personalised baby kids gifts

I’m a total sucker for a bit of personalisation; whether it’s a suitcase with a fancy monogram or gold initials embossed on the front of a dainty little notebook, things just feel that much more special when they’ve got your name on them.

(Disclaimer: I don’t actually have a monogrammed suitcase, but it’s on the list.)

My fondness for personalised goods has only become more profound since having Angelica and Ted; it’s an absolute joy receiving a little fluffy toy, or a soft, knitted blanket and then realising that your baby’s name has been embroidered onto the teddy’s jumper or printed onto the fabric of the blanket. There’s something that feels really special about it – I suppose it’s the fact that the gift can only have been meant for one person, but also it’s just so nice seeing your baby’s name in print! I never tire of getting letters through the post addressed to Ted or Angelica, even if they are only ever from the NHS or the bank.

Since Angelica was born I’ve had some absolutely beautiful personalised presents from friends and family that have been ordered from My 1st Years. my1styears.com is an absolute treasure trove of personalised delights – everything from wooden ride-on aeroplanes to tiny high top trainers and gingham-trimmed robes, and things you’d never even think of personalising such as xylophones and jigsaw puzzles and pram liners.

personalised baby kids gifts

I’ve always felt a little surge of glee when one of their distinctive blue gift boxes peeks out from beneath the wrapping paper and so I was delighted when My First Years got in touch about doing a post on bedtime routines. What I didn’t tell them is that our “routine” consists of basically muddling through from 6pm until 7pm without anyone crying, but I’ve tried to give a realistic overview whilst giving some semblance of order to the proceedings.

personalised baby kids gifts

Ted isn’t really in a routine at all, yet, but I do try to put him to bed as soon as possible after Angelica goes down so that we get some peace in the evenings! I’d probably start getting him into bed earlier in an ideal world, but I don’t like to miss that lovely hour with Angelica when she has her milk and sits and cuddles.

So here we go: the bedtime routine.

personalised baby kids gifts

6pm: bath time, depending on what time dinner ended. We’re not great at sticking to a set time for meals and so sometimes things run over, sometimes bathtime doesn’t happen at all! Angelica has to be coaxed into the bath with various bribes as she’s not naturally a bath-lover – bubble-makers, coloured soaps and wind-up monkeys have been previously brought into play, but the current favourite things are the embroidered bath towel sets from My First Years.

Angelica calls them “Daddy towel, Mummy towel and Baby towel”. Baby towel is the flannel and is, in fact, just the right size for drying off her bath baby. (Bath baby has been specifically made for the bath but weirdly, fills up with so much water it ends up weighing about five thousand kilos. Trying to lift it out of the water is like trying to heave up the wreckage of the Titanic! Also, it has one weird, wonky eye which totally freaks me out.)

6.30pm: Angelica will usually have her milk in hand and be sitting down to watch a little bit of Peppa Pig or whatever. Our particular favourite is In The Night Garden for that crazy dancing session they all do. Angelica makes us get up and “do the dance”, so my husband and I try to let go of any dignity we thought we had left and we pretend to be Macca Pacca and Iggle Piggle. (What is this life?) Dancing is done either in pyjamas or pyjamas and dressing gown, depending on outside temperature.

personalised baby kids gifts

6.45pm: just before bed, a kind of “crazy moment” happens and Angelica has a burst of energy. Books get pulled from the shelves for us to read, the wooden rocking horse is suddenly mounted by a yee-hah-ing toddler, puzzles are tipped out over the rug… You may wonder what Ted is doing for all of this time, answer: chilling on his play mat and watching on with a look of mild disdain.

personalised baby kids gifts

7pm: bedtime. This is probably the only time that is actually set in stone – unless we’ve been out and dinner has been very late, but that’s really rare. Angelica likes to do a checklist of all of her dolls and teddies (she’s commandeered Ted’s personalised teddy as well as her own ballerina doll!) and then she has to say goodnight to lots of individual things, including her giant giraffe and the baby and the dog. We all get kisses, the light goes off and then I get started on Ted’s routine!

