Well hello again! I know it has been a while since I last properly blogged on here, so I thought a little “welcome back” post was needed rather than diving straight into things again.
Also, happy new year! Tad late I know seeing as it’s now February, but better late than never!!
I think it’s safe to say that 2018 was a very unexpected year in many ways, the good and the bad. I still sometimes find it odd to wrap my head around the concept of everything, but needless to say I am in such a better place now. I could’ve carried on trying to blog and produce YouTube videos, but the truth is I just didn’t want to! I wanted to deal with my emotions away from the internet and I didn’t want to force content out of myself for the sake of pleasing others, because it wouldn’t have been genuine.
Taking some time off to myself, with no pressure, focusing on my Maddie girl and doing just things for me has been the best thing for me mentally. I’ve actually been so happy these past couple of months, tried new things, been new places, and felt in control of my life again. Granted there are the odd down days as to be expected, and it’s still surreal adjusting to life as a single mum, I’m finding new challenges almost every day!
I’m pleased I finally feel I can focus on writing and creating again now the dust has settled, after all it’s what I enjoy doing and is my little space for me! I'm very much looking forward to what 2019 has in store for Maddie and I, and I can't wait to share whatever this year and the future holds for us.
Thank you all for sticking around during my absence and your continued support and love for Maddie and I.
Lots of Love, Bethany x
Sometimes the person who smiles the most has the deepest darkest pain. Sometimes the person who supports us the most has their own constant battles. Sometimes the person who appears to never give up is the one who’s constantly thinking about it.
Today is world mental health day, and I have to say I have been blown away by all the incredible support and sharing of stories and experiences being talked about over social media today. What brave and strong people we all are, even if at times we don’t feel it!! One of the hardest parts of mental illness is often talking about it. So the fact that so many of us are talking is an amazing step forward! However, I know that unfortunately there are so many people who still can’t face opening up and talking yet. Which is fine, everyone’s journey and process of dealing with a mental illness is different. I believe in take your time, but don’t take forever. You don’t need to share your pain with the world, but just start with someone. After all, “A problem shared is a problem halved” as they say…
So I’ve decided to share my story. I actually wrote a blog post last year on this but I didn’t feel brave enough to post it, but now, given recent events in my life, my attitude is more along the lines of “fuck it” and I feel I am unstoppable!! So here I am sharing my mental health journey and I’m hoping that it will help others who are maybe going through something similar and show you there IS a life after the dark. It DOES get better.
In my life, there’s 2 types of mental illnesses I’ve faced… the first is a constant, it’s something I’ve always had to deal with, and probably will always have a battle with it. My anxiety. I’ve always struggled with anxiety ever since I can remember. I’d get so worked up over school exams or ballet competitions to the point I’d be sick, uncontrollably shake and struggle breathing. The things that trigger my anxiety are if I get stressed and overwhelmed or if something is out of my control. It just throws me and I can’t always process how to deal with it. I’ve always been pretty organized and a bit of a control freak, so when something or an unexpected situation happens, I get caught up in a panic, my chest goes tight, I struggle breathing and the anxiety takes over. Having recognised I struggle with anxiety back when I was 17, I do feel I can control it better and not let it consume my life so much. Granted it’s always there, and more recently I had a HUGE test coping with it. But I did it. I got through it, and once again I feel stronger for it and know the next time it comes around, I can beat it and control it again.
The second part of my mental illness story is something not many people know, but after 7 years. I finally feel ready to share it with the world. This isn’t/wasn’t a constant problem like my anxiety, but an extremely painful and testing moment in my life that triggered it.
When I was 19, I was in my second year of ballet school, living in London away from home, and I accidently fell pregnant with my boyfriend at the time. Obviously being only 19 and with a growing student loan, I was in no position to be having a baby, I wasn’t in a place I wanted to be to start a family. So I we (my boyfriend and I at the time) decided to go through with an abortion and it honestly completely broke my heart.
One thing I had always known I wanted in my life was to be a mummy. It was my dream to have a family and I knew that at some point in my life I had to have children. I’m just one of those people that’s always been maternal since about age 11 haha! So to find myself in a position where I had to say “no, I don’t want this baby” destroyed me. Of course I wanted this baby, just not yet, not now. I’d never been so scared, lost and emotionally conflicted in my entire life.
Afterwards was when the peak of my mental illness kicked in. I just couldn’t shake the guilt of having a termination. It started with self-harming but I soon realized too many people were noticing that, so I needed another way to punish myself. This is when my bulimia kicked in and I started taking laxatives and making myself sick countless times a day. I was already not eating a lot anyway from the stress of it all, but I just felt the need to punish myself further for what had happened. It went on for about a year and I’d gone down to 44kgs. For ages I just blamed the intensity of my ballet because at this point I was now in my third and final year so we were touring the UK performing and auditioning for work. I finally hit a point and broke down completely to my mum and admitted what I had been doing. That I had a problem and I knew I needed help.
