Please Look After This Pudding – Off to the Childminder

It’s Puddings first day settling in with her new childminder today. I spent a long time looking at childcare for her. As a parent it’s so difficult to hand over your precious little baby to some one else. To trust that they will provide the same standard of care that you do. In truth my new childminder will probably give Pud more time and attention than I do. She won’t be flying all over the place, trying to sort the house out and get the food shop done!

The lady that will be caring for Pud seems to share my child-raising values. I think that’s what really clinched the deal for me. Not just the hundreds of qualifications or the beautiful set up in her home. She’s a sensible, practical person like myself. Not overly mumsy or fussy. I know she will care for Pud in a way that is similar to my own mothering style. She won’t wrap her in cotton wool or make her into a pampered princess. Most of all she doesn’t make me feel like I am a ‘bad’ mum for going back to work.

Making the decision to go back to work full-time will have a huge impact on all of us. For me personally it is giving me back my drive and passion. I believe it will make me a better mother. Having an outlet for my myself will enable me to enjoy the children more. Rather than feeling, as I often do, that I am a slave to their every need, with no time for myself. Is that selfish? Possibly. But as much as I love them, my children do not define who I am as a woman.

Don’t get me wrong, handing Pud to the childminder this morning was tough. Not for Pudding, but for me. As I drove away I couldn’t help but feel that this was the end of a chapter in my life and Puddings’. No longer will we be girls together all week while Pie is at school. She will be out on her own adventures, learning new things from another person who isn’t me. Undoubtedly I will miss those first steps that I have been waiting for these last few weeks. I probably won’t hear her first proper word. It makes me sad. But I also know that in the long term this will be good for her. She will get to socialise with other kids and learn to trust other people.

I know I have picked the right person to look after my little Pudding. When I go back to collect her in a couple of hours she will I am sure have had a lovely time. In the meantime I am going to try to swallow that mummy guilt. Drink a hot coffee and enjoy a deep bath (without the addition of plastic toys…) We will enjoy our last full week together and then get ready to embark on a new big adventure. We might not be hand in hand all the time but at least we will be walking in the same direction.

Never Underestimate The Baby Cold

‘Ah poor Pudding’ I chuckled at some point two weeks ago. My little lady was full of cold and kept sneezing all over the place. I felt sorry for her, poor girl was not happy Pud at all. Of course we were all suffering the dramatics of Puddings first real baby cold. She whinged all day, wiped snot in every conceivable place and had us up at all hours. But calpol was dispensed and cuddles were given.

dagon_ / Pixabay

I hadn’t anticipated for one moment that soon all of us would be suffering. Pie got it first and battled through with minimal fuss. Mr Pud came next – a day on the sofa saw him right as rain. Then is was my turn. Armed with my flu jab and an extra boost of vitamin C from my recent orange obsession. I was quietly confident…

Alas! My yet again less than capable immune system let me down. Badly. Now the baby cold is what I like to think of as a bunch of juvenile bugs. Think over excited puppy, as they go whizzing round your body. Bit of a runny nose, half-hearted cough and a few sneezes. Then they fizzle out, unable to take a proper hold. Well at least that is how they operate in most people. However, once they meet my immune system they manage to morph. Suddenly juvenile bugs are grade A assassins. Their only intention is to capture and hold my sinuses. Once they have a strong hold they can camp in there for weeks.

Archbob / Pixabay

What was previously a ‘baby cold’ has now become a sinister sinusitis. The assassins are in and have been holding me hostage for well over a week now. No more hilarity at Mummy sneezing. Oh no, now everyone is running for cover. My patience has been replaced with a constant headache and the inability to bend down. Just to add a little extra to this already less than fun party are some feverish chills and achey joints. (Yeh good work flu jab you have done me a solid here).

Having to admit defeat and take time off work was a low point. But I told myself a few days rest and I would be on it. Well that was 6 days ago. I am by no means ‘on it’. Unless of course ‘on it’ means curled up on the sofa under a blanket surrounded by tissues. In which case I am very much ‘on it’. It is a sign of how bad things have got when the dog has given up stealing the used tissues.

Yet again I underestimated the ‘baby cold’. I should have been wearing a mask last week! It is too late for me, but I warn you save yourself. Those puppy-like viruses and bacteria are coming for you.

