Weekend For Me

Yippee a weekend all for me as the kids are safely at the grandparents. They are already having an amazing time as is quite evident in the pictorial updates I have had. But what about me? What plans have I got?

Well you might think that catching up on some sleep might be on the cards and yes I am sure at least one nap will feature. However this weekend it’s about catching up on those chores that are made twice as frustrating with two small people in tow. First up is the shower cubicle. It’s a grim job but it needs resealing and a few tiles fixed back on. No problem with the help of a few tunes and the right tools.

Once that’s done it defrosting the old fridge and freezer ready for disposal next week. We now have one of those super American fridges that a person could live in on these hot summer days. The lawn needs cutting after the rain and the garden needs some general TLC so that’s on the list too.

The dogs are looking hopefully at the door – think they fancy a child-free stroll. One that doesn’t descend into me trying to herd cats and generally falling out with everyone! They also need a bath but they don’t know about that yet….

Not much of a relaxing weekend I hear you mutter. But here is the thing: I can’t remember what a ‘relaxing weekend’ feels like. There are always so many chores to do and so few opportunities to do them properly. Weekends in my 20s would of been spent in a pub garden surrounded by friends. These days my friends all have kids; what’s the point of a weekend off if you are chasing after someone else’s 2 year old?? So it will be another brew and a silicon gun for me today and you know what that’s ok. At least I get to listen to my choice of music and I won’t have to wipe anyone’s bottom or argue about how many biscuits constitutes an afternoon snack…

Post Holiday Fitness – From wobbly to where I want to be

So whilst everyone else appears to be slaving away to get themselves beach body ready – I took a more laissez fair approach and just went with what I had. Whilst hairy legs, bushy under carriage and a wobbly bottom are not to be ashamed of I have to say I felt rather less pleased with my decision once I had squeezed myself into my swim costume.

I wouldn’t say that I am overly vain about my appearance but this was a step too far for even my broad shouldered ego. Pre-holiday I had admitted that yes I had gained a few pounds and was in fact the same weight now as I had been when pregnant. Alas this time the culprit was not a 7lb baby but a rather serious issue with burgers. Despite knowing that I was larger than I have ever been I still made the some what rash decision of buying all of my clothes in a size 10. This turned out to be particularly ridiculous when it came to putting on my swim gear. You could say I mastered the floss but not quite the way you would imagine.

The holiday clothes issue was quickly rectified by a couple of new outfits. Obviously that didn’t fix the state of my hair which is in that tricky phase of growing out my pixie cut. Still that phase continues and like I do every time I go through this I vow never to cut it short again. But I know, and I am sure you will have been there too, that this is cyclical process and I will indeed go through his again in a few years time! Still with my wobbly hairy bits covered and an improving tan I made it through the week without having too many hang ups about my appearance.

Now back firmly on UK soil the decision to join the gym before my holiday was a good one. You see this time rather than join a state of the art, fully mirrored, poser gym. You know the ones I mean – full of beautiful 20 somethings in Lycra, looking fabulous barely breaking a sweat whilst running 10 miles. I joined a ladies only gym – where they promised no mirrors and no judgements. They set me up with my own programme; measured all my wobbly bits and spent time taking me through the whole circuit. So when I got back from my hols; feeling fat and a bit self conscious this was all ready for me to start tackling the problem.

So off I trotted on Thursday afternoon – down to my new gym. Where so far I seem to be the youngest person there, but that’s great too. Everyone was nattering and made me feel really welcome. No one cared how many miles I could run or whether my trainers were cool. We were all there for the sole purpose of shedding just a few pounds so we could get our trousers done up again and hopefully increase our basic fitness level just a touch.

It’s strange to me too find myself looking forward to going back again next week. I am only planning on going 3 times a week but hopefully that will make all the difference. Who knows maybe I will get the exercise bug and turn into a real gym bunny. For now my 30 minute low intensity work out makes me feel better in myself and I am sure that I will start to see some results soon with regards to my trousers 👍🏻

Motivational Failure – Why I can’t get myself to the Gym

So you might be wondering how the exercise plan is going – no doubt you are ready to hear tales of how I have motivated myself to lose at least a pound or two… well no!

