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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Father Christmas's First Real Visit

Thanks for hopping over from Cookies & Cwtches and welcome to my post for the twelfth - and final - day of #12daysofparenting.

You still have until midnight on 31st December 2015 to enter.

Before I go on, I want to thank all of our sponsors:
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Bambini & Me
Sand Art  
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Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


This year B is incredibly excited about Father Christmas, and her excitement is rubbing off on M who keeps telling us, "Santa Clause is comin' a-town!" Last Christmas was the first year B understood and got excited about Father Christmas. She told me she wanted to leave Father Christmas some milk to drink with his mince pie; and she remembered that we had found out at a friend's party that reindeer like to eat mushrooms, so we duly placed a mushroom out too.

Mince Pie, Milk and Mushroom for Father Christmas
It turns out, reindeer like mushrooms.

But it was that Christmas morning that will be in my memory forever. When she woke up, B was only interested in checking Father Christmas's tray. She didn't ask about her stocking; she didn't look to see if there were presents by the tree; she ran to the tray and, with a look of pure delight, declared, "Father Christmas left me a bit of his mince pie!"

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Necessities

Thanks for hopping over from Emma at The Mummy Balancing Act and welcome to my post for the eleventh day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including a Snoozeshade Original from today's sponsors, Snoozeshade. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Christmas Dinner
A lot of bread sauce for the two of us on our honeymoon!
I love Christmas, but there are a few things that I absolutely need if Christmas is going to be just right. These are the things that come out year after year, or that live permanently on my Christmas shopping list, so that I can't forget them.

First off, Christmas just isn't Christmas for me if I can't have Bread Sauce with my Christmas Dinner, and enough of it to have leftovers to add to Boxing Day sandwiches, or just eat out of the bowl with a spoon. And it has to be proper bread sauce; none of this packet nonsense. I usually find that people who say they don't like bread sauce have never tried the real, homemade stuff. If that's you, then now's your year, folks. I use Delia's Traditional Bread Sauce recipe. It's simple and delicious, and I pretty much know it off by heart now.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Kids Don't Stop at Christmas

Thanks for hopping over from The Mummy Balancing Act and welcome to my post for the ninth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to give away including a signed, limited edition, A3 picture (usually £95) from Fresh Photography's recent Iceland blog. (Any single picture from the selection on the blog). Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes...

Nappies still need changing.
I greatly doubt it. Jesus was a human baby - he'd have cried at some point. Just like ordinary babies. Because babies don't know that one day is different to any other day. They continue living to their own rhythm. They still need feeding and winding and changing, with very little regard for our desire to cook an over the top lunch, or watch the Queen's speech, or have a lovely afternoon nap.

A young baby, however - unlike a boisterous toddler - can be happily accommodated at some Christmas activities. We took B to a candlelit carol service at 4 months old. She gurgled quietly, fed noisily, and slept happily through the rest. Unlike the lady behind us who loudly rustled her sweet wrappers during every quiet bit.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Obligatory Christmas Pics

Thanks for hopping over from Suburban Mum and welcome to my post for the eighth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including a Cuddle Deer, from today's Sponsor, Cuddle Dry. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



Family in front of Christmas Tree

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Cooking with the Kids

Christmas biscuits http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-cooking-with-kids.html
Yeah! Biscuit Art!

Thanks for hopping over from Cookies & Cwtches and welcome to my post for the seventh day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

I'll make Christmas cookies with the girls, I thought. That'll be a wonderfully relaxing time for us all.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That's me laughing hysterically, by the way.

Children making biscuits http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/christmas-cooking-with-kids.htmlVarious events conspired against me, and we didn't end up getting started until nearly 4 o'clock, and M hadn't had a nap, despite being up since 5, so what - in my imagination - was going to be a delightful activity, where we bonded and laughed, and made beautiful biscuit masterpieces, actually turned out to be B having a lovely time, whilst I tried to stop M from eating the dough, throwing it on the floor, stealing B's cutters, and destroying the table with her rolling pin! Let's just say that, though I saved the table, I'm fairly certain we're going to find cookie dough in various crevices of the kitchen for months to come.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Just Add Glitter!