5 Ways to Beat the New Year Blues

Oh my don’t you think Christmas flies by faster and faster each year? All the planning, preparation, wrapping and cooking; then before you know it, it’s gone. You are left sitting in your pyjamas on Boxing Day morning surrounded by bags of wrapping paper and enough leftovers to see you through to the end of January. If you are like me post-Christmas can leave you a little flat! So here are my top tips for picking yourself up in the New Year.

Top Tips for Beating New Year Blues
Lazare / Pixabay
  • Make a pledge to get active – yeh I know it’s a cliché and that January sees an influx of gym memberships (that are never used after February) But you don’t have to join the gym to get fit. Just a promise to take the dog out more often, or to walk to school on those cold bright mornings. Keep your goal achievable – you don’t need to set yourself up to fail!

    Snufkin / Pixabay
  • Clean out your wardrobe. Come on admit you are never going to wear that dress ever again. And those shoes? What were you thinking. Be ruthless – if you haven’t worn  it in 6 months get rid of it. Better still bundle the best bits together and get yourself on eBay. With all that extra cash you can hit the sales, buying things you actually want to wear!

    cocoparisienne / Pixabay
  • Book a holiday – I was doing this whilst cooking Christmas dinner! It doesn’t have to be the holiday of a life time (unless you got a Christmas bonus in which case go for it!) But just a weekend away later in the year will give you something to look forward too. Loads of places take a deposit these days so if you are strapped for cash you can book now and pay a little later in the year when your finances have recovered from Christmas.

    Pexels / Pixabay
  • Set a goal – what do you really want to do this year? Sky dive, feed a meerkat or something more simple like read a book or spend more time with family. Decide what 2017 is going to mean for you and set yourself a target. It doesn’t have to be life changing – but it does us good to have something to work towards. Pudding, for example, has decided that she is going to curb TV use at HQ by chewing the buttons off the remote. You have to have goals people!

    Ben_Kerckx / Pixabay
  • Appreciate what you have. It’s not always about striving towards the next thing. Sometimes it’s learning to enjoy what’s around you. Taking the time to really make the most of friends and family. Finding joy in the little things, is the beginning of true of happiness. So whilst the New Year is a time to look forward and plan, it’s also a time to reflect.

So there you go a few simple ideas to banish those New Year Blues. Have you got any others you would like to share?

To My Baby Now You Are One

Dearest Pudding,

Today you turned one. It has been a year since a nurse laid you on me and I met you for that first time. My squashed, slightly potato shaped Pudding. I knew I loved you before I saw you. But once I could feel you on my skin, see your face and feel your hand clasp round mine, I knew I would love you forever. My troll haired Pud. You have completed our family. We are now the awesome, foursome.Mummy Tag

It hasn’t been easy. I can’t deny there were times when I thought the PND would beat me. Would drag me down, tear our family apart. You wouldn’t let it – your smile got me through those darkest of days. Knowing you needed me kept me fighting. You will never know how low I felt in those early days of your life. You saved me Pud, saved me from myself.

I don’t know how a year has passed this fast. What a crazy year it has been. My little squashed potato you have blossomed into an independent little diva. The troll hair remains but that helpless newborn has gone. I remember those early cuddles, you curled into my neck. Fast asleep on my chest. Long gone are those days. Now I am lucky to get more than a passing wave as you crawl off on your next mischief-making adventure!

You are the cutest little thing right now. You always wake with a smile and a giggle. I love walking into your room and finding you babbling to your bears. You are an adventurous, plucky little lady. Forever climbing the stairs and diving off the sofa head first. The sausage dog loves you. She totally dotes on your every move, rolling over to allow you to stroke her tummy. Suffering you sitting on her and pulling her ears. You two are thick as thieves as she sits under your highchair scoffing scraps!

I know your brother has loved you from the beginning. But today watching you together as he helped with your presents I felt so proud. I knew then how much you loved each other. How important you are to each other. I know you two will fight, I know it won’t always be a rose garden. That’s ok, it’s what you do with your siblings – but just try not wind him up too much. I can already see he is going to be the sensitive one out of the two of you.

