24/02/2017

Lions And Tigers And Bears, Oh My!

Last weekend we went to South Lakes Safari Zoo in Cumbria.  They were offering free entry (up until 28th Feb) so decided to have a family day out.  We went with my sister Georgie and our friend Andrea.  With it being free entry it was packed!  We got there at the right time as about 10 minutes after we got in the queue, what seemed like coach loads of people joined and it was running through the car park.

As soon as we got in we got a hot chocolate as we were all freezing.  We saw a sign for a baby rhino but we had to pay £1 to get in.  This kind of defeats the object of it being free entry but £4 (Amelia was free) instead of £66 can’t be complained about!  We got to see giraffes as well which Amelia loved.

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We decided to have a walk round before getting lunch.  We saw vultures, flamingos, leopards, lions, wolves, lemurs, peacocks, capybara and many different birds.

We went to the restaurant to warm up and get something to eat.  The food was decent enough and they had a lot to choose from.  We wandered around a bit more and got to see the tigers but it was so busy we didn’t get to see the penguins.  Amelia was getting tired by this point so we decided to head home.  We looked around the gift shop first and we got Amelia a baby rhino cuddly toy and a magnet.  We try and get a magnet wherever we visit as a little reminder of our day.

We all had a great day out but I am glad entry was free as there definitely wasn’t as much to see as there is in summer.  We’ll definitely be back, maybe next year in the warmer months.  Amelia will get more out of it then and we’ll be able to see more animals out and about!

Credit to Georgie for the great photos 🙂

13/02/2017

Afternoon Tea Treat!

On Friday I decided I wanted to organise a little treat for us all on Saturday.  Some of my mummy friends had talked about a place called J&L Vintage Tearooms so I had a look online and sent them a message about booking afternoon tea.  I asked if they did gluten free afternoon tea which they did so I booked us in.

We arrived and were welcomed by Louise and Jill.  We ordered two classic afternoon teas and a sandwich for Amelia.  We both had a cup of tea served in pretty china teacups and a teapot.  I ordered a salmon and cream cheese sandwich and Kelly got a tuna mayonnaise sandwich.  We got a gluten free scone and a gluten free cupcake each.  I wasn’t expecting mine to be gluten free too but I was glad I did as they were so tasty!  Other gluten free cake we have had before has been dense and dry but these were lovely and light.

Amelia did a rubbish job of eating her sandwiches and was far more interested in what we had to offer!  She was well and truly spoilt and her cuteness won her some chocolate buttons from Jill.

The tearooms are well equipped for children and have my favourite Ikea high chairs.  Amelia is so dinky that other types of high chairs don’t give her enough support and I love it when we find somewhere that has them.  There were loads of toys to keep her amused and Amelia spent a lot of the time on the floor playing with Jill and her daughter who is also called Amelia!  We kept joking that we would leave Amelia there and go and do our shopping, they were so good with her.  We had a great afternoon at J&L Vintage Tearooms and highly recommend it, we will definitely be back!

09/02/2017

A Little Medication Update

I went to the doctors on Tuesday to talk about weaning myself off Sertraline.  She explained that as I’m on such a low dose (50mg) anyway there aren’t any specific guidelines about coming off them.  We decided that I would try and split the pills in half and start taking half a day.

I’ve been taking half for 3 days now and haven’t noticed any changes although I know it’s early days yet.  The doctor advised that I do this for at least 2 weeks and then I can come off them completely.  I’ll see how the next couple of weeks go and I’ll decide then if I feel ready to come off them.

I’ll do another post in a couple of weeks and update you on how I’m feeling and whether I’ve decided to stop altogether.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

03/02/2017

Postnatal Depression and Anxiety

Does anyone have that Timehop App?  I’ve been cringing over my Facebook statuses from years ago but also enjoying the memories it’s shown me.  It is also reminding me about this time last year when my postnatal depression and anxiety was starting to get worse.  35,000 mothers in England and Wales suffer postnatal depression in silence and 49% of women who suffer do not seek professional help.  Postnatal depression is the hardest thing I have had to deal with in my life and I can’t imagine suffering alone.  If you are reading this please talk to someone and get some help.  It doesn’t make you a failure and you are not weak.  Parenthood is hard and you might find that just talking to someone is enough for you.  Postnatal depression is not talked about enough in my opinion but is so common that parents to be should be made aware of it.

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Here is my story.