Really this site should be called fat bum won’t exercise… I have had my FitBit on which gives a surprising insight to how much walking I do. Considering I now spend most of the day in the car, I can still clock up 7000 steps most days. Of course that’s does not negate the fact that I eat burger for lunch almost every day. Add to this my excruciating back pain (it’s the sitting all day) I have to admit that the motivation for exercise is severely lacking.

You see I start of with great intentions. Today for example I was going to do the park run with a friend – but she didn’t text so I just kept that suggestion on the downlow. Now I am lying in bed drinking a full fat latte from Nero; nursing the heartburn that was a consequence of the freshly baked croissant that accompanied said coffee.

People tell me that once I start to exercise it becomes addictive. I find this hard to believe – chocolate, cigarettes and shoes are addictive but exercise? I can see that it makes you feel good and you get a sense of achievement but I can’t imagine it is comparable to biting into a bar of Dairy Milk straight from the fridge…. mind you if I never get started I will never know!

Perhaps I should set some personal achievable goals. Of course today’s goal is to get out of this bed and do the 18 loads of washing. If I have the energy after that and my spine doesn’t feel like it’s on fire I could do a 20 minute jog. But really I would rather sit for 20 mins and drink a brew. Preferably while the kids play quietly in the other room. See I think this might be the crux of the issue – I don’t want to ‘waste’ my 20 mins of down time from the small ones to go for a run. I want 20 minutes for me to relax, drink a hot cuppa or have a quick shower. There are not enough 20 minutes in the day and I don’t want to spend time doing something I know I will initially hate!

(As if to to emphasise my laziness the other half has suddenly dropped to the floor and done 20 push-ups. He is working on his beach body…)

I should be working to be ‘beach body’ ready myself. The prospect of putting this post-2-children body into a bikini is not something I want to think about. Don’t get me wrong it looks alright under clothes but bikinis don’t give you a lot of space to hide. Beside which the bottom half of my legs will never tan. I will do that thing where you only get brown knees and the bar across your feet where your flip flops are. You would think that the bikini thing would push me to tone up this ass – it doesn’t I will just buy a bikini with short bottoms!

So I think this post explains that I am fundamentally lazy! Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I can get myself motivated??

It’s Dinosaur; not Dine-Saw!

It’s a disappointment bigger than a Brachiosaurus that my boy Pie has not the slightest Iguanodon in dinosaurs. It’s not for lack of Triceratops on my part. Right from an egg I have been talking to him about these amazing creatures, but I may have been speaking in Velociraptor for all the good its done me. He doesn’t even Tyrannosaurus to look interested its like talking to a Diplodocus most days!

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

He would rather talk about Star Wars or Harry Potter! It really gets my Spinosaurus up when I show him a dinosaur and he calls it a dragon. Why can’t we talk about Pachycephalosaurus or Zigongosaurus? They aren’t difficult names for my own Sauropod to get his tongue round! Yet he behaves like a creature from the early Triassic period and calls them all dine-saw…(Damn you George Pig) I know it’s not the be Allosaurus or end all but I always thought having kids would enable me to justify my own geeky love of dinosaurs!

I can still remember that first trip to the Natural History Museum with my own family. The sheer excitement as we walked through the door and came face to face with a colossal skeleton! It was an awe-inspiring moment, even now it still makes me Gallimimus. It cemented a life long passion and a desire to study Paleontology. (Alas this is waiting for my retirement, not many dinosaurs in Birmingham!)

JerzyGorecki / Pixabay

After a relentless first year of forcing dinosaur clothes, books and toys on him, Mr Pud has now banned me from trying to brainwash him into my Cretaceous period. I am not even allowed to show him Jurassic Park until he is older, not even the bit before it gets scary. But how can my Anklyosaurus-biter be such an old Stegosaurus? Maybe I will get lucky in Pudding and she will develop into a Gigantosaurus nerd like her Mother, after all who else is going to run round the Natural History Museum with me?


