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Reinventing The Bedroom

My bedroom has always been one of my favourite rooms of my house, but then Ada came along. Gone were my scented candles and stash of skincare on my bedside table, instead replaced with room thermometers, sudocrem and baby wipes. Basically the entire floor of my bedroom was taken up by her cot bed, with stashes of nappies hidden away in corners and a drawer filled with baby bedding sat underneath her cot. I spent hours of my day in that room; feeding a newborn baby, getting to grips with life as a mother. As she got older we spent less time in there, but we still took a couple hours a day in there to feed, get ready for bed and soothe her off to sleep. It wasn't really my room any more, but truth be told, I loved it.

That was, until we decided when Ada was six months old that she was ready to go into her own big girl room. And suddenly just like that, my bedroom was mine again, although not like I knew it. The floor space seemed so big and empty, I felt like the whole room had now lost it's identity. And I can deal with other rooms being inbetween styles and needing a bit of work, but not my bedroom. So I got to work; I pushed the bed more into the centre of the room to make space for a little chair in the corner. We bought new pillows, a new feather duvet, new bedding and a new cushion. After a little tidy up, rearrange and a new plant, it's feeling good again. Almost enough to make me not miss Ada sleeping next to me (but not really!)

Bedding is basically my favourite thing to buy, and I know, I know, it's cliche, but there really is nothing better than jumping into bed after a long day into fresh, clean sheets. Especially now that sleep doesn't really get to last so long these days, I want what I get to be really good quality thanks to some top bedding! I usually head straight to stores like H&M, or Sainsburys (not just good for fruit & veg!) but I recently discovered Yorkshire Linen who do some really lovely and seriously reasonable priced sets! They have some great childrens duvets too, so I'll be keeping them in mind once Ada has outgrown her baby sleeping bags in favour for a proper duvet.

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8 Months Old

My sweet little lady, I can't believe you have been with us for two thirds of a year now. And you definitely aren't so little any more; this month brought in the start of your sixth leap and there's really been some big changes around here. You've noticeably grown, to me at least. I could still squeeze you into a few 3-6 month clothes until recently, now you're well into your 6-9 month things.

You've developed so much this past month, too. You've gone from just being able to sit, to scooting across the room on your belly, to crawling, as well as being able to crawl from sitting up, and this last week you've been pulling yourself up on things. Quite frankly, you're running Mama a little ragged, I wish you'd slow down a bit! You don't seem happy unless you're scooting around all over the place, exploring is just your favourite.

(dress : next . cardigan: m&s . tights : next . shoes : vintage) 

We have done a bit of exploring this month, too. We took a little trip up to Lancaster, to Williamson Park and the butterfly house; you loved all the little creatures, and you really love just being outside around nature, your little face still lights up like nothing I've ever seen when we're walking under trees. We also took a little trip to the zoo, you seemed to enjoy the chickens and penguins the best! We went shopping to Chester too, we pushed you round all day whilst Grandma and I looked around the shops and you were quite content to just be, you really are a happy little baby.

You still get remarked on everywhere we go, I feel like the luckiest Mama alive when people stop to comment on you and you give them a big smile. You have such a big personality, I can tell you might be a bit of a handful as you get older! You delighted Daddy this month by saying "Dada", and now you won't stop babbling away repeating it, but still no signs of "Mama". This really is my favourite age so far, I just love to see you growing and exploring, becoming more independent and curious. You are a wonderful little baby, Mama loves you so much!

12 Realisations of Being a Working At Home Mum

1. Sleep is lacking. I mean, sleep is lacking anyway as a Mum, but all those handy "sleep when the baby sleeps" "if the baby is napping so should you" tidbits aren't all that handy when you've got stock that needs to be posted out and an ever-growing to do list.

2. There isn't much time left over for any hobbies. Hence the lack of blog posts for months on end at a time.

3. Or any real time for yourself, even. My nails are seriously neglected, bath times are reduced and don't even get me started on the books piling up in my room that I wanted to read.

