My 2011 Gallery

Do you take regular pictures of you and your family? Leslieanne shares her year with us in a photo blog.

On one hand, I can’t quite believe it’s almost Christmas again – on the other, looking at this photo-mosaic of our 2011, the arly shots feel like a lifetime ago!

It’s been a busy year, but a really good one.

My little man has gone from a one year old cherub to a two and a half year old mini-monster!  Two is definitely harder work than one – but it’s loads of fun too- everyday he learns something new and finds another way to make me smile. He’s such a happy little dude, and so funny, I wouldn’t change him for the world. We’ve had lots of fun at home together – baking, crafting, gardening and lots more – plus plenty of brilliant days out as a family too (I think our trip to London for in September for Postman Pat’s birthday party was Dylan’s highlight!)

We’re already looking forward to Christmas – last weekend we went to pet some of Santa’s reindeer, so festive feelings are certainly high!

2011 has been a lot of fun – I can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll get up to in 2012!

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Freelance and Fancy Free? It’s not that easy….

Chelle McCann shares her year so far….her journey from working mum to freelancing around her family life. Chelle runs Social Media Mums a freelance social media and virtual assistant service where charges are tailored to parents running their own business. The service supports small business on a permanent or ad hoc basis without the pressure of a full time wage.

This year has been so my so called whirlwind year. After starting with a small idea and one lady willing to test my ideas out I am not about to jump properly into the world of self employment.

It’s a little bit scary but also very exciting at the same time. However I dont want you to think it is a really easy thing. I also want you to think about what you really really want and then encourage you to go for it.

This year I’ve gone from a small idea to making a full time salary from that idea. It’s meant that I’ve worked like a crazy woman for thsalary 12 months and not without some family neglect to get this business off the ground. It’s easy to think that you have found something completely flexible – for me Skype meetings have to be a set time, stats have to be done once a month. It’s been difficult working around a part time job and most importantly my family. In fact I’ll got so far to admit I am becoming that parent who says ‘just two minutes darling’.

So come 2012 I’ll be working on my business and be leaving my work place after 5 years. I’ll focus business work to be on the days when my husband is at work and my daughter is in nursery, I’ll set the nights for work and the non working night for hubby. He’s been more than patient with me this year and I now need to show him how important he is to me. I need to be less distracted around Fizz, I don’t want her to turn round and tell me just two minutes – she’s already sending her toy doll to the naughty corner and I really don’t want to be next.

2012 for me means bringing in a partner to the business. One I have worked with before and who is definitely the ying to my yang in all things brighton, social media and mummy. I already know this person grounds me especially in our joint passions. By having someone share this with me I am sure I will be better focussed on success.

Anyway I’ve rambled but then again that’s where I am at. It seems a good point for me to step back, look over my life and remember why I am doing all this in the first place.

It’s not as easy as I thought it would be, working for yourself is challenging for yourself and your family. It’s not the workload (especially if you have found something you enjoy) but the time management, working out your own tax and national insurance, buying equipment and then finding you need more as your business grows.

But there is that huge sense of achievement when things all fall into place, when you catch up with the to do list and when a client gives you fantastic feedback. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. And I did it for me.

But I won’t forget that my family are the most important thing in the world. They are why I am here doing this, they are the ones supporting me. And I am extremely grateful for them.

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Relaxing Holidays…..?

Sam Mackley from Mummy Looks Fab pops in to share her holiday experience. Sam is also a bralady for Bras4Mums on the sunny south coast.

Not so long ago my idea of the perfect relaxation holiday would have included some golden sand, some clear blue warm seas, a spa within spitting distance and the kind of restaurants that made you want to start planning your dinner just after you had eaten breakfast…..That was all it took, pre children, to guarantee I came back rested, refreshed and relaxed…..

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Mums In Biz – And so the madness began…

Eve from Baba and Boo shares her madness around setting up and maintaining her business.

 

I struggle with using the word ‘organic’ – too Apprentice-like for me but that is how Baba+Boo has grown. I didn’t have a master-plan or a business plan at the beginning. It started out as me thinking of a way to earn a little bit of extra money for treats for the family, as money was quite tight. Whilst, I also wanted to try and make real nappies more mainstream, by placing them with other beautiful items in my little boutique.

