Featured

Ice Ice MILK Baby!

Get yourself down to Pamphill Farm shop and visit the milk vending machine. It’s tastes amazing AND you will feel good by reducing your plastic waste! WIN WIN

ladies cows

Today Freddie and I took a drive to Pamphill, Wimborne after a friend of mine mentioned yesterday that there is a milk vending machine there, and not just any old milk….cold, fresh and free range milk. I was intrigued. A milk drive through… Perfect! The little man is moving onto cows’ milk and what better possible introduction than with milk from local cows (that we can actually see in the field) and from a traditional family farm in the heart of Dorset.

The milk is produced in the Allen Valley surrounding Wimborne and Pamphill and the farm is based on the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy estate. The free ranging Friesian herd graze on lush pastures surrounding the farm for as many months of the year as possible and all calves are reared by the family themselves as well as feed for the cattle being grown on the farm too.

What made today even better, not just the fact that the milk tasted AMAZING but the fact that when we arrived the farmer himself was there too! So we had a first hand demonstration on how to use the machine and it was easy peasy!

  1. Make sure you have at least two pound coins with you as the machine only takes pound coins.
  2. Put the first £1 into the slot on the left. Press the button above and the bottle will be dispensed with lid attached. Do not despair though,there are extra lids available in a tub on the top of the machine.
  3. Open the door and place the bottle at a slight angle underneath the dispenser
  4. Put in your pound coin on the right and then press the start button and watch the creamiest milk ever flow into your bottle.
  5. The machine will automatically stop when bottle is full.

And that is it!

The vending machine is open 24 hours a day so there is no excuse to ever run out of milk plus with reusable glass bottles available from the vending machine as well, you will always be able to take your milk home.

This is a great way to avoid using plastic and to really help the environment plus great to know we are helping the community too.

Allen Valley Milk is certainly a hit in our household and I am sure I am not the only one!

signature

mmmmooo

Featured

C A M P B E S T I V A L

An insight into festival life this summer, with a baby in tow ….

It’s been a week back from the fun fest…..

Some thought us mad taking our 11 month old son with us to a festival, others thought us brave, some gave us an impressed nod and others thought we were totally crazy but my husband and I had never been to a festival… so when your mate says let’s meet at Camp Bestival 2018, I’m working and can sort you some tickets…. and then someone else says they have craft work for you and want you to help out with am exclusive private breakfast gathering, We were hardly going to say no to the hottest family festival around!!!

The theme this year at Camp Bestival was “Set Sail” and I couldn’t wait to get involved! Dress up is something I love to do, stemming from my love of theatre and I couldn’t wait to plan my outfits! I thought I’d down well with my look but my goodness were there some fabulous sights! People really went to town and I figured as long as you have something to give a little nod to the theme you’ll blend right in! I was of course anticipating lots of glitter and sparkle but I’ve never seen so many face gems and sparkly make up. It was like a glitter confetti gun exploded and everyone was like “shoot me, shoot me!”

Obviously being a festival organised by the very talented Rob Da Bank, I was expecting some great music but the line up was truly fantastic. There was such an eclectic mix of new/ fab music reverberating with crystal clarity around the Lulworth Estate as well as the awesome headliners, Rick Astly, Clean Bandit and some genuine favourites; The Cuban Brothers who bizarrely I remember gigged at Goldsmiths’ Club Sandwich! We picnicked on Friday afternoon right by the main stage and were treated to artists Dodi and Rae Morris. Both beautiful singer song writers with stunning voices, not out of place on your Spotify playlists and for a while we revelled in the joys of listening to live music al fresco and it was bliss. There was so much to see and do with such a variety of genres and activities you could never get through all of it in a weekend. But that’s the beauty… you’ll always leave wanting more.

The food options were also amazing and at times it was hard to decide which stall to go to. There was everything from Pad Thai, organic burgers, fresh oysters, burritos, vegan establishments, sushi, and Ghanaian cuisine to name only a few. A serious feast fest known as the Feast Collective and perfect when you all fancy different things for lunch/dinner. We enjoyed the thumping tunes from DJ BBQ and his 21 hour smoked pulled pork but perhaps not the place to head towards if you are vegan.

Camp Bestival really was a feast for the senses and the most exciting, enthralling, magical, enchanting, dazzling, intoxicating weekend ever that tired us out (in a good way) and meant we all slept for 10+ hours after we made a swift escape before the storm hit and the rest of the festival was cancelled.

It was also the first time we have ever camped with a baby and we definitely learnt a few things this weekend when it comes to packing and being festival virgins! Can you ever really be prepared for camping in 40mph winds with an 11 month old?

