The Importance of Doing Nothing

baby, Lifestyle

Admittedly this has taken me nearly 8 weeks to realise (or 28 years, depending on how you look at it!), but this week it dawned on me, sometimes I just need to be at home ‘doing nothing’.

I find this realisation really tricky, because to me, time at home is beneficial for catching up on work, cleaning, tidying, washing, probably inviting people round, etc.

But I had a revelation this week that doing nothing really can mean doing nothing when you have a baby.

I’m a nightmare for picking up the laptop and cracking on with work while she sleeps, or quickly whizzing round the whole house cleaning, tidying and doing any other little jobs that need doing. This week, though, I’ve felt really tired… probably because Violetta has decided that sleeping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and being awake with Mummy is much more fun!

So I set myself a challenge; for one day only, to sleep when she slept, rest when she did and chill out playing with her the rest of the time. Do you know what? I’ve loved it. It’s exactly what I needed.

In light of this, I sat down with my diary and scheduled in what I’m going to call ‘home days’ with my little lady. This doesn’t mean to say I can’t then do bits and pieces while she sleeps, if I want to, but it does mean that if I just want to be at home, chilling out with my baby, I can.

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I, like so many Mums out there, am very guilty of filling my diary with busyness; friends, family, business meetings, classes, etc. Whilst it’s all great fun, the gaps in my diary quickly fill up and I soon found that there is no time at all for ‘down time’.

Well, that stops now, and I’m hoping it will make for a happier and healthier Mummy in the long run .

Do you feel the same? Give it a go with me and pop some ‘home days’ in your own diary too : )

 

Sunday Brunching

Lifestyle

I love Sundays. They are for spending quality time with family and friends and now that we have our own little family, there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing the love! 

Today was no exception and we enjoyed a long and leisurely brunch in the comfort of our own home. 

You know it’s been a good one when you sit down to eat at 11am and the next time you  look at the clock it’s 4pm! 

Now that I have the added fun of preparing most meals with Violetta either in my arms or sleeping close by, I needed to make the brunch as easy and effective as possible. 

So, busy mums and dads, here’s my recipe for a Perfect Sunday Brunch! 

  1. Lay the table the night before when the little one’s asleep. Plates, knives and forks, napkins, glasses, tea cups, trivets and serving spoons.
  2. Make sure you have all the bits you need (and if anythings missing send the other half out, you never know what fun and games the morning will present!). Milk, orange juice, tea, coffee, bread, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, eggs, beans, avocado. 
  3. Tidy the house now – you may not have time in the morning. 
  4. When you wake up, set up the all in one trays. I use a big oven proof dish (or two). Drizzle some olive oil in the  dishes, slice the sausages in half and put them in, curl the bacon, add the tomato, season with salt and pepper and put to one side until your guests arrive. 
  5. Get out a pan for the scrambled eggs and one for the baked beans.
  6. Pre beat the eggs in a jug and pop the beans in the pan. 
  7. Slice the avocado and the bread. 
  8. Prep the teapot and cafetière and fill the kettle. 
  9. Put the OJ, sauces and salt and pepper on the table. 
  10. 15 mins before your guests arrive, put the oven dishes in for 30 mins. Take out and break a couple of eggs in. Pop back in the oven for 10 mins. 
  11. When that’s back in the oven heat the beans and make the scrambled egg. 
  12. Have the other half pour the champers and you’re ready to go! 
  13. At the end of brunch boil the kettle and make the tea and coffee.

Enjoy! 

Finding our New Reality

baby, Lifestyle

We’ve hit the six week mark; all the initial introductions have been made, my Mum’s little stays to help us have stopped, hubby’s paternity leave (taken weeks 4-6 due to work commitments) is over and it’s now time to go it alone with my little lady. 

I’ve loved having everyone around. It’s enabled me to find my feet as a new mummy and given everyone the chance to get to know Violetta in her littlest day’s. I’ve been able to get some sleep, learn how to breastfeed and get help with washing, ironing and cooking. 

