Sunday, 30 December 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas Memories

This Christmas is my little ones first Christmas. She's only 11 months, and probably won't know what's going on, but we want to start making memories that she can look back on when she's older.

It got me thinking about my own Christmas memories. Every Christmas for as long as I can remember, our family stayed at my grandparents house an hours drive away, from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. So here's some of my memories.

• Being wedged in the back seat of the car with my sister, bags, sleeping bags and stuff and still not figuring out how Santa got all our presents to my grans house.

• Looking out the car window and searching the skies for Santa's sleigh.

• Listening to Christmas CDs all the way there.

• Waking up to a stocking at the end of the bed with a Broons or Oor Wullie book and a clementine.

• The year Santa delivered my Game Biy to my own house instead of grans.

• Waiting on everyone else getting up before we could open any presents, specifically my Aunt Martha Ann.

• Arguing over why we had to go to church on Christmas Day when we went every Sunday.

• Asking for "just one chocolate" before lunch.

• Gran dishing up her soup and my Uncle John arriving just in time to get a bowl.

• The year I fell off my chair while pulling a cracker.

• The year it snowed so badly at home that we thought we weren't going to make it to grans, but half way along the motorway it was so clear and no snow in sight!

Im sure I have lots more that are hidden away in the back of my head.

What are your Christmas memories?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Monday, 29 October 2012

Nine Months and a Bit

After nine and a bit months, our time breast feeding has come to an end. I'm really pleased to have been able to do it for so long, but I'm sad it's come to an end. Samantha had been sort of self weaning, going down to just morning and bed time feeds, but as I go back to work this week it was one to introduce the formula full time.

Samantha has adapted to the formula really well. After all the trouble we had early on trying to get her to take a bottle, and all the fancy brand name bottled we tried, she takes formula no bother from a Minnie Mouse bottle from the pound shop! She still tries to nuzzle in for the breast, and it's really hard for me to refuse her, but as I will be working 12 hour shifts it's not fair to her as she'll look for it when I'm not there.

Expressing has been a bit if a nightmare. i cant express more than 2oz a day, and thats really not enough to keep the wee one going while im at work. I really don't like the smell of formula milk. It gives me the boak! But she'll only be on it for another few months and then she can get cows milk.

I'm really going to miss breast feeding. I love the cuddles and the closeness, and that lovely good feeling rush when she's feeding. And I'm really going to miss the breast feeding group. I it wasn't for the group, I'm not sure in would have breastfed for this long. They're such a lovely, supportive bunch of ladies. In the early days they were my reason for leaving the house on a Friday morning!

So I'm sad. But in a way I'm glad she's taken to the bottle so well now. I just keep saying "no boobies" to her so often that I'm worried boobies will be her first proper word!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Review: MAM Starter Cup

As you may know, we have had such trouble getting Samantha to take milk or water out of a bottle.  So when we got the chance to review MAM's starter cup, we thought, why not? We seem to have tried everything else.

The blurb: "Babies develop very quickly and truly enjoy discovering new things. Drinking will be practiced too. Switching from a baby bottle to a cup is a big step. That’s why MAM designers, in close cooperation with developmental specialists, have developed a cup that is perfectly tuned to the needs of small children: the MAM Starter Cup". 





MAM say their cup has been specially developed to meet the needs of very young children, from four months onwards.  It has a soft spout, and non-slip handles, and is BPA free.  It is on sale for £5.99.

What I like about this cup is that it has a valve that you can take out to make the cup a free flow spout, or place it in to make it non-drip.  I have kept the valve in, because Samantha prefers to suck the water out of her cup, as the flow is too fast for her other wise.  She does still have a preference to chew the spout though, but she does appear to be getting fluid from it.  The handles are great, it means she is learning to drink herself.  She likes to hold it, and wave it about (and with the valve in, it means I don't get soaked!)