Here are our top 10 tips for camping at a festival with a babe in arms:

1️⃣ 🎒PACK LIGHT – you most definitely won’t need everything you have packed and I know this because I packed for every possible eventuality. I can’t help it now I am a mama – it’s like I’m in competition with myself to be ready for anything. However when your pitch is 4 fields away from your car and your poor husband is doing shuttle runs with 5 times his body weight and he says to you “I’ve only bought the essentials some things I’ve left”, you nod (pray he has bought the pillows) and realise that you can survive with the bare minimum.

2️⃣ BUT BE PREPARED – still make sure you have your rain mac, sunnies, suncream and boots to hand because you just never know when the weather will change.

3️⃣ 🏡HOME COMFORTS – dummies, familiar foods, toys, books, blankets it’s amazing how little ones relate to things they recognise especially if you are sleeping in a tent for the first time. We took our travel cot with the hope Freddie would sleep easy.

4️⃣ 💰CASH – sometimes it’s just good to have some on you especially when to rent a trolley you might need a large deposit.

5️⃣ 👶🏼🍼 BABY GEAR – you need to keep Baby warm at night so don’t forget the warm sleeping bag. Sleep suits and vests are great to layer up and it’s worth packing an extra blanket. Ear defenders are also a must for little ears to protect them from the loud sounds of a music festival! Don’t forget the dummy and ready made milk and I packed pouch food to make it simple.

6️⃣ 📆 PLANNING vs SPONTANEITY – we didn’t plan to see a particular artist, or event this year as we just wanted to get a feel for what a festival is like so we wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds. Next time though we think we might read through the programme in more detail and make a mini plan of the things we’d like to see/ do/ visit etc. We were lucky enough to see some great stuff though just by wandering aimlessly around and that, I guess, is the beauty of a festival!

7️⃣ 📝 ESSENTIAL ITEMS:

* Trolley – to cart everything including your child/ children (lots of families have them and decorate them too! Not sure how great they would be in mud though.

* Torch -you will need one. We took head torches as easy to carry and I like to be hands free but we also found our tent lantern really useful for those midnight nappy changes.

* Bin liners – for everything – keeps the tent organised, everything cleared away and when you leave you’ll feel good for having kept Britain tidy!

* Bucket – I hate to admit it but sometimes when you have to go you have got to go and the toilets are just too far away and when there are people all around……only a bucket and a bag will do!

* Toilet roll – for in the campsite but also during the day at the festival when the toilets have usually run out of toilet roll.

* Rucksack – to carry all essential items for the day without having to head back to the tent.

8️⃣ 🦄 FANCY DRESS – there is no hiding from it I’m afraid and anything goes, So my advice is embrace it and immersed yourself in the glitterati! Don’t forget a mirror so you can actually see where you are putting the gems and remember the face wipes if you like to sleep fresh – although part of the festi vibe is to rock that glitter for as long as possible! Each year there is a theme too so make sure you keep up to date and I like to do a few searches on the internet to get a little inspo!

9️⃣ 💧WATER – I’d suggest to take your own water bottle that you can fill up on site but also bring a couple of bottles of water to keep on the tent. You never know when you might have to wash or warm some milk. Plus remember to drink lots – festivals are very thirsty work as you do not want a dehydration head ache!

🔟 💤 NAP – key. We were not really there long enough but it would be my top tip. Give yourself and your little ones time to nap and recharge before heading back out into the craziness… we headed back to the tent for tea around 4/30ish to keep a little routine with babe but find what works for your family.

I hope this proves it can be done and gives you confidence. It was an adventure but one we won’t forget!

Featured

A Positive Birth Story

A positive birth story full of truth, drama and magic.

 

IMG_1792

It was my first pregnancy and I was too scared to plan a home birth for my first one. I didn’t know what to expect and it being my first time I was frightened. I’m not a lover of hospitals and so we opted for a middle ground and booked us into the midwife led birthing Centre. I felt happy I could use the birthing pool as I had always envisaged a water birth and having looked around it felt like a home away from home.

2017, it was a hot August and I felt huge, could barely see my toes and  I had been working right up until 38 weeks as a primary school teacher and I was tired, slow and ready for baby. Despite the uncomfortableness I felt awash with love and excitement about meeting this little babe that I had grown inside me for 9 months and I like to think I was “glowing”.  I had the most amazing class of children and I felt so lucky that I could share my pregnancy with them as they watched me grow; to see how my body changed, stretched and nurtured this precious being inside me. It was such a treat for them to witness nature and new life first hand.

IMG_2108

 

On the morning of 11th August I thought my waters had broken. I couldn’t be sure as it was not a huge amount of fluid, so we went to the birthing centre, just incase,  to be checked over. Nothing was conclusive but I was told,  if I didn’t go into labour that night then I would need to contact the hospital to check my waters and to ensure the baby was ok. Change of plan number 1. I was not allowed to go to the irthing centre anymore as if my waters had broken there could have been risk of infection. This was the first metal test to now being to visualise myself in hospital.  The next morning we went for a walk to see if that would get things moving. Broadwater Warren was laced with purple heather and it was beautiful, Tom and I discussed baby names, took in the views and enjoyed our few hours of being ‘just us’, before I got far too sweaty and could barely walk another few steps without waddling!