But I’m thrilled to say I’m ready for the next step and ready to enjoy finding our feet together. 

My body is well and truly healed, I feel like I know my new little addition pretty well now and I’m up for the challenge of being wife, mummy and company director. 

Monday was an easy day; dad was off work so he popped up and took as out for lunch! 

Tuesday, however, was ‘in at the deep end’. Hubby headed out to work at 7am and it was over to me to get the little lady and myself up, washed, dressed, breakfasted and out the house. I realised how lucky I had been with the helping hands to hold her while I ran around getting ready in the mornings! 

Once we’d got ready there was no time to celebrate our first success; I had a hospital appointment to get to at London Bridge! 

On went the sling and the backpack and off we went to the train station. I left myself half an hour to get there, as this is how long it took when I last walked, in November. Eight minutes later we were there. Oops! 


Hubby says I looked scared in this pic…. I wasn’t! Just tired, chilly and 23 minutes early for our train. Rookie error! 

We made it to town, navigated our way through the new and snazzy London Bridge Station and headed to the hospital. My little bundle was asleep all the way there and all the way home again. 

I then had a mad moment after we got home and decided to clean the house while Violetta slept. Seemingly our first trip to London wasn’t enough for one day! 

By the time hubby got home at 7.45pm I’d cleaned, steamed and essential oiled the house, cooked dinner and caught up on the laundry. 


(Can’t recommend these oils enough! They come with some blending ideas and smell heavenly rubbed into woodwork or popped in a water diffuser). 

It has to be said I felt pretty proud of myself, and absolutely ready for bed!

Violetta had other ideas. Having had such long and comfy sleeps during the day, she decided mummy cuddles were in order at bedtime…. and for most of the night! 

One tired mummy gave in at 7.30 this morning after a few broken hours sleep, and did the only sensible thing: baked a cake. 


So far, so good!

We’re enjoying our new ‘normal’ and looking forward to finding our feet over the next few weeks and settling into the reality of our new lives! 

To the Mummies of the Charlton Slopes….

baby, Lifestyle

… THANK YOU! 

Yesterday morning I had to take my little one to the children’s centre to be weighed. 

We went last week with Daddy and it was absolutely fine! She was an angel the whole time. The clinic was empty and we had a long chat to both the health visitor and then breastfeeding consultant. 

Today we went alone; just the two of us. 

I confidently set off with Violetta in her sling and walked up the road to the centre. I was feeling confident, independent and completely in control! 


We signed in, headed into the clinic and found somewhere to wait. The room was busy, I was number 15 in the queue. 

When I was called over to have Violetta weighed, she decided it was time to make her presence known and began to scream. 

When I put her down to undress her, you’d honestly believe the world was ending. I felt like she’d never screamed so loud in all her little life! 

I began to get hot and bothered, apologising to the other mummies who were quietly chatting whilst breastfeeding their little ones. 

And then one of the Mummies said ‘don’t worry, we’ve all been there! It’s so much louder to you then it is to anyone else.’ Another chipped in with ‘they hate nudy time at this age , don’t they!’ And another with ‘you’re doing a great job and don’t worry, we all know how you feel!’.

Well mummies, thank you. I cannot tell you how much your kind words helped, calmed and reassured me. 

The Mummy community really is a very special one and I think we were out in force, as when I was walking home I psssed two other sling wearing Mummies. We exchanged knowing, reassuring smiles as we passed; I know what you’re going through, you know what I’m going through, and we’re all here for each other. 

I feel lucky to be bringing my little one up in such a supportiv community, and one that I didn’t even know existed! 

Breastfeeding. My experience so far. 

baby, Lifestyle

And why perseverance and adjusting my boundaries were the best things I could do.

Before Violetta arrived I knew that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed her. This was so important to me because I felt that throughout the pregnancy I hadn’t been able to provide the healthy, happy home that she deserved for those formative months, and as well as that we had both been pumped full of a lot of drugs. Being able to exclusively breastfeed her is something I could do for her that nobody else could, plus I was entirely sold on all the pros of breastfeeding.

