30 June 2015

Our renovation story Part 2 - Surprises

So we started our renovation on 22nd May 2015, as we got the keys to our first house. Some of the first pictures of the house in it's 1970's and 1980's glory and our first thoughts were recorded in my first post about our renovation journey.

After taking stock in the situation we had a plan. As we were working on a tight budget we had to compromise with some things. Our plan was to gut as much of the place as possible, but use as much of the things that were still there to save money and do much of the work ourselves to save on labour costs. 

Before we signed on the dotted line, we knew there were several things that needed to be done before we would move in. 
  • Rip out the kitchen and get a new one. The pictures didn't do justice to it, but all the appliances were ancient, and the cabinetry past its best. As far as we know it was installed late 1970's. 
  • Refashion the stairs. It was evident that it was not safe for children due to lack of banisters, so we planned to install a new newel post and banisters, potentially glass or perspex.
  • Check the floorboards and if possible restore the original floorboards to their former glory. 
  • Open up the doorway to the kitchen to make more of an open-plan structure in the place. 
  • Re-wire everything and re-plaster where needed. 
  • The front windows were failing (rotten wood, condensation between glass panels) so we started looking for wooden sash windows to bring back the period features. 

Then the work began. It all went fine to begin with, but then little by little more and more things began appearing.

We knew the kitchen was going to be expensive, but when we started to get quoted for the type of kitchen we wanted going for £8k-£11k (without worktops and appliances!) we started to worry. 

We knew the stairs would be an added cost, but after having the first carpenters in to give a quote we got worried. All the carpenters looked at the staircase, said not up to code, has not been done by a professional, and they can't refashion it into anything safe as it is too shaky. They have nowhere to fit the banisters in. The whole thing needs to come down. By the way, it'll cost you £6k. Oh.

We got builders in to look at opening the wall between the kitchen and living room. A fairly easy piece of work we assumed, knock down a little bit of the wall on both sides of the door, install an RSJ, and that's it. Until we looked at the wall underneath the stairs closer. A stud wall, with nowhere to attach the RSJ to. And then we realised the stairs were akin to step ladders, just attached to the floorboards above and carpenters outlined how they will need a structural support underneath the new staircase. Oh. 

We had the plumber pop in by to do the kitchen. As he walked around the place, he saw that pipework had been pulled outside the house, rather than chased inside the walls. The pipes would need to be removed and done properly. Oh.

After husband got in the house to do chasing for the electrics and new plumbing, he hit a damp spot in our bedroom and in the living room. In our bedroom practically the whole of plaster underneath the bay window had to be brought back to bare brick. In the living room the damp spot was smaller, but likewise back to bare brick it went. Oh.

After husband worked on the living room and started to remove the skirting board so we could inspect the boarded up fireplace, the whole plaster work and plasterboard above the fireplace came crashing down on him. The plaster had been held up by the skirting board - great workmanship by whoever did it! (Yes, we were warned it had been done badly, but didn't quite expect that bad.)

After which the ceiling in the dining room was inspected, found to be failing, and was brought down completely. It was sketchy and about to fall down and crumbling. Lath and plaster was gone and just the floorboards and joists above remained - you could see through to the upstairs. After discussing with the neighbours we discovered there had been a massive leak a few years back, the lath and plaster had been thoroughly soaked and it had been re-decorated, with new plasterboard stuck on top and the bathroom done up. Did the seller disclose any of this? No. So we will be sending an email to our solicitors.

After removing the ceiling we discussed with the plumber again and agreed we might as well replace all the old copper pipework to modern plastic now that it was exposed, and as we changed the pipework we might as well change the radiators to prevent the new pipes to be exposed to sludge from old radiators (which would have needed to be replaced anyway in a few years). 

Oh yeah, and those beautiful restored floorboards we had in mind? Downstairs floorboards were pretty knarled but upstairs was surprisingly good. However, after the electricians had popped by, ripping and drilling through everything we expressly told them not to, the floorboards upstairs were looking awful. Another £1k for click flooring upstairs then. 

With all these additional costs I am afraid the new beautiful wooden sash windows flew out of the window. And we would have to deal with the failing nasty uPVC horrendousness until we get more money.

Hey, we did at least have one positive surprise. We found a wall safe. Unfortunately there was nothing inside that would have helped us with the renovation costs!

