Baby’s day out! Our day out at Farmer Palmers in Dorset.

I’m always keen for Jasmine to have as many days out and fun experiences as possible, Yes, she’s only 6 months old, I know people are often hesitant to take their babies for days out, but I find she really does enjoy days out as much as we do! Of course seeing her face makes it worth while. This week we took a trip to Farmer Palmers in Dorset, I wasn’t sure if it may be a little too old for Jasmine but I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was engaged throughout our whole time there.

Farmer Palmers is an award winning family attraction in Poole, Dorset. Yes, it’s a farm but so much more that that too. As we arrived we went straight to the barn to see the animals, it was a beautiful day and all the staff there were warm and friendly, from the reception team to the cafe to the lady handling the Guinea pigs, they clearly love what they do and this always adds to an experience.

In the barn we saw ponies, cows, goats, pigs to name but few and Jasmine was excited (ok, I was more excited) to see tiny piglets born earlier this month! There’s an area where you can hold a guinea pig, as Jasmine is particularly ‘grabby’ at the moment, I held the guinea pig ‘Blossom’ while she looked in awe and had a little stroke, who knew guinea pigs were so cute?!

She loved looking at all the animals and hearing all the different noises they make. It was a great sensory experience all round. There’s lots of safe play areas for slightly older children too, they can drive their own smaller scale tractors or play on the slides amongst hay. There’s also a lovely play area which is ‘farm themed’. Jasmine loved playing on the big xylophone making lots of noise!!

There’s also a giant bouncy castle, go carts to play on and tractor rides which are very bumpy and lots of fun!! It’s lovely how much outdoor seating there is, so many picnic benches, you could sit and have a picnic or there’s an indoor cafe with reasonably priced food and drink – there’s also an indoor soft play area inside plus a ‘party room’. I would have loved to have a birthday party here when I was little!

Since becoming a mum, I’m always looking for places to feed/change Jasmine. There’s plenty of baby changing facilities, with a separate room for changing and changing tables in all the toilets. There’s also lots of places to feed her, I also saw a sign saying they are ‘breastfeeding friendly’ and would find a quiet space if needed if you ask a member of the team.

We then looked at the animals outside, Jasmine really liked the noisy sheep and the fluffy chickens. There were also more piglets which were so very cute. At this point she started to get tired so we popped her in her pram and decided to do the ‘woodland walk’. It was perfect for nap time – shaded and cool. Took about 20 minutes to walk though and it was lovely. Very relaxing by the stream and leafy surroundings, plus a few treats to play on for those little ones who still have energy to burn!

Once she was awake again we fed the lambs, she sat in the front row on Daddy’s lap, staff make sure the bottle is passed along so everyone get a turn feeding them. Jasmine even got a bonus foot lick from a lamb on his way out, which made her giggle!! There’s also a chance to do pony grooming

Not only was it a fun day out for everyone, it was really lovely visually and very well kept. I would definitely recommend a visit and if I lived closer I’d be getting a season ticket, you only need to go a few times to get your moneys worth and the kids won’t get bored of going! No matter what age your children are they can have a great time at Farmer Palmers they also have some great events coming up so make sure you’re in the know and don’t miss out on the fun things planned! Check them out on the link above!

The Un-maternal Mummy.

This morning as stood making the cup of tea I would probably leave somewhere in the house to go cold, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d never looked after a baby on my own before Jasmine. I literally have no job experience, imagine how overwhelming it would be to get a job as a lawyer having never studied law or a job as a photographer having never picked up a camera, bloody scary that’s what. Well that’s like motherhood for me, I once looked after my godson for an hour while my friend was at an appointment, I ended up putting a clean nappy on him back up front and calling my mum to come round and help. Well now my mum lives 230 miles away and no chance of popping over to help.

I was never one of those girls who yearned to be a mother and found someone to have them with. For me I could have happily lived without them, I didn’t get that material desire when I saw a baby, I thought they were cute but I didn’t feel I had to procreate in order to fulfil my life, it was the other way around for me. I found the person I wanted to share my life with and wanted to raise a child as the next part of our journey together. Don’t get me wrong I was never an ice queen, But I can name you at least half a dozen of my friends who are very maternal who, for various reasons, it just hasn’t happened for yet.