IMG_2460
The morning of Freddie’s birth

We went to the hospital that afternoon and baby was monitored, my waters had definitely broken and so we were given until the following morning to go into labour. Change of plan number 2.  I would not be allowed a water birth now, as my waters had broken. All fine with baby and the midwives said that if baby didn’t come that night then we were going to be booked in for an induction the next day.  Change of plan number 3. If I’m totally honest I didn’t want to go for an induction. I had had a near perfect pregnancy, very organic and natural and I just didn’t want to be in hospital. Next test I faced was to really begin to imagine me being in hospital and getting my head around that with the used of labour inducing hormones.

But… that night on the way home we stopped off for pizza. On the way back home I did feel a couple of twinges but nothing serious. It felt a little like a period pain but nothing to rave about but we did get a little excited. We ate,  I bounced on the ball, we played cards and called my mom to let her know what the plan was for the morning. I would call first thing when I knew the time I was given for an induction so she had enough time to get over from France on the shuttle.  I reread my affirmations and focussed on my breathing and we decided to download an app to monitor contractions. According to the app, things were ramping up fast and we were instructed to pack the hospital bag and get the car seat ready. We laughed it off.  I went to have a bath with a couple of drops of clary sage and Tom made me a cup of tea. We carried on playing cards but I felt the contractions getting stronger and so went upstairs again but can’t remember what for.

bath(1).JPG

From that point on it gets pretty hazy. I threw myself onto the pillows on the bed  (I think because it meant I was in the dark) and breathed through the contractions whilst simultaneously trying to use the app! Tom rang the midwives who told me to take paracetamol… I told Tom very  clearly and probably quite aggressively that I did not want paracetamol…. I may have even screamed it! I took the paracetamol.

I faintly remember Tom telling me he was packing up the car and it between the next contraction I was to make my way downstairs. I did as I was told but as I made it to the bottom step I knew the baby was coming as I could feel him between my legs….at that point I was wrestling with fear and trying to remember all the skills and techniques I had been through on my hypnobirthing course.

Tom tells me he had 2 phones on the go, one to the midvives and the other on the line to 999. He was washing his hands and getting the towels. My hero.

Change of plan number 4 – a home delivery.

I remember being scared because I didn’t know “how to be”, which pose to be in, on my all fours or standing up. This was for me the hardest thing. I tried to listen to my body but we were on our own and the baby was coming so it felt frightening but as soon as someone arrived I remember feeling better; someone to take control of the situation. I was debating having gas and air at one stage until Tom said yes I should definitely use it. Crazy I know, but I didn’t feel like I was in pain. To me, the sensation felt like the biggest ball of energy circling in my pelvis. I carried on breathing and needed total silence to focus on each surge. so much for the calming music and fairy lights I had prepared!

It is hard to recall the timings of that evening but I do remember how it felt. The room was filled with 7 strangers ( 2 ambulance crews and a midwife, who arrived 10 minutes before our boy was born) and in our living room, a shooting star – my beautiful baby boy was born safely and with control under a Perseid meteor shower at 00:31 on 13th August 2017.

img_2478
My Hero

So despite not going to plan, I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

IMG_2477
Team photo in the front room with the worst lighting EVER!

 

We both went to hospital to be checked over and to have a little TLC down below (with proper lighting!) and my mom was there waiting at home to welcome us and basically look after us for the next week! (see ‘The Day I became a mother…” blog post)

I hope by sharing this honest account of my labour, it will give you the confidence and strength to know that you can do it and that your body knows exactly what to do, as does your baby in this amazing miracle we call child birth. It is sheer magic and Mother Nature’s greatest work so don’t fear it  –  we were made for this!

IMG_2562

MY BIRTHING TOP TIPS

AFFIRMATIONS– tell yourself daily in the mirror how much you respect your body, how much you trust it and visualise how this baby is going to come into the world.

REST –  listen to your body and take the time you need to save up all your energy.

DRINK –  lots of water – it is the best medicine there is!

READ  -I found reading really gave me lots of knowledge and in turn power. Obviously not everything will match your beliefs or your philosophy but it really gave me confidence knowing that others had been through the same and had experience.

My best reads were:

How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out by Clemmie Hooper

Why love matters:  How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain by Sue Gerhardt

What to expect when you are expecting by Heidi Murkoff (more of a dip in and out)

BREATHE – practice practice practice. If you already practise yoga then you will know just how important the breath is to your bodies movement and your mind’s clarity. It served me so well and I would encourage all pregnant ladies to try and master their own breath and see the benefits and how it can empower you when you need it most.

