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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

 

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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!

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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

 

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Cracking Crafts for Kids

Keep the little ones Eggcited with some arty activities this Easter

Be an EGG-stra good EGG and keep your little chicks EGG-stremly busy with these CRACKING crafts:

  1. Cute finger stamping card making   –  this is a relatively stress free choice of activity as it only involves fingers, thumbs,  a stamp pad ( ideally pink and yellow) and card. Check out Sarah’s how to guide for something EGG-specially good!
  2. Pom Pom Easter egg pictures – are a great way to keep painting less messy and are super for little hands who are just mastering their fine motor skills. Once it is completed you can hang them up and make your own Easter bunting. All you need is : a paper plate, pompoms, clothes pegs and paper. I would also recommend an Easter egg template you can prep for your children too. The older ones might like to use cotton buds instead to make a more intricate design.
  3. Baking Mini Egg cookies  – Why wouldn’t you?! I am most definitely going to be trying these over the Easter period. Clare’s mini tots page has a very easy and perfect recipe.

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4. Salt-dough ornaments– are a fantastic make that you can keep bringing out year after year to decorate your home. I personally like to have an Easter tree on display around this time of year and you can even bring them out at Christmas if your tree is looking a little bare!  Suitable for all ages so a win win! All instructions can be found here
Easter Salt Dough Eggs Easter Salt Dough Eggs

5. Washi Tape Easter Eggs  – MESS FREE! YIPPEE!  – Washi tape is THE best invention. A way to add colour to things with zero mess. You don’t even need scissors as the tape can be ripped with fingers! Get your little one to decorate to their hearts content and smile with glee knowing all is easy to clean up! All info can be found here

covering easter eggs with washi tape, colorful easter eggs, washi tape

I hope this gives you a little inspiration this Easter and I would love to see your makes so why not follow me and use the #onemamaskingdom on Instagram and share what you are up to!

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Happy Holidays

For a little less stress this Easter try my EGG-stra useful top tips for travelling…

Last year my husband and I (with 5 month old bump) flew to Texas to visit family and it was the last time we flew without having to think about anyone else. O how times have changed…

We are very lucky to have family in France and Spain and at 7 months old Freddie has already been on an aeroplane to France and Spain twice. On this occasion, just last week,  I even did the trip on my own. It was a little more tricky getting bags into the overhead lockers, carrying baby and bags onto the plane and putting on the baby seat-belt on without my man to help. Going to the toilet was also a challenge, as was getting toys/books etc out of my very organised rucksack, but it can be done. A little quirk you need to know about me is even when I travel on my own, I pack 3 times. The first time I pack is like I vomit up all my favourite holiday clothes on the bed. During the second packing session,  I sort through my clothes thinking about the weather forecast,  colours that blend well and shoes that will probably be inappropriate for a trip k, going on. The final packing stint sees me layout all my narrowed down outfits in concession, ensuring I have enough to wear and then add the toiletries. O how times have changed…now all I think about is the baby and I just hope I have enough knickers to see me through!

I hope this blog helps those families off on holiday with babes this Easter, who like me, like to plan for every eventuality, but hate the burden of carrying lots of bags and just want a zen experience when travelling with children.
My top travel tips

📁Be organised – this is essential if you want to remain smiley,  just at your own smugness if nothing else,  for not having to empty all the contents of your bag out for the dummy. My advice is get a rucksack. I have a Land Bag, which I bought on Amazon and for me it was perfect. The best bit is there are compartments in the bag perfect for baby things such as: nappies, bottles, toys and you can see everything. This is essential for that face to stay smiley!

🙌Go hands-free – when travelling on your own this is a must and also helps when you need to hold little hands. The bum bag is your freidns and you can find some cool ones out there so don’t be out off. You can access the main essentials: keys, money,  phone and passports, car park ticket with the pull of a zip and they will always be close by and accessible even if you have a baby on your hip. The bonus is you can use this on holiday too!

🎒Pack a bag- within a bag. I take a little foldable rucksack because trust me, you won’t want to carry a big nappy bag around on holiday with you. It also gives you permission to take only the bare necessities.