When she was very first born, my husband and the midwife latched her on for her first mini feed. I wasn’t really with it, but thankfully hubby took some photos so I can ‘remember’ that very special first latch.

My cheeky little lady then decided she wasn’t especially hungry for the next ten hours. When she next decided she wanted a feed I presented her with the boob just like we’d been taught at NCT. Except it didn’t work. Despite the fact I knew I had plentiful colostrum (it had been leaking on and off for a week or two), my newborn bubba just wouldn’t latch.

The good news was that I was in the hospital with which I had grown very familiar, and I was happy to ask for help. I knew that the maternity support workers, midwives and breastfeeding team were all there and would all be keen to help this new mummy establish a latch with her tiny one.

Sadly it didn’t quite go how I had hoped. When I first asked for help I was told someone would come back and help me soon, they didn’t. When I next asked for help I was told to hold my tiny daughter by the back of her head and effectively force her on to the breast. This was the most unnatural thing to try and do, and resulted in two very upset parties. I was left to it. The next person to try and help arrived with little plastic syringes and told me that the baby needs to eat so I needed to hand express into the syringe and feed it to her that way. I was so upset. I knew I could get her latched on, I just needed help. Despite that I was left to it and felt like I had to do as I was told as V must be very hungry.

During my three day stay I asked countless times for help latching her on and was told countless times to express and syringe feed her. I persisted and kept trying for a natural latch and when my Mum came to visit she sat and helped me too. It wasn’t easy, but with a bit of determination from both me and my gorgeous girl, we stuck at it. I found that my tiny little daughter liked the rugby ball pose, or laying down facing me.

When we got home I was finding it really stressful. Because I hadn’t been able to establish a proper latch, my nipples were cracked and sore, and it also tied in with when my milk came it. Engorged breasts and nipples that are so sore they won’t stand to attention meant things were about to get even harder.

We tried everything; hot flannels, expressing by hand (and a funky little pump that just gets popped on the boob, squeezed to create suction and then left to it’s own devices. The suction seems to ‘milk’ the boob, as when I next looked down, I’d expressed a couple of feeds worth of milk- which got thrown away as I still adamently want to exclusively breastfeed!), using different techniques to get the nipples ready and also a hot bath! When I couldn’t think of anything else to try I messaged a couple of friends who had recently had babies and fed successfully and asked for their advice. If you are a new mum in need of help, please do this… girl friends are the best and because of the relationships you already have they are able to say it as it is and give really great advice. Their support meant the world to me and reassured me I wasn’t alone.

Eventually my boobs reverted to their original state and we were able to try latching on again!

The pain was incredible. It felt like I had burning hot milk trying to get out, and my nipples were on fire. I couldn’t take it anymore and called the community midwife to ask for help.

That same morning I had a surprise visit from the health visitor who thought I may have thrush, so i booked an appointment with the GP that afternoon. In the meantime the community midwife appeared. He (yes, he! A gentle giant called John) ended up being the answer to my prayers to the goddess of breastfeeding!

He gently and carefully explained to me the perfect latch (nipple to upper lip or nose, the nipple and bottom part of the areola in her mouth, baby’s body flat across mummy’s body, bottom lip ‘pouting’ and a strong suck), what V should be doing (opening wide!), what I should be doing (facilitating the perfect latch, being in a comfortable position and ensuring she was comfortable too), how I could hold her (different positions, but my favourite was cradling her across my body). He then watched me try and said she was in an absolutely perfect position. So why did it still hurt so much I wanted to cry? Sore nipples from getting it wrong (I think she had only been latching onto my nipple for the first 12 days) and a strong let down reflex that hurt my milk ducts. He was certain I didn’t have thrush and encouraged me to keep trying (not that anything was going to stop me) and to attend a breastfeeding group locally for more help and support.

