Baby purchases so far…and recycled essentials.

As this is our second baby, we have already ‘tried and tested’ several essentials the first time round. Some were life savers, others we hardly used. I will write a separate blog post about the top three most useful and useless baby bits later.

We didn’t find out the sex with George, so most of our newborn and 0-3 clothes/vests/blankets etc. are all neutral colours. This has meant that we have only had to buy a few little outfits and splashes of pink (even though I was determined not to have a pink baby) here and there.

It has been a much nicer process this time round, as I was so anxious right until the end with George – something fertility struggles will do to you – and I didn’t want to buy any clothes myself, for fear of jinxing things.

So, here are my favourite bits from last time and newer pieces that we have bought:

    The Snuzpod (John Lewis) – I loved having George so close to me when he was sleeping. It didn’t make getting out of bed very easy straight after my emergency c-section, but was definitely worth it in the long term. He did outgrow it a lot quicker than I had anticipated (my next door neighbour said she had woken one morning to find her little one stood up in his!) The other point I would add, is that combined with the Angel Care monitor and motion detector, having the snuzpod so close to my bed meant that the motion detector picked up my breathing as well as the baby’s. On discovery, I made sure I pushed the snuzpod further away from the bed, leaving enough of a gap so that it only detected George’s movements.
  • Sleepyhead of Sweden (John Lewis) – I was in two minds over whether to fork out for this or not. It seemed an extortionate price to pay for what was essentially, a pillow! George spent the first week of his life in the neonatal ward and his incubator was padded, imitating the shape of the sleepyhead. Naturally, when we returned home, he loved nothing more than cuddling up in his sleepyhead at night. Worth every penny! He continued using it as he transitioned into his cot and then I weened him off at about 6-8 months (as I was definitely not forking out for the bigger size!) I will say though, I have been looking at replacement covers for the sleepyhead as there are one or two calpol stains on the original – however I think they are extortionately overpriced and I’d rather save my money!
  • Ewan the dream sheep – George still relies on his every night and I have repurchased for the new baby. Each leg plays a different white noise or lullaby and there is an option for a light – although I found this annoying when he slept in our room. They have released a new washable version, but I have never felt the need to wash George’s so far.
  • Braun Thermoscan 7 Thermometer (Amazon) – I bought a tens machine and then ended up being induced before it arrived. I replaced it with the thermometer and it has been a staple in our family ever since. Quick, accurate and reliable.
  • Cheeky Wipes reusable cloth baby wipes (cheekywipes.com) – I was (still am) very cautious over the products I use on George. I knew that I didn’t want to use any wet wipes on him, other than Water Wipes or similar. I was introduced to Cheeky Wipes through our NCT anti-natal group and I have since purchased the weening wipes. Both the baby wipes and weening wipes are easy to use, clean, dry and reuse. I will definitely be using them again!
  • Mama Designs Muslin Swaddle 2 pack (mamadesigns.co.uk) – You can never have too many muslins and I’ve lost count on how many I have bought George over the last two years. I have bought these as they are much larger than any others I have and can be used to swaddle, cover a mattress or pram mattress or anything else really!
  • Bugaboo buggyboard – Obviously something I didn’t need to buy last time round, but an essential now! George isn’t particularly old enough to be without a buggy all the time and I am concerned how to juggle two under 3s with one buggy. We bought the Bugaboo Buffalo last time, so there is not option to convert to a double. The first option was to sell it and buy the donkey, however I don’t believe George will physically fit in the smaller chassis for much longer (if at all). I’ve decided to convert the buggy back into the pram with the buggyboard and borrow my mum’s Silvercross buggy, alongside the BabyBjörn carrier. We’ll see how it goes!
  • Sound Sleeper baby app (iTunes AppStore) – I discovered accidentally, that George was comforted by the sound of the hairdryer. He was such a crier when he was newborn and it really got me down. One day, I simply lay him on my bed screaming and dried my hair – he fell asleep! My friend told me about the app, which features several white noise sounds, including a hairdryer!! It worked MIRACLES. We downloaded it onto every device we could lay our hands on and it never failed to comfort him. Another aspect we had to ween him off of, but worth.every.penny.
  • Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Bath Support (Amazon) – We bought two of these, one for home and one for my mother-in-laws house. George loved baths from the day we could bathe him and this was a definite essential. Easy to clean and was great for laying him in in the mornings too, to wash the coconut oil out of his scalp.

Anything else I have missed? I will add my favourite decorative accessories in another post, but for now, that is my newborn survival kit!

How travelling brought me back to where I first started

So this is a slightly reflectional piece. I need to up my blog game and I’m thinking that 3am night feeds might inspire some ‘interesting’ musings in the up and coming months. They might be complete jargon and full of emotional outbursts, but could be entertaining to read nevertheless.

So, 10-years-ago this week, I embarked on a 4 month trip with my best friend. We both took sabbaticals from our jobs, packed our suitcases and boarded a flight from Heathrow to Bangkok. Neither of us knew what to expect, we had never done anything like this before. However, many of our friends had (and for longer periods of time) so we were excited albeit apprehensive for the adventures that awaited us.

We tore our way through Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and a brief stop off at LAX airport 😂. To say it changed my life forever is a slight understatement. This was pre-free-and-available-WiFi days and we didn’t have any devices with us that could connect to the internet (including phones). So we relied on topup cards in hostels or Internet cafes, to upload our photos and communicate with our families. My sister went a mere 5 years later and was able to FaceTime from shacks in Laos on her iPod touch!

In New Zealand, we bought passes for the Kiwi Experience (which ironically has a completely different nick-name). On our first trip, we met three blokes – two on a gap-year and one post-uni, who had made friends. We joined their group and embarked on 10 days of the most fun we had had on our trip. To say that New Zealand is a magical country, is an understatement and an insult to the beauty and pure magnificence of the natural world. I’ll never forget sitting on a jetty, absolutely freezing, in the middle of nowhere, watching the sun set behind snow-topped mountains, turning them pink. I remember thinking I was in some kind of dream world and nothing would ever top this.

Those 10 days changed my life forever, as I fell in love with the post-uni backpacker. When we got back to England, we stayed in contact and he took a place on a PGCE course in London. We moved in together and 9 years, 1 rented flat, 2 house moves, 5 years of marriage and 1.5 babies later, here we are!

Together, we have been so lucky to travel some more. Both being teachers has blessed us with the school holidays (or time in lieu 😏) and we’ve used that to explore many European cities, as well as safari in Kenya, hiking (Andy, not me – I was preggers) in Scotland, 3 week road trip down the West Coast of Cali and chasing the northern lights in Iceland, to name but a few of our adventures. This prompted me to start this blog, as well as self-preservation and therapy from the strains and heartbreak of recurrent miscarriage and fertility treatments.

We’ve since moved back to the town where I grew up and have taken on the challenge of renovating a Victorian 3-bedroom terraced house. The travel will return, it’s cemented firmly in our blood and history now. It’s also something we want George and impending arrival to experience and fall in love with.

So yes, travel does broaden the mind. It allows you to become more understanding, tolerant and accepting – something this country could desperately do with right now. Who knows what post-Brexit Britain will look like and whether it will encourage or discourage the desire of people to expand their horizons and be part of the bigger picture. All I know is that it changed the course of my life forever and even though I’ve ended up exactly where I started, I’ve learnt to live and love…