personalised baby kids gifts

Ted is far simpler, at the moment: I change him into a little sleepsuit and then feed him until he drifts off. He’s still exclusively breastfed, so no bottles to prepare or anything like that, but he does wake up at about 11pm, 2am and 5am (YAY) so, swings and roundabouts…

After both babies are asleep, I pour myself a litre of red wine into one of those massive joke wine glasses and then get into the bath to read magazines and stare at my perfectly manicured toenails. CORRECTION: this has never happened. After both babies are asleep, I open up my iPhone to-do list and get cracking on all of the work I needed to do during the day! No wine involved, as I’m up through the night like a jack-in-a-box, and I haven’t painted my toenails in around three months. (Just about to do them, actually, because writing this has reminded me that my feet look as though I’ve spent two years walking through a jungle with no shoes on.)

Sorry there are no particular words of wisdom when it comes to bedtime routine – I’m pretty sure most people just try and muddle on through too. Any tips or tricks or things you do that you think might be quirky or amusing? As always, answers on a virtual postcard and posted into the comments box, please!

personalised baby kids gifts

You can browse the wonderful things at My First Years by clicking here and you can shop the items in the photographs using the “shop the post” section below. You can choose different fonts and colours for most of the personalisations – I’ve honestly lost hours on there, creating various things for Angelica and Ted! At least they’ll never forget their names…

[show_shopthepost_widget id=”2762916″]

This post has been sponsored by My 1st Years.

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breast milk expressing

Just a little life update that I know you’ll find absolutely riveting: I’m back on the old “breastmilk expressing” regime. Which means that the (approximately) one spare hour that I get every day (between 9pm and 10pm) is spent connected to a wheezing, vibrating gadget having my nipple repeatedly sucked down a funnel. You might think that this sounds like a good night in (it takes all sorts) but it’s altogether a thankless task. I know from reading my previous posts that it gets better, but honestly: it’s like trying to collect unicorn’s tears.

I was in two minds as to whether I’d even bother expressing this time around – I only have two weeks or so until I start weaning Ted, and I did just think that I’d whack him some formula if I needed to be away from him for short periods of time. (The only reason I expressed with Angelica, and the same for Ted, is so that I could get out and about and do meetings in town without having to lug a baby with me.) But then I started getting Mum Guilt, because I breastfed Angelica for a year and I felt as though I should do the same for Ted (give me strength, the things we beat ourselves up over!) and before I knew what had happened, I found myself rooting about in the back of the utility room cupboards, trying to find the attachments for the breast pump.

Interesting note: I’m using the Medela again, because the Avent stopped working and I can’t find the other one that I reviewed. Both of those actually had much more comfy funnels (if funnels are what they are called) but the machinery part apparently couldn’t cope with my enthusiastic usage.

So I’ve expressed four “bottles” of milk now (truthfully, I’ve collected about four ounces in total!) and it all seems like such a faff. Sitting there like a cow in a milking parlour, the indignity of it all, the fact that you have to watch Game of Thrones with the annoying murmur of the breast pump constantly in the background. The fact that you have to sit unnaturally upright, or even tilted forward a bit, so that the milk doesn’t run down your body rather than into the bottle… Le sigh.

The most soul-destrying part is that Ted doesn’t even want to drink the milk out of the bottle! I know that this happened last time (read From Boob to Bottle: The Second Hurdle) but nothing prepares you for how ridiculously precious you are over your hard-won expressed milk. I carry it to the fridge like I’m in possession of the Elixir of Life. Even if I spill a drop onto my boob as I take the funnel (?) off, I’m disproportionately annoyed. I actually rolled a large drop from my skin back into the bottle yesterday, which is a new low in the “Ruth’s Bizarre Behaviour” books.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated on my progress, boobs, bottles and all. Anyone else in the throes of milk-pumping boredom at the moment? Also, has anyone tried one of those crazy bras with holes cut out so that you can “wear” your breastpump and keep your hands free? Report back, please…

