Nursery: And the Animals came in Two by Two…

The first nursery scheme I posted was a complete contrast to this one, Bright and Bold with neutral accents. Then I spotted and fell in love with this Animals wallpaper from Beware the Moon and had to use it as a base for a nursery mooodboard to see if I could live with the neutrals. I think with enough bright accents, I can make it work… it’s just about finding the right pieces.

I still plan to incorporate lots of brights as accents so the room doesn’t look stark, but the wallpaper was so beautiful I couldn’t let it go unused and I worried the Triangle print would be too busy and full on. This is a great way of adding pattern and texture, without making my eyes turn into triangles too!

We’re finishing the decorating this weekend so hopefully I’ll have something to show you very soon!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Getting ready for baby

This week is my last at work and although I’m feeling ok from a tiredness point of view I am looking forward to having some time to devote purely to getting ready for baby. At present (36 weeks) I have the sum total of a pram, 1 blanket, 1 cardigan, 2 sleep suits, 1 baby bath and a rocking crib with 2 sheets. No nappies. No car seat. In fact there are plenty of essentials still missing.

I had no idea where to start with baby stuff and even had to ask my sister in law what you even put a baby to bed in (clothes-wose) after getting very confused about swaddling and blankets or no blankets advice. I found the John Lewis Nursery checklist very helpful and not at all excessive in terms of things to buy and so I edited it and created my own version here.

Do bear in mind that the different sections of the list may not apply to everyone. The feeding section for example is geared towards breast feeding as I intend to give it a good go, and I’m not sure a play mat or bouncer are essential for the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Although I’m lucky enough to live close to supermarkets and John Lewis, and there’s always Amazon, I don’t want to be unprepared so these are my basics to stock up on so I can concentrate on baby for the first few weeks.

You can download the list by clicking on the image above if you want to, or just click here.

I’d love to hear if you think any of it is unnecessary or if I have missed any essentials off that you found you couldn’t live without in the first few weeks?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

[Baby} Fash Flash: Changing bags

Now that we’re not getting the Cosatto pram (which came with a changing bag,) I’m starting to think that I can’t bury my head in the sand about changing bags anymore and need to find something to do the job. Trouble is, I’m kind of fussy about my bags and whilst I’m not bothered about finding a bag that is trying to pretend to be a handbag, I do want something that fits my style.

I thought I’d share some of my criteria and some of the better brands and bags I have spotted.

Needs:

  • Wipe clean/waterproof (for pushing the pram in Manchester drizzle.)
  • Reasonably priced ie, significantly less than £100
  • Stylish (puts a rucksack out of the question – not me at all.)
  • Not huge – I’m not a big packer and don’t want to lug around everything but the kitchen sink.
  • Not overtly feminine (I have asked Pete about this and he doesn’t care what the changing bag looks like, but I don’t want him to feel totally silly.)
  • Not too bothered about inserts/included changing bags or bottle holders, but the more expensive it is, the more bothered I would be.
  • Cross body strap for hands-free ease.


Cara Navy stripe £55 // Satchel jumbo dot (navy) £42 // Big slouchy £47 // Amanda quilted, £57.95

Babymel bags are from London (I do love supporting British brands) and have great designs and patterns. I really like this navy spot bag as it will work in winter and summer, without looking silly on Pete.


BabaBing Day Tripper £50

This weekend I saw my girlfriends for a kind of pseudo baby shower (Read: indulgent afternoon tea and dinner out while I grilled them for birth and baby info.) One brought along her 5 week old and this changing bag recommended by 2 of the others there as a unisex option and it has some amazing features, like top access without lifting the flap and a waterproof sealed pocket for soiled items.


Pacapod Napier £85

I’m a real sucker for anything organisational, so the Pacapods really appeal to me. Is it just a gimmick though and will all those compartments just add to access difficulties?


Skip Hop Forma changing bag £65 and grab and go wet/dry bag £13

Also love the chevron print of the Skiphop Forma bag and the wet/dry grab and go bag. Although there’s no cross body strap for this one.

