The Blogiversary – A Year Of Blogging

I got a lovely reminder from WordPress that the blog started a year ago (last Thursday technically!). We were away for the weekend so this is the first chance I’ve had to reflect on it (in writing).

So which way to look at it? There’s the numbers approach (which I will summarise later), the photo approach (again, keep scrolling…) and a selection of my favourite posts so far.I reckon that’ll do…

What of the blogging experience so far then? I’ve really enjoyed putting our time with Bea into words so far. I’m not always as up to date as I’d like, I’m also not often confident to voice my opinion too much on here like a lot of other bloggers are (credit to them by the way!) and I still have no idea what shape this blog will take in the longer run. It’s hard finding the time outside of work, and in the last few months in particular, there has just been too much to comment on so I’ve been sat back and just enjoying the experiences in real life, sorry!

The blogging world has been an interesting world to enter too – there’s a wealth of information, opinion and bloggers out there, and there’s a lot to learn should I wish. I can say fairly confidently that I won’t be quitting the day job any time soon though!

So, the blog by numbers (sorry, can’t help it, I know Lucy will be tutting as she reads this…):

62 posts

3544 views (which is bonkers!)

1,779 visitors (not sure how this one works!)

29 WordPress followers

5 Email followers

There’s also a smattering of Instagram and Facebook likes/follows too, which I’m very gratfeul for! I’m glad people like to come and read, it’s a real sense of achievement when people actually do!

That’s the numbers out of the way.

Favourite posts? Not entirely sure, but I’ve picked some of these out to reminisce.

Here’s where it all began

This one brings back some strong memories of starting out as parents: LINK

This one was the first post that resonated with a friend: LINK

We’re still hooked on this particular series: LINK

The start of a manic December: LINK

We all make mistakes: LINK

And finally, time for some of my favourite photos. We’ve taken soooo many, and I made the decision early on not to share any photos of Bea’s full face – this has been a challenge, but one I’m glad I did. She might want to be involved in the future, but I want that to be her decision! Anyway, I’ve selected (and added) my favourites from the blog so far!

Just looking through all these makes me excited for the year ahead!

Real Mum Reviews
Advertisements

5 Tips For Your Baby Photo Shoot

Today, we went for a baby photo shoot with Barrett and Coe photography in Norwich. I’d love to claim that this is down to the glowing success of the blog, with offers coming in from everywhere for this, that and the other, but I’m going to honest with you- we won a raffle prize for a free portrait session. Here are some of the things that might be worth considering when taking your baby along to one of these (hindsight is a wonderful thing…): Continue reading “5 Tips For Your Baby Photo Shoot”

Beacember Advent Calendar Day #11

Day 11.

As you can see, I’ve found an app for pimping some photos…just not the one below! This is of another pair of festive tights (apparently!).

Day 11.jpg

One of the more tenuous ones, I’m going to get back on track I promise!

Today we went out for a nice Sunday lunch, where we were offered a children’s menu for the first time. Somewhat ambitious! We’re not quite at that stage yet, though Beatrice does love gnawing at various blankets and objects at the moment.

It’s also fascinating to see her engage with all kinds of materials at the moment; watching her eyebrows crinkle in concentration as she realises what she is holding is really cool!

One such item will be featuring in a future advent calendar post too!

Day 12 is inside this box, what could it be?

SAM_9093.JPG

Beacember Advent Calendar Day # 7

One of the strange things about doing this advent calendar is that I’ve totally forgotten to have my own! Thankfully at this time of year, being a primary school teacher means that there is no shortage of chocolate in the staff room so I guess it’s slipped down the priority list!

I also learned today that going solo on giving the medication is a definite no-no! Thankfully it was all in the bath (she has a very secure bath seat before people start panicking), so no major mess!

So here’s today’s item, a top from Sainsbury’s that was given to us by a friend who couldn’t resist it on their normal shop run! I always think that on first glance these sorts of clothes will never fit her – I guess in my mind she’s still smaller than she is! They always seem too wide and long. I have no idea if that feeling will ever go away!

day-7

She’s currently sleeping in what waits behind door number 8…

day-8-teaser

See you tomorrow!

Beacember Advent Calendar Day #4

‘Bea’cember continues into day four!