 

Rhyming with Wine

A Day in The Life of a NICU Nurse

No publisher ID given

‘Oh wow what a lovely job, cuddling babies all day’ says a Mum when I tell her that I am a NICU nurse. Well yes it is, a great job. A privilege and a huge responsibility. But it’s also an emotional roller coaster. Knowing the life of these delicate babies is often held in my hands.

The NICU can be a loud busy place. Walking through the door you are often met with a barrage of alarms and a flurry of activity. Not all mornings start like that, sometimes there is time to take a breath. But other days you hit the ground running. These little people have you on the hop before you even begin. Such fragile little things that even the most stable on the unit can take a turn for the worse in the blink of an eye. I watch them like a hawk, respond to their needs. Turn them, snuggle them into tiny nests. Providing comfort care when the outside world all becomes too much for their preemie brains to take.

I watch in wonderment as their tiny bodies fight to maintain themselves. Encouraging their parents, supporting them in this most trying of times. Comforting their families as we ride this roller coaster together. The ups and downs of being born to soon. I explain the technical interventions required to keep their precious baby breathing and growing.

I Spend time with Mum, enable her to hold even the sickest of babies. Calm her when her breast milk starts to dry up through the stress of being in the NICU. Feeding her baby is one of her most important roles, but it’s not easy. She is in the unit every day, keeping her vigil by the bedside, she won’t eat properly or sleep properly. Feeling guilty, desperate and alone – my support to her is almost as critical as that to her baby. Bonds are created with families, they are trusting you with the most precious thing in their lives.

The ward round comes and the doctors make their plans. Plans that effect the whole family. Mostly there is hope but sometimes there is none. Hard decisions are made. Babies and their families keep coming. Some have completed their journey and we are waving them out the door. Home to a normal life, after the longest of roads travelled. Others are moving elsewhere requiring treatments we cannot provide or stepping down to local units. Completing that final phase of feeding and growing.

Of course there are cuddles. A break from the routine of caring for the sickest babies. A quick snuggle with a feed whilst Mum gets some rest. It is short-lived. The page has gone another baby needs the team. We race down the corridor, emergency bag in hand. Sometimes we know what to expect when we arrive. We know that this is a premature baby that will require our support. Other times it’s a term baby who hasn’t delivered as expected. The adrenaline rushes through your veins, it’s not excitement, it is a fight or flight response. I am trained for this, technically I know what needs to be done. But I never feel relaxed, this young life deserves my all, the best of my abilities. This family is counting on us.

There are times when as a team we are shocked to the core after events. You can’t help but become emotionally involved with these tiny babies and their families. Whilst everyone maintains their professionalism, ultimately it is the compassion and empathy that we feel that makes us the doctors and nurses we are. In the hardest of circumstances we are there for each other, who else could understand what this job does to a person? Tea and coffee are drunk by the bucket load and biscuits are consumed in vast quantities.

Yes this job is a privilege. It can be both beautiful and terrifying in equal measure. Watching these babies grow, flourish and eventually go home with their parents is one of the most satisfying parts. The journey is hard, for everyone. As a nurse it is technically challenging and emotionally wearing. I can’t imagine doing it without the amazing team of doctors and nurses around me.

After 12 long hours the day is finished. Notes are written, babies are tucked into their beds. But the NICU doesn’t sleep. The next shift is here. Their turn to ride this train. Continually watching, responding, comforting and caring for the babies and their families. For me its time to return to my own family, to try to decompress from the events of the day. Do I spend the day cuddling babies? Sometimes; but there is a lot more to a day in the life of a NICU nurse.