Next week a bit about project management... 

29 June 2015

My first Britmums Live experience

So, I went to my first Britmums Live conference - for those who don't know what it is, just think of a massive wine-fuelled two day event about blogging (and everything connected with it) for parenting bloggers in UK. I've even heard of people coming in from abroad for the conference, so clearly it is a big deal with parenting bloggers here. 

I wasn't 100% sure if I would go after the first blogging conference I attended. Not that there was anything particularly horrible about my first blogging conference, it just wasn't as amazing or social as I thought. However, after reading tons and tons of stories about Britmums and hearing how people thought it was the place to be I figured why not. The tickets weren't expensive and if I hated it, I only lived a few tube zones away. 

As the day approached I got a bit more apprehensive. We are just renovating our first home and time is in short supply at the moment to say the least. Because of the time pressure I didn't attend quite all of the conference, and had to miss out on some of the sessions I wanted to attend to. But in the end I am glad I went to it - overall it was an OK experience and I think I got something out of it. 

The good:
  • Deliciously Ella keynote - I bought her book recently and it was nice hearing her speak about her blogging journey. I haven't actually ever read her blog, but I like her book (I am a bit of a cooking book fanatic - sadly not a cooking fanatic my husband would say).
  • Loads of brands - As I had to miss out on so many sessions because of time pressures I figured I'd atleast try to speak to all the brands there. Had some nice conversations, pushed my spanking business cards to everyone and signed up for loads of stuff. 
  • Chatting to brands and PR - After Britmums I have had a lot more PR contacts than before. Go figure, coincidence perhaps? Or then not. 
  • Craft corner - I learned how to knit. OK, I knew how to knit before as well, but I badly needed a re-freshener.
  • Beating a Guinness World Record - yes, that is right. I am officially now a part of a group holding the current World Record on wrapping most people as toilet paper mummies in three minutes. As silly as it sounds it is true. "We are the champions, we are the champions... "
  • Wonderful, tear-jerking, powerful keynotes. 
  • Meeting nice new people - I met quite a few nice people and some people even said hi first as they recognised me! I also met up with fab Nadia from Scandimummy.com for a quick chat before the conference and we walked in together. Nice to get a bit of a pep up and moral support as it was so manic there! (Check out the picture where I am with Nadia's little cutie Caspian)
  • Lovely cute little babies everywhere - oh those squishy little thighs, cooing little gurgles, drooling little poochy-cheecks... A blogging conference is not supposed to make you BROODY! ;)    

The bad:
  • I found it really difficult to find the sessions - the signposting was a bit weird and non-existent at some points.
  • Some of the sessions were clearly set in wrong rooms - pitching session and photo styling sessions had people sitting on the floor. Surely a bigger room could be found for stuff that is likely to have big crowd interest?
  • I didn't get to go to all the sessions I wanted to - OK, that was my problem and due to my time scheduling difficulties. 
  • Meeting naff people - Maybe it is just me but if I go to conferences (and I do as part of my real full-time job) I go there to network and socialise. I try my damnest to be approachable and positive and chatty to everyone. From some people at Britmums Live I just felt an instant naffiness, and a sort of a cold front. OK, I am not trying to be your BFF here, but you can atleast try and feign interest for a bit, maybe? Or then in the future when I do bump into your blog all I can think of is that this one was the naff one from BML, probably not that great of a blog either. Maybe I am looking at it wrong then and maybe going to a blogging conference is about talking to people you know, and looking at your computer/phone/the wall. I get it, people can be shy, so am I, but there is shyness and then there is "shyness".
OK, got that off my chest now :)

How was your Britmums Live?

24 June 2015

Our renovation story Part 1 - Our new home

Some of you may know that we are renovating. Renovation might not be the right word for it though - but I can't think of another word that would capture the over-bearing and all-consuming mammoth in the room. 

To address that I thought it would be nice to write about it here in my blog as well. Let you in on our little (huge) project, and show you what is happening and where we are going (sometimes it feels nowhere). There is so much to update and tell you about, and pictures to share as well. Warning though, the pictures won't be pretty or stylised. Renovation is ugly work. I figures it would be nice to share our journey and write weekly about what has been happening in the house. Starting from the very beginning...  

