Thursday, 27 May 2010

Guest Post Day by The Mad House

Its Guest Post Day and I was teamed up with the very lovely Jen AKA Mummy Mad at her blog The Mad House. Check it out its fantastic.

So here is Mummy Mad's Post

My youngest child MiniMad will be starting school full time in September and to be honest I am a little frightened. Not frighten for him, no he will be fine, he has his brother in the year above and he loves Preschool and has been asking to go for about 4 months.

No it is me I fear for. You see I have really enjoyed the last 5 and a bit years, which have been spent at home looking after my children, enjoying their company, getting messy, crafty, playing trains, making dens, just being a child with them too.

I fear that the time has come for me to re-enter the real world, don't get me wrong, being a mummy full time is the hardest job I have ever had. All the responsibility and accountability without any recognition, appraisals or real feedback, but stepping back in to the world of paid employment scares me.

It feels me with dread and terror, but it needs to be done, as the Mad Family finances are demanding it. But what can I do. We relocated back to the North East of England when Mini Mad was born, so I don't have an employer to go back to. I was a Facilities Manager for a large software firm in Berkshire pre minimad, not something that there is a great need for here in our little patch of the North East.

The area has just been blighted by the closure of the local steel plant and any employment is hard to find, let alone part time, ideally term time only employment. I have been discussing this with MadDad and have even approached the local Tesco, Morrisons etc, but they don't have any positions available and they just keep saying I am over qualified.

Yes I could work in admin in a school, but how many of those positions are they available, nothing, but I keep asking and I keep looking.

But somewhere along the line my self confidence has eroded and a fear of the workplace has taken its place. Where has the successful self assured business woman gone. Left in her place is a bumbling nervous wreck. It shouldn't be like this. The skills I have learnt as a mother as possibly the most important I have every picked up and include

Peace Negotiator - ever tried dealing with two boys 15 months apart?

Domestic Engineer - feeding four people each and everyday, negotiating the fickle likes and dislikes of toddlers.

Interpreter - Oh yes school gate politics

Project Manager - so many activities, so little time

How to Manage a budget

Negotiation skills, ever tried getting a child to bed.

Patience - I have the patience of a saint now, much more than before children.

Yes these skills are transferable to the real world of work. they become, decision making, independent thinking, negotiation, budgeting and book keeping, multitasking, and time management skills, but I am still filled with dread at the prospect of putting myself out in the real world again. Fear of rejection, fear of being dismissed as a waste of space.

I want to shout out to any prospective employers out there, I have been busy doing the most important job in the world, raising my children, being their main influence and running my household. I have been busy being a mummy.

Mummy Mad
The Mad House

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

7 Interesting things about me!

I was tagged in the Kreativ blogger meme by the lovely Mellow Mummy so thank you so much and the rules state:

1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

5. Nominate other Kreativ Bloggers.

6. Post links to the blogs you nominate.

7. Let the nominated victims bloggers know they have been tagged.

So here are 7 things you may find interesting about me:

1. I have looked after many celebrities in my job from A list to Z list. Biggest name I guess would be Russell Crowe when I looked after his band and got to do a press morning at the Berlin film festival with him and ladies he winked at me!

2. I blush a lot its even more noticeable on me as I have pale skin and red hair! When I looked after Sir Cliff Richard, I was utterly charmed by him such a lovely man but to this day he is the only celebrity that I have turned the deepest shade of red to and I really don't know why! I blush a lot and I hate it, most of the time there is no reason for it and it just happens even though I feel confident its something I have no control over.

3. I hate hoovering it gets me totally stressed, hot and bothered and I'm like a grumpy bull charging round the house dragging the Dyson behind me. Beware those that talk to me when I am in the hoovering zone.

4. I have joint hypermobility down one side of my body which means my joints are super flexible and can move in and out of their sockets sounds like I should be good at yoga but i'm not - quite the opposite. My knee cap once dislocated around to the back of my leg and I ended up in plaster for 6 weeks. Ever since I've not been able to run or do any high impact sports as I am terrified of it happening again.

5. Pre children I was always going out and getting hammered! Normally something eventful would happen to me such as slipping a disc in my back after a drunken mad moment on a trampoline, nearly launching myself on Simon Cowell and Westlife at the Music Week Awards some years ago (thankfully a work colleague got to me just in time!), partying with strippers and Peter Stringfellow at Stringfellows to waking up up with literally a bush in bed with me which I must have fallen into the night before. Shameful behaviour but now I am a respectable mum (cough, cough) these things rarely happen.... well only very occasionally!