The turning point in my head for me and the recognition that I had a problem, was that I just didn’t like this person that I was, constantly lying to myself and to the world – I was exhausted! Also what made it so difficult to actually admit was the fact that I was at ballet school. I felt people would automatically blame the dancing for my bulimia because of this stereotype of “all ballet dancers have eating disorders” which just isn’t true! Mine happened because of a specific event, and I just couldn’t see any other way of coping with it. I didn’t want to tell people about the abortion, I just couldn’t, I was ashamed, so how on earth could I admit to being ill and explain myself without being shrugged off because I was a ballet dancer.
But I wanted to get better. Probably the biggest drive in my recovery was the hope of one day having that chance to be a mum again. And if that’s what I truly want, then I need to be healthy and strong, and I can’t keep damaging and ruining my body or my chances of getting pregnant again later on in life. During my recovery I had 8 months of counselling and was on antidepressants for 6 months, which looking back now seems like a blur. I used to have times when I was nervous about relapsing or something triggering it again, but it never has. If anything, although it was unbelievably painful and utterly shit at the time, I know that I’m so much stronger for it, and if I can get through that dark period of my life, I can get through anything.
So here I am today, and what I do know is I am an incredibly blessed and STRONG mama that I always knew I was meant to be. Yes, I’m someone who sometimes battles anxiety still, but I conquered my demons. I’ve been tested since and I’ll probably have more challenges ahead in life. But they will no longer define me or control me. I won.
Just remember, your illness doesn’t define you, your strength and courage does. That this isn’t the end, even when it can feel like it at times. Also to not be ashamed of your story or past, because it will inspire others, which is why I finally wanted to be brave and share my journey and I hope it does inspire and help others.
Lots of love, Bethany xxx
This weekend I’ll be kissing goodbye to 25 and saying hello to 26.
Now I’m not going to lie here, or even try to play it cool… I flipping love celebrating my birthday! I know some people don’t like to make a big deal of their birthdays, and granted the novelty does decrease rapidly as the years go by faster and faster, and you start to notice deeper wrinkles around your eyes, or find another stray grey hair… ahh crap.
The reason why I love celebrating my birthday (normally) is not because of anything materialistic like grand gifts, parties or holidays… for me it’s a time to celebrate another wonderful year of on this earth of health, happiness, surrounded by family and loved ones, and just being alive really! A celebration to look back and see what I’ve achieved in the year! However, I have to admit, I’ve been struggling to feel that “birthday buzz”, as this past year has truly been one of the most testing and emotionally draining years of my life.
Like I get it, I know that I do have SO much to be grateful for. I have the most beautiful and precious little girl in the world. I am healthy (all be it a little bit stressed sometimes!). I have a roof over my head. I have an amazing family and friends. I know that I am incredibly lucky compared to some. But all the change that has happened in my life recently, makes it hard to see a clear picture at the minute. I still feel like I’m fumbling through each day and one minute I feel like an ultimate boss mama, and the next I’m an emotional wreck!!
There’s no easy way to say it, but it’s hard to accept that I’ll be on my own this birthday. Again, I know that I don’t need a partner to have a good birthday, and shouldn’t celebrate myself and my achievements any less because I’m now single. But, when you’re used to having someone there, to wake up too, celebrate and create memories with, it’s hard to then process that they won’t be there this year. If that makes sense?
I feel like this birthday is going to feel a bit like New Year’s eve for me.. kissing goodbye a not so pleasant year, and starting a fresh! Kind of like the whole “new year, new me” saying... but more along the lines of “new year, stronger me!” (well that’s what I’m aiming for anyway!)
For the past 2 months I’ve been adamant that I wanted to forget my birthday completely this year and just act like it never happened. But you know what, I’m pleased I’ve let me family and friends sway me, and I have actually made some plans for a nice dinner and a few drinks. Nothing too exotic or fancy, but just to be surrounded by the people who have been my rocks through all my recent life drama! Because as hard as it may be to see it now, I know deep down that I do have so much to celebrate and be grateful for. So why not raise a glass to the fact that I’m still here, still staying strong and do have people who love and truly care for me.
So come at me 26… let’s see what I can do and where I can go this year.
Lots of love, Bethany x
Never in a million years did I ever think I would be writing a post like this. Never did I think this would happen to me. I honestly still to this day don’t even understand how or why, and I probably never will. I doubt I’ll ever get the answers to half the questions I have spinning around in my head.
It still feels so surreal typing these words! It’s a truth I didn’t think would to be mine. It’s not the life I imagined. It’s not the journey I thought I’d have. But here it goes, I may as well say it because it is my life now. Although everything is still an emotional rollercoaster, it’s hitting home that this is my reality now…
I am a single mum.
It’s just me and Maddie.
My girl and I, side by side.
He left me.
He left us.
Truthfully, I never saw it coming. There was no obvious indication. Over the past 9 weeks, my mind has gone over and over and over every single detail, every single memory I have, and nothing stands out! And that’s not me being in denial, it’s the truth! I was just cruising along in our little happy bubble that I thought was invincible. Looking forward to our future and making plans, all for that happy bubble to suddenly be burst.