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The Full Time Working Mum’s Guide to Breastfeeding

Working full-time while raising an infant isn’t easy, and one of the most difficult considerations is figuring out how to feed your baby in between working hours. While it’s a tough task, the job of providing sustenance for your child should fall primarily to you during the first months of his or her life. Experts agree that breastfeeding provides many benefits over manufactured formula, which should only be used as a last resort. That said, while the nourishment should be coming from you, others will be able to help you put in the time needed to do the actual feeding. Here are some tips to help you provide your baby with the best nourishment possible without being run completely ragged.

If you work from home or are located near your child’s day care, you may be able to nurse throughout the day. Even if you are unable to get away in order to feed your child directly, you should take the time to use a breast pump a couple of times during the work day if possible. This way, you will have a ready supply of milk for later, and it will keep the milk in production. If you neither nurse nor pump for long periods of time, your body will begin to produce less milk, and you will be forced to supplement with formula. You may have to do that to some extent anyway, but ideally, you will do it as little as possible.

Hopefully, you will have a place at work where you will be able to pump easily and discretely. If you are unable to take that much of a break or do not have an area that private to which you can escape, get a pumping bra, and you can pump while you work, accomplishing tasks as your milk is gathered into containers. Be sure to wear breast pads so that milk leakage will not damage your clothes.

Breast milk is the healthiest thing for babies to drink, so taking the time to provide your own milk to your baby will probably save you time in the long run, since you won’t have to worry so much about illness. The nice thing about pumping is that your baby will get all of the benefits of breast milk without it needing to come directly from you. This way, you can get a break. A caregiver or other family members can take turns feeding the baby using the milk that you have provided. It’s especially good if the baby’s father can do this, since feeding is a bonding experience, and he will not have as many natural bonding opportunities as you will.

You should try to bond with your baby as much as possible, and nursing is the most natural way to do it. When you come home from work, you should be all set to nurse your baby, who is likely to be eagerly anticipating your return. Instruct whoever is caring for your baby not to administer a feeding for a couple of hours before you return. That way, your baby will be hungry when you arrive, and you can feed him or her directly from your breasts. Feeling that soft, warm body against your chest is a powerful experience that will bring both of you a sense of security. At night, you will also be at home to feed your baby directly, and this will strengthen the bond and be healthier for your new child.


Finding the time and energy for breastfeeding can be complicated, especially for women who spend most of the day outside of the home. However, the benefits in terms of health and mother-child intimacy are very tangible, making it worth the extra effort to provide nutrition the natural way.

 

This post was written as a guest post by Mums Mall – an online shopping comparison mall dedicated to helping mums get the best deals online when shopping for baby/maternity products, toys and children’s clothing.

Picture sourced by

http://www.flickr.com/photos/matteo_bagnoli/4093271989/

 

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Guest Blog – My PND experience

I am a busy mum of three children four and under, with two dogs and a business, you could say I’m a little busy but I like life that way.  After years of wanting a child and only six months of trying four and a half years ago we caught for Poppy, my beautiful little girl and to be fair everything was as near to perfect as it could be.  My partner had left the RAF to come and live with me and I had a successful teaching job, we we were financially secure and our relationship was thriving.  Poppy was a very easy baby, sleeping through from six weeks old and an angel during the day.  We had talked a lot about having children close together and were toying with the idea of having another child quite soon, then all of a sudden the decision was made for us.  I caught for Rowan when Poppy was 4 months old.  I had had a difficult pregnancy with Poppy, with sickness for 32 weeks but the birth was a wonderful water pool birth and as I said she was an angel.  My pregnancy with Rowan went really smoothly, no sickness and I felt good except for some stress from work.  The stress at work got worse and 29 weeks into my pregnancy a child I was teaching ran towards me with pair of scissors threatening to kill my baby.  This sort of finished me off.  I went to the doctors and got signed off with stress, suddenly my pregnancy had become difficult.
 
At 29 weeks I was getting strong and quite painful Braxton Hicks, which continue for the next few weeks and I became terrified that Rowan would come early and I would loose him.  We were having Poppy Christened in November and Rowan was due in December.  The day of the Christening I slipped on a wet floor and my waters broke, at the time I wasn’t certain this has happened and carried on through the christening with horrendous backache all day. After a few days I went for my midwife visit and was measuring three weeks behind the last check, she immediately sent me for tests and my waters had in fact gone.  When they scanned me, my waters were so low that Rowan only had a bubble of water around his face.  Because I was only 36 weeks at this stage and had not gone into labour the doctors were reluctant to induce me and kept saying my waters could come back.  So for two weeks I rushed back and fourth to be monitored every day to check my waters and the baby.  It was a nightmare and I missed my daughter.   Finally on week 38 I went into labour and Rowan was born, the labour was extremely quick and due to the lack of fluid, extremely painful and stressful.  As I held Rowan in my arms I knew I didn’t feel the same as I did when I had Poppy.  I thought and hoped this feeling would pass.
 
