Thursday, 1 November 2018

NOVEMBER GOALS

...because they aren't just for January 

1. Get organised. I am love love loving writing lists for absolutely everything at the moment. To buy list. Food lists. To do lists. Anything. It clears my mind and helps me stay focused. December can be such a crazy month I would quite like to be nice and organised before it comes. 


2. Be more experimental with cooking and bake more. I absolutely looooove baking and cooking but in our old house our kitchen was too small so it annoyed me. Now we're living with my parents, they have a bigger kitchen and I'm only cooking 2/3 meals a week and 1 dessert, so It gives me more time to get creative. I want to keep this up and also try lots of new things instead of sticking to the same kind of dishes. I also want to introduce Alice to baking. I think she'd love it! It's also so good for them to practise following simple instructions and also tidy up for themselves. 

3. Drink more water. I have been so bad at this recently and it's evident in my skin. I drink more than the average person but it's still way less than I should be. And it helps with pretty much everything. 

4. Eat well and exercise more. Standard. I know this is always on everyone's goals but throughout December we seem to eat so much and move less so I want to use November to prepare! October was a bit of a 'shlumpy' month for me so whether it's walking into town instead of driving or going out for a family walk instead of a coffee, I would love to move more in November. 

5. Organise Alice's clothes. She has loads of summer clothes that don't fit and that I need to take photos of/sell, and then I have a clear idea of what she has and needs. The pieces I really love I store in case we (one day) have another girl. 

6. Actually, on that note, organise my own wardrobe! I still have loooooads of summer things in my wardrobe that could be making space for winter things. I want to go through all my old winter bits and see what I can re-wear, and see what I need. 

7. Book a night or two away for Jason and me. We have been meaning to do this since we moved into my parents (easy childcare 'n all) and also have a red letter envelope thing to cash in so will do that too. 

8. Print an album from our Norfolk holiday and update my ongoing scrapbook + general photo album. Since having Alice I have really enjoyed making physical memories, which I wasn't bothered about before. It's such a lovely, therapeutic thing to do on a cold winter's night by the fire too. 

9.  Worry less, smile more and live in the moment! I have found myself really over thinking things recently and comparing myself (complete recipe for disaster) so I would like to work on this for my mental health. 

10. Play with Alice more! I am pretty good at this already, but I want to be better, especially now the weather is pants and we can't just mess around in the garden. She sleeps less and is more active now and although it's so easy to just stick her in front of the tv (I try to only let her have one session of screen time a day...Jason and I disagree on this!), I want to develop her skills more. So instead of letting her play alone with the kitchen, we could play an imaginative game together. She looooves this kind of thing. She is really good at playing alone and entertaining herself but I always feel guilty so would like to do this a little more.


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

LIFESTYLE // AUTUMN FAMILY UPDATE


How are we all? I haven't done a chatty blog post in ages and I feel it's so overdue. There's always other things to write about, like travel (I WILL finish uploading the second half of our Norfolk trip one day!) or sponsored posts or other requested ones. But sometimes it's just good to write freely about whatever comes to mind.

So a question I keep getting asked at the moment is the dreaded 'when are you having another one?' ..

I mean, it is to be expected. People always just want the next thing don't they? You get married, and pretty soon after you get the questions; 'when are you going to have a baby?'. I know it's the natural thing to ask, heck I think it and want to know when people plan to have babies....

But that's it, I think it.  I know what it's like to desperately want and long for a baby and it's just not happening. I know what it's like to see (what feels like) everyone around you announce they're pregnant yet there's just still no second blue line on your own pregnancy test. Before we got pregnant with Alice I remember actually crying once when someone asked me! 

Fast forward a few years, we have our bouncing one and half year old. But there's no rest for the wicked, we're constantly asked if and when we will have another one. 

The simple question is, I don't know! I feel like we've just had Alice, so it feels way too early, but at the same time she feels like a grown up, self sufficient toddler. So, I'm torn. 