Sending you all so much love and courage

signature

 

It’s worth every second!

Featured

Cows go Moooooooooooo

When the farmer opens his gates to the public, grab the bull by the horns!

Open farm Sunday is a special day in the countryside calendar when farmers open their gates and let the public in! LEAF Open Farm Sunday began in 2006 and since then over 1600 farmers across the UK have flung open their gates and welcomed 2 million people onto their farms.

It is a brilliant opportunity for everyone, young or old to discover what it means to be a farmer, at first hand and to witness the fabulous work they do across the country, producing our food, caring for livestock and enhancing the countryside with all the goods and services our farmers provide.

curly sheep

Each farm will offer something different and will be based around the farm’s individual story of how they are where they are today. Activities might include a nature walk, tractor ride, demonstrations, local crafts, mini farmers market and plenty of activities for the children.

farmThis was my first year attending. Tom was working so I decided to take Freddie. His great uncle is a farmer so it’s basically in his blood…. so off we went to visit Knife Hill Farm in Winterborne Stickland. What a treat it was. Freddie loves the tractor ride, as did I! There was even a tractor simulator on site, as well as animal petting, milking demonstrations, farming machinery on display and a trusty tractor ride that was a definite highlight for the visitors. There was space for picnics and even though it felt stormy, the rain held off. It felt like a true privilege to be able to explore the farm and hear all about how they farm organically in the heart of Dorset. The farm workers were extremely passionate about their work and it was great for the children to see what happens at Knife Hill Farm, home to 400 cows who graze the grass and clover leys around the dairy. You could even sample the types of products that contain the milk produced by the farms cows. I kept thinking how great it was for the children to be able to see the journey of the milk and begin to understand a bit more about how the milk makes the transition from something that cows produce to products on the supermarket shelves.

Open Farm Sunday runs each year so keep your eyes open in 2019 to find a great farm near you opening it’s barn doors!

signature

tractor ride
“Cows go MOOOOOOOOOOO!”
Featured

Wood fair fun!

An enchanting country fair exposing a creative and skillful country life.

Sunday 20th May, a beautiful day to be out and about in the countryside and attending my first wood fair up at the Living Classroom where we go to Bush Babies. It was put on by the Dorset Coppice Group who are working hard to promote their love of the woodland, share their skills and passions as well as their services. The Coppice group’s aims are:

  • to promote the coppice industry and its products to the public
  •  provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information between members
  •  form a bridge between coppice workers, landowners and other relevant agencies
  •  provide an educational resource for schools and other groups to encourage outdoor learning in The Living Classroom 

And they also provide courses throughout the year for anyone who is interested in learning a new skill, working with wood or who would like to know more about the preservation of craftsmanship.

We arrived early and wandered around the lovely stalls of handmade wooden crafts; from toadstools, bowls, walking sticks, coat hooks and even magic wands made from wood that had been constricted by wild honeysuckle. I certainly learnt a few tricks or two. There were birds of prey perched in the shade and a beautiful working horse demonstrating his use for coppicing. What a treat.

 

 

My highlight though was being front row watching a sparring competition and as a new member of the country community it felt like an initiation! I had no idea what a spar even was before I sat down. But that was all about to change ….

The thatchers taking part in the competition take 28 inch long straight hazel sticks, known as gads which have been cut from the coppice at Bonsley Wood, during the winter time when the sap is low. This allows them to be strong enough to use on the ridging (the top part of the roof to you and I). To make the spar each gad is riven in half by splitting the wood in-between any knots, split down the middle following the natural grain of the wood. They can be split multiple times (fours, sixes, eights) and usually the more times it can be split the more skilled the spar maker. The points at each end are then created using an exceptionally sharp spar hook.

They are then bundled up with a colour tie and can be sold by the thousands to working thatchers.

The thatcher uses spars by double twisting them to form a U shaped peg as Rod Miller described for me “like a hair pin with a smooth edging which will allow the water to roll of it on the roof.” They have to be skilfully twisted, not just bent in half in order to work effectively.

The competition was to see how many spars the thatchers could make in 15 minutes. It was tense. Blazing sunshine in the middle of the day was probably not the best environment for the thatchers but they stepped up to the challenge and stayed professional to the end, each perched on their stool or chair with hooks, thigh pads at the ready. Many different techniques were used to split the hazel, each competitor using their own long standing knowledge of how to work the hazel and their tools.

The winner was Rod Miller, founder of R.V Miller Ltd who very kindly shared his knowledge with me to enable me to write this post. He is Dorset thatcher and member of the National Society of Master Thatchers. His business celebrated 50 years in 2016 and it seemed to me what he doesn’t know about thatching, you don’t need to know!

