Not That Fancy

Whilst I like to think of myself as quite trendy (does anyone even say trendy anymore!?) I like shopping and try to keep up to date with fashion, just lately I’ve just not been feeling it.  On a recent school run the children were singing and chatting (arguing and pushing) and they started singing ‘who am I’ (apparently it’s a real song!) and my daughter started to say who I was.

She’s 37, she has her hair tied up, she doesn’t wear make-up ( I do, but not regularly or enough for anyone to really notice) and then she said, and she’s not that fancy – WHAT? What on earth does that mean???? I asked her, and she just said the same, you’re not that fancy.

I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t bother me a bit.  I love the way children can be very black and white about things, and always think they say it as it is.  Well, that means that I’m not that fancy!  What does it mean to be fancy, is it the clothes? shoes? make-up? jewellery? car? Is it all about appearance?

I’m quite a ‘lazy’ person when it comes to make-up, if I have time or can be bothered then I’ll put some on but some days I don’t.  I wear clothes that are comfy, but I like to think not frumpy and quite on trend and if I’m going to be chasing after children then heels aren’t really my first choice!  When I do get dressed up and put on make-up, it makes me feel really lovely and is always noticed, but realistically, I couldn’t do that every day.

Today  I met a dear friend for a long overdue cuppa and catch up.  I’ve know her since my pre-children days and we have children similar ages.  She always looks lovely and today was no different.  She had make-up on -but not loads, clothes right on trend – but not too young, and even though she has 4 children, looks well rested and fresh faced and is always cheery.  If she wasn’t so nice and my friend, I’m pretty sure I’d want to poke her eyes out.

It’s become a bit of a running joke between us, I’ve NEVER seen her in trainers or even flat shoes.  We are completely different people and on any other day, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid but today I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little meltdown.   I know my body grew a PERSON just over 12 months ago (and 5 previous to that) and that’s amazing BUT you know I think it’s ok to be a bit body stress after having children, because sometimes that the actual reality.

When I left my friend, obviously I went a bought a new jumper, because that’s going to make everything better, and phoned Mr H.  God love him, he is marvellous and did try to say the right things but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t feel it.

So I now have the motivation (after a mini meltdown in Lidl) to completely cull my wardrobe, which is long overdue anyway as I do have an obscene amount of clothes (half of which I’m sure don’t even fit).  I’m going to fall in love all over again with my new mamma body.  I don’t want to be fancy, just happy with what I’ve got!

 

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) – Don’t Ignore Itching!

I’ve been very luck with all my pregnancies, they’ve all been text book with no major issues and although I don’t especially enjoy being pregnant, I’ve never really had anything to complain about.

My last pregnancy was probably the most enjoyable of them all.   I had an anterior placenta (when the placenta is attached to the front wall of the uterus, or womb, rather than the more usual position on the back wall nearest the spine) which meant that I didn’t feel as much movement from the baby, and would often go all day without feeling one movement.  but I soon realised what was ‘normal’ movement for this baby.   I didn’t crave sweet things (which I had with the other pregnancies) and was eating a lot less than pre-pregnancy.

I’d just reached 32 weeks when I had the most unbearable itching, during the night, mainly on my legs and hands and I couldn’t sleep.  It felt like my skin was alive, I was literally scratching myself silly.   It would become more bearable during the day and I began to question whether or not I was in fact going mad (that’s not unusual during pregnancy!)  It became so bad that I had taken some Piraton to try and ease it and the next morning when I called to check with my Midwife that it was safe.  The Midwife wanted to take some bloods and also monitor the baby’s movement as it had decreased.  By the end of the day I had been diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy –   which until then, I’d never heard of.

ICP is a liver disorder unique to pregnancy and is also known as Obstetric Cholestasis (OC).  Normally bile acids flow from  your liver to your gut to help you digest your food.  In ICP bile acids don’t flow properly and build up in your body instead.  There is no cure, but should disappear once your baby is born.   It affects 1 in 140 pregnant women in the UK,  I’m not lucky enough to win anything but apparently I am lucky enough to get this!