No publisher ID given

Petite Puddings Gift Guide 2016: Trolley Bags

Have you seen these before? I did last year and thought I really need these, they would make my life so much easier! Thank goodness that this year Trolley Bags” offered us the opportunity to try them.

img_3236

If like me you love to shop at Lidl or Aldi you will know the sheer panic at the checkout as things fly at you and there is nowhere to put them. You desperately chuck them in the trolley and then have to move out the way to pack them ‘properly’. Well enter Trolley Bags! No longer is this an issue. I can face even the largest of shops now with these in my trolley.

img_3275

Super easy to use, you just spread them across the trolley and start packing your shopping in them. The Trolley Bags stay open so you don’t have to keep fighting the bags. I did have to fight Pudding who kept trying to dive into the nearest bag and unpack it. But you can’t have everything right?! Then when I got to the car, it was stress free. All the bags came apart easily, allowing me to lift them into the car. Seriously it was a breeze. Sorry not so much of a breeze I could take pictures!

Trolley Bags come in a variety of colours, personally I like the pastels ones that we were sent. But you can also get them in bright colours and in a slightly smaller size to fit in the small trolleys. You can even get a special cool bag for your frozen items. For £19.99 for the original size I think they would make an excellent gift for the busy parent.

img_3237-1

You can order Trolley Bags online here . I know that I shall be using mine for that huge Christmas food haul we do every year. At least packing at the checkouts won’t be stressful this time, just the unpacking when I get home! Unfortunately I haven’t found a product that can squeeze all the items in to my already bursting cupboards!

petite-puddings-christmas-gift-guide

DISCLAIMER: We were given the Trolley Bags for free in order to conduct this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Can I please get off the mothering merry-go-round?

I can’t be the only one who wakes up and just think today I just don’t want to mother! Usually it’s when my wake up call involves some form of a scream. That is not an alarm clock any person needs. This is often followed swiftly by several demands. ‘I want breakfast, I wet the bed, where is my milk, I don’t want to go to school’ etc etc… it’s not really how I imagined my life would be!
It’s a fact that I am sure parents universally agree with. Raising kids is not always a bundle of fun. The daily battles, the endless washing pile and the continuous tidying up after the little darlings. Is it then surprising that some days I lack a little motivation? That on occasion I wonder why I bother when I am met with resistance at every turn?


Of course not every day feels like perpetual ground hog day. But the majority of days are like an endless merry-go round. We get up, we battle into clothes, fight about teeth brushing and toileting. Coffee is drunk, meals are prepared and the washing is put in the machine, dried and put away. Over and over, round and round. Today I confess I want to get off the ride.


I want to go out with nothing in my pocket but a bank card and a packet of cigarettes. I’d like to eat where I like, spend an hour browsing the shops. Perhaps make an appointment to get my hair done. Possibly drive into the country and walk the dog in peace, without nagging. Or just imagine, curling up next to a roaring fire in a pub with a glass of red in my hand. No rushing, no bickering, no whining and nobody asking me to do anything. Of course that’s pure fantasy!


The alarm has gone off. The first round of The Imperial March is coming from the kids bedroom. There is a whooping noise that can only mean Pudding is up and dancing to her brothers singing. The bin men are coming down the road – those bags need taking out! The dog needs to be let down the garden for a wee… there is no getting off the merry go round today. It’s onwards and upwards for this Mama Bear. 

Similac Follow-On Milk Review: The Proof Is In The Pudding!

Now those of you who are regulars on the blog will know that Pudding is a foodie, she loves her grub. This is possibly telling in the size of her thighs. But milk, well that she is not to fussed about. In fact in all honesty it can turn into a battle at bottle time! So when we were offered the chance of trying a new follow-on milk I jumped at the chance.

Similac Follow-On Formula
The Similac Follow-On milk is prepared in a similar way to all other formula milks in that you need to wait 30 minutes for the kettle to cool before making the milk. This was not a problem for us, as Pudding has her milk about the same time every day. So I could get organised before she got grumpy!