That evening one of my best friends came round. This friend is a doctor, a mum and in my opinion an absolute superwoman. I told her about what had been going on and she told me about nipple shields. That was it, game changer! She said there was no shame in using them if it helps me and my baby, that I could use them until I’d healed and then go back to just the breast, and that there was nothing to lose in trying. So I did. And everything suddenly came together. I could breastfeed without the excruciating pain, Lettie could get enough milk from a relaxed Mummy. Win win.

I should say that despite these dramas I did know she was getting enough food as she had put on all the required weight in the required time frame.

Now, at 18 days old, we have a great time together breastfeeding. It took time and effort from us both, and I had to adjust my boundaries a bit, but happy mum means happy baby and that’s all that matters to me!

Putting the myths to the test!

baby, Lifestyle

We haven’t found out whether our little bundle is pink or blue, so I thought I’d put a few of the old wives tales to the test and see how accurate they are!

Let’s start with Mother’s Intuition….. I’m convinced baby’s a girl and have been since quite early on. According to many of my friends, this almost certainly means it’s a boy!

The Bump

Is definitley a boy bump, apparently. It’s all in front (see picutre) and very neat. From behind you still cant tell I’m pregnant (supposedy! I feel like a overweight baby elephant so not sure I believe the kind-hearted people saying this!). This one’s a BLUE

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Chinese Gender Prediction

This one is supposed to be very accurate. Mine is PINK!Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 12.00.59.png

Fetal Heart Rate

Rumour has it that under 140 is a boy, over 140 is a girl.

PINK again!

Sweet or Savoury

This one is confusing me! To start off with I only wanted savoury. This apparently equals BLUE. Now I only fancy sweet! Guess what that means… PINK…. hmmmmmm.

My Skin 

Supposedly if you’re expecting a girl your skin will really suffer as she ‘takes all your beauty’. Tricky one this – when I was in hospital my skin, hair and nails really suffered, so one would assume PINK, but now I’ve been home a while it’s much better and apparently I finally have the pregnancy glow, so BLUE!

Morning Sickness

Bad in first trimester = PINK!

My Conclusion 

Goodness only knows! But not long until we find out 🙂

 

I’m very nearly a Mummy!

baby, Lifestyle

It would be fair to say that this pregnancy hasn’t been anything like I could of imagined! For starters, I didn’t even know you could be operated on while pregnant, that one was a pretty steep learning curve. I was all set for my appointments as per my ‘orange book’ (my maternity notes), not for the 2 / 3 a week that I would end up having. It’s pretty tiring getting up to St Thomas’ from Greenwich with an ever-growing bump. That said I feel very lucky to have had such a supportive team who make me feel at ease and like every journey has been worth it. I thought I was going to LOVE having a bump and being pregnant. I think I will next time, but this time it’s all been rather unusual and not at all what I expected.

I think we’ve put everything in place that we can…

The nursery is ready, the pram is all set, the car seat installed, the baby’s clothes are washed, ironed and put away, we’ve settled on names(!), we have a plan for bringing baby home, I have sorted my maternity leave and hubby has negotiated some sort of paternity leave, I have sourced swimming lessons for when baby’s a little older and done all the research I can into other classes,  we’ve ordered a beautiful snuggler-sized sofa bed (which will double as my nursing chair) for when Mum comes to stay and the house has been organised and tidied to within an inch of it’s life!

Now it’s down to the baby. Which feels crazy! I’m such a control freak and it’s so bizarre to me that there is absolutey nothing I can do to influence when the little one decides to make an appearance.

I’m not sure where this blog is heading – but I’m hoping it will be an honest and true account of being a Mummy, running a business and living my life.

I hope you’ll be able to share this very exciting journey with us as we embark on the next chapter of our story.

The problem with being a …

Lifestyle

… people pleaser.

 

Yes, I said it. My name’s Victoria and I’m a people pleaser.