I quite like the cup, it's small enough to fit in our bag, and I love the pattern on the front!  My only complaint so far is that when it's in the bag, and being jostled about, it appears to leak a little bit into the lid.  The lid is secure enough to prevent it leaking out into the bag, but it seems to pool in the lid a little bit.  This may be just that I'm not strong enough to tighten the lid well enough though.  For £5.99 it is a wee bit more expensive than I would normally want to pay, but it's so versatile, that it's worth it, and it is a sturdy wee thing.  It has so far survived being thrown against the wall, and on to a path in the park.  I'm surprised it's still in one piece!

It is a smart little cup, I like it a lot.  Samantha has taken well to it, she takes her water from it, but still refuses to take milk from it (sigh). 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Thursday, 13 September 2012

One Year

Today I'm sad. 

It's been a year since my lovely aunt passed away very unexpectedly. I was pregnant at the time.  I'm most upset that she didn't get to meet my wee one.  She would have loved her so much.

I've spent most of the day thinking about her, and my uncle and cousins.  And my dad, for he was only 16 when she married my uncle, so my aunt was like the sister he never had.  

And when the tears start, they don't stop.  


Aunty Hazel xx

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sunday, 2 September 2012

My Boobs, My Business!

Last night I went to the house warming of one of my colleagues.  It was the first time I had seen most of them since I had Samantha, and though it was nice to see them all, it has kind of filled me with dread about going back to work.  As I'm still breastfeeding, and I drove to the party, I wasn't drinking.  I was having a great time; I love watching people get drunker and drunker, watching them make fools of themselves, and knowing that they'll have a really bad hangover the next day.  Makes me feel kind of smug, cos I'll wake up refreshed and able to enjoy my day!

Now, my colleagues are all (mostly) lovely, but when the alcohol is flowing, they tend to just say what they're thinking.  So the topic turned to why, at 7 and half months, am I still breastfeeding.  

"You need to get that we'an off the boob before you come back to work", 

"You can't bring her to work with you" 

"You're not able to enjoy yourself when you're still breastfeeding"

"Oh come on LA, 7 and half months is an awful long time"

And on and on it went... And I found I was having to defend myself.

I know I can't breastfeed her forever.  I know that I will need to wean her off at some point.  I know I can't bring her to work. 

But it's MY choice.  

This was from women. Nurses no less! Who you'd think would know better.  But in saying that, it came from one woman who's two daughters both have young daughters (both bottle fed, and I know this cos my colleague seems to do most of the caring for them), and other colleagues who have no children.  I guess I'm calling ignorance, because none of them have ever breastfed. And not to be sexist, but I'd kind of expect more it if it was coming from men.  

I go back to work in eight weeks, and I will have to get Sam to take milk from the cup before then, but I want to continue breastfeeding.  It will be a challenge because I work 12 hours shifts, but we will make it work for us.  I just hate having people telling me I need to stop breastfeeding. I feel like shouting My Boobs My Business, BUTT OUT! But I'm far too polite, and made my excuses.  

I really wish breastfeeding was the norm in this country.  I'd love it if no one batted an eyelid when they saw a baby breastfeeding.  And I really don't understand why everyone has an opinion on how I feed my baby.  I would never turn round to a mother and say "are you still bottle feeding your baby?" Sigh.

At the end of the day, my baby is healthy, happy and really content.  And I'll feed her my way, for however long I feel is necessary.  So everyone else can just like it, or lump it. 




Silent Sunday


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Wii Fit, We Meet Again

"It has been 964 days since we saw you last".  Ugh. 964 days? Has it really been over 2 and half years since we used the Wii Fit? I knew we'd been lazy, but I didn't quite realise we'd been so lazy for so long.

Hubby set it all up again this morning, and I'm not sure either of us was very happy with the results.  Hubby registers as obese, whereas I am a point or two under obese.



It's slightly depressing. However my Wii Fit age is apparently 24! Not bad considering I'm actually 28.  

I've set myself a goal of losing 1 stone in 3 months.  I thought I'd set a realistic goal, as I'm a slow weight loser.  It says that my ideal weight would be 9st 8lbs.  HA! I've not been under 11 stone since I was in high school; it would take an absolute miracle to get to under 10st.

Hubby wants to lose a little more, in a shorter time frame, but he can drop weight very easily, it's just keeping it off that's our problem.  But as I said in my previous post, I'm going to try and not focus on what it says on the scales, but judge it through my clothes and measurements.