Thanks for hopping over from Kiddy Charts and welcome to my post for the fifth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including Sand Art Pictures. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

When it comes to crafts, I'm not so great. Pinterest is both my friend and my nemesis. I love so much that I see there, but when I try the ideas out I invariably fail! And trying to do anything off Pinterest with the kids just results in everyone getting frustrated. So, today, we're going old school. Primary school to be precise. Those were the days, eh! Simple crafts, specifically designed for small children to do fairly unaided. The only Christmas crafts I can remember making at school are angels made from Art Straws, and gift tags made out of old Christmas cards. In the absence of any Art Straws - do they even make those anymore? - I have opted for the gift tags. While I suspect that most of you know how to do these, let's pretend you've never experienced the fun that is chopping up Christmas cards. Or perhaps you didn't attend school in the late 80s/early 90s and these might be new and amazing to you!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Our Christmas Traditions

Thanks for hopping over from The Mummy Balancing Act and welcome to my post for the fourth day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including today's sponsor, Bambini & Me, who are offering a sleep bag in either size 0-6m or 6-18 m. The winner will be able to select from the following patterns: Elephant in grey; Bunny in blue; and Bird in pink. 
 Full details of the giveaway can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting Facebook page, and all entries are to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Christmas is such a traditional time, but the more people I meet, the more traditions I find. It seems everyone has their own that they are super passionate about, and when I married the Hubby I discovered new traditions that would now have to be a part of my Christmas, and others that I was shocked had never been a part of his. Making our own little family has enabled us to combine our traditions, and invent our own. So, here you shall find a selection of the Christmas Traditions in our house.

Advent:
Jesse Tree http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/our-christmas-traditions.htmlJesse Tree - instead of an Advent calendar, we have a Jesse Tree.  The Jesse Tree is a vehicle to tell the story of Jesus as pointed to throughout the Old Testament. Each day we take out a decoration to hang on our Jesse Tree. The first 16 decorations represent characters or events from the Bible; the final 8 are based on the 'O' Antiphons used during Vespers and mass at the end of Advent, and which are in the hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. We try to read the relevant story from the Bible, or watch a video of it, and discuss how Jesus is shown in that passage. Sometimes we do crafts or activities based on the theme for the day, though these tend to get neglected as we get to the busier end of Advent. I hope that this will be a tradition that continues for many years, getting us all deeper into the Bible and discovering more about the reason for Christmas. If you want to find out more about our Jesse Tree, you can find my previous posts here.

Christmas Books - this is a tradition I've discovered since becoming a parent. Each night of Advent we read a different Christmas related book. The last two years I have wrapped each book up to be opened by one of the children, but this year I changed my mind. Too much work, and too much of a waste of wrapping paper! It was great the year M was born, because B was still in the stage of finding life with a new sibling difficult, so having a present to open each night was a brilliant distraction. I bought a whole load of Christmas books from a charity shop, and we are slowly replacing some of the more boring ones with much more delightful books. My favourites so far are Jesus' Christmas Party and The Lion, The Unicorn and Me.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Siblings - December 2015

dear beautiful




The Ghost of Christmas Past...

Thanks for hopping over from Adventures of a Novice Mum and welcome to my post for the 3rd Day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting page and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

Nativity Angel and Shepherd
We bring you glad tidings of great joy!
Gone are the days of wrapping presents whilst watching Christmas films with my girlfriends, as we sipped on mulled wine that was kept warm - and topped up - all day in the slow cooker. Now the slow cooker does heavy duty cooking actual meals, and present wrapping is done hurriedly, at night, after the children have finally accepted that, yes, bedtime is happening again. Though the Hubby and I still enjoy a Christmas film whilst doing so. Nothing beats cutting lengths of sticky tape whilst watching Arnie punch a reindeer in the face! Thanks, Hubby, for introducing me to Jingle All the Way.

I've said goodbye to the mischievous delight of filling Christmas card envelopes with glitter to surprise my friends. Now karma - otherwise known as parenting - has taught me a torturous lesson.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Dear Father Christmas...

Thanks for hopping over from Oh Little One Sweet and welcome to my post for the 2nd Day of #12daysofparenting. We have many prizes to giveaway including a Hoppy or a Patch from today's sponsor, BabyBundle. Full details can be found on the 12 Days of Parenting page and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



Santa Baby - A Mum's Wish List
Untidy Christmas Tree http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/dear-father-christmas.html 
Santa baby, just tidy up a bit by the tree for me;
Been a fairly good mum, Santa baby,
So let me have eight hours' sleep tonight.

Santa baby, a toilet trip and time on the phone – alone!
Won't wait up for you, dear, Santa baby,
I'll be woken up just after you leave.

