I think.
Honestly though? This isn’t a horror story. If I had another baby tomorrow (nervous laugh), I’d choose to feed it myself in a heartbeat. Our breastfeeding experience won’t be tainted by these last few months but I’ll be honest with anyone that asks me about it because man, it’s been hard. Keeping anything like that to yourself is hard. Carrying all the worry and the guilt is exhausting – so don’t. Open up and share it, because if I’d done that I could maybe have saved myself a few weeks or even months of feeling this way… and would have itched a lot less 🤷🏼♀️
Well, there’s my brain dump for tonight – I’m going to click ‘Publish’ before I chicken out. Over and Out.
Last week, our little Scooty [Scout] turned one. I’m still in disbelief because 2018 may very have been the quickest year of my life… I mean, I thought Oscar’s first year flew in, but this second baby malarkey is next level, is it not?!
It’s been the most magical year. She’s been so laid back and fitted into our family perfectly. I can’t help but feel sad that she is growing up as she is the last baby, but it’s also amazing to see the little person that she’s growing into. I wrote a post when she was just new about how I felt that I am a “different mother” this time round, and I still stand by that. Our second baby has brought us the amazing chilled newborn-ness but without the inevitable worry that comes with the first. Able to soak up all those little magical moments without the overwhelming shock that your life has just been turned upside down and forever changed. It’s just easier, and for me, more natural.
Our Unicorn Baby
Although, as Scout has got older, I’ve realised that I’m a different mother in other ways too. Basically, my cup of care is dwindling. I’ve not had the time or even inclination to create routines or analyse “leaps”.
For the first 4 months of her life, she slept like a baby unicorn. She slept like I didn’t know it was possible for a newborn to sleep. Of course, it’s all gone to complete sh*t now, however, a good friend of mine made a very valid point – those first few days, weeks and months are the toughest to adjust and settling into life as a family of four, so being well rested is invaluable. And that’s true. I just wish it had lasted longer… but, it’s not forever, yada yada, one day we’ll be dragging them out their beds, yada yada, eyeroll.
Baby two has broken all the “rules” and she gets cut slack that we never would have with Oscar. I am ashamed to say I spend many an hour actually in her cot feeding her to sleep most [ok, every] night before stealthily ninja-ing my boob away and climbing out. Anything for an easy life.
There were also nights in summer when I was trying to create a bedtime routine, but failed miserably to be honest, because if she didn’t settle I’d just give up after 3 seconds and bring her back through to the living room to watch Love Island with me… because, well , I didn’t wanna miss Love Island, did I? This is stark in contrast to the bedtime drill Oscar had. In his (nearly) three and a half years on this planet, he has not once left his bedroom after “bedtime” – poor lad!
I think I’ve realised that with your first baby the next milestone is new and exciting and you can’t wait for it, second time round, I’ve been happy to just enjoy her and long to keep her small, however unrealistic that is.
Happy Birthday, Miss Scout Zelda Rose –
375 days new with 8 teeth that sometimes still get clamped around my nipple at 3am.
Who knows what you weigh because we never take you to the Health Visitor drop in clinic. Sorry.
You’ve been to London and Disneyland Paris & your first wedding but slept through the majority of it. That’s ok, there’ll be plenty more adventure.
You started walking at 11 months, so that’s something to hold over your brother, he didn’t bother till he was 14 months. It’s come with it’s fair amount of bumps and bruises, but you’re getting there.
You love clementines, swimming, snuggles, kisses and music.
You can say “Dada” and “Hiya” and I honestly thought you said “Teddy” the other day but I probably imagined it.
You’re feisty but gentle, strong willed but cautious. Your laugh is infectious. You’d play peekaboo all day if you could – preferably with Oscar. You love him.
We also think you look a little like Pikachu the Pokemon.
Most of all, we love you beyond measure.
All in all, 2018 was amazing, but also really hard and stressful at points and we were saying the other day, that Scout has been the easiest bit of it. Of course there have been the cranky 3am breakdowns but it’s all been far outweighed by her little toothy, scrunched up nose grin.
She makes us laugh all day and our hearts burst over and over at the wee bond that’s forming between her and her brother. I mean, it wasn’t love at first sight, for Oscar at least, it’s been a grower, but they’re getting there and it’s wonderful.
What a year. Can’t wait for the next, I hope it slows down, but have a feeling it won’t.
Ok, so, CHRISTMAS. Sorry, I know it’s still November, but everyone’s talking about shopping aren’t they? Black Friday fever… even though no one in the UK had even heard about this American phenomenon until about 2 years ago…
I’m not the best at being organised when it comes to the festivities, I usually have the ideas but never get round to actually executing them, and as a result panic buy stuff on Amazon Prime on Christmas Eve Eve. However, I’m trying to be a better person, I’m trying to change this significant flaw in my personality and I thought putting together this little guide might help me do that, and who knows, maybe you’ll find it useful too?
I’ve compiled some ideas for babies, 3 year olds and the Mamas – cause that’s my life. I am not a fan of buying stuff for the sake of it, and I do try to buy things that are quality and have loosely based it around the idea of buying “Something they want, something they need, something they’ll wear, something they’ll read”. This year I will also try with the majority of gifts to ‘shop small’ and support independent as well as local business – this is something my Mum does very well, and always talks about saving our local shops, and she’s right – so I will try and do better. I have chucked in a few more high street bits because sometimes we need a wee bit of convenience!