So now you are one my gorgeous Pudding. What excitement will the next 12 months bring? I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that this year has gone so fast. I can almost feel the time running through my fingers like sand. I want to catch it. To stop it, to have one more sleepy cuddle with you. One more moment listening to you babble. I know you have to grow-up, that you will continue to amaze me every day as you do so. But I will treasure this year in my memory. Remind myself of how you felt curled against my skin in the delivery room. For now though my Pud, you are one and to you my darling Happy Birthday.

Love Mummy x

The pine-ful reality of a real Christmas tree

Oooh it’s finally here, the build up to Christmas. Ok if you are in retail the build up started shortly after Halloween. But for us normal people December marks the start of the festive season. Well apart from that smug mum I heard at the schools gates who was regaling people with how she has not only completed her shopping but wrapped it already. Seriously go away with your uber-organisation…

Still I am on it this year – advent calendars are in and by the fire-place. We have already missed one day for Pudding… but that’s still retrievable. We have our amazing elf from An Elf For Christmas. This is great fun and much appreciated by Pie. It’s day two of Elf and I am still managing to get up and do something interesting with her.

Mr Pud's romantic idea of what our Christmas Tree will look like
Mr Pud’s romantic idea of what our Christmas Tree will look like

Next week will see the annual Pudding HQ trip to buy a tree. Mr Pud will have delusions of grandeur and decide that what our tiny house needs is a 10ft monster tree. Pie will pick the dead one and be sad that we won’t let him have that. Eventually a reasonably sized tree will be picked and then stuffed into the car, probably stabbing both kids in the eyes with needles and blocking all driver vision.

Locked and loaded - ready to spread needles far and wide on removal of that net!
Locked and loaded – ready to spread needles far and wide one removal of that net!

Then the fun really starts. Where to put said tree? Space is an issue but more concerning this year is 1-year-old Pud. With her propensity for eating stuff she probably won’t manage any Christmas dinner due to the large amount of pine needles she will consume between now and Christmas Day….

Of course the first course will start when we take the netting off the tree and it pings out like a jack in the box covering the surrounding 6m radius with needles. These will then drop at an exponential rate until January the 6th. Upon which I expect to pick up the tree and the remaining 7000 needles will then drop and scatter themselves through the house to continue to be found until July. Leaving me to struggle outside with a bald Christmas tree which itself will sit in my front garden until May when I finally take it to the tip.

The needle-less tree that will stay in my front garden until the spring…

Should we find a suitable place to put the tree, which is doubtful, we do at least have a tree stand to put it in. This will avoid the sawdust disaster of 2012 and the unsuccessful planting of wonky tree in 2013. Let me tell you filling a bucket with either sawdust(?) or mud when you have no roots is not a successful or sensible method for securing a Christmas tree.

So once we have secured said tree in an appropriate place. Probably sworn at each other and drunk a little too much mulled wine we will begin the decoration. Pie will have wandered off by this point. Bored of the ‘what about here’ or ‘how about there’ or ‘we could try shoving it where the sun doesn’t shine’ conversation. Pudding will be sat in the decorations box. Probably working her way through some tasty tinsel whilst wrapping fairy lights round the sausage dog. The decorations and lights will be flung unceremoniously on to the branches of said Christmas tree. Gathered mainly at the top to prevent any theft of tinsel by Pudding. At this stage the lack of Sausage Dog and Pie will be noticed. They will be found in the other room, quietly unwrapping all 20 Christmas tree chocs and eating them.

Its amazing how many of these one dog and one small boy can get through...
Its amazing how many of these one dog and one small boy can get through…


This is the point where one of us will add some brandy to the mulled wine, whilst declaring that next year we are having one of those LED twig Christmas trees…

This Is My Time and You Won’t Take it From Me – PND

It started when Pie went off to school. I knew it would be hard but a little part of me was looking forward to some peaceful days. Well peaceful days have turned into peaceful weeks… With out realising it the low mood has crept back in. Slowly, unnoticed but as dark as before.

I recognised it quicker this time. The rising irritability, the lack of motivation and I am sorry to say but a slight slide in personal hygiene. Maybe I did realise it earlier than I wanted to admit. I knew I was struggling. But I figured it was normal to feel a bit lost when your child first starts school. Lost yes – totally derailed no.

