My top 5 box sets to get you through your baby’s first year

Ah the newborn days, they sleep a lot, but they wake up at the most random times. You try and sleep when they sleep, but you can’t always get to sleep, but you do need to chill, this is where the box sets come in. I watched a fair bit of TV when Hallie was asleep, especially as I couldn’t do much after my c-section. 

For the best viewing experience I use a Google Chromecast. You can cast from Google Play app or from the Chrome browser on your laptop.

  1. Mount Pleasant – the perfect box set for the newborn days, there is no point getting into something heavy, you will never stay awake or alert enough to take it in. Mount Pleasant is funny, easy going but still very addictive.
    They have stopped making it now, so you can watch it from start to finish.
    Where: Now TV 
  2. Stella – Again very funny, but still has that drama edge. It is written by Ruth Jones and she stars as the main character Stella, if you loved Gavin & Stacey, you will love this. The perfect tonic for long newborn nights.
    This has also just finished (although there are rumours of a Christmas Special).
    Where: Now TV
  3. Power – well, what can I say, I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I really did. It is produced by 50 cent (stay with me) and centres around the New York drug & club scene. I won’t give too much away, but it can leave you feeling a bit hot under the collar. 
    Season 5 is released in the summer, so plenty of time to catch up.
    Where: Netflix
  4. Shetland – I love a crime drama, and while I will never tire of The Bill reruns, I do like something a bit grittier but with heart. It will put you off ever moving to Shetland, but there’s not as many murders as Midsomer…
    The current series is on BBC1 Tuesday nights.
    Where: iPlayer for current series, you might have to buy the others.
  5. Outlander – A journey back in time and then back further. It took a few episodes but then I was hooked. Mainly set in Scotland, around 1743 onwards, you are drawn into love, war & a lot of drama. Maybe not one for the newborn days as it does get very intense!
    The next series is due in autumn and can’t come soon enough.
    Where: Amazon Prime

I am on the look out for a new box set – so please leave suggestions in the comments!

Oh and word of warning – if someone recommends ‘This is us’ do.not.listen, it is amazing but way too emotional! Save it for later down the line.

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100 years today: Let’s keep pushing on!

Today feels like a great day, it is 100 years since women won the vote, and it is everywhere, everyone is talking about it and that is just how it should be. We SHOULD celebrate it, and I am hoping all women celebrate it by voting!

It does feel a bit sad however that in 2018 there is still gender inequality in jobs, relationships, pay, parenting, etc. but it is going in the right direction and we must push on with it and raise our sons and daughters to believe in equality.

I saw the Lorraine show this morning and she said she isn’t sure it is something you can teach, and in part she is right, it is more about our attitudes around our children and what we surround them with. With this in mind we got out Hallie’s ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ book and started to read about amazing women through history. From doctors to writers and politicians to scientists, these women are more than inspiring.

When I was growing up I honestly didn’t see a difference between men and women, I didn’t realise some people thought my dad was superior to my mum. My dad was a department store manager and worked in fashion and my mum was our mum and then a teacher, I didn’t realise people thought there were ‘male’ jobs and ‘female’ jobs. My mum has always instilled into me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and that university was always an option if I wanted it. Whilst growing up I wanted to be a vet, then a lawyer and then a journalist, I don’t remember anyone laughing at these choices or saying I couldn’t, and that all stems back to 100 years ago when those brave women made such a difference.

So, in my early life and teenage years I never experienced gender inequality, nothing that sticks in my mind. I did however start to pick up on it when I decided to work in IT, where day after day I would meet men (some in lower ranked jobs than me), implying there was no way I could know more than them or do the job better, which (not to blow my own trumpet) was total bullshit.

BUT I have to say, I have experienced a ridiculous amount of sexism since becoming a mother. It is honestly surprising how many people still believe the mothers role is to be main carer and basically chief cook and bottle washer. The fact that when we told people that Matt and I would have loved to have taken part in shared parenting leave, well quite frankly I thought some people had been sick in their mouths! I am constantly told how lucky I am that Matt is a hands on dad, I would like to bet people don’t tell him how lucky he is that I am a hands on mum…Let’s stamp these attitudes out and keep challenging them!

It’s not all bad though things are changing on that front, and the fact that shared parenting leave has come in at all is a massive step, in recognising the importance of women’s careers and recognising that men want to co parent.

Does anyone follow @thedididad & @dr_rachel_eyre on Instagram? If not you should! They are both breast cancer researchers and shared their parenting leave. The first six months was @dr_rachel_eyre and now it is @thedididad, and his posts are brilliant, they are honest and he gives a lot of praise to mums/dads on maternity leave. However now @dr_rachel_eyre is back at work, she too gives praise to dads who work all day and then come home and get stuck into parenting (however she does note that she still feels that is the easier role). Oh by the way, I should mention they have TWINS! Heroes.

Let’s do what we can, starting with our children

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”

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Five snacks my toddler LOVES : Great snacks for on the go

Hallie has always had a healthy appetite, so snacks are constant throughout the day. I like to make sure they are healthy or contain something she can get some goodness from. Sometimes we get this right and most days the snacks are a hit, but not always, I don’t think anyone can predict 100% what a toddler is going to want to eat, most of the time they don’t even know. Funny though that white chocolate buttons can be a hit snack any time of the day, any day of the week.

Raisins 
She love, love, loves them. Hallie would eat them all day long if I let her. Not surprisingly she likes them out of the small (easy portable) snack boxes, better than the big bag, so my tip is – keep the little boxes and fill them up with raisins from the bag. Cheaper, they will get more and they are still easy to take out and about.