I was a bit awkward with babies, if I’m honest I didn’t know how to hold them, had many plans that we would continue going on city breaks and leave the baby with a trusting relative. I didn’t know about any baby stuff at all…. how to feed a baby, change a baby, colic, wind, sleep regression, leaps, cradle cap, what babies wear….. I could go on. I knew nothing other than what google told me.

It sounds corny but the second the doctor put Jasmine on my chest, I knew. I knew this tiny helpless alien looking baby needed me. And a woolly hat. I’ll be honest as I was to my midwife, I felt a bit weirded out by breastfeeding previously, but knowing how amazing it is for my little girl I thought I’d ‘try it’ – we struggled, she found it hard to latch on and I stayed awake all night with a midwife by my side encouraging me and the same the next day and night. God bless the midwives at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital. No, it wasn’t easy but I knew I had to power through. She managed to start latching but instead of the euphoria I was feeding her I was overwhelmed by excruciating, toe curling pain. But I continued knowing I wanted to for her. The pain continued for weeks, I cried, but she was thriving, I knew it was doing her good so despite the pain, the infection, the dairy intolerance which meant I went for weeks without dairy, chocolate, cheese, nothing – that was hard. As I write this I have been breastfeeding Jasmine for 6 months and I’m very proud, this is by no means bashing mums who feed formula to their babies, I’m just sharing what I consider to be a huge achievement for me.

And now, I’m a mummy. I know when she’s tired, hungry, frightened, happy or sad. I stay up all night if she needs me, I sing to her, laugh at her, rub her back and kiss her forehead. I can tell what she needs because that maternal instinct was there after all, I just needed Jasmine to bring it out.

‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ – William Shakespeare

Pink or Blue? How to tell the gender of your unborn baby….

Listening to my babies heartbeat for the first time, my mind was full of questions… does it sound like galloping horses or a train? Is it over 140 beats per minute? Apparently if it’s over 140bpm it’s more likely a girl and under it’s more likely a boy….. the heartbeat was showing 147bpm ‘does that mean it’s a girl? I asked my midwife. ‘No, I think that’s an old wives tale, the heartbeat is strong I think it’s a boy’. And just like that I was convinced I was having a baby boy.

I started posting my 12 week scan picture to Facebook groups which look at nub or skull theory. It came back with mixed opinions. But you never know really until the scan and I had booked an early gender scan at Window to the Womb because I’m so impatient. When you’re pregnant not only do people think it’s fair game to randomly touch you (well your belly anyway) in any other scenario this would be wholly unacceptable but if you’re pregnant their little fingers just can’t resist. It’s infuriating, as are comments about the size of your bump.

Mine went from ‘are you sure you’re actually pregnant?’ Let me think ‘I’m not sure ‘sue from accounts’ whom I’ve spoken to once, maybe I’ve just eaten too much pasta lately’. Then towards the end ‘wow you’re massive, I mean really massive, is it twins in there?’ Just try to refrain from having too much to say about my ever changing figure that is carrying a small person. There’s that awkward point in the middle where only the brave ask if you’re pregnant…. I went for dinner at the Ivy at 6 months pregnant and the waiter, embarrassed asked ‘I don’t like to assume but would you like a pillow for your back’. Tempted to be horrified at his assumption, I confirmed I was ‘with-child’ and they didn’t stop fussing over me, I loved it!

What people really love though, is to guess the sex of the baby…myself included on this one. It’s pretty annoying but we just can’t help ourselves.

Here are some ways to allegedly tell the sex of your baby and how true they were for me….

1. Myth – Sickness…if you experience morning sickness it’s a girl, if you feel fine during pregnancy it’s a boy and if you have the dreaded hyperemisis then it’s a demon.

I fell in to the latter category as previously mentioned in my blog.

2. Myth- Cravings – if they’re salty/savoury it’s a boy, if they’re sweet it’s a girl.

I’m normally a savoury girl but I became all about the sweets, cream cakes, iced tea….I couldn’t get enough!

3. Myth – Chinese gender predictor, you look at the chart and it will tell you calculating your age and month you fell pregnant whether it’s a boy of girl.

I mean, there’s a 50/50 chance here but it was right for me!