What do you think readers? Got a recommendation I should look into? Roz suggested TK Maxx. What I really need to know is:

What are your essential changing bag contents?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Pram Update… Uppababy Vista

A couple of weeks ago I told you all about our plans to buy a pram and the couple we had looked at. Amazingly, I got so much feedback and advice, along with your recommendations, and the feedback on the Uppababy Vista was so overwhelming we decided to take a second look. Pete was much happier with the build quality and for me it just has a few things that edge it over the other choices.

  • Pull out full sunshade as we’re going to have a summer baby
  • Huge shopping basket.
  • Not too bad a price
  • Bassinet is safe for baby to sleep in there as a travel cot – fully ventilated (as we have a holiday planned for when baby is 12 weeks old)
  • The frame folds down and stands up on it’s end for easy storage.
  • Smaller when folded down to fit in the boot then others we looked at.
  • You can buy a travel bag for it to keep it safe in an aeroplane hold and that also insures it for damage while travelling.
  • Comes with rain covers and insect nets too
  • Works with the BeSafe iZi Go car seat (which is Pete’s preferred choice) or the Maxicosi – adapters included

So that’s our choice, we’re going for the bright orange to satisfy my colour cravings and although I’m sad to be missing out on the fun prints on our previous choice, I think this is the better option. Thanks so much for all the advice and recommendations – I know future readers will find it really useful too. :)

Just need a baby to put in it now!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Nursery: Bright and Bold

With my third trimester well underway, planning for the baby has started to creep to the forefront of my mind. With a lot of the house still in need of renovation, we’re lucky enough that the nursery is a true blank canvas and I’m also thanking my lucky stars that it’s in relatively good nick – it seems to have been skimmed recently, has new engineered oak flooring and as it’s at the back of the house, has a double glazed window already in situ. That means it’s largely a cosmetic job, which goes someway towards explaining my relaxed attitude to getting it done!

The truth of it however is that I’m not completely decided on the style I’m going for and it may well end up being a combination of the moodboards I’m going to share here in the coming weeks. All of them are unisex or ‘gender neutral’ and I have always planned a brightly coloured space so not knowing the sex of our baby hasn’t restricted me in any way.

Back when my old house was featured in Good Homes magazine I spotted the Sian Elin wallpaper that underpins this scheme in the same issue, and regardless of whether we go ahead and use it, the multicoloured bright sherbert shades have provided a palette for me to work with against a largely neutral backdrop.

This scheme relies on the statement wallpaper and white furniture for contrast with more muted accessories so as not to compete with the bold design, but I would only use it as a feature wall, perhaps along our chimney breast.

The room has enough space for a chair for feeding in and footstool, and I’m looking for a large rug to soften the floor space. The only down side to high ceilings and large windows is that ready made curtains are never long enough, so I’m on the look out for a neutral material to get full length curtains made in either a plain fabric or much smaller neutral print.

The Cot was a fab find from John Lewis as I was previously coveting the Ouef Sparrow cot, seen often in blogland and this is a good similar style at a much better price.

So what do you think readers? Watch this space for a more subtle neutral nursery design coming in the next week or two…

Love
Rebecca
xo

Sources:

Pram face…

I joked in a prevous post that the third question you always get asked when people launch into making your pregnancy conversation fodder, is ‘do you know the sex?’ but there is a fourth, and that is ‘what pram are you getting?’ I have to admit, researching prams has never been something I am particularly interested in or could get enthusiastic about. I’m of the opinion that if you were given a pram, you would probably think it was great, regardless of the brand and features as you wouldn’t know anything else. If however you happen to be on your third pram with more than one child, that kind of user comparison is pretty useful. Either way, with travel systems being a major financial investment, I can see why people feel the pressure to get it right.

We haven’t had any big factors to consider when making our choice, like easy collapsing for swift use on public transport or the size of the car boot, which has left the field wide open. I’m really keen to get something bright and colourful instead of black and I like the bassinet components but I wouldn’t pay extra for one. A lot of our friends recommended the iCandy Strawberry, and a few others the Bugaboo’s – either the cameleon or the bee (which I loved in bright yellow,) but my head was turned by the Cosatto range. We ended up going to a local shop and pitting the Bugaboo Cameleon against the Cosatto Giggle (they didn’t have any iCandy’s in store,) and given that the Cosatto was half the price I couldn’t find anything about the Bugaboo that made it worth spending so much more. The Cosatto includes the bassinet carrier for use from birth, the push chair for older babies, the usual things like a rain cover and fun extras like a matching changing bag, (- thankfully as I just cannot get excited about any of them right now either.) There are also matching car seats.