I feel like a fool. I trusted giving my heart to someone, someone who I believed would love me and keep my heart protected forever… and he crushed it. You can’t help but think “what’s wrong with me? Why wasn’t I enough?” the sort of thoughts that I know I shouldn’t think as they are a one way ticket to zero confidence and self-belief. But it’s hard. Especially at night, when you’re sat there all alone, not to let your mind wonder and second guess yourself. It’s just one of those things that will take a lot of time.
What now… well, who the fuck knows!
Do I turn right or left?
Where does this new life/path go?
And how many hurdles will there be along the way?
Will I ever trust or love again?
Is this it for me, will I be lonely forever?
This is my new chapter. My new reality that is single motherhood. A new beginning I didn’t even know I’d have.
I’m scared and I’m learning as I go along (a bit like being a first time mum I guess!) It’s been agony and so emotionally draining to go through, but slowly day-to-day life is starting to get easier. Whether that’s because I’m actually healing or just because I’m keeping busy, I don’t know. But one way or another, I am starting to look forward to the future more... and what do I see? Hope and Strength. And that hope and strength stands before me in my beautiful, amazing, darling daughter. Maddie.
Through all of this, she is the absolute priority. She is my hope, she is my strength, she is my world, she is everything. I will do whatever I have to, to keep her safe, happy and develop a positive relationship with us both moving forward. She doesn’t deserve this and no matter how painful this experience is, I’ve been determined to not let my feelings have an impact and affect her growing up. This beautiful, innocent little girl will have the best life I can possibly give her.
Something I have discovered is that I am definitely NOT alone, you don’t quite realise how much support is out there for you. Not only from professionals but through family, friends and people you didn’t even know were there or had lost touch with, can really pick you up and crack a smile again! Unfortunately I’m not the first women to go through this and I’d be naive to think I’d be the last. (Wishful thinking though, as I wouldn’t want anyone to experience and go through what I’ve been enduring for the past couple of months!)
I won’t be sharing details as to what has happened exactly, but I’m hoping by sharing my journey going forward and leaving the pain in the past, I can help give other mums going through this a little glimmer of strength. Because, whether we see it now or we don’t, things will get better, they will get easier, and you never know what or who is out there in the future waiting for you. You might not agree with it now, but trust the journey. And thank the big man above for our beautiful, wonderful children. As my Grandma always used to tell us… “Everything happens for a reason.”
Thank you, for all your support so far in everything I do and have done, and for investing your time and love in my life and my Maddie girl.
Cheers to the future, whatever that may be!
Lots of Love, Bethany x
So I think it’s pretty clear that I’ve been a little quiet over here on my blog recently. In fact, I’ve been a little quieter than normal on all my social media platforms! The truth is, I’d let myself get overwhelmed recently. Stress was taking over, and I really didn’t feel like myself. I’ve always been one who struggles with anxiety. I’m a bit of a control freak and when things are out of my control I get so stupidly anxious and over stressed about anything and everything!
Maddie has been teething badly again, (we’ve actually just had 3 of her top teeth cut through in the same week!) so sleep has been very hit and miss these past few weeks. We’ve been deliberating moving to a new house; which is always stressful. Our business we are opening soon has had a few setbacks; also, incredibly stressful. It feels like we’ve been hit with one thing after another and I’ve let it take a toll on me. I’ve been allowing all this stress to suck the fun out of getting to sit and type, blog and vlog etc. the things I LOVE doing and aren’t a chore to me! They’re my passion and hobby! But most importantly, I was worried my stress would pass onto my daughter. I know time with her is SO precious and I couldn’t let all the comings and goings of our lives right now affect her or stop me from making amazing memories with her.
So, I decided to take a bit of my own advice and have some quiet time. Most of that consisted of just enjoying wonderful quality family time (thanks to a well-timed and much needed bank holiday Easter break!) But I also made sure I had some me time alone too. I treated myself to go to London baby free and meet friends, went and got my hair done, had a few peaceful bubble baths, made the most of when Josh was home and caught up on some sleep with a few naps etc. Even stepping back from chatting to my phone on Instagram stories – another usual fav of mine… to just live in the moment and chill. I know a lot of mums find it hard to leave their little ones, but if you’re lucky enough to have some sort of childcare, honestly just a few hours on your own can be so refreshing mentally! I’ve also found that time with baby once you are reunited again, is even better, as I’m more positive and feel I can give baby my FULL attention and not be distracted!
A break has honestly has honestly been the BEST decision for me and my family.
I feel like I’ve got a new lease of life again! I feel like a new woman! I’ve got my mojo back!
And even though things still aren’t peachy perfect and sorted yet, I’m determined to not let the stress of things get to me as much. It’s all a process and things will get easier as time goes on! Trusting the universe has a plan and that things will work themselves out for the best is the way forward for me. As my grandma always used to say, “everything happens for a reason!”