4. Myth – Weeing in baking soda. If it fizzes it’s a girl if it doesn’t it’s a boy.

I never tried this because well, it’s weird!

5. Myth – Carrying out front its a boy but all the way around it’s a girl.

People love guessing this one. Despite my five scans confirming I was having a girl, some people were still convinced the five scans were wrong as my bump was out front, although to me I was carrying a lot on my hips.

6. Myth – Salt test

If someone sprinkles salt in your hair whilst you sleep and when you wake up and say a name, if it’s a boy you’ll have a boy and a girl, a girl.

I, of course did not try this as it’s ridiculous, the only name I’d be shouting out is to the person who had just sprinkled bloody salt on my head, and trust me it wouldn’t be a nice one!

I pride myself on being pretty good at telling from the scan pictures! Have you ever tried any of these? Or have you or anyone you know been told the wrong gender at a scan?

Why I won’t ‘sleep train’ my baby….Even though she doesn’t sleep.

It’s no secret that Jasmine is not a good sleeper, I can be up anywhere between 5-20 times in the night with her. A physical and emotional struggle, it’s no wonder sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.

Five months down the line it’s improved very little and more often than not I see every hour. Yes it’s exhausting and frustrating, but even in my lowest moments at 3am, I couldn’t comprehend ‘sleep training’ Jasmine. I know that it works so well for lots of mums and this is just a post of my personal opinion, not judging others.

Sleep training can come by lots of different names, controlled crying or using the ‘cry it out’ method are among a few main ones. So letting them cry until they learn that it’s ‘bed time’ and eventually you win and they loose. But when you have listened to your baby cry themselves to sleep there’s no real winners are there? Normally the crying stops because they are too exhausted to carry on. Or some methods include going back in but not pick the baby up just ‘sssshhh-ing’ her and pat her tummy until she gets the message.

Again if this works for you then I’m not telling you how to parent your child, just my own stance and the truth is I find it quite heartbreaking.

When I decided to have Jasmine I made a commitment to be her mum, not just when it suited me but 24 hours a day (and night). How can I say I’m always here for you….but not between the hours of 7pm – 7am, then you’re on your own. If she needs me anytime I need to be there to give her a cuddle and reassure her, I don’t want her to think I’m ever not there for her needs. Nighttimes can often be the times when babies need comfort the most. She’s just a baby, in other cultures they carry their babies around in their arms all day, sleep with them in their arms at night and would never dream of leaving that baby to cry it out, alone.

We become obsessed as a culture of ‘not making a rod for our own backs’ when really babies just need love. They’ll sleep eventually, I would rather they were content and secure than, so upset from crying without anyone coming that they loose their voice and give in to sleep. Why are we so against answering our babies needs? If babies have a nightmare and need comfort they just want to be held and comforted by mum.

Yes, it’s tough being up through the night. As I type this now it’s 3.54am and I’m walking around rocking Jasmine in my arms for the ninth time tonight. But these nights will pass.

Yes, it’s going to be so tough when she’s in her own room but if she calls me through the night, I’ll be there to give her love and security whether she’s 5 months old or 17 years old. And I won’t feel guilty for cuddling her, or feeding her on demand. And guess what? You can’t spoil a baby.

Don’t get me wrong I’d love her to sleep longer, but I’d never want to see and hear her suffer to get there. I understand it works for some family’s but for me it’s a thanks but no thanks.

‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ – William Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 1 -?A midsummer nights dream

Is my baby broken? Comparing myself to the other Mummy’s.

We can’t help it, we all judge. Nowhere is there a more judgey community than the mum community…not always big judgements, just little ‘shouldn’t that baby we wearing a sun hat’ style kind of judgements. Even I judge. I don’t mean to….I just do it. And I by no means am in a position to judge.

I just can’t help myself sometimes….. I’m not sure if there’s a parent out there who doesn’t have a little judgement or opinion now and again….And the thing that makes me laugh is I am the least qualified person to judge. In fact I hate the way parents compare their babies…’My Hugo is reading Twelfth Night’ boasts Sadie, I blush recalling Jasmines delight in ‘Peppa pigs sailboat adventure ‘… And comparing looks… we’ve all done it, and I know all babies are beautiful blah blah blah but sometimes I see an ugly baby in the street and note how much better looking my baby is….it’s true I’m lucky she’s a looker – that’s not an opinion.