Counselling / Pixabay

The school provides Pie with a routine and me too, to a certain extent. But the 6 hours he is away leaves me able to stew in my own juices quite uninterrupted. To torture myself with what I should or could be doing, but ultimately doing nothing. Feeling uninspired to eat, socialise or indeed shower.

I force myself out of the house on occasion. For Puddings sake I attend a class, potter into town or if its a particularly bad day we just about make it to the corner shop. I speak to no one other than my husband or my mother. If friends ask I maintain I am ok, just busy. Yep just busy sitting staring blankly at the TV. I can’t even pretend I am busy blogging! Maybe if I could concentrate long enough I would blog. But my mind flits about, not able to settle to anything. Like a constant turning cog, of a machine that keeps slipping it’s gears.

On the outside you would never know. I function. Childcare, work, chores, sleep, repeat. A robot going through the motions.

DigiPD / Pixabay

This time I caught myself getting frustrated over everything and nothing. Spotted the signs in my own self. From somewhere I found strength enough to say to my husband ‘I am not doing OK’. It’s only half the battle though. Now I need to act. To pull myself back and to get a grip on the darkness before it sucks me back in. I can do it – but I need to want to.

Tomorrow I will get up. I will shower, maybe even straighten my hair. When Pie wakes up I will be dressed, downstairs and breakfast will be ready for him. Let’s start small and work up from there. It’s time to crawl out of my well and stand in the beautiful autumn sunshine.

I will not be beaten by you PND, this is my time. My time with the children, to enjoy them and to nurture them. I only get this chance once and you won’t take it from me.

You Can’t Hide From This – #BloggersBeatingCancer

I remember when my mother phoned me at University to tell me the news. My grandmother, my amazing, strong and wonderfully kind Grandmother had cancer. The woman who had lived through the war, who had pledged her heart to a young soldier and awaited his return from the East. A lady that had travelled the world, worked in the Land Army and lived in far off countries was being beaten by cancer.

coqueambrosoli0 / Pixabay
My Mum explained that the cancer was very advanced. That we were looking at mere months before it swallowed this amazing woman. I couldn’t believe it. How could this have happened? Where had this horrible cancer come from?

It transpired that my head strong Grandmother had been hiding this secret from us for some time. There had been a growth on her leg for years and years. Always covered by a plaster. First a small one and then as time went by a larger one. She had known something wasn’t right. But too afraid to say anything she hid from reality. By the time she told anyone the melanoma was so large and advanced there was nothing to be done. Despite being seen by a specialist my grandmother and grandfather made the decision that they didn’t want to waste her last few months on fruitless treatment.

That was hard to hear. She didn’t want to fight. My gutsy Grandmother who had always fought for everything was giving up. Of course I understood why she couldn’t fight this. But I was so frustrated, why didn’t she say something earlier? Perhaps something could have been done.

I watched over those short months as she became frail. In next to no time she was in a bed downstairs. My parents and grandfather providing round the clock care. With some help from her amazing local GP and Macmillan nurses. The sparkle started to fade from her eyes. She desperately wanted to know whether I had been successful in gaining a place at nursing school. So proud that I was hoping to dedicate my life to such a worthwhile profession. I never got to tell her. She died two days after my 22nd birthday and a week before I found out that I had indeed been granted a place to study at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing.

jperani / Pixabay
I never got to introduce her to her two beautiful grandchildren. She would have loved them and them her. So many things I wish had asked her. How I wish I had learnt more about gardening from her. The regret that I never talked about what she did during war time, how she felt as a girl joining the Land Army. Or what it was like to have the love of your life so far away for so long, not knowing if he would return. But mostly I wish that I had just one more hug, one more moment to say I love you.

You can’t hide from cancer. It’s all around us. Nearly every family I meet has been touched by it. More research is needed, more awareness is essential. That is why #BloggersBeatingCancer is so important. Maybe just maybe one day we will live in a world where cancer doesn’t haunt families. Until then I shall be drinking coffee tomorrow at 10:30 with my fellow bloggers and raising as much cash as we can to help win the fight against cancer. Please donate here



Graduating into The World of The Grown-ups

It’s a strange thing when you realise unexpectedly that you have entered the realm of the ‘grown-ups’. Most people think this automatically happens when you turn 21.  For me personally all that happened when I turned 21 was the amount of alcohol consumed went up and the scrapes I got myself into required a lot more getting out of! But as I looked across the table at my school friends the other night I suddenly realised that we were in fact now adults.