It felt like such a privilege to be witnessing first-hand something I was so ignorant about. To learn from experts and locals who had travelled from all around to be apart of this local woodland fair was a joy and an absolute pleasure. It has certainly made me want to look more closely at thatched roof houses.

To be apart of something where skilled craftsmen are demonstrating and sharing their love for their livelihoods with the local people is fantastic. We need these trades to preserve our history so the more we know, the more we can hope to understand and try to make a difference. Weirdly, a part of me wants to make my own spar and I have kept one that Rod twisted for me as a momento! I’ve been inspired!

signature

wood fair 2018

 

 

Featured

Nourishment from within

Food – we are spoilt for choice but do we make the right choices?

Food. It can sometimes can be the last thing on your mind post baby and sometimes anything will do for a quick energy boost. I found I went through stages…

Firstly, I remember losing my appetite completely after Baby was born and my mum just handing me egg sandwiches as I fed him, telling me to eat. Let’s just say I was not having a very balanced diet at the beginning of motherhood. I ate what was available and convenient usually toast, chocolate, or cake. I did drink lots of fluids though, but sometimes the water was laced with a lot of Ribena! The sweet syrup that kept me functioning.

Then I got into the rhythm of breastfeeding, a few months in and I drank lots of water. Tick. I had to have a snack every time I sat down with Baby which is surprisingly often….Again I’d have toast and peanut butter or jam and sometimes Nutella (I ate a lot of bread). Other times it was biscuits or chocolate. Mainly biscuits or things I could easily access with one hand!

 

I wasn’t focusing on my body at all- nor did I care if my tummy was a little squishy and my boobs had increased dramatically. I was a new mama and my brain was (and still is) hard wired to look after the little one and I was clearly burning calories like a long distance runner. I walked daily, regularly breastfed and my mind was constantly working overtime running through a million worries every hour.

Then, when I was more settled and got into my groove of being a mama. I grew in confidence to leave the house. I had a packed diary, scattered with baby classes, mummy meet ups, tea and cake with colleagues and I even went to a BYO baby to a comedy show! Every time I left the house I was always up for tea and cake, coffee, biscuits and regularly stopped off to buy more contraband to ensure we were never out of stock back at the ranch! It was like a compulsion, I just had to have something to snack on in the house. I was still breastfeeding though and I truly didn’t care that I might have been piling on the pounds. My amazing body had, for 9 months, been harbouring a little human and it protected, nurtured and provided for him for all that time and it was still doing all that magic now with the added extra of actually making milk and providing all the nutrients he could need. I was in total awe of it. My body changed so perfectly and I loved it….. except I wasn’t treating it with such kindness from the inside.

Which brings me to now… I’m no longer breastfeeding, and my little man is eating me out of house and home (already a typical boy) which means my focus is about ensuring he is getting the best diet possible. I’m still down the pecking order during the day. Not healthy or smart when you need to be on top form as a mama. I do have a healthy meal for dinner with my husband each night but I guess I’ve just lost sight of looking after me and caring for my body as well as my baby’s.

It’s probably fair to say that at some point in our lives we do care about how we look and feel about our bodies and I’ll always remember what my my mother said to me one day when I made a comment about my body shape. She said  “as a woman your body will always been changing. That’s what’s makes women special” and she is so right. I carried this wisdom with me all through my teens, twenties and it’s still true now in my thirties and after growing a baby. I am accepting of my body and much more aware of how it works and have a great respect for it. With the magic of the moon and lunar tides, women’s bodies are continually changing monthly and although I’ve had a baby, I’m still me and I’m proud to have this body. It’s made love, life and birthed a baby and I LOVE it!

So, with all that in mind, I’m choosing to care more and nourish my body from within. Think of it as a form of self- love.

I’m not going crazy, nor is this a strict diet but it’s about being more aware of what I’m consuming and eating the right foods to give me energy and live more healthily. I’ve cut out the unnecessary carbs like bread and cake, thought more about a Paleo diet and ensured I’ve not got the bad stuff actually in the house. I’m tying to go for a jog once a week as well as continuing my yoga practice at home and in class. Plus, I still walk daily with the little one for my well-being.Honestly, time spent outdoors is the greatest therapy.

forest.jpg

The biggest diet change I’ve made is to ensure that I have breakfast. One that is full of goodness and gives me energy! All through my pregnancy I ate breakfast daily and somewhere along the line it slipped. I would head out the door to a Baby class clutching a biscuit as I headed out the door barely drinking my tea!

So mama, here is to re addressing our diets and to caring for the incredible vessel that is the female form. What amazing bodies we have – let’s take care of them from the inside out and nourish them with good food, love and endorphins and maybe a biscuit every now and again!?