We spent today with an old friend who was meeting Beatrice for the first time, and went for a wander in the glorious winter sunshine. Beatrice was fully wrapped up, which is a big change from the simple vest look she had been rocking in August! Lucy and I however, in a move that many people can probably relate to, didn’t clothe ourselves accordingly and both got rather chilly after our long walk!

We’re also back onto what I’m going to name the ‘Syringe Struggles’. Whilst the new technique we’ve picked up (Google is so good for tips!) feel a bit brutal, and Bea definitely isn’t a fan, at least she is taking the medication now. Fortunately, her discomfort seems to have been quickly forgotten and we both got smiles soon after.

Onto what you’ve all come for, today’s reveal. So far we’ve had a blanket, a candle, and some pudding socks. I restrained from adding to her collection too whilst in Next, they do some really cute stuff! For day four, here’s one of her Christmas decorations for the tree, picked up at the Craft fair mentioned in Daddy Daughter Days. I should’ve remembered where I bought it from to give them a shout out, sorry!

day 4.jpg

Simple, but I really like it!

Day 5…? One of my favourites!

day-5

 

 

Beacember Day 2

Time for day 2 of our ‘Beacember’ advent calendar! This time around it’s an adorable pair of little socks from Mothercare, which was the first item of Christmas-themed clothing we bought before we got a bit carried away!

sam_8991

What’s coming up tomorrow? Here’s a sneak preview…

day-3-teaser

Daddy Daughter Days

Seems like the last blog post title was rather apt. Another month has flown by, and I’m sorry I haven’t kept you up to date with things!

Our biggest challenge has been trying to give Bea a syringe full of antibiotics (orally). Or rather, mopping it up as she rejected as much of it as she could! Before she was born, we naturally discussed which of our various best bits we hoped she got. Whilst she looks to have my flowing auburn locks on the go, she has unfortunately picked up my rather poor skin, meaning that she’s picking up little rashes all over. Given that Beatrice currently seems to want to shove anything within her grasp into her mouth, we thought it would be a simple of matter of popping in the syringe and she’d gulp it down. Nope. It goes everywhere. A few times she would appear to take the lot, and when I had turned to celebrate this with Lucy, the blurbling sound of trickling lurid purple syrup would come from my gorgeous little bundle of joy, and her chin and lower jaw would be coated. Sometimes this was followed by a cracking smile – she has a great sense of comedy timing already.

Anyway, that’s all over for now (thankfully!).

This weekend, Lucy had a day out, so we had the day together. This is the fourth Daddy Daughter Day we’ve had, and so far I’ve really enjoyed myself. If you’ve been reading all of these posts, that would probably come as no surprise.

Lucy left me with the usual routine, which I was very grateful for. It gave me a solid base for the rest of the day. As ever, my plans were probably way too ambitious. Thankfully, Lucy had already warned me about this so I went with her idea instead.

Beatrice tends to wake up around 8am. Lucy left around 9 o clock, and Beatrice had her morning nap at about half nine. During her nap, I got to listen to the Test Match whilst sorting out the garden. Beatrice TV told me when it was time to go and get her, and so a bit of a play (and getting her into outfit number 1) and it was time for her second feed. The plan initially was to head out after this, which we more or less stuck to! The only sticking point was that I got a bit carried away with the play side of things and she was sick down both of us. Cue vest number two for her, and pair of trousers number two for me! 5 minutes later, sick again, only this time I took the brunt of it. Pair of trousers number three, t-shirt number two. At this point, I gathered up everything, made sure the change bag was fully equipped, pram all set up,etc. Just as we were about to leave, the all too familiar sound of a pooey nappy echoed around the kitchen. Miraculously, there was no collateral damage!

cardyplaymat

So, at 12:15, just a mere half hour later than planned, we set off for a craft fair thing that was about a mile away. I was mostly drawn to this by the promise of baked goods being available…which they most certainly were! By this point Bea was fast asleep in her pram, getting approving looks and coos from passers-by. Perfect time to have my cake and eat it. Or so I thought! Space was at a bit of premium, the only table being in a rather quiet and unoccupied storage corridor out the back. Still, it was a place for me to stop and have a quick cup of tea and a slice of Oreo/Cookie dough cake. Turns out noisy is better than quiet, and Bea woke up a few minutes later. Her disapproving look was quite scathing. I think, no I hope she wasn’t judging me for my unhealthy food choice (it’s a blessing she couldn’t see the second cake stashed under her pram for later)!

