gap kids christmas 2017

I did a bit of a mammoth spend in GAP the other week, when I bought Angelica’s “Wizard Coat” (see here). I seem to be doing lots of kids’ clothes shopping at the moment because I never seem to have enough of anything – vests, pyjama bottoms, cardigans. It only takes two bad days of food and baby poo carnage to wipe out all of my clean clothes supplies and so I’m trying to get on top of my inventory.

gap kids christmas 2017

So new pyjamas for Angelica – she chose these from a whole section of tempting pyjamas, and I thought that they were very festive – and a brand new cardigan for Ted. It’s rather Norwegian. I like to think that he looks like a detective from a Scandinavian noir TV thriller. His name, when he wears this cardigan, is Anders.

gap kids christmas 2017

Look at the little pine trees along the shoulders! The shawl collar! He’s like a little old man – I can picture him in the corner of a pub smoking a pipe and reading a book about boat-building.

gap kids christmas 2017

Ted is also wearing some Mickey Mouse print trousers – comfy, soft, reasonably stretchy, definitely not Scandi Noir. (Imagine the detective rocking up to a murder scene in Disney pants!) The trousers are a size 6-12 months but I feel as though they come up on the small size, as do Angelica’s pyjamas. Perhaps I have tall babies, but I don’t think they’re that tall. And definitely not very chunky. Which reminds me, I must take them both to be weighed and measured – I haven’t done that in ages. When (if) we move into the new house, I’m going to start a wall chart – I saw a really snazzy giant ruler the other day (here*). It needs its own mortgage, but I love anything miniature or oversized, with that Alice in Wonderland kind of vibe. And you can personalise this ruler – it would make a great Christmas present.

You can find Angelica’s pyjamas at GAP here* – they are £14.95 but I had a discount code (there’s usually one on the home page); Ted’s Forest Fair Isle cardigan is £19.95 here* and the Disney pants are here*.

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stopping breastfeeding

Status update on the night-feeding/breastfeeding saga: Ted is now taking bottles. Of formula. Guzzles them right down, has a burp, looks very pleased with himself. In the end, it was simple necessity that did the job – I had to go away for work, and although I wasn’t staying away overnight, I was gone from 6am until 11pm on one day and the majority of the waking hours on two more. In a way, I was quite offended that it all went so smoothly – why wasn’t Ted pining for my big, cushiony bosoms?! – but relieved that we had finally conquered the bottle-feeding situation.

It would have been a great time, you’d have thought, to completely knock breastfeeding on the head, get some bloody sleep and repair my battle-worn, baby-bashed body. But no. Though we are doing (random) bottles of formula throughout the day, I seem to still be acting like a human milking parlour at night, with Ted latching on at any time he deems fit to grapple at my chest and noisily demand his satisfaction.

And do you know what? I’m so torn! Because I could just play hardball and stay away from him at feeding times for a few days – hide in my office with some wine, or sit in the garden shed drinking gin, or pop to the pub (ooh, theme developing here) – but I still appear to have a major emotional attachment to either the idea of breastfeeding, or the physical thing of breastfeeding, or something else. Or both. (Crikey – that was concise and non-confusing, wasn’t it?) And is that so wrong? Why is it that I feel an outside pressure to stop breastfeeding, even aside from my own reasons (sanity, physical health, the wellbeing of my bitten nipples, work)? The number of people who have said to me,

“You’re still breastfeeding? Why on earth?”

or

“You want to get him on that bottle pronto, fill him up with something proper!” (Words to that effect.)

I can hand on heart say that I’ve had more commentary – with both babies – about how I should be stopping breastfeeding than I ever had when I smoked (quite heavily!) and people helpfully told me how bad it was for my health. I find that so odd. And (please don’t think this is a “them and us” breastfeeding wars invite!) it makes me feel as though we still don’t have a great culture for supporting and encouraging breastfeeding. Maybe it’s because people do moan a lot about breastfeeding when they’re breastfeeding (guilty of that) or at least feel the need to discuss it quite frequently, but that’s a whole other post perhaps! I’m sure that most of the comments I’ve had from friends and family have been simply because they are worried about my tiredness, but sometimes when you’re moaning you don’t want a solution, you want someone to say

“Do you know, you’re doing a really good job there. You must be bloody knackered, poor you. Oh dear. God, yes, it must be so tiring. Poor you. Well done though, well done for doing that.”

(Haha! This reminds me of a comment on one of my recent posts where a reader called me a “breastfeeding martyr”. It really struck a chord and gave me loads of material for a lengthy post about how you feel when you’re breastfeeding, so I must remember to edit that and polish it up and hit “publish”.)

stopping breastfeeding

So anyway, I can’t seem to quit breastfeeding, not just yet. Here’s why:

1 It’s easier to latch a baby on in the middle of the night than it is to go and get a bottle. Yes, even if it’s a ready-made bottle beside the bed. Because – marvellously – you can lie down and doze whilst you breastfeed a baby, but you’d be in all sorts of wet-patch trouble if you attempted that with a bottle. The downside of this is that you’re on your own – the night feed problem is all yours. But I can’t sleep through a baby crying anyway, and lie there semi-awake hearing little moans as the bottle is rejected/played with, so it’s swings and roundabouts with the night feed situation.

2 I still enjoy it. Mostly. See below for some current “cons” with the whole breast situation. But I love the closeness and the cuddles and the feeling that you’re doing something quite unique, quite special for your baby. In my mind, I’m giving a little health boost each time I do it, although I have no idea whether this is true – especially if I’m also feeding formula. I read some stuff about breastmilk being pointless once they’re weaned, but I need to do more research on that. The World Health Organisation seem to think differently – oh, the wonderful and confusing world of Google!

3 I can’t give up my Magnums. Regular readers and followers of my social media platforms (@modelrecommends and @uphillbaby on Instagram and @modelrecommends on Twitter) will know that I have a huge thing for Magnums. The chocolate-covered ice creams. Oh man, they are just sublime. My favourite? Mint choc! Anyway, I allow myself one a day as a treat for breastfeeding (I need all of those extra calories!) and I’m just not sure I’m ready to knock them on the head. World’s lamest excuse for carrying on with breastfeeding, but hey.

