Monday, 11 September 2017

TotsBots Elements - brightening up autumn!

We are very excited to show you some pictures of the new TotsBots cloth nappies in their beautiful Elements range, which launches at 10am today!

The existing Elements range is extremely popular - beautiful prints themed around bright, outdoorsy designs, including one of our favourites, Bumberella! 

But we have to say, TotsBots have outdone themselves with the new designs! Without further ado, they are....

Bee
How adorable is this design?! Bees have been a really popular print this year, but this design also has a gorgeous little rainbow beehive. And we do love a rainbow in this house!


Rumble
Rumble is a beautiful thunderstorm themed print of rainbow clouds, raindrops, and lighting bolts. We think this is going to be many people's favourite!


Whirl
We originally thought Rumble would be our favourite print, but once we had put this on Oskar, it became our instant favourite! The rainbow pinwheel print is just gorgeous, it's so bright and cheerful. 


All three of the new designs are available in the following products:

Easy Fit nappy



Teeny Fit nappy 


Peenut nappy


Wet bags


Wet & Dry bags

We already have a few more items on our shopping list, and Oskar seems to love them (almost) as much as we do!


We are sure these will be TotsBots most popular prints yet as we absolutely love them! Easyfits are one of our most used daytime nappies as they are easy, quick and reliable, and the Peenut wraps go over a Bamboozle as one of our fail safe night time nappies. 



Thank you so much to the lovely people at TotsBots for inviting us to be part of their beautiful summer launches, and also to our son for being a very willing model! 



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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Two working mums

When I was pregnant with Oskar, Sarah and I made the decision that I wouldn't return to my career in midwifery. After ten years of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, I needed to move away from the NHS and give more to myself and my family and less to a job that was making me increasingly unhappy.


When Oskar arrived we ummed and ahhed over the right thing to do. We agreed that in an ideal world we would keep him out of childcare, both for the financial aspect and because we believed the best place for a baby and young child was at home, with his Mum's. We worked out a way of living on one wage, and whilst Sarah worked incredibly hard as a full time bread winner and Mum, I took on the role of stay at home Mum. For the first year or so it worked well, and I am proud of the fact we have always put our son first, and made all of our decisions based on the right thing for him. But as time has gone on we have had to reassess, and the decision for us both to work was born out of providing balance to our family, and also a financial need, and a realisation that we wanted to provide a lifestyle for ourselves and our son that one wage does not provide. We adore travelling, and we want to show him the world. We love eating out, exploring new cuisines, getting ideas and inspiration for cooking at home. We enjoy having new experiences, both at home and around the country, we have a hunger to learn, to see and do, and we want to instill that in Oskar too, and we knew that that is a lot easier to be able to afford with two wages.

     

As well as financial realities, there was also the reason that Sarah needed more of a balance to her life than just work, and I needed more than being a full time stay at home mum. 


It remained important to us that he wasn't placed in to childcare, we wanted to retain being his main carers, with maybe the very occasional day with his Grandparents. So we needed to work out how to both work in a kind of part time role, but meaning we both got time with our son, both got time at home, and somehow managed to see each other, too.


First of all, I was offered a job at Starbucks by a friend of a friend, who was managing a new place. After very little deliberation I said yes please! As huge Starbucks fans it seemed like a great opportunity. So I work an evening and part of a weekend day being surrounded by one of my favourite things, coffee, in a place I already love. Sarah and Oskar have some time at home together and it has definitely been a positive for us all. As much as I adore my son, it is lovely to go to work without him sometimes, have some adult company and do something I genuinely do enjoy and have a passion for, whilst knowing he is with his favourite person in the whole world, his Mummy. Sometimes they even come and visit!

                                   


On top of that I needed to find a way of earning a bit of money whilst having Oskar with me. After a bit of thought I decided that I really love learning about child development and supporting that. I spend a long time researching new activities, ways to help him learn, things to do in and out of the house, and so from this, the idea of setting up a childminding business was born.



