Tuesday, 30 August 2016

I'm not quite ready...

It's 6.30am and everyone is asleep.  Well everyone in this house, apart from me.  LL woke up at 5am and I just couldn't get back to sleep.  We've had a really lovely weekend celebrating my husbands birthday, but it's been really busy.  And it's on my mind that we have two more days until Bee has her very first day at school. 

It's such a cliche to say, but I really don't know how she got to be so big.  I can honestly remember lying in hospital, with this tiny new human beside me, thinking how my world had suddenly and amazingly and inextricably been turned on it's head with love for this tiny baby girl.  There is something about having a child that really marks the passage of time.  Their growth and almost daily changes really mark the time just passing by.  Quietly and slowly, but passing by nonetheless.    
And I worry if she will be OK.  Me and Bee spend so much time together. I'm the one who knows when she is tired, can see the little cues if she feels overwhelmed. What if she doesn't ask to go to the toilet? What if someone is mean to her? Will she be able to manage to cut her lunch and manage a food tray on her own? 

I know I'm not the first mum with a little one going to school and I won't be the last. Countless parents before me and after me have and will no doubt feel the same things I'm feeling. 

I can remember when she had her first day at pre-school and that strange feeling of knowing we were on the cusp of something new.  And here we are again.  Almost about to begin a new chapter.  A new chapter of new routines, new friends, trying to leave the house on time, PE kits and uniforms, teachers and school work.   

Can you ever feel totally ready for their first day? 

Ready or not, I have two more amazing days left of having Bee all to myself.  Two more days of not having to be anywhere or do anything. 

I may not be ready, but I'm not going to let Bee see that.  I'm going to smile and pretend I'm ready.  I'm going to hold her hand and tell her it's all going to be OK.  That this is the start of an amazing adventure, her amazing adventure.  One that I can't be right next to her for, but one where I will be just a little bit behind her, always there if she needs me.  Always. 


Friday, 19 August 2016

The Milk Edit 19.08.16

Hello there and welcome to another The Milk Edit.  For any new readers, The Milk Edit is a weekly post where I share my fashion finds from both high street and online stores, which all have easy accessibility for breastfeeding mamas.  

This week I've found a gorgeous wrap white dress that I am a little bit in love with, and I've finally tracked down a cold-shoulder top with thicker straps which is perfect when wearing a nursing bra underneath.  

I hope you enjoy this week's picks and it gives you some style inspiration.  Have an amazing weekend! 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Birthday Wishes

I love hearing what other people receive for their birthday a) because I am an incredibly nosey person b) usually I then want to add said birthday gifts to an expanding  birthday list of my own and c) if I don't want the for myself it gives me ideas of gifts for other people.  

This year, I thought I'd share my very own lovely birthday gifts I received.  As a disclaimer, this post isn't in any way intended to be bragging about what I received, and it's the accumulation of presents from a number of close family members. I hope it inspires your own wish list or inspires some present buying, enjoy! 

Rose gold is everywhere like it's going out of fashion.  And I'm not sure if it's because I love it or my brain has seen it so many times on Instagram and Pinterest that I've succumbed to needing some in my life. Anyway, I spotted this gorgeous Oliver Bonas jewellery box.  It's not too big, but big enough to house my little jewellery stash (and my daughter can't quite figure out how to open it, bonus). 

A me doll

Yes, I received this gorgeous little hand made doll.  I dedicated a whole post to this very special gift here

Something that is everywhere again are succulents and I have succumbed (!) to needing one in my very own cute little terranium.  If a terranium could be described as cute. I also have looked after this little succulent for nearly 3 months.  And it is still alive.  

Who doesn't like Taylor Swift (apart from Kimye that is). Love this mug. 

I adore the smell of this. If you love the smell of coconuts, pop into the The Body Shop and give this a little smell. 

I adore personalised prints, but I'm a bit picky about what they say. I spotted this 'The story of us' print and fell in love with it.  I love the words and the way it is designed. This is obviously a sample from their site, as I'm not called Mandy, but I guess you'd figured that out anyway. 

I'm very lucky to have such wonderful family, who not only put up with me, but put with my complicated birthday wishlists every year which always involves a wild card of something that is hard to find! Thanks guys! 

Monday, 15 August 2016

A running update

Sorry...did someone say running update? I think an update implies something has actually happened to report on, no? A running un-update doesn't quite sound right.  I've started this post off bad already.  For someone who has entered the London Marathon I'm not exactly sounding ready.  And that's because I'm not. But because I am so unbelievably not ready, I think my name is going to be picked out of the ballot in October. It will be my karma.  