On 22nd May 2015 we got the keys to our new home. The same afternoon we went back to take full stock of the situation. We bought the place knowing full well there would be a big modernisation project ahead. The house was initially up for a silly amount, but eventually the scale of the renovation project was reflected on the price. 

When we first viewed the house we liked it. Pretty much everything in the inside was wrong, outdated, in disrepair even, but it had potential. We could see it could become a beautiful house if someone who had a vision would move in. It was big, with high ceilings and big open windows. What we knew is that it would require a lot of money and graft, and made an offer well below the asking price, negotiated a while and then made the final take-it-or-leave-it offer. It was taken. 

There is only so much you get to know on that first and second visit to the house. And only so much a full building survey tells you. When we got back to the house we started inspecting. What to do, where to go, where to start with. My husband started ripping the curtains and carpets off. We measures, walked in the space, and thought - "What have we let ourselves in for? Could we still back out?". 

The answers to those questions were a lot of trouble and stress, and no. This was it. Could we really afford it? Well, we could not not afford it. As is often the case it felt like our hearts and desires had bigger plans than our wallets, but you have to do with what you have. There were so many things to do though that it felt like our budget would just about cover us. Just about. If there were no surprises to come...

Next week - Surprises...

Is anyone else doing renovations? Or anything large-scale? Words of encouragement and peer support would come pretty handy right now!

Check my renovation series here:
Part 1 - Our new home
Part 2 - Surprises
Part 3 - Project management

19 June 2015

Running around our old park

Our old park... Well, not our old park quite yet, but we will be moving in a month or so. 

It used to be a cow pasture, now I guess it is a child pasture. We've spent many a morning here, many a day here, and many an evening here. Sometimes just five minutes or so, sometimes over an hour. Running around, releasing that boundless toddler energy. Knackering that poor tired old mummy and daddy even further. 

She climbs, she runs, she hides, she picks flowers, she runs, she sees a plane and pretends to be one, she goes down a slide, she pushes the merry-go-around, she climbs in the swing, she climbs off a swing, she jumps on the see-saw... And again. And again. 

So many little memories. Before I had my daughter this park was always just one big  expansive space, with a little children's playground in the middle. Sometimes I'd come and sunbathe here, or even have a little jog, but usually I would just quickly walk through it, ignoring it. Now, it has become practically the center of our little universe. We go there everyday, rain or shine. OK, maybe not when it is raining, but if it looks like it might rain we try to squeeze in a little bit of time in there.

This park really is quite special to us. I've taken her first and second birthday pictures in this park. Her official birthday portraits, in this little old park around the corner. The pictures in this post are in fact from her second birthday day, where she is exactly 2 years (and a few hours) old.

It will be strange to leave our little park behind, the one in which we have spent countless of hours, bundles of energy and enjoyed happy times. And make those memories again in our new park, in our new neighbourhood. We won't be moving too far away so maybe we can come here sometimes, if just for the old times sake...

The only trouble is, she never wants to leave!

Toddler OOTD #26 - Minnie Mouse at a Teddy Bear picnic

June is a party time for us. Our family doesn't celebrate just one birthday in June, but about seven. Attending that obligatory NCT course didn't just teach us about birth choices and how to put a nappy on a dolly, but also gave us six play mates to party with in June.

Over the last weekend we had not just one, but two birthday parties. On Sunday the theme was Teddy Bear picnic, so we dressed our little mouse in a party dress and grabbed a teddy and off we went.


A picnic blanket, little party hats, a ball pit, little trikes, juice, crisps, teddies to cuddle and lots of little play mates - what more could a two year old want from a party?

If you are a little princess who loves her accessories, you might also like to have a new pair of shoes. As we popped in town earlier to get our little girl a few birthday gifts, she picked a new pair of sandals from H&M. She loved them, and proceeded to put them on in the shop. Sat on the floor, took her shoes and socks off, put the new pair on and tried to walk away. Luckily for our little cheeky chops, they went perfectly with her Minnie Mouse party dress and were the right size too. 

It was lovely seeing a few of our NCT babies together, playing, chattering and toddling away. While they don't really play together, but rather play alongside each other, it was lovely to see them sit together, share their crisps, run up and down the garden and have lots of fun. Together and alongside each other.

Looking forward to June 2016 - I wonder how many parties we will get to attend then!