Although the symptoms of ICP were frustrating for me, especially the itching, they were essentially harmless.  However for the baby the main complication with ICP is stillbirth.  It’s not actually known why but is thought to be because of the increased bile acids.  I had blood tests twice a week to test my liver function and measure bile acids, scans to check the baby and monitoring of the movements.  I was given Vitamin K supplements (because ICP can affect your absorbtion of Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting) medication to reduce the bile acids and aqueous cream with menthol to ease the itching.

I had completely lost my appetite and had actually started to lose weight instead of putting it on (I would’ve seen this as a plus, if I wasn’t growing a baby!) I wasn’t ill as such, I just felt a bit unwell but more than that, there was the worry of whether I would actually get this baby here safely.  At every scan or appointment I would just think “the baby is ok right now, let’s deliver now, just in case”.

As soon as I reached 37 weeks  (the baby would be considered full term) I was induced as this was the safest option for the baby.  I had to be in hospital with an IV and constantly monitored.  I had a liver scan to check that no permanent damage had been done, which it hadn’t and would need no further treatment once I’d had the baby.

The birth was fast and uncomplicated but afterwards my mini man was taken to the NICU because of breathing complications, which was to be expected as he was premature.  I haemorrhaged and needed surgery.

The itching did continue for a few weeks, but nothing like what I had experienced when pregnant.  Six weeks after birth I had my bloods rechecked and my liver function was back up and rolling.

Once you’ve had ICP there’s a high chance of getting it again in subsequent pregnancies (between 60-90%) although it’s thought not to be so severe as the first time.  Research has shown that with medication, monitoring, blood tests and induction pregnancy with ICP carries no higher risk than a non-ICP pregnancy.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has more information about obstetric cholestasis, including what it means for you and your baby, and the treatment that’s available. You can also get information from the British Liver Trust.

The charity ICP Support provides information about ICP. You can also watch their video about ICP (OC) featuring mums and clinical experts.

Do Not Ignore The Itching!

 

 

Valentines Stick Arrangement

February is the month of love and with almost no cost you can make a lovely wrapped stick arrangement.  This activity is a great excuse to explore the woods to collect sticks.

This is a really easy activity to do and the beauty of it is that because the sticks are all different shapes and sizes it looks really effective

You’ll need:-

  • sticks (at least as thick as your finger);
  • red & pink wool;
  • scissors;
  • cardboard.

Start by tying the wool at the end of the stick then begin winding the wool around the stick until you’re happy with the section (about 1″-2″).  Tie and cut off and repeat with the next colour.

Add some cardboard hearts to the sticks and them put them in a vase or jar.

The children really enjoyed winding the wool around the sticks.  Some were wound more carefully than others, but that didn’t matter because they all looked great.

Happy Valentines!

Is There Such A Thing As The Perfect Fit?

I am a pear shape and always have been.  Finding jeans to fit my small waist and big hips has never been easy.  My waist and hips are different sizes meaning that I have to either wear a belt to pull the excess waist in or go down a size making them skin tight on my legs, neither of which are comfortable or very flattering.

With every pregnancy the shape of my body has changed even more and I haven’t actually worn a pair of jeans that fit properly since before having my first child.  My hips have always been my stumbling block when it comes to trousers.

Buying jeans isn’t the easiest thing to do either with lots of different cuts, washes and sizes.  High waist, low rise, high rise, midi fit, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, slouch and then there’s jeggings, it’s exhausting!  I’ve bought a ridiculous amount of jeans ranging from expensive designer brands right through to cheap and cheerful ones and have over 15 pairs in my wardrobe, but not one pair that ‘fit’.

Whenever I’m out and about I always have a ‘quick’ look (is there such a thing!?!) to see if I can find the perfect pair.  Apparently, I’m not alone, 40% of woman struggle to find the perfect jeans and research has shown that there is a tried and tested, fail safe to find the elusive jeans – it’s all about what body shape you are.  So here it is, according to the experts:-

Boyish 

If you have a boyish shape you can wear most styles and can add some shape and interest with zips and details on back pockets.

 

Apple-Shaped

Women with apple body shapes, which are larger across their mid-section, typically with slimmer legs, should look for plenty of stretch in a straight leg in a dark wash as they complement every curve.  You should also opt for elasticated waistbands.