Fellow mamas, if you’ve found yourself particularly stressed recently, then give yourself some time out. Being a mum is hard enough, without throwing in other life dramas or complications! You do you, have a break, re-find your mojo, and come back bouncing with a big smile on your face!! Cheers to wearing ya positive pants!!
Lots more regular content to come again here on Biff & Baba, so stay tuned!!
Lots of love,
2017 was an incredible year for me. Obviously, my highlight was giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, but from that Biff & Baba was also born.
When I first created my blog I never in a million years expected anyone to ever bother reading it. Or if they did, I never expected they would be loyal or interested enough to return. The fact that people take the time to read my content, follow and like my Instagram and more recently YouTube, is mind baffling! Why me? I’m nothing special… I’m just your average new mum, fumbling through motherhood and discovering it as I go along! I am SO unbelievably grateful that people are investing their time to me and my life!
But seriously though, why me?
I get a lot of questions from other first-time mummy’s or women who are currently pregnant, that are also wanting to start a motherhood blog and ask, “how did you do it?”.. “how did you get a good following?”.. “where do I start?”.. “how do I make it?”..
My honest answer. I have no bloody idea at all!
I still find it hard to class myself as a proper blogger. I don’t EVER for one minute think I’ve “made it” in the blogging world. I am by no means as big as some bloggers out there, who are SMASHING it and produce some incredible and inspiring content. But the fact that people are asking or turning to me for advice is pretty surreal!
These past 8 months of blogging and now vlogging, have been a massive whirlwind and I have just been learning as I go along like any other blogger starting out, be that beauty bloggers, fashion bloggers, parenting bloggers etc! I still see myself as the "new kid on the block" who’s only just started! So, I have no magical answers. There are no mind-blowing algorithms that I follow or have cracked! I’ve just been me and been incredibly lucky!
But having said that I do have some advice for anyone who is thinking of starting a blog or have started but not sure where to go next with it. I think the blogging world is such an amazing place to express yourself, it should be open to anyone who is committed and has a passion! Sharing advice and experiences to each other shouldn’t be a secret, we should all support and want one another to succeed! It’s NOT a competition! There is space of ALL of us!
So below are a few key pointers that I have found work for me and have been contributing factors in my blogging journey so far..
1. BE YOURSELF
This is probably my MOST essential (and kind of obvious) bit of advice. There is no point copying another bloggers style or content. By all means be inspired by someone else, but don’t copy them. No one is going to buy into your blog if you are not being real, honest and trying to portray yourself as something you’re not. A couple of months ago I discovered some girl was copying my ENTIRE blog, from my font, name, layout and even down to literally copying and pasting my blog posts but tweaking a few names to make it look like her own work. I was furious. I was heartbroken. The amount of time, soul and energy I put into my blog, had been completely destroyed by someone so ignorant to think that she wouldn’t get caught and that this was acceptable! I confronted her, the blog was deleted, but I still never got an apology.
Coping someone will get you nowhere. It is someone’s personality and flare in their writing that people fall in love with (from my experience!) Find your style and be confident in yourself and what you do. It’s YOU who people want to follow and fall in love with, it’s YOU they want to relate to. Blogging is so personal, so be your own person!
2. BLOG BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT, NOT TO GET FAMOUS.
Want to know one thing all successful bloggers have in common.. they LOVE it! It is their passion, it is their life! Never start a blog with the wrong intentions. I started because I wanted my own little creative space that I could document my pregnancy and journey of becoming a mum and look back on it in years to come. It was my online diary of free expression and discovery. I fell in love with typing – something I never imagined I could do being incredibly dyslexic and crap at reading! I never once thought about people reading it, getting free stuff or how many followers I had on Instagram. Blogging is SO much more than that! It is a passion that takes time, commitment and HARD work. The time it takes to draft, type, format, edit, photograph, it's definitely NOT an easy ticket to becoming famous.
3. WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW
When starting a blog, I think it is important to find a genre or topic that suits you, your life, interests and hobbies. There is no point trying to do everything in the hope of pleasing or gaining as many readers as possible, because you’ll lose sight of who you are in the process. I chose to write about my personal experience of becoming a mummy as I went along. But I would have struggled if I suddenly out of nowhere decided I wanted to be a beauty blogger or an interior blogger (which are both topics I appreciate but know nothing about!) Another example would be if I had tried to be a travel blogger.. I’ve barely travelled in my life! I’ve been to 3 different countries abroad on holiday and that is it! I could blog about travelling with a baby when the time comes? But till then, there is no point me trying to give advice about something I know nothing of! In my personal opinion, if you blog about what you know, you should never run out of ideas or lose your drive/motivation along the way.