OLD ME

CHANGED ME

img_9051

I already have more energy just from one simple change of habit by having breakfast packed with super foods. This is my chia pudding breakfast with strawberry soy yogurt topped with granola, raspberries and a drizzle of peanut butter – totally delicious!

signature

Featured

What I’d give a new mum

A couple of my friends are expecting soon and due to our individual geography it is not going to be possible to be there in person, so this blog post is for them and for all those of you about to embark on motherhood for the first time.  I just want you to know ladies I am always at the end of a phone / computer / on WhatsApp / Insta message, whatever time of day or night. This is not to burst your gorgeous pregnancy bubble at all, just to expand your thoughts to after the birth.

With May being Mental Health month and this week focusing on  Maternal Mental health, I thought I could share what I would give a new mum.

One day you were you. A sassy, strong female striding pavements, swishy hair, lush clothes and with your s*** together. (This was never me by the way but you get the gist…) Then one day you go into labour and a little time later you have a tiny human who needs you like no one has ever needed you before and you haven’t yet had time to process this. Your body has been incredible but it is so changed and you don’t recognise yourself. There is no time to process this though as your baby is crying for food and you are figuring out how to attach this little bundle of flesh to your boob. Why am I struggling? This is something I thought would just happen. Isn’t it the most natural thing in the world? Ouch it hurts, am I doing it right? What do I do now? How do I know when to feed him? When do I change him? How will I know he is full? When should I put him down? Should I just keep him close? What if he gets cold? How will I know? Does he know who I am? Is this love I’m feeling? Why am I so anxious? Why am I feeling full of worry? Your body is awash with a cocktail concoction of hormones and you suddenly realise life will never be the same again.

days

My gift to you is COURAGE…

COURAGE to realise you won’t know everything at first and you will be learning continuly but it does get easier and you are doing a great job so far.

COURAGE to ask for help when you need it, you will need it and ask for lots! There is no shame in this!

COURAGE to make mistakes and then to be kind to yourself when you make them. We all do and you need to be kind to yourself. Without making mistakes we can’t learn so embrace them. There is a lot of adjusting to do.

COURAGE to accept you will feel differently on different days. Some will be really tough and other days will be dreamy. It’s all part of the ebb and flow.

COURAGE to appreciate that babies have their own agenda and you won’t always be able to tell their cries apart (took me nearly 6 months) they won’t always sleep when you want them too and sometimes they will just be uncomfortable.

COURAGE to trust yourself and your body. You know you and you know your baby plus your baby knows who you are. He/She heard your heartbeat as they grew safe in your womb and you’ve already been getting to know each other for 9 months. Have confidence in Mother Nature, she knows her s***.

COURAGE to believe whatever you are feeling (happy, sad, lonely, overwhelmed, discouraged, scared, excited, overjoyed, delighted, fretful, anxious, calm) will pass and it will be OK.  There were times I cried ALL day and was overwhelmed with a mixture of intense emotions and other days I was a bag of happiness. It can be frightening but embrace it, you have just performed a total miracle and sometimes there are no words to express how we feel.

COURAGE to step outside into the big wide world with the most precious thing you own and get a few breathes of fresh air every day. This is such a good remedy and I walked everyday with Freddie.

COURAGE to say no to visitors if you are feeling overwhelmed but COURAGE to have visitors too to help you and make you a cup of tea! Most will bring cake or biscuits some might even bring a roast chicken!

COURAGE to rest and take time to sleep during the day when baby is napping (20 minutes is better than nothing) and your baby will be fine with his/her dad or other family members. You need to recharge your energy levels and let your body heal.

COURAGE to try different things to help you be the best mum you can be. Dummies, and formula milk are not the devil’s work  – there is a reason why supermarkets have aisles of the stuff!

COURAGE to talk to other mums and be open. Listen to their experiences and share your own. It takes a village. Have the COURAGE to listen to yourself over anyone else and COURAGE to do things differently. Do what works for you.

COURAGE to step out of the room and take a couple of deep breaths. I used to hum as the vibrations helped to calm me (its a yoga trick). 10 long seconds could be all you need to relax those shoulders and gain composure.

COURAGE to love yourself. You are the most important person to your baby so self-care is paramount.

COURAGE to know that you are enough.

“You got this mama!”

You are Queen of your own Kingdom!

signature

 

Featured

The Hospital bag

What you REALLY need to pack …

So, when I was pregnant with Freddie I must have packed my hospital bag about 10 times. It felt like a ritual and a very important one. I was packing a bag for an event that I had never experienced, for a place I’d never been to and packing for a person I’d never met. It was weird and in the end I didn’t even need half the stuff as Baby was born on the living room floor!