Things in the picture: Medela Swing Pump, here*, brilliant book on breastfeeding The Food of Love, here* and an unexpectedly delicious snack thing from Deliciously Ella. I found it mouldering in the back of the spice drawer and decided to snack on it. Risky, as I hadn’t even checked the sell-by date, but it seemed the sort of dense texture that would never go off…

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pregnancy products

I’ve been filming some videos with the very lovely (and highly amusing) Poppy Dinsey from poppyd.com. Poppy is pregnant with twins and so we thought we’d start off with our favourite pregnancy products to see how they differed. Mine (single pregnancy) are very much still fresh in my mind, mostly because I’m still using all of them, five months later; Poppy’s are obviously current and she has found some great things that I really wish I’d known about, including a pregnancy book that tells you all of the things you actually want to know rather than the samey-samey stuff that you tend to see time and time again.

I’ve posted both videos below, but please do subscribe to my channel as well as Poppy’s for more videos.

Ruth’s Pregnancy Favourites:

Poppy’s Pregnancy Favourites:

Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Products are press samples unless otherwise stated in video or description and are provided with no obligation to review.

My Pregnancy Favourites:

BabyMoov B Cushion: http://amzn.to/2sZmWVO

Burt’s Bees Mama Body Oil: http://amzn.to/2u6XLz9

M&S Massive Knickers: http://www.theuphill.com/maternity-kn…

Paige Verdugo Maternity Jeans: http://bit.ly/2s9RWQ7

Seraphine Leggings: http://www.seraphine.com/maternity-cl…

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toddler baby 5 month update

This is the very first time in just over two years that I’ve very nearly missed posting my baby update on the proper day. It used to be on the 17th of every month, now it’s on the 3rd (Ted was born on the 3rd February and it made more sense – at the time – to swap to then, seeing as though he’d be changing faster. Or so I thought!). It has become almost a compulsion that I must get my update published on the set day and so here I am, bleary-eyed, slightly tearful (one of those days) trying to get this written before the clock strikes midnight.

(What is wrong with me that I can’t put any sensible limits on myself with regards to work and all of the other stuff that I take on? It has got to stop. It’s almost at crisis point. I’ve reached peak fatigue!)

Let’s get started on the baby and toddler updates before I stop making sense – I’ve already typed the wrong birthday for Ted and edited it twice and written “tiddler” instead of “toddler”. Without further ado, then…

toddler baby 5 month update

Toddler

Almost as though a switch was flicked: we now have a two year old, a two year old with many mannerisms that wouldn’t seem out of place on a teenager. Eye rolls, hands on hips, cheeky retorts, screaming matches – what happened? Overnight? No longer does my baby want to sit with me (“no!” “there!”) and cuddles have to be worked for. Bribed, even. The wrong dolly brought down to breakfast spells disaster and woe betide anyone who tries to make her have her nappy changed if she isn’t fully on board with the idea. I shouldn’t start with this, really, because alongside the little – and infrequent – tantrums, we have the most joyful and characterful little person. And I can understand where the tantrums come from, because it must be frustrating being told what to do and when to do it, when you’ve only just started to learn how to be independent. You can walk, and you can open cupboard doors and you can play puzzles and work the TV remote (!) but so many of your plans are scuppered by the large people. Bastards!

Watch: A Day In The Life Video

I wasn’t prepared for just how fast toddlers learn and develop – every day there’s a new word, a new action, something mimicked or discovered. Today Angelica surprised me by counting to four! I have no idea whether that’s “good” or not, as I’ve still not read any books and we don’t go to many classes, but it impressed me! And we’ve got mini sentences going on – “no Doodle shoe!” which is what she says when Dexter the dog (Dexter Doodle) has a slipper, or “Mummy car home”, which is what she said after Tumble Tots when we got to the car park. Bravo, my little information sponge! Thank God you absorbed that particular information and not my road raging. “WHERE ARE YOUR INDICATORS YOU BLOODY MORON?!”

I’m guessing that’ll have to stop.