Nothing gives me more satisfaction than making other people happy; friends, family, clients, friends of friends, extended family, client’s families, the neighbours, people I meet out and about. The list goes on. I have always liked making people smile, making them feel loved and wanted and knowing that I have brightened someones day in some way or another. Be it sending a surprise card in the post if someone needs congratulating, bigging up or a hug from a distance, popping round with homecooked goodies or a pick-me-up present if they’re run down or recovering from an illness or a surgery, sending fun little messages out of the blue and giving my time and attention. I always go over and above with my clients too; getting to know them and their children personally and remembering the things that matter to them, working for free to enable them to attend shows, competitions and performances, putting extra time into a struggling child and replying to out of hours messages to put people’s minds at rest.

Would I ever want to change the way I am? No. I like being this way and wouldn’t want to compromise or become a less giving and affectionate person.

Do I sometimes find it hard when things are taken for granted, expected or even if it’s just that no thought has been put into some words or an action? Yes.

Whether it’s a badly timed message, received just before I go to sleep, that sets my mind racing and gets me worrying about how that person is thinking or feeling or a request for me to do something that I can’t fulfill, there are multiple times that I feel like I can’t do enough, no matter how much I do. And I’m sure I’m not alone!

I come from a long line of people pleasers. I’ve learned from the best.

The silly thing is, I know how to say ‘no’ and I exercise that right when I need to. But does that make me feel any better about it? Absolutely not!

I wish I had the time, energy and desire to be there for absolutely everyone, absolutely all the time… to do all the little things that make everyone happy, whenever I felt that way inclined… and to be able to pre-empt negative situations occuring that upset people and lead to negative exchanges and messages that are hard to interpret being sent.

The reality is that nobody can do this. But why do I then end up feeling so bad about it and how can I stop that from happening?

Well, I took the first steps to this when I was in hospital earlier this year. I received a very harsh email from one of my clients. I, of course, hadn’t shared widely that I was in hospital. Consequently when my business wasn’t run quite to the exacting level I normally achieve, there were questions she wanted to ask and statements she wanted to make. I received her email shortly after a very traumatic incident with an attempted cannulation and just before I was meant to be settling down to sleep for my first night in the hospital. Suffice it to say I was not in the best place to look rationally at this email and completely took it to heart, having quite a panick over it. This lead me to realise that I do not have to be available to my clients 100% of the time. Whilst I cannot be perfect, I strive to be. I decided there and then that business emails would only be handled in business hours; my email account was deleted from my phone and I check emails when I’m sitting at my desk (and of course at selected other times as necessary), but certainly never when I’m getting into bed or feeling a bit vulnerable.

Work hiccups still upset me, but I think that’s because I’m passionate about what I do and I just want to give my best to everyone at all times; staff, clients, suppliers, etc.

My challenge for 2016 was to be able to say ‘no’ or ‘I’m busy’ if asked to do things when I couldn’t or didn’t want to. Not wanting to is rare – I’m a social bunny and love to be surrounded by friends and family as much of the time as is possible. The problem I have is that being self employed, I’m ‘around’ during the week. Yes, I know that I’m working and no, I don’t expect people to understand what day to day life involves when you’re a self employed business owner who isn’t based in an office. So why do I struggle so much to say that I’m busy when people want to meet up or pop by? Don’t get me wrong – I allocate time in the week to see people – it’s one of my favourite things about the flexibility of the job I do, but I always, without fail, feel guilty if I say to someone that I can’t see them because I’m busy. I feel like I’ve personally let them down and that I should somehow be able to put on my wonderwoman cape and get all my jobs done, run my home and fit in every cup of tea!

I do know how silly this sounds. Once I’ve told someone I’m busy, they probably don’t even think twice about it! But I can spend hours stewing over whether I did the right thing, did that person need me and have I in some way upset them!

So, 2017, this is how I plan to conquer you:

I will be even busier than I was before and I will have a tiny little human being who needs plenty of attention from me!