Pear -Shaped

Pear-shaped women have a smaller top half than bottom and boast fuller hips and a shapely lower half, should opt for high-waisted jeans.  Skinny jeans in a high waisted style – it elongates the leg and slims down the hip.

 

Long Legs/Petite

Ladies with long legs look best in a mid to low rise to keep the waist at the right height, whereas petite girls look great in a high rise that accentuates the waist and elongates the legs.

Also if jeans go on easily, go down a size.  The waistband should be snug, if you can fit two fingers down the back that’s good, a whole hand is not.  Does that not make a muffin top though?!

So there you have it, we should all have the perfect jeans if we follow those simple rules!  The only problem with that is unfortunately I’m not the “perfect” pear shape, which creates another bunch of issues – seriously!?!  The search will continue……

Do you have a style of jeans that suit your shape? or are you like me and make do with ones that are too big or too small?

 

 

 

 

Bunchems – They are actually really good!

My heart always sinks a little bit when the children see an advert for a toy on the TV and then declare that they want it.  The fact that they see the same things in every advert between programmes on a daily loop, obviously has nothing to do with it!  They are usually expensive, break and never actually do what they say on the box so end up being thrown away or never played with.

Bunchems was one of the things that the children said they wanted over and over again.  I have to be honest, I just ignored them!  Father Christmas however, had other ideas.

Felix (5) ended up with the Bunchbot Craft Kit.  When he asked if we could build something I have to be honest I wasn’t the most enthusiastic mum.  We sat down at the table and began building animals with mini plastic pom poms!

It was brilliant!!!!

Easy to follow instructions to make animals (the octopus is my favourite) made it perfect for Felix to do whilst I just provided a helping hand picking up the pom poms when they fell on the floor!

We sat making, taking apart and remaking creations for hours.  They all worked, they looked like what they were meant to be and they didn’t brake.  It was something that he could do on his own (although he loves having an assistant to separate colours) and he is so pleased when he’s made something.  One of the best things is that the pom poms can be reused and don’t lose their shape.

It’s not just for younger children either as we’ve all been sucked into the Bunchem bubble and have had hours of fun.  You can buy more Bunchems separately if you want more to keep your masterpieces from being dismantled.

So if you’re looking for a non-messy fun craft that is relaxing (I know!) that actually works for your children then Bunchems are for you!

 

 

 

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The Real Newborn Must Haves

As a mum of six children, I’ve bought an incredible amount of baby ‘stuff’ over the years, 80% of which I probably never used.  It’s easy to get caught up in the baby bubble (especially for first time mums) and buy anything and everything baby related, but the reality is that you won’t need or use even half of it!

These are some of the best things that I have used with all six of my children and that I think every mum should have.

Tomy First Years Starlight Dreamshow

We have bought a wide range of musical lights but this is by far the best.  Free standing or attached to the cot with soothing music and lightshow, adjustable timer for 5 or 10 minutes and not at all pricey, this has never failed to settle our children.  As our babies have got older and woken up they have turned the music on and resettled themselves.

Chamolmilla 6c Pilules

Is there anything worse than seeing a baby cry in pain because of teething?  Chamolmilla pilules are amazing and provide natural pain relief and comfort for not only teething but also colicky pains and disturbed sleep.  These can be used from 3 months old and are little balls of magic!  In a small, easy to use container they are perfect for keeping in your bag so you never have to be without them.

 

Sleeping Bags

All of our babies have loved being swaddled and as soon as they wanted a little bit more freedom we’ve used a sleeping bag.  They are always snuggled, don’t kick off the covers or wake because they are cold and they have the comfort of something around them. With different togs and designs available you can use sleeping bags all year round.  I’ve just bought a beautiful duck patterned bag from Marks & Spencer.

 

Infrared Thermometer

This is a must for any parent, babies pick up germs and get ill, FACT.  In the past I’ve always kissed my baby’s head and that told me whether they felt hot and had a temperature or not (not the most accurate, I know).  An infrared thermometer is quick, accurate and you don’t even have to touch the skin, so there’s no need to wake a sleeping baby!  Plus it makes you feel very important, and Doctor like.