To The New Mum –
Want: Family Photography
In the form of a Gillian Morton Photography voucher. What could be better than giving new Mum or parents a gift of captured memories? We did a photoshoot with Gillian when Scout was just a tiny baby and the pictures from it are so incredibly special. This is the kind of thing that new parents might find hard to justify financially, I mean, maternity pay is pretty rubbish for most and you just have other priorities. It’s something that is genuinely worth every penny and will be cherished a lifetime. Obviously, if you don’t live near Edinburgh, Gillian might not be the family photographer for you, but there are many many more.
Want: Personalised Jewellery
I was so so fortunate to win a handcrafted Mobius Infinity bracelet from Soremi Jewellery which is personalised with the initials of both our babies – it’s beautiful and I get complimented on it loads. Ghazal has so many other beautiful pieces too at various price-points to find the perfect gift.
I don’t wear a lot of jewellery, I like quite simple pieces, and for a while now I’ve been eyeing up some personalised bits from Lines and Current. My absolute favourite is the Dreamer pendant that you can get personalised with an initial and then add an additional initialed coin for second babies.
Need: Skin Care
Recently I’ve been [trying to] put aside more ‘me-time’, and a small part of that has been trying to introduce a strict skin care routine, which I’ve actually got quite into! I’ve found Nicola Dougan on Instagram to basically be a skin care Queen and have made a few purchases on her recommendation that have helped my skin. One of the biggest changes, for me, has been switching to a facial oil at night instead of a traditional moisturiser. I’ve been using Amaranthine and I’m also going to purchase it as a gift for… well, not going to tell ya who for incase they read this!
My pal, Sarah, over at Brass Buttons and Confidence has been collaborating with L’Occitane and using their Overnight Reset Serum which looks amazing too! It’s not what you’d call cheap though, so it would make a lovely, luxurious gift to someone that really rates skincare… It’s something I might treat myself to after Christmas if I have any vouchers to spend!
On the other end of the scale, you can’t beat The Ordinary for great quality, budget stocking fillers starting at a fiver – my top picks are the Hyaluronic Acid and Glycolic Acid toner – I buy the majority of mine on ASOS as I’m a Premier member so get free next day delivery. Quids in.
If you wanted to go one step further towards self-care goals – how about treating someone to a treatment? Whether that be a facial or a massage or even push the boat right out and get them a spa day! I’m pretty sure I don’t know a parent that wouldn’t LOVE a day at Stobo. It’s a real treat, and you could even offer to do the baby sitting while they go and use their voucher!? I always think experiences mean a lot more than ‘stuff’ (Amma right Kelly @Organised_motherhood_?!)
Wear: Mama Merch
Every new Mama needs at least some kind of merch, and my go-to is usually Mutha.Hood. She’s got your needs covered from amazing Strong Girls Club jumpers (that now come in new colours) to a little branded popsocket to stop you dropping your phone on your babies face #essential.
Pj’s. Because maternity leave jammies are an essential. For those chilled days lounging, snuggling up sniffing your new baby while you binge watch boxsets on Netflix. Well, for those kinda perfect days, I’ve found kinda perfect jim jams and here they are – Sleepy Doe, and you can get them from Bunny.Hop! You’re WELCOME.
However, if you’re on a tighter budget, and yeah it’s not quite ‘shopping small’, but ASOS have some ace pyjamas in just now! Including these polka dot beauties below that look mega comfy. They all come in around the £30 mark and they also do them in petite and plus size.
Read: Book Club
If you’re looking for a stocking filler, a book is always a good place to start, however, a new parent might not have the time to read War and Peace, so how about The Little Book of Self Care for New Mums instead? A gentle reminder to be kind to themselves!
Ok, so babies don’t really want for anything do they? But it might be nice to gift them something that they can grow into… not necessarily clothes though. How about a nice wooden toy instead? There are so many lovely independent shops selling beautifully crafted toys for babies including these lovely Plan toys from Bunnyhop, who is based in Edinburgh.
I did also write a blog a wee while ago with a bit of a newborn essential list which could come in handy – check it out here!
Need: Nursery Decor
Instead of gifting a baby something for them to use, whether it be clothes or toys, why not think a little outside of the box and go for some kind of nursery decor? Admittedly this can be hard if you haven’t seen the room or if you’re unsure on taste, but there are so many cute little pieces out there that I’m sure most people would love. Mama.Tot, another Edinburgh based shop, has the best collection of interiors including the Liewood Mobile pictured below (pom poms are life) as well as beautiful blankets and cushions.
On the subject of textiles – bedding! Nice baby bedding is so so hard to come by, or at least that’s what I’ve found. Truth is though, a babies cot doesn’t need much, in fact, the safest thing is to have nothing but a cot sheet. Luckily, That Darling Brand makes the most beautiful ones in a variety of floral and unisex fabrics, ranging in size from Moses basket up to cot bed. We have ‘pickle’ (pictured below) and it’s such a great way to liven up the room with a bit of colour! They also come beautifully packaged and boxed which makes for a perfect gift.
