Introducing our newest arrival 

 

Little D arrived on 15th April – the day before my birthday and the best early present I could ever have. I say early – he was 12 days overdue in the end and although it was all pretty intense and quick I was able to have a water birth in the birth centre and avoid an induction planned for two days later. 

Scrip is everything all at once – excited, proud, confused, a bit jealous. I guess it’s all to be expected but we’re involving her as much as we can whilst making sure it’s not all about D. She suddenly seems so grown up and even more loveable. 

And as for him, he’s pretty perfect. We’ve already had a tongue tie diagnosed and snipped, poor mite. So feeding is challenging but we’re getting there. He’s also very hungry so very little sleep but what did we expect?

Mostly I just can’t believe we have a new addition – and a male one (Scrip’s freshly washed baby clothes are largely redundant!) and we’re enjoying these special early days as much as we can. I know all too well they don’t last long. 

Discovering Pho Chiswick: Vietnamese street food

Pho Chiswick It’s always great to find local restaurants you would happily recommend, and Vietnamese Pho (pronounced ‘Fuh’) has become one of these.

I reviewed it for West London Mum during the warmer weather last year and my friend and I enjoyed a night of great food, good ambience and (strong) cocktails with an Eastern twist.

Here’s my Pho Chiswick review. Enjoy (and if you venture there, I’d recommend the Hanoi Mule).

 

Guest post: soft play for dads – survival tips from the front line 

Soft play advice for dadsMy husband has shared his thoughts on soft play survival. To be fair he’s an expert as I haven’t been able to clamber around the oversized climbing frame of doom for at least the last six months (and he secretly loves going).

Given I’m imminently to go on paternity leave for child number 2, I’m already plotting where I may deploy myself when I’m not changing nappies or burping the little one. My wife and I are well aware of the effect our ‘new kid on the block’ may have on Scrip. After all, she won’t have our undivided attention anymore and she won’t, for the first time, be the biggest draw when others visit. Based on this, and to give myself some convenient excuses to escape the intensity of a post-birth household, I daresay I’ll be escaping with Scrip for the odd adventure and treat.

Once the cafes and playgrounds that are our regular haunts have been exhausted, it’s almost inevitable a trip to Soft Play will be reluctantly mooted (by me) and readily accepted (by Scrip).

The words ‘soft’ and ‘play’ do not a relaxing concept make. For any parent. But you can’t get away from the fact that it is to toddlers what rolling in s**t is to a pig. They can’t get enough of it. And Scrip is no exception. The unbridled joy and fidgety excitement as we approach is a sight to behold. I can barely get Scrip’s shoes and coat off in time before she’s launching headlong into the red, yellow, green and blue melange of apparatus.

The thing is, when you go to Soft Play with Scrip, you don’t just sit at the side, read the paper, have a coffee and generally let the madness wash over you. Oh no. At her insistence, you’re in there with her, following in every footstep, climbing over everything (including children), fitting through gaps you shouldn’t and getting stuck halfway down the slide. It’s more of a workout than a trip to the gym, but she goes back in again, and again, and again. And it doesn’t get boring or tiring for her. She doesn’t even want to stop for food or drink. The pace is relentless.

Here are some tips to surviving a trip to Soft Play:

1. Arrive there as soon as it opens
And never a minute after. If only to snare a table on which to put your coat and bag, you’ll be glad you did so. The play area is fairly empty and you get a number of clear runs on everything before the masses arrive and you wish you never turned up.

2. Vary the activity
As soft play is made up of hard core climbing and more genteel, quieter pursuits, it pays to mix it up. If only to catch a breather. It’s like being at a party where you’re being pursued by unwanted attention (I’m sure that happened to me once in my youth) and escaping to the chill out room for some respite until you’re found out. By going to play shopkeeper or doctor in a side room it keeps them entertained and they get to interact with you, too.

3. Be firm with other children
Other peoples’ children at soft play are horrendous. No, they’re not mine to tell off, but if they’re bigger than Scrip (which they invariably are) and devoid of any sense of what is going on around them (always) then I need to fight Scrip’s corner for her. It’s best to be firm with other children rather than bottle it up and huff as that makes it more stressful. Plus you can guarantee that slightly podgy six year old boy will give Scrip a wide berth when next ‘queueing’ for the slide.

