Mellow Mummy: January 2013 : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sick with Kids (not sick of kids!)

Last weekend Mr. B. and I were both struck down with a horrible infection. High fever, stomach cramps, swollen tonsils, headache, muscle ache... you know the score.  It was horrific.  One of the worst viruses etc. that I've ever experienced.

But despite the illness we still managed to take Lara to a 4th birthday soft-play party and take the girls out to the park to let off some steam.  It made me realise that once you have kids, getting better from a cold or virus is so much harder because you can't just curl up in bed and wait for it to pass.  Someone has to be functioning as a human being in order to look after the kids.

Looking after young children when you are both so unwell is pretty damn hard.  I think we were very lucky that Mr. B.'s symptoms were always running about 4-5 hours behind mine so while I was feeling my worst, he was able to mind the children and vice versa.  If this hadn't been the case, I suspect we would have had to call the grandparents for help!

It reminded me a bit of a hangover.  Not just the nausea, disorientation and pervasive headache but also the fact that I have only ever been hungover while on child-duty twice since becoming a Mum and I know it is not a good place to be; you just HAVE to get through it - survival instinct kicks in to get you through.  A hangover is self-inflicted but you can't escape a virus like this and the same survival instinct has to kick in.

Thankfully, the infection ran its course in 3 days and now I'm back to normal. Woop.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Next Kids Clothing - Matching Pairs! #NextKids

I've recently been suffering a crisis on conscience - should I dress my girls in matching or co-ordinating clothes or not?  I remember being dressed in matching clothes with my little sister as a child and quite enjoyed it but Mr. B. has seemed very much against the idea.

Last week the new Next kids clothing spring / summer catalogue dropped through my door and I saw my opportunity!  Quite apart from wanting two of EVERY item of girls clothing in the entire catalogue, Mr. B. and I both fell in love with this sunflower jumper dress and I KNEW we had to have it.  Next sent the girls each a jumper dress and a pair of leggings to give us a taste of their new collection.

One of the things I was most impressed by in the Next catalogue was that most of their children's clothes (as opposed to baby clothes) are available from 3 months to 6 years which meant there was a realistic prospect of dressing the girls in similar clothing.  There is a beautiful collection of white, salmon and denim coloured clothing that I suspect I will be dipping in and out of over the next couple of months to build up some co-ordinating sets of clothes.

I was also very impressed by the value of the clothing from Next - the girls white leggings were £2.50 for Holly's little legs and £3.50 for Lara's long legs.  The jumper dress is a very good quality item (a soft knit and not crunchy at all) and costs around £15-17.

Of course, dressing two very mobile girls in white leggings was a bit of a risk!  Holly did actually manage to make it through most of the day unscathed... until I offered her a biscuit.  Woops.

I don't think I'll be dressing my girls in matching outfits every day of the week but you must admit that they do look extra specially cute in their new Next outfits!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Living Nature Balancing Night Gel Review

Right then.  Having finally got pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding out of the way and now that I am back at work I think I've earned the right to start blogging about skincare for mummies again.  Phew.

The past couple of weeks I have been trialling the Balancing Night Gel from Living Nature.  I've tried a few products from Living Nature before but mainly hair care so it was great to get an opportunity to try out something from their facial skincare range.  Living Nature are a New Zealand based natural cosmetics company who use manuka honey as one of their key active ingredients.

The Balancing Night Gel is 100% natural but it doesn't lack punch.  It is designed for use overnight to kick start your skin into regenerating itself over night.  It is quite a runny gel but does leave a slightly sticky feeling on the skin after you apply it but that disappears after a few minutes - secretly I quite like that feeling as it makes the skin feel tight as if it is already getting to work.

The light, transparent gel is also extremely soothing and I can imagine it would be heavenly after a day in the sunshine.

Every morning after I've used the Balancing Night Gel I've woken up looking gorgeous(!).  OK, I can't attribute it all to the night gel (I'm just generally gorgeous you see) but my skin does feel great in the morning. Very smooth and plump, a bit like it has felt in the past after applying phenomenally expensive anti-ageing products with no natural ingredients whatsoever.

I'm very impressed because the hand cream and hair products I've tried from Living Nature in the past haven't rocked my world but this, this has put a smile on my face.

Balancing Night Gel costs £38 for 50ml.  You can find out more about Living Nature on their website .