Or, what about a nice personalised print? I love to mix a variety of styles and colours in any room with prints, using different style frames and hanging them on the wall as well as in picture shelves. My absolute favourite at the moment is anything from Eleanor Bowmer – her stuff is all the heart eyes, especially this one featured below which can be personalised and is pretty much nursery perfection. She also has some other great unisex designs including her unique leopards, mono space design and bestselling rainbow!
If personalised is what you’re after, I’d also highly recommend Three Penny! Making beautiful name prints in A4 and A3. The story behind the business is a really lovely one too. Oh, and there’s also an amazing limited edition release of Wonder Women flash cards – I’ve got them for Scout and can confirm that they are SO COOL! 😍
Well, these are definitely a need. A 10 times a day need. How about gifting some reusable cloth nappies? These can seem a bit of an investment for parents, so why not give a practical helping hand and kick start their collection… or, add to their existing collection all the while helping the environment. We’ve been using Bambino Mio Miosolo nappies for a while now and love them – they come in great patterns, and they sell other accessories too including muslin cloths and swaddles!
PS. I have it on good authority that they’ll be giving 25% off for Black Friday. I don’t usually subscribe to Black Friday deals because I worry they’re a bit of a con and just railroad you into buying stuff you don’t actually need – but on this occasion I make an exception, because it’s a genuinely great deal if you’re looking to gift any of the items or purchase for yourself!
Wear: Organic Zoo+ Upcycling
I could list a hundred beautiful clothing brands that sell the dreamiest newborn clothes, but I’d be here all day. So instead I’m going to focus on two of my favourites – the shop Organic Zoo and the wonderful Maker Sophie & Co.
I’ve been a fan of Organic Zoo since Oscar was born, and now, Scout has quite a few pieces form them too. For great quality, unisex pieces, ethically produced in Europe at a really affordable price – they’re a great all rounder. The salopettes below are one of my favourite products, Scout had a pair when she was brand new and they were just beautiful… they also have a matching wrap top that we have and is beautiful on!
I discovered Sophie & Co a bit later – Scout has had a few pieces and I have more waiting for her to grow into and I love them all. Her designs are unisex, really classic and super versatile. However, what I really want to talk about is Sophie’s Upcyling project. You can now send her old clothes and fabrics from your own wardrobe to be fashioned into pieces for your littles! Jeans can be come bloomers and your partners shirts can become rompers (like Scout’s below)! It’s a great way of creating a personal item and it’s also great for the environment as it’s reducing waste. It just makes it extra special! There’s loads of examples over on her Instagram!
Read: From The Cat in the Hat To Amelia Earhart
I have a love of children’s books, there’s nothing better than a beautifully illustrated board book (before it gets chewed). For babies, illustrated books can also be a lovely decorative addition to a nursery, and then as they grow, it’s so lovely to find a story that they enjoy. The following list is a mixture of books for babies and toddlers and beyond. Including a few non-fiction books that Oscar in particular loves! For ease I have linked them to Amazon, but shop around – there are so many beautiful and local independent book stores including Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge that would love the support.
So, babies don’t really want for anything but the same can’t be said for a three year old really, can it? I know I’m wanting to get Oscar something that he’ll really love and I can’t wait to see his face light up with a cool toy. But you don’t have to bankrupt yourself (and kill the environment) bulk buying plastic from Amazon. There’s some really cool gifts out there that will help you support a local indy business, and for this section, that business is Bon Tot – another amazing Edinburgh store based in Stockbridge! Aside from all their awesome clothing brands as well as amazing vintage finds, they are also selling some awesome toys and gifts this Christmas – from retro Sonny Angels to the coolest Des Enfantillages slingshots and bow & arrow – I’ve never seen anything like them anywhere else!
Something else I’ve thought about putting together for Oscar is a dressing up rail or box. This is also a great gift that family and friends can add to. Plus, if you have more than one child – they can all get involved! I technically didn’t ‘shop small’ for this and I actually picked some pieces up in the supermarket sales after Halloween. Meri Meri also do some great accessories but I would love to add some Fable Heart pieces over time. They make the dreamiest wands, crowns and capes that would be a perfect addition to any child’s dress up box and a beautiful gift, suitable for a variety of ages.
So, shoes probably aren’t the most exciting thing for a three year old, BUT, their wee feet grow so fast! I know I feel like I’m constantly buying new shoes for Oscar, so an alternative gift could be a voucher for new shoes when required. This could be for an independent local show shop, or for a bigger high street store depending on preference. It’s the practical gift that a parent might appreciate more than the child!
Need: an activity
Parents need this – time. Time to get stuff done. In my experience, the best way to buy some time is to set up some craft activities for Oscar to play with independently. A craft box is also a really cost-effective present to put together!
You don’t need to buy anything fancy and pre-packed. Instead, why not pick up an IKEA storage tub and fill it with some bits and bobs collected from pound shops and even around the house like –
a wee set of child scissors
off cuts of wrapping paper or cards
a few crayons
Or use a craft punch to create some confetti from leaflets, packaging and magazines – reuse + recycle and all that jazz!