4. Days out are rarity. I make the most of any days out I get with Ada and Kane because they're few and far between; most of the time I have to stay in to make the most of the peace and quiet whilst Kane takes Ada out with family. Huuurumph.

5. The neighbours think I'm unemployed. As does the postman, random passer-bys, everyone but the Hermes collection man (yes, I do use Hermes, don't hate me!) I'm in most of the time and half the time don't get out of my pyjamas, oops.

6. People will think you've got it easy. Surely I've got the best of both worlds, hey? Working from home and trying to squeeze in the time to work and look after a baby, going back to work a few days after having said baby and recovering from a forceps delivery? Yes, best of both worlds. Ho ho ho. 

7. The mess around your home will drive you mad. And every so often you'll have to ignore that previously mentioned growing to-do list to quickly hoover, dust and wash up, because unlike your partner you don't get to leave the house and ignore it all until the evening.

8. You have to have a good routine in place. And be organized, otherwise you'll quickly be heading to breakdown alley. Or breakdown town, that has a bit of a better ring to it. Ada's routine is fairly in place although it has to have a bit of flexibility to it. She also has to be in bed by about 7pm, otherwise Mama can't get no work done. 

9. Three meals a day just don't happen. Most of the time I kind of forget to eat until dinner, especially now Ada is crawling around and I can't take my eyes off her for a second. When she naps I'm working, not eating (unfortunately).

10. It's hard to switch off. Like the majority of people who work from home, baby or not, your home is a mashed up version of an office and a home, so it can sometimes feel like there's nowhere to switch off or relax, like you should be working all the time.

11. You have to ask for help, and you can't do it all. When Ada was a little baby that slept a lot more, things were a lot easier. She's a lot bigger now and although she's also gaining a lot of independence, she needs a lot of looking over. I'm lucky that Kane's Mum can help me out and look after Ada one day a week, then I've got four or five hours to just work. 

12. Maternity leave sucks. Before this turns into the biggest pity party ever, I know in the long run, I do have a good situation going on. And things will get easier as Ada gets older and she can go to nursery a couple days a week, and then head off to school. And I'l always be around to pick her up and drop her off, look after her on the school holidays. I don't need to arrange childcare, and I don't have to leave my little baby to go back to work any time soon. So whilst it's hard, it's tough work and I feel like I barely get a minute to myself, it's all oh so worth it. I don't have to worry about missing her first word, or her taking her first steps, I don't have to leave a crying baby behind to go sit at an office desk or stand behind a till. Because I get to spend most of my days with my little girl. And that's just the best. 


9 Ways To Treat Yo'Self On A Budget

"Three words for you. Treat. Yo. Self." I certainly don't need reminding of that Parks & Rec episode to want to buy myself a little sumthin' sumthin', but being a mama it's easy to feel an incredible amount of guilt for spending money on things that aren't remotely baby related. Cue me cutting my own hair and recycling clothes that I've owned for years in favour of buying Ada another cute outfit. But there are some ways to treat yourself for just a few pounds, or even for FREE. Who'd have thunk it.

1. Stick on your favourite music. There isn't much of a better feeling than blasting some of your favourite music and having a good singalong and boogie in your living room, although perhaps make it mid-afternoon so the postman doesn't catch you belting out Bootylicious, dancing with the cats.

2. Buy a new nail varnish. Everyone loves cute nails, and Barry M do some seriously good quality polishes for under a fiver. 

3. Buy some flowers. Whether it's for the house or the garden, flowers are always a winner. I personally always raid the reduced section first, but buy wisely. Lillies that are already fully open aren't going to last more than a couple days, whereas roses that just look a little rough around the edges will last for a week or more if looked after properly. Just a couple quid a week brightens up the home and my mood!

4. Sleep. Sleep don't cost a goddamn thang and it makes you feel AMAZING. Unfortunately as a mama it's one of the things that I can't really treat myself to, unless I fancy going to bed when Ada does at 7am, but on the rare moments that Kane gives me a lie-in it is the best.