🚃📱📖✏️Take toys and books – when travelling with any children one should always provide entertainment, for some it could be the digital nanny (ipad) for others it might be a good old colouring book and crayons. For littlies I suggest small things to chew and a book to read. but what I found out recently is that my little man loves an old magazine page (quality thick paper) and an empty wet wipe packet – he is mesmerised by the noise. But whatever you decide make is accessible and age appropriate. You will thank me. O and take spares for the nights you might be out….new toys/ activities will give you, at the very least, 30 minutes of quite time.

🍼👶Find Substitutes abroad – I found an amazing website that helps you know what to buy for your babies when you arrive at your destination. It gives you the names of brands you might use at home and tells you the equivalent of what to buy on your hols. By buying abroad it will give you heaps more space in your bags and will stop mamas like me worrying about what to get in the super market when faced with a mix of foreign options. I bought nappies and milk. check out babies abroad

Smuggle your scent – babies like to smell you and smell things from home so make sure you pack his/hers favourite blanket, his cuddle toy and a few other familiar things like his dummy, toys books or anything you think might make him/ her feel secure. Sometimes even a piece of clothing that smells like you could work. It also helps to have an opaque blanket that you can use to block out the horrible strip lighting and subdue the other stimuli on the plane.

Ask for help – there are nice people out there and if you don’t ask sometimes people will assume you are OK. Also,  when travelling as a solo parent, when someones offers to help remember to say yes  – I nearly turned down help on this last trip as I had ,managed all by myself the whole trip from Spain to Bournemouth and could have easily got my bags on my own surely….. but when the lovely customs man came to ask if he could help …he was my hero – getting bags and pushchair off the bag carousel whilst holding a 7 month old is not easy. FACT. Be gracious.

You’ve got this mama!

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Monkey Business

Charlie’s Chimps is a highly energetic, fun and engaging class combining drama, dance and music.

Logo - Charlie's Chimps

When you are new to an area, especially as a new mama, you are on the constant look out for things to do with your little ones to keep busy and to meet other people like you, but it is not always easy to find out exactly what’s on. This was one of the reasons I started my blog. Facebook can be really useful but it is not always the medium of choice for baby groups and as with most good set ups, word of mouth is the best form of advertising around. But if you don’t know anyone these recommendations are hard to come by. So, when I spotted a Charlie’s Chimps flyer, a bright sunshine of sunshine yellow displayed on a bulletin board, it was like a beacon!

I found the website and contacted Megan on Facebook. Megan was super quick to respond and gave me clear information for my taster session. So, the following week off Freddie and I went to our first Charlie’s Chimps session. It certainly did not disappoint.

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 Freddie liked his new friend Leo the Lion

Charlie’s Chimps is a highly energetic, fun and engaging class combining drama, dance and music. The star of the show has to be Charlie the Chimp himself. He is a larger than life puppet; cheeky but full of cheer. He loves cuddles, bubbles and a good ol’ dance in the jungle! The whole session is packed with songs, music and movement and little ones will not be bored! It is a wonderful sensory experience and children get to have hands on experience too by being invited to play instruments, games and even chance to use some very cool themed props as well as singing along to a jungle chorus.

 

Freddie went along when he just turned 6 months, and he wasn’t quite sitting up on his own so it was a little hard for him to appreciate some of the activities but he sat on my lap and enjoyed playing with the instruments (just not in the way they were intended!).

Megan offers a little break in half way through  – perfect for your little monkeys to can catch their breath and have a quick drink – as can mums and dads and then it is off again to meet more jungle characters.

IMG_5786 Freddie meeting mini Charlie

The classes last around 35 minutes to ensure maximum engagement and enjoyment and there is not a moment wasted! The class I went to was held at Blandford URC hall on Whitecliff Mill Street, so really central and an excuse for a coffee afterwards. Please check the website for current classes and times and there are also workshops available.

Megan is vivacious and with a performing and teaching background she is the perfect person to take you on this wonderful fusion journey of drama, dance and music with your little people. So, if you like high energy, music, games and having lots of fun with your little one  – get in touch with Megan and get ready for a jungle adventure and let your babes revel in the limelight.

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