Rowan was over a pound bigger than Poppy had been and constantly wanted food whilst Poppy constantly needed attention and where as with Pops I had had everyone around me when she was born, when Rowan arrived, friends and relatives were few and far between.  I felt alone.  I didn’t want to go out because it was too hard and staying in was driving me insane.  I hated my partner for no particular reason and nothing he did was right and it just got worse. The more time went on the more I resented Rowan for the amount of time he spent feeding.  I woke up one morning and Dan was getting ready for work and Rowan was screaming as usual, I just wanted to run away, I hated the life I was in and felt so lonely and abandoned.  Dan shouted at me to pick up Rowan, I took him downstairs and gave him to Dan, Dan glared at me and asked what was I doing, I can’t even remember what we were arguing about all I remember is raising my hand to hit Dan and running out of the house.  I took the car keys and sat in the car and sobbed.  I  just wanted to go anywhere to get away, I had no shoes on, no money and there was no fuel in the car, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.  Dan came out to me and just held me.  It was the first time we both realised that something was not quite right.  Ironically that morning on the news a women with two week old twins had got up and walked onto the M6 and killed herself, when asked her husband said he didn’t realise anything was wrong!
 
I called my health visitor and she suggested I went to the doctors, my mum  came over and I went with the health visitor, both doctor and health visitor were amazing! They prescribed me anti-depressants and told me I needed to get out and I needed to talk.  They put me in touch with breastfeeding groups so I could get help.  The health visitor came every couple of days and talked things over with me, she encouraged me to tell people what was going on.  So I told my closest friends, their resposes were the same, they never realised there was anything wrong but had wondered why they never saw me.  I was amazed hat how many friends had had the same feelings and had also had tablets for this illness, it amazed me that no one ever talked about it.
 
I am now 3 and a half years on and another baby.  I would love to tell you the garden is rosy and I don’t suffer from this anymore but I do. The difference now is that ALL my friends know.  They all know if I disappear for a week or two i’m not well and they check on me.  Dan is very supportive and he puts up with a lot.  I take my tablets as regular as clockwork and when I don’t it shows.  last year I came off them and threw Dan out.  This year I overdosed.  There is a fine balance between me being well and unwell and we are are constantly, as a couple, working towards making me better.  The biggest thing that I have come to realise is that this is an illness not a condition!  I no longer blame myself for it nor do I see it as something which will just go away.  If I had a cold I would take paracetamol, so for Post Natal Depression I take my tablets, and it will go eventually it just takes time.  The best advice I could possibly give is that nobody should feel stigmatised for having it, everyone should talk about it and if you have it accept help and ask for help.  People will understand and you will be surprised how many of your friends, have it, have had it or know someone with it.  
  
Julie has a great photography website  www.real-photography.co.uk and blogs at http://justaboutbeingamum.wordpress.com/ or http://realphotographyuk.wordpress.com/.

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Guest Post – PND and intrusive thought

I often assumed that post natal depressed mothers would be at home crying about everything, not connecting with their baby and perhaps wishing their old life back – I loved my baby and was out and about every day so it never occurred to me that I would get PND.

It started during one nightly feed/change combo when my daughter was 3 months old. This strange thought came into my head “what would happen if I lifted my daughter by her legs and hit her head against the wall?” Of course I didn’t do it but that’s what started me panicking…what if I was so tired one night I didn’t think about it, it just did it?  I was disgusted with myself. What kind of mother thinks like that? I didn’t sleep for the rest of that night because of the horrible thoughts that I was capable of doing it. I LOVED my daughter, I NEVER wanted her to be hurt, not by anyone especially by me.

Then the thoughts started coming in the day time. I was carrying the buggy across the living room where my daughter was lying on the floor, “what if I dropped the buggy on her?” I ended up being too scared to be alone with my beautiful baby just in case I hurt her; I didn’t want to but was still terrified. I thought I was a bad mother, a failure and social services would take my baby away if I told anyone.

Thankfully, my health visitor picked up on my anxiousness and gently coaxed this all out of me. To start with he recommended I speak to my doctor to get a referral to the Mental health clinic. I was still scared then to say it out aloud to my doctor but I’m glad I did. I received an appointment with the MHC within a few days and my health visitor was on call should I get worried at any time in the meanwhile.

