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The small milestones

Obviously, a baby’s milestones are big deals. Their first steps, first words, first time they sleep through the night etc etc.

But now I’m starting to notice Isla’s smaller milestones that make me well up just as much.


This was the first time Isla slept under a duvet instead of her sleeping bag. She was in a sleeping bag up until she was almost 2 because she wriggles in her sleep so much, but we thought tucking her in nice and snug in a proper duvet might help keep her a bit more still. She slept absolutely fine that first night and we only had to tuck her back in once after she wriggled her legs out at about 10pm. She looked so cute I couldn’t resist taking a photo!


Then there’s the first time I watched Isla use a knife and fork. Without making a mess. We were at her best friends birthday party in July and she had some chicken nuggets with chips and peas. She not only gobbled the lot (and turned down ice cream in favour of finishing all her peas!) but used a knife and fork properly, the first time I’d seen her do it. I have to admit I did well up!

There’s also the times she’s said things that make me so proud. We’ve been teaching her to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ but she still needs prompting from time to time. So when I plonked a yogurt in front of her at tea time a few weeks ago, and completely unprompted, she looked up at me and said “thank you mummy!” for the first time I could have burst with pride!

I had a similar reaction last week when I was tucking her in to bed and said “night night Isla Bear, love you” and she said “love you mummy”. I just wanted to smother her with kisses!

All these things are just reminding me that she’s growing up so fast, and soon we’ll be celebrating milestones such as her first night in her big girl bedroom (stay tuned to see how that turns out!) and then before long, her first day at school. Oh god, here come the tears again…

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Our two year old

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Today is Isla’s second birthday, and as cliched as it sounds, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone and how quickly she’s growing up. Our laid back little red headed baby girl how grown into a laid back but spirited and cheeky little girl. She loves nursery and all her little friends, and she’s incredibly sociable.

 We’re amazed every day at how intelligent she is. She’s speaking in three or four word (mostly coherent!) sentences and understands everything we say. She loves reading and knows the names of most every day objects, the favourites are currently Piggy Wiggy, chocolate and dawberries (aka strawberries)! She’s also quite good at counting and knows her numbers, but will sometimes miss out 4 and 7 just to tease us!

We’ve found that she’s very bossy, and if she wants to read or have us read to her she’ll demand it. One of her favourite things to do in the morning is to have us all snuggle up in our bed (she’ll demand “mummy/daddy/Piggy/Isla sleep in bed!”) and we have to pretend to sleep and snore, just so she can jump on us and shout “wake up mummy/daddy!” She also loves her food and eats huge amounts considering how small she is.

I was worried that she was a late walker (she didn’t take her first unaided steps until she was 16 months old)  and this might be because of future mobility problems, but as it turns out, she was just lazy and once she discovered how much fun it is to be walking and stomping about, she is now making up for it! She runs around with the other kids and has no problems keeping up with them, and one of her favourite things to do is go swimming. She loves wriggling around in the water with her armbands on and will swim back and forth between Hubs and I if we stand 10ft apart.

So far, Isla very rarely throws tantrums and seems to have learnt that throwing a hissy fit doesn’t work on us and that if she throws a strop, she won’t get what she wants. If she throws a tantrum we simply walk away from her (only into the next room and if it’s safe!) and after a few minutes of whimpering, she comes in and climbs onto our laps for a cuddle, like she’s saying sorry, and then she forgets all about it. Gradually her hissy fits seem to be getting shorter so hopefully the terrible twos won’t be too traumatic!

Ok I’ll stop gushing now. I know we’re very lucky to have such a happy, placid little girl who’s a joy to be around (her grandparents’ words, not just ours!) and that if we are lucky enough to have another one, we’re very unlikely to be blessed with such a “good” baby next time around so we’re just enjoying it while it lasts!

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I wish it was me

My baby girl isn’t a baby any more – she’ll be two next month and I can’t believe how much she’s changed in these past few months.

Her vocabulary is brilliant as her teachers at nursery have commented on many times, she’s putting together 3 or 4 word sentences and understands everything we say. She also repeats everything we say so we have to be so careful now! Isla is great with colours and numbers, even if she does tell us every colour we show her is red sometimes, and on her occasion her number sequence sometimes goes 1,2,3,5,8! She loves animals too and will happily tell us the right names and sounds of every animal we see.

Her social skills are pretty great too, she’s very friendly with anyone she sees and will shout “hello!” at anyone who stops to see her, and she’s really good at sharing her toys.

Honestly, this blog post isn’t just a brag about how proud I am of my beautiful, cheeky daughter. It’s about how sad I am that all the credit for my little girl’s development isn’t down to me, it’s down to the lovely ladies at her nursery.

