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The Question

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Well despite me feeling slightly normal and regaining parts of my identity, I was reminded this week that my hormones are still in full control! This week we attended our last week of baby group and it got quite emotional, not because it was our last group, but it was the question we were asked. what are you enjoying most about your baby? Well in true mad mummy fashion I added that being off work was what I was enjoying most, now to be honest that was just a joke. I am enjoying not being at work, until the three year old is asking me the same question over and over and over and over again.
But taking it in seriously and really thinking about the question, it’s always been one thing I’ve enjoyed most about both of my children and that is the gaze. Breastfeeding was very natural for me with my first daughter and I was lucky my daughter took to it so easily. The second time however was not so easy and I’ve always said if it was my first child I may not have continued. But what spured me on through the difficulties was the gaze of my new born, her big eyes taking me in.
Her happy and content face and that loving and lingering look in her big blue eyes!
My first child would not take a bottle no matter how hard we tried but my new born is happy to take my milk from me or a bottle. But this has come with mixed emotions for me, I was going to have more freedom but at what cost, I felt like I had lost a little bit of my exclusivity. However I’ve got over it and every time I put her to my breast nothing else matters. Explaining this to the group brought tears to my eyes because this is my last child and the time goes so quickly.
Recalling to the group the memory of my first child got me so emotional as I realised how special those moments were to me and watching her running around in her usual crazy fashion I knew that she had no recollection of that time. She didn’t remember and it was gut wrenching, it was then I was reassured that it was those moments that made our close bond, that made her so confident and secure.
So Wether I’m breastfeeding or bottle feeding I will hold every moment close to my heart and always remember. I’ll never forget the glare of wonder and comfort and the beautiful sounds of my baby suckling and wimpering and I’ll always remember that question. What are you enjoying most about your baby?

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Our Craft Box

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The one thing I say to any one with children is it’s never too early to put together a craft box.
Our craft box naturally formed over time, but there were times I had to make special trips to the shop for specific items. You can buy craft sets and boxes and they are great to get you started. But here I’ll show you what you may need to add to your own craft box, a few must have items that you won’t buy at the shops and I guarantee will be required at some point in your toddler/child creative play times.
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Here is a list of items pictured above
● Any non toxic glue ie. PVA and glue stick
● Paint, obvious must have, but don’t get sucked in by all the fancy colours you can buy. Start with prime colours as you can have fun teaching them how to make their own colours. Although silver is a good colour to have just in case you want to make a robot and I’m sure you will.
● Various coloured paper, card, foam and Crete paper. You can never really have enough. I’ve run out on several occasions, I have a child that puts one line on a piece of paper and wants a new bit.
● You’ll get into a habit of recycling bottles and pots, you’ll never look at a yoghurt tub without thinking about how you can craft it up. Just make sure to give them a good clean.
● Play doh, I can’t quite remember when my daughter was able to play with Play doh without the fear of her ingesting it. But I do remember being surprised when her nursery worker told me she had been playing with it without incident. After that we always had Play doh despite the mess it leaves as I don’t think any child can manage not to get it all over the floor.
● Ink, I have used this many times and find it useful to have not sure if it’s a must have.
● Pipe cleaner and pom-pom balls of various sizes
● Sticky googly eyes, craft box essential.
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● String, this is just a handy house hold item. I have needed it for all sorts.
● And the old favourite toilet roll tube or any tube is handy.

There are some other must have craft items that are not pictured because we simply ran out, just goes to show how often we use them. Here is a list of our most used.
● Paper plates, inexpensive and you can pick up 50 for a £1 at your local £1 shop.
● lollypop wooden sticks and skewer sticks.
● Plastic cups, pick them up with your paper plates.
● Various pasta shapes.

Our craft box ended up turning into a craft cupboard and as we’ve recently moved a dumping ground for all creative tools. I really need to give it a good sorting out.
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You can see how our craft box turned into a cupboard. So what’s in your craft box? Do you think I’ve missed anything?

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One Lovely Blog Award

Wow thank you so much Wee Mah for the nomination. I’m a bit of a blogging novice so was unsure of the blogging etiquette when being nominated. So please bare with me, I apologise if I miss anything.
So here are my seven facts about me,
1. I once recorded a song for Howard Marks ‘Mr Nice’
2. I am an Artist/Photographer,
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3. I started working on the market when I was 13 years old, selling clothes.
4. I’ve been with my husband since I was 18, around 18 years, crazy long but it’s crazy love.
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5. I also work as an Area Trainer delivering work based qualifications and functional skills for a company called First4skills.
6. I once did an advert on the QVC channel for a singing fish.
7. I love scary movies.

So now it’s your turn, I nominate

1.Mrs Brown’s Girl
2.The Green House
3.Lessons in the Art of Dad
4.Leah and two
5.Wendy’s World
6.Ginger and Bell
7.I am Mum
8.Mama P and Little Me
9.Mummy do it
10.A new Mum without a Manual

HOW IT WORKS

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself and nominate 10 bloggers for the award.
Well done everyone, your all doing a great job!