4 I would have to face up to actual real life in terms of health and fitness and my terrible diet. And am I ready to do that? I feel like breastfeeding keeps you in a sort of baby “bubble” that excuses you from normal worries, such as whether your gut overhang touches your thighs when you sit on a chair. Am I at the stage where I want to go and get fitted for a normal bra (IT DOESN’T HAVE DROP-DOWN CUPS?!) or give up Magnums, or…give up Magnums? (There’s another theme developing here. But can I just say that I very rarely drink. Anything. I have but one vice and that is my choc ice. I have but one vice and that is my choc ice. I feel this could be the start of a successful, chart-topping rap hit.)

5 I can’t stop until I’ve somehow evened out my breast sizes. I don’t know whether anyone else has had this, but one of my boobs is like the breast of a perky Californian cheerleader, the other is…sad sack. I’m addressing this issue and working out just how I might reset the balance. I don’t want to be flinging one tit over my shoulder for the rest of my life whilst the other sits nicely in an Agent Provocateur bra cup. (It’s not that drastic – I do like to exaggerate for effect, you may have realised that by now.)

Some reasons for completely stopping breastfeeding, now, just to represent the flip side:

1 Ted loves a little nibble on the old teat. I never know when he might go for a chomp, so I can spend quite a lot of the feed on tenterhooks, waiting for the little jab from his teeth. I feel as though I’m dating Edward Cullen – always waiting for that bite.

2 Mixing breastfeeding and formula has resulted in quite a bizarre, chaotic routine of never knowing when Ted’s due a feed or which type of feed he needs or what he had last. Sometimes I latch him on and realise he’s just had a full bottle, but he has a mini feed anyway which is a pointless waste of time, unless it’s somehow comforting him. In the evening, he has a full bottle but then wants to feed to sleep, so I end up doing both. In the morning I breastfeed him because I have lots of milk, but actually it would be better for him to have a bottle so that I can get up and about and do stuff… I need to devise a routine, but I can’t quite work out which feed of the day I want to keep to the boobs. If any. I’m sure that with Angelica I just kept the morning feed? Or was it the evening one? Time to re-read my own blog archives…

Goodness, that was a lengthy pouring-out of the contents of my mind, wasn’t it? Thoughts in the comments below. As always, this is not a post about breastfeeding vs bottle feeding and which is better for the baby – fed is best and (obviously, because I’m mixing formula and breastfeeding) I don’t judge anyone for feeding either way. We’re all just muddling through, aren’t we?

 

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GAP puffer down coat

Angelica picked this new coat herself. She liked the sparkly stars (we call it her wizard coat) and I liked the furry trim around the hood, which does seem to do quite a good job of shielding her little face when it’s cold and breezy outside. GAP had 30% off full-priced items (when don’t they have some sort of voucher code running?!) and so I took advantage of the discount and nipped in to stock up on some winter essentials.

GAP puffer down coat

I bought a brilliant cardigan and trousers for Ted, but I haven’t photographed them yet so I’ll be back with another post. For the moment, here’s Angelica having a babbled, nonsensical conversation with a fibreglass model of a Gruffalo. (We went to Westonbirt Arboretum, which is a huge collection of lovely trees. In fact I think that it’s the UK’s largest collection of lovely trees. You’d think that a collection of trees would be called a wood, or a forest, but I have a feeling that an arboretum is something a bit more special and different – rare or particularly beautiful trees. And shrubs. Anyway, I’m no expert on arboretums – or trees – but the whole place was gorgeous, with the rich autumn colours and the smell of fallen leaves.)

GAP puffer down coat

Back to the point of this post: Angelica’s Wizard Puffer. I have it on good authority (hers) that it’s toasty warm, but it also happens to be incredibly lightweight, which is important when you’re trying to get a toddler to wear anything remotely practical. She has a heavier woollen coat, but I think finds it a little restrictive. (Possibly because it’s size 18 months, I’ve just realised! Oops.)

The Wizard Coat* is water repellent (good enough for a bit of a drizzly day, at least) and the fur on the hood is detachable. I like the length of the coat, which means that her bottom and tummy are covered even if she has her arms stretched up into the air. A shorter coat style is no good for the park, where she likes to hang from things and generally cause a rumpus.

The down puffers at GAP are £54.95, but I paid £38 with the discount. Still quite pricey, but it’s robust and well-finished, so it’s probably the only coat I’ll need for her this winter. I can see that there’s currently another discount event going on with a 30% code, so a good time to grab any more expensive clothing bits and pieces if you need to!

Down Puffer Parka Coat*

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toddler and 9 month baby blog

I genuinely thought that I would be able to kick this post off with some amazing news; the day after I wrote about Ted’s persistent night-wakings, I implemented some changes and he had the most restful night he’s had for months. I think that he perhaps only woke once between 11pm and 5am, which is very good going for us. Yes! I thought. My reverse-jinxing has worked! 

Not so, unfortunately because then last night we had one of the worst times we’ve had in months. Every ninety minutes and completely awake from 1.30am-4.30am, batting me in the face with his arms and generally being the most wide-awake person the world has ever seen.

Who knows what tonight will bring? I’m trying to get this written up in good time for me to go to bed straight after his 11pm feed and so let’s get on with it – the 9 month baby and body update. With, of course, news from Angelica, who is now two years and four months old.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Toddler

Angelica is just funnier and funnier by the week. I look forward to everything that she does and says, and the first few moments when I see her in the morning are one of the best parts of the day. She’s nearly always cheery, but even when she’s not I can’t resist that warm, clammy little face and the half-finished sentences she babbles on with.

I shouldn’t really say “babbles” because she’s quite eloquent. I don’t know where she’s picked up her posh voice from, but she pronounces things in such a precise way. It’s so brilliant being able to have little conversations – I can’t imagine, now, what it was like having to just sit and say things at her, with very little back in the way of recognition or sensible response. Or actually, I can imagine, because I’m going through the same thing with Ted!

I love the way she’s so strong-minded about things that she wants to do and wear and eat. It can be a bit of a battle, but it’s a fun battle for the most part. A constant process of negotiation. There’s a massive element of her having to do what we want to do, or eat what we want her to eat, obviously – who’s the adult here?! – but I like watching what she does when I ask her to pick out her clothes for the day, and I like listening to her coming out with all the activities she wants to do.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Potty training is no more advanced than last month really – perhaps we’ve managed to get her on it a little more during the day, but the main times that she uses it are in the morning after waking, before and after her nap and then before bedtime. Which is entirely our fault, because I think we need to take the plunge and go the full monty with taking the nappies away, but we haven’t been brave enough yet. We keep making the excuse that we have a load of other stuff going on, and I suppose we have (another imminent house move, more on that later when we exchange contracts!, frequent night-wakings, no nanny, a complete change of scenery) but still. Until we go to the next step and make her want to use the potty each time, I think we’ll be stuck in limbo a bit.