Not only is this easy to do and great value but you can also customise it to suit the child’s interests, favourite colours and make it as big or compact as you like. It’s a really versatile gift for all ages!
Wear: Homegrown Brands + Makers
This is where it gets fun because there are so many independent brands out there making some amazing kids clothes! I’ve narrowed it down to four that I love, have bought from in the past, and will buy from again.
First up – Wex Baby – the coolest T-shirt’s and sweatshirts out there lovingly designed and printed by hand . Basically, every kid needs an item of clothing with Pepe on it (PS. They also come in matching adult sizes in some items!). Oscar has a jumper (below) and a gazillion washes later – it’s still going strong & so so soft!
Next up – some unisex personalised tees and sweats from BOB The Brand. Initialled goodies in the coolest mono animal print. I got Scout an initialled T-shirt and Oscar a birthday T-shirt and both are brilliant quality and all designed and handprinted in Manchester! They’ve recently released some new pieces too that are lovely, oh, and they also do adult sizes, so you can twin. What more could you want?!
And lastly, you might want to get some leggings to go with these t-shirts and sweatshirts and for the best prints, quality fabrics, perfect fit, beautifully handmade and great value, hands down, the best leggings I’ve ever found are from The Cotton Barn. I bought Oscar’s first pair when he was around 6 months old and have lost count of how many I’ve had since! They are perfect for boys and girls, babies through to child. My favourite print at the moment is Animal (both Oscar and Scout have leggings in it)
I could have added SO many more shops and brands to this list but I doubt you’d have made it to the end, so I’ll leave it at this. I hope it’s given you some inspiration. I know I don’t go daft at Christmas, I would rather buy small and buy smart – quality items that will last the kids and luxury items for the adults that they may not buy for themselves.
Also, just be bloody responsible, yeah? Christmas is a great time of year, but it’s definitely not worth getting into a complete faff over or worse, ending up in debt. Giving can feel great, but equally, your time is more important – spend it with your family, friends and loved ones. Take the kids to see the Christmas lights, not everything has to revolve around spending. We’ll also be donating toys to charity before Christmas, so that other little girls and boys get gifts. We will also be donating to a local food bank. Oscar’s childminder did this with all her minded kids last year and they went with her to drop it all off and I thought it was a great idea. Stuff is stuff, don’t get hung up on it. But if you can, and you want to – supporting local businesses and makers really will make their day!
I’d love to hear what your favourite shops are, I’m always on the look out!
Last month we (finally) moved house after a rather stressful few months. We moved into a new build and quickly realised we hadn’t ordered our wheelie bins… not an ideal situation for a family of four. There’s nothing like packing your dirty bin bags into a car to take them to landfill every few days to open your eyes to the amount of waste you have. It’s scary.
There are many aspects of our lives that we’ve tried to reduce waste, some little changes, some a little bigger. From declining straws at McDonald’s when we treat Oscar (read: treat ourselves) after his swimming lesson to being strict about the number of toys, particularly of the plastic variety, we have in the house. In fact, Oscar has very few toys really – but that’s a post for another day…
Luckily since Oscar stepped into his “big boy pants” a number of months ago, we’ve gone back down to one baby in nappies, but that’s still a hell of a lot of nappies! So it was the perfect time to start fresh and really get into using some cloth once and for all!
When Oscar was quite young I took an interest in trying cloth nappies, and I remember asking a girl I was pally with on Instagram that used them for advice and she sent me a huge list of stuff I needed to buy and instructions on how to go about it all. I won’t lie, I was completely overwhelmed, and just couldn’t get my head around it all or know where to start so I sort of just floated on, doing our thing with disposables.
Again, before we had Scout it crossed my mind and I was keen to try them after we got past the newborn phase (ya know, when they’re pooing 6000 times a day?). It wasn’t long after we started weaning Scout that Bambino Mio got in touch to ask if we’d like to review their Miosolo system and I jumped at the opportunity.
I’m pleased to tell you it’s a simple all-in-one nappy. So no list of stuff you need! PHEW!
As I said, I was worried about the logistics and the stuff involved with cloth, but the Miosolo all-in-one system makes it really easy!
This is my full nappy kit. Nope, I don’t have buckets of towels steeping for days on end in sterilising fluid! Instead I have –
Three Miosolo nappies – the all in one nappy system means the absorbent core is attached to the outer nappy shell and just pulls out for washing (more on this later!)
A roll of nappy liners – these are optional! You can sit them inside the nappy to catch poos 👀 I reckon these are more useful once weaning starts and they definitely help reduce the mess. They are also compostable, so we’ll probably do that now we have our garden waste bin! But as I say, you don’t need to use these.
Miofresh Nappy Cleanser – I already had a big tub of this that I bought from Amazon as I find it’s a great stain remover while also being really kind on sensitive skin. You don’t have to wash your nappies in this, and sometimes I forget, but it’s definitely worth having to get them a good thorough cleanse every so often. I tend to wash them at 30 degrees on a quick 45 minute stain removing cycle our machine has and I’ve not had any issues. They can also been tumble dried on a cool setting, but I prefer to let them air dry naturally – and find they dry really quick!