We are just at the point of placing our order, so before we go ahead I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Have you had a Cosatto or loved your choice of another brand? Are there any you would warn me off, or things I should consider before we place that order? I really haven’t been able to motivate myself to research much beyond what I’ve written here…

Thanks guys!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Baby Name Game

I’m 29 weeks tomorrow and starting to suddenly feel the pressure of time ticking on and things that must be done. Truth be told, although I am loving being pregnant (apart from the back pain I had early this week and kept me up all night, which has fortunately now disappeared,) I don’t really feel like I am getting much time to think about it or the baby. I’m still working just as hard and long, then when I get home there are a million house decisions to be made. As I type I can hear banging and crashing as the builders knock out the exterior kitchen wall for our bifold doors and I am hiding in the bedroom.


image via

One of the many things that we need to think about are names. It’s like there is a sequence when people ask you about your pregnancy… ‘How far along are you,’ is always first, then ‘Do you know what you are having,’ and the third question is often, ‘Have you got any names picked out?’ Of course I don’t say – made easier by the fact that we still haven’t opened the envelope, and I wouldn’t anyway, I like babies to be announced with their name, as I think it adds to the excitement, but the bottom line is, I don’t really know what we are going to call him or her.

Of course there are contenders, I have a girls name I have loved for years, unfortunately Pete doesn’t feel the same. We also have a possible boys name, which again has been on the cards for a long time, but now I’m not so sure. Boys names I find much easier… I like strong traditional names like William or Thomas, but not too proper like George or Henry. There are still a few more hipster names on the list though and with girls I love traditional old fashioned names. I have less qualms about giving a baby girl a more ‘individual’ name than a boy for some reason. Pete leans much towards the softer side of names for girls, like Emily or Sophie, but I don’t feel they are strong enough, and several of the top 50 for boys.

So what are my criteria? I really don’t have any (I’ve heard people want to incorporate family names, use biblical names, floral names, royal/traditional names,) and it’s really about something I like. I think the problem will be Pete and I agreeing on something and I don’t know how we will ever solve that! There’s is always the will it suit an older person dilemma and what will it be shortened to (- one of my favourites is shortened to a name I don’t love at all.) I also read a NY Times article a while back saying that ‘The once-simple task of coming up with a monogram for the baby blanket has evolved into a high-stakes exercise in personal “branding.” ‘ and whilst I don’t want a name that every other child also has, I wouldn’t be put off a beautiful classic name for that reason. I know plenty of Rebecca‘s but feel no less of an individual as a result.

So today I need your suggestions readers! Please let me know what you or your friends called your babies, the names you have always loved and the secret favourites. I think it’s time to gather some inspiration that I can mull over through the third trimester! I just don’t want to end up jumping at something when he or she is born because we still haven’t decided!

Thanks guys!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Have you heard of Nameberry? It’s a US site where you can see how the popularity of a name fared over the years (amongst other things about it,) and see if you are choosing a name that is suddenly super popular or not.

Family Lifestyle: Daily Essentials @12 months

Now that we have an almost one year old (say whaat?!), daily life is very different from those foggy newborn days. The changing bag gets re-filled with nappies and snacks, but the contents barely changes; we can pack the car for a night away and still be able to see out the back window because we’re not so worried about having to take everything and the kitchen sink “just in case”, and we can even go for a walk and stop for a coffee without needing much more than our coats. But we have definitely built-up a selection of family essentials that we use everyday and could not live without, they’re just not necessarily the same ones we were using when Freddie was tiny.

Becky did a fantastic post a few months ago on newborn essentials that you should all check out if you haven’t already, and I thought this would be a good next step. You won’t find nappies, a pushchair and a car seat on this list, because I figured that by this point you’ve probably got those sorted, but here are a few things that might make your days that bit easier (or give you something to look forward to if you’re still at the oh-my-goodness-we-only-brought-one-change-of-vest stage.)