Angelica’s favourite foods: pizza, fishfingers, peas, carrots, chips, blueberries, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, “bear claws” (those pressed fruit shapes in little packets that cost about £7,000,000 per box), houmous, cucumber, mature cheddar, ham, crumpets, yoghurt, Mini Milk ice lollies.

Angelica’s favourite toys: her wooden foods, her pink Ikea table and chair, her dolly (was my dolly when I was little, has survived very well!), her wooden tool kit from the charity shop, Ted’s Jumperoo. (She likes to turn the music on and dance to it.)

Angelica’s favourite activities: dancing to the Jumperoo, going to the Old Park (Victoria Park in Bath, with loads of playgrounds in one park), going to Sainsbury’s, watching Dora the Explorer, playing catch with the stuffed reindeer.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Baby

Ted’s month has been overshadowed by the night wakings, I’m afraid. Most days I’ve just been so preoccupied with how tired I am that I probably haven’t noticed a lot in terms of developments, though I think that he must have just had a huge growth spurt as he’s suddenly out of his old sleepsuits. But he’s interacting a lot more and responding to sounds and words that are specifically directed at him – he absolutely loves Angelica and breaks into a smile whenever she’s near to him.

He’s now chomping on things that he holds in his fists as I try to shovel in spoonfuls of Ella’s Kitchen – clumps of broccoli, slices of carrot, chunks of strawberry and cheese and toast and crumpet. He loves natural yoghurt with a bit of fruit puree and he’s partial to a pizza crust to gnaw on as well as bits of breadstick, though a lot of stuff just ends up dribbled down his front and pooled in the bottom of his bib.

I’m still breastfeeding, but we try and do a bottle of formula every day just to top things up. In all honesty, I’m not sure that this has been a great idea, because I’m sure it has messed with my supply and we are so haphazard about when he gets the bottle. Next week I’m going to write down a proper routine (I say this every Friday) and try to stick to it. Although I’m away for work a few times next week, so he will have to have a bottle then anyway. No overnights, still, and I can’t see those happening for a while yet either.

toddler and 9 month baby blog

Ted isn’t a great breastfeeder – he’s very distracted and tends to latch on and be quite violent until the milk comes in, at which point he pulls off and lets it shoot around the room. This is almost every time. I don’t know whether I feed him too much (it’s still a bit on demand, though I think I misread lots of cues) or if the let-down is too strong, but it’s a lot of wasted milk. Bloody hell. Doesn’t he know how precious it is?! There are whole bars of chocolate that go into making the stuff!

toddler and 9 month baby blog

He’s sitting very well and rarely wobbles or topples, and he’s crawling backwards. I don’t know whether that’s because we have a shiny parquet floor here in our temporary abode, or he’s just decided that’s the way things will be. But he’s very strong on his feet and likes to stand and be walked forward. I do wonder whether he will walk early, or be a late walker like Angelica. Only time will tell! He’s such a dote – so cute – and on the mornings when I’m not absolutely done in, I love just chatting nonsense to him for ages lying in bed. If truth be known, I’ve quite enjoyed our bits of co-sleeping, where I curl around him and rest his little feet on the tops of my thighs and have his little warm head right next to my face. Sometimes he cracks me one right in the nose with his fist, which is always exciting when I’m dozing comfortably, but mostly it’s a lovely, close experience. I just don’t sleep properly if he’s there! Slight problem, when the whole point of being in bed during the night is to – er – sleep.

Body

Goodness only knows how I’ve lost weight, but it seems I have. Breastfeeding must burn more calories than my one can of full fat coke a day that I treat myself to (terrible, I know, I’m stopping next week!) and my Magnum ice lolly in the evening. I’m slimmer, but I’m definitely not healthier, and as soon as we get this house move done, I’m cracking out the cookbooks and totally revamping the whole family’s diet. Enough is enough! I’m going to print out ten recipes and have some sort of loose meal plan so that if we are all tired I don’t resort to easy, bad choices.

Nothing else of note, body-wise, unless you count the fact that my ears have just pricked up because Ted’s monitor has come on! He’s crying, so I had better go on up and see to him. Did I mention this is his first night in his own room? I’ve cleared out my office at the back of the house (office/dumping ground) and we have put the cot in there. It has no neighbours behind walls, so I’m hoping that I will feel less inclined to jump to attention for the smallest cry. Perhaps he’ll get himself back to sleep for some of the smaller times he wakes up. Wish me luck!

You can read Angelica’s 9 month baby update in the archives here, if you’re interested in comparing.

The outfits in these photos were very kindly sent from gorgeous kids’ clothing brand Tobias & The Bear. It’s the Peanuts collection, which you can find online here.

 

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christy junior bedroom girls

We are still rather discombobulated here, in the City of Bath. Our rented house is utter chaos, mainly due to the fact that I am using 90% of it as my office/storage facility and have beauty products on every available surface, but also because we are hesitant to unpack all of our boxes and so can never find anything that we need. We never expected to be here for long, as we had our eye on a few houses before we moved (hello, fellow Rightmove addicts) and so a good proportion of our stuff is in storage and what we do have with us is mostly packed up in boxes and suitcases.

christy junior bedroom girls

But rather than bore you with the mundane details of our house-moving adventure, I want to show you the gorgeous little beds I made up with the new Christy Junior collections, Woodland Trail and Infinity and Beyond. I put the pretty, floral Woodland Trail collection onto a single bed and the space-themed Infinity and Beyond onto the cot bed. I had to set up the beds in the living room, which was sort of the point of my long-winded, seemingly irrelevant introduction to this post – there was no space to take photos of the beds upstairs, as I have filled every inch of the house with boxes of stuff!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about moving Angelica into a “big girl bed” for a while now, but didn’t want to do it until we were set up in a new house, so this was a brilliant dry-run to see what she thought about it all.

christy junior bedroom girls

I think it’s clear that she has absolutely no qualms about a bigger bed whatsoever (although she was equally as enamoured with the spaceships and stars we photographed in the cot bed as she was with ladybirds and hedgehogs); she jumped right in and made herself at home, rearranging the duvet and admiring the bunting on the bed-head. (The bed-frame is vintage Laura Ashley – we borrowed it from a friend. Isn’t it amazing?)