Think of all the work I do,
Think of how many times my children poo!
Next year I could be twice as tired,
So make my Christmas wish come true.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Surviving the Christmas Holidays

Christmas Tree decoration http://laura-honeybee.blogspot.com/2015/12/surviving-christmas-holidays.html
Photo by C. Durling, 2015

First posted as part of the 2015 #12DaysOfParenting

The school holidays always seem to come as a bit of a surprise to me now that I've been away from teaching for 5 years, and when they start I suddenly find myself unprepared for the lack of activities to attend. All the preschool-age groups stop and it's up to us  parents to be the sole entertainers of our children, or to brave very busy soft play areas, full of much bigger kids. No sipping a latte whilst the younglings run and climb - I have to start supervising!

I've found that saving the bigger Christmas activities and crafts for the last week of Advent maximises the fun and stops us from missing our groups. When I was growing up, my parents didn't put up our Christmas tree until just a few days before Christmas. Now I understand why, and we've continued that tradition in our home now. I think this makes the last week of Advent more exciting, and marks it out as different to the rest of the month, helping in the build up to Christmas Day. However, it has also had the added bonus of

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Celebrating Breastfeeding

Why celebrate breastfeeding?


File:GNM - Maria lactans 2.jpg
Madonna lactans ( 1380 )
German National Museum.
In a world that seems to be filled with hate and violence, where the desire to bomb and kill seems to be greater than the desire to save and heal, breastfeeding gives life, promotes life, feeds and nurtures. Breastfeeding is gentle, peaceful, loving. Even during the gymnurstics of toddler feeding! 


Make Milk Not War

In a world where we are constantly told that we're not good enough, that we need to spend more and more money to achieve perfection, breastfeeding is free and simple. It provides the perfect nourishment for our little ones, without need for upgrades or fancy packaging or bogus sciencey-sounding claims. 

In the action of breastfeeding a baby, we give of ourselves, literally, and both baby and mother feel the oxytocin-inspired love running through our veins. It is a selfless act in an all too selfish world. 


Mary breastfeeding Jesus from From The Story of Christmas  by Jane Ray
From The Story of Christmas
by Jane Ray
As we head towards Christmas, the time when we celebrate the birth of a tiny, helpless baby, who was undoubtedly breastfed, and who grew up to be pretty rebellious himself, remember that breastfeeding our babies is a simple act of rebellion, in a world that bombards us with hate, violence, and death; exhorts us to spend more and more money; and applauds narcissism and living only for ourselves. 

Celebrate breastfeeding. 


The code word for the Celebrating Breastfeeding Christmas Extravaganza is holly
With special thanks to our sponsors for providing the amazing prizes: ARDOLoveyUshMilk & MummyLorna DrewMummy Makes Milk,Thrupenny Bitsbreastvest and More4Mums.
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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Me and Mine - October 2015

dear beautiful me and mine


The end of British Summer Time has resulted in some early mornings, so here's the obligatory pyjamas and dressing gowns photo!
This month we celebrated my brother's 30th birthday with a bowling trip, which the girls both really enjoyed. Several of our family members have their birthdays in October, so it can be a very busy month. I have been able to carve out some time to myself once a week, with a couple of hours at the gym and swimming pool, while the girls go to a group with either my parents or my parents-in-law. It's been so good to just have a bit of a breather and do something that is just for me.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Me and Mine - September 2015

dear beautiful me and mine


September saw us taking our summer holiday - a week of absorbing history and culture in Warwickshire, as well as a trip to the Black Country Living Museum. Here we are enjoying our Victorian Fish & Chips! It was so good to have a week together, away from home, enjoying each others' company and making memories.

Friday, 18 September 2015

To the Mum Who Rugby Tackled Her Four Year Old at Soft Play...