I was slightly thrown the first time I came to prepare Similac Follow-On milk. With our usual follow on milk it is one scoop of powder to 30mls of water. The Similac formula uses one scoop to 60mls of water. This was actually easier for us as Pudding only ever drinks 180mls of milk so it was much quicker to scoop out the milk. It also meant I didn’t get distracted and forget how many scoops I had put in. I would say that the only real problem was that the tin did not provide a scoop level so it was a bit tricky to ensure the scooped amount was correct.

img_3177

Because Pudding is such a great eater I don’t worry too much about how much milk she drinks in a day. What I love about Similac Follow-On milk is that I know she is getting all those extra vitamins and minerals. The Similac Follow-On milk includes vitamin A and C as well as calcium, vitamin D and iron. In addition to this the milk is palm oil free and suitable for vegetarian, Kosher and Halal diets. As a Mum I feel reassured that on those days where she is teething and not into solid food as much that the Follow-On milk will provide her with everything a growing baby needs.


I liked the design of the tin, I think it keeps the milk fresher as the lid seal is tight. The instructions for making the formula were really easy to follow. I did however miss not having a scoop leveller. The tin was also a winner when it was empty. It could be used as a drum or  in our case chased all over the laminate flooring!

So what did my fussy Pudding think of Similac Follow-On milk? Well I was actually pleasantly surprised. I made up her usual 6oz of milk and handed her the beaker. Usually she takes a couple of sips and then rolls over and shuffles off to play. Sometimes it can take up to an hour and quite a lot of protesting to get her to drink enough. But after the first few mouthfuls of the Similac Follow-On milk she kept right on drinking, finishing the whole 6oz without stopping!

img_3178
I have to say I wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t just that she was particularly thirsty at that time. But she then did exactly the same thing every time she had milk for the whole day. No messing about, just laid back and drank her milk straight off. I can only assume that she really liked the Similac Follow-On milk. The proof as the saying goes is in the Pudding.

I would certainly consider continuing to use Similac in the future. Although that is dependent on how easy it is to buy locally. I am hoping that my local Boots will stock it. It made a nice change to see Pudding enjoying her milk. I wouldn’t have any hesitation in recommending it to other parents, especially if their little one is a bit fussy with their milk.

Important notice: Breastfeeding is best for babies and is recommended for as long as possible during infancy. Breastfeeding provides many benefits to both mother and baby. It is difficult to reverse the decision not to breastfeed. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional for advice on how to feed your baby.


 DISCLAIMER: I have been sponsored by Similac to try Similac Follow On Milk and write about it on my blog. All opinions are my own.

Nurse or Mum is it time to choose between the two?

No publisher ID given

I find myself in serious contemplation of my career. A career I have worked hard for, but that now appears inflexible and a destructive influence on my family. How many times can I leave my four-year old in tears, carefully remove his arms from my waist and whisper ‘Sorry darling, Mummy has to go to work’. To shut the door and still hear his sobs of ‘don’t go again Mum…’

The problem is that no matter what people say nursing does not lend itself to a family friendly life. The shifts are long and unpredictable. The work itself is both mentally and physically draining. I personally can’t walk out of the hospital door without thinking about my patients and their families. Being a nurse for many is a vocation. It’s not just a job, or a profession. The training is hard, the job is harder. You have to love what you do, or you just wouldn’t keep doing it. Always chronically understaffed and overworked, the patients come first. Other people’s families constantly put above your own.

The level of responsibility I and my fellow nurses have is huge. No longer are we the profession so often portrayed in old films. You know the ones where we meekly follow the Doctors round and do their bidding. That went out the window with our hats and aprons many years ago. Nurses are now more autonomous, more skilled and more educated than they ever have been. In my opinion this is fantastic but it comes at a price. That price is stress. A stress that grows almost unseen, but bubbles over into family life.

Here we have a profession that is predominantly made up of women, that doesn’t lend itself in any way to family life. Lets face it flexible working isn’t an option. I can just imagine my managers face if I said I wanted to come in at 10am some days or finish at 5pm. I would have to pick her up off the floor she would be laughing so hard! Patients need 24 hour care, nurses have to provide this.