As we work full time, Isla is in nursery from 8.15 to 5.30 Monday to Thursday and til 5 on Friday, and I’m well aware that all of her skills and development is due to the amazing care she receives at nurseryas they’re the ones who are with her full time. We do our best to offer her as much of a well-rounded and educational but fun environment when we’re together at home, but I’m well aware that her teachers at nursery have worked wonders with her, and I wish it was me.

As we don’t see much of her grandparents due to living so far away from our families, every time we see them they gush at how well she’s doing, and I feel bad that I can’t say I’m the one who’s taught her to count or that cows say “moooo”. I know I’d’ve done my best, but had I been a stay at home mum, I’m sure I wouldn’t have done as good a job with her as her teachers have.

And while I know it can’t be helped, as Hubs and I both have to work, I wish I could be the one to teach Isla her ABCs and 1,2,3s. I take my hat off to the lovely ladies at nursery for being so wonderful with my baby girl, or toddler as I now have! Gulp.

  • I’m delighted that this blog post was published on The Motherload! You can read it here…

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Trusting your instincts

If I ever had a piece of advice for new mums (not that you’d need any more as I’m sure everyone and  their dogs have had their two penneth by now!) it would be to always follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

This week Isla has been really off since Sunday, refusing her food and just not being herself. Then on Monday morning she started being sick and pretty much didn’t stop for two days. She couldn’t even keep water down and by Tuesday lunchtime, she was so weak and lethargic she wasn’t showing any interest in playing, reading, dancing, anything.  She just wanted to cuddle, which isn’t like her at all, she’s normally too busy, even when she’s poorly she still wants to play but this time, nothing.


We took her to the doctor who just said it was a viral bug and to keep an eye on her. But by Tuesday her temperature had gone up and I was worried sick, and when she threw up again, she brought up bile and what looked like coffee granules. I rang NHS 111, who just told us to take her back to the doctor, but I just knew that she needed more help. She was getting weaker, wasn’t interested in anything and wasn’t saying a word (we normally can’t shut her up!) – this wasn’t our daughter at all. I rang the GP back, but there were no doctors available for two hours so I took her straight to A&E instead. This photo was taken in that evening and look how poorly she looks.

The doctors there were brilliant and gave her a good check over, and it turned out her blood sugar was low and she was dehydrated, so we were taken by ambulance to another hospital 20 miles away where there was a paediatric ward. She was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and put on an IV drip with anti sickness drugs, and we stayed in over night while the fluids did their work.

The difference in her when she woke up was remarkable. She woke up and started singing to her favourite cuddly toy Piggy Wiggy as she normally does, and soon after she was demanding her drink and breakfast. Once she had scoffed down some cornflakes and toast, she was back to her old self, playing with her toys and colouring, chattering non stop!


We were discharged that afternoon and now we’re back home, slowly building her back up with plenty of water and bland food.

I’m so glad I listened to my guts, the doctors at the hospital and the ambulance crew said we’d done exactly the right thing as we know our daughter best, and if we’re worried, it’s normally for a good reason.

Morale of the story? If you’re worried in any way, if your little one isn’t themselves, or if something is amiss, definitely get them checked out. One of the lovely doctors said they’d much rather see a poorly child and be able to sort them out with Calpol or fluids than parents leave it too late and things to have deteriorated too much.

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The Dreaded Pox

I haven’t been blogging for a while as it’s been so busy with one thing and another, the first of which I’m about to fill you in on…

We’d always hoped that Isla would catch chicken pox young as children cope with it better the younger they are apparently. So when the ladies at her nursery told me one Friday afternoon when I went to collect her that one of her little friends had been sent home that day with chicken pox, we fully anticipated that the time was near. She had been a bit off for about a week prior to this, being clingy when I dropped her off at nursery (normally she’s straight off playing with her friends and doesn’t give me a backward glance!) and had had a runny nose, which I’d put down to a combination of teething and a cold that Hubs and I had both had. And within two hours, it arrived.


When we were putting her to bed that night, I spotted some of the tell-tale spots on her back (see above). The next morning she was covered from head to toe, the worst was on her back and face (below).


So began a flurry of trips to the supermarket to buy calamine lotion and extra Calpol (Hubs) and phone calls to various relatives to find someone to look after Isla at home for the next five working days (me), as the ladies at nursery said she’d be contagious until all the spots had scabbed over, which usually took around six days.

Thankfully, both our bosses were very supportive and we made a plan that Hubs and I would each take two half-days off that week to look after her, while my mother-in-law would have her on the Tuesday and Wednesday and my dad the Friday, the final day of her containment.