I always thought that I’d be a baby person and sort of “mourn” the baby stage once Angelica passed it by, but I have to say that I’m in love with the toddler phase, tantrums and all. I don’t want to sound like one of those sickeningly twee and positive people, but I think that the giant leaps in communication skills more than make up for any boundary-asserting tantrum sessions. I mean, they haven’t been that bad so far so maybe I’ll eat my words, but it’s amazing being able to finally converse – albeit in a stilted manner – with the being who has been my whole world for two years. It’s like we’ve made alien contact! It’s not as though we sit there discussing poetry –  it’s one or two word attempts at conversation, usually involving “squirrels” or “trees” or “poo poo” or “bears” – but it’s a start. And I get a disproportionate amount of joy from seeing Angelica suddenly work out how to stick a magnet to the washing machine or stack boxes in the right order or even find something funny in a cartoon she’s watching. To see that she’s understood and remembered something – it’s like witnessing the cogs in motion.

Oh man, am I becoming one of those gushing people? I hope not! I just find it all so fascinating and funny. I’ll shut up now.

toddler baby 5 month update

Baby

The baby is also conversing and counting to four. JOKE. He dribbles loads and smashes me in the face with his big head if I stand him up on my lap. Seriously, how many people must go to A&E with broken noses or shattered teeth as a result of babies head-butting them? If anyone has stats on that…baby-caused injuries. Ted is holding himself upright, but still needs support when he’s sitting. I reckon he’s almost there – just in time for six months, hopefully, and a spot of weaning. Is it me, or has that gone really, really fast? I still remember typing up the 39 week pregnancy post, a few days before I had him, and now he’s almost weaning! I’m still breastfeeding him exclusively and still haven’t managed to get around to expressing – I’m almost thinking that I’ll never get around to it. I want to, because I’ll get a bit more freedom to do stuff, but I don’t know whether I can cope with the whole pump and sterilising thing again. It was a major faff. Or maybe I’m just remembering the bad parts – I do recall getting a lot of satisfaction from watching the jets of milk shoot into the bottle. Maybe I’ll give it another go; I need some entertainment to get me through the evening.

Read the Four Month Update

Ted is sleeping from around 8pm until 6am, he wakes at 11pm for a feed and then at 2/3-ish (that one’s the killer session!) and then at around 6am for his wake-up feed. Six AM. That’s still classified as nighttime in my books. I try to stay asleep until about half past, but I can’t resist the little coos. Mind you, if he’s had a feed at 3/4am, there’s no way I’m getting up at 6 and so I stick on the sound of the vacuum cleaner on my iPhone and he normally drops off after ten minutes or so. I find it difficult to sleep through white noise, but if I turn it down low enough and shifty over to the other side of the bed…

Compare to Angelica’s Five Month Update

 

toddler baby 5 month update

Me

I’m going to whizz through my update, with a view to doing one in more detail on both mental and physical state. Nothing to worry about, that sounds ominous doesn’t it? I’m in tact. Just tired. Still got my Mini Magnum addiction and therefore gut, however if I breathe in I look like a sort of version of my old self, if a little blurred and soft around the edges! Boobs still massive, scar itches in the heat, hair is falling out, mind is sharp for some of the day and non-existent for the other part. If you want any kind of sensible interaction you have to catch me in the good bit, but who knows when that will be.. Usually after 8pm and before 11.30pm, which is when I do the lion’s share of my time-sensitive work. Admin is taken care of in the mornings, during Peppa Pig, and videos are done during the 11.30-1.30 nap-time. If Ted is asleep as well as Angelica. Now and then I have a nap too, if both are down – but it’s always the time the postman comes so it’s hard to relax.

Ooh err.

Right, midnight is almost upon us and I will turn into a pumpkin if I don’t get to bed. I haven’t even proof-read this, which is a first – I seem to recall that I’ve inserted a joke about the postman – so please do forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. I should really leave it as a draft and edit tomorrow when I’m not propping up my eyelids with matchsticks, but – as I said at the start (I think?) – I have a sort of superstition, or compulsion, when it comes to posting on the right day for the update. So here it is. Warts and all. Goodnight!

 

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