6. I have a great little dog called Finnie, she is a Griffon Bruxellious, which you don't come across very often. She thinks she is human, totally obsessed with me and the kids love her. Pop Princess has now started to dress her up and the other day I found her with all my necklaces round her and Pop princess laughing in the background.

7. I have lost the three strongest female role models to me, my mum who died from Skin Cancer when she was just 38 and I was only 17 at the time. My Nan on my dads side who I was very close to and came to look after her as much as could when she needed help in her 90's. Unfortunately I was the one to find her passed away in her flat an experience I still struggle to come to terms with and finally my other nan on my mums side, who I adored more so as she was my link to my mum and stepped in when she passed to give me that motherly role model in my life.

So there you have it 7 hopefully interesting things about me! Now I have to pass this challenge on to some other bloggers so I nominate:

Sunny Day Today Mama

Mummy's Shoes

Sunday, 23 May 2010

What's In Your Bag?

This has taken me some time to get around too so I must apologise for my slackness, but a lovely new blogger Serenity Now tagged me in my first ever meme with the topic What's in your bag?

Now because I have not long had rock baby and have a toddler in tow too I have stopped using my real life bags and go everywhere with my trusty changing bag which is now doubled up as my day to day bag. Having experienced this happens to you once you've had a baby I was determined this time round to have a more stylish changing bag.

So for Xmas my OH bought me a pink lining bag which I had been cooing over for a while, I just loved the fact that it was pink inside and the changing mat had little cup cakes over it.

So here is the contents of my bag which unfortunately is not that exciting!

The normal changing bag items: nappies, wipes, nappy sacks etc. Plus Anti bacterial wipes and hand wash. It drives me mad when you go to cafes or restaurants and they have dirty, scummy looking high chairs so the wipes come in very handy.

My Iphone - Which I am in love with, its changed my life which is so sad thanks to the iphone I am now a twitter fanatic, and I am forever checking emails and facebook plus a great advantage of it is you tube. So whenever pop princess looks like she may have a melt down or I need her to sit still to have her hair done I bribe her with the phone and let her watch an episode of Peppa pig. Works like a dream every time.

My vanity stuff - Lancome Juicy Tube, Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream both to make me look half human when I'm functioning on 5 hours sleep. Perfume Caroline Herrera 212 which I love and I know its something you had when you were 14 at school but I still love the impulse sprays!

Camera - to catch the key moments of Rock Baby developing and in the hope that Pop Princess will have a change of heart and give her a cuddle which I can catch on camera. I still haven't got a photo of them together!

Diary and Notebook - to jot down my very important social dates with other mums, play dates, lunches the usual essential dates you make when on maternity leave. The note pad is for all my wacky ideas, or my get rich quick schemes none of them have worked yet I have to add but one of these days one of them will!

Sun cream / Sun Hats / and not seen in this picture but countless snacks and juice for Pop Princess.

Oh and how can I forget my purse and keys. Unfortunately my purse is not bursting at the seams with my paltry maternity pay :(

So folks that's it not very exciting but that's my bag for the moment! The other part of this challenge is that I have to award the Sunshine Award, and the rules are:

* Put the logo on your sidebar, or within a post
* Pass the award onto 6 bloggers
* Link the nominees within your post
* Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

So thank you Serenity for making me part of this and I am going to nominate the following:

A Matter of Choice
Pumpkin's World
A Dad’s perspective on family life
Diary of a young mum
Max & Co
Cheshire Mum

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Tips for going on holiday abroad with a baby

A lot of people are starting to talk about holidays and so I thought I would write a post about my top tips for travelling with a baby under the age of one. Next post will be tips about travelling with a toddler (eek!)

Another reason for writing this post is to do my homework as I am currently receiving weekly instructions from fantastic fellow mummy blogger Erica at who has a great mummy blogger e course which I’ve signed up for and this week’s lesson is all about links.

We went away to Cyprus when Pop Princess was 10 months and we were initially really worried with all the usual fears what would she be like on the plane, what if she was ill, would she eat anything, how would we make bottles up and so forth.