4. BLOG FOR YOU
I think this kind of links in with all the other pointers above, but is a good tip to summarise everything I’ve written. Don’t blog to please anyone or impress others. Don’t blog for fame or freebies. Don’t blog for acceptance in the modern social media world we live in! Don’t blog for any reason other than YOU want to! Do it for you. Don’t do it for success. I feel there is a very fine line of when blogging becomes forced and unreal if you try too hard to do it for anyone but yourself. I feel you can tell when someone’s heart isn’t in their writing. It should feel natural to type and fill you with happiness! Not stress because you’re worried about how many views or comments your page will get. Don’t beat yourself up. Expect no one to read it, imagine your blog is 100% private. And that’s when I found that people enjoyed my blog more! Blogging for you is so important, and I personally feel it helps in staying truthful to yourself.
From my own experience, if you stick to these 4 simple pointers there is no reason why you cannot start a blog! I hope that anyone who is wanting to start a blog finds these tips useful and you get out there and go for it! Like I said above, the internet is a massive place and there is definitely room for you!! By supporting one another, we will succeed together! The blogging community, no matter what topic, is such a fab community to be a part of and I’ve met some incredible and inspiring creators!
Again, if you are reading this now, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read my content and be an incredible support! It means the world and I will never stop doing what I love!
Of course, feel free to ask any further questions below! And if you have a blog, leave the link as I’d love to check it out!!
Lots of love, Bethany x
When I was pregnant with Maddison (and we had decided on her name), I was obsessed with everything personalised for baby! Wall art, clothing, toys.. the full works! But I held off buying anything because we were keeping Maddison's name a surprise from both our families, and I would've hated to spoil it if someone saw something they shouldn't have! I think I'd worked myself up so much with so many different ideas, that by the time I gave birth, I couldn't face buying anything personalised!!
I think it was partly because I am so indecisive, so couldn't actually make my mind up of what I wanted. But secondly, that horrible boring practical side of me kicked in and I kept thinking.. "if I buy that with Maddison's name on, we won't be able to reuse it for baby number 2?!"
When I was asked to try a piece from Binky's collection "With Love From Binky" with My 1st Years, I was super excited. This was my opportunity to FINALLY get Maddison something with her name on, something special that is just for her. Still being a little bit on the practical side.. I decided on the gorgeous crown print blanket, with the thought that Maddison could keep it forever, so is fine that it has her name on because it's not like she'd outgrow a blanket!! It was the perfect start to my personalised collection of pieces for her.
When it arrived and I opened the box, my heart just filled up with such a big warm fuzzy feeling.. that's MY baby girls name. That is MADDISON'S blanket!! As I snuggled my face into the super soft pink material, it immediately brought back all those excited memories and ideas of personalised items I had planned on getting her while I was pregnant. This was the ice-breaker I needed! I shouldn't be so indecisive, just go for it and enjoy the fact I have a gorgeous baby girl! Practicalities can come later - hehe! Who would've thought a baby blanket could make such a difference.. but it has! I absolutely LOVE it, and so does Maddison! It is the perfect sized blanket for everything, we mainly use it to tuck her up in the crib at night or in the pram on our day to day adventures to keep her snug.
With December literally around the corner, I've been so torn about what to buy Maddison for her first ever Christmas! Obviously I'm not going to go crazy.. she'll only be 6 months old after all so won't exactly understand the whole concept of 'Santa'!! But I do want to get her a few special items that we can always remember as her first Christmas presents! So couple of weeks after using the blanket, I went back to My 1st Years and purchased TWO more personalised items for Maddison, which will be perfect stocking fillers for her! The first a fluffy pink dressing gown, that she can snuggle up in during these cold winter nights! And secondly a pull along wooden caterpillar toy, which is so classic and timeless!! BOTH of which have her name on! It just fills me with such joy now seeing her name on items, it makes them that much more special - which is perfect for the magic of Christmas!!
I'm still trying to find a piece of wall art that I love and can personalise to go in the nursery, but I think I've made great progress on being more decisive! I'm also deliberating getting her a personalised tree decoration or something that has 2017 on it to remember the year she was born.. because lets face it, if I don't do it now, I'll regret it later!! And of course we've got her a festive Christmas sack with her name on she can keep forever!
Did you buy your little ones personalised items - if so what did you get? Are you doing anything special to mark your babies first Christmas? As always I'd love to hear from you all!
Lots of Love, Bethany x
SHOP THE "WITH LOVE FROM BINKY" COLLECTION HERE
This post was written in collaboration with My 1st Years and BellePR
Over the years, autumn has definitely become my favourite seasons for many reasons. I mean yes, I am a September birthday, but that’s not the only reason why I love this time of year. It’s a wonderful transitional season, that I feel gets lost sometimes and doesn't get the attention it deserves. It is a beautiful calm time of year, after the activities of Summer, but before the chaos of Christmas! It was hard to choose, but here are 7 of my reasons why I love this time of year!
1. PUMPKIN PICKING
Pumpkin picking is something I had never done before. When I was a kid, it wasn't really a thing! Plus I don't think there was anywhere near our old home in Essex that we could go to.. But now we have Maddison, it was something I definitely wanted to do and I LOVED it!! There's just something so special about going to a farm and picking your pumpkins ready to calve, and there is such variety in colours and shapes! Much more magical rather than picking up one from a supermarket. We are definitely going to make this a family tradition!
