Soft Play.

It's that time of year again. Y'know, when the weather is a constant shit show (bar a few glorious sunny and freezing cold days when you can let your kids loose in the park) so you have no other option than to wear them out at your local Jungle Gym or whatever they're called these days. I woudn't know because I'm one of those Mums. The Mum Who Won't Take Their Children To Soft Play aka party poopering snooty mum.

We've only ever been twice. Once was to a birthday party at the cutest soft play cafe in Bristol when Lil was almost one (that was lovely) and to another one that was full of shitbag older kids running around with their snotty noses, knocking the smaller kids over (that was not lovely). Lil got sick the second time and I vowed after that experience never again. And I bloody well stuck to my word.

Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge her from having fun but we can have fun doing other stuff that doesn't result in her having norovirus because some idiot has let their kid run riot in soft play when they really should be at home in bed not sharing their germs. Does this make me sound like a germophobe freak? Well I don't care.

I have a long list of things I'd rather do than go there, in fact, and it looks like this:

1. Do arts and crafts. Even if it means finding glitter in my bra and getting my hair stuck to my face with PVA glue (don't ask) whilst watching her colour outside of the lines (PAINFUL).
2. Bake cookies that turn out to be disgusting and pretend I love them because Lil made them and be forced to eat a whole plate even if I feel like I'm going to barf.
3. Make my own Jungle Gym using my really lovely, expensive cushions (note to self: wait until they leave home to buy more lovely, expensive cushions).
4. Watch Dora The Explorer back to back for three hours straight. Hola, Soy Dora etc etc. And don't judge, thanks to Dora my kid can now speak Spanish.
5. Pluck my bikini line. Has to be less painful than enduring Monkeybizz.
6. Empty the pan cupboard and let her make her own drum kit.
7. Let her paint my face (read: cake face paint on that sometimes stains my poor, sensitive skin).
8. Let her do my hair (read: rip it out).
9. Let her empty out every box containing toys or Lego or Playmobil all over the floor knowing full well I'll have to tidy it up and end up cutting my foot open because fucking Lego.
10. Play out in the rain. Because that's not so bad y'know. It' s certainly more fun that piss smelling soft play.

Does this make me a mean mum? Probably. But there are some sacrifices kids need to make too and in this house it's Jungle Gym.

Boob feeding.

I've been writing this post in my head for a few weeks now and decided Suzy said it better than I ever could.

I never breastfed Lil. It was always the plan, I think. I remember recoiling at the thought of doing it when I was carrying her but some days when I wasn't incessantly bitching about being pregnant, looking forward to trying. It never happened, I was too much of a wreck after her birth and then BAM, post natal depression. There was no way in hell it was happening.

With Ember, I was curious. Wondered if I'd be the same after having her as I was with Lil but of course you can never have the same birth twice. The midwife just put her on my boob while I was in recovery and I remember thinking "is that it?". No searing pain, no screaming in agony to get the baby off me. I don't know why I thought it would be hell, perhaps because I've read some breastfeeding horror stories, but I guessed I at least deserved to have an easy time of it after such a traumatic birth experience the first time round. And I think it's helps my baby number two is super chilled out, most of the time.

I was worried I'd come across as sounding smug, and maybe I do, but breastfeeding has come so easily to us. Although there was this one day, the day after I came out of hospital, where it felt like shards of glass were being sucked out of my nipples and I cried really hard in pain and made Tim go to Asda at 2am to buy formula because "I can't fucking do this, it hurts so bad I think I'm going to die" and of course Ember vommed it all up and screamed because it wasn't booby goodness (although I'm well aware there is goodness in formula too, I have a very strong and bossy four year old to prove it). And then the midwife came round and told me to try nipples shields and after that everything was just grand again. Now it's just like breathing, I do it automatically without even thinking about it. The hardest bit about it all has been deciding what to wear everyday and finding accessible clothes because nursing clothes are fucking hideous but I'm getting there (and yes I've seen Dress Like A Mum but I can't pull off dungarees the whole time I'm eating a packet of biscuits everyday).

(I was going to insert a subtle breastfeeding photo here but remembered the internet is full of perverts so thought better of it.)