Mioboost booster pad – handy for when you need a little bit more protection, for example, overnight. You can pick a 3-pack of these up cheap on Amazon. We just have the one and haven’t felt the need to use it that often but if your baba is a big pee’er then they’re probably worry an investment. Especially as they get older I reckon!
As mentioned before, this nappy is an all-in-one, so it doesn’t come apart like others on the market. For me, this was perfect as it seemed really easy to get to grips with.When soiled (soz) I just tip out anything that’s in it (or the liner if using one) and then pull out the absorbent pad using one of the wee tabs. I then have a little plastic box on top of my washing machine that I place it in. Of course you could purchase one of the special buckets of you wanted, it’s only £20, and I probably will once I purchase more nappies, but at the moment, I just have the three so it’s not a big deal.
Unlike in days gone by though, there’s no need for the nappies to soak in sterilising fluid etc while in these buckets. I was still under the impression that was the done thing and it all sounded a bit full on! But no need for any of that with these.
Then I usually just chuck the three dirties in a dedicated wash with a scoop of cleanser in the evening. Once they’re dry the pad just pushes back inside the nappy and that’s it. Done! Easy peasy!
So what are the pros?
Well, let’s start with the obvious – they’re kinder on the planet, and that’s a big deal. Every time you use a cloth nappy, that’s one less going to landfill that’ll take 200-500 years to decompose… even if you only use one a day over the course of a year… or the 2-3 years they’re in nappies, it adds up!
As shown above, poppers and velcro easily adjust the nappy to fit your baby from newborn – potty training. if you’re organised enough you could get through years with a handful of cloth nappies and that is saving a whole load of pennies. Disposable nappies are expensive and the average child uses 11,640 of them… yup, over eleven and a half thousand! We use Pampers, and worked that out to be a cost of about £1629 – that’s money I could be spending on ASOS. So where cloth nappies seem like a bit of an outlay upfront, and they are, I get it, the savings are phenomenal, plus they can be used for subsequent babies, or passed onto friends – reuse, reuse, reuse!
Proof of the pudding is in the eating though, or in this case, the pooing… We’ve not had any issues with leaks or soaking through bar the very first time I used them, and I’m certain that was my incompetence at putting them on, coupled with the fact I hadn’t washed them (more on this later). Thankfully, even when we’ve used them through the night with a booster pad she’s remained dry despite being in the nappy 12 hours which is impressive for any nappy.
Plus, they are SO soft. Ridiculously soft and kind on little bums. We’re lucky that (so far, touching wood…) Scout doesn’t suffer nappy rash or had any reactions to nappies, but I know plenty of babies and toddlers that have, so for them I reckon cloth would a great choice.
Oh, and they look great. I mean, they’re mega cute and have lots of amazing prints. And I know that’s not the point, but, it makes them more exciting to use. Ours are from the rainforest range and I can’t wait to add to our collection.
PS. I’ve seen them reduced on Amazon fairly often – have a look!
Where’s the downside? Is there one?
There were a few things that I found a bit of a challenge, although I wouldn’t necessarily call them cons –
Although they are SO cute, they can be a bit bulky under some clothing, namely leggings. But on the whole, this wasn’t a big deal, especially using them in the house when I’m usually too busy to even dress my kids properly.
I’ll admit though, it could be a bit of a challenge out and about, mainly due to my minimalist parenting and my disdain for changing bags. I’ve never had one. Instead, I tend to take a disposable nappy and half a pack of wipes in a wee pouch in my hand bag when we go out. So on that front, cloth was a bit bulky to carry about with me. This only really posed a problem when we were out a whole day and required a few changes – in a those situations, I’d tend to just to stick to taking a few disposables with me, and I’m ok with that! I never set out to be die hard, I wanted them to fit in with our day to day and they have!
Lastly, yes, there is a financial outlay at the offset. And yes, it is in itself significant. I’ve mentioned above about how much money you can save, but buying a pack of nappies in the big big shop every few weeks doesn’t have as much of a sting as dishing out a few hundred pounds, that’s true. My advice would be don’t go all out. Buy a few and the essentials (booster and cleaner) and see how you get on. I have a modest ‘kit’ and still manage to use them effectively and make a change… now that I’ve trialled and like them, I’d be tempted to get a few more.
Someone asked me a very good question on Instagram last night (thanks Kim) – “How many do I need to do it properly?” – the answer is, I’m not sure,but I couldn’t fully convert to cloth with three. I think you would need at least 8… but maybe more if you were using them from day one. The Miosolo Premium Birth to Potty Pack (£249) contains 15, but also come with all the extras. I think if you wanted to fully convert it would be a worthwhile investment… and still save you money in the long run!
Top Cloth Tips
So, we’re a few months down the line now, and I wanted to use them for this long before writing a post to see how they’ve worked over time and where I’m still definitely no cloth expert, there have been a few lessons along the way. So here are what I believe to be some top tips for if you decide to take the plunge and ditch the disposables –
Get into a routine– if not, you’ll run out. and go back to disposables. I’ve done this a few times. I have three nappies, and I definitely think I’ll invest in a few more so that I don’t have to keep on top of washing them so often! I’m not the most diligent in this area… just ask Robin, he may not wear nappies, but he often runs out of boxers…
Get them outside! – Yes, they can be dried on a cool tumble setting, but I found it better to get them outside, obviously it’s better for the environment, but I also found the sunlight helps bleach any staining etc and keeps them fresh and soft!