At times, I honestly forget I've even entered.  I was blissfully living in ignorance, until an email came through last week with the title 'How's your training going?'.  I nearly marked it as spam, until it dawned on me, that oh yes, I did actually put my name forward to run a MARATHON in April next year. 

The inspirational quotes on Instagram are getting to me.  When I read 'someone busier than you is running now', I think, no they are not.  They are probably doing the same as me and holding a crying baby, whilst dancing with their oldest child and all the while having an anti-bacterial floor wipe under their slipper to clean up baby drool (true story).  

Also, 'you can do it'. Urgh. Well, yes I probably could, but it seems I'm either surviving on a few hours sleep or currently recovering from mastitis (there is no way I'm running with a sore boob).  So, I probably could do it and then afterwards collapse from sheer exhaustion.  And then still get up for the night feed(s).   

You're probably thinking 'what the hell did she enter for if all she is doing is moaning about it', and, well, that's a very good question.  I know deep deep down, I wanted to challenge myself and push myself after doing a half marathon two years ago (yep, I'm still harping on about that little achievement, but I have now taken the medal down from the living room).  I think I just forgot that my life is now challenging enough just surviving the day with my two little people. 

I know I also wanted to enter to push myself to do it.  If I haven't got a goal, it can make me a bit lapse.  If I know I have to do it and have a date to do it by, I'm much better at actually doing it.  But herein lies the problem.  With the London Marathon, you don't actually know if you will be picked.  It's a random draw as to if you will run at all, and so I won't know until October.  And then that leaves only five months for me to go from running 2 miles to 26.2 miles.

I've just Googled it and apparently it's a 1 in 15 chance of getting a place, and that's what Google says, so it must be true.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad.  It would be amazing to have the opportunity to run the actual London Marathon. I'd feel so lucky if I got a place.  But also pretty petrified at the same time. 

Anyway, I'm sure this update is alot like the last update I did, with very little actual running stories and more musings on entering a marathon in the first place.  I have got to do more running.  I do actually enjoy it once I get going.  But it's proving hard to even get going. I need to though.  If only for the fact these updates are going to start to get really boring.  

I reckon if I can break the five mile mark my muscles might remember that hidden somewhere deep within them is the ability to run.  I do actually have a new mantra when I ran a few weeks ago which I can share with you, and it was 'this isn't as hard as childbirth'.  I don't think this will get me to the 26.2 mile mark, but hey, you have to start somewhere. 


Wednesday, 10 August 2016


I thought I'd write this post as soon as I could to remember everything and say everything whilst it's still fresh in my mind.  If this helps just one mama out there to get through mastitis then it's worth writing. I thought I'd share my experience of mastitis (fun times) and what I've found useful. 

This is the second time I've had mastitis.  Bizarrely, I have never got it in the early weeks of breastfeeding, it has always happened much, much later on.  Bee was 12 months old when I first got mastitis and LL is currently 9 months old, so not exactly text-book timing, who claim it normally occurs in the first three months.   

I have felt so so ill in the last three days and I really can't believe how quickly mastitis goes from feeling a bit off to feeling like you can't even roll over in bed.  So as soon as you start to feel symptoms get yourself to the GP ASAP.  I hate going to the doctors (health professionals are the worse for taking care of themselves), but I didn't hesitate to get antibiotics prescribed as soon as I felt unwell.  

For me it started with a slight tenderness on Saturday evening.  It felt like maybe I had slept funny on my front, even though I knew I hadn't.  I made sure to feed LL overnight so my boobs didn't get too full, but by Sunday morning the pain had worsened and a red patch had developed. Over the course of Sunday morning I developed a temperature, chills, feeling sick and weak and not being able to do much. 

As an avid Googler (which I'm not sure is a good or bad thing), I've read alot on treatment and advice, and I also know bits from breastfeeding training I've attended and also my job. I always like to search for the NICE guidelines as this is the gold standard practitioners should use when treating you. It's up-to-date and evidenced based. Here are the mastitis guidelines, and sometimes it's worth printing them out and taking them to the GP to remind them what they should be prescribing and what the current guidance is.  No disrespect to any GPs, but there are the odd ones that really aren't sure about mastitis. I've also had some terrible advice given to me by health professionals including wearing a firm bra (?!) and not feeding from the affected breast(!)...both things certain to make things one hundred times worse. 