Obviously I can’t work from home that is a ridiculous notion. Where would I put all the equipment? Besides I can’t see the ward round stopping by my house to make a plan of care or the x-ray team trundling up my drive… So flexi-homeworking not an option. Of course we are a minority in that our family has two nurses that work inflexible long shifts, which only compounds the problems. Some one is always tired, someone is always at work and both of us are inevitably stressed!

Is this my choice? Well kind of but not really. I often think that if I really had a choice I wouldn’t go to work. But then I remember that I like having my own money and I like having something that is mine and not the children’s. It’s not a selfish thing to want to have some time where I am a nurse and not ‘Mum’. I think in many ways it makes me a better Mum when I return to the children. Or it would if I wasn’t so shattered after work! But the children hate it. I hand my children over to my husband like I handover my patients to my colleagues at the end of my shift.

No one I speak to has the answer. It feels as though the day is coming when I will need to make a decision. I either am a nurse or I am a mother. I raise my children, but lose everything I have worked to achieve. There doesn’t appear to be a happy medium for me. Its my career or my kids. There is no competition in my eyes. If somethings got to give I know what it will be. That doesn’t make it ok and it doesn’t make it any easier.

No publisher ID given

The Poonami: A Total Shit Storm

Let me set the scene! It was tough but you put your face on threw your hair into some kind of style. Picked out your best boots and chose an adorable outfit for your cute side kick. Operation meet the Yummy Mummy’s has begun!


It’s all going well. Conversation flowing, coffee ordering went smoothly ‘yes I will have a slim, vendi  latte, not to much foam, hazelnut twist’ brilliant, nailed it! I am a sophisticated yummy mummy, I can pull this off. Or so I thought! 

Striking up empathetic conversation with the mum next to me, bouncing Pudding on on my knee. Casually sipping at perfectly ordered, tasteless coffee. Inside I am doing cartwheels. I have this mothering shit down, nothing can stop me now. Nothing except that ominous tummy rumble from Pudding. Followed by the long juicy sound of a deposit being made in her clean nappy. Balls! Then comes the obnoxious aroma – why did I let that baby eat some of my curry last night?!!! Oh no is that a slight damp patch on my leg…

Of course the small one is grinning, waving her arms and bouncing. Don’t bounce like that, something bad will happen. Too late one huge bounce and I can feel moisture on my hands. Horrified I look down… Yep it’s a level 5 disaster. Action stations we have a Poonami!! 


Don’t panic, I tell myself, we can handle this. Scoop up Pudding, grab nappy bag and walk confidently to the changing room. 

OH my fucking Christ. That smells awful. I Start to peel off layers. There is shit everywhere, literally everywhere. It’s all over my hands and right up to the Puddings arm pits. Peel off all clothes, contemplate saving them, then just chuck them in the bin. Wet wipes are not going to cut it. You child are going in the sink! 

Thank god for huge muslins. Wrap a now screeching Pudding up and sit her on the floor on top of a freshly cleaned changing mat. Of course whilst my back is turned she quickly removes herself from the Muslim and proceeds to parade stark naked round the questionably hygienic baby change. Frantically scrabble in the changing bag to find a replacement out fit… Meanwhile misses has pulled herself up on the sanitary towel bin and is attempting to force open the lid. 

Hooray baby gro and nappy found. Wrestle on the floor with her majesty whilst she screams blue murder about not getting into the sanitary bin. Tuck her under my arm as I attempt to wipe poo off of every surface. Except I didn’t realise that she has some on her hands… Gross and made even worse as she waves at me in the mirror and proceeds to wipe it all through my freshly washed hair. Before taking that exact moment to vomit down my top. I mean seriously this kid never vomits… Probably the bugs she has just picked up from the floor/sanitary bin! 

Slink out of bathroom smelling of cheesey milk and poo… Contemplate going back to the table and finishing my coffee. Nope not now, I can’t face it. Red faced and smelling like a bin lorry I  head back to the car. This is one Poonami I want to put behind me!