But REAL judgements. Although Jasmine is hitting all her ‘milestones’ there’s areas which send me in to a frenzied panic. Such as ‘the bedtime routine’. Jasmine has a lovely bedtime routine…. she has a bath at 5.30pm with expensive bubble bath (which promises to help her to sleep), she then has a massage with music and candles, with expensive baby foot oil sourced from jellyfish saliva (or something special) which also promises to help her sleep. She then has a lovely feed in our darkened room with a very expensive oil with reed infusers designed especially for babies, which promises to help her sleep….then I feed her to the sound of ocean waves in her white noise machine which, you know promises to help her sleep. And then she falls in to a deep sleep, as I gently put her in her crib and look at her beautiful face it make all the hard work worth it. So sleep she does… for thirty bloody minutes. Then she’s awake like I haven’t spent the best part of two hours on wind down.

So I feed her again and put her down, a maximum of 45 minutes this time….this charade goes on all night…although sometimes it gets more fun and she won’t go down in her crib at all and would rather I held her and swayed. I dread being asked the question about the ‘bedtime routine’ I try I really do, so hard. I feel so envious of mums who can put the baby down at 6.30pm and enjoy an evening downstairs…this is still just a dream for me. Is my baby broken? Why are the 2 or 3 months old babies settled in to a routine and my baby barely last half an hour at a time.

I’ve had mums ask me if I give Jasmine a ‘dream feed’ – around 10pm when the baby is still asleep you give them a feed while they sleep, to help them sleep longer. I can only fantasise Jasmine sleeping until 10pm let alone feeding while she was asleep still. The more I heard about these babies who slept for 12 hours waking up once, maybe twice for a feed and change, the more I panicked.

Is my baby broken? I’m trying so hard but she just doesn’t want to sleep, I feel I’ve exhausted all options. I fear the impending day when she’s going in to her big cot in a couple of weeks….will she even sleep those 30 minutes…I don’t know. All I know is some parents seem to do this with ease but I’m so worried of this step as I feel my nights are currently one big fail. If I was being judged…. not to mention the fact she won’t go to anyone other than my partner or I. She goes nuts and I’ve no idea why…..All these people on ‘date nights’ while Sally from next door looks after their baby, I honestly don’t think Jasmine could last me going to the loo without an epic meltdown. Again I thought I’d done everything right but I can’t help but envy those who can still have a life and be themselves other than just mummy, especially if like me you’re breastfeeding and can only be gone a certain amount of time before a hungry baby goes crazy.

These are a few things I really worry about, especially as she’s five months old and it seems every other mum has it sussed? And their babies are younger…Do they? Am I missing something? Although when I look at her beautiful happy face I can help but feel I’m doing something right.

‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ William Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 1 – A midsummer nights dream.

Enjoying my ‘year off’

My year off has been great so far, I’ve got to travel most of Europe, finished editing my novel and approached some publishers. I’ve read lots of amazing books and made sure I take lots of ‘me time’ to, you know, meditate, have baths, just generally pamper myself really.

That is of course is untrue, despite my naivety thinking I may be able to achieve some of the things on the list. I write this blog at 2.37am walking around holding my 5 month old as she pulls my lips, scratches my face and desperately tries to pulls my glasses off my face, whilst she gazing at me in wonderment with a big smile on her face.

I can’t help but feel furious when people utter the words ‘year off’. I’ve never worked so hard in my life, there’s no break time, hell, there’s not even really any toilet breaks, my back is in agony from carrying A 14lb baby around all day…..and night. Here’s an average day.

5.30am get up for the day. Jasmine comes in to my bed for a cuddle, she’s pretty cute but then demands we get up for the day. Go and change her nappy and carry her downstairs.

I need a pair of hands to feed the dogs, stroke the dogs and let them outside. Pop Jasmine in to her pushchair and put the kettle on. She doesn’t mind being in there but if I go over my allocated 6 minutes of her being in her non moving pushchair – it kicks off.

Dogs done, a cup of tea made. Winning at life.