What did you think of the Minnie Mouse dress? Do you still meet your NCT buddies?

13 June 2015

I'm going to BritMums Live! (2015)

So.... I got my tickets to the BritMums Live ages ago. Apparently it is de rigour in the mummy blogging spheres - and it looked really fabulous event to attend too so I was sold early on. Now however I am feeling slightly apprehensive. Two day conference, where I don't know anyone. Please come and say hi to me!

Name: Sanna
Blog: Wave to Mummy (check my About me and my blog page for more information)
Twitter ID:@wavetomummy
Height: 170cm which is about 5'7.
Hair: Honey blonde says the bottle (it is sort of light golden brown).
Eyes: Hazel

Is this your first blogging conference? No, last year I went to Mumsnet Blogfest, which was fab but at the same time a bit lonely as I knew no one, and hadn't been blogging for long so didn't really recognise many people either. I did enjoy it for the learning it provided, and wrote about my thoughts about the Mumsnet Blogfest as a newbie. I learned a lot through it as well, and was quite taken by the business aspect of blogging too. After the conference I also wrote about what I learned about making money with your mummy blog - this is still one of the most popular posts on my blog (go read it!). 

Are you attending both days? Yes, of course, bit silly not to. But I am not sure if I will make a full day out of it, depends how fun and social it will be.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2015? I am really looking forward to some of the learning sessions - I will probably go for the creative and business options, but I haven't made my mind yet. To be honest, I haven't really had the chance to have a good look at the line-up yet as I have been really busy, but once I heard that Ella from Deliciously Ella was coming and doing a keynote, I was pretty excited. I've actually never read her blog, but bought her book very recently and it is very good!

Oh, and I am also looking forward to the craft corners - hopefully I will finally learn how to crochet and can start crocheting one those millions of amigurumis I've saved on my Pinterest files...

What are you wearing? Most likely a maxi dress. They are just about the most comfortable things I know! I was thinking that on Friday I would probably have to wear office attire (as I'll go to work in the morning), but luckily we do casual Fridays, so a maxi dress it is.

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2015? New friends hopefully. Some learning and a day and a half of a good time.

Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? This would be my first time at BritMums Live, but based on Blogfest I would say wear comfortable shoes and bring your notepad and phone charger, smile and chat to people (obviously me if you see me!), and try to have a good time and learn loads. 

So yeah, I am looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be fun, and if you see me, I am super friendly and won't bite if you say hi. I will definitely say hi back :)

12 June 2015

Toddler OOTD #25 - Marimekko Unikko baby skirt

I am a big fan of Scandinavian children's clothing. Probably because I am Scandinavian. The style, the look and the feel of the clothing just appeal to me. And if the clothing brand comes from Finland (my home country) it peaks my interest straight away. I gravitate towards them. 

I always feel a bit special sporting something nice and unique from my home country, and feel just that little bit more special when I know you can't find it from the local high street. It is the same thing with what my daughter wears - I love her to wear clothing that is from Finland. Something special, something unique, something that speaks to our heritage. 

marimekko spring unikko poppy toddler skirt

This little skirt is exactly that. It is from Marimekko, which is a very well-known design brand in Finland. As far as I know it is pretty popular in Japan as well, and had a moment of glory across the world when their Unikko fabric was used in Sex and the City program. Marimekko also do lots of beautiful plates and other kitchenware I often see in interior magazine table settings. Despite all this, in UK I find it is like a little secret no one knows about. My little secret. 

This summery little mini skirt is one of their most well known fabric designs Unikko, which stands for Poppy. This is the spring time version, with pink and yellow and light colours. The original design fabric has bright red poppies on it, which are striking, but used to be so popular in Finland at one point, practically everyone had something made with that design. It was sort of like the Finnish Burberry, if you remember that time when practically everyone in UK used to wear the Burberry stripes. Now having a rebooted version feels fresh and cute.

marimekko spring unikko poppy baby skirt
Shirt: H&M
Shoes: Clarks Briley Bop Fst
Cloth nappy: gNappies

I've even got a piece of this fabric stashed away in some nook or corner back home - this summer I will attempt to make something out of it! Marimekko does so many beautiful children's clothes, I want some more of them too. I will soon be going to Finland for a chance to stock up... 