After my initial appointment with MHC it turns out that I was getting PND due to Intrusive thoughts. Its quite common apparently but that fact didn’t console me. I was still getting the thoughts, getting more and more upset.  Medication didn’t help, it just made me numb and unable to move (Great with a newborn!)

I was recommended to have CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) which looks at your thoughts and then the actions that you act on because of the thoughts. I’ve been having the treatment for 5 months now, 1 hour session a week. We don’t talk about my past or how I’m ‘Feeling’ and the majority of time there isn’t any tears!

The treatment is strange, I would have not said that we have touched on anything that actually would help with the Intrusive thoughts…but….all the training and exercises were put to the test last week when my daughter we rushed to hospital. She fell and hit her head due to a febrile convulsion. It was every parent’s nightmare, we thought she was brain damaged and even dead at one point while we were waiting for the ambulance. All the staff at the Childrens hospital were great however they did warn me that she has a 1 in 3 chance of having another convulsion.  I thought because of this I would be clingy and checking on her every few moments but I’m pleased to say that I’m fine. I do check on my daughter as any mother would but not excessively.

If I was going to give any advice to another mother it’s don’t be ashamed in asking for help from family, friends, doctors, health visitors or anyone in fact. Suffering from Post Natal Depression is not a sign that you are a bad mother or a failure, it’s a chemical imbalance in your brain and there is nothing you can have done to prevent it.  Talking about your troubles and concerns with your friends maybe enough but if you feel you are still down then don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor.

This blog was written by first time mum Ellie.

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Guest Post – Detached

I have this feeling of detachment at the moment and I’m not sure when it started or how. It’s an on/off feeling.

Yesterday I went out on my own with my child. I felt so attached for the afternoon, felt overwhelmed with love for baby and thoroughly enjoyed my time.

Other times I feel seperated, like the times I lay on the sofa and watch playtime. Luckily my baby plays independently in the mornings. Watching baby is enjoyable but I admit I find myself distracted by other things that need to be done around the home and I am sure that I could give baby more of my time.

I am not sure if feeling detached is the right term but for some moments it is, for some moments I’ve never felt so attached. Like the times we share cuddles, go to sleep together, giggle in the bath or chase each other  around the home.

I feel a bit disjointed and I’m sure that baby isn’t the only one to suffer.

So thats it really. I’m sure I can’t be the only one that feels this way?

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Why I don’t have a TV

This post was written and first published at Typecast2000 blog. As I’m away on holiday, I thought it would be good to share over here as well, as I’m sure you’ll have your own comments about this! Will enjoy reading them on my return.

We don’t have a telly, or a TV card in our house. No means at all of receiving or watching live television. Yet, we have 2 active boys -8yo and 6yo, and we all love watching sport.

The conversation came to a head in the run up to the World Cup (football in case you’ve missed the news recently). My husband felt that maybe now was the time to get a TV in the house. He’s been muttering for a while now about getting one now the boys are getting older.

But “why?” I kept asking. Why do we need something that will sit in one of our family rooms that will become the focus of attention in that room and not each other, or lego, or books that we currently have (all at once today left on the floor!).

Why do we need this piece of machinery that people say “wastes their time” when there’s “nothing on”, (listen to Bruce Springsteen’s song “57 Channels and nothing on”). I hear of parents who leave their children just watching whatever, for however long. It scares me that these children don’t develop their own imagination in quite the same way as those where TV watching is limited.

Why do we need to be forced to have another restriction added to our busy family timetable when the children or hubby declare “Oh, I MUST watch xyz at something o’clock”. MUST? Why so strong? I’ve ‘managed’ without a television since I started work 15 years ago and couldn’t afford the TV licence. I can’t say I’ve ever missed it.

Am I missing something? We certainly haven’t missed having it during the world cup. I’m pleased we haven’t had no.1 son constantly wanting to watch highlights and replays, and have to sit and watch “crucial” games. Yes, BBC5Live has been on a lot, but we can do other things whilst it’s on in the background.

How do you use your telly? For you to “veg out” in front of? For your children to  “wind down” after a hard day at school? Could you manage without a television? Apparently 1% of the population are without televisions. I’m sure we all have our own reasons.

I really cannot see us ever needing or wanting a television. I don’t think the children miss out. I certainly have no idea where I would get time to watch telly! The boys are very creative and imaginative. They play, do sports, go to Beavers and Cubs. They enjoy music and dancing, laughing and computer games and playing with friends.

So, what am I/are we missing out on? I’d love to hear your views.

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