Baby’s essentials
H&M baby socks
I bought a pack of these on a whim when Freddie was newborn and discovered that they are the best baby socks EVER. They simply do not come off! We’ve gone through 3 sizes already and find them thick enough for those first few cautious feet-dragging steps.

Sleeping bag
We loved the Arden & Anais muslin sleeping bags this past summer, but have used coser ones since then. I really rate the sleeping bags from Matalan, but as long as they’re easy to fasten and are warm enough for the time of year, then I’m not fussy.

High chair
We LOVE our Stokke Tripp Trapp and would definitely buy another for a second child. It’s lovely to have Freddie right up to the table with us and it doesn’t look out of place (or get in the way) in our kitchen.

Mum’s essentials
Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser
I included this in my Christmas gift guide, but wanted to put here it as well because I cannot rave about it enough. I bought this for myself the first time I went shopping without Freddie and wandered into SpaceNK, and said that I was sick of looking like I hadn’t slept in a week (which was only partly true) and instantly fell in love. Nearly every time I wear it someone tells me I’m looking well and it takes 4 seconds to put it on. Buy some now.

Waterproof jacket
I have this one from Seasalt in a different pattern and, while not cheap, is fantastic. For most of the mums I know, getting out the house everyday is an absolute necessity and while you can plonk the rain cover over the pushchair, it’s just miserable getting wet yourself when you know you need to do another loop of the park. High fashion a proper rain mack is not, just plain sensible it is.

Plain stud earrings
I stopped wearing dangly earrings and cut my hair short when Freddie was about 3 months old and started grabbing both, but I hated not being able to wear any jewelry – I just didn’t feel like myself. Luckily my husband was listening to one of these rants and bought me some gorgeous simple gold bird studs (they’re flat to my ear, so even when Freddie spots them he can’t yank them out) and I wear them everyday.

Dad’s essentials
A big jumper
Although it is getting warmer, if can still be quite chilly at 5.30 am. If you’re lucky, like me, daddy will often get up with the baby and give them breakfast, while you can have an extra hour in bed and a jumper like this pulled over pjs is what I usually find Tom in when I come down for a cup of tea.

Roobios tea
When I asked Tom about his daily essentials since becoming a dad, this was the only thing he could think of. Rather than having a normal cup of tea before bed, he now has this vanilla caffeine free roobios tea so that he can get as much sleep as possible. (I also liked this when I had morning sickness as an alternative to ginger, by the way.)

So, tell me readers, what have I missed? What are your daily essentials for older babies? And, as toddler-dom gets closer every day, what do I need to get sorted for the next stage?

Love, Esme.

Find Esme on her blog Esme Wins or @Real_Married

First Time Mum: The Breast Feeding Post

This week I’m away in Barcelona and then next week we’re celebrating my Brother-in-laws wedding in the peaks, so I’m running a reduced schedule here with posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Today I hope you’ll give Becky a warm welcome back with a personal and in-depth insight into her breast feeding journey. I’d love you all to chip in and add your comments as I’m sure many of you will identify with her struggle, or relish the opportunity to read more about breastfeeding in readiness for attempting it yourself.

Hi everyone, I hope this finds you all well. Firstly I’d like to apologise for my absence……it’s been so long it’s embarrassing. Connie is unbelievably 16 months old now. Since my last post, and in addition to surviving my first year as a Mum, we also moved house to a completely new area and into a house that’s a bit of a project. I also returned to work, and made some rather enormous changes to my work life. It’s been non stop and unfortunately my writing time diminished as Connie started eating solids and became mobile. It’s funny that I now look back with longing at those endless hours of feeding.


Image via

I’ve attempted to write this post on a number of occasions but I’ve found it incredibly tough to tackle. Maybe that’s because breast feeding is such an emotive subject. I stopped feeding Connie myself a few weeks ago which has spurred me on to finish writing this post that I started in the early months of her life. It’s certainly been a turbulent journey which I found limited support for along the way. I hope that if I share my story here, some of you will also share your own stories in the comments box and between us all, we might be able to cover most problems for anyone that might be struggling and stumbles across this post late at night, in the dark, with only a hungry baby and Google for company.