It has taken a lot of hard work to complete the necessary course whilst also caring for Oskar. I have used every available nap time and a lot of evenings to complete the work and apply for my OFSTED registration but I am so pleased to say that I started work caring for children on Monday. And a result, my incredible wife has been able to go back to part time, meaning we always both have the same day off during the week in addition to our weekends.

                                     

More time as a family can only ever be a positive thing, as it truly is our most favourite thing in the world. It means that Sarah feels like she doesn't just spend her whole life at work, and can enjoy being at home more. Her first week as a part time worker was a breath of fresh air - taking Oskar to the park, going for a coffee (her first pumpkin spice latte of the year!) just feeling like a normal mum, and even having time for a doctors appointment were revelations. Although she has cared for him alone when I've been at work in the evenings or part of a weekend day, something about having a full week day has made her feel like her life has changed, immeasurablely for the better. 

                                   
It's definitely not often that she had felt like this about a Monday before! 

                                      

It's always difficult when having a child to decide what balance is best when it comes to work, but our advice is, do what works for you. Having a child is the most wonderful, fulfilling, magical thing we've ever done but also by far the most exhausting, stressful, and all consuming - mums need to be kind to themselves and figure out their own balance. As with everything in life, everyone is different, and what works for someone else may not work for you. 

So here we go, a new venture for us all. No doubt it won't always be plain sailing, there will be times when we are exhausted from both being out all day, but the dinner still needs cooking and the washing still needs to be hung, but we are a team, and an incredible team at that. I am proud of us for navigating this new world together and for making decisions that benefit us all. Now please excuse me, I need to go and see where we might go on holiday next year!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

You are a mother - but what else makes you...you?

On a weekend away last month, we were reminded of one of our favourite quotes on the wall of a cafe. 


This really got me thinking about how much this is true, particularly now we are parents.
Before Baby, our lives were quite different.


 We both worked a lot, and the rest of our time was spent shopping, going out for meals, cocktails, champagne, spa days, weekends away, and multiple foreign holidays a year. We had lie ins with no 6am baby wake up calls, and only really had to consider ourselves.


We naively thought our lives would be the same, just with a baby (oh how we shake our heads at our pre baby selves!) 


There is definitely a period of adjusting, which can be overwhelming at times. Nothing prepares you for how intense, exhausting, and full on being a parent is. We certainly understand the feeling many new parents have, of unintentionally losing yourself and becoming just a parent. And this was, and is fine by us. We absolutely loved throwing ourselves into motherhood and thinking of nothing else, for more than the first year of Oskar's life. We can 100% say that we have always given him the absolute best, and put his needs first, which will always be the case. But after the initial adjusting period, and you begin to get your own sense of self back, this can be strange.
Who are you now that your world is so different?

The biggest change that having a child makes to your life, is your time is very rarely your own. The time you do have is so precious, and it's hard to do anything apart from try and catch up with housework, or just sit and take a breather! 
So as your time becomes more precious, you realise that things you would have previously dismissed as 'little things' really are the big things when you look back on them. Those little things make you who you are, give you that sense of contentment and happiness, and it's important to make time for them. Rather than dreaming of a big holiday for example, it's important to fill our day to day lives with little things that we will look back on and realise made up the big picture. 

Following on from last years 'hygge' trend, 'ikigai' is a Japanese philosophy which basically means 'the reason to get up in the morning. It's about 'discovering, defining, and appreciating life's little pleasures that having meaning for you', according to the author of The Little Book Of Ikigai.

We'd love to read what yours are, especially if you're a parent! Here are ours...