I then put her in her jumperoo, she finds this hilarious but only for three minutes, not even enough time for my tea to cool down. She’s still tired and starting to get crabby! I put her on the play mat and start to play and she likes this, laughs until she decides it’s enough and wants to be in my arms. So off we go walking around, she starts getting upset now (obviously tiredness) so I go upstairs and she goes back to sleep. With white noise and feeding. She naps in her crib and I jump in the shower for a speed shower, panicking that I heard her cry. I never did.)-

I then speed to get ready, tidy, put a wash on, make the bed, get her clothes ready, tidy and clean in the 30 minutes she’s asleep.

She wakes up pretty chirpy. So I change her nappy and get her in to her clothes for the day, back downstairs and she has a poop explosion, fondly known as a poonami. We play some more I try to tidy the lounge some days she lets me some days she just wants cuddles. Which sound relaxing but she kicks off if I sit down, she wants me standing rocking her for these cuddles, which I do. There’s various feeds and nappy changes on demand throughout the day and night.

I also believe in attachment parenting. I don’t want Jasmine to cry so much that she runs out of voice so I ‘win’ for my own convenience. She’s a baby and if she wants her mummy I’ll be there for her, through her whole life. When she’s old enough to really understand right and wrong I have no qualms about being strict if I need to be. But now she just needs us.

After some play I know she’s ready for another sleep so will walk around carrying her playing white noise. Eventually She falls asleep in my arms, only to be woken by one of three dogs barking at a leaf outside or an unsuspecting passer by. I give the said dog the death stare – I can’t shout as Jasmine is already stirring, and they continue the bark and now she’s awake and seriously crabby, now too fed up for her toys I carry her around to sooth her. Yes she loves being carried around – No, she hates her sling! In short she gets very bored easily and needs constant attention. Not sure if she takes after her mummy or daddy?!

It’s 9am by this point.

Still walking around with Jasmine, I know she’s tired now as she’s getting so grizzly. Sometimes I’ll take her out in the pram to give my arms a rest.

I’m very lucky that Dave gets home around midday. I hold her out to him declaring ‘tag! You’re it!’ Her grizzling stops when she sees her Daddy, she beams as if the funniest person in the world has just walked in. Ironically the funniest person the world has been there all morning!

I cease this opportunity to have a wee. I then take her back while Dave has a sleep…. trying to keep her entertained and quiet at the same time is tough.

Dave then takes her out for an hour or two, so I can sleep or do one of the million things on my to do list. When the baby comes back I have missed her so instantly feed her! She’s slept now in the car or pram so is feeling fresh. We then do some sensory play. This can last 20 minutes on good days and 20 seconds on bad! I’m willing 5.30pm to come so I can put her in the bath and give my back a rest. about 4.30pm I give her a massage and play music, sing to her, read a story until bath time. After this bathtime, dress her, feed her, hold her and put her in bed at 7-7.30pm. I go to bed then too as 30 minutes later she’s awake. I feed her again and put her back again now 9pm I put her back in her pod, shut my eyes, exhausted I start to drift off and she’s awake. It’s a form of torture I can’t quite explain. After feeding her and putting her back down it’s now 10pm and once again I shut my eyes start to drift off and she’s awake. This goes on until around 5-5.30am when she’s wide awake and our day begins. Although last night she didn’t go back to sleep at all between 1.30 – 4am. I’m not complaining, I just want to give people a true understanding of my ‘year off’.

On the last day of work before my maternity leave, I was full of promises and others to me. I’m lucky that I work in a team where I like everyone. When Jasmine came along I couldn’t keep my promises of going to every social event and as part of a ‘what’s app’ group with my team from work, the updates made me feel more isolated than ever. I no longer understood the ‘banter’, I didn’t even recognise a lot of the names being added to the group, new people joining the team, new people who had never heard of me or even cared. Too exhausted to make it to most social events. In a world of social media I can see images of people out socialising looking amazing….some days I dare not look at my own reflection as I make zero effort. I have friends at work who have been amazing and always in touch despite my flakiness. But there are other friendships in my life which I felt like I was always the one trying hard to keep in touch. When the brutal truth is maybe they are just not that in to me now I have a baby. I can’t just stay out all night drinking, my baby needs to be fed – maybe they see that as boring. Hurtful though it is, it’s something that happens.

It’s all about finding a balance I guess, which I’m not sure I’ve found. Feeling isolated but also declining invitations because I’m just too tired.