Book Review : How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm

You can't have failed to notice that big banner advert I have running at present for Mei-Ling Hopgood's "How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm".  I chose to run the advert because the book fits well with the Mellow Mummy mantra.

As you probably know, I'm not one for parenting manuals.  I like to 'do' motherhood my own way.  I'll listen to and read the advice of lots of other people and explore other cultures and approaches before I take on a parenting challenge but in the end I'm usually driven by my own maternal instincts.  I think the author of "How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm" does the same thing too; the book is an exploration of different parenting practices from around the globe along with tales from Mei-Ling about how she has adapted these to suit her own western lifestyle.

Although in places the book does remind me of an undergraduate dissertation with its lists of external references and just-touched-upon, under-explored examples; I really appreciated the in-depth interviews and case studies that Mei-Ling had uncovered, particularly the real-life experiences that she and her husband had been through with their own daughter.

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm has a series of chapters about different parenting challenges - How Buenos Aires Children Go To Bed Late, How the French Teach Their Children to Love Healthy Food, How The Kenyans Live Without Pushchairs, How the Chinese Potty Train Early, How Polynesians Play Without Parentsand several more fascinating topics.  I particularly enjoyed reading the chapters on routines, eating, pushchairs and potty training because I felt they came to the same conclusions that I had as a parent - everyone is different and there is no right or wrong way to approach parenthood but there are ways that you can approach it that differ from the accepted norm in the western world which make a lot of sense and can make parenthood a little more mellow.

The most fascinating topic I found was on the role of fathers in bringing up a baby - How Aka Pygmies Are The Best Fathers.  Did you know that there are African pygmy tribes where the fathers will even let their children suckle on their nipples as relief while the women are out working or doing their own thing?

I really enjoyed reading Mei-Ling's book because it didn't preach to me about how I should be parenting but instead looked out how other cultures approach life and the lessons that we could choose to take from them.  Well worth a read if you'd like to become a mellower mummy!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

All things being equal

I have been back at work for nearly a week and life already seems to have settled back into a rhythm.  While I'm still mildly depressed about the fact that I'm back in the office 4 days a week and that means that Holly is in nursery for more days a week than she spend with me, being a working mum again does have its benefits.

The most obvious benefit is cash.  During maternity leave we had used up all of our readily-accessible savings and so wouldn't have been able to pay the mortgage without my salary (not that my salary adds an awful lot once you take nursery fees into account).

Then there is the fact that at work I am me.  I'm not a mummy; I'm a software engineer. And an awesome one at that.  It feels good to be defined by my work again, rather than by my ability to maintain Holly as the bubbly, happy bundle of fun that she is.

But the best benefit, at least in my eyes, is that I am once again an equal partner in my relationship with Mr. B.  It's weird how being a non-earner has such a profound effect on our relationship.  Both times that I have taken maternity leave I have felt like I've played second fiddle to Mr. B.  And this, despite the fact that the reason I'm taking the time off work is that I'm doing something that he could never do himself.  OK, so he could be a stay-at-home daddy but he wouldn't have been able to breastfeed for 7 months and I'm almost certain that he couldn't have stayed on top of life as a home-alone full-time parent as well as keeping the house clean and the books in order.

I should feel proud that I can do both things.  I am proud.  I can do the full-time mummy thing when I choose to, or need to. But I can work as well.  I am a woman of many talents!

But when I'm not earning, that means I'm not contributing cash to the family pot.  I know this shouldn't be a problem as I'm contributing just as much in other means... but it is.  

And I'm sure the reason is this...

When I'm working I work with my husband for the same department of the same company.  I do a very similar job to him and earn a similar salary (well, I would do if I worked 5 days a week).  When we get home in the evening we share the nursery run, we share the chores, we share the girls bedtimes by alternating nights,  we share the cooking (perhaps not as evenly as I'd wish) and when we finally collapse on the sofa at the end of the night we can work through our thoughts and dreams together, knowing that one another has had the same sort of day.  

If I have spent the day at home with one or both of the girls while Mr. B is at work then this balance and equality is totally absent and our days bear no resemblence to one another.

It feels nice to be able to share again and to once again be on an equal footing with Mr. B.

Monday, 21 January 2013

My Blue Monday

The Honeymoon is over. Blue Monday - theoretically the most depressing day of the entire year - seems a fitting day to be back at the office full-time. Maternity leave is over and I have the rest of eternity to look forward to in the office!