Do you have any clothing brands that are special to you in some way? Or remind you of home (where ever that is)?

5 June 2015

A little letter to my big girl

Dear Aili,

Exactly 2 year ago, at 16:58 you were born, just couple of miles from our home.

You were a tiny little squishy thing. We got your pictures taken in the hospital and your cannula hand was hidden behind a teddy bear, but you can still see the silly little sock you had covering it. You used to sleep lots, you cried like a little wolf cub, and could lift your head up even as a newborn.

We were always amazed how fast you developed. When you were two months old I left you on the floor in your baby gym. A moment later you were stuck under neath a table after moving over a meter all by yourself, kicking along on your back. At four months you started crawling, and at six months you stood up all by yourself. You took your first steps when you were 10 months old.

Now you are a big girl. A little big girl, a little miss independent, wanting to do everything yourself. You put your own clothes on, your own shoes, climb in your highchair. You walk, you run and you climb on things. There is no stopping you.

You love chatting in your own little language. "Na-na noise" means what's that noise and "delish" means delicious. You understand two languages, and say some words from both, but sometimes it feels there is a third one you speak. Hopefully you will soon learn how to properly speak them both. Maybe it is the bilingual thing, or the old saying about babies being either walkers or talkers, but I wish we could have proper chats with you. I bet you would be so much fun to talk with. 

Meeting new people is your favourite thing - you say hello to practically everyone (although it sounds like "harrow"), you wave "bye-bye bus" to the doubledeckers, and you try to make friends everytime we see another child in the park. You go to them, say hello, try to hold their hands, and are persistent even if they are shy and try to get away. 

It is incredible how big you have become. It feels like it was just a moment ago when you were that skinny little squish, and now you are standing tall with your curly hair, laughing and singing and dancing. It was just a few blinks ago when you could just about shake a rattle. Now you feed your teddies, pretend you are a plane when you see one and invite us to have a little pretend nap in your princess castle. Your personality is growing, and you are a sweet little girl, friendly and funny. 

I have so much fun whenever you are around, and I can't wait to get to know you more. And at the same time I wish you could stay my squishy little baby forever...

Love you Aili, forever and always. 


4 June 2015

How to have an easy flight with your baby (under 1 year old)

Flying with a baby does not need to be a nightmare. In fact, it is perfectly possible to have a nice and successful flight with a baby, without resorting to pulling your hair out mid flight. Here are my 10 top tips on how to make flying with a baby easy (or at least easier). 

By the time my baby was one year old, she had had over a dozen flights. Mainly short ones, from 30 minutes to three hours, with several layovers. We have flown with my husband, and I've also flown "single", with just my baby. Her first flight was when she was but three months old, and beforehand I was extremely nervous and was prepared for pretty much anything. As a disclaimer I do have to say my little one was a pretty chilled little flyer and got lots of compliments from people for her relaxed demeanor, from the flight attendants to fellow passengers. Despite that, there are some things that do help in making the flight a (as much as possible) stress-free experience for yourself and your baby.

(And if you have a toddler, check my tips for an in-flight activity pack for toddlers!)

1. Pack just one bag

I always found packing light helped when travelling with my baby. You already have your baby to carry, and then a bag, and it all just gets too much if you have multiple things to worry about. So invest in a good nappy bag, preferably one that looks nice, has multiple pockets so you can separate all the baby items for easy access. Mine is a Storksak, and I have been loving it. Alternatively, a backpack might work as well, and Pacapod do some great looking ones.

2. You should pack these items in your (one piece of) hand luggage

  • Nappies (1 nappy per 1-2 hours of travel, depending on the age of your baby) 
  • Baby wipes (1 full pack) 
  • 1 change of clothes for your baby 
  • Dummies (pacifiers) if your little one likes them
  • A dummy steriliser (I loved Milton Mini steriliser)
  • Baby foods, finger foods, and formula if your baby is weaned / is bottle fed, 
  • Bibs/muslin
  • Your baby's favourite toy / sleep blanket
  • In-flight entertainment pack (see next sections for ideas!)
  • Whatever you personally need.
I have never needed a change of clothes for myself, but some people do swear by taking an extra shirt for the parents too. I used to pack a tank top and thin leggings for the just in case emergencies.