Wash them before use – It helps with absorbency – DUH… I didn’t know this. They arrived, I chucked one straight on, and pee seemed to leak out it really quickly. Since they’ve been washed this has never repeated itself. Also, don’t use fabric softener for the same reason.
Check on Amazon – I am the Queen Of Prime and Bambino Mio stuff is often on special buy. For example – At the moment the Miosolo nappies are £13.50, but I have seen them as cheap as £10.99 on Prime Day. I wanna buy this one next, and fancy getting a bucket as mentioned before and maybe even a wet bag too, to help me when we’re out and about.
All in all, I think I can say I’m a cloth convert. I’ve really enjoyed using them, they’ve fitted in well with our daily routine. I like that I’m doing a little something to help out our planet, but equally, I don’t kick myself if I use a disposable when I’m out. I’m saving money and that’s only ever a positive thing, because kids are expensive, and there’s always something you need. In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that Bambino Mio gifted me these nappies. I was under no obligation to share but the views expressed above are my own – I am genuinely enjoying the experience and have and will be making further purchases to our cloth collection!
I’d love to hear about your experiences with cloth nappies. Or, if you’re thinking about trying them and not sure, please please fire me some questions, I’m no expert but I will try and help the best I can! There’s a huge cloth community out there, would you liek to be part of it? Why not give it a shot?!
Let’s do our bit to save the planet, one nappy at a time!
It’s not always been easy… at times, it’s been the hardest thing in the world… But Scout has made it an absolute pleasure.
The past few months have been stressful, with a house move still looming over our heads I hoped that by now we might be able to finally get excited about our new home but at every turn something has managed to go wrong! Maybe by the time she hits the less notable milestone of 7 months we’ll be a step closer…!
Scout Zelda Rose
Loves to laugh
Loves singing, dancing and getting a fright
Still has no teeth but been chewing like mad since day 1 – who knows when they’ll appear!
Occasional thumb sucker
She sleeps so well – and I think I’m allowed to breath a sigh of relief since Oscar was a complete sleep thief!
We have just started weaning and I’m trying to feel excited, but feeling sad at the end of yet another “baby phase”
Penchant for playing Duplo with her bro… even if he still isn’t mad on sharing.
Experienced her first two flights – to London & back
It has been so special to watch our little baby grow and start to develop her own little personality, but I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t been bittersweet.
I think with your first baby everything is so new and exciting that you’re always looking forward to “the next milestone”. I wouldn’t say I wished Oscar’s time away, but I was blissfully unaware of how fleeting every stage would be. So with Scout I have found myself clinging onto every stage, willing it to last just another day. Savouring cuddles where I can get them and keeping her up later than I ever did with Oscar.
Onto the next chapter
Those newborn days were over in the blink of an eye and when I think back I do feel sad despite being so excited to get to know the determined little human she’s growing into – and I think that’s ok.
I mean, Oscar turns three next month and it doesn’t seem that long ago that he was Scout’s age! Anyway, here’s to her next six months and squeezing the most cuddles, smile, giggles, adventures and memories out of my maternity leave. 🧡
In April, when Scout was 3 months old, we were invited along to try out level one of Turtle Tots. There are classes held all over the city on every day of the week. We chose to swim on a Wednesday morning at Damhead as this is the day that Oscar’s in his childminder, so I thought it was be a nice way to start our day together!
Oscar started swimming at around the same age, so I knew it was something I was keen to start with Scout as well and I wasn’t disappointed!
But what’s the deal? What makes Turtle Tots different to just taking your baby to the pool yourself? What are he benefits?
Why should you join Turtle Tots? Well, I’m gonna tell ya!
1. Safety Skills
Swimming is an invaluable life skill for kids to learn early and at the heart of this is safety in and around water. Staying safe is at the core of everything Turtle Tots teaches both parents and littles. From stepping into the pool for the first class you learn the safe way to get yourself and baby in and out of the pool – because let’s face it, when they get wet they’re like wee slippy fish…! You learn the best way to hold them to keep them safe should you slip and by the end of the 10 weeks we had also started to teach babies how to hold on when brought towards the pool edge. Even at such a young age, I could see Scout starting to follow these cues.
The classes get babies used to being in the water, at first, close to you, and then, as they begin to gain confidence, further away from the parent, letting them explore the water more and go for swims with the instructor.
On a side note: Our teacher was Jen and she was absolutely brilliant! Funny, friendly and knew exactly what she was doing. This created such a calm and encouraging environment for us all. So important because taking a wee tiny baby into the water can be quite daunting. I was somewhat used to this given it was second time round, however, I remember being terrified with Oscar! Every new skill is reinforced and then progressed in each lesson so I always came away from a class feeling that I’d learnt something new.