Dear Embarrassed Mum at Soft Play,
That rugby tackle - impressive. The Rugby World Cup starts today - have you been in training? That was a pretty admirable turn of speed you put on there. I saw your daughter running away every time she spotted you. I heard you give her the five minute to departure warning, and watched her pay absolutely no attention. I witnessed her run into the baby section with her shoes on. You were pretty embarrassed, but I don't think there were many people watching you. Well done for not shouting. 
Four year olds, eh? Hard work, right? And you had another child too. I bet you wonder why you bother going out when they take no notice of you, and refuse to leave when it's time. But keep doing it. You've come this far - don't give up now. I know your introverted self would like to stay at home, where all flaws and disobedience are kept private. No judgemental parents looking on and thanking their particular deity that their children come when called. Though, again, I'm fairly certain no one else was that aware of what was going on, and even more certain that all of the other parents there have children who behave like children too!
She was just having so much fun. She'd made some new friends and they were enjoying themselves. It's totally understandable that she wouldn't want to go home. She doesn't understand time the way you do. She doesn't get that that extra time spent playing means a later bedtime for you tonight because you have so much to do. And no one ever died of embarrassment, otherwise there would be no adults in the world after the embarrassing time that is adolescence and puberty!
The kids will sleep in the car, so take ten minutes to yourself when you get back. Chill. Breathe. Get some perspective. 
All is well. Your strong willed, confident, independent four year old will grow into a strong willed, confident, independent woman. That rugby tackle was a necessity. No one got hurt, and you managed to leave soft play with a bit of dignity and without being told you must never return. Even if you did have a little cry before driving home. 
Love Laura 
P.s. That Embarrassed Mum is me - I just needed someone to give me a bit of T.L.C. and a pep talk. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

Me and Mine - August 2015

dear beautiful me and mine
August has been a month of birthdays - I turned 32 and B turned 4 - so there has been a lot of cake, partying and day trips. And so many presents! We finally finished converting the spare room into a bedroom and play area for the girls, which has resulted in a few nights - not many though! - of unbroken sleep. It's amazing how a solid block of sleep can set you up for the day! I have managed to read a book that's been on my list to read for a while - The Five People You Meet in Heaven - and it was everything I hoped it would be. M is talking a lot more - we can have proper little conversations now. And her sense of humour is really developing. She makes us all laugh a lot. B is growing up so quickly, and yet is still so obviously young. I can't believe that if we weren't home educating, she would be expected to start school in the coming week. She's so little, even if she does insist that, now she's 4 years old, she knows everything!

My Birthday

This month:

The Hubby has enjoyed...
Nice weather
A different hair cut
Reading
Doing more yoga
Spending time with B
Completing the girls' bedroom

I have enjoyed...
Listening to my new radio
B's Superhero birthday party
Winning bowling on B's birthday
The Curly Girl Method, and how wonderful my hair is looking
Time for reading
The August Bank Holiday Weekend

B has enjoyed...
Lego
Her Superhero birthday party
Going bowling on her birthday, and having Happy Birthday sung to her at Frankie & Benny's
Her new bedroom
Her cousin coming to stay for a few days
Practising writing her name

M has enjoyed...
Having her hair done
Singing the Alphabet song
Her toy panda
Her new bedroom
Talking more
Playing Old MacDonald Lotto with B

Our Superhero Identities - sssshhhhh!
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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Siblings - August 2015

dear beautiful
So many cuddles this past month. These two so enjoy each other's company. They still  love to see each other first thing in the morning, kissing and hugging and shouting for joy. M is getting so much more interested in what B is up to, which is resulting in shouting and tears. B is as patient as a nearly 4 year old can be; M is getting more and more frustrated with what she's not allowed to do. They are both quick to say sorry though - our behaviour and modelling for B has paid off, and M has learned how to apologise already, though I'm not entirely sure she needs to say sorry quite so often as she does.
 

 B has learned a few of her books off by heart, and I have caught her "reading" them to M a few times now. It's incredibly touching to see. They play together with the Duplo, but B's penchant for pretending the bricks are cakes is not so easily understood by M, who just wants to build. They've been enjoying singing and dancing to Barbara Ann by the Beach Boys, and especially singing it whilst jumping up and down on mattress in the spare room. They chat to each other, and it's so wonderful to see how good friends they are.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - The Finale



Thanks for hopping over from Milk and Mummy, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt: Day 7 - The End of the Journey
Sponsors today include Close Parent, who are providing an organic Close Caboo Organic Carrier; a £20 voucher from Burble Baby; and a breastfeeding necklace of your choice from Baby Beads for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs - get your entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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Back in April, I realised B hadn't fed for a while, but I hadn't noticed straight away. I wrote her a letter: To My First Nursling. It was an emotional time, but it was only the end of one leg of my breastfeeding journey. For her it was over. And perhaps, one day, if she has children of her own, she will start another leg of her journey with them. I am still feeding M, and she shows no signs of stopping any time soon. When she does, I hope it will be as gentle and child led as B's weaning was. Maybe I will be feeding another baby then. Continuing on the same road, but with a whole new set of experiences - some familiar, others brand new.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Striking Ignorance

Tube strikes don't affect me, so I can look at today's Union actions a bit more objectively than your average commuter or Londoner. Perhaps it's easier for me to see the drivers' side, as expressed in this article. Yes, it must be very difficult to get to work, but it must be difficult to not get comfort breaks, and worse to have your relationships break down because of the hours you have no choice but to work. When I was in paid employment, I joined a union that didn't strike. It's not been my preferred method of achieving change, but I support those for whom it is. 