So began the task of keeping our active, wriggly, always-going-at-100mph toddler cooped up at home. That weekend wasn’t so bad as we were able to at least let her loose in the garden as we had nice weather and we bought her a new counting toy to keep her interested for a while.

By Thursday she was getting restless, but luckily we were able to take her out for a short walk around the quieter streets in our village just in case she was still contagious, and needless to say she was getting bored being stuck at home with just mummy and/or daddy to play with!

We bathed her spots with calamine lotion morning and night and gave her calpol before bed if she was grizzly and in all, Isla coped so well with the pox. Aside from a runny nose and a slightly decreased appetite, she was fine in herself. She didn’t scratch once, she slept fine as usual and was still full of beans. Thankfully she was also very well behaved with my MIL and Dad, who hadn’t looked after a child alone since I was a baby! 

By Monday she was absolutely fine and ready to go back to nursery, like she’d never been away! I’m glad she had the chicken pox early and we all came through unscathed, so that’s one less thing to worry about for now!

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A nod to my child-free friends


In a previous post, I paid tribute to my wonderful mummy friends who have been so amazing since I became a mummy and who I wouldn’t be without now. Well this blog post is for those amazing, understanding, supportive, non-mummy friends, the still-footloose-and-fancyfree ones who are effortlessly cool and don’t judge me for being a boring mum. 

They say you find out who your true friends are when the going gets tough, and since having Isla, our lives have turned upside down and we’ve truly seen who our real friends are. So for those who are still here, I just want to say thank you:

  • For not rolling your eyes when I waffle on and on about Isla for the seventh time in half an hour.
  • For understanding when I have to be selective about what plans we do together, either for monetary, childcare or sheer exhaustion reasons.
  • For being flexible and making the effort to come and see us to keep our friendships alive, as you know it’s hard to just “pop over” these days, and get togethers involve much planning and revolve around Isla’s routine….
  • And also for understanding when I’m so tired I call it a night early when we do get together.
  • For not kicking my arse to kingdom come for not replying to texts/Facebook messages/Whatsapps for hours/days/weeks because my memory is just plain terrible these days
  • For offering to babysit to give Hubs and I a bit of a breather
  • For still sticking by my side even though my life has changed beyond belief since my daughter was born. You are my true friends, and I’m thankful every day to have you in my life. 
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Little things to make me feel less mumsy 

Sometimes it can feel like I’ve lost touch with my pre-Isla self, something I didn’t want to do before I had her. Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby girl with everything I have and I love being a mummy, but sometimes I miss the woman I was and while I swore I’d never become one of those mums who can only talk about their babies, I admit I’ve already committed some mumsy sins. Having a baby changes your entire life and sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my identity.

So it’s the little things that make me feel like my old self again that I really appreciate and I need to feel normal again. Here’s just a few of them:

  • Wearing nice, matching lingerie – I’ve never been a “throw on whatever bra and knickers I can find” person, I’ve always tried to make sure my underwear is a) matching and b) decent looking. My stint working in lingerie for M&S has made me very OCD about throwing out bras that are ill fitting and/or old and as soon as I stopped breastfeeding, I treated myself to some really nice bras and knickers from Rosie for Autograph lingerie. Now just something as simple as popping my silk Rosie underwear on makes me feel like a million dollars
  • Putting on make up – as I’ve touched on before, I don’t tend to wear much make up but when I do, I feel much less of a slummy mummy. I’m not one of those effortlessly polished mummies who leaves the house with a face full of perfect make up, most days just a quick swipe of tinted moisturiser and mascara is considered making an effort! But when I do get all dolled up, it makes me feel like a prebaby version of me again and I love doing my nails. These Maybelline ColourShow ones are my current favourite
  • Enjoying me time with historical porn – relax, I’m not admitting to a fetish to a blue movie entitled ‘The Dick-torians’, I mean the tv show The Tudors! Hubs works away 2 days and nights a week so I make the most of these evenings as ‘me time’. Once Isla is in bed at 7pm, I eat tea and then have a nice relaxing bath with bubbles and everything, then curl up in bed with one of my favourite box sets. The Tudors is my favourite, so I can drool over Henry Cavill without judgment!
  • Going out with my child-free friends – I adore my mummy friends, they’re amazing and supportive and I’d be lost without them. I’m also lucky enough to have some wonderful friends who don’t have children and who have not only stayed in touch with us (it’s shocking how many friends stop calling when you have a baby) but who have been incredibly supportive and helpful. I’m aware that constant baby talk is terribly dull for non parents, so going out with my friends who haven’t had a baby gives me time to switch my baby brain off and give my mummy self a break.