I still want to see all my friends and family, meet up, do my job, run my home and bring up my baby. But I’m going to be realistic. If I’m too busy (or too tired!) to do something, I will say. I will then do everything I can to not spend the rest of the day justifying to myself why that was an acceptable decision.

There are a few ways I think this can work:

Offer an alternative – if I can’t do what’s been suggested, suggest another option.

Explain why – I’m completeing xyz for work, I’m tired, baby needs some down time, etc.

Distraction – when I’ve said no to something, put my phone away and don’t stew on how that person’s feeling!

Put myself in their shoes – would I hold this against someone? Never! So why do I think my lovely friends and family would?

I’ll be giving this a go from tomorrow! If you are one of my lovely friends and family reading this… STILL ASK ME OUT FOR COFFEE!!!!!!! Just know that if I can’t make it, I’ll be going over the steps above to not feel guilty about it 😉

And if you’re someone who, like me, is a people-pleaser with a somewhat irrational guilt complex, try this with me! Let’s see how we get on.

Happy prioritising!

 

Happy New Year!

Lifestyle

I don’t think it is possible to feel more excited about the year ahead than I do right now!

This is the year that I get to meet our baby, and it is undoubtedly set the be the best year ever.

2016 certainly presented it’s challenges, and I must admit I was quite happy to wave it goodbye with my hot chocolate, snuggled in my dressing gown and slippers, watching the fireworks with hubby! Yes it brought some wonderful times, beautiful memories and of course it is the year that we created our little bubba; but it is one I’m happy to leave behind.

2017 promises to be full of challenges, fulfilling of dreams (not just mine, but many close friends and family members too) and one of great adventure.

I’m not really one for new year’s resolutions but I suppose I will say that this year I aim to be a better me, a happy person, a fun friend and a fabulous Mummy. I hope to support my husband in everything he does, to grow my business while growing our family and to maintain and nurture the close relationships I am so lucky to enjoy with my friends and family.

Cheers to 2017, let’s make it a great one.

My Little Piece of Heaven

Lifestyle

Everybody needs a little piece of heaven in their everyday lives.

I found mine three years ago, when I first moved to Greenwich. I had been feeling poorly and was in need of a pick-me-up. I’ve always loved massage and relaxation therapies, but couldn’t justify paying spa prices for the indulgence. Years before, I had been treated to a reflexology session and had absolutley loved it.

I’m a very open-minded person; scientific backing or otherwise, if something makes me feel better I really am not one to worry what other people think!

So having looked at a few different options, I stumbled across a natural therapy centre five minutes walk from my house. I did a little bit of research, liked what I read, so booked my first session at Healthwise Natural Therapy Centre. 

Firstly, I challenge anyone to not feel the ultimate sense of relaxation after having their feet rubbed (in a very specialised way, of course!) for an hour.

For me though, my sessions with Christine are so much more than that.

Right from the word go she took the time to get to know me; how I think and feel, that I’m the ultimate control freak, my fears and dreams and my every day life. Every time I see her she uses all of this acquired knowledge to give me the ultimate treatment.

Chris has so many strings to her bow, and uses everything she has learnt over the years to deliver a full and complete session which always leaves me feeling more complete, relaxed and ‘put together’.

Today was my first session back since my operation and I have to say it was truely the most heavenly way to spend my morning.

Greeted like an old friend and welcomed back with open arms and plentiful compliments, followed by an hour of the ultimate indulgence (reflexology) in a relaxing environment with incense, cosy sheets and dim lights and finished off with a hypnobirthing / meditation lesson. It’s hard to explain how I feel when I leave – but imagine walking on a fluffy cloud, with a clear head, easy breathing and feeling as though your whole body has been treated to a magical mending session.

I’m hoping to fit in a few more sessions before baby arrives and can’t wait for the next one already.

When you find something in your life that makes you happy, makes you feel healthy and complete and gives you an ultimate sense of wellbeing and togetherness; embrace it.