I love the Wii Fit, as it means I can put Samantha in her chair and she can watch me make a total fool of myself while I do it.

I'm going to try and do a little bit every day, and we'll see how we go.  Will post updates as we go along.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Review: Asda's Little Angels Dry and Sensitive Bath and Body Wash

Samantha has pretty much had dry skin since the day she was born.  It was mostly on her forehead and eyebrows, her arms and legs.  Now it's localised to her neck area because of all the drooling she does and where her bibs sit. 

Asda have a new dry and sensitive range from Little Angels; a body wash and a shampoo. Here's the blurb from Asda:


"Asda’s Little Angels Dry & Sensitive Hair & Body Wash has been specially developed with your baby’s needs in mind. The special formula provides care for babies with dry or sensitive skin and prone to eczema. Dermatologically tested, this creamy formula enriched with moisturisers will leave your munchkin’s delicate skin feeling soft and silky after bath time."






Usually, I just use water and cotton wool at bath time, and a little bit of shampoo on Samantha's hair, but we decided to give this a go. 

I quite liked it.  It didn't aggravate Samantha's dry areas, and left her skin smooth.  However, what usually draws me to a product is the smell, and I don't think this body wash has a smell at all.  My husband says it's like a very very mild smell of washing up liquid, but I couldn't smell anything at all.  I am aware that there are issues with fragrances and sensitive skin, and I wouldn't expect a product that is designed for sensitive skin to be loaded with fragrance.  I don't know what I was expecting, but perhaps just a little scent would have been nice.

Price wise, it's very reasonable; £1.35 for a 300ml bottle, which will last a long time, as we only use a little amount on our little baby.






*I received this product in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Operation: Get Back Into My Jeans has begun.

We've done it.  Hubby and I have joined the gym.  It's been a long time coming; we have been sedentary for far too long.  Of course, I have used the "oh but I've just had a baby" excuse, but the wee one is nearly seven months old, and I can't use her as an excuse forever.  

I have had a swimming membership for over a year, but barely used it when I was pregnant, and although I take Samantha swimming quite regularly, I don't get a chance to swim properly when she's there.  

I used to go to the gym quite regularly; I have no idea how I wasn't skinnier, because I was there 2/3 times a week. But then I got married, and became "comfortable" and then that comfort developed into lazy.  It takes a lot for me to get off my behind and do something.  But I have to say, we have been kind of inspired by the Olympics.  We aren't going to become gold medal winning athletes or anything, but I really want to set a good example to Samantha.  

So, from here on we will be healthier, fitter, and hopefully a little bit skinnier.  I really want to get back into my American jeans.  I am not going to focus on what it says on the scales.  I have done Weight Watchers for 10 years on and off, and I became obsessed with what it says on the scales.  Although WW did work really well for me the first time, and sort of well for me subsequent times, I know the plan inside out, and I know how to "cheat" it almost, and the points system means I could eat the things that I want, instead of things I should.  I'm going to start listening to my Slimpod again, so I'm not going to go on a diet as such, just try to make better choices. We get a Veggie Box delivered every Friday, so that encourages us to get most of our 5-a-day.  

The best thing is Hubby is doing it too.  It was really his idea, and so we'll be able to encourage each other. And although we will keep an eye on the scales, what we're really going to focus on is our measurements, and whether or not I can get back into my jeans, cos they really are my favourites.  I'm sick of wearing leggings!! 

Baby belly begone! 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Weaning: we'll do it our way!

Our wee one has been on three meals a day for a few weeks now, and she's taken to it with absolutely no problems whatsoever. However, she was still breast feeding every couple of hours and waking every night at 2.30 on the dot for a feed. As I am due to go back to work soon, and I work 12 hour shifts (day and night shift) it is going to be quite impossible to continue breast feeding. So how do we go about weaning from the breast?

I asked the Health Visitor at our breastfeeding group what I should do. She advised to drop one feed a day. I explained that the wee one has no regular pattern to her feeding (my fault probably, I just fed her as and when she wanted) and that she could feed up to every two hours as well as having three meals through the day, so how would I know which one to cut out? But she just said "pick one and replace it with formula". However he wee one has never taken a bottle and only just takes water from a cup. And formula? Oh my lord, we are going Ito territory I have no idea about.