We dropped both girls off at nursery this morning. I took Lara and Mr. B. took Holly into their respective rooms. And that was that, the end of my time alone with Holly. I can't believe how quickly it has gone.

My day at work was uneventful. Blue Monday was definitely the right term for the mood in the office. Slow, chilly and still in a bit of a downer after Christmas. Next week brings a new project and who knows, a renewed vigour for life. Possibly.

It was nice to be welcomed back by lots of my colleagues and at least my boss did ring me to say hello but I will admit that the day dragged.

But how can anyone be miserable, even on Blue Monday, when they have this scrumptious smiling face to look forward to at the end of the day?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Valmax Childrenswear Review

When I first browsed the Valmax website I knew that their clothes were going to be something special.  Lara isn't the most elegant and dainty of little girls most of the time but she scrubs up nicely and can look like a total angel in a dress so we were delighted to be sent a dress from the current range of Valmax childrenswear to try.

This gorgeous pastel pink dress has a heart shaped cut-out and is designed to be worn over the matching polo neck jumper.  The bow on the dress has a small flower-shaped brooch which Lara has taken to wearing on her chest as often as she wears it on the bow.

The dress is simply perfect; a light yet hardwearing fabric with a full, silky smooth lining and a long zip at the back.  It sits so gorgeously on her and twirls as she walks.  Lara loves it.  she knows she looks like a little princess when she wears it because EVERYONE comments on it.

On the day when these photos were taken, Lara insisted on wearing leggings too and did her own hair and jewellery!  Lara's jumper is also incredibly light and very stretchy.  It is perfect for this time of year.

Valmax is an italian designer label with a small range of exquisite clothes for children which can be bought in a few small childrenswear boutiques online and in store in the UK.

There is only one problem with the Valmax dress and jumper and that is that Lara wants to wear them all the time.  She actually recovered them from the washing basket to wear and seemed quite miffed when I told her they were too special to wear to nursery!

Little Green Sheep Mattress Protector Review

This week saw a momentous milestone in Lara's life. She moved out of her cotbed into a big girl's bed! Lara still needs to be woken up in the night to be taken to the toilet so you can imagine that we were a little worried about risking putting her into a single bed with a brand new mattress but I didn't want to buy her a thick vinyl waterproof sheet like she had on her old mattress because it used to make her sweat. The Little Green Sheep came up with the solution when they asked us to review their organic cotton mattress protector.

Lara sweats heavily at night so we only wanted to use a sheet made out of natural fibres. The Little Green Sheep specialise in organic baby bedding, along with a few other natural baby products. The Little Green Sheep organic cotton mattress protector is a thick unbleached cotton sheet that houses a waterproof membrane inside. It is absorbent enough to absorb nightime accidents and prevent liquid ruining the mattress.

The mattress protectors come in lots of different sizes from moses basket right up to single bed, as well as a few specially shaped ones for well-known brands of cot; prices range from £9.95 but the single sheet like ours costs £39.95. When I first opened up the packet I was a bit worried that it described itself as a flat sheet and I had images of me trying to fold hospital corners! Thankfully it has elasticated straps which allow you to slip it easily over the corners of the mattress as well as allowing the sheet and mattress to breathe.

The mattress protector has so far proved its absorbency, thankfully not through a toilet accident but actually through an glass of water that Lara knocked off her bedside table (she hasn't quite got used to the new bedroom arrangement). The mattress was left untouched. Phew.

Our Little Green Sheep mattress protector feels very soft so Lara doesn't even notice it is there, unlike the old crinkly plastic sheet. It is fully washable and tumble-dryer safe should it have to combat any bedtime accidents. I love this sheet compared to our old one and will definitely be buying one for Holly's cot when the time is right.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Viakal Made My Shower Sparkle

This week Viakal came to my house and made my shower sparkle.  It sparkled so much that Holly needed sunglasses to look at it!!!

Seriously, our shower cubicle was so manky that I had given up on it.  When we moved into our house nearly 2 years ago it was encrusted with limescale and after a feeble attempt I decided that the limescale could stay - I wasn't up to the task of dealing with it.  Very occasionally I clean the shower screens of soap scum but in a hard water area like ours it often feels like a losing battle.  Viakal sent a lovely lady to clean it for me and show me that even as a working mum with barely any spare time to spend scrubbing that I can make my shower room presentable by using their Viakal spray.


I also challenged them on my taps.  Taps don't sparkle in my house normally, once again, the limescale just slowly creeps up on you and before you know it everything is dull and grey or else crusted in the stuff.