But I just don't understand why people can be so ignorant as to not see that we are constantly being pitted against one another, when we should be uniting. The powers that be want us lower folks to be fighting amongst ourselves so that we don't see what they're up to. 

Let's have a go at train drivers because they earn more than we do, rather than fighting for everyone to receive a decent wage. 
Let's complain about not being able to see a doctor at the weekend, rather than making sure the government can't sell the NHS to their cronies. 
Let's kick out all the foreigners seeking our benefits, rather than going after the politicians and their friends who have taken much more from us. 
Let's get angry about a lion's death, rather than care about human beings who are starving and dying and going through all kinds of torture. 



All the anger is being directed at the wrong groups of people. The media - and I can never remember whether they're in the politicians' pockets, or the other way around - tell us who's to blame and straight away, like mindless sheep, we're there, shaking our fists, complaining of injustice, and hurling abuse. And all the time the powers that be are sitting smugly, rubbing their hands together with glee, as they watch the minions destroying one another, oblivious to the rich and powerful getting more money and more power. 

We need to open our eyes, soften our hearts, and use our brains. We can't, we mustn't, believe everything the papers and news channels serve up to us. And we must unite with our co-humans, and go on strike from believing the lies, rather than fighting for the scraps our rulers deign to throw at us. 

Positive About Breastfeeding - Backstage




Thanks for hopping over from Milk and Mummy, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt - Day 6: The People Behind The Breastfeeder. 
Sponsors today include ARDO Breastpumps, who are giving away a Calypso Single Breastpump, Breastvest, who are offering an essential breastvest duo (1x black and 1x white) in your size, and Mother Loves Cookies, who are providing a box of delicious lactation cookies for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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Support! It is the the most vital ingredient in the recipe for successful breastfeeding. Surround yourself with people who believe in breastfeeding. Get help when you need it. Find the breastfeeding cafes near your home, and go to them before your baby is born. Seek out other breastfeeding mums and ask for advice. The more you know, the more successful you will be.

When B was born, my support consisted of my mum, my best friend and the Hubby. But with the issues I had, they weren't enough. The paediatricians and nurses at the hospital were unsupportive, unhelpful and poorly educated in breastfeeding. I didn't have the confidence I needed as a first time mum. I knew what I wanted, but I got scared and gave into pressure. My breastfeeding journey didn't have a good start. By the time M came along, my circle of support had grown enormously. I was part of the local Attachment Parenting group; I had more breastfeeding friends; support at the hospital had improved; and being part of several breastfeeding groups on Facebook connected me with a huge number of breastfeeding mums. I could find answers, advice and encouragement in so many places, at any time of the day or night. The journey with M was so much better because of those helping me along.

Every new mother should be able to feed her baby the way she wants to, after receiving accurate, evidence based information on infant feeding. They should never be told to top up with formula without first having seen an IBCLC. IBCLCs should be on staff at every maternity ward. There should be breastmilk banks at every hospital so that every baby that needs supplementation can have access to human milk. The government should be channelling money into breastfeeding education for health care providers and ensuring schoolchildren are taught about it during science and PSHE lessons. The NHS should be ensuring that all their staff are up to date on breastfeeding training, and GPs and Health Visitors should be reminded that facts are to beshared, rather than their outdated opinions. We need better support for breastfeeding, and it needs to be everywhere. With a bit of investment, the NHS could save a huge amount of money because of fewer serious childhood illnesses and cancers, and less obesity and diabetes due to more babies being breastfed beyond the first few weeks of life.