The people who have messaged me, who have gone out of their way to keep that contact. They will mean so much to me going forward. Who want to socialise with the girl who hasn’t brushed her hair in weeks and is best friends with a 5 month old.

This ‘year off’ isn’t just about raising Jasmine, it’s also about me finding my way as a parent, making sacrifices I thought I never would and being the best I can be….even if I do literally stink a bit! It’s the hardest year of my life, heaven knows how people make it look so easy…but it’s also the best year of my life as I get to spend every day with Jasmine and really, she’s pretty cool.

‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ – William Shakespeare- Act 1, Scene 1 – A midsummer nights dream.

Oh hello summer….! Dressing your baby for the right temperature.

‘I’m going to be such a chilled out mum, I’m not going to get over protective and stupid over every tiny little thing when the baby comes’ these were the words I actually uttered five short months ago….flash forward to present day….May 8th – hottest day of the year, like ever….. ‘That’s it!!! We’re all sleeping outside!!!’ I announce in a dramatic panic as my Gro egg (bedroom thermometer) reads 30c with a very sad face next to it! Optimum temperature for a baby’s room is 18c and I was way over!! I contemplated putting ice packs in the bedroom to make a cooler environment/igloo but my other half calmly turned the oscillating fan on instead.

After a few minutes the temperature was 26c….. so I reverted to my old friend google and put her in a little vest to bed. It was still hot, she felt hot, was she getting the fan? As I felt her, she was, a I then began to panic that she would get too cold with the fan and freeze…. (there’s no real rational here!)

As I watched the egg go down in temperature through the night I consulted google and decided she was now too cold in just a vest so put her 1 tog Gro bag on! I continued to watched the egg in the night as it went down in temperature, getting happier and also, after yet more googling, I put a little summer romper over her vest and under her sleeping bag…..and ordered a new 0.5 tog Gro bag at 3am! Will this anxiety ever leave me?! I’ve attached the link from the Gro company of the guidance of what to dress baby in at bedtime if anyone is a anxious (nuts) as me! They are recommended by the lullaby trust, a charity which aids the prevention of Sudden Infant death syndrome (SIDS) please check it out, especially mums to be! http://gro.co.uk/what-to-wear/

The one where it took three hours to leave the house….

I remember the days when leaving the house would consist of these thoughts – my outfit, do I look good? Are my eyebrows on fleek? Will I have a glass of wine with lunch? Post Jasmine my thought process is along the lines of Do I have Sophie the giraffe? Do I have Peppa pig? Who knew such a tiny person needed a giant bag of crap like she was going for a week in Tenerife….? Nappies, muslin cloths, wipes, Calpol in case she gets sick in the next few hours, a thermometer just in case…. headshots and a resume in case she gets scouted by a top modelling agent (still waiting for that day!)

My outfit is anything I can feed in, if Jasmine has a hungry meltdown because she hasn’t eaten for 45 minutes, I need to know I can feed her without stripping in the middle of a shopping centre! My make up is as far as I get applying it in the morning without having to pick Jasmine up off the bed. Sometimes we get to mascara sometimes we don’t get past moisturiser- I apologies for those days! Plus I also have to put together an outfit for her, where as my own choice of clothes makes me look like I ran through a jumble sale covered in superglue, hers on the other hand must be just perfect, colour coordinated and accessories to match.

It hasn’t always been easy though when she was very tiny I used to panic so much when she was in her pram, I was so scared she would fall out or a giant eagle would swoop down and peck her! It was tough but I powered through and have less fear now!

When she’s asleep I keep rocking the pram, even though I’m at a standstill. During lunch I do the same, make her feel like she’s still moving….keep her asleep – avoid meltdown in pram. I look across the restaurant and there’s another mum doing exactly the same, but there’s also smug super mum in the corner with her twins, feeding them and herself, throwing together some arts and crafts as they squeal with delight, looking across at me with a judgey stare, like I should also be acting like a cross between Mary Poppins and Neil Buchanan instead of keeping her asleep. Once I no longer need two hands to eat (I’ve been rocking her with my foot) I stop rocking her so she can wake up and I can hold her. She’s happy enough until I drop Sophie the giraffe on the blinking floor! Does the three second rule apply to babies toys? Will judgey mum in the corner call social services if I give her the toy and she puts it in her mouth? Do I risk her getting upset because she wants the toy? So many dilemmas I need to answer in the space of 30 seconds. I managed the distract her with Peppa pig, phew!