So I asked another HV at a mum and baby group I go to. Her reaction? "she's six and a half months and on three meals a day? Oh, she should oy be getting milk morning and night" so her advice was to cut down to two breast feeds a day and replace with water.

By this time my head was spinning. I hate conflicting advice. I jut wish there was a set way if doing thigs that were guaranteed to work. Speaking to other mums at that group didn't really help, cos most of their kids were bottle fed so not going trough the same problems.

One breastfeeding mum did help though. She suggested feeds spaces through the day, like 7am, 11am, 3pm and 7pm. Then try to cut down gradually and introduce formula milk in the morning and evening.

So for the last week, we've only been feeding for times through the day. And you know, it's going really well. I've realised that the wee one was feeding mostly out of habit, or boredom and not hunger. Sometimes she will still nuzzle in if she's bored but a little bit of distraction with a toy or music and she's fine.

She's also started sleeping right through the night. Which goes to show she was waking out of habit and I was feeding her out of habit (and to get midnight cuddles too).

In the next couple of weeks we'll try to cut down to three feeds, then eventually two. But for now, I'm still enjoying the cuddles through the day.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Writing Letters

"Dear Sister,

Please accept this letter as notification of my intent to return to work following my maternity leave..."

Thats it. The letters are written. There's a massive knot in my stomach as I seal the envelopes, one to my ward Sister, one to HR, and contemplate posting them.

My maternity leave is nearly at an end. And I'm really sad about it.

It's not that I don't want to return to work. I love my job. Being a nurse is rewarding in so many ways, and before I left I always said I'd probably be desperate to get back to work. But that was before I found out that being a mum was much more rewarding.

But in speaking to some of my colleagues all is not well on the ward. More changes, more staff cuts, morale is extremely low. They're not exactly endearing me to go back. And there's always the threat of being moved to another ward as the management are constantly swapping staff around. I like the ward I work in, I don't want to work in another. I constantly dread getting a phone call from work to say I'm the one being moved.

If we could afford it, I wouldn't go back, or at least I would go back part time. But we can't. Not just now. It's complicated as hubby and I both work unpredictable shifts. We can't plan child care any further than 4 weeks in advance, so nurseries wouldn't suit us. I'm very lucky that my mum is retiring soon and she and dad have offered to look after Samantha while we are at work.

I'm hoping to take my annual leave prior to returning to work, so I'll be back at the end of October. It seems far away just now but I know it will go so quickly.

Samantha will be six months old tomorrow. How time flies! She's changing every day, although she's still small for her age. She's just outgrowing 0-3 clothes and is still just a bit wee for 3-6 months clothes. We can't leave her on the floor for more than two minutes for she's rolled her way right to the opposite end of the room. She finds fake hiccups hilarious, she laughs if you laugh, and she waves if you say hiya or tata! But the best thing is she has begun to babble, and her daddy is so chuffed that she shouts "dada dada dada" all the time. She makes noises that sound like "hiya" "yeah" and "grandad" (according to my dad!).

I love watching her grow, and I'll be gutted when I have to leave her to go to work. But it's 3 months away, so let's not think about it yet, yeah?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Gallery: Food!

Ah, Tara has chosen my favourite topic for this weeks Gallery. Food!!

I'm not a foodie, I can't cook extravagant meals or anything like that but I love to eat. Unfortunately I like to eat all the wrong things: crisps, cake, and oh the chocolate! Don't get me wrong I love vegetables and fruit, but I usually choose a bit of chocolate over an apple at the moment.

So, in a bid to be more healthy, hubby and I decided to order a veggie box from The Little Veg Company, which sources their fruit and veg from local farmers and growers. I had visited their stall at the Ideal Home Show, and we thought this would be the right thing for us.

It's absolutely amazing! It's delivered straight to our door on a Friday (less temptation to go for a takeaway) and there's always something different in it. Potatoes, carrots and onions are always in there, then there's 7 or 8 different veggies that are in season.