Support breeds support. Women who have been helped and encouraged to achieve their breastfeeding goals are able to go on to support and help others. From my own experiences and research, I could name at least 10 women I have been able to help in various ways to succeed in breastfeeding their babies. But I would never have been able to do that if it wasn't for the support I first received in the early days of breastfeeding B. So, thank you to my mum - an LLL counsellor, who I saw advising women when I was a child, and who encouraged me, prayed for me, and reminded me that I was a breastfeeding mum, despite my low supply. Thank you to my Husband, who overcame his initial fears and became my greatest supporter, even becoming a bit of a breastfeeding cheerleader himself. (You'll find him blogging as part of the Scavenger Hunt: Dad Thoughts.) And thank you to my best friend, who listened to my tears, and texted me uplifting words, and reassured me that all would be well. You carried me until I was able to feed on my own two feet.

Now enter the competition using the Rafflecopter below:



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For more on the people behind the breastfeeder please hop on over Live Oxfordshire, where you can also gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on theKeeping Britain Breastfeedingwebsite. UK residents only.


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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 31: Black and White

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories 

A trip to Ikea allowed M to indulge in a little panda cuddling. She loves those pandas!

Positive About Breastfeeding - Beyond Babyhood



Thanks for hopping over from Another Bun or Dad Thoughts, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt - Day 5: Extended Breastfeeding.
We have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs, including prizes from More4Mums, providing a set of 'Hot Milk' Lingerie; a signed hardback limited edition copy of Milky Moments; and a £30 voucher from Milk Chic. 
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

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 Extended breastfeeding, or as it ought to be known, full-term or natural-term breastfeeding, is generally considered to be still breastfeeding a child over the age of 1 year, though there are many, including a lot of health care providers, who seem to think that it refers to anything over 6 months!  The World Health Organisation state that, "Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond." This isn't just for those in developing countries, as is often thought, but refers to children all over the world.

I think sometimes there is a fear that allowing a child to continue to breastfeed as long as they want will mean that their mother will be tied to the settee for years, but nursing a toddler is very different to nursing a newborn. The near constant feeds reduce. Breastmilk is no longer the main source of nutrition. Snacks and toys and noises and the possibility that something interesting might be happening somewhere else can all distract from feeding. It is during toddlerhood that the ability of breastfeeding to comfort and console really comes into its own. And when the penchant for putting all manner of germy things in their mouths can be counteracted by the continued antibacterial and antiviral properties of breastmilk. Breastfeeding can even be more enjoyable during the second year and beyond. Little ones no longer rely only on mum for everything; nursing time is accompanied by books and toy cars, and feeds are shared with soft toys, thrust at our breasts by overly-keen mini lactation consultants; the gymnurstics begin.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - Looking Good!



Thanks for hopping over from Mummies Waiting, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt - Day 3: Dress to Impress. 
Sponsors today include Milk and Mummy, with a £50 voucher; Lorna Drew Maternity, who are offering a beautiful set of nursing lingerie; and Mummy Makes Milk; who is offering a signed copy of her beautiful book for our Grand Prize winner. 
Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs. Entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

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Finding attractive breastfeeding clothes that don't cost a small fortune is difficult. Add in being plus sized, and it becomes an even greater challenge. When I first got pregnant with B, at the end of 2010, I was surprised to discover that Evans, the leading plus sized women's fashion retailer, does not have a maternity range. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised - I had long been aware that larger ladies aren't expected to live like "normal" sized ladies. Despite the average woman in the UK being a size 16, many fashion ranges don't go above that. Some don't even include it at all. And many plus ranges don't have maternity lines, or are only available online. I had my wedding dress made especially for me, because there were no larger sized wedding dresses to try on in bridal shops. Because, of course, who would want to marry a fat lady?! And if that idea is unthinkable, then logically there should be no need to create maternity wear for larger ladies, because that would mean men actually want to have sex with fatties! Gross, right? Well, fashion industry, a little news for you - larger ladies are just the same as smaller ladies, and as those in between. We have those life changing moments too.

Things were a bit better in 2013, when I was pregnant with M. I found a few online stores that sold plus sized maternity clothes, and even managed to get a few items from Next, whose sizes go a little higher than other high street stores. Again though, I discovered that I could only find stuff online. I lost quite a bit of weight when I was pregnant, so I had no idea what size I was, and would have found it much easier to try things on before buying them. And I was even more annoyed that Evans still didn't have a maternity range.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - Out and About