So I guess this is a written pat on the back (or boobs) to myself. Because I have a baby my body is helping to grow and it feels pretty amazing. It's something I never thought I'd achieve and while to some it may not seem much of an achievement, to me it means the world.

Sibling Love.

I was five when my brother was born, we have a similar age gap to that of Lilian and Ember and I can remember thinking a sibling was the best thing ever.

While I would have loved a sister, it wasn't of great concern to 5 year old me that there would be a boy in the house. You can dress baby boys up too and pretend they're your dolly. I wasn't going to discriminate.

I can't really remember my feelings towards my newborn brother but I do remember March of that year being super snowy and my grandad having to clear the path outside of my grandparents house with a shovel. I also remember absolutely loving having a six month old brother because that was the perfect age for pretending he was my toy.

I went on to have three more siblings, all girls, but I guess the novelty had worn off at that point because by then I was seven years old and most probably had the shitty pre-teen attitude to match and was way more interested in pogs or whatever else seven year olds were into that year (glitter jelly sandals probs). Anyway, I love them all equally and dearly but I will always have that special 'first sibling' bond with my brother, he was the best dolly EVER.

Giving Lil a brother or sister was always going to be nerve wracking. She's a very head strong, bossy sass bag and I did wonder how she'd cope with not being the centre of my world. But she has taken to Ember wonderfully and vice versa. I really didn't expect to see such a bond between them so early on but straight away something magical happened. At first I could only see the love Lilian has for her sister but now Ember is awake for the majority of the day (nap lover she is not) she looks for her when she's at school and once she's home, beams with so much love. 

This evening, I ran myself a bath. Ember was in her bouncer and Lil was on the floor 'doing' my hair (read: ripping it out). If Lil wasn't looking at her, paying her attention of any kind, she got humpy and started shouting. But as soon as Lil started talking to her she was all smiles. I climbed into the bath wondering when the day would come I'd get to bathe in peace (sometime around my 40th birthday I reckon) and left the girls to their devices. Lil proceeded to take down my make up bag and tell Ember all about its contents (this comes from watching too many 'Inside Out' make up tutorials on YouTube) and it was the most wonderful thing to watch. The love in Ember's eyes, how gentle her big sister was being... There was no shoving a mascara wand in her face, just pure gentleness (and one or two ruined lipsticks because you don't need to be gentle with those). It's definitely at the top of my 'heart-bursting moments' list.

I know there'll be times when they both forget how to be gentle and will be screaming at one another because "she STOLE my lego" or "she used the last of MY mascara" but for now I'm going to enjoy this love between them and dream of a peaceful bath time.


I am a HUGE fan of blankets, you really can never have enough although ask my husband and he'll tell you otherwise. When I'm finally living my dream in the country (more on that soon), I'm going to have a huge basket of blankets in the lounge so people can help themselves to one and snuggle up in a corner or by the fire. DREAMY.

Anyway, blankets.

I came across Hollie on Instagram (where lots of mother love stories begin) and IMMEDIATELY fell in love with everything about her and her crazy knits and pom poms. Blankets, socks, hats, scarves, tiny baby crowns... and all so bright and colourful. And I proceeded to spend a ghastly amount of money on her wares because sometimes you just NEED to buy another blanket / hat / scarf, especially as winter seems to have arrived bang on schedule.

So I introduce to you FLORA FAIRWEATHER.

can you handle this cuteness because I can't

Hollie is mother to one cutie, living in a dreamy cottage in the Norfolk countryside. I'm yet to meet her but already know her personality matches the colourful woolly goods she produces. You only need to look at her Instagram to know she is one of the kindest, most fun people around and she just bursts with positivity. Everyone needs a bit of Hollie in their lives. And EVERYONE needs some of her colourful crochet in their homes and on their babies!

pom pom LOVE

Ember in her crochet crown - buy it here (the crown not the baby)

If you're looking for a pom pom class then keep an eye out on Hollie's instagram, she recently held one in London and the church next to her house in Norfolk and HOPEFULLY she'll be holding more in the new year. The rainbow bagels looked INSANE!

Hollie blogs over at Flora Fairweather and you can visit her shop here but be warned, you'll be parting with all your money.