 

What are your newborn must have’s?

What A Difference 5 Make!

There’s a huge difference between the mum I was with my 1st baby and the mum I am with my 6th.  I hadn’t even held a baby until I held my own and to be honest I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!

It’s a learning on the job type of gig and a quick one at that and now I have 6 babies I have grown in confidence and some days actually think I have some idea of what I’m doing.  Equally other days, absolutely no idea!

Obviously it’s different every time you add a child into your family, and your triumphs/hiccups will change the way you are with the next one as well as circumstances.

A few differences from the 1st to the 6th:-

  • Designer clothes – Sleepsuits for at least the first 3 months

Unless you’re lucky enough to be given things for your 1st baby then you will have to buy them.  First size outfits with shirts and trousers, jackets and cashmere jumpers (that will shrink after the first wash, which will be 30 seconds after you’ve put it on!).  Sleepsuits are the way forward  (and surely more comfortable) and look great with a cardigan or jumper over the top.  Keeping my baby in sleepsuits somehow made the baby days longer, nothing ages a baby more than jeans!

  • Shoes immediately – Not before they’re actually needed

Baby shoes are the cutest thing ever, so why would you not want to buy several pairs!?!  They actually serve no practical purpose and quite quickly become a complete pain when they are kicked off every 30 seconds.

  • Regular nap times – Naps on the move

Once you have more than one child, life is never going to be quite the same again.  You will have a routine of playgroups, mother & toddler groups, music groups and life which will mean that subsequent children will just get dragged around wherever, whenever and will sleep on the move.

  • Playgroups – Friends houses for tea.

Once you’re a mum you will move in different circles and your social life will become the groups you go to.  Once you have met your mum friends you skip the groups and have cuppas at each others houses, once you all have 2 or 3 children you have your own group!

  • Everything is New – Ebay is your best friend.

I never even considered buying second hand for my 1st baby, but today Ebay is my new best-friend.  I wouldn’t have been able to feed my love of buggy’s if not for the bargains on-line!

  • Everything is sterilised to within an inch of it’s life – 5 second rule

The fear of passing germs onto your baby makes you sterilise everything even if you so much as sneeze in the same room as it.  Compared to living life according to the 5 second rule.  A dummy falls on the floor, you pop it in your mouth and give it back to your baby.

  • Everything is washed and ironed – Just being clean is enough

Everything is washed before it’s worn, ironed and put away perfectly.  Compared to buying new clothes that have already been ironed so you don’t have to do it.  Clothes being clean and dry is a bonus.

  • Eager for the next stage – Enjoying the fact they can’t move

Won’t it be great when he can sit up, or crawl, or run!  Always eager for the next stage of development.  Compared to relishing the fact that they stay where you put them and they don’t move, these stages are so short lived and should be treasured before they’re gone.

  • 24 weeks, 3 days and 10 hours pregnant – How many weeks?

From knowing exactly how many hours pregnant you are to having such a busy life you have to think and sometimes even check how many weeks you are.

 

Midwife and Life

 

What’s Your Magic Number?

17 years ago today I married my best friend, my ‘person’ and the father of my future children in the amazing Florida sun.  We had the most amazing 2 weeks and it was when we decided that we wanted to start a family.  I can remember as we were getting on the monorail at Epcot saying “I’d really like to have a baby” and my new Mr H saying “OK!”.

We never discussed how many we were going to have and 1, 2 and 3 followed in quick succession and we had 3 children under 5.  I was never going to have 3 children, as I always felt that someone would be left out which lead to our 4th child.  My desire to have “just one more” was still there and my favourite line of “you’ll never regret having one, but you would regret not having one” swayed our 5th.

I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason, even if it’s difficult to see that reason at the time.  I didn’t want to look back in 10 years and say “I wish we had had another child”.  For a short while, I felt that maybe our family was complete, but then the desire for another came back stronger than ever.  Life threw a few curved balls our way which only heightened my want for another eventually giving us our 6th.