Keep Britain Breastfeeding Logo

Thanks for hopping over from Visit from the Stork and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 2 - Positive Public Feeding; we have over £700 worth of breastfeeding and baby goodies up for grabs, including prizes from Snoob; with a breastfeeding scarf, a goodie bag from Forever Patricia; and a breastfeeding necklace from Booby and the Bead
Full details of the Grand Prize can be found here; and all entries to be completed via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
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I have never had a negative experience breastfeeding in public. Yet, I have a number of friends who have experienced being told to leave premises, asked to feed in the toilets, and subjected to nasty comments and looks just because they are exercising their right, by law, to feed their babies when out and about. It's ridiculous, in this day and age, that this is still happening. Breastfeeding mothers are protected by the law! A friend recently told me that she was nervous about feeding in public - very early on she had had to stop breastfeeding her first baby, firstly expressing and then moving onto formula, so she had no experience of breastfeeding outside of her house. Fortunately for her, her first public feed was uneventful. I'm so glad, because that gave her the confidence to do it again and again. Since then, she has experienced judgemental stares, and people getting up to move their children away from her. And her baby is only 5 weeks old! Seriously! There is something incredibly wrong with a society that thinks it's acceptable to plaster sexually charged images of women showing their breasts - low cut tops, naked, etc. - everywhere for advertising the most unrelated products, and yet vilifies women who are feeding their children as nature intended.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Positive About Breastfeeding - The Grand Entrance


Keep Britain Breastfeeding Logo


Thanks for hopping over from My Mummy's World, and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 1: The Start of My Journey.

Sponsors today include  Boobie Milk with a £50 voucher, Cherub Chews who are offering a breastfeeding necklace and Loveyush who are offering a breastfeeding scarf for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs; entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

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If you have ever read about My First Year of Breastfeeding, then you will know that we had a really tough start first time around. B was tongue tied, I have insufficient glandular tissue (IGT), and the breastfeeding support at our hospital was appalling. In those first weeks there were no positives. I was in pain and B lost a great deal of weight; I was desperately unhappy and exhausted. I had done a great deal of research about breastfeeding while I was pregnant, and I had been certain it would be a breeze. I was unaware of tongue ties - as was my La Leche League trained mum - and I didn't believe Low Supply was a real thing. However, I'm a stubborn soul, and I was determined to keep breastfeeding. But why?

Friday, 31 July 2015

Me and Mine - July 2015

dear beautiful me and mine
 July has been a bit of a long month for me. The labyrinthitis is still not completely gone, so I haven't been able to drive, meaning we've done a lot of playing at home. We've had some visitors, which has been lovely. It has meant we've made the most of going out at the weekends though, when the Hubby has been around to drive us. We had a trip to Warwick Castle, where our English Heritage cards got us 50% off the extortionate entry price; and the Hubby turned 30, so I organised a surprise picnic party for him, complete with party hats, games, and Star Trek themed cakes. The weather at the beginning of the month was sweltering, which meant it was time for ice lollies and the paddling pool. We've done a lot more decluttering, finally getting the girls' old clothes organised into boxes, and reorganising a few cupboards. There's still a lot more to do - we've just got so much stuff - but it feels good to see things starting to get ordered. We're in the process of

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

52 Weeks of Memories | 29: Inside

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories


We've been using the chalk board in the lounge to learn how to read and write 'look'. This is B's fantastic writing! I love how she made the Os into eyes.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Siblings - July 2015

dear beautiful

This has been a tough month for these two. I've been ill for nearly all of it, and they have struggled with being stuck at home most of the time, with a poorly mum who hasn't been much fun. They've watched a lot of telly, because I've found everything difficult with the constant dizziness, and I haven't been able to play or run around after them. And the weather has either been too hot or raining, so outside hasn't always been the better option. Add in a couple of wasp nests in the garden, and you can see why cabin fever set in, and why there aren't so many photos this month. 


M is much more forceful now. She knows when she wants to join in and she makes it known. B is finding it hard, because she makes up games and M doesn't play properly. But they both try really hard. Dressing up works well. They both enjoy it and there are no rules to follow. M is quite happy to be dressed and undressed, though she's quite adept at picking out her own outfits too! There are still plenty of good morning kisses, and hand-holding if we're out, but the screaming and crying is continuing too. M will tell me when B has done something to stop her playing - "push" seems to be a well used word, unfortunately. But generally they get on well, and I know what it's like to be the big sister!

52 Weeks of Memories | 28: Making

Finding Myself Young 52 Weeks of Memories


Not so much making, as made. The first lemon drizzle cake the Hubby has ever made, with help from B. It was delicious.