1. Book child friendly accommodation – sounds obvious but there are certain holidays and companies that really go the extra mile if you have children. After doing some research we decided to book The Almyra Hotel in Paphos. They provided a service called Baby Go Lightly which meant we were able to prebook all the baby essentials we could think of. Most were free such as activity mat, baby walker for the room, changing mat, baby bath, Avent Steriliser, arm bands and for a price you could also pre order things like nappies, baby food, wipes etc. We pre ordered all the free stuff and the steriliser in particular really was fantastic.

2. Do some research into your hotel, villa etc as in its location and where the closest supermarkets are, don’t make the mistake we made and take with you all the nappies and swim nappies you need as you can buy these when you get there. I emailed the hotel and they put my mind at rest and told me the supermarket which stocked pampers nappies etc was less than a 10 minute walk away

3. Look into what formula is available in the country you are going to before you go and take it with you if you have any doubts. Also what brand of baby food is readily available. Most have their own versions but you obviously won’t understand the labels. We took with us a few Orgnanix and Plum pots that weren’t too bulky just in case PP was having an off night and wouldn’t eat anything off the menus as she was only just having more lumpy foods.

4. On the plane most airlines let you take the buggy right up to the plane when you depart but it could be some time that you get it back the other end so be prepared to carry your little one for a short while. We found PP slept on the plane on the way out we were lucky and had seats with loads of leg room right at the front so she could sit on the floor and play with her toys. We took things like biscotti biscuits and rusks which she could nibble on whilst going up and down to help her ears with the pressure and tried to get her to drink milk or water on the ascent and descent.

5. Between 6 months to 12 months take toys that are light and compact like stacking cups, crayons if they are old enough, we took some of those wooden shape and animal puzzles as well as her favourite cuddly toy for night.

6. Pack a light tog gro bag, they come in 0.5 tog for really hot climates

7. Don’t forget trainer seat inflatable which are great for the pool and arm bands if they are not provided at hotel.

8. UV suits are fantastic in the sun and cover your little ones up and baby sunglasses like baby banz are a good idea too.

9. We bought a Shade A Babe which was fantastic as it not only protected her form the sun in her buggy but acted like a mosquito net for the evenings.

10. PP wasn’t crawling when we went to it was a lovely time to go as she sat and played mostly on the sun beds which were like big double beds! But we did put her in the crèche a couple of morning which was run by powder Byrne who are fantastic so do check the facilities and standards as soon as you arrive and again do your research on them before you leave.

11. In terms of making up bottles we used mineral water you just need to check the sodium level that it doesn’t exceed 200 mg per litre (NHS has good guide lines click here) and boil it in the kettle and make them up like you would at home. The hotel was great and a kettle was also waiting for us when we got there.

12. Don’t forget snacks for when you are there like biscotti biscuits, raisins, Ella’s kitchen fruit pouches are always good too – all great for the beach bag.

13. We had one visit from the doctor as PP had a temperature and was really cranky and as we were abroad I was even more paranoid so the hotel called for one for us it was really expensive and as it was there was nothing wrong with her as the next day she cut a tooth!! But make sure you have those European Health Cards just in case as well as Calpol in the sachets and thermometer.

I can’t recommend the Almyra Hotel enough we went in August 2008 and it was expensive but it was a hassle and stress free holiday and as we were quite nervous about going abroad with a baby it really did make the holiday staying somewhere where all your needs were met. They had thought of most things the children’s menus were split into pureed meals, lumpy meals and then toddler meals and if your child was eating normal food they served a kids buffet earlier in the evening. They even had a massive awning over the main pool so the little ones were kept out of the sun!

The prices have gone up incredibly high since we went so we probably can’t afford to go again now we have 2 children. Hopefully my tips will help anyone going abroad it won’t be nearly as bad as you think and you will have a lovely time with a bit of forward planning. Please leave any tips you may have in the comments below.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Introducing Pop Princess and Rock Baby

I decided to give my two little girls code names and with my music roots I decided on Pop Princess for my 2 1/2 year old and Rock Baby for my 17 week old. So you can follow my journey and learn more about me and my girls here is some more info for you on them!