I remember coming home from the hospital and being completely overwhelmed, a pretty normal response for a first time mum.  We had visitors every day for at least the first week, I was tired and hormonal.  When the health visitor came I mentioned that I was crying a lot and felt down and she mentioned the baby blues saying it was very common and it should pass.

When it was nearly time for Kelly to go back to work I started to get very anxious.  How could I do this on my own?  Kelly would be gone from 7:30-6 which is such a long day on your own with a newborn.  Usually Kelly would come home to me crying, she felt so helpless and didn’t know how to help me.  I said to Kelly that I thought we had made a mistake!  I got in touch with the health visitor who came out to see me.  She said it did seem like it was more than the baby blues and recommended I saw my doctor.  I followed her advice and the doctor told me about some therapy I could refer myself to but also gave me a prescription of anti depressants called Sertraline.  I was reluctant to take them so decided to see how I got on myself.

Amelia got to about 8 weeks old and I went to my first NCT Bumps & Babies group.  It was the best thing I could have done.  I met lovely mums who were all in the same position as me; not getting enough sleep, feeling hormonal and generally crappy.  I realised I wasn’t on my own, everyone struggles with a newborn.  These mums became my friends who I hope I have for life.  They probably don’t know just how much they helped me in those early weeks.  I made sure I got out everyday and on a Wednesday I went to Buggyfit ran by Vanessa Glew, another saviour!  Vanessa is so positive it’s catching!  Exercise is known to help with depression and top that with a good natter, cup of tea and a biscuit afterwards I loved it.

Amelia was about 4 months old when things went downhill again.  Amelia’s sleeping was all over the place and my body didn’t know what to do and one night I couldn’t sleep.  My brain was in overdrive, I couldn’t switch it off.  I got up and tried to sleep in another room but I couldn’t get comfy and I didn’t want to go downstairs in case I couldn’t hear Amelia.  I didn’t sleep all night and felt awful the next day.  Kelly had to stay home to look after us both as I couldn’t cope.  It came to bed time and I was so worked up about not sleeping I didn’t sleep again that night, or the next, or the next.  I was delirious and so scared.  I was googling how to admit myself to a mother and baby unit at one point because I couldn’t cope any longer.  We went to the doctors that day and told her everything that was going on.  She told me I needed to start taking the anti depressants and also gave me a prescription for some sleeping tablets.  That night I went to stay at my Nana’s and Kelly stayed with Amelia hoping she would take a bottle of expressed milk.  I got about 3 hours sleep that night even with a sleeping tablet!

I looked into ways to help you sleep and I got the Paul McKenna ‘I Can Make You Sleep‘ book.  The night I practiced one of his techniques and I slept!  Not for that long but I had fallen asleep on my own which was huge progress.  We also started turning the telly off for an hour before bed, I had a sleepy tea and we read which calmed my mind.  After about two weeks I started to feel the effects of the Sertraline.  I had stopped feeling sick from them and my anxiety was the lowest it had been in months.  One of Kelly’s friends who had been through postnatal depression told me to not delay taking them and I wish I hadn’t, I could have been feeling so much happier and like my old self sooner.

I went back to all my groups and started to enjoy life again.  I started to really enjoy Amelia and the more her personality started coming out it just got better and better.  I was always dubious about anti depressants before but they have worked for me and have served their purpose.  It’s nearly a year on from my lowest point and I feel ready to start weaning myself off Sertraline now.  I’m going the the doctors next week to talk about it and I’ll keep this blog updated with how it goes.

Just a quick mention to my rock Kelly.  Without you through all of this I don’t know where I’d be.  I love you x

Useful contacts

Please click on the link above to see some useful contact from the Mind website.

02/02/2017

Mummy and MeMers Wednesday!

MeMers is Amelia’s nickname which our friend Fiona gave her.  Amelia loves it when you say it.  Here is a cute photo of her reaction to it!  14962365_10158025065815221_1271955019_n.jpg

I have every Wednesday off work and always try to get out of the house with Amelia.  I had the dentist in the morning so we had a walk there.  Amelia sat on my knee whilst I had my checkup but she didn’t like what they were doing to me so got a bit upset.  She refused to let the dentist look in her mouth but it was her first time so I wasn’t surprised.  She did get a sticker though that she was very excited about.  So excited that she chucked it out of the pram somewhere about 5 minutes later!

