Friday, 5 September 2014

My Photo of the week!

Set up my studio for the first time!
So this week I set up my home photo studio for the first time! I got a few backdrops so thought I'd test the pretty pink one with polkadots first for H... Gender stereotypes? Oh dear.
Well, I think they turned out really well, and this was my most favourite of the 10401239847192384 I took. She got a little fed up towards the end, but was a smiley happy girly for the most part so I was taking major advantage of the good mood she was in, (that she seems to have skipped this week!)
So here it is, my favourite photo of her from this week!

'...What can YOUR baby do?'

The question that's never asked, but always heard. In the back of our heads, the dark little space that echos loudest when it speaks - you hear a fellow mother, perfectly innocently (probably... Maybe) say 'oh, well my darling cherubic son is sitting unsupported and juggling his baby bottles and counting backwards from 10 in German! He's only 3 weeks old, don't they just grow up so fast?!' while you sit there thinking, oh my GOD, why can he do all that, while my 6 month old is showing absolutely no interest in sitting supported or not? Hell, she's not even babbling! And you're thinking that because you heard 'so what's your baby doing?' or 'is your baby as clever as mine?' when the question was never asked, nor even really implied (probably, we know what some mothers can be like am I right?)

I do the same thing, I think 'why can't my baby do that when (X) can?' and you know what? It's bollocks. Absolute bollocks. People are all different, people all do things and develop differently and babies are people too! So it makes sense that they don't wake up at 6 months to the day and sit upright, crawl and say 'Mother! I am ready for solid food now!' because that's not how life works, not for anyone, not even for tiny wee people who still need their parents to do everything for them. 
Perhaps instead of thinking 'why can't my baby do that?' think about all the things your baby has learned as they've grown, be that a little or a lot - what has your baby done that has made you proud? Because I know I'm getting prouder every day of seeing my little girl get really fascinated by a label on her clothes, or that she goes 'mmmmmmmm' when I put the spoon in her mouth - it's the little changes that are happening every day that you need to focus on. Milestones don't matter, because the more you wish for a milestone to happen, just to be like the baby who ice skate at 8 months, the less time you have to notice how your little is growing and changing in small ways every day and before you know it, your baby is a walking, talking tiny hurricane and you forgot to treasure the little things that are happened along the way.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Be aware of scars you can't see

As a rule, 'celebrity' deaths don't usually get to me. They're sad and all, especially so when they're young and they leave families and children behind, but because I don't know them, usually it's a fleeting feeling of sadness for their family and I don't think much on it afterwards, I'll usually get on with my day. Robin Williams however has affected me differently, it's sad, it's a horrible shock and it's scary. It's scary because his story is one that is so easy to relate to, the sad clown. What's even scarier is that so many of us can relate to him, so many of us have this outer self that we show everyone else and only those closest to us know differently - so many of us suffer with depression or any other mental illness and it's something that the media overlooks, it's something that people still say 'well, why don't you just try cheering up?' or 'try to be more positive!' or even 'what have you got to be depressed about?' Clearly, those people are blessed  to not understand how depression, or any other mental illness actually works - or they're overcompensating who knows? 
Depression, to me at least, is like getting in a car and having it not start. No matter how many times you turn the key, or how quickly, or even how determined you are to get the car to fire up that engine - it won't. The more you try to get the car to start, the more angry, or frustrated or hopeless you feel about it not starting; you can't start the car, you are a useless person. You can't start the car, what's the point? The car needs a mechanic, but instead of going to see a mechanic you're blocked by people saying 'well, that car's a Ferrari, it should start!' and 'Ah you don't need a mechanic, you just need to go fill the engine with petrol and it'll be fine' when it won't be fine, because somehow the engine fell out. And with people telling you how silly you are for seeking someone else's help, and that you can do it by yourself, you try to fix it yourself, and the more time you spend trying to fix it, the more time you're spending not fixing the problem at all, because this one you just can't fix by yourself.
I saw a lot of comments yesterday from some very lucky people who haven't apparently been affected by depression, and therefore feel like they can pass judgement on someone's darkest final act. I saw comments saying that suicide is the most selfish act, and it made me wonder how many people believe that suicide is an easy way out. I honestly can't imagine a harder thing, genuinely believing that your death would somehow be better for your friends and family, that the world would be better off without you in it. I know that I have felt that way in the past and it's horrible, there is not a worse feeling I can think of - to look into oblivion and to welcome it despite knowing everything you have to life for and not caring? It's really, really hard and I know I wouldn't wish that on anybody. As sad and as shocking as Robin Williams' death is, let it be one that raises awareness of a horrible illness rather than judging his final actions. Mental illness kills, you just don't see it on the outside.
If you know someone, or are someone who is depression, or someone who is showing signs of depression, don't let people tell you not to get the help if you think you need it. If you need someone to listen to you there are so many great sources out there now, including the Samaritans who have helped me lots of times when I first started struggling with my mental illness. Please don't hesitate to do something before it gets worse.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Aunts, Shopping, Cousins & Animals!