First let me introduce you to Pop Princess

Seen here on the left. She entered the world in Oct 2007, with a huge mop of dark brown hair. She was a dream baby only really cried if she was hungry, tired or windy. She slept though the night from about 5 months and was always really forward in the way she communicated and we could tell early on she was going to be a right little chatterbox. Physically she was a lot slower she didn't crawl until she was 13 months old! and she didn't walk until she was 19 months. This is in part down to me as I have joint hypo mobility on one side of my body where as PP has it all over her body. It simply means all her joints are super mobile and she now sees a podiatrist regularly and wears little insoles in her shoes to help stabilize her. She is a little more clumsy and prone to tripping up more so than other children the same age, but what she lacks in physical prowess she makes up in her effervescent personality. She is super confident, loves to be the center of attention, is rarely shy and dominates a room when she enters. Her energy levels are though the roof and she doesn't stop talking! She is a lovely bubbly little girl (although I would say that!) and has an enviable lust for life. She keeps us on our toes, bosses us around and knows exactly what she wants and what she doesn't want hence many tantrums occur daily and we are trying to help her come to terms that there is a new little miss in the house and her baby sister isn't going back to the stork in the sky and is here to stay!

This Brings me on to Rock Baby

Seen here on the right. She entered the world in Jan 2010 and I just knew when we had the scan that she was a girl. Me and the hubby were both over the moon, I had always pictured myself with two girls. My pregnancy with RB was very different I felt very sick and washed out and developed SPD when I got to about 32 weeks. I was induced at 38 weeks a bit of a shock as had no idea this was going to be an option but I was under a consultant at the hospital as I had a 3rd degree tear when PP was born. The Induction went well and active labour time was just over an hour so very very quick! she came into the world with red hair just like her mummy and looked very different to her sister. She has blue eyes for a start where as me, my husband and PP all have brown and after about four weeks she developed a large strawberry birth mark on her forehead which we are now waiting to see a specialist about. You can't see it in this picture as her very cool glasses her covering it, it doesn't bother her but I am even more protective over her because of it and you won't believe the amount of people that comment on it.

We are still learning all about RB but she is a happy little soul, very smiley, rarely fussy and is happy as long as she is fed and put to bed when she is tired. She loves her cot, she loves her naps in the days and going to bed at night. She greets us each morning with huge beams from her cot and excited jiggles of her legs and arms, she thinks she is hilarious and it feels like she is laughing at her own little jokes. She also is a chatterbox and has her own fantastic language. RB adores her sister and is always trying to catch her eye, desperate for her attention. She is currently struggling to the switch from mummy's boobs to a bottle or cup not impressed at all when we try. Stay with me as we go on the journey to discover what sort of little character she will turn out to be.

So there you have it, my two girls hope you enjoy learning more about them over the coming months.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Is it possible to have it all?

This week I have been trying to decide when I want to return to work and what hours I would ideally like to do, this has been prompted by a meeting with my boss that has been arranged for Monday. He wants to know what my intentions are as he needs to plan, with RB just four months its really hard to know for definite what I want to do.

Some days I feel like I could return full time just to have my identity back, have some time to myself, have a lunch hour to muse around the shops and grab a Starbucks, go to London for meetings and feel like I still have another role in life other than 'Mummy'.

But then RB is starting to develop and blossom into a real little character, every day she is doing something new and she constantly beams and coos to me and the love I have felt for her since the moment she was conceived is now being more visibly reciprocated. She adores me I am her whole world and with each day that passes I adore her even more.

PP with all her tantrums, her dislike for RB (she is still coming to terms with the fact she exists!) and her trying toddler ways has over the last few weeks settled down and she is more at ease and obviously adjusting and loving that her mummy is there for her again every day. As I teach her new words, shapes and colours and see how she is developing at such speed, it feels me with immense pride at the child she is becoming and then sadness that my baby is slowly disappearing. I can pretty much have a conversation with her now and she understands when she has done something wrong and can sense if I'm feeling down. She will say 'Mummy I'm sorry' or 'Mummy are you sad? big cuddle?' and my eyes fill up as I realise how amazing she is and I start to wonder how her life will map out and if her dreams will be realised.

I picked her up from nursery today and I always feel excited when I pull up as she practically bursts when she sees me, and comes charging over screaming to everyone 'that's my mummy!, oh mummy' and you get the biggest cuddles in the world every time. Its a special time of the day and I look forward to it.

So I am now wondering can I dare to have it all? Could there be a possibility of me doing the job I love, perhaps working from home a bit more so I can be around for the girls and coming up with a PR service which would not mean me having to stay out all hours in London? I need to put some options to my boss so better get my thinking cap on. Any ideas anyone??