What we don't use, I cook anyway, mash it and freeze it for the little ones meals. It's been great since we started weaning!

Just look how amazing it is:

Friday, 29 June 2012

Carry on Breastfeeding!

As it is National Breastfeeding Week, I thought it only right to write a quick blog post.

I initially said that I would breastfeed for as long as I could, thinking that we would only last a month or two. Five months and three weeks later, here we are, still at it!

I can't pin point the exact reason why we managed to continue beyond my expectations. I feel it may be a combination of the following:

1: Not listening to my Health Visitor.

She is nice, bless her, but everything is done by the book. Samantha is still very light for her age, and according to the centile chart, she is on the 9th centile. For a while the health visitor harked on and on about giving Samantha "top up" feeds of formula, and then eventually suggested full time formula, to increase her weight. But my baby was happy, alert, bright and by no means still hungry when she came off the breast. I was not happy to switch to formula just because she wasn't a wee chubby thing. She never lost any weight, but has steadily gained one or two ounces, albeit very slowly. So, I now politely nod and smile at the health visitor but ignore what I know is wrong for my baby.

2: Samantha's refusal to take a bottle.

Trying to go out on my own is a nightmare as Samantha just knows that the bottle is not me, and point blank refuses to take it. Even thoughts expressed milk, she just won't drink from a bottle. She'll take a little bit from a sippy cup, but after a while she realises and refuses it. This has definitely helped us continue the breastfeeding, but has not helped my freedom!

3: Attending the breastfeeding support group.

The girls at the group really are lovely, and so helpful too. There isn't a problem too big or embarrassing that someone else who attends hasn't experienced, and they are an absolute mine of information. I genuinely look forward to the group on a Friday, not just because there's people there to watch the babies while we have a coffee, but because it's a relief to be around people who know exactly what you're going through. Whether its just to get their opinion on what's happening with you and your baby, to venting about someone's bad attitude to you breastfeeding in public (grr) they are always there to lend an ear. It always surprises me that in a town as big as ours, there are so few of us at the group. There can't only be 15-20 of us breastfeeding in this town!!

So happy National Breastfeeding Week everyone. I hope you are all following @keepbritainbf and the hash tag #nationalbreastfeedingweek on twitter for some really inspiring posts to help you carry on breastfeeding!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Our First Family Holiday

It had been planned for ages.  Ever since hubby and I got back from our honeymoon in Florida, we vowed we would go back in 2012, this time with my sister.

Then in June last year, we found out I was pregnant.  It wouldn't exactly be a practical holiday, travelling all that way with a baby, but I was still all for going to Florida.  However, my hubby and my sister conspired against me (ok, common sense prevailed) and we have postponed Florida until next year.  

We had to go somewhere this year.  I find that if we have time off from work and just stay at home, and not plan anything, we tend to just doss about and before we know it, *poof!* 2 weeks have gone and hubby is back at work.

So we thought we'd go somewhere in Britain, a staycation if you will, and settled on Birmingham.  Not exactly exotic, or anyone's first choice for a summer holiday, but my aunt, uncle and cousins live there, and it meant we could visit as we rarely get to see them.  T

Obviously this is the first time we have been away with a 5 and a half month old, and may have overdid the packing.  I packed lots of nappies and outfits, some toys, blankets etc etc.  It was Birmingham, not the middle of nowhere, I could have just bought nappies should we have ran out, but I like to be prepared.  I did all of the driving (my car, my rules!) and we stopped a couple of times to feed the little one.  I had been a little worried about how Samantha would cope with all the travelling, but she took it all in her stride! 

We got to spend lots of time with my aunt, uncle and cousins, which is a miracle as they are usually so busy.  My aunt and uncle are both peripatetic music teachers, and are both involved in orchestras and private teaching, but we caught them on a "quiet" week.  The kids both love Samantha, and it was great for them to see her as she will be much bigger when they see us next.  

Birmingham made a great base for us.  On Tuesday we went to Stratford.  We visited William Shakespeare's birthplace:


Hubby outside Shakespeare's Birthplace

We took a stroll down the canal side, and to the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre:



And we chilled out by the riverside:


On Wednesday we went to the Sea Life centre, and we saw some incredible looking fish! The light wasn't very good and we weren't allowed to use the flash on the camera but we got some incredible pictures of amazing creatures:


We found Nemo!