Enjoying the monkeys!
We've had a busy old week this week! My sister in law and two nephews came to visit on Sunday and we've had an action packed week - we went shopping on Monday, Adventure Island on Tuesday and Colchester zoo yesterday and boy have we slept well for it! The shopping, of course meant that Harper was very, very spoilt (especially in the Next sale). She's got some absolutely gorgeous bits and bobs for when she's a little bit bigger... And for now too, even though she has more clothes than me now! Here are the bits we got for her during the week:
Then on Tuesday Riley (the youngest) and Nicky (my sister in law) went to Adventure Island, while Elliott, Harper and I took Lewis (the eldest) to Southend High Street for a bit of shopping and a drink because he wasn't bothered about going on the rides too much - and neither were we so we had a lovely time just ambling about, and I got a hole poke in my nose (it's still sore *sigh*). Of course, madam was spoilt further because Monsoon had a sale on, and have you seen their girl's stuff? It would be rude of me not to have got her something...
Beautiful boy!
The main event though, responsible for my still aching legs, more than 24 hours later, was Colchester Zoo! We had a fab time, and did the whole zoo, Harper is still a bit young for it of course but she had a lovely day just being out and about, and she did enjoy the monkeys! I forgot how hilly the zoo was though, and we were all absolutely knackered by the end of the day (and I was a little grumpy because my hips still hurt 4 months after giving birth... Grrr). We had a lovely week and we can't wait to see them all again, we miss them already!


We had an absolutely lovely week! We can't wait until we do it all over again! Harper has never slept so well!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sensory play!

She loved messy play today!
Now Harper is a little older and sitting a little better I am always trying to think of new things we can do to help her development. I've seen a lot about sensory play and messy play and I've been thinking I'd like to try it with her, but wondered if she was maybe a little young. She is holding her head up a little better I thought it would be quite good to trust a messy play can see how she enjoyed it - as you can see by the smile on her face she loved it! What I did with make up some baby rice because we we won't be using it for weaning any way because we'll be doing baby led weaning. I used the baby rice because it didn't matter too much if she put it in her mouth, which she does with everything else! She had a lot of fun and was giggling the whole time, as she smooshed it all up in her hands and rubbed it on her face and on me - so I'm thinking maybe she is old enough for basic sensory and messy play and it might be good for her! In a couple of months we'll be using colours in the rice or smooshy stuff so it's visually developmental too, but for now I'm pretty sure her little system wouldn't appreciate the food colouring! We've also got her a paddling pool which we fill with ball pit balls (she likes to chuck them round the room when she's in there) and she also loves to splash in the bath - we are thinking of getting her a small paddling pool to use in the garden with toys that she can play with in the hot weather (she hates it, just like her mummy!) I've seen that blowing bubbles is good for hand eye coordination too, so we might be giving that a go - but I am really looking forward to using edible finger paints in a couple of months! Does anyone have any sensory ideas for 4 months olds? Comment below with your suggestions!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Crafty ventures and baby brain

So! This week has been a busy one, I started my new crafty business venture - and oddly, at the same time my brain stopped working. I missed the whole of Tuesday thinking it was Monday for some reason, thus missing the Delta group that I was looking forward to, oops!
Anyway, the new venture! I make fairy doors, figurines and Christmas decorations and more things on the way! I'm just waiting on a shiny new logo from my friend Toni and it'll be perfect! Please do check out my page (and maybe give me a cheeky like!) It's called Harper's Hideaway, and you just have to click on the name!
In other news I've had a bit of a transformation week, turning back into the old me, dyed my hair pink and got it chopped off and I feel better already, just to get my nails done on Friday and get my nose pierced eventually... *cough* I'm very lucky to have a hubby who occasionally works from home and can look after my little while I get some Mummy time!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Review: Annabel Karmel Quick & Easy weaning

All you need to know about feeding
your baby in the first year
I received this in the post today, and while Harper was sleeping I had a little looksee through it. Bearing in mind Harper is only 4 months next Saturday, she's not quite ready for weaning, but with the wealth of information out there about weaning it's probably a good thing that I'm looking now and not in 2 months. It's all a little overwhelming, and that's what makes this book so good. It's not a thick book, it's not an overly wordy book and it's simple; quick and easy just like the title suggests. The beginning has a lot of information about the whole weaning process, what kinds of vegetables and fruits are best to begin with, and why they're best to use. This is all before the recipes too, (which are fabulous, by the way!) but there are meal plans for the beginning of weaning and as baby gets older and you start to introduce more than one solid meal per day. It's set out nicely, and it's really easy to have a little flick through when you don't have time to have a real read of a book - which, let's face it, if we've got babies we're about to start weaning, we don't have the time to sit and read among the million other things we have to do! It's full of useful information, but it's compacted in to little chunks that are easy to read through but still get all the information you need on hand. The recipes are simple, quick and easy and can all be frozen in an ice cube tray for later use. The first tastes ones are nice and simple and look like they'd be lovely for any little one, especially as far as veggies go - it shows lots of different veggies and fruits that one might not eat if they were fussy so it's good to introduce a really little one to them nice and early in a bid to make sure they're not such fussy eaters as they grow up! The later recipes after the first tastes are fantastic though! Looking through them made me quite hungry thinking about them. Being a foodie myself, I enjoy cooking and making nice meals for myself and my husband, so weaning and cooking for Harper when she's bigger is something that I am quite looking forward to; and making more interesting foods that I can eat too? Sounds ideal to me! We can all have healthy meals, though Harper's will have to be a little squishier than ours of course. When I start using the recipes I will be posting reviews and thoughts about them too, but that won't be for a couple of months... All the same, I heartily recommend the book for the mum (especially the first time mum, like me) who's about to start weaning, it's got some good, clear, information in it and I enjoyed flicking through the recipes thinking about what I'm going to make first! (I am half tempted to make some now and freeze them for later...)

 Disclaimer: A copy of this book was sent to me through a PR contact via Tots100, no monetary exchange has taken place.