Clearing the blocked duct and any milk stuck is imperative, so feeding regularly (even if you don't feel like it) is so so important.  Try and make sure you empty the breast fully and express by hand or by pump if baby hasn't emptied it completely.  Whilst baby is feeding or you are expressing, try and gently massage the tender area to get the milk flowing and remove any blockages. It can be easier and gentler to do this in the bath or shower if you can't face it whilst feeding. 

You can also try various positions to help clear the blocked duct, with babies nose pointing towards the blockage.  Get into whatever position works for you, dangling yourself over baby if you need to.  If it moves the blockage go for it.  Feed, feed, feed. And as a side note, if you feel like you need help with getting a better latch, then ask for someone to watch you feed.  That's what professionals are there for.   

Using a warm compress before feeds will help increase milk flow, and a cold compress afterwards will reduce any swelling.  You can use a flannel or a clean nappy is really good to use as it will retain the water and the heat. 

Staying hydrated and looking after yourself is just as important as the actual treatment. I've read on alot of sites that being run down or overdoing it can be a contributing factor to mastitis, so make sure to rest, drink lots and be kind to yourself. 

As quickly as mastitis comes, it starts to improve too.  I started antibiotics on Sunday afternoon and I was beginning to panic yesterday that I was feeling no better.  But this morning (so 36 hours after treatment), I still feel sore and not 100%, but I've not had a temperature this morning and I do feel marginally better.  I'm sat here blogging which is a good sign.  Yesterday I just lay on the floor with the little ones climbing over me. 

Please hang on in there and it will get improve.  There are lots of lovely breastfeeding advisors and health professionals out there who can give you support if you need it.  You are doing an amazing job and mastitis happens to the best of us.  I promise you will feel better soon. Take each day slowly and hour by hour if you need to.  

If you have any advice or tips, please feel free to leave them below and let's share survival through something which is so hard for any mamas to experience. 

P.S.  A little update.  It's now 48 hours since I started antibiotics and I can tell they are working.  I've not had a temperature all day and the swelling is now reducing.  The redness is still there and it's tender but not as much as it was. 

P.P.S Some websites that I read and actually trust and don't tell me to swing my boob in the wind to heal mastitis (I'm sure someone will tell you to do that somewhere), are La Leche League, Kelly Mom, and NHS Choices

Whilst I am a health professional, this is my own personal opinion and view of mastitis and is based upon my experience as a mum. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


Before I begin this urgh post huge apologies for the delayed Milk Edit. I'm hoping no-one noticed but for some reason the post didn't go live on Friday (err, I didn't press publish).  I've just put it live now. Lesson learnt to check I've pressed the right buttons (duh!). 

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Or downwards actually.  I've had a horrendous past few days as I'm ill with mastitis.  For anyone who has never had mastitis it is horrendous, painful and like the flu but worse. It started with an achy boob on Saturday tea-time and just 12 hours later had developed into full blown mastitis, with a fever, pain and not being able to get out of bed.  I'll write another post on mastitis and what I've found useful to survive as I know that won't be to everyone's reading preference.  

Now no time is a good time to have mastitis, but this week was the worst. Mr. Bee left for America for the week yesterday morning and LL is ill too.  I struggled through yesterday (just) with the help of Topsy and Tim, strategically lying amongst toys and lots of snacks. I had periods of feeling ok-ish, but by the evening my temperature had gone up again and I felt awful.  I put Bee to bed and then LL was unsettled, for TWO HOURS. I then collapsed into bed with another fever and praying the antibiotics would kick in.  

And I think they have.  Well I hope they have.  The three of us are just sitting on the bed now and I've actually washed my face which is a positive step.  Though my hair looks like a birds nest, but hey ho, you can't have everything. 

The Milk Edit 05.08.16

I'm so sorry that it's been a few weeks since the last Milk Edit.  After a minor hiccup with some coding (otherwise known as me having a coding breakdown!), I'm back with a weekly round-up of fashion picks for mamas that happen to be breastfeeding.  

This week I've found some gorgeous dresses and tops that are perfect for wearing when feeding the babas. Hope they give you some fashion inspiration. Have a great weekend. x

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Owning It

I can write a list as long as my arm as to the things I've learnt being a mum. Like never going shopping with a tired toddler and never, ever using a swim nappy as a normal nappy. How you should never suggest a song no-one has heard of at playgroup or how to act when someone's little angel hits yours.  But of all the lessons I've learnt, there is one lesson that I have only just started to get to grips with, yet it is the most important of all. Owning it. 