I was genuinely surprised when I first took a look at the clean bathroom.  the shower cubicle was almost unrecognisable!  In the evening Mr. B. said it felt quite good to actually be able to see out of the shower!!!


According to Viakal, the danger areas when it comes to limescale are the taps, plughole and shower head and their advice is to tackle the limescale as soon as you notice it - hmmm, maybe I'll try that now rather than letting it build up and having to tackle it with a screwdriver to chip it off!

Other handy tips include wiping the sink down after every use and storing all your bathroom products, cleaning products and bits and pieces in a cupboard so that they don't get dusty or grimey.

Thank you Viakal!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Settling In At Nursery

Next week Holly starts nursery 4 days a week.  Over the past week or so she has been doing a few settling in sessions to get used to the people and the environment.  It is going a lot better than I had expected.

I had been a bit worried that we had got our timing very wrong.  In the week or so before Christmas Holly went through a very clingy stage and started showing signs of separation anxiety; crying every time I left the room and always wanting to be cuddled.  Last week when I took her into nursery for the first time, I was prepared for disaster.

Thankfully, Holly surprised me.  By the time I had finished my paperwork Holly had made new friends and was happily playing in the sand tray and bossing other babies about.  She willingly took her bottle from a complete stranger and then got straight back to play.  She was doing so well that I decided to leave her to it and popped out for a cup of tea.  The second session was much the same.

Tomorrow Holly is going to nursery for tea which will be another new experience for her but I think she'll be just fine.  The only thing I now think she may struggle with is settling down for a nap when there are so many exciting things going on around her.

Seeing Holly so relaxed in her new surroundings with her keyworker and the other nursery staff made me so happy.  Lara spent her first year with a childminder which was a much more homely environment and this time around I had looked at what other options there were for Holly other than nursery but nothing really worked out.  I was tempted by the prospect of a nanny (two sets of nursery fees made this seem like a financially viable solution) or a childminder who might be able to still look after Lara after school later this year.  Thankfully I know and trust our nursery and I love it there so it doesn't really matter that the other options were all dead ends..  Lara has thrived and is sooooo happy there.

And now more than ever I know that choosing the right childcare for you and your children is such a personal decision and one which tests your parental instincts to the max.  Having spoken with an old friend last week whose little boy wasn't settling well at nursery I got the impression that she hadn't got THE feeling from the nursery.  As a parent you just KNOW.  Its a feeling somewhere deep down inside that you get when you know you've found the right place for your child.  You're happy, your child is happy and life is good to go.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Born Free Teether and Bottle Review

Born Free Teether
Born Free Teether
Holly is at the age where EVERYTHING goes into her mouth. Her teeth have been troubling her for about 4 weeks and yet no new teeth have come through so all she wants to do all day is munch on things. Holly has been trying out the Born Free Teether and has very much enjoyed chomping and chewing it.

I like this teether because it doesn't pretend to be anything else. Its not in the shape of anything or disguised as a toy. The soft, medical grade silicone is very tactile and Holly likes to pull it and squeeze it as well as bite it. There are lots of different textures but the area she enjoys biting most is at each end which has 4 different bumpy textures. I have taken to rubbing a bit of baby toothpaste into the bumps so that she can chew on it and also get the benefit of toothbrushing too. The teether is also designed to add extra soothing if you chill it in the fridge but we haven't tried this yet.

Born Free Bottle
Born Free Bottle
I have also tried Holly on one of the very pretty Born Free decorated bottles. Although I think I prefer this bottle for me over many of the others we have tried, Holly didn't respond so well to the teat (she just chomped it and even after several attempts didn't really work out that she was supposed to drink from it!). I like this Born Free`bottle not only for the pretty woodland design but mostly because it is large, wide and shaped such that it is incredibly comfortable in my hand when I am holding it for Holly. My only disappointment with the Born Free bottle (other than the fact Holly wasn't interested) was that I found it hard to mix formula inside the bottle. On my first few attempts, shaking the bottle caused milk to spurt out into the lid... it took quite a bit of practice to work out that I needed to screw the lid on sooooooo tight that only Mr. B. with his strong man arms could undo it again!

All of Born Free's bottles, cups and teethers are BPA-free and most of them feature their Active Flow technology which involves a clever little valve below the teat or spout which reduces air pressure inside the bottle to prevent a vacuum building up. This is really important for babies who suffer from colic or wind.