Also things to prepare for is where to feed her….luckily the shopping centre in the city has a designated feeding room so I use that to feed and change her. But then I had a dilemma of the fact I now needed to pee….I have Jasmine, a buggy, a changing bag and a tiny bladder! What does one do in these situations? Obviously babies can’t be left…I know this. Do I try and get in to the ‘mother and child room’ I weighed up the options and decided I needed the get the buggy in with us, I had a hot flush worrying that judgey mummy would come storming through the doors and call me a ridiculous mother whilst speed dialling social services again….if only there were coat hooks to pop babies on while you went to the toilet! Ok so I’ve decided I’m going in this cubical as it’s extra spacious….manoeuvre the buggy and realise it’s not extra spacious at all! There’s a bloody tiny child size toilet seat next to the adult one?! How annoying! I had committed to going in there though and wasn’t backing down… so I rammed the pram in and sitting sideways on the loo seat – Which is weird in itself!

Jasmine just stared at me and became judgey baby…..and then I had to wedge it out, the whole time trying to style it out like I meant to do this and it was really effortless.

Luckily she then fell asleep on the way home so we didn’t have cry-magedon, that’s always a laugh. When the baby is crying so much people glare at you half in pity and the other half in judgement. I’m sorry for ruining your trip to Sainsbury’s but if you want to hold her, be my guest! On days I’m really tired (most days) I’m willing someone to make a comment to me, I’m actually desperate for someone to say something…. Hell hath no fury like a tired mother scorned!!

‘The course of true love never did run smooth’ – William Shakespeare Act 1 Scene 1 – A Midsummer Nights Dream

So is Disney really the happiest place on earth?

Yes. End of article.

Ok, ok I’ll elaborate. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to three of the six Disney parks in the world. I just need to tick off Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo – then I’ll have completed them all! (I could also visit the resort in Hawaii to make sure I really have completed all angles!)

My name is Marie and I’m a Disney-holic. If it’s wrong for a 31 year old to cry when they see the castle, then I don’t wanna be right! Often, Disney is a once in a lifetime holiday so it’s important to get it right and save as much money as possible. Also the correct name of the park is important. In California and Paris its Disneyland and is Florida its Disney world!

Let’s start with Disneyland in California. I went here in 2016 and only had one day to spend here. It has a charm about is as the only park which Walt himself walked around, his apartment was and still is, above the fire station on Main Street. There is a lamp in the window which used to be on when Walt was staying there. After his death it remained off unless one of his daughters were in the park, then it would be lit as a mark of respect. All these small touches are lovely. There are two parks in California – The Magic Kingdom and California Adventure Park. There’s some great rides including all the classics (it’s a small world, peter pans flight, space mountain) but also some different ones. However, it was rammed, it was not school holidays or public holidays, just could barely move and queues were two hours minimum. I’m assuming as it’s smaller than Florida it seems so busy. I liked it but wouldn’t rush back.

Disneyland Paris – I love the fact I can get on a train to Disney. Ok, so it has to go under the sea but still such an easy journey and the Eurostar drops you IN the Disney bubble. So for convenience it’s amazing. Although you can drive through the channel tunnel, fly or get a boat. It’s pretty easy! Plus you can just go for a couple of nights. I think it’s s great place to get some Disney magic.

It has all the classic rides and some great places to eat! I’ve stayed off site and on site and would definitely recommend a Disney hotel on site as it’s really lovely to be able to walk everywhere especially after getting off the Eurostar inside Disney. I’m looking forward to staying at the ‘Disney Hotel’ when we take Jasmine for her first trip in November.

Disney World in Florida is huge! I read somewhere that the car park alone is bigger than Alton Towers. The four main parks are Magic Kingdom – all the classic Disney charm. Animal kingdom- home to ‘Pandora’ based on Avatar and where you can go on a safari and see the animals over the vast land.

Epcot – There is the ‘world showcase’ here are replicas of different countries around the world, great to try different snacks and drinks from each country! Hollywood Studios – home to the tower of terror and old style Hollywood theme, this will, next year be the home of Star Wars land and VERY busy! When Pandora opened last year there was a 7 hour wait to simply get in to the park, plus another five hours to get on a ride there!