Then on Thursday we took a trip to Warwick Castle.  It was superb, I really recommend it if you are down that way.  One thing I will say though, is it's quite expensive, so check out the 2 for 1 deals.  We got a 2 for 1 deal through the o2 Priority Moments.  Saved us £22!  


Warwick Castle is very impressive; it sits on 64 acres of beautifully landscaped land. 




We did most of the tours, including the raising of the portcullis:


"Ye will be met with a most horrible death, should ye try and storm our castle"

the Ghost Tour, which was made even more creepy by this guy because he was slightly creepy himself, and told the most wonderful stories:

I refused to go down here tho, too creepy and I'm a big wuss!
 We watched the flight of the eagle show, which showcased all the bird of prey they keep at the castle.  The eagles were flying right above our heads and swooped down over the heads of all the school children who were sitting in front of us.  We were very impressed, these birds are MASSIVE! 





Everywhere we went, we seemed to be followed by one of these big noisy dudes:


And they look spectacular when they do this:


The only disappointment was that we couldn't do the Dungeon tours or the Merlin Tower experience, as Samantha was too young, plus it would add an extra £10 on to our entry tickets.  
After all the wandering about it, all three of us were absolutely shattered.  Well, except for Samantha who managed to sleep her way round the castle! Even through the noise of the peacocks.  

We had a great time, topped off with a balti with my aunt, uncle and the kids on the Thursday evening.  We were ready for the drive home on the Friday, through the stormy rain that seemed to follow us all the way up the M6!   By the time we got home, it was jammies on, and cuddle in, and plan our next adventure:


Friday, 15 June 2012

FO: Favour Bags

I realise I haven't blogged about knitting for a while, despite my blog being called Nurse With (Knitting) Needles. Truth is, I haven't had much time for knitting since the wee one arrived. I really need three arms; one to hold the wee one and two to knit with.

But I have been working on an order that I received through my Folksy shop. I've been making little white wedding favour bags, with peach polka for ribbon, and I must say I think they are really cute!

The order is now complete, just the posting to do. The question is, what to knit now?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Quickest 20 Weeks of My Life

Samantha will be 20 weeks on Thursday. Those 20 weeks have flown by. It's hard to believe that she's nearly five months old. Time flies. And it's flown so quickly that it's nearly time to think about going back to work.

Before I went off on maternity leave I said to my colleagues that I'd probably fall into one of two camps; either I'd be desperate to get back to work, or I'd be absolutely dreading it.

I realise now that I'm absolutely dreading it. Don't get me wrong, I love being a nurse. It's so fulfilling in so many ways, and I can't imagine having a career in any other field. But I love my child more, and the thought of being away from her is filling me with dread and a little bit of fear.

There's also been a lot of changes on our ward: new staff, old staff retiring, others getting new jobs, more paperwork, less time for patients etc. There's also the constant threat of being moved from ward to ward, which i really don't want. Do I want to go back into that stressful environment? I've been there for 5 years this year, nursing for 6 in total, is it time for a change?

I've been pondering this for a while, trying to come up with ways to delay going back to work. All my ideas are rubbish. We can't afford to live on just hubby's wages unfortunately, so being a stay at home mum is out of the question. Wish I was good enough to knit for a living!

I plan to take about 8 weeks annual leave before I go back, so that would take me up to the 1st November. Keep praying for a lottery win before then...

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Gallery: Sunshine

I am a pale skinned, Scottish redhead so I tend to shy away from the sunshine.  My poor skin can't handle the suns rays.  But even I couldn't miss the opportunity to enjoy the lovely summery weather we had over the last week.  We have been on long walks, enjoying time in the garden, and to a barbecue.  


So in order for Samantha and I to enjoy the sunshine we needed a few things:

Sundress and lots of shade:


Not forgetting a sunhat:



And lots and lots of this:


This post is taking part in the link up over at the Sticky Fingers blog. Check out the other entries here.

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