I'm sorry, but who doesn't love to snuggle up in big cosy knit jumper?! Knitted dresses, roll neck jumpers, knitted hats and scarfs, a fluffy jumper, knitted dressing gown.. the list goes ON! As soon as the weather starts to turn, I lap up the opportunity to snuggle! I'm someone who always feels the cold, so knitwear is my life!!
3. THE CHANGING LEAVES
Nothing says autumn like the colour of the trees! Those gorgeous tones of yellows, browns, reds and oranges that leaves turn to before they fall to the ground, and give you that satisfying crisp sound when you walk over them!! despite the weather not being quite as warm, that colour palette really does make you feel warm and cosy inside! Not to mention they look gorgeous!!
4. BOOT SEASON
I love a good boot! And I have a big collection to prove it haha.. You can go bold to make a real statement in your Autumn/Winter wardrobe or just keep it simple to compliment your outfit and elongate your legs!! From thigh highs, walking boots, Uggs and ankle boots.. it is so satisfying having your feet cosied up in a warm pair of boots and not getting your feet wet! Plus, when the weather is reallyyyy cold, you can get away with wearing chunky embarrassing patterned slipper socks in boots, and no one will ever know.. ;)
5. MISTY MORNINGS
Waking up and opening the curtains to look out at a dewy, fresh, misty morning is one of my favourites! Especially if I can get up and go for a country walk through in the mist.. (baby dependant these days..) but it's definitely one of those little satisfying things that symbolise autumn to me!!
6. CHAI TEA LATTES
Now I am not one for the famous Pumpkin Spiced Latte.. Sorry guys, I like the idea of it, but not the taste. It's just too sickly sweet for me!! But I do love a Chai Latte! They automatically make me feel autumnal and festive because of the spice in the milk and topping it off with cinnamon! If you haven't tried one.. you need to!! Soooo yummy!!
Halloween for me, isn't such a big thing.. I enjoyed it more when I was little and I could go to halloween parties and play all the traditional games. But for the past 10 years, it's just been a nothing holiday to me! It might become more of a thing again now I have a child.. but for me personally.. it's all about November 5th and FIREWORKS! I have always been obsessed with them and the combinations of shapes and colours they create in the sky! I have such great memories of standing in a field, wrapped up in a hat, scarf and gloves, sparkler in hand and watching the fireworks. If/when we get married I've already told Josh I want them at our wedding haha! I love them at New Years too.. but it was always symbolise autumn to me!
Do you love autumn too? What are your highlights of autumn? Lots of love x
The other weekend, Josh, Maddison and I had our first little trip away as a family.. this meant, our first night away from home with a 2 month old baby!! Which as you can imagine, is VERY different from the usual romantic, carefree weekend getaways that we have had in the past when it used to be just the two of us! There was sooooooo much more stuff to pack, organising logistics like breast pumps but not having a fridge handy, playing Tetris trying to fit a pram, crib AND overnight bags in the boot... I seriously kept thinking like I'd forgotten something, despite writing a ridiculously long check list AND checking it multiple times! But you can never have too many spares with a baby, right mums?!?!
We were heading to Chester for my best best friends engagement party (CONGRATS BABE!) and staying overnight in a guest house nearby! I was adamant we were not going to miss the party, but the initial thought of staying somewhere overnight with a baby was so daunting! Day trips, I had now done plenty of now, but an actual night away is a different story.. and there was no way I was going to leave Maddison with family for the night.. Partly because of separation anxiety, but also the complication of feeding!! (wayyyyy too much for my brain to handle!) So, with the car jam packed with everything but the kitchen sink, we set off around 10am on the Saturday for the journey up to Chester. We'd allowed lots of extra time because of needing to stop off and feed/change Maddie. What should've taken us about 2hrs 40mins... ended up taking 4hrs 30mins, it was endless diversions and traffic - safe to say, we had VERY numb bums urgh!!! It literally felt like the longest car journey EVER and as if we were trying to get to Neverland!! Maddie wasn't fussed at all though and slept 99% of journey.. I actually had to wake her up to feed and change her!! Aren't cars are magical with babies!?! It's just instant sleep as soon as you turn the engine on!
When we FINALLY got to Chester, many coffees later.. we quickly checked in at our room, change clothes/freshened up and headed off to my besties house!! We had a fabulous time and our little angel was so incredibly well behaved, secretly I think she LOVE the amount of attention and cuddles she got! Plus... I'M GOING TO BE A BRIDESMAID!! EEKKK!! Which I am so unbelievably excited about! The only other time in my life when I've been a bridesmaid/flower girl, I think I was around 3 years old.. so can't even remember it really!!