It’s at this point I found out she can now throw her stuff out of her pram. I’m quite certain this is a new skill that Lucy hasn’t told me about yet. Granted it was one time, but I’ll be keeping an eye out in future!

We left the craft fair, having purchased a new Xmas dec and set off to get some bits for a surprise tea for Lucy. Beatrice was as good as gold the whole time, and I found that she quite likes sitting up in her pram now, lording it over the world around her, elbows out and taking it all in. I probably shouldn’t have done that, but she was grinning away so I wasn’t going to stop that any time soon!

Then we went to a nice cafe for her 2pm feed. They had some fantastic fairy lights that kept Bea entertained whilst we waited for a table. I was offered seats at tables that already had people, but I didn’t want to completely distract them with a bundle of cuteness (she’d already done that to two people in the queue). We ended up on a breakfast bar stool, which I don’t think Lucy would have done! I was very patient in not wolfing down my lunch whilst she fed, and in return she was too (thank god!).

A quick nappy change in a very confined toilet – note to self, probably leave the pram outside next time- and we were off home via the library. Once we got home, I put Bea in her new Bumbo seat and got some of the tea ready. Lucy got back around 6pm for lots of cuddles and smiles, and the surprise tea went down well.

SAM_8968.JPG

Thoughts? It was a fun day for sure. I rarely get that much time with Beatrice on my own, so it’s always good to do. Being out is good, gets you out of the house and usually cake isn’t far away, but it brings a few problems (stairs being just one of them), such as finding a place to settle down when she’s hungry in November. In the summer, it was easy! It can also be quite tricky to keep up the conversation too- especially in public!

We’re approaching Christmas, which we’re really looking forward to. Beatrice loves lights so she’s going to love the tree and all the decorations. More importantly, we’re going to love putting her in Christmassy things. I’m going to aim to do a Beatrice advent calendar in December, revealing something Christmassy from her wardrobe/collection, so stay tuned!

xmas-spoiler

 

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100

Bingewatching, but not as you know it

These past two weeks, we’ve become rather addicted to the BBC. No, not that one. Whilst all things Great and British (Menu and Bake Off) are staples in our house, we have started bingewatching a new series. The Beatrice Broadcasting Corporation has a steady output with all the tension and cinematography you’d expect of a gripping classic.

Every night, at around 8pm, the screen is switched on and we sit back on the sofa with our fingers crossed hoping that our squirming and squeaky little girl is able to send herself off to sleep. So far, the programming has been thankfully predictable. It starts off with wriggling, the odd teary tense moment, a nail-biting (or thumb-sucking in Beatrice’s case) sequence and eventually all calms down in the end.

I am of course talking about our baby monitor. They make for seriously addictive viewing if you don’t have one. We got ours (a Motorola MBP25 if you’re interested) on sale back in February or March, and tried setting it up before she arrived. It has a two way microphone, which meant it was used to place orders for cups of tea, and has ‘infrared night vision’ so we set up our own in-house Springwatch as we waited for our rabbit to show up in his cage. Far too exciting when he actually did, and he ran off when we tried talking to him!

Now that Beatrice is here, it’s a great way of keeping an eye on her as we all settle down to relax in the evenings. She’s doing brilliantly at sending herself off to sleep so far, and despite the patterns it doesn’t stop us watching over and over again. The only downside is that it looks absolutely terrifying when she looks to the camera, as her eyes are solid black (think Blair Witch grainy camera style). It’s also kind of sad as she looks right at the light on the camera, but we’ve stayed strong and it’s paying off. For now…

Stay tuned for more broadcasts from the BBC!

Epsiode 2: The Employer Strikes Back

Another geeky film reference to open this post! Even more confusingly, episode 2 of Star Wars is Attack of the Clones (officially, though to most fans it will still be Empire). Anyway, geek credentials established, back onto the blog! The number 2 also represents the new size of nappy we’re currently experimenting with!

Firstly, just how good have the Paralympics been? Beatrice is lucky to be born into a time where literally anything is possible! Such a strong message for us as parents to pass on to her when she’s older. They are such incredible people and role models!