christy junior bedroom girls

The range shown here is the Ladybird Floral White – it features a very pretty floral pattern on one side of the duvet cover and pillow case and then a sweet little ladybird design on the other. The dotty fitted sheet that you can just about glimpse underneath is the Christy Junior Speckles Jersey and it is so soft and warm. There are also matching jersey pillowcases with the same cosy feel.

christy junior bedroom girls

Angelica loved the hedgehog cushion and has been sleeping with it in her cot – here she is with (randomly) a matching biscuit. I actually think that a particular high point of her day was the box of matching biscuits that arrived with all of the bed linen! The hedgehog biscuit lasted all of about three minutes and the bed was absolutely full of crumbs when she finally climbed out…

christy junior Infinity and Beyond

…and climbed straight into the cot-bed (“MY BED MUMMY!”) which had become something of a curiosity because she had never seen it with the side rail taken off before. There were almost tears when it had to be fixed in place again! But the Infinity and Beyond bed range went down a treat. A “Galaxy” duvet (please check sizing for cot-beds, as there are so many different duvets and – indeed – cot sizes!) and the heavier, very luxe-feeling Cosmos collection, covered in embroidered constellations.

christy junior Infinity and Beyond

Let’s be honest: at this age, we’re choosing all of these prints and designs for ourselves, really, aren’t we? I mean, the amusement factor for a baby and a toddler is limited: in truth, it’s all for mewant a vintage-looking “Ticket to the Moon” cushion and star-print blanket on my bed, and if I can’t have it (because it would look maybe a bit weird) then I can – and will – live vicariously through my offspring.

Ditto the ladybird print: I would have absolutely loved the Woodland Trail range when I was small – the name alone would have had me jumping about with glee – and so it gives me so much pleasure that I have my whole childhood to relive! Ha.

christy junior Infinity and Beyond

(My Mum is a master embroiderer (no exaggeration, she is very skilled – has work in museums and galleries) and used to make a lot of our duvets. I had one not actually that dissimilar to the Woodland Trail one.)

christy junior Infinity and Beyond

You can find the both the Infinity and Beyond and the Woodland Trail collection at http://www.christy.co.uk/christy-junior

Prices start at £10 for the cuddly jersey pillowcases and £25 for the lovely embroidered cushions. You can get 10% off any purchase by quoting the code THEUPHILL!

christy junior collection

This is a paid advertorial with Christy Junior.

 

 

 

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baby blog development diary

I’m having just a little bit of a wobble about Ted’s continued night-wakings and the fact that we can’t seem to break the cycle. We’ve tried formula, a bit of controlled crying, we’ve tried going in and not feeding him, we’ve tried feeding him on every little whim… I think (know) that the problem lies with the fact that we haven’t committed to a single method but I’m still scared that his crying will wake up Angelica/the neighbours, as well as the fact that I simply can’t handle loud screech-crying in the middle of the night.

I keep comforting myself with the idea that this is simply history repeating itself; reading back through Angelica’s 8, 9 and 10 month updates reminded me that she did exactly the same thing until she was around nine months old. Woke every two or three hours for a small comfort feed and then went straight back to sleep. Or sometimes didn’t. I gather from reading back that it was definitely an issue, I just don’t think it was as disruptive because there were no other stresses (trying to find a house to buy, living in a rented house, etc) and only one baby to think about. I’m pretty sure I remember feeling like a total zombie, and that the night wakings were far worse than when she was a newborn, but then all of a sudden she started to sleep through.

So I think that I am constantly hanging on for that moment – maybe tonight will be the night – but not sure whether it’s a risky strategy. (I’m in the sort of severely-sleep-deprived state that means I shouldn’t operate heavy machinery, make big decisions or do any online shopping.) On the one hand, it’s quite possible that he will follow suit, but on the other hand, he’s a different person and it’s likely he’ll do something totally different. Which has me in this terrible pickle: do I make very strong moves to nip this in the bud now, or do I wait it out?

Rhetorical question, obviously, because nobody can decide that other than me (though do feel free as always to share your experiences and anecdotes, I love reading through the comments in the middle of the night!)  but it plays on my mind constantly. The thing is, I’d be more than happy to have struggled through these difficult weeks (months? I’ve lost track!) if I knew that Ted would sleep through like Angelica has since she turned 9 months. A solid twelve hours every night, no waking. The absolute dream. So if I knew that she was so good at sleeping now because I just let her do her own thing without any real intervention, accommodating her night feeds and not doing any so-called “sleep training” then I would feel more sure about battling through with Ted.

But it’s perfectly possible that I just got lucky! And on that note, I know people who did sleep training (or followed a “method”) and had their babies sleeping through from three months, but then have had problems from a year onwards, or two years onwards, with multiple night wakings. And then there are the parents who didn’t follow any sort of routine, Mums who breastfed on demand, and the little ones slept through from quite early on. So is there a method to the madness, or is it just luck?

I’m rambling because I’m so bloody tired, but I like to jot these things down on paper (you know what I mean) so that I can look them up again. Because I honestly can’t remember whether I’ve put a bra on, most days, let alone intricate details of my childrens’ development. I’ve actually found it quite comforting reading back over Angelica’s updates and seeing the same issues arise – though that puts paid to the whole “second baby, more experienced” thing! I obviously haven’t learnt from my mistakes, if they were indeed mistakes…

Angelica at the age Ted is now (nine months this week) was almost identical in her development and behaviour, though Ted had his teeth much earlier. Angelica at 9 months wasn’t partial to a daytime nap either (it had to virtually be forced and took hours to achieve) and she also woke frequently for little feeds throughout the night, with very little in the way of milk intake during the day. But then, like I said, a good sleeper now and still has a two hour nap during the day.

I’ve lost my thread with this post, now, so I’m off to eat a Mint Magnum (the one thing that keeps me going – 9pm treat!) and watch an hour of Netflix before “bed”. Wish me luck – I wonder whether Ted will suddenly start sleeping through now that I’ve written this? I usually manage to jinx myself one way or another whenever I commit things to the internet, so maybe it’ll work in the reverse?!

UPDATE: I couldn’t leave it like that, so I have noted down a little Action Plan to remind me of things I need to do this week in the effort to reclaim some of my sleep.