Carrot, cucumber and pepper strips
Healthy, yummy and colourful. As they say, eat the rainbow and you won’t go far wrong.

Breadsticks
This is a new like for Hallie, and one will keep her happy as I make her dinner. Also great fun for her to pretend it is a sword.

Fruit salad: bananas, oranges, blueberries & grapes
Lots of good stuff that little ones need, blueberries have always been a fave in our house and oranges are the new fave. I got some nice little tubs from Tesco, I try (and have the energy) to make them up when i’m making breakfast and pop them in the fridge. Great for if we are going out.

Cheeeeese 
In strips, in shapes (stars look good and interesting), or if you are Hallie straight out of your Mum’s sandwich, what a delicious plain cucumber sandwich I enjoyed today. She doesn’t seem to mind what shape they are in on mummy’s plate, but she is incredibly picky of what is on her own.

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Summer holiday booked: Why we LOVE the Princess Andriana

We have beaten the January blues by booking our SUMMER HOLIDAY! We have kept it simple and booked somewhere we know we love, the Princess Andriana in Rhodes. We took Hallie there when she was just 4 months old, (yes we know it is not going to be quite as easy this time round), but we are way too excited to be going back to this dreamy place.

Why Rhodes?
I have such a love for Rhodes, ever since I spent a summer there many years ago. Matt and I had our first holiday there, so we have spent time there as a couple and as a family – it is perfect for both.
When you are out and about in Rhodes, people cannot do enough for you. We went to a family owned restaurant in Lindos and Hallie needed changing, urgently (no need for me to elaborate further on that), the waiter picked up on this and found a table, pulled it into the back and placed cushions on it for me to change her, he also helped make sure she was safe whilst I did so – I mean how amazing is that? The owner then popped out to get Hallie a toy to play with, and this wasn’t a one off, she got gifts in nearly all the restaurants we went to! To say its family friendly is an understatement.

Q. What do we want when we go on holiday with our kids?
A. Great kids club so we can get boozy! Well yes it might be nice to have a glass of wine whilst chillaxing, but thats what I am taking my sister for. So my main list is…

  1. Clean & spacious rooms
  2. Somewhere that is nicer or equal to my house
  3. Reasonable flight time
  4. Not too pricey & worth the money
  5. Good food with plenty of variety
  6. A beach within close proximity
  7. A sheltered kids pool
  8.  A shop for when I forget to pack the nappies

Oh and lots of sun loungers…

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So you can imagine our delight when we found Princess Andriana, as it is all those things and more! We have been twice, around the end of May/beginning of June, when is hot but not too hot for Hallie. We stayed at a different hotel last year, and it was nice, but the Princess Andriana really is another level. It has…

  • All inclusive food & drink (and some minibar items!)
  • A Spa (lush)
  • A pool bar AND a beach bar AND an all day food bar with unlimited ice cream (yum)
  • Evening entertainment in the hotel bar AND family friendly entertainment on the other side of the hotel in the amphitheatre (no need to hear it or go there unless you want to)
  • Large pool and sheltered kids pool
  • A shop
  • Table tennis, tennis, mini golf, water polo, aerobics, archery etc…
  • A lovely main restaurant and a moonlight top floor restaurant that you can eat at for free once a week
  • Friendly staff
  • Clean, clean, clean! (spotless)
  • Nice places to eat near by but also a quiet atmosphere
  • A fountain show every evening
  • A kids club and a play park

This list could go on, it is family friendly whilst still feeling like a relaxing holiday environment, as there is plenty of space and the kids stuff is away from the pool area.

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Booking works out cheaper if you book the hotel direct, they give you a discount and some extras thrown in usually. We booked flights directly with the airline also, with flight times to suit us. I find the price very reasonable for the five star environment you get. You won’t want to leave so go for at least 10 days (like we are this time)!

Take a look at the website, it is a true representation.

Oh and we have had the ‘shared pool’ option before with the swim up pool, it was fantastic! However the main pool area is also amazing and has the kids pool so the ‘pool view’ rooms are also just as good and cheaper.

If you want to know more feel free to ask 🙂

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#hiddenhalf

My first blog post of 2018! Happy New Year to you all. 
I wanted to start off my blogging year with something VERY important, and that is NCT’s new campaign the ‘Hidden Half‘.

Shockingly only half the mothers that suffer with postnatal mental illness, receive the treatment they need. HALF the mothers do not, that is just wrong. NCT are pushing this campaign and asking for better six week postnatal check ups. 

I don’t know about you, but I barely remember mine. I had a c-section and I thought this might mean I had more support, but it didn’t. I had a midwife call in for ten minutes to remove my stitches. I attended my six week postnatal check up and must have been there less than 10 minutes again. I vaguely remember being asked how I felt, was I tired? Of course I was tired, I had just had a baby, and who wants to openly admit within a ten minute slot that they might be struggling or not feeling right. You might not have even admitted this to yourself yet, or maybe you just think that is how it is suppose to be.

NCT are saying big changes can be made to the postnatal checkups for a low cost, so make your local MP aware of this.
Let’s get this out there, because for some people this could be life changing and in some cases a life saver.

You can support this Campaign by…

Emailing your MP It only takes a couple of minutes the form does most the work for you! Click here

Share the campaign on social media! Tweet it & post it on Facebook.

Blog or vlog about it!

To find out more about this campaign go to 

https://www.nct.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/hidden-half

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