Friday, 5 August 2011

I totally made a ladybird

It's not as random as it sounds.

Actually, that's a lie - it really is. 

This week we went to our favourite cafe for a nice milkshake, a shared bag of wotsits (shh, it's totally ok to feed the toddler wotsits) and some chilling out time whilst Jellybean ran around MADLY in the soft play, the huge range of Ikea goodies they sensibly filled the play area with, out the door to the sandpit and wendy house, the slide, then back inside to the roof - hanging swing thing, and the other children (OMG MUMMY, OTHER CHILDREN, IT'S LIKE DRUGS!)

Whilst he was running around like an ad-child for e-numbers I dragged over a giant floor cushion made out like a great big fleecy ladybird. I didn't take a picture of it - I wish I had. Inside, instead of a cushion it had some kind of air filled bag so when children plopped onto it - as a child is wont to do when faced with a giant floor cushion - they were sent, squeeking, bouncing right off in surprising directions. Hours of entertainment. Jellybean  thought it was hilarious, even Midget Gem had a go, held securely by Momma, bouncing up and down. I pulled one very surprised strangers girl child out from under the table after she hit it with particularly vigorous force and launched directly under, landing by my feet with a look of total surprise on her face. I did that "Oh gosh, how funny, up we get, brush it off, there, we're fine, off we pop!" thing, all wide eyed and enthused, whilst she teetered between "laugh or cry" and her Mum - from the far side of the room - did slow motion running towards us (as we do in moments of "oh crap, offspring may be hurt!)

Anyway - I couldn't see any kind of identifying labels on this work of genius and sweet-but-baffled waitress had no idea - I suspected Ikea but couldn't see it on their website (though I only looked for a few minutes on my phone) so I wandered home via the fabric shop and Wilkos, and purchased some supples, came home and knocked together a not-that-impressive, miniature replica. I plan to make a big version when a; we move somewhere bigger and b; I can give it more than fifteen minutes of making time! 

First, I took my fabrics - spotty fleece and fake fur - and cut squares bigger than the item I'd chosen as my 'inner'...

I wasn't sure what to use for the insides - I was wandering around Wilkos and in the toy aisle I spotted they had a half price sale - then I spotted a space hopper - perfect! I could half fill it and it would be a bouncy cushion - perfect! 

I left it flat and lay my fabrics down to draw a rough line around it so I knew where to stitch...

You isn't the clearest picture - but there it is! I stitched it in a circle, left a gap to shove the space hopper inside, did so and left it so that the handles poked out as feeler thingies. (what are those called?!) then poked a foot pump tube inside and pumped it half full, and poked in the plug - then hand stitched the gap closed (I considered velcro - but the one in the cafe had velcro and Jellybean pulled it open and shoved a dozen toy cars inside - that would happen daily so I decided I'd rather hand wash it than have to DAILY empty things out!)

Then I presented it to Jellybean, and he was over the moon - magical! 

He and Midget Gem are very attached to their ladybird - it's not the best copy I could have made, but it does what I wanted it to and the boys adore it - it's a great thing to plop Jellybean onto for story time, it's a great item to prop up Midget Gem on his front for looking around and tummy time.

All in all, great success! Phew! (though if anyone can tell me where the one in the cafe may have come from, I'll be very pleased to know!)  

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Eeeeeeeeeep Mamas and Papas!

Today Mommatwo and her clan (of two...) are VERY excited. 

I was contacted by the lovely people behind the new Mamas and Papas pushchair range and asked if I would like to review one of their new range - the Mylo; hmm, let me think about that for all of a nano second...yes! Yes please, with sprinkles! 

This is the pushchair I'm being sent - the Mylo in 'Welly and Lime Jelly' (yes, the name is partly what swung that colour choice!) it looks really exciting - I'm very much looking forward to reviewing it; it's competing with my P&T double so it's got stiff competition! If you like the look of it you can find it on the Mamas and Papas website here in all the different colour options.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Where's my baby?!

In April 2009 I had a baby. A gorgeous, tiny (well, huge) hairy, benevolent baby who blew my mind, changed my life, cemented the love my husband and I felt for one another and turned me from a person into a Mummy, turned us from a couple into a family. It was an incredible moment and though each and every day brought a new achievement for my baby, now known as Biggun or Jellybean, it also saw me second by second watching my tiny (huge) baby grow into his own person, entirely separate from that being that had grown and moved and lived inside me.

Now he is a cheeky, clever, hilarious and delightful little man with strong opinions, a big personality and a streak of mischief a mile wide. He isn't at all what I expected and he's so much more and better than I ever dreamed. He makes me want to be a better person so that I live up to the person he sees me to be. 

I'm so, so proud of him - watching him learn new things daily swells my heart but also breaks it - where did my baby go? 

On Valentines day this year, three weeks before he was ready, another (huge) tiny baby was hauled from my abdomen and gave me a new, second chance to hold and stare at and adore a tiny baby we'd created. Nothing can describe, or top, that feeling. Anyone who has ever had a baby will know it - and know that you can't share how that feels, not even with another parent because although you know that everyone MUST, you can't understand that anyone else can *really* feel this as strongly as you do for your child. 

Every worry I'd ever had was erased when I saw them for the first time. Then in flooded a billion new worries! 