As a child I was a keen swimmer and on holidays I spent 90% of my time in the swimming pool and it, and for us as a family, it was important to instil these safety skills in both of our children, not least for going on holiday. Now, we know never to let our children out of our sight around a pool on holiday, but as parents, we’re also all too aware of how quickly things can happen. In a blink of an eye, a toddler can speed off. I remember quite vividly when I was little, my dad diving into a swimming pool to rescue a young girl that had got into trouble while playing in a busy pool as she just wasn’t as confident as she could have been in the water. So knowing that from a young age Scout will be able to get to the surface and hold on confidently is invaluable.
Safety is at the heart of why Turtle Tots teach, but, the classes are also a LOT of fun!
Having dedicated one-to-one time was so important and I really looked forward to our Wednesday morning lesson. The close physical contact strengthens the bond between parent and baby and promotes their metal development.
Over the course of the chapter, you learn cues along with you baby. Through various techniques, your instructor encourages you to tune into your babies reactions and read their cues in the water. They learn to ‘hold their breath’ and by the end of the chapter, even at just 5 months I could see Scout reacting to a variety of cues that we had learnt – it really is impressive!
The techniques learned with floats and with songs are all transferable and can be recreated on holiday rather than just being stuck bobbing about the pool with a little baby – slightly unsure what to do with them (I remember this being the case the first time we took Oscar swimming before we started lessons!)
3. Keeping Active
well, we know that keeping active is important. I’d be exaggerating slightly if I told you that Turtle Tots is a work out, but, it is a great way to start getting active again after giving birth. It’s a gentle way to get back into exercise, and it does work those arm muscles a fair bit too!
Although it’s not quite a ‘work out’ when they’re just babies, I speak from experience when I say it get’s a bit more energetic the older they get which is great and a lot of fun.
In addition to the mental development swimming promoted through close contact, bonding and sensory elements, swimming is also great for your babies physical development. Being moved about the water is like having a massage for them and activities are designed to promote coordination and strengthen muscles.
What’s more, Scout always had a substantial nap after her lesson – but i don’t think this is a guarantee!
What are my Top Tips to ace Turtle Tots
Don’t be put off if baby cries, they all have off days! On our second lesson, Scout cried for most of it and it was a bit disheartening, but we still went back the following week and she was fine thereafter. Persevere – it’s all so new to them, and it can be a bit of sensory overload, so hold them close, comfort them with lots of cuddles and don’t worry. The instructor will have seen it all before, maybe even with their own kids!
Teach your partner! Or even get them to come along and watch to see what’s involved. It’s a great activity to share as a family so teach everyone what you’ve learnt – that way you can help each other out, especially if you’re on holiday! We have some great GoPro footage of Oscar swimming underwater on holiday with both of us, and it’s something I can’t wait to do with Scout too. But it’s not something either of us would have had the confidence to do without classes.
This is a practical one – wear your swimming costume under your clothes to the class. That way it’s easy to get ready quickly and jump in the pool. Turtle Tots were great and supplied changing mats and a playpen for the kids but, ya know what it’s like, they can still get a bit ratty especially when tired after a full on lesson so I always tried to wear easy clothes that I could chuck back on. No one wants to be squeezing damp legs into super skinny jeans at the side of a pool in ten million degree heat…
Lastly, just have fun and enjoy it! Don’t worry about drowning your baby, they’ll be fine… but also don’t wear mascara or that will end in disaster!
Please note: I was offered this course free of charge in return for a review – but all views expressed are my own. I will be continuing with Scout’s swimming! x
[Please Note: I was offered a place in the class free of charge in return for a review. BUT ALL VIEWS ARE MY OWN!]
Join a class, any class…
I remember being a new mum with Oscar and thinking that I had to join some sort of class, any class. It was a right of passage to sign up to some sort of activity and go along and “make some Mum friends”. So I signed up to Baby Sensory and I’ll admit, I didn’t really enjoy it. I found it a bit boring. I had grand ideas that it would be centred around messy play and really interactive. But it wasn’t. We sat in a circle and sang some nursery rhymes (to which I was the only fool that didn’t know ANY of the words) and well, yeah, I could have gone on Pinterest and done it myself… and saved £70.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking Baby Sensory – I’ve no doubt at all that there are much better ones out there but it put me off this kind of class. I didn’t want to waste my money again. Instead I wanted to do a class that I could get some enjoyment out of too.
Claire Houston Baby Massage
I started looking at alternative activities to do with Scout after she was born and decided I would try Baby Massage as a few of my friends had recommended it after doing it with their little ones.
Then, when she was just two months old I was lucky enough to be invited along to start a course with Claire Houston Baby Massage at her lovely home in Roslin.
Five weeks down the line and I’m delighted to share a wee review of Claire’s classes, but I must say, I’m a bit sad that we’ve finished!
On the Wednesday morning of our first class, I dropped Oscar off at his childminder and off I went with Scout to Roslin. As a second child, I’m all too aware that she doesn’t always get the one on one time that her brother was afforded as a baby. She spends a lot more time being laid on a playmat while Oscar and I paint/duplo/argue (jokes, kinda), and where he got dedicated tummy time and the likes, Scout is all to often popped into her wrap so that we’re able to get things done.
Because of this I felt really passionate about getting some one on one time with her and doing an activity rather than spending our time just the two of us watching Netflix and eating chocolate while her brother went to his childminder.