Come 9pm it was time for bed... which sounds early but 9pm feels so late nowadays!! (oh how life changes with a baby haha!!) and in all honesty, I was petrified of how Maddison would behave. The guesthouse we were staying in was this beautiful big country manor house, which was gorgeous, but like most old buildings every sound echos and travels very, very easily!! Meaning if Maddie were to cry, everyone would probably hear it! And lets be real, all babies cry. They can't help it, it is what it is! BUT I still would feel so guilty if we were the ones keeping everyone awake with a crying baby all night! My main priority was trying to make her feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible being in a different environment, by keeping to our usual bedtime routine and we even bought her own crib with us to sleep in! (Luckily we have one that folds down to travel easily!) So that meant a quick little bath with mummy, change into a sleepsuit, feed and be asleep between 9:30-10pm. I do feel like we are blessed with Maddison, she is a pretty easy and well behaved baby, and rarely gets colic anymore. Thankfully she slept perfectly and did her usual 6 hours straight, feed and a nappy change (which usually takes 30 minutes), then back to sleep for another 2-3 hours!!
The next day, we really didn't feel like coming home just yet.. the thought of facing another long and potentially horrendous car journey home was depressing. So we decided that while we are here, (and because I had packed so many spares for us all!) lets go exploring, enjoy the sunshine, do a bit of shopping and stay overnight again. We hopped online and booked a different hotel in Chester town to stay in last minute. You know what.. it was the first really spontaneous thing we'd done since having Maddison. No planning, we just did it! It was such a lovely care free chilled Sunday, and once again our little baba was so happy and content!! I really feel like it was the best idea, I'm so glad we went through with it and didn't cower away or come up with tons of excuses why we shouldn't enjoy ourselves because of having a new baby with us!! (Of course we would always put her first though and if she was incredibly distressed we probably would've just gone home!)
After a long day out and about, we went out for dinner but made sure we were back in our hotel room by 9pm again to repeat our bedtime routine for Maddison. Although she had slept fine the previous night, we were aware it was a different environment again for her, so it didn't mean the night would necessarily work out perfectly! So we made sure we did the same routine that she is happy with and used to! Luckily our chilled little love settled off to sleep and just woke the once for a feed as normal - YES! The next morning after we had had breakfast, we set off pretty much straight away, loaded up the car and got back on the road to face the journey home.. which again turned into a horrible 4 hour long drive, so we were super pleased we had put it off and had enjoyed another day!!
In terms of the logistics with feeding, I pretty much just breastfed Maddison the whole weekend. I was so over cautious and ended up taking all our 3 bottles away with us (clean and sterilised), a few bottles of formula and my breast pump.. a lot of stuff I know but I just wasn't sure what to expect! I ended up only using one bottle of formula in the end and I did try to pump, but soon realised without a fridge, it just all got a bit too complicated for my brain! So I fed her only one bottle of my pumped milk more or less straight away (it was probably still warm from the boob haha)! For me, it was just easier to stick her on my boob! If I were just formula feeding and not breastfeeding, we are lucky these days that many shops are open 24/7, so if I were to run out I could easily pick up a few more!
We really did have a lovely time, and it was so nice having some quality family time, just us three! Obviously every baby is different, and I do feel incredibly blessed that Maddison has a lovely temperament and has always slept well since day 1. We could've had a cranky crying baby that never sleeps! (A bit like I was for my mum... oops sorry mum!) Which I know makes the thought of a night away from home seem like mission impossible... But the one bit of advice I would give any new parents out there wanting to brave a night away from home, is try to stick to your normal bedtime routine as much as possible. Surround your little one with familiar items from home and even bring their crib if you can! (Totally understand that not all cribs are designed to fit in a boot easily!) I really do feel like it helped her by sticking to this and now we've done it, I feel more confident and open to the idea of weekend getaways and nights away from home WITH our baby. I think it's the same concept as when you first have a baby and are faced with the daunting thought of going out the house with a newborn.. it's something completely new! What if you forget something?! What if baby cries and causes lots of attention?! OH WELL! Just go with it, but it's important to break the ice and not get stuck indoors, or you'll never venture out/it'll be harder when you eventually do!!
I guess the next step for us would be trying to go abroad with a baby...
Maybe give it a few more months before we try to cross that bridge - haha! ;)
Any other mums that can relate to the overwhelming though of a night away with a baby? Any tips or tricks that you found helped your little one when your away from home? Love to know! Either comment below or message me via the social page! Love x
Last Thursday 3rd, I had my first trip back to London after giving birth! It always feels soooo good going back to the City as I have so many memories from when I used to live there, it feels like my second home! I was heading up there for an event with the awesome MumHood and Bobbi Brown to celebrate the launch of their new Instant Full Cover Concealer #betterthansleep.
Up bright and early, feeling a bit like a zombie.. My mum, Maddison and I set off at 6:30am in the morning to drive down to London. We left super early as peak time commuter traffic to London can be a total nightmare, and the last thing I wanted to do was to get caught in a traffic jam with a newborn in the car that could need feeding or do a poo explosion at any moment!! Having said that (as many mums know and swear by), the car is just amazing for sending little ones off to sleep, 5 minutes into the journey Maddison was sound asleep and stayed that way till the last 10 minutes leading up to Kings Cross. Win! So coffee in hand we set off.. god what would I do without caffeine?! I swear it's the fuel to survive motherhood!!