  1. Prepare the back room and make into a nursery. It’s actually my office but who cares? I’m too tired to work in there anyway! It’s also the only room that doesn’t have a wall with neighbours behind it. We never had this problem before (detached house) and won’t again (also detached house) but I can’t get over the idea that Ted’s crying will make them into angry pitchfork-wielding people who might knock on the door and/or hate us.
  2. Work on the daytime naps – he’s obviously overtired as he’s generally not sleeping enough, so we need to perhaps start really pushing for two proper naps and noting the times.
  3. Continue with the formula and the aim that we get down to three big milk feeds a day rather than eight million snacks. I’m not sure Ted even really likes breastfeeding – he’s constantly distracted and letting the milk squirt about the room, so maybe it’s time to just stop.
  4. Stop giving in to every night whim and sticking him on the breast – send husband in with bottle of water. That’s not so much of a treat, is it? Ha. Man with dressing gown on and bottle of water / woman with warm chest and nice milk…

 

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Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns Review

I have a bag in my office filled with empty shampoo and body wash bottles, finished tubes of face lotion, cleaned-out tubs of cream. An outsider would think they had stumbled upon some sort of secret hoarding problem; regular readers of A Model Recommends would know that I am merely saving the packaging as a reminder to write up my beauty reviews.

There’s quite a stash, now, of finished-off baby products and so I thought I’d make a start on some recommendations. I think that possibly the most-used (or most useful!) baby bathtime product I can think of is the Foam Shampoo for Newbornsfrom Mustela. I’ve tried so many baby shampoos now (I get sent tonnes of beauty products for both adults and children, it being a big part of my day job to test them) and this one tops the list.

The usefulness of this foam shampoo is twofold: firstly, it requires minimal rubbing-in, so there’s less chance of product running into your baby’s face, mouth, eyes, nose, ears, any other place that’s likely to make them scream bloody murder. The foam just sort of “perches” on their heads, staying perfectly in place until you rinse it away.

The second very useful aspect of this shampoo is that (and I have only just discovered this) it has been formulated to help prevent and treat cradle cap. It has a low concentration (I presume, looking at the ingredients list) of salycilic acid, which helps to exfoliate the scalp and remove cradle cap flakes. It also contains moisturisers to keep the skin soothed and hydrated and help prevent further problems.

Does it work? Well. I didn’t use it with Angelica, until fairly recently, and she did have cradle cap as a baby. Ted hasn’t had any cradle cap at all and I’ve used it on him since birth. (Not literally his actual birth, because that would be weird. “Do you want skin to skin with your new baby, dear?” “Not until you’ve wiped him over, weighed him and washed his hair with foam shampoo, ta ever so.”) I’m sure that there are proper over-the-counter treatments and so on for cradle cap (are there? I have no idea!), but if it’s just low-level ongoing management you want then this did the trick for me.

I would have highly recommended this foam shampoo even without the cradle cap-treating aspect because for angsty bathers like Angelica (who cries if you even mention the word “hair”) it’s a total dream. No lathering required. Genuinely no stinging if it does happen to somehow go in the eyes (not like certain other shampoos that promise no stinging but make you feel as though your eyes have been replaced with aniseed balls!) and easy to rinse out.

Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns costs £7.95 at Escentual.com* and a bottle lasts for ages. You need far less than you initially think you will, unless you go crazy with the application and make snowscenes/crazy foamy hairstyles on their heads, which does end up being very wasteful. Ooh – a special mention must also go to the Mustela Gentle Shampoo* which does need lathering but has the most beautiful, beautiful smell. It’s almost worth Angelica’s bathtime hairwashing hell just to smell her head after I’ve washed it with this – it’s summery orange blossom overload. Absolutely gorgeous. You can find it at Escentual again, it’s £7.50 here*.

 

 

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fisher price jumperoo review

I find myself with another metal-and-plastic monstrosity in the living room (though it’s a different living room, as we’re still in our temporary house in Bath): the Fisher Price Roaring Rainforest Jumperoo*. A nightmarish jumble of primary colours, it’s the Frankenstein of baby gyms. Part-bouncer, part-activity centre, it has a wraparound table with shaking, spinning, dangling things – mission control for a lunatic with a jungle fixation.

fisher price jumperoo review

But, my God, the Jumperoo is possibly the most useful piece of equipment you could ask for if you have a baby at the age when they will not sit still, want to stand up constantly but are too wobbly to support themselves, cry from boredom if they are left lying on their backs, even for thirty seconds, or roll halfway across the continent every time you take your attention away from them. It’s like a holding pen, but fun. It’s an extra pair of hands, but ones that offer up constant morsels of distraction and interest – a rattling elephant here, a crinkly butterfly there.

fisher price jumperoo review

One reader named the Jumperoo the “circle of neglect” when I last mentioned it, which did make me laugh. I suspect the keyboard warriors will be out in full force about the dangers of using a bouncer, but I really only rely on it for a few minutes at a time, so I can’t see where the problem would lie. I suppose the temptation to leave them in there, chilling out, is pretty strong, especially when you’ve got a nice hot cup of tea to drink and Grand Designs is on the telly, but if you are strict with the timings then SURELY IT’S FINE.

(Please don’t shatter my one hope for getting things done/staying sane/being able to sit down for five minutes.)

fisher price jumperoo review

Warning: the Jumperoo takes up quite a phenomenal amount of space. If you have a small living room then try to imagine what it would be like to put an extra armchair in it. Do you have the space for an extra armchair? No? Then you don’t have room for a Jumperoo. It’s gargantuan. You’d think it had been designed to bounce Hulk Hogan about, not a small baby.

Another warning: the music will drive you mad. Luckily it has a switch, and babies can’t get their little fingers around switches. Toddlers, however, can. I don’t know how many times a day I say to Angelica “please turn the Jumperoo off, PLEASE TURN THE MUSIC OFF!” but she seems to take a perverse pleasure in watching me slowly fall apart as B-I-N-G-O plays on a continuous loop. Sometimes she does one of her bizarre dance routines to the music, which admittedly is very funny, but still. I hear those tunes in my dreams. Nightmares. What short dreams and nightmares I actually have…

I bought my Jumperoo (again!) from Amazon here* – it was £70. I’m pretty sure the first one I bought was the same price, and really I should have kept it but I couldn’t be bothered to dismantle it and it was SO HUGE I JUST WANTED IT GONE and so I eBayed it and got £60. Not bad, eh? A tenner for about four months’ use! Best tenner ever spent, if you ask me…

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this works deep sleep pillow spray

When This Works approached me to collaborate with them on a special sleep project, I didn’t even wait to hear the finer details: I just said yes. Because they had me at the word “sleep”. Because I don’t really get very much of it, as you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, and because I seem to have become slightly obsessed with the very idea of it. (Also because This Works is a brilliant beauty brand, and they make the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray which is one of my most-used products. It all made perfect sense.)