3. Prepare toys, finger foods and a tablet/smartphone for in-flight entertainment

An in-flight entertainment pack is a great idea to prepare - ideally this should include something for yourself and for your baby. Their favourite toy, or the toy they can't sleep with should be there. My personal favourite toy to bring is a hand puppet, as that provides lots of entertainment (moving and talking toy - pretty exciting for any baby). In an emergency the safety cards will do - they are colourful and laminated so won't break.

Finger foods, like little biscuits, are also great for preoccupying your baby.

A tablet with an hour of Peppa Pig (or any baby friendly TV programme) will also do. As a plus point, once your baby has (hopefully) fallen asleep, you can watch your own film or read a book on it.

4. Consider what to pack for food for your baby

For weaned babies food, and for bottle fed babies formula. You can take as much food and (commercially packaged) formula as you want and need for your baby. You can buy these really handy disposable formula bottles and teats too, which will save you some room in your luggage as you can just chuck them away after feeding your baby.

That said, you can be requested to open the packages if they are over 100ml, and the food may be tested or you asked to taste it. You can just scrape a little bit of the pureed foods off the lid, or spill some formula on your hand, if you are requested to do this.

Now, I have NEVER been asked to open or test or taste any of the food or formula I have brought to the airport, no matter the size of the container. But it could happen (it is in the rules). The problem is, IF you were asked to open the formula bottles / food jars the sterilisation process breaks.

If you are very worried about this you could either try to buy the food / formula at the airport. Most large airports have stores that stock nappies, food and formula. You should be able to order in advance (at Heathrow you can call Boots 24 hours earlier and request they stock a particular brand of formula if you need it). Or alternatively, you could pack the formula powder, lots of empty bottles, and mix the milk after the security control. Just request boiling water from any cafe inside the airport.

5. Take a baby carrier or a collapsible pram to carry your baby

By far the easiest option, especially if you are travelling solo with your baby, is to invest in a good quality baby carrier. You may have to go up and down stairs, or go on an airport bus, all the while dealing with your hand luggage. If you have a tight layover, packing your little one in the baby carrier on the plane and then legging is much easier than trying to speed walk your way through to another terminal with a babe in (literally) arms.

My favourite is Stokke MyCarrier. It is very comfortable and when used with the frontal bag (baby on your tummy side) it goes through metal detectors without a beep. 

If you aren't a baby carrier type of a person, then consider a collapsible pram. No personal experience of these, but Quinny Zapp and Stokke Scoot are models that should collapse in small size enough to take as hand luggage. I would still prefer a baby carrier if you are travelling solo, but a collapsible pram might be a good option if you are travelling as a family unit. Then at least you would have another pair of hands to negotiate stairs and carrying the rest of the hand luggage.


6. While waiting at the airport, try find a secluded area

If you have time to kill at an airport, try to find a secluded area. This will help in calming your baby before the flight. A luxurious way to do this is to go to any of the business lounges - check your tickets if you have access to them, and some credit cards have lounges too.

Many large airports have family lounges and play areas now as well, which aren't luxurious, but might have a soft play, some toys and comfortable seating. If you are flying from Heathrow be sure to check their family lounge out (located near Ted Baker).

7. Give your baby a dummy (or a bottle) during take-off and landing

Baby is supposed to be facing away from you, sitting on your lap, in his/her baby seat belt. You often get told that breastfeeding is good to do during take-off and landing as that helps to keep the baby ears from popping and hurting. Can't really do that though can you if your baby is facing away from you?

So give your baby a dummy (pacifier) or a bottle. Problem sorted.
8. Change your baby's nappy right before boarding

Because it is really awkward to change a nappy in the tiny toilets in a the plane. And you can guarantee there will be some turbulence just as you've taken it off. Always.

9. Ask for a pillow and a blanket (and if long haul, bassinet)

Most airlines (except perhaps not the budget ones) stock pillows and blankets, which both can be lifesavers during a flight. Prop your baby with some pillows, and cover yourself with a blanket when breasfeeding, makes for a much more comfortable flight.

For long hauls, you can request a bassinet (do this well in advance the flight) so you won't have to have your baby in your arms the whole flight.

And again, relax. If you relax, your baby is more relaxed, and your flight will be much easier. People generally are very friendly and helpful when you travel with a baby, and especially when you are flying solo, you will get lots of offers for help. Take them and thank them.