When I was pregnant I had always had the intention of breastfeeding but never assumed it would be easy or come naturally to me. I certainly wasn’t prepared however for the tough and emotional journey I was about to embark upon. Most ante natal information focuses on the act of giving birth. Not surprising really as when you’re pregnant it’s hard to think beyond the delivery room. I did attend a couple of feeding workshops late on in my pregnancy but neither of them taught me anything that I remembered or used post natally.

I had a pretty straightforward birth. I had to go into theatre straight after but had time to feed Connie for the first time beforehand. It was all such a blur. The midwives helped position her and that was that. We stayed in hospital for another 36hrs but once I was up and about, the midwives and I seemed to think feeding was going fine so we were allowed home. Once she’d slept off the birth and we were home alone, Connie became an incredibly unsettled baby. She wanted to feed 24/7. She hardly slept, even on me. I kept asking if there was something wrong. Everyone brushed it off as normal newborn behaviour so I just persevered and became more and more sleep deprived. Surely not all babies screamed that much? A few days in, one midwife suggested she may have a tongue tie but another dismissed it altogether. We were referred and waited for a month to see a specialist. During that month I battled on with the constant feeding and we did everything in our power to settle our screaming baby. The knowledge that an answer might be on the horizon was enough to keep me breastfeeding. A month later, her posterior tongue tie was diagnosed and cut by a specialist midwife. It was a quick and simple procedure and I immediately noticed a small improvement in her feeding. Two weeks later life had got a little easier but I still had my doubts that our problems had been solved.


Miranda Kerr announced the birth of her child with Orlando Bloom using this picture, via Twitter.

Connie’s weight gain was very slow. Slow enough for the health visitors to question and put huge doubts in my mind whether I was doing the right thing continuing to breastfeed. The trouble is, the Health Visitors I saw seemed so programmed to support breastfeeding that I wasn’t sure if they’d ever actually voice any other opinion. Every week I questioned whether I should give up and switch to bottle feeding. Life certainly would have been easier but there are historic health reasons in our families which made me want to breastfeed for as long as I physically could. Not to mention that by this point, I had no idea how else I would settle her. Every week, there seemed to be a new glimmer of hope on the horizon which kept me going and feeding for another week.

A couple of weeks after her tongue tie was cut, her weight did start to increase but it was very slow. At her 8 week check the GP actually used the words ‘failure to thrive’ discussing Connie with a paediatrician over the telephone. I hit rock bottom but my GP was amazing and couldn’t have been any more supportive of me and my attempts at feeding. We were referred to the paediatrician but were advised there would be a long wait as albeit very slowly, Connie was still gaining weight. I went home deflated but thankfully the support of my GP spurred me on and I continued to feed with the addition of a formula top up at night. Everyone told us she would sleep for a little longer and be easier to settle at night with the top up. Sadly it made no difference at all. There were so many nights that I lost count of the number of times I got up to feed and settle her. Whilst waiting for the paediatrician appointment, I continued to look for answers and attended all sorts of breastfeeding clinics and groups to gather as much information and help as possible. Finally, at around 10 weeks old, Connie was diagnosed with silent reflux by a midwife at a breastfeeding clinic who’d watched an entire feed and her behaviour afterwards. Reflux is like heartburn for babies and is pretty common and easily spotted as the babies are often sick a lot. Silent reflux is the heartburn but without the vomiting so far less easy to spot. It was a lightbulb moment. I felt ecstactic that we’d finally found the root of the problem, devastated that my poor baby had been in pain for all of that time, and completely let down by all of the professionals we’d sought help from. We immediately bought a wedge for her cot and the changing mat and swapped the carrycot part of the pram to ensure she was never laid flat. I kept her upright for 30 minutes after every feed and we were given infant gaviscon (which turns out is a total nightmare to administer to a breastfed baby) but the positioning made all the difference for us. It was like someone had swapped my baby.

I’d originally planned to feed for 6 months but as it took almost 4 months for feeding to become a totally relaxed, pain and stress free experience for us both, I wasn’t ready to stop at 6 months. It certainly wasn’t plain sailing from then on. We still had ups and downs such as the appearance of teeth and biting (ouch!), the nosey phase – when she was far too interested in the world going by to feed during the day but made up for it at night, and the Peepo phase – when emerging from behind the muslin I had draped over her and me whilst feeding in public became a hilarious game for her and terribly embarrassing for me. The final hurdle to tackle was when I made the decision that I really did want to stop. There’s very little information and guidance on how to stop but I expect that’s mainly because all babies are different and somehow, you will find a way that works for you. I found this useful though.