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Finding Me

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I’m actually starting to feel more myself this week. I treated myself to a new coat and some boots and getting up in the morning and doing my hair doesn’t actually feel like a chore anymore. I’ve actually gained some of my identity back. I’m still a little tired and dealing with the affliction of leaky boobs. But I don’t feel so battered and bruised.
I’ve also noticed that the pity looks that mothers with newborns get are few and far between when you look like you had time to brush your hair and put on concealer. And you know what I mean by pity looks or you could call them I don’t envy you, your completely mad, I wouldn’t do that again looks. But I may look slightly polished on the outside but the truth remains, I still take my makeup off with wetwipes, that fancy SPF skin cream I used to use has been replaced with coco butter and this long fancy red coat I’m rocking is hiding the leaking baby milk and baby sick stains.
I’m along way off from feeling fantastic but I’m much happier looking in the mirror and seeing me again.
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I will always be a mother and that will always be part of my identity, however it’s equally as important to feel like I’m more than just a mother.
Blogging also helps with this, I’ve always been that person that has to be doing something, has to be working towards something. So now that my baby is 9 weeks old and I’m getting a little bit more sleep, I can be me a little bit more. Not just that tired looking mum with the dishevelled hair at the school gates.
Don’t get me wrong I still have days where I have to where a hat because I simply don’t have time to do both my hair and makeup. But I’ve not left the house without makeup since 1995 and I’m not going to start now.
But despite my appearance I’m still feeling a little bit down on myself, I suffer from Psoriasis and since I was 36 weeks pregnant it’s gotten worse and worse. So the past 9 weeks I’ve felt tired, flabby and scabby to top it all off.
So despite losing 13lbs in the last 9 weeks I’m still a little flabby and a lot scabby but I’m definitely going to make the most of having more sleep, even if I do spend more awake time making myself look pretty.
When did you start to feel more yourself after childbirth?

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Food Fail

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So it’s been 5 weeks now since I started walking and 2 weeks since I decided to step it up a gear and eat healthier. I think I’m being quite pro-active about reaching my goals and there’s not many people that know me that don’t know what I’m working towards at the moment.
So I’m asking myself this week why does my husband keep coming home with sweet treats and I’m not talking about a small bar of chocolate. He must have gone to the shop and said  “show me your biggest bar of chocolate” and than bought 2, melted them down and made his own custom monster chocolate bar.It really was that big!
He then brought home a box of 12 Krispy creme doughnuts and a tub of hagan dàz icecream. The big question is did I eat it all? Well before I answer that I have to tell you  about my response to my husband. Of course I did let him know how dissapointed I was but he knows I’m more dissapointed with my own willpower. As he puts it “just because it’s there it doesn’t mean you have to eat it”
But we all know it doesn’t work like that, does it?
So after I chowed down on some naughty snacks this week we had to have a talk.
Inbetween the chocolate and the doughnuts the guilt crept in but that didn’t stop me going in for the icecream and I could tell my husband was amused by my mental anguish. So we finaly talked and he now understands just how much he needs to support me and how he can support me. You would think with all the effort I’m putting in that he would have understood but what I learned here is communication is absolutely key.
It also doesn’t help that all I can think about is the looming half term and what I’m going to do without my routine. I’m so used to walking, I mean I’ve walked 144miles so far, so I don’t want to take a break and get lazy. I’m learning a lot about myself and the main thing is I like routines and so does my body. Being consistant is the key so my darling husband bring me fruit and flowers if you want to treat me and leave the giant size chocolate bars at the shops!

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Bird Treats

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This week we have decided to make some treats for the birds. It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for a while and we finally got round to it this week. I can’t even remember where I first saw this but I always liked the idea and as we feed the birds regularly and always have loo role holders available, it’s a cheap and inexpensive craft idea.
All we needed was
•Peanut butter (We used crunchy)
•Bird seed
•Toilet roll insert or any cardboard tube
•String
•Straws
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Working parent woes

postit Last week I was presented with my first bill for childcare for when I return to work in August and it’s given me a lot to think about. I’ve been paying nursery fees for 3 years and it was only when my daughter started pre-school last September that we started to use a childminder.
But despite their differences they ultimately have one thing in common and that is they like to take all of my money. I spend roughly 90% of my wages on childcare so the last 3 months have been truly amazing, well the first month after that I went on maternity pay and that sucks big time too.
So now I have two to pay for, although I am lucky that my eldest will start reception in September so I won’t have to pay for two children for long. But I still have to get her dropped off and collected and pay the childminder to look after her till 6pm. So how much do you think I was quoted? Well it was less than £1400 and more than £1250, to be fair my childminder knew this would be a shock and pre-warned . But my husband just said we’re not paying that!
Which led my mind into overdrive, could we afford for me to stay at home, which then led me to freak out and all I could see was me in 4 years sitting in front of people trying to sell myself in job interviews, it makes me shudder just thinking about it!
Not that I’m not good in interview situations, I tend to ramble and let my personality take over, apparently that’s a good thing.
In my experience in being the interviewer I’d much rather hire someone I liked with personality than someone with the skills but no people skills. You can always train someone, well not always, I definitely learnt that, but most of the time. I guess that’s what got me into training, wanting good people to genuinely learn and grow.
But the thought of starting the career ladder again is daunting and I genuinely love my job so it doesn’t seem like an option for me to stay at home. So I’ve thought about using this as an opportunity to move into teaching, do a degree and teacher training course, but the more I think about that the more daunting that seems. Basically I need to stop thinking! Which is kind of what I’ve done, because if I don’t think about it, I don’t have to make a decision and it will all go away, problem solved Ta Dah!!
Not that easy though, is it? I feel like I’m 15 again having to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I didn’t know then and now I just ride at what I’m good at and that’s training and teaching. So I got even more confused when I went to help a friend with a business plan and she suggested that I could be a business advisor and charge people for the privilege of my knowledge. It was a great compliment that she thought I was good enough but it just confused me even more!
So I made a decision and that is to think about it another day and right now enjoy my baby and what’s left of my maternity leave. I’m going to embrace the arts & crafts, enjoy time with my mummy friends and coffee mornings and not stress about something that basically I knew was going to happen. What’s your experience? Did rising child care costs prompt you to change careers or put plans on hold?