This is truly cemented now that we have 6 children between us (Poor Pie is the only boy, Least he has the pick of the ladies). But I don’t quite know when this happened. We are all married and have been for 5 years or more, I don’t remember thinking wow we are all big girls now we have husbands. We still had those boozy weekends away and fell back into our teenage ways. Then the pregnancy announcements started, which to be honest curtailed the booze (hopefully only temporary). Once the first of the little people arrived it was out with shopping trips and in with nappy changes and nipple cream.

cherylholt / Pixabay

It was great to have my closest girlfriends going through stuff together, it made that journey into motherhood much easier. I think the real shift into adulthood came one Xmas eve. Usually a drunken affair with some very silly games, this was replaced by soft drinks and quiet(ish) conversation. Where had those raucous twenty-somethings gone? I would like to say it’s because we were all so happy and contented we know longer needed to prove we were the loudest voice in the room. In all honesty I think it had more to do with the fact that we were all shattered and wanted to be at our best for the kids next morning! And there it is the reason why we went from living it up to the Mumsketeers. You can’t get shit faced until 3am and function with a baby and a toddler the next day.

stokpic / Pixabay

It’s not that having a baby makes you a boring person. It’s just that your priorities change. You wake up one morning and realise you are no longer at university, but that these small people depend on you. The late nights are gone. The responsibilities are bearing down on you. Without realising it you stray into the land of the grown-ups and once you are in there you understand that it’s not so bad. So long as you have your friends and you smuggled in a bottle of gin.

Admitting You’re Not as OK as You Make Out – PND

We all know that being a parent is not an easy job, we all have good days and bad days. But what do you do when you start to feel like the bad days are outnumbering the good ones at 10:1? It’s not an easy thing to admit that at the moment you are not enjoying being a parent. I know I have been there. Here is my first post about my battle with PND

When Pudding was born before Christmas, I was elated at last the pregnancy was over. I had survived the elective c-section (a real concern of mine) and I was finally cradling my beautiful girl in my arms. I fell in love immediately. Totally head over heels for this tiny Pudding as soon as they laid her on my chest in the operating theatre. Taking her home and enjoying our first Xmas as a family of four surrounded by proud grandparents was wonderful. Then the festivities were over and everyone returned to work leaving me to deal with having two small children.

Let me tell you reality hit home hard. I was so tired and still recovering from major surgery, but Pie didn’t really understand that. He wanted his Mummy back to do all the things we used to do. Not to mention Pudding who needed feeding and changing as an almost constant. I could feel all my patience for the children start to slide away from me slowly. I was irritable and snappy all the time. Everyday started to feel like ground hog day, get up, breakfast, activity, lunch, film, tea, bath, bed. Over and over like a monkey with a miniature cymbal. Feeling myself slipping away. I had become a drudge for two small children and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

I started to dream about just getting in the car and driving as far away as the petrol in the tank would take me. Wanting to run away from my life. How could I have been so deluded to think that I could handle two children? I wasn’t cut out for this motherhood thing. As my mood got lower, my relationship with Pie really started to suffer. He was my constant source of irritation. I found myself nagging and niggling at everything he did and said. I knew I was being unreasonable but I just couldn’t stop. All I kept thinking was that if he could just calm down and be quiet I would feel better…Lady sitting cross legged on floor

Everything came to a head one night, as my husband and I climbed into bed and prepared to dream feed Pudding. I had made the decision to give her some formula in a vague attempt to get a bit more sleep. So I settled back into the pillows to feed. As I tipped the bottle I realised I hadn’t put it together properly. Milk went all over me, all over her and all over the bed. This resulted in what I can only describe as a ticking time bomb going off!