But you never truly know the course of your birth so here is a list of things I packed and probably would have found very useful! I’ve also been brutally honest as open.

packing

FOR YOU

  • Those pants! You know the ones I mean… TENA. They will be your best friends right after birth and for a few weeks post baby whilst you heal. Buy more packs than you think you’ll need and trust me its part of giving birth that no one talks about but it’s fine (like a period but different) BUT with everything else going on you just want be prepared and not have to think about an unnecessary leakage.
  • eye mask – for the hospital/birthing centre when you need some zzzzz and it’s the height of sunny summer. Also very very useful when baby is here and you desperately need day time napping but hormones, worry, adrenaline and glaring sunshine prevent that from happening. If you get a silk one that will also add a little extra luxury.
  • comfy comfy floaty leisurewear – to be honest anything that makes you feel cosy is essential to help relax you and gives you a sense of normality!
  • slippers – for those cold toes and protection from the cold floor!
  • moisturiser -face & body kit because we all like our skin to be hydrated, don’t we?
  • face water spritzer – This may seem a little extravagant but I was so hot in August and this was an insant little cool down
  • flannel – they say a warm flannel to your face can calm you – anything is worth a try.
  • book – who knows when you’ll have time to read but you might need a little escapism
  • iPad – for Netflix! This is also an essential tool for when breastfeeding in the depths of night – just make sure you find a good resting place for it or invest in a stand!
  • snacks – I wrote Tom (my husband) a whole list of goodies like nuts/ chocolate/ bananas 🍌
  • a drink  – my beverage of choice was Ribena, full of sweetness and berries and good for a quick sugar/energy rush!
  • A water bottle with a straw – water is the best medicine – easy to sip from and great when breastfeeding and not spilling on Baby
  • lip balm – all that breathing on the gas and air tube thing makes our lips dry.
  • headband/hair tie to keep hair off your face
  • lavender oil is a good relaxer but anything that smells of Home would be good / blanket/ pillow/ pregnancy pillow – comfort is key!
  • phone chargers, phone (obvs) and headphones
  • magazines and music
  • dressing gown (I packed a short one)
  • pjs/ nightie (button down front ones are the best choice made from cotton to keep you cool)
  • comfy knickers – think BIG  – Bridget Jones style super comfy in a size that fits and does not cut in!
  • hairbrush, toothbrush and mascara and concealer just to feel a little more human afterwards. You might want to pack a lovely smelling body wash too and don’t forget the deodorant! Having said that  – looking back I think I just wanted to smell like me at the time to help bond with little one. You don’t know how you’ll feel.
  • nipple cream – I used the Multi-Mam brand and it seems to help but here are a list of others. Personally I am a big fan of the Weleda products so next time I might try that one!
  • Breast Pads – you might not need them and who cares anyway if you hve leaky boobs – it happens but nice to be prepared.
  • clean outfit to wear home – please be comfortable. Your body has done something incredible and it’s needs time to heal. I remember feeling very delicate. I wore my pregnancy leggings and a loose and floaty top with easy access to boobs.

 

FOR BABY

  • 2/3 sleepsuits (onsies)
  • 2/3 vests
  • A small pack of newborn nappies
  • a couple of muslin squares. We used these bibs and I preferred them as they were smaller and very absorbent.
  • A pack of newborn wet wipes (Water Wipes are very good and very gentle – 99.9% water)
  • A hooded baby towel
  • a blanket – one with holes in – they are called Cellular blankets
  • 2 pairs of socks, a pair of scratch mittens (their nails are so sharp and grow really fast)
  • a hat
  • A dummy – I used these but there are other soothers out there so whether you love them or hate them I’d say for your own sanity don’t think of them as the devil!
  • car seat

I know what it’s like  – you want to pack every little outfit you received and all the other lovely things you have bought but your baby will be home before you know it, so try to keep your packing light and only take what you think you and your baby will really need. As you go on the journey you’ll figure out what things you need and you’ll want to have some spare pennies kept aside.

**Top Tip** Pack a separate baby bag for your little one so everything is easy to get hold of and pack your bag with your birth partner so they know where to find everything. It will help when you are desperate for lip balm and you can’t effectively describe what part of the bag it is in it will help!

Ideally you should have your bags packed when you are about 36 weeks but if you are like me you’ll be starting now (even if you are due in August!)edit

And don’t forget your Maternity notes and the camera!

I’d love to know what you packed in your bag or if you have any questions – get in touch onemamskingdom@gmail.com @onemamaskingdom

signature

Featured

Dean’s Court Café & Homestore

A country courtyard café hidden in the heart of Wimborne

I stumbled across this little treasure whilst taking a mini detour around the lovely market town of Wimborne after Freddie and I went to a Baby Sensory class.  It was a little sensory overload for the little man after a fretful night of teething and then being bombarded with sights and sounds loud enough to be heard in the surrounding villages, not to mention all the other babies! So whilst trying to settle my wee babe and wandering the winding streets, I saw a beautiful sign pointing me in the direction of Deans Court, a little path leading off the main road and couldn’t resist.