10. Try and relax 

The most important thing is... to relax. Take a chill pill, breathe deep, and think zen, all will pass.

It really doesn't matter what the other passengers think of your crying baby. Everyone has been a baby once, everyone has been a crying baby once, and everyone has been a royal pain in the butt once so now is payback time. And anyway, the cries of your own baby always sound the loudest to you - we parents are hard-wired that way. With the loud engines and all, other passengers will hardly even register the meek little cries a little baby does.

Most importantly however, babies feed off their parents, so if you are stressed and harried, so will your baby be. So relax. 

Good luck on your flight, hope you will have a nice and easy one!

(And when your baby becomes a toddler, check these tips for an airplane activity pack for toddlers!)

After a dozen flights with my baby, here are my ten tips on how to have a nice, relaxed and successful flight with your baby. Includes what to pack and what to do at the airport.

Do you have any top tips on how to fly with a baby?

3 June 2015

Toddler OOTD #24 - At the new house

The first day we went to see our new home it was nice and sunny. As my husband and our electrician were having a chat in the kitchen about what needs to be done, I took our little one out to play in her garden. So much open space, so much fun. She danced around the rotary airer, tried to sip my frappucino, found some little rocks to deposit them in the downpipes, ran around the back garden and enjoyed her new home.

Now, we aren't moving in yet, and there are huge amounts of things that need to be done, but, surely the fact that she seems to love the house is a good sign. Once we have properly finished with the house renovations (which will take a while granted) it will be such an amazing place. And such a perfect little place for her to have fun in.

She seemed excited about playing in the back garden. It is nothing fancy, all paved and very low maintenance, which I suppose is good considering our track record with gardens...

Lots of little rocks to play with! Plenty of room to run around in!

Denim pinafore from Asda 
T-shirt with bows from H&M
Shoes - Clarks

And a little place to rest when feeling a bit tired - it is all there!

What do you think of the outfit?

1 June 2015

My Instagram May 2015 - My Monthly Roundup

I tend to share little snaps of my life, and my little thoughts on my Instagram page. You know, those little things that aren't really worthy of a blog post, and aren't really that big to warrant a Facebook update. Or sometimes they are just pictures that make me smile. 

This month has been a busy busy month. I have found it difficult to find the time or energy to blog, or even to go on social media. At times it even felt like I had forgotten all about the world that is Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. 

The biggest news was of course us completing - we bought our first home!  That sort of explains where my time has been zapped away - meeting all those kitchen designers, trawling through all those fancy interior magazines and generally pulling our hair out with the thought of the renovation task in front of us.

1. I made some delicious things at the beginning of the month. Like cold smoked salmon bagels, with dill and lemon creme fraiche. Yum. 
2. Sometimes my little girl also let me eat them. Sometimes. 
3. An older picture - when I went to Cambridge with work colleagues, I also tried punting. We got one of those big boats as there was seven of us. It turned out that one of our colleagues had spent his uni summers punting tourists up and down the river, and I got great tuition on how to punt. It is tougher than it looks and I spent about 15 minutes circling roughly the same area in figure of eights, but I didn't fall in, which was the most important thing (I did get my oar caught in the mud and myself caught off balance a few times but kept steady...).
4. Loved the sunny days - didn't love spending them glued to the computer though. I do try to get a bit of sun during the work day bu grabbing a coffee outside or going for a walk in the park.

5. I took the little madam to the nearby park - the lovely old manor house I've talked about before. The moody little missy was especially difficult the whole trip, and calmed down (slightly) after I got her a stick windmill. She loves it. I thought she had never seen one before, but as soon as I handed it to her she started blowing on it. Clever little girl.
6. That's the house keys! Our new house... Lots of work, little time and even less money. 
7. At the end of the month hubby went to Amsterdam on a boys weekend away... We stayed home and had lots of fun. It was like a girls night in, but better, a whole girls weekend in!
8. Stopping and smelling the flowers - at Nanny's. And quite possibly picking a few of them too... 
9. And a bar snack - pork scratchings and ale. I do sometimes feel that the longer I spend in UK, the more British I become. Little by little. Soon I'll be eating pickled eggs! 

How was your month? Instagram or otherwise? 

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