Dates

Last week we went on a date night, as Lauren's mum had volunteered to look after Oskar for a few hours. We went to Zizzi, had food and wine, and then went for a cocktail. Something that would have been a simple, weekly occurrence previously, but now as it is something we get much less often, is much more appreciated. Since Oskar was born 14 months ago we have been out at the two of us three times, just for 2-3hrs, leaving Oskar with his grandparents. We went for cocktails on my birthday, for pizza and to see a play, and to Cirque Du Soleil.
However as Oskar was older this time, we felt much more comfortable about leaving him, albeit just for 3 hours. It was so, so  lovely. To concentrate on each other, to have conversation over our food, and then to sit outside a fairy lit bar by the waters edge drinking cocktails. To dress up, to carry an Alexander McQueen bag instead of a changing bag! It really reminded us how important it is to still make time to be wives, to do things you've always done, things that make you feel like yourself. The feeling as we drove home was one of refreshment, contentment, and reminded us that especially as Oskar gets older and we are happier to leave him with grandparents for a short time, we definitely need to do date night more!



Going out for breakfast 

Going out for breakfast has long been one of Laurens favourite things to do. Its a more relaxed, casual way of going out for a meal, and is such a lovely start to a day! No one wants to wake up and cook food, so going out for breakfast means being able to have whatever you want, no cooking required! Plus breakfast time is usually a quieter time to go for food, especially if you go for our favourite time of breakfast date - midweek when most people are at work!


Nature/the forest/outdoors! 

We have always been nature lovers, and have had some amazing glamping holidays pre Oskar. Since then we have had a wonderful first holiday in Pembrokeshire National Park ad so many trips to beautiful forests and parks. Something about the forest really does feel magical, so being surrounded by nothing but trees and sky brings us a kind of peace we've never felt elsewhere. We are also lucky to be able to look out of our window and see nothing but trees - we never get tired of seeing the seasons reflected so beautifully, those autumn leaves leave us awestruck every year!




Exploring somewhere new

Despite our far flung trips being temporarily put on hold, we have explored places in the UK which would have missed the opportunity to do so before. Since having Oskar we've revisited Devon, London, Wales, Brighton, the Cotswolds, and had our first trip to The Lake District, which was just beautiful. We have made good use of our National Trust membership and visited beautiful places nearby. Discovering places as a family, even places that weren't new to us as a couple, has given us such wonderful memories. We also have plans to start venturing further afield again perhaps next year, but for now, our favourite thing to do is explore the world, including places not so far afield, as three.









Treating yourself...not just your children! 


We are definitely guilty of treating our child way, way more often than we do ourselves. Over the past year we have rarely bought new clothes for ourselves, whereas Oskar has beautiful toys and gorgeous new outfits! So we definitely want to try out remember to buy ourselves a little something sometimes, to go to the hairdressers etc, and generally do things that make us feel like ourselves. 


Time with the people who matter

We are both working less that we used to, which has made time to see family, anf friends more. Although we would still like to have more time for other people (when you have such little free time, its hard to want to spend it doing anything but just being together) but we have had some wonderful times over the past year, and we want that to increase and continue.  We have been to our first wedding as a family - at the end of July we ventured up north for the wedding of two friends we met via Instagram 6 months ago and really get on with. Becky and Janay's wedding was just stunning, we were made so welcome by the brides families, and the food was all veggie and vegan! The lovely ladies even invited us to spend a night with them at their beautiful wedding venue as they had a room free - which turned in to the four of us (plus our two baby boys) eating Indian takeaway in the fancy dining room of a haunted house, talking about everything and nothing until the early hours! 
We have also spent more time with our families due to Oskar and its lovely to watch their love grow for him. Hes growing to love his cousins, which is really sweet to watch! 







Time to do nothing 

But of course, as well as seeing people, going places, there's also the little moments where we are all snuggled in bed, or playing a game with Oskar, or eating dinner together, or laughing at something silly, listening to music, reading, planning for the future, sat in a coffee shop or walking Willow. Little things that make us happy, but actually make up a lot of our lives. Which is why its important to spend life doing what makes you smile, what gives you peace, what makes you, you. 

Of course there are always the big moments in life, but when they aren't happening? Fill your time with the little things that make you happy. They really do turn out to be everything. 


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