I plonked Pudding on her Dad, announced I was a rubbish mother and that it was no surprise the children hated me and then ran from the bedroom sobbing. I think that was a pretty big red flag to my husband that I was probably not as ‘OK’ as I kept telling him I was! After sorting out a very cross Pudding he found me sitting outside in the rain in my dressing gown. We talked about how I was really feeling, about how I spent a lot of the day sobbing or just walking about in a daze. He was great and he made me realise that all the things I was feeling were not normal. That maybe I needed to actually get some help.

The next morning, I rang first my Mum, who did some long distance counselling. Just talking to her and my husband made me start to feel better. Then I called my health visitor, she was amazing! She came round that afternoon and spent an hour talking to me about how I was feeling. Explaining that postnatal depression can strike at any time within the first 12 months and that it was nothing to feel ashamed about. Some of the guilt I had been dragging around with me started to lift.

The HV suggested that if I thought it would help that I could stop the breastfeeding. This would at least give me the opportunity for a break away from the children if I wanted a break. She also suggested a local talking therapy group and said she could arrange for someone to come in and watch the kids for awhile if I needed some extra help. She was so helpful and understanding. I had felt like such a fraud ringing her, but she made me realise that I had done the right thing. I chose not to go down the route of medications before I had accessed the talking therapy and actually now I feel like I won’t need to start taking any tablets.

Things have really started to improve, and I am finding that the blogging definitely helps me to express some of the things I am feeling. I am trying to lose that guilt that I am not doing a good job. I know I am never going to get it perfect every time. At least now I am starting to enjoy both the children. I have a great load of support from friends and family now I have admitted that I need some help and that I am no superwoman. I am so glad that I reached out when I did and didn’t let PND consume me.


Photo Credit: Al 8574 via Compfight cc

Top Tips for Raising Children with Dogs

We all know that dogs and children can have an amazing bond. Certainly Hollywood loves to depict beautiful relationships between dogs and kids. But we all need to remember that no matter how ‘domesticated’ a dog is they can still react to situations. This is why it is so important to teach children to respect dogs. No dog should be placed in a position where it feels like it needs to protect itself. Equally so no family wants to run the risk of raising children around a snappy unpredictable dog. So what can you do to ensure everyone gets along?

lightstargod / Pixabay

Top Tips for Protecting Dogs and Children

Don’t leave dogs and young children unattended
No matter how much you trust your dog they shouldn’t be left with small children. Small children are unpredictable and they love to grab. How would you feel if you had a small person hanging off of your tail? Exactly it’s going to hurt and you are going to react. A dog is no different. Don’t put them in this position.

Give dogs space to eat in peace.
I know like they leave you alone when you have a biscuit in hand! But dogs can be protective over food. Teach your children to leave them to eat their tea in peace. Its great if they can help out with feeding, but when that bowl goes down it’s time to step back.

Discourage small children from feeding dogs by hand
This is tough when you are weaning. Let’s face it dogs are a fantastic clean up crew. What you don’t want is for them to always associate the kids with food. Feeding dogs from the table is a pretty bad habit anyway. Don’t let them beg and try to ensure they are not stealing food from small hands.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Cardoso Foto via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Gabriel Cardoso Foto via Compfight cc

Keep them out of rough play.
My big boy Pie loves a bit of wrestling. He gets very over-excited and jumps all over me and the furniture. Great fun for all. The dogs get very excited and start jumping about too. They are playfully snappy and will often claw at us. If things get too loud or frantic they can get quite protective. A dog doesn’t know the difference between play and a real threat. Try not to put them in a position where they think someone needs their protection.

Remember it is their home too
It’s very easy to allow the kids to rule the roost. But you invited this dog into your home and now it’s his home too. Make sure they have somewhere quiet to go. Especially if you have other children around. They need a safe secure space where they can get away from it all. Don’t allow the kids to chase them or aggravate them. Encouraging games of fetch or playing with the dog supervised is great for building trust between kids and dogs. Read the signs though, when the dogs had enough give them some space.

ElvisClooth / Pixabay

Dogs can bring so much to a family. They can be great companions for all of you. If you can encourage children to be respectful of dogs it will make for a fantastic family dynamic. Long summer walks and winter snuggles with a dog can be amongst the best experiences for children. Just a few sensible steps will hopefully mean a long and happy relationship between you and your pet.