Claire runs classes on various days in different venues and I opted for the one that was run from her beautiful home in Roslin. My class was quite an small one with only 3 other sets of mums and babies ranging from a few weeks older than Scout to 9 months old.
I quickly realised, the class would be a lot whole lot more than solely learning the International Association of Infant Massage course. Alongside learning the techniques of baby massage the class offered an array of other skills.
“I hope to empower parents and give them the confidence to massage their babies daily to experience the delights of nurturing touch and pre-language communication with their infant.” – Claire Houston
Relaxation + Wellbeing
There is a strong focus on wellbeing. Claire taught us various techniques for relaxing ourselves as well as our babies – after all, Happy Mum = Happy Baby. We all know that parenting is tough and it reminded me that sometimes we need to do something for ourselves as well!
Claire also incorporates a few readings, Yes Mum cards and general discussion topics into her class. It was such a lovely way of getting a good chat with some like minded people while eating some delicious home baking!
Laid Back Learning
Importantly the classes are very laid back.
I’ll admit that when I was a first time Mum I sometimes found heading out with a newborn a bit daunting, and maybe it’s part of the reason I avoided classes. I would worry that Oscar would scream the place down, or that I’d need to abandon an activity to feed him. Looking back, I realise how silly that sounds, he was just being a baby, but it was all so new and a bit scary – as I wrote last month, I do feel like I’m a Different Mother this time round, but regardless – this is not something anyone would have to worry about in Claire’s class.
From the outset, the classes are ‘Baby Led’ and we were encouraged to read our babies cues and follow their lead throughout the classes – to stop for a break when needed, to feed if required and sometimes just to leave babies to sleep (Scout often dozed off before the end of the class – typical) – there was never any pressure to try and make the babies conform – I mean, they’re babies, i.e. unpredictable AF!
Tailored To You
One of the things I absolutely loved about the class was how Claire seemed to seamlessly adapt her teaching to suit us as a group – I was not surprised to find out after completing the course that Claire is a trained and experienced teacher!
As 3 out of 4 of us had toddlers at home, as well as a baby, Claire made a point of giving us ideas of how to incorporate massage into our daily routines with both children, including ways of adapting massage into bedtime routines and story massage as well as using it to help the bonding between siblings.
All of this was backed up by Claire’s personal anecdotes of how she uses massage with all three of her own children. It was lovely to hear how it can become a big part of your day to day life and so much more than just an hour and a half class for a few weeks.
On a slightly more practical note – the classes are super flexible! For the last session of the course I was double booked and I was able to tag along with another class on a day that suited better. We all know kids can throw multiple spanners in the works when it comes to sickness and the likes – so it’s good to know you’ll always be able to pick up any class you’ve had to miss.
Now, of course, along with all these ‘extras’ you’re learning brilliant tried and tested Baby Massage techniques! I won’t go into too much detail (you need to join the class and find out for yourself), but over the five week course you learn a new body part each week, culminating in full body massage. The massage strokes covered have been developed from ancient traditions in massage, influenced by reflexology and yoga, and supported by modern scientific research.
Plus, the benefits are huge, and some of them surprised me –
relieves pain from teething, ear ache, grow pains and muscular tension.
helps ease excess mucus
can help babies who are hypersensitive or hyperactive
can help soften skin and improve skin conditions like eczema
improves immune system
helps develop coordination and balance
many advantages in terms of cognitive development such as language development
stimulates connections between nerve cells
promotes body and mind awareness
promotes growth and weight gain
promotes muscular development and increases flexibility
reduction in stress hormone production
promotes secure attachment
helps develop love, empathy, tolerance and respect
And that’s just some of the benefits for baby! I also learned that parents who practice baby massage will find their own stress levels reduce and they can feel relaxed. Apparently parents sleep quality can improve too!
Importantly, baby massage helps to develop a greater understanding of your baby and thus we learn to better read our baby’s unique cues. Parent’s can feel more confident and see their self esteem improve, Claire has even told me that this is something that she’s seen develop in front of her eyes as a five week course progresses!
Honestly, I’d recommend this class to every new mum. Since completing Claire’s Baby Massage course, I’ve continued to use the techniques I’ve learned at home on both Scout and with Oscar – so that says it all really! It’s so much more than a way to pass some time & get out the house with your baby. You’re learning a new skill but also a way of communication and bonding with your new baby, not to mention some serious quality time! I’m even considering joining one of the follow on classes available as I’d love to learn even more. Oh, and Claire also runs one-off classes for Dad’s to learn an overview of the course!
If you’re interested in joining Claire for a class, she has a new block starting soon with classes on –
Thursdays – 12.45-2.15 @ Turtle Dove Cafe in Edinburgh (starting 19th April)
Wednesdays – 10-11.30 @ Glencorse Centre (starting 2nd May)
Also, starting 2nd May are new follow-on classes for babies who’ve already attended baby massage classes (10.40-11.40 @ Glencorse Centre) and last but not least another Dad’s class will be scheduled in June around Father’s Day!
There’s loads more info on Claire’s website and I’d urge you to get in touch with her if you require any further info!