4. Cap the trip at two hours
You’ll certainly have had enough by then and, though they won’t admit it, they will too. Fight the inevitable protests, get the shoes and coat back on and take them to the loo. And get them in the car sharpish. The last thing you want to do is pay for an over-priced sandwich and risk being pulled back into the melee.

50 things that make me happy

I love a happy post so a big thank you to Sophie at M, Mum & More for tagging me on this one! Great idea – particularly as I sit here on a lovely sunny day with some time to write :-)

Here are my 50 things (random order):

Untitled

  1. My little girl Scrip
  2. Thinking about my new baby
  3. My husband
  4. My family
  5. A lovely cuppa
  6. Sunshine
  7. Good friends
  8. Homemade cakes
  9. New photos on my walls
  10. Clean sheets
  11. Bright blue skies
  12. Open windows
  13. Cornwall
  14. My husband’s poached eggs
  15. Early morning holiday flights
  16. A creamy flat white
  17. A lovely glass of wine
  18. The smell of clean baby clothes
  19. Spring blossom
  20. A cool bottle of beer
  21. My family coming to stay
  22. A tidy room
  23. A nice haircut
  24. A new magazine
  25. Swimming in an empty pool
  26. Weekend brunch
  27. Weddings
  28. Pimms
  29. Gardening
  30. New puppies
  31. Birdsong
  32. Memories of Topper
  33. Collecting eggs from chickens
  34. The smell of the sea
  35. Sparkler ice lollies
  36. Veggie spag bol
  37. Foreign holidays
  38. Spending a day on the beach
  39. Kittens
  40. Reading a great book
  41. Tidy eyebrows
  42. Shopping
  43. Mushrooms on toast
  44. Writing
  45. A good work review
  46. Picnics on sunny days
  47. Christmas morning
  48. Seeing an old friend
  49. Scented candles
  50. A bubble bath

And I could go on. Summer seems to be my season!

I tag:

Is it wine o’clock yet?
Mama’s VIB
Something I Made
A Cornish Mum

 Would love to hear the 50 things that make you happy! :-)

Easy and quick baking – a review of Betty Crocker cake and cookie mixes

Betty CrockerI’m not sure if it’s the nesting or having a bit of rare time to myself before the d-day (or b-day) but I’ve been doing a lot of baking recently. It started with my Gordon the Tank Engine cake for Scrip’s third birthday and since then there’s been my favourite banana loaf (which was meant to be frozen for guests post-baby but got gobbled up pretty quickly by the three of us), wholemeal and white bread (have discovered how easy it is with a dough hook – no kneading!), homemade pizza and then trialling some Betty Crocker packs which were sent for review.

When the brand got in touch I’d heard of the name and even seen the packs in supermarkets but never really considered giving them a go. No particular reason – but I suppose I generally only bake Continue reading

Waiting, waiting – six ways to cope with being overdue

Pregnant overdueSecond babies – they’re never as late as first ones, are they? That seemed to be the general consensus. That and how quickly it could all happen once it started (music to my ears since my first experience was six days of pre-labour contractions). No one seemed to disagree. That is until my last midwife appointment, when she asked how late my first was (10 days). She replied ‘get ready for some waiting – usually the second follows the same pattern’.

And only then it dawned on me – of course it could do. I could still be waiting another week. Or even longer! And, like with so many life events, we have pretty much no control over when it’s going to start.

So here I am, 4 days over and trying not to dwell (despite the blog post). I’m even enjoying trialling Continue reading

10% off great Easter activities in London with KIDsorted

imageEaster holidays all planned out or still looking for activities for your children? The founders of KIDsorted – who help parents discover and book children’s activities online – have been in touch with me and are offering 10% off their Easter holiday clubs in West London. All you have to do is use the code newmumblings when booking.

They’ve worked to create a good selection of classes relevant by age group – I love the sound of the Hartbeeps party in Chiswick for little ones and the Sharky & George adventure days at the Natural Continue reading