They have also been the backdrop to my evenings this week. On Monday I re-entered the classroom, and all the fun and games that comes with it. For the first two mornings, Beatrice decided that she’d have a lie in, and going off to work without a hug and a smile was very, very difficult! I know I should be grateful that I was having a good sleep, but I had got used to a routine of breakfast cuddles!

Photos are all over my classroom and I think the children aren’t fed up of me mentioning her yet…the staff might be! It’s a real motivator to get home earlier, and so far I’ve been home in time for all the important bits of the evening routine. We’re just getting into trying to settle her down at the same time and so far it’s all gone well! Obviously I’ve jinxed it now by mentioning it here, but I’ll take a week of good sleep!

csfdmu3w8aa6cww
Keeping track of feeds, nappies and supplies needs some complicated Maths!

Reflecting back on the first week of our new life, it’s going to be strange adjusting and keeping on top of work, but the teamwork is going well- Lucy is definitely keeping busy and Beatrice seems to remember who I am! We’ve just spent a lovely day out with Nanny and Grandad, with Beatrice narrowly making it home in her final set of clean clothes and it’s like being back on holiday again! Monday can wait a bit longer as far as I’m concerned!

Expect a couple of random short posts during the week, sorry I kept you waiting so long! My tenth post too, quite chuffed with that, and 400 people from all over the world have been checking in on what we’re up to! Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and I hope you get a chance to read the older posts too if you’re a newcomer to the site. If you think you know someone who might like it, try the share buttons at the bottom of the page for your social media of choice. Cheers!

 

Best Summer Ever (Part 2)

Previously on ‘Best Summer Ever‘…

(sorry, we’ve just started watching the first series of 24)

Seriously, you can check the other link!

Part one was all about the perks of paternity leave. Okay, let’s be honest, it was about food. Which is a perk, so it counts.

Part two is about that first overnight trip away. I know many people will think usĀ  a bit mad going away when Beatrice was only a month old, but again, it’s not as impossible as you first think! Granted, we stayed in a little holiday chalet on the east coast, rather than a hotel room, but the principles are probably similar. It was also only 40 minutes from home, so if we were really desperate we could hightail it back to Norwich if needed!

Tip #1 – set up a changing base. There are two thoughts at the foremost of any new parent. How will I change them and how will I feed them? (Just so you know, the former leads to another undiscovered parenting superpower, that of the sixth sense for a baby change room). At home, you’ve probably got at least one area dedicated to the sole purpose of the removal of wee and poo from your little one’s nether regions. When you’re not at home, it’s perfectly natural to panic about it. Priority one for us was establish a changing area, complete with carpet covering.

Travelodge and their evil twin Premier Inn have a seemingly never-ending supply of massive tables in every room which will be more than happy to accommodate your changemat, change bag, bag for the change bag, new pack of nappies, new pack of wipes, cotton wool, cuddly toy, a used nappy bag you forgot about on the last trip, and anything else you’ve decided necessary.

The feeding worry depends entirely on your personal situation, so as long as you’re confident either way, you’ll be fine!

Tip #2 – Prepare to pack more vests than you thought possible. We nearly had to go home early. You’ll also need to cram both of your belongings into a case that would make Ryanair wish it could get away with letting you have something so small. There’s not a lot of space in the car once your travel system, moses basket and everything else is in the car!

Back to the trip. We planned for three nights, partly expecting to only make two of those before losing sanity. I’m proud to tell you we managed all three. It was a lovely few days with very few distractions (no wi-fi…), and a chance to take stock of the whirlwind that was month 1.

There was no way the pram was getting onto the shingle beach, so it was time to crack out the baby sling. We rented one from a local sling library, who were brilliant at helping us get it set up. You can see me modelling it below!

We also spent the days milling about, and using the pram as an excuse to walk around and eat ice cream as we did so. There was also a lot of strategic walking and parasol bending to keep Beatrice as covered as possible! If she’s got my skin, she’s doomed!

There was an incident involving our first leaky public nappy, but again, the ever-reliable and stocked change bag saw us through, as did a worrying amount of anti-bacterial hand gel!

Overall, I’d thoroughly recommend getting out there with your baby as soon as you feel up to it. You won’t regret it and will possibly get opportunities like I did in watching the sun rise…(there are still positives to getting up early!)

I’m going to miss my two favourite people tomorrow!