5. Go on a walk. I know, i know, sometimes exercise isn't everyone's idea of treating themselves, but particularly if you're not in the best mood, walking is just top for clearing your head and just taking stock of things.

6. Take a long bath. Possibly throw in a little pamper. You don't have to shave your legs though, it's almost Autumn - win win.

7. Go for a coffee. Don't stress over the calories in that mocha cookie crumble frappuccino either, just enjoy it!

8. Put fresh bedding on. The best.

9. Spend some time on Pinterest. There's pretty stuff on there that you can perve over for days, instant mood lifters.

What are your favourite budget treats?

A Mama & Baby Autumn Wishlist

Autumn is just my favourite, it always has been. Up north we don't get much of a summer anyway, there's just weeks of confusion where you get dressed in the morning ready for a chilly, windy day, and by mid afternoon you feel like you need to strip off into a sundress. I welcome the cooler days with open arms; you can't beat that cosy feeling of layers and faux fur, having an excuse to drink all the calorific hot drinks and the crisp feeling in the air. 

I was a bit nervous about dealing with a newborn in the late Autumn months last year and was constantly worrying about keeping her warm enough without being too warm! Now she'll be nine months old when Autumn rolls around, and I can't wait to dig out all the mustard yellow clothes and vintage knitted blankets I've had saved for her. And of course, there's a few little things I've got my eye on too!

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Outfit & Eats

I hold my hands up, I am one of those cruel Mamas that attaches things to their kiddos head despite their pleas because I think they look cute. THERE, I SAID IT. Little bonnets are my favourite accessory to dress Ada in, from just a few days old she was wearing hand-knitted mustard ones, although she put up much less of a fight those days. And no, she's not perfected her blogger pose, this is just her trying desperately to remove it from her head. 

The weather has been pretty much off over the place this week, so all this needed was a pair of tights to be the most confused outfit ever. A sun dress, paired with a hand-knitted cardigan (can we just talk about those panda buttons?!), with a vintage find, a little embroidered bonnet. Ada wore this on a little trip out to the park with her Grandma and cousin, so either accessory could be removed if the wind dropped and the sun came out.

I usually make her something for lunch like some vegetable soup (with not much broth) or she'll have avocado on toast, so making her something she could have on the go when she's still without any little teeth was a bit of a struggle! She ended up with some cous cous I made with a little tomato, basil and peppers, a couple chunks of avocado and a cheese triangle, and a banana in her bag just in case she rejected of all this for some reason! I also have a little diva of a baby who refuses normal water after tasting coconut water, so her normal vita coco went off in her bag too. It's a good job her little dress was only one english pound from a charity shop so I can afford to keep the fridge fully stocked with it!

Friday Favourites

It's the end of another week where I'm questioning where all my time is going. I get Ada up in the mornings and it feels like barely a couple hours have passed before I'm giving her a bath and putting her back in bed. I'm off to Chester for a shopping trip tomorrow, so I spent all my spare time on Monday clearing out my wardrobe, plus a trip to Blackpool Zoo on Tuesday and the rest of the week working and looking after Ada has meant the work has gone so quickly. Anyway, I'm babbling.. Here's my favourites from the week!

1. The seriously cute notepad I picked up a few weeks ago from Sainsburys, which I have recently bought plastic files to match. Who knew Sainsburys did such good stationery? It's going to be majorly hard to avoid that area each time I go in now. Rather in love with this cute sticky note set, too!

2. I bought a few things from Lush a couple weeks ago and one of the standout items I bought was the Ayesha Fresh Face Mask. It's one of the very few left I haven't tried, but I was so impressed with how my skin looked afterwards. I feel like the skin around my nose and forehead is quite loose with large pores and it definitely improved after using this.

3. My love for Instagram was dwindling seriously fast until I managed to bag myself an Etsy voucher from the adorable Sarah's instagram. I'd had my eye on some of the planters from Cat's Ceramics for a while, and after I'd spent a good hour trying to decide which one I liked the most, it was on it's way to me and arrived a couple days later. I packed it with some succulents and it's off to sit pretty on my desk. 