It really is a holiday of a lifetime and the bonuses of staying on Disney property is receiving three fast passes a day, extra magic hours, magic bands and if you book for next year at the moment you will receive free dining for your stay!

I have already planned two of the three Disney parks for this year and next as Jasmine will be under two and her travel, stay and tickets are free! Need to make the most of that! She is even named after two Disney Characters. I can’t wait to make some great memories with her. I plan to blog about my new Disney experiences with a child in tow.

Have you ever been to the Disney parks? I’d love to hear any stories !

Tips for William and Kate…… (and you!)for their impending trips to Mothercare!

Ok, so I’m pretty sure William and Kate haven’t been counting down the days until the Mothercare sale or hanging on until Tesco announce their latest ‘baby event’. In truth I doubt they have shopped at all for the new prince as everything is sent to them! For those of us who do have to slum it and go baby shopping amongst the…public….it’s overwhelming, the first time we went looking for prams it was such a minefield I went home and cried. I have brought into almost every fad so if I haven’t mentioned something chances are I own it so feel free to ask! So here’s some of my must have items and some items which have ended up in the garage, on the way to the garage or thrown against the wall in a 2am rage!

Ewan the bloody dream sheep.

Really cute and hear it works wonders on some babies, attached to the crib playing womb noises and heartbeats to comfort the baby in to a deep sleep. Jasmine looks at me like ‘I had to stay in there for 9 months don’t remind me.’ It also turns off after 20 minutes so if baby is a light sleeper it’s not ideal.

My Hummy

The item thrown at the wall in a 2am rage. Costing £50, it and attached to the crib, like Ewan playing white noise and works with a sensor if your baby makes a noise it kicks in again. I play it each night but like Ewan it doesn’t quite cut the mustard. White noise it amazing, I use it every day. It soothes baby and I have an excellent app on my phone. I put a tablet in the crib and play white noise off YouTube through the night, much cheaper and much more effective – which is good as throwing the tablet would probably dent the wall!

Play mat

Great. Sometimes our arms need a rest to its good for us and good for baby to have a stretch around. I have a couple now, one for the garden and one for the lounge.

Sophie the giraffe

Technically a glorified dog toy, but it works! Jasmine loves holding a chewing Sophie when her teeth are causing her pain! Brilliant.

Amber teething bracelet

I opted for the anklet so it couldn’t end up in her mouth, was a bit sceptical but she’s dribbling and chewing without being in too much pain!

Sleepyhead

I’m sure that the sleepyhead police will jump on me telling me I’m a bad mum for putting Jasmine in a sleepyhead in her snuz pod. My midwife recommended it to me when I was exhausted as Jasmine would not sleep on her back, only in my arms. I was awake 24/7, the sleepyhead is a breathable material hence the £120 price tag but it’s the only way she will go in her crib. She went from sleeping 2 minutes in there to two hours.

Steriliser

As I’m breastfeeding I only use bottles when I express and am finding it’s easier to sterilise them in the microwave. Same as the fancy bottle heater, much easier to pop boiling water in a bowl or jug as popping them in there!

Nappy Disposal system

Really love this item saves going to the bin 10 times a day and doesn’t smell at all!

Bumbo

Baby looks cute in it but not sure she’s impressed wedged in to a plastic chair. Instead get a washing basket full of sensory toys, scarves, flashing lights and a cushion to prop her up, costs a fraction of the price and she has more fun!

Snuggle bath

A bath she can sit up in and the foam grips her back to stop her slipping, she loves it!

I could go on as I’ve got it all! My pram is an oyster 2 and ace, my car seat a maxi cosy and although it’s a little heavy in hindsight it’s a good make. I was adamant I wouldn’t buy/use anything second hand but now I’d recommend it* especially as some items are trial and error! *apart from a car seat, that needs to be new as it’s important to know it’s not been in a crash as it may not be fit for purpose.

The most important item to have is a camera!! Take lots of pictures as you’ll only have one chance to catch them so small, each day they’ll be the little bit older.

Seriously, I love trying new items and feel like I have so much now I could have a degree in baby products! Let me know any other items I need to have in my life…..