Deans Court itself is a very elegant and glorious historic house set within ancient gardens with a wealth of history and stature, but in an old converted garage is the gorgeous cafe, nestled within a beautiful courtyard (it is covered in large stone gravel so be prepared for a bumpy ride with the buggy) complete with a vintage home store in the adjacent 1930’s squash Court.  The shop sells a large selection of vintage and contemporary lifestyle products sourced from all over the world and is worth a peak before or after-lunch! Perfectly placed plants add the finishing touch to the setting for a picturesque alfresco dining experience this spring/summer. You could be fooled into thinking you were in the south of France with the nod to vintage home-ware in every corner both inside and out.

Each morning the Café receives fresh home-grown produce from Deans Court kitchen gardens and serves a selection of healthy, wholesome and delicious food. There is also a large selection of teas, coffees and fruit juices.

 

cake 2 (2)

Inside, there is a lovely atmosphere. The interior is an eclectic mix of old and new with a  country kitchen mixed with Parisien Chic style. Mis-matched chairs and tables fill the space, each table is adorned with beautiful flowers and fairy lights add to the enchanting charm. A true gem of a find. The ladies serving were delightful, wonderfully chatting and Freddie seemed to be charming them a treat!

deans court

 

There was no problem bringing in Freddie and the pram, there are no highchairs but that might be a consideration in the future and there was no problem providing hot water to help me warm up Freddie’s food. The best part was that the lovely ladies even complimented me on my yoga dungarees that I was wearing and even discussed the possibility of a new uniform! Who would have thought that my @satyayogawear might be considered work wear!

The cafe is open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm (cafe closes at 4pm)

Enquiries & Booking: 01202 639249

More information can be found here on the website and Deans Court garden will be open for the National Garden Scheme with teas coffees and lunch available at the Café.

Monday, 21st May & 19th June | 11:00 – 17:00
Adults £4; Concessions £3
Well-behaved dogs on leads welcome

 

signature

Featured

Our Kingdom

Our own kingdoms

laptop

Just a quick hello…

My first blog post!  It has only taken me 6 months…despite wanting to start pretty much weeks after my baby boy was born. I had this overwhelming urge to write how I was feeling at the time as a new mother and desperately wanted to be connected with others like me but couldn’t quite find the time or energy to do it or, to be honest, know how on earth to start

I thought I’d start by sharing my adventures and stories as I embrace my new role as a mother as I navigate this journey into motherhood.  Whether it be a walk, a talk, a mum & baby class, a day out or a day at home or just an observation, I hope it helps other mums to know they are enough and are doing a brilliant job however hard it may feel at times.  I’m no expert and  most certainly learning as I go but if like me, you are a mum becoming Queen of her own Kingdom please get in touch and let’s share the journey together. They say “it takes a village” and I am hoping this blog helps shape yours.

This is our Kingdom.

@onemamaskingdom

signature

 

Going Wild

Going wild – a 30 day journey of discovery in the Dorset countryside with mama and baby

The month of June, when summer finally arrives and the countryside is a buzz with nature and the weather entices you outside on a daily basis so what better way than to spend your days outdoors appreciating the beauty of Mother Nature and really enjoying what she has to offer. Having spotted something online about the #30dayswild campaign hosted by The wildlife trusts across the UK, I thought it would be fun to challenge myself and see what I could find and do that involved nature and being outside. It’s hard sometimes to find the motivation to get about and do things especially when you’ve just landed on planet Motherhood but I can not express how therapeutic being outside with your baby is. Not only will you feel great your little one will be encapsulated by nature and experiencing his/her new world first hand with you!

30 days sounds like a long time but it went so quickly and it was amazing some of the things we got up to. Being accountable on social media has its plus points for sure. Mainly it was a chance to really stop and look around and to really see what nature there was right outside our front door, but during the month I realised how much it did for my wellbeing and no doubt little Freddie’s too. He’s always been a lover of the outdoors right from the start when we would go walking everyday and watch the changing of seasons but now, to be able to share in the delights of his surroundings is a real joy. As he is grows, he can now notice the movement of the butterflies cruising from bud to bud and hear the bees buzzing. He loves to watch the trees move in the wind and looks up to see the clouds. I’ve found myself wanting to learn more about what we’ve seen in the hope when he is old enough to ask me “mama, what’s that?” I’ll be able to respond confidently and be able to teach him about the wildlife around us. We’ll see though….

I hope my posts on Instagram might have inspired some of you mamas out there to step outside with your seedlings and share with them the beauty that is all around us, both in cities and in the countryside. I know I’ll be taking part again even if it’s just to nourish the soul. You can find more of my wildlife posts @MrsStrongman. Children remember their experiences, we all love to make memories and so this family is staying wild!