4. Feeling pretty happy with myself that I managed to find one of the Neom Travel Candles in a charity shop, albeit from a discontinued range. It's the 'Inspiration' scent which is absolutely gorgeous, and again, sits well on my desk.

5. Am I strange for keep buying Ada clothing that she won't be able to use for years? Perhaps, but I absolutely love this vintage 1960s bag that will be the cutest for her to use in a few years time!

10 Things I'll Be Teaching Ada

I can speak from experience (obviously) that sometimes, growing up as a female is bloomin' tough! From a relatively young age we're a raging source of hormones, AND I went to an all girls school for seven years, so I know what it's like to practically live around all women and deal with some of the consequences! Aside from the obvious academic things, there's a few things I'll be teaching Ada as she grows up.

1. Social media isn't REAL. Well, it is, in the terms that Twitter and Instagram are real things, but things online aren't always what they seem. People pick and choose the best moments of their life and edit them to death, not many people share the unhealthy shit they ate for their tea or the blazing row they just had with their partner. It's so easy to get sucked in to how people appear on Snapchat and end up with major green eye, it's important to remember that things in the real world are sometimes so different. 

2. Avoid getting sucked into drama, it's just not worth it. Especially don't ever pick sides in someone else's argument; they'll end up making up and you'll be billy no mates.

3. Don't feel like your worth depends on a boy. Throughout school it was particularly well known that I wasn't really seen without a boy on my arm. They weren't all throw-away relationships (a few were), some of them were serious, for my age anyway! I even got awarded "Most likely to have a boyfriend" when I was leaving school for sixth form, and they were right! I calculated that for a few years I was single 23 days in total, because I'd just move on and be with boys that I didn't even really like just so I wasn't 'alone'. Which looking back on sixteen year old me is not only so silly but so sad. 

4. Don't pick your spots, and I'm sorry for the oily skin you'll probably inherit, but look on the brightside; you'll end up with less wrinkles eventually. Just ask your Grandma.

5. Find what makes you truly happy and go with it. Whether that's education, full time work, being a Mum or travelling. Just be you.

6. Don't be afraid of having a personal style. Even if you get picked on a bit at school, don't ever feel like you should change yourself to fit in.

7. Eat your vegetables and drink your water.

8. Invest in your female friendships. It can appear sometimes that there are a lot of bitches out there, but if you keep looking you'll find some incredible women that you can share everything with, feel truly comfortable with and love endlessly. Just keep looking. 

9. You will never make yourself any greater by tearing others down.

10. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you're not capable of something because you're a girl. You are capable of absolutely anything you put your mind to.

A Trip To Williamson Park

It's not very often anymore that I get to spend some real quality time with my friends, so when we arrange something we try to make it a little special. We don't live in the nicest of cities, which was the main reason I was so desperate to pass my driving test last year. I suggested a trip up to Lancaster, the city I spent seven years growing up in, and specifically a little visit to Williamson Park. If you're from the area, it's probably pretty doubtful you haven't at least heard of this place, if not visited yourself.

It was always one of my favourite places to visit as a teenager, although perhaps not for the right reasons (I spent more of my time naughtily having an underage drink there than admiring the views), and I appreciate it a lot more now I'm older. It has the beautiful Ashton Memorial, stunning grounds with a few different walks to go on, as well as a butterfly house and small animal rooms. 

I took Ada because she is a little obsessed with trees, any time we walk under some her little face lights up so much, she honestly looks so amazed by it all! So I knew she'd love the nature aspect of it all, but she was even having a good look at all the little animals and bugs there were too. 

And of course, the blogger in me couldn't resist snapping some of the flowers and pretty shrubs I saw, although this is a bit restrained compared to how many I actually took! Followed by a quick trip into town, a spot of lunch in Roots Vegetarian Cafe, and a quick trip to Lush for some bubble bars and Atkinson & Co for some coffee beans, I'd say it was the perfect day!

Have you ever visited Williamson Park?

Catherine // 25 // Manchester



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