So, here are the bullet points that I’ve made during my journey of things that affected me which I felt might be beneficial to share:

Calories – Put losing your baby weight to the back of your mind and eat. Every cup of tea you drink should come with two biscuits. I was constantly hungry and I took a tray of snacks and a flask of hot tea to bed to keep me going during night feeds.

Growth spurts – these happen very regularly – get comfy on the sofa and rope in as much help as you possibly can at home.

Undersupply – as a result of Connie’s weak latch from her tongue tie and associated upper lip tie, I was told by the midwife it was likely that the milk transfer was poor and therefore my supply wasn’t stimulated enough. I ate copious amounts of porridge and flapjack (for the oats), drank alcohol free beer (for the brewers yeast) and fennel tea (which I’d read might relieve her reflux). During one growth spurt which coincided with some very long days at work when she was at nursery, I even made these lactation cookies. I also took between 9 and 12 fenugreek tablets (610mg) a day as advised by a lactation specialist midwife. NB. Please be sure to consult a medical professional before using any herbal remedies.

Blocked Ducts & Mastitis – unpleasant all round.

Expressing – I hated doing it and never got on with my breast pump. I also had a baby who wanted to feed all the time so had very little time to do it and get a decent yield. I accepted quite early on that I was one of many women who struggled to express. This doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk to feed your baby.

Medication – unfortunately it’s highly likely you will be ill at some point whilst you’re breastfeeding. I found these medicine and breastfeeding fact sheets invaluable.

Feeding safely in bed – ask a midwife to show you how to feed your newborn safely in bed. I was shown about a week in and just the knowledge that i could rest whilst feeding was enough to drastically reduce my fear of the early sleepless nights.

And most importantly, where I went for help and advice:

  • The National Breastfeeding Helpline – 0300 100 0212
  • The National Breastfeeding Network.
  • Your local La Leche league.
  • The NCT breast feeding support line – 0300 33 00 771
  • Local NCT breast feeding counsellors.
  • Your local Sure Start centre will have a weekly group meet.
  • The hospitals in your area will usually offer a weekly drop in support group.
  • There are many websites you might stumble upon from a google search but I can’t recommend the Kellymom website highly enough. Don’t be put off that it’s an American site. It has the answer to every question you might have, no matter how strange or stupid you think it is. Every topic covered is backed up by factual evidence too.
  • A local ILCA registered lactation consultant.
  • Milk Matters – a great resource for breast and bottle fed babies with feeding problems.
  • Facebook – you will find numerous groups based on feeding and also problems such as tongue tie, colic etc. I joined a few to begin with and then once I’d got a feel for the type of group either remained a member or removed myself as I found some of them a bit too full on.

It may be a cliche but despite being one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it has also been the most rewarding and I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

I know each of us will have been on a very different feeding journey and I’m sure you can all add something to help any new Mum or Mum to be who might be reading this post.
I can’t wait for you all to get stuck in with your comments and to hear how you’re all progressing with your own baby journey’s.

If you would like to read another breast feeding story, Esme (who writes our family lifestyle posts) also wrote an honest account of her breastfeeding journey here.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

News Flash!

Ahem! So, today is quite a big day and I’m going to let the picture do all the talking… :)

I can’t believe that the time has gone so quickly already and I’ve been waiting to have a bump to show you all! It’s lovely to be finally able to announce that Pete and I are expecting our first baby! I’m almost half way along now and so glad the bump has finally popped out so I can start talking babies, motherhood and get advice from so many of the mums who I know read Florence Finds.

As always, the blog is a reflection of my life, so I hope I don’t put off those of you who don’t have or want children, yet or ever, but I’m not expecting to have a personality transplant now there are three of us, so much of the blog will remain unchanged. Hopefully, this will be a welcome addition, it certainly is for us. :)

Anyway, I’m going to write a bit more next week, for now, I’m so glad you all know!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS I’m wearing the ASOS dress I posted about last week in a size 12 for extra room!