MumHood was set up by Pip Black & Joan Murphy, the founders of the awesome fitness studios Frame, and the event was being held at their Kings Cross branch. I absolutely LOVE and admire MumHood's classes and programmes (and I've followed them on social media for a while now,) showing mums and mums-to-be that you that you can still work out safely and effectively! (CLICK HERE TO GO TO THEIR SITE). The first part of the event was a workout class lead by Pip, suitable for pre and postnatal ladies! It was just the right amount for me to do being my first proper exercise class back since having Maddison, and you can tell it was perfectly catered for mums keeping in mind the changes that our bodies go through, especially good for me due to my split abdominals! There were no abdominal crunches needed to work your core! Boy did I feel myself working hard! And I got a good sweat on without having to jump around like a maniac doing burpees!! We worked mainly with just our bodies adding in a few resistance band exercises to really get our muscles burning and finished with a light stretch. I could feel my arms quivering and my legs felt like jelly - it had definitely been a long time since I'd had that sensation!! I remember thinking to myself when Pip said we were going to do a few Plies "oh good I can do plies!" having done sooooo many in my life for ballet.. but halfway through pulsing low in second position, my legs were killing and my thoughts soon changed to "oh shit, I can't do Plies anymore, this hurts!" haha!! I have to remind myself that having not done ANY exercise for probably the past 4 months it's going to take a few sessions to get going again!!
After the class we refuelled with some fruit, smoothies and granola snacks! Then it was time to get rid of our sweaty faces and try out Bobbi Brown's new concealer!! I am a typical girly girl and love makeup, but I'm not a beauty expert and if a professional were to look at my make up skills they'd probably tell me I'm doing everything wrong haha! I usually just stick to the same old day-to-day products and rarely venture out of the box (which is something I NEED to work on).. so it was great for me to get to try something new and learn a few tips from the Bobbi Brown girls who are all so lovely!! The new Instant Full Coverage Concealer is something I normally wouldn't go for as it's quite creamy and I usually stay away from creamy products as I just have this "thing" about looking greasy and shiny! But the girls have converted me! It definitely doesn't make you look shiny or greasy! The concealer feels lovey and light on your skin and you don't need a massive thick layer to have complete coverage EVEN on those sleepy mum eye bags!! This concealer is now in my daily essentials and I have used it everyday since!! I would highly recommend this product (and already have done to friends and family), it is perfect for us mummys that don't get much sleep with our little ones, it definitely does the job to hide that fact! It is #betterthansleep!!
I had such an amazing morning and it was great meeting so many other lovely and inspiring mummy bloggers and vloggers! There is just such an amazing motherhood community and everyone is so supportive of one another, I feel blessed to be part of it! After getting freshened and glammed up, I regrouped back up with Maddison and my mum (who had very kindly been on Grandmama duties looking after her while I was sweating it out!) and we went out to late lunch with my youngest sister, auntie and cousin! My auntie and cousin were yet to meet Maddison, so luckily we were able to coordinate and meet up in London that day! it's always so lovely getting family together!
Come 4pm we were all very much knackered! So we got back into the car and headed off home!! (and because we wanted to avoid the rush hour traffic home!) It was my second long and full on venture out with Maddison to a different city and I have to say it is getting easier! Also there is the benefit of if I were to run out of nappies, there are plenty of shops around to save the day, especially in London!! I can't wait till she's a little older and we can have more day trips out to London, and I can show her where mummy used to go to dance everyday and some of my favourite cafes and restaurants! Maybe even treat her to a bit of shopping, because lets be honest, it's hard to come to London and not shop when you've got every store imaginable around you! Plus, I do love to treat my little girl! Maybe next time I go to London we could experience getting the train for the first time with a pram? Will definitely have to have Josh with me for that one for all the lifting!
Safe to say my body felt it the next day! I felt like I'd been hit by a train, totally exhausted and my legs were so sore it hurt to even sit down on the loo! anyone else every had that feeling before?! You forget how tiring a long day out can be, especially as a mummy when you're running on less sleep then normal!! Despite being sore, I did feel good for the workout and it gave me a boost/reminder of how much I used to love training! I have felt I've lost my connection with working out after being sick with glandular fever and then pregnant.. it's been a while since I've physically felt 100% myself! It's given me more drive to keep up with my Physio exercises to help my abdominal split, but also MumHood reminded me that there ARE exercises I can do at home, that are totally safe postnatal while I'm still getting my strength back and that won't worsen my abdominals! I've just got to stick with it!
Any other mamas find they lost their mojo a little after giving birth? Any tips on finding it again? How do you cope with big and long days out with a newborn? Oh and.. GO try Bobbi Browns new concealer! You won't regret it! Love x