My troubles with lack of sleep have been well-documented here on The Uphill; I’m not one to moan, even though I greatly enjoy it, but there is something about sleep deprivation that just makes you want everyone to know. I suppose in the same way that people with jetlag always have to tell everyone about their jetlag, or people who have a cold feel the need to describe their symptoms to anyone who will listen. Maybe we just like to share to make us feel better.

Anyway, the team at This Works wanted to help address my sleep issues and I was happy for them to help. They already knew that I was a busy working Mum, regularly trying to cram more into my day than I could manage, but to see if any tweaks could be made to my life that would improve my sleep they arranged for me to have a consultation with Professor Gaby Badre, who is one of the world’s leading specialists in sleep disorders. I have to be perfectly honest: I felt like something of a fraud for some of our phone consultation, because I didn’t particularly think that I had any sleep issues. It isn’t as though I have insomnia, or debilitating night terrors, or a dependency on sleeping aids – there isn’t an emotional or mental problem behind my lack of sleep. I can’t get enough sleep because I have a baby who feeds through the night, which means that I have to wake up every two or three hours. Slow, slow torture, as you’ll know if you’ve ever had to do that for any particular length of time. (Or indeed have had insomnia, or any other sleep disorder. Lack of sleep is tortuous whichever way it happens.)

So when Professor Badre started to ask me some quite in-depth questions about my sleep habits, I felt a little bit guilty. Like I was wasting his time. No, I didn’t struggle to fall asleep, no I didn’t use caffeine during the day to stay alert, no I didn’t use prescription drugs or alcohol, no I didn’t find myself falling asleep during movies or TV sessions in the evening… Part of me wanted to make up some problems just so that we had something to talk about! I kept thinking he would burst out with “just why are we having this call again?

But then something surprising happened. Professor Badre, after the questions had all been asked, told me in no uncertain terms that I had to seriously address my lack of sleep, otherwise I would – to use his phrase – “hit a wall”. Hearing someone with his level of experience put into words what I had been feeling – that I was always teetering on the brink of being able to cope – almost made me cry. I probably would have cried had I not been in a car full of people chatting about house renovations and giving me weird, sidelong looks! Being told that I must try and get more sleep, to manage my life better, was like being offered a solution to a problem I thought there would never be a solution to. I had always thought that the sleep deprivation would continue so long as I felt I wanted to breastfeed Baby Ted – that the two things were just destined to go hand-in-hand – but Professor Badre made me realise, with a few very succinct pointers, that I could be much more in control of the situation.

this works deep sleep pillow spray

Here’s the gist of what he said. (I hope I remember this correctly and don’t apply the powers of my overactive imagination to flesh out the story. I tend to do that.) The most important thing he discussed with me was the idea that I was being a slave to my life rather than being the master – I was just allowing things to happen to me and then reacting to them, rather than being in control of events and deciding what would and wouldn’t happen. I had whole lists of things that “must” be done – work, admin, house stuff – but it was impossible to get them all done in the time I had. And so Professor Badre said that I should eliminate any “musts” – if I did something, it should be because I chose to do it and not because I had to do it. I suppose that in a way it’s just a difference in mindset – you’re still doing the same things, but you feel in control of them rather than everything being a huge list of impossible demands.

Continuing along on the same sort of theme, Professor Badre said that I must make time for myself. That was the only “must” I was allowed! When he asked what I did to relax, I’m pretty sure that I said…”work”. (Ha. I’ll probably appear as a case study in a book in a few years’ time won’t I?) When told that I should enjoy a weekly massage or treatment, I almost burst out laughing – how on earth would I ever have time for that? If I had time to have a massage, I’d have time to have, in order of desirability: a nap, a shower, a quick re-jig of my website theme, a long sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and a magazine, a lunch with a friend…

But then I realised that I do have time for these things – I just need to stop feeling guilty about spending time on myself. I think that I tend to panic about my day, because there are so many “musts” on my list, but if I pick and choose what I actually want to do, or just cherry-pick what needs to be done urgently, my life is infinitely more manageable.

And then moving on to the subject of sleep, Professor Badre stressed the importance of finding the time to nap during the day if I couldn’t get a full night’s sleep. This was actually something we talked about at an event I held with This Works earlier in the month (thank you to all who came!) – that it’s the quality of the sleep that matters, not the length of unbroken time. So you can, if necessary, take your sleep in more than one dose and so long as it’s proper sleep, it serves the same purpose. (There are certain lengths of time for sleeping that are better than others, starting with twenty minutes for a quick refresher and then jumping to ninety minutes for a good solid nap; my current thinking is just that I want as much as possible and sod the correct lengths of time, but apparently you can feel worse than having no sleep at all if you rouse yourself at the wrong point in the sleep cycle.)

Professor Badre also stressed the importance of disconnecting from my iPhone and laptop and having times when I played “truant” from work. The idea of playing truant when you work for yourself seems silly, but I must say that actively making the decision to not do work and treating the time as a reward is very satisfying. I’ve really been trying to implement this change in the evenings, which is usually when I try to cram in all of my work that I haven’t been able to do in the daytime. I’ve tried to make a point of switching everything off to watch Netflix or have a relaxing bath, but shamefully I think that I’ve only managed this for a handful of evenings over the course of a month.

So what did I manage to change? Well, I have to say that Professor Badre’s words about “hitting a wall” really struck a chord with me. I’ve cut down on work considerably, until we get another nanny in place, because I was actually quite scared that I would fall ill if I didn’t start to take care of myself – it felt like a very real, very serious problem that needed immediate address. I’ve been trying to take more naps, and I’ve been taking Baby Ted into the spare room in the morning so that my husband can have him for the breakfast shift, and then I’ve been getting straight back into bed and going to sleep. I’ve found that the period between 7.15am and about 8.45am, when I have what I call my “bonus sleep”, is the best quality sleep I have in the whole twenty-four hour period. I think it’s because I suddenly have no responsibility and I know I’m not going to be woken up, so I totally relax. Even though I get more than 90 minutes of unbroken sleep during the night, there’s always the risk that the baby might have a little cry for a bit or wake up for a feed. With the baby passed to someone else, I know that I just have that time to myself. It’s really made me realise the importance of having help when you have a baby and not trying to do absolutely everything yourself, all of the time.