I don’t especially enjoy being pregnant and although our 6th wasn’t text book (like the others) it was the most enjoyable pregnancy I had, feeling content and some days forgetting I was even pregnant!  I love giving birth (crazy I know) but for me life doesn’t get more real and magical than that moment.

After the birth of our 6th baby, because of complications, I felt confident that our family was complete.  However, over the last few months that feeling of “just one more” has reared it’s head, and really once you have 6 children, what is one more?

It’s difficult to tell yourself that your family is complete when you’re not so sure.  I believe it’s a decision that you need to come to by yourself, no one can tell you you’re done (unless medically the decision is taken away).  I know that we are incredibly blessed to have the most amazing family and it seems very selfish to want more and in some ways wouldn’t it be nice to have a switch that you could turn off!  For me, being a mum is everything, and what I’m meant to do.

Whatever the future has in store for us, whether our family is complete or not, who knows?!? – I’m pretty sure Mr H would say we’re done, although he’s been saying that since 2!  Life, right now is great, and for that I have the man who has stood beside me through the best and worst times of my life to thank.  I am rich in so many ways and when my time comes, there will be no regrets!

Am I the only crazy in the village who will always want just one more?!

 

 

Midwife and Life

 

Bird Feeder Cookies

As the weather gets colder we find ourselves spending more time indoors and that can lead to full-blown bouncing off the walls cabin fever.  So at this time of year I like to have some quick and easy crafts to do, like these bird feeder cookies.  They’re child (and Mum) friendly, inexpensive, not too messy and really great for the birds – a parenting win!

You’ll Need:-

  • 3/4 cup of small birdseed
  • 1 packet of gelatin
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • Cookie cutters
  • Baking paper
  • String

Method:-

  • Bring water to the boil over a medium heat and add packet of gelatin;
  • Stir until dissolved (1-2 mins) then take off the heat and leave for 5 mins;
  • Add bird seed and mix well;
  • Place the cookie cutters on the baking paper and fill with the bird seed mix.  Push down to make sure they hold firm;
  • Stick a straw in the top of each cookie cutter to create a hole;
  • Leave to set overnight;
  • Carefully push the bird seed cookies out of the cutters and thread string through the hole at the top and tie with a loop;
  • Hang on a tree/branch outside!

By hanging the cookies near a window you can do a little bit of bird watching, count how many birds you spot and what types you have in your garden – All whilst having a cup of tea in the warm!!!

 

 

Midwife and Life

 

The Bedtime Battle

Now the festivities are over and the children are back to school it also means back to routine.  We are all finding it hard to go to bed and get up earlier than we have been over the last couple of weeks.  There’s been a lot of faffing around once they’ve gone to bed and thinking that’s the perfect time to tidy their room, ask really important questions, want some food, need the toilet or a decide they need a new night light!

I thought this would be a good time to revisit the Hurr House Bedtime Routine and remind the children how it should go.  I say should because just lately it’s been a bit hit and miss which is no fun for anyone.

Hurr House Bedtime

  • No electrical items after tea and when you go to bed they are to be put on the kitchen table.
  • When it’s your bedtime you will have half an hour in your room to faff around.  This is for reading, writing, colouring etc nothing electrical or loud.  This is a chance to wind down, switch off and relax ready to catch some zzzzz’s!
  • After your half an hour it’s (time for a book with Mum or Dad – younger children) then lights out.
  • If you are found faffing around after this then you will lose time off the next nights bedtime.  You will only get one warning.  Persistent faffing will result in a 6 o’clock bedtime (yes I have really done this!)
  • You need to have brushed your teeth and had a tiddle before lights out NOT after.

We’ve always had staggered bedtimes and that’s always worked really well for us.   Generally we have a house of good sleepers.

Felix (5) – Bedroom at 6.30, lights out at 7.00

Neve (8) – Bedroom 7.15 lights out at 7.45

Gracie (11) -Bed at 8.00 lights out at 8.30

Poppy (13) – Bed at 8.30 lights out at 9.00

We’re not so strict at the weekend or in the holidays but during the school week it’s important we have a routine because everyone gets so tired.  It’s really important that the children sleep because it has such a negative impact when they’re overtired.

How does bedtime look in your house?