Still - as Jellybean had grown, continued to grow, turned two, learned to speak in sentences and tell jokes, learned imaginary play, learned to count to he grew bigger and cleverer and braver and more hilarious each day, I held my baby - I saw him grow and wished I could pause them both, wished I could keep him a tiny baby for longer than the first had been; this new baby - Littleun, or Midget Gem - is the last baby and I wished there was a way to keep them exactly as they were - freeze that moment for long enough to really drink it in. 

Of course, it didn't happen. Of course they both continue to grow. As each day passes I'm prouder, I love them MORE - I can't believe it's even possible, I can't believe there's the capability to feel more for them - but equally the ache grows, the memory of those tiny people fades, my knowledge of them changes, they change, I change. 

This week my Midget Gem, getting very close to the magical six months of age, had his first taste of food. I popped a tiny little bit of my banana into his mouth. He liked it - he chomped, dribbled, grinned, "mamamamama'd" at me and reached for it, lunged in fact; he held a chunk and chomped on it; we mashed some in a bowl and he ate it like a goodun - eating Mummy? Heck yes! 

We'd decided to go with baby led weaning - I'm still feeding him myself, will continue to do so as long as he wants it really, food is a bit of a novelty to him to explore - and he's more than up for the challenge! He likes banana. ("is DUH-nana Mummy!" shouts Jellybean) He doesn't like apricot. He likes bread. He likes sun-dried tomato and basil foccacia (!). He likes mashed up egg. Tomorrow he will try steamed veg. 

This evening, after his bath, Jellybean was playing with his tractors and telling me a story ("I am driving, tractor inna big tractor house, I'm a driving a trailor, duck, chicken, cow, giraffe, ippopottamoose onna trailer, I race Daddy - I WINNER!") and Midget Gem was drifting nicely off to sleep beside him; his eyes popped open, he looked at me, made eye contact, squeeked, grunted and tensed; you guessed it - MASSIVE poo. Big trumpy poo. Big, trumpy, messy poo. Hurrah for cloth nappies is all I can say - no disposable could have taken the force of that poo! The look of joy and relief on his face afterwards was something I wish I'd had chance to photograph - though I resisted photographing the poo itself; no longer is it the actually-rather-nice-smelling breastmilk poo we're used too; this was food poo. This was his first ever food poo. This had those awful and surprising black thread streaks only a banana-eating-baby poo can have. This smelt of poo. 

This was littlest baby's first food poo. The first of ALL THE POOS from now on. 

This might seem like a strange thing to focus on - it's a poo - poo is gross, who needs to think so much about poo?! 

The thing is - it's not the poo. It's what it symbolises. That poo is because my tiny baby isn't my tiny baby any more - he's a food eating, chattering, almost-sitting-up, rolling over little person. I look at him, then at his big brother, and remember HIM being this tiny, almost-sitting-up, rolling over little person. I remember like it was yesterday. Like it was a lifetime ago. Any minute now he'll be at school. Any minute now Midget Gem will be that chattering, story telling toddler lying on the rug playing with a tractor. 

I miss my babies. I miss them, but I'm so,  so proud of the people they are.

A round up

I've been pretty quiet on my blog for the last few weeks because I've had a big project on the go - I, with the help of some truly excellent people, put together an online Men's Lifestyle magazine which you can find at - it's kept me very busy but since it went up I've taken a couple of days off and indulged in some extra outside time.

I make a point of going outside with the kids every day, even when it's raining, because we live in a first floor flat and if it were down to me I'd never leave - I'd order asda deliveries and hibernate in my safe little bubble. That's not great for the chiddlers though so I make sure we go outside - sometimes it's just a walk to the shop, more usually half an our or more in the park around the corner with a ball/frisbie/water pistol. On Friday we just weren't in - we went to the park, then fed the ducks - which Biggun thinks is just hilarious - went to an actual cafe for actual lunch (check us out living the high life!) then treated ourselves to a new toy and book (thank  you 99p shop!) fed the ducks AGAIN, spotted some boats (which isn't hard, living right beside the harbour) and raced some bigger boys in the park on our way back home. 

The evening was a bit of a struggle for a VERY tired toddler - I love how such simple things, just being outside and seeing some nature and getting some fresh, seaside air, makes him so happy but tired toddlers are hard work, aren't they! Early nights all round! 

Saturday was even better - Daddy wasn't at work so we got to do a similar day with Daddy to share it with. More park, more nature walk, more picking and scoffing fistfulls of fresh blackberries, more ducks, more boats - I love where we live, so much excitement just outside the door without it having to cost us anything. 

Today we've been getting things packed up (making home made soup, bread and egg sandwiches) to take a picnic to the Sea Life Centre - we have local passes meaning that we collected the vouchers and paid a small membership fee for the year and can get in for free - so we go most weekends, actually. Big LOVES running around in the water park area and the rides - he doesn't really get the point of looking at the fish! 

I know this all sounds pretty normal, if you have kids, you play outside and go places - but though we've been getting our bit of fresh air every day I've not been able to spend an ENTIRE DAY doing it for a couple of weeks, and I missed it. I love my work and I love how it's turned out - very much - but working has made me appreciate the time I don't have to all the more. Weekends aren't for work - weekends are for family; on that note, I'm off - there's a water slide with my name on it!