When you become a parent, aside from the nappies and sick clear-ups, the thing you spend the most time doing is questioning yourself. You question what you are doing, if it's right or wrong, the way your parent, if you are doing something that is different than what someone else is doing.  

I breastfed Bee until she was two years old.  There.  That's it.  That should be the full sentence.  But it never used to be.  I can remember talking to a mum at a playgroup about our little ones, and I'd mentioned that Bee was still breastfed.  I could see it in her eyes she thought I was mad, I felt she was judging me, and so, without so much as taking a breath, I launched into how Bee only had two feeds a day and that I was planning on stopping soon.  I felt the need to justify my parenting.  I felt the need to explain my parenting choices.   

The same goes with thumb sucking.  Someone made a comment that my daughter shouldn't be sucking her thumb (don't get me started on thumb-sucking), and how did I reply? I told her this long winded tale of how I didn't give Bee a dummy and so she sucks her thumb and blah,blah,blah,blah.  

Again, I questioned myself and felt the need to explain.   

What should I have done in both of these situations? I should have owned it. Because I make the decisions that are right for me and my little one. And that's it.  Not the woman at playgroup.  Not the lady at the post office.  Me. And that's it. 

I've seen other people do it too.  I was talking to a new mum about her 3 week old baby and she told me this long story of how she really struggled with breastfeeding and her baby was now formula fed.  Now she might have been telling me to have a little chat or offload.  But I have a feeling that she, for whatever reason, wanted to justify her parenting to me. What I actually wanted to say to her is, that there is no need to explain (unless she wanted to).  That her baby was formula fed. And that's it. As long as mum, dad and baby are happy then that's it. No explanation needed.  

Now being a mum of two, I can't believe how different my two girls are and also how differently I parent them.  I never thought I would make different parenting choices the second time round, but I have had to.  LL is a completely different baby to Bee and our family has changed and evolved since Bee was a baby.  And I think that just shows how different parenting is. There is no set style or way to do it.  If we can't even parent two siblings the same, then how can we compare our style to that of others? How can we hold our decisions against those that others make? We can't. I think that's also why there's hundreds of parenting books out there.  There's advice galore on how to bring up a baby.  But all of that aside, you have to do what works for you.  But more than that, you then have to own it.

It's not just limited to being a parent.  I always remember someone asking me a question once about where I'd like to go on holiday. When I answered they completely rubbished my answer and made me feel like I needed to justify my choice! It really annoyed me at the time, and looking back on it, what I should have done is offer no explanation at all.  I like what I like, like you like what you like.  It all comes down to having that confidence in yourself. 

No-one else is in your shoes, so no-one else can judge your decisions. So own it. No apologies. No explanations. You're doing an amazing job. Know that and own it.  

Monday, 1 August 2016

Hello Me!

As far as birthdays go, I'm notoriously picky hard to buy for. As my birthday rolls around each year, me and my husband have at least one argument discussion as to how stressful it is for him and how I verge on ungrateful with the worst happy present face going if I don't quite like something he's bought.  In my defence, I do have the worst happy present face going, but I'd much prefer to take something back and get something I will love rather than accept muddy brown converse and never wear them (true story).  

As we were away in Portugal for my birthday, and also because I had packed all suitcases to the brim with crap important and necessary toiletries and clothing, I had most of my presents when we returned home.  I'll do another post on what I got, purely for the reason that I love reading other people's wish list and present's, for inspiration and my own wish list reasons, so stay tuned for that.  But this present really warranted a post of it's very own.  

Introducing, well, me!

This gorgeous little doll was hand made by the extremely talented Malgo of Whisper of the Pipit, who designs and creates the most wonderful bespoke little people.

My husband had given Malgo a picture of me in one of my outfit posts from this blog, and from that picture she made a little me! The detail on the doll is just amazing. 

Here are the pictures from the original post Malgo used, 

The doll is wearing my favourite military jacket complete with striped top and tiny converse. 

Is it wrong to say I love me? I now want a little family to go with me, complete with Mr.Bee and Bee and LL too. 

Malgo is so talented and from what my husband says, a pleasure to order from and design together something so bespoke. I know these dolls will be treasured forever and will really capture our family as we are right now. 

If you are looking for a unique gift, then definitely check out Malgo's work, she does a range of dolls and even cake toppers, for something totally unusual, original and extremely special. If only I looked like this when I woke up first thing in the morning.