We needed some shopping so we walked there from the dentists.  I was hoping Amelia would fall asleep but not a chance!  We then walked to my friend Carla’s house and had a play and a cup of tea.  Amelia loves it when we go somewhere with different toys to at home so she had a great time.  She particularly liked Amber’s bouncy chair and the books.  We didn’t think we would get to see Amber but she woke just before we left.  She is gorgeous and looking more and more like her big sister Ruby.

We were meeting another friend for lunch so we headed off home.  I was hoping Amelia would stay awake until we got in the car but she fell asleep at the bottom of our road and wasn’t happy when I woke her to get her in the car.  She stayed awake the whole way to pick my friend Steph and her little boy Thomas up and all the way to Frankie & Bennys!  We both had a hot chocolate, Amelia had spaghetti bolognese, I had an avocado and king prawn open sandwich and Steph had a Cajun chicken mayo wrap.  The food was really tasty but Amelia was a bit of a handful because she was so tired.  It was good to catch up with Steph though and Thomas was adorable, full of lots of smiles!

As soon as we set off for home Amelia was flat out.  I dropped Steph and Thomas at home and then sat in the car outside our house for an hour and a half so Amelia could have a decent sleep.  I quickly nipped in to get my book so I wasn’t bored!  I’m hoping to have Wednesdays off until Amelia is at school so I’m going to make the most of them and do something fun every week.

01/02/2017

Lesbians are great at DIY? Budget Kitchen Makeover

In our household that stereotype is correct.  In 2015 we did up nearly the whole house and Kelly did all the decorating, drilling and hammering as I was pregnant.  As everyone knows the kitchen is probably the most expensive room of the house to do up so we just couldn’t afford it then, and still can’t right now.  We have other priorities at the moment like the garden and the roof so the kitchen is going to have to wait.  Last week I was researching how to decorate kitchens on a budget, got carried away and before I knew it was buying paint in B&Q!

Kelly vowed never to pick up a paint brush again so I decided the kitchen would be my project.  I sent Kelly some pictures of paint colours and we decided on red.  I got home and started painting.  Amelia was in a lovely mood and entertained herself whilst I did a bit to see how it would look.  Kelly got home from work and was a bit shocked.  Apparently she thought I meant wall paint but I meant tile paint!  Once she got over the shock she liked it though so I continued to do the whole kitchen.

I used V33 Renovation Wall Tiles paint in Chilli Red.  When it first went on I was worried it was pink but after 3 coats it is red!  Our tiles are rustic, rough and not perfectly square and the paint was brilliant for them.  I don’t know what it would be like on shiny, more modern tiles.  I used the Ronseal Grout Pen to fill in where I had got paint between the tiles.  This was a bit tricky but again it helped that our tiles have the ‘rustic’ look.  The pen was difficult to use so I ended up emptying some of the liquid into a pot and dipping the nib in the liquid.  Here is a before and after picture.

We’re going to paint the walls white, at the moment they’re some kind of dirty cream colour.  Then we want to paint the cupboards in white and grey.  Anyone who has visited our house knows how much we like grey!  We are going to look into doing something with the work tops and the floor and hopefully this will last us for a couple of years before we can get it done professionally.

I’ll post another blog when we’ve done the next stage!

31/01/2017

Tasty Breakfast Bars!

I have been making these breakfast bars a lot recently.  They are packed with fruit, nuts and seeds and make a great mid morning snack.  They’re handy to take to work for me and Kelly and Amelia likes them too which is a bonus!

INGREDIENTS
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 75g golden syrup with a little extra to drizzle over at the end
  • 300g porridge oats
  • 100g mixed dried fruit (I use raisins and cranberries)
  • A large handful of chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
  • A handful of mixed seeds (I use sunflower and pine nuts)
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3.  Our oven is rubbish so I always put it between 3 and 4.  Grease and line a 20cm square tin.  I use a Pampered Chef square baker which doesn’t require greasing.
  • In a pan add the butter, sugar and syrup and heat gently.  Whilst this is melting  add the oats, dried fruit, nuts and half the seeds to a bowl.
  • When the mixture has fully melted pour into the bowl and mix well.
  • Put the mixture into the tin and pat it down as much as you can.  I use a silicone spatula.
  • Drizzle over a little syrup and sprinkle some seeds on top.

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  • Cook in the oven for 40 minutes until golden.  I have to leave mine for 50 minutes so keep checking until golden brown.
  • This is the important part! Leave to cool completely before cutting into slices.  If you don’t it will crumble.

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Let me know if you give them a try!