Oral B Limited Edition PC600 Electric Toothbrush Review

I think I've blogged before about how Lara was finally scared into brushing her teeth when we introduced her to the concept of an electric toothrbush. At the time we gave her a disposable electric brush and we never replaced it but things have changed now and since Mummy and Daddy got their shiny Oral B toothbrush last year as an anniversary present, Lara had shown a renewed interest in the electric toothbrush. We had given Lara her own toothbrush head to use with ours but this Christmas Oral B sent us this gorgeous limited edition pink PC600 toothbrush and I knew it would be ideal for her.

The PC600 is a towards the entry level of Oral B's adult electric rechargeable toothbrushes. This version costs around £50 but there are LOTS of special offers with incredible prices right now. The toothbrush uses Oral B's standard heads (you can buy children's themed brush heads too) and I can say from experience that the level of cleaning is sooooo much better than with a manual brush. I personally use a manual in the morning and an electric at night and have been using an Oral B brush for over 10 years now. When Lara is in the mood to use the electric brush (she is still very moddy when it comes to tooth brush time) her teeth are visibly cleaner and after just a couple of days, the build-up on her teeth has gone.

The limited edition Precision Clean 600 comes in a vibrant pink colour. It has a slimine handle and a wall-mountable stand for recharging it. It also comes with a patterned travel case which Lara loves! This is really useful for when she is staying overnight with grandparents like she did several times over the Christmas period. I think this toothbrush would be suitable for any girl or young lady who likes bright pink!

Lara feels like she is a very grown up girl now with her new toothbrush and long may this enthusiasm in toothbrushing last!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

From Breast to Bottle. The End of an Era

In less than a fortnight I will be going back to work, more or less full time and right from day one, I've planned the slow move from breastfeeding to bottle feeding in preparation for this time.  Unfortunately things never work out quite how you plan them and I stopped feeding Holly rather by surprise on Christmas Eve.

Holly has never had quite the same insatiable appetite as her older sister did and I had noticed that since she started eating solids, Holly had lost interest in her milk a bit.  She still drinks plenty of milk but she had dropped from 5 milk feeds down to just 3.

We first introduced Holly to a bottle when she was about 6 weeks old, just for convenience to allow family to feed her when I worked my KIT days and to give Mr. B. some bonding time with her.  It took a long time for Holly to accept a bottle because we only ever offered it occasionally.  In mid-November I permanently dropped one of Holly's afternoon feeds for a bottle and this caused her schedule to shift a bit as she was fuller in the late afternoon.

Another month later, I dropped her lunchtime feed and once again her schedule changed.  Then during mid-December we decided to try and stop Holly from waking in the night for a feed because she was waking out of habit and showing less interest in the breast and more interest in playing with my hair or fiddling with the side of the cot!  It was a tricky couple of weeks but now she doesn't cry for milk any more.  She still wakes (LOTS of times) during the night but this is normally related to teething or the fact that she is so mobile now that she wakes herself up by banging her head on the cot!

I hadn't planned to drop the last breast feed until this week but in the couple of days before Christmas Holly was really unsettled with her teething pains and was sleeping during the day when she would normally feed.  For two days in a row she skipped her morning feed (the only one I was still doing by breast) and I had to try and top her up later in the day.

On Christmas Eve Holly was back to herself and wanted a feed in the morning but when she took to the breast she got very angry - there was no milk there.  It surprised me how quickly my milk supply changed, two days of a different schedule and my body had shut down.

At the time I felt a bit miserable because I had hoped to feed Holly right up until she started nursery but I think it was a mixed blessing.  Christmas was spent not worrying about my alcohol levels (!) and wearing clothes without boob access!  I've packed away all my nursing tops and rediscovered my old wardrobe.

And when I look back on the past 8 months I can feel good that I've given Holly a great start in life and I've even managed to breastfeed for ever so slightly longer than I did with Lara.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Motorola MBP36 Wireless Video Baby Monitor Review

Over Christmas we tested out the Motorola MBP36 wireless video baby monitor by Binatone.  We used it both at home and away from home to get  good feel for its portability and ease of use.  Past experience tells me that sound quality or advanced features are usually sacrificed for the quality of the video image but the MBP36 doesn't seem to sacrifice anything; it has all of the features I look for in a baby monitor, great sound quality and the clearest video picture I have yet to see in a remote, infra-red camera.