Though I haven’t yet implemented my next baby sleep steps (putting the cot in another room, doing some self-soothing routines) talking to Professor Badre made me seriously put them on the to-do list and I’m going to take the plunge this week. For my own sanity, I think! Reading some of the comments on my co-sleeping post has made me realise that this is such a common problem, especially for those nursing their babies through the night. It’s hard to know when to delegate, or just when to stop. When to realise that you’re at the end of your tether and slightly out of control of your own life.

this works deep sleep pillow spray

So I shall complete my sleep diary, but I feel as though I’ve already drastically changed the way I think about sleep, and my lack of it. On a more practical, easy-to-achieve level I’ve been spritzing Ted’s cot with This Works Baby Sleep Pillow Spray to create a calm, relaxed atmosphere as well as spraying my own pillow with the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, which – as I said earlier – has to be one of my most-used beauty products ever. I’m sure that it has a lot to do with the ease with which I manage to fall asleep, even after feeding Ted in the night and (sshhh) looking at Instagram on my iPhone! It’s like being under some weird spell – I’ve had some amazing dreams whilst using Deep Sleep

I hope that this idea of regaining control over your daily life and tasks is helpful, if you’re struggling with the amount of things you have to juggle. There are loads of brilliant sleep tips from Professor Badre on thisworks.com as well as information about common sleep concerns. I have to say that Professor Badre’s advice to me has been quite life-changing; I haven’t had any more sleep, I don’t think, but I feel far more able to cope with my hectic schedule.

If you’ve never tried the amazing pillow sprays from This Works then take a look here – the original one is still my favourite, but they also now make a time-release version that carries on working throughout the night. Just don’t spray it and then operate any heavy machinery – I find that it has the same effect as a large glass of red wine – instant snooze!

(This post has been sponsored by This Works.)

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co-sleeping with baby

Having reached the absolute pinnacle of exhaustion (Peak Exhaustion? P.E.?), I find myself now sharing my bed with the baby in an attempt to get some sort of rest. Never for the whole night, but sometimes for about half of it and always for the period between around 5am and 7am, which is when I seem to be at my lowest ebb and unable to even sit upright to breastfeed.

So I’m a reluctant co-sleeper. Reluctant because I’m really just not into bed-sharing at all – I know that some people love it, especially those who are frequently breastfeeding through the night, but I can’t relax when Baby Ted is in the bed with me, even though he’s now a big chunky eight month old! I snooze in tiny fits and starts, constantly paranoid that I’ve rolled on him or that he has rolled onto his face and has his head stuck under my armpit or has managed to commando-roll himself off the edge of the mattress. Trying to get him to sleep on a clear bit of bed (ie, not stuck to my person) results in the same sort of screaming session as putting him down in his cot, and as I simply don’t have the energy to deal with that at 5.30am I end up with a clammy baby wedged into the crook of my arm.

You may note that I say “my” bed, “in bed with me”: I don’t know whether I’ve ever touched on this before, but – despite our best efforts – husband and I haven’t managed to share a room in a fair while. To be quite honest – and I know this will be perhaps controversial – I actually find it easiest having my own room with a new baby. We did the same when Angelica was born, until she went into her own room, and the same has happened with Baby Ted. I think that it would be different if they had been bottle-fed and he could have shared the night feeds, but as it was, I never saw the point of both of us having disturbed sleep. In fact, it was (is) far better for my husband to be running on full steam during the day so that he can be all energetic and enthusiastic whilst I mope about like a zombie in my dressing gown.

Anyway, back to the co-sleeping. I’m trying to nip it in the bud, because I don’t want to make a rod for my own back and have a baby who won’t sleep in a cot. I know there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a baby in your bed, I can absolutely see how lovely it is and there’s something quite magical about waking up to little snuffles and gurgles, it’s just that I need to have my own space in order to actually get some rest. I’m not even that good at sharing a bed with an adult let alone a child!

(Poor husband. This is me on a typical night: “Have you got your earphones in? I can still hear the radio. No, I can STILL hear it. I can STILL HEAR IT. What, you’ve turned it off? What’s that hissing noise then? STOP BREATHING I CAN HEAR YOUR BREATHING! Can you try turning on your side? No, that’s noisier. Try the other side… Did you hear that bang in the garden? Go and see! I’ll stay here and…guard the bed.”)

co-sleeping with baby

My task for this week is to try and get some sort of night routine for Baby Ted and then stick to it. I’ve been keeping a sleep diary for a project I’m doing with This Works, and I’ve realised that Ted has a proper feed at about 10.30pm and 3am but that the other waking times (1am, 2.30am, 11.30pm, 5am, 2.10am, 11.45pm, 4.15am, insert other random, exhausting numerals) are just for comfort and I should really just leave him to self-soothe. The problem is that Ted is a bit of a screamer and we are renting a terraced house and I can’t get over the fact that someone is the other side of the wall trying to sleep. I may try moving the cot into the little back bedroom which has no party wall, I just need to summon up enough energy to move my office out of it so that I can move the cot in!

Mind you, I’m not good at sleeping apart from Baby Ted so I’m probably my own worst enemy. I like to be close by and to hear the little snuffles and grunts, but at the same time I’m sure that I react too quickly when he wakes up – if he was in another room, maybe by the time I properly woke up enough to go and comfort him he would have gone back to sleep by himself. Although I did test that the other night and he cried for a solid ten minutes with no sign of giving in, so, who knows?! I remember with Angelica that everyone said “fill her up with formula and porridge and she’ll sleep through!” but it didn’t work. In fact, history seems to be repeating itself, really – I read her 8 month update and 9 month update post and the situation was almost identical…

So it’s a matter of ploughing on through and trying to grab as much rest as possible, I think. And nipping the co-sleeping thing in the bud so that I don’t wake up groggy, with no feeling left in my arm, milk patches on the sheets and a panicky sense that the baby has disappeared underneath the duvet. It’s just not conducive to a productive morning!

Comments and anecdotal material please: successful co-sleeping tips, tips for getting through the day on very little sleep, tips for settling a baby who screams like (no joke) someone in a horror movie, positive stories about babies suddenly sleeping through after many months of frequent night-feeds. Also, how many couples ended up sleeping in separate rooms for a while/long time/forever? Marvellous, get writing!