MBP36 Motorola Video Monitor

The parent unit is wireless with a rechargeable battery so you can take it with you around the house; We found the battery to lose its charge faster than we would wish and I was glad that I took the power cable with me on Christmas night as the charge only lasted a couple of hours without it. I like the big 3.5 inch screen and I find the parent unit compact and lightweight. The colour reproduction when the lights are on in the nursery is (as is often the case) washed out but the image is incredibly crisp and clear both in daylight and in darkness.

The single most impressive feature of the MBP36 is the pan and tilt functionality. From the video unit I can move the camera up, down and side to side which is perfect for us right now as Holly often wakes herself up by banging her head on the top of the cot (even though she is put to sleep at the bottom).

I found all of the basic controls easy to use as the buttons are all on the front but I was VERY frustrated by the fact that you could only turn the sound down by entering the menu mode and selecting the volume - it required too many button presses for me to do this and I think it would be far easier if there were buttons dedicated solely to volume.  The same went for the music mode - I absolutely love having a baby monitor on which I can remotely request for lullabies to be played in the nursery but I'd rather not have to go into menus and select this, I'd rather be able to do it using one or two presses of a dedicated button.  Surprisingly, the MBP36 does include a button which will switch the screen display off in one touch.

Quite unusually for a video monitor, there is a talkback functionality which is something I really miss when I don't have it.  I found the nursery temperature to be very accurate and, although I personally don't use it, I know lots of tech-savvy parents like the ability to output the image to video or PC.

Motorola MBP36 Wireless Video Baby Monitor

I would say that this is the best quality video baby monitor that I have tried to date and I am sorely tempted to get one; in fact, if the button functions were improved, I think I probably would replace my existing baby monitor with the MBP36.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Losing Lara

Lara gains independence every day.  I think of her now as a small human being more than a child.  She's three and a half.

When I'm not telling her off for shouting/throwing/hitting etc. , Lara and I talk like grown ups.  Like friends.  I could chat for hours with Lara.

When we go out together, Lara likes to walk beside me and the buggy and chats away merrily.  When she holds my hand she thinks of it as a comfort for me, more than for her!  Lara looks so grown up and acts with confidence around me (although I know she has a very shy streak around strangers) and it's easy to forget how young, small and vulnerable she is.

Never more do I feel her vulnerability than when she 'loses' me.  This usually happens in the supermarket.  Lara gets over excited, rushes off to look at something or show me something and then turns round to find that I'm not where she left me.  I'm always there nearby watching her but she doesn't know that and she panics.

When Lara panics I just want to scoop her up and give her the biggest kiss ever.  Her eyes widen and she starts to spin, scanning the area for me.  She stops and in her body language you can see her slump a bit - that confidence subsiding.

It fills me with great fear what would happen should she ever REALLY lose me, or me lose her. Just thinking about it makes my tummy churn and my eyes well.  I realise Lara needs me... she doesn't yet really know what to do without me.  I guess I've got some work to do in terms of teaching her what to do if she did lose me but for now I'll make it my job to keep my beady eye on her and keep dishing out those sloppy kisses and crushing cuddles when she needs me.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Resolutions 2013 Style

This is now the 4th year that I've blogged my new year's resolutions and I've found that it is a pretty effective way of making sure I keep them;  making my resolutions public and published means that I can't hide from them!  OK, so the shoe thing hasn't happened (I have 2 pairs of shoes I normally wear now which I suppose is a 100% increase on last year) but I've been very good about the rest of my resolutions.

This year I don't have many.

  • Myself and Mr. B have promised each other that we will get out in the fresh air with the girls at least once a week.  Inspired by local blogger, Heather Young, we have promised to spend more time each weekend outside, regardless of the weather.  We have a new National Trust membership which should help with exploring the great outdoors.
  • I want to make sure I take Lara out on her balance bike frequently.  I had got quite good at this before Holly arrived.  Now always have the buggy in tow so it is hard to find time for Lara's bike but she is desperate to be able to ride a bike like her Daddy.
  • My final resolution is going to sound a bit weird given that in the past I've resolved to invest less time and emotion into work, and more into my family.  I'm planning on taking my job a bit more seriously this year.  I think that the past 12 months have been a bit weird for me career-wise what with the wind-down to maternity leave and then 8 months just popping into the office occasionally.  This year I need to go places, work hard, inspire others and impress people and make sure that just because I'm a Mummy of 2 now, that I don't lose my work mojo.
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