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baby blog development diary

I expect you’ve realised that things are a bit crazy at the moment; I have barely had the time to go online at all, let alone write anything, and when I do get a spare minute to myself I am so knackered that I can’t type a coherent sentence! So I’ll keep this brief but with the (hopefully) reassuring promise that I will come back with a more regular schedule of posts soon. We’ve been house-hunting (unsuccessfully) and trying to get settled in our rented house in Bath, but we’ve also been backwards and forwards to London a few times and it’s all been a bit too hectic. I feel as though I’m walking a very fine line and if I step off from it, everything will fall apart. Ted is still waking up loads through the night, which doesn’t help – I’m just absolutely exhausted!

Anyway, enough about my woes – let’s see what’s been going on with the small, milk-scented creatures in my life.

baby blog development diary

Toddler

Angelica is turning into a proper little girl who knows exactly what she wants and when she wants it. “No Mummy!” she says, if I dare to sing along to something on the radio without her explicit permission, “no sing! NO SING!” Apparently I’m only allowed to sing when commanded, and there is only one permitted song in Angelica’s Kingdom: The Grand Old Duke of York. If it’s potty time – the hour after bedtime that is spent to-ing and fro-ing from bedroom to potty, each session involving the taking off of the sleeping bag, the undressing from pyjama bottoms, the sitting on the potty throne and then at least four or five games or weird, toddler conversations about snails and pirates and sniffing for treasure – if it’s potty time then I am given a sort of royal licence to sing whatever I want, whenever I want, because it means that she gets to prolong her time out of bed.

Potty training is actually going very well, touch wood. Angelica is now two and three months (is that right?!) and she goes on the potty quite a few times a day now. Sometimes she’s far too busy, excuse me, to go on the potty, and just makes a pitstop behind the sofa to do things in her nappy, but it seems that every week she uses the potty more and more. We’ve tried to stop making it into too much of an issue, but I do think that we are probably at the time when we need to make the final step and get her using it every single time. I’m just scared of the mess! And everything is already so stressful, we’re all so highly-strung – can we really add in poos on the floor to this pressure cooker of a family life? I don’t know whether we would survive it! Ha.

Angelica’s month in a nutshell. She is: running fast in circles, jumping in imaginary puddles, talking in sentences, sleeping through the night (has been since 8 months, rarely gets up unless there’s something wrong), enjoying eating cherry tomatoes and ham and couscous, very well-behaved in the car, starting to sing the odd tune here or there, remembering really small details about bizarre things that you’d think would be irrelevant.

baby blog development diary

baby blog development diary

Baby

Thank you for all of your brilliant, brilliant messages and tips on my breastfeeding post. They made me feel so much better, and I did take the plunge in quite a dramatic way to reduce the amount of feeds I was doing. I had to go to Paris for the day, and couldn’t take Ted, so he had to be left with a bottle and some expressed milk. Except that we didn’t remember about the expressed milk until we were halfway down the M4 at which point it was too late to turn back for it. So Ted had a day of Aptimil, and I had a day of trying not to weep as my breasts became so engorged I could barely move my arms! I tried to express on the Eurostar on the way out to Paris, but couldn’t get a let-down (something to do with the vile smell in the loos, probably), then on the way back my boobs were so huge that I just had to sit in the loo and – erm – work at my hand expressing until something came out. And boy, did something come out! The jets were almost uncontrollable! I feel sorry for whoever has to polish up the stainless steel in those train loos – I did try and do a wipe-down prior to leaving, but it was futile. The whole place needed sluicing out. Gross. Sorry.

In actual fact, I managed to aim most of my milk down the rubbery funnel of the Hakaa breast pump*, a genius suction thing that basically pulls the milk from your breast by brute vacuum force! Not sure how good it is for you, because it’s not really mimicking the sucking technique of a baby, and it does feel as though you’re getting a huge love bite on your tit (I imagine, I’ve never actually had one, funnily enough) but it doesn’t require a plug, or batteries, and it just hangs there on the end of your bap until it’s filled with enough milk that it plops off. (In reality it shouldn’t plop off, as then it spills milk all over you, but you have to get the knack of suctioning it on.) So yeah, I filled up the Hakaa from one boob and hand expressed the other. It was fun, I tell you. I could have been drinking wine and reading French Vogue and having a little nap with my face squashed against the train window, but instead I was in the bog with my rubbery milk receptacle.

The worst thing was I couldn’t even save the milk, because I wasn’t going to get home for about another five hours, and also: milk expressed in a stinky loo? Not so sure about passing that on…

Anyway, Ted was fine: he chugged back two whole bottles of Aptimil and didn’t even miss me. There’s gratitude for you.

Ted’s month in a nutshell. Ted is: giggling when you say “mamamama”, eating pieces of bread, biting anything and everything with his two front teeth, dribbling far less than a month ago, waking every two hours through the night, breastfeeding well in the night but irregularly throughout the day, showing no interest in crawling but every interest in standing strong on his legs, laughing at cartoons on the television, smiling at people in a very winning sort of way, screeching very loudly and suddenly and giving us all a fright, sitting up without any wobbles, grasping onto things so hard that you can’t pull them away from him.

baby blog development diary

Me

Ah, me. Where do I start? I’m concentrating on keeping my stress levels low, so I may have to write this section at a later date when I can control my cartwheeling thoughts. On a bright note, my stomach seems to have dramatically sucked itself in this month, which is quite miraculous considering the number of croissants and crumpets and takeaways I have eaten. My diet has become so dire that I don’t even consider a croissant to be a treat anymore – it’s probably one of the more healthy elements! Whenever I eat an actual vegetable, my whole body seems to go into a kind of shock – bloody hell, what an earth was that? Yesterday I had lunch in the health spa at Chewton Glen and had a green juice alongside my selection of bean salads. I’m almost certain that my internal organs were about to shut down from over-excitement. I could hear them screaming with pleasure, like  a group of people who had been stuck in a hot car for a day with no water and finally handed a bottle of ice-cold Evian each. Poor old body. I will try harder this month. And when I have a moment – a nice, relaxing, brain-encouraging moment – I will do you a proper report on how I’m doing. There’s nothing to worry about, it’s just that I only get a tiny amount of time to get absolutely everything done, and if I try and work through into the night then I’m too tired to function the next day. We need to sort out a new nanny, but can’t really hire one until we know where we’ll be living, so…holding on by my fingernails. Thank goodness for my friend Rach, who lives in Bath – we’d be really stuck without her babysitting skills and chirpy demeanour!

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