I know she would love a baby brother or sister as she is obsessed with babies. We're actually buying her a proper baby with a dummy/nappy/bottle etc as she loves to give her own dummy and bottle to all her toys and wrap them up in blankets. But I also know having a newborn with an energetic toddler would be so so tough! I feel like we are just in an easy routine with Alice. We never have to get up in the night, she eats well, she plays happily, and there's always Peppa pig if worse comes to worst. Do we really want to go back to square one and start all over with a newborn? Or should I bite the bullet and do it sooner so that I don't get used to an 'easy' (hah!) life with one?

Then there's also the question, will it take a while to conceive, if at all? You really do never know. Long term followers will remember the struggle it took to get pregnant the first time (read more about that here) because of my ongoing thyroid problems. Hopefully as I'm on medication now and managed to have a perfectly healthy baby and easy pregnancy it's not an issue. But part of me keeps thinking let's just not, not 'try' and 'see what happens' as we did struggle the first time so if it did happen it would be a lovely blessing. 

So as you can see,  my mind is a bit split! As soon as we had Alice I wanted another, and I can't see myself ever saying 'ok THIS is the last, I'm done'.  Jason always wanted another, and still does, but back when Alice was under a year I remember saying that my 'conditions' for another baby were 1) Alice sleeps through the night (check).  2) move into a bigger house (doing this in January, check).    3) Jason and I work on 'us' and fully get to grips with being parents (in progress). 

OK I'm being completely honest here...No one properly tells you the struggle that going from a family of 2-3 is. You hear of people having babies to save their marriages/relationships and I think how?! Babies and children don't mask problems, they highlight them. Before having Alice I don't even think Jason and I argued! What is there to even argue about? You're not tired, you have more money, you don't have stress every time you try and leave the house, you can go out whenever and wherever you want...life was easy! Having a baby adds tiredness, stress, anxiety (on my part), and sometimes arguments - whether it's difference in parenting opinions or even just pure exhaustion leading to being snappy. 

BUT they also bring so, much love.

Honestly, until you've had a baby you can't even imagine the love! She makes us so so happy, and smile everyday. So really it's just that all your emotions are extra heightened. I don't know if that's for everyone, or just me, but I get way more emotional than I use to, in every way. I wrote a bit about this in my '14 things that have changed about me since becoming a mum' post here, but I think it is just that the weight of the world is heavier on you, which in turn can lead to heightened worrying, sadness, happiness etc.

Anyway, I'm working on this, and I think both Jason and I will be a lot more chilled out the second time. We've learnt that you know what,  it's ok! It's ok if they are sick everywhere, it can be cleaned up. It's ok if we give her a bottle and formula. It's ok if they need a dummy. Everything is and will be ok! And also that everything is a phase.

And I can't wait to see Alice with a future little baby or sister. 

So in short (lol, not really) I don't know when we will have another one. But I would certainly love to have another little bubba and in the very near future too. Actually, if anything this post, and having a quick flick through my old posts have made me want one even more!


 Morgan Alice
x

Thursday, 18 October 2018

MOTHERHOOD // ALICE'S NEW ROUTINE



It's been a while since I did a proper routine post and things around here have changed so much so I thought it was time I did an update! 

Those cheeky teeth and dimples!


Without sounding like one of those annoying mums that brag, I'll fill you in on the basics; Alice now sleeps through the night, every night. No matter what time she goes to bed, she will sleep through. Very occasionally she will whimper in the night but we leave her (Jason would run straight in if I didn't stop him!) and she either settles herself or finds her dummy. I don't even think she wakes up, it's just a little nighttime cry. 

Now, it hasn't always been this way. In fact from months 4-9 she woke up multiple times in the night, every night. And from 0-5 months she hardly napped for more than 30 minutes at a time (see our old sleep routines here and here ). Then she started sleeping through and having 2 long naps a day (I owe it all to sleep training, full post here), but then went through a stage of waking up suuuuper early. So I have had my fair share of sleepless nights and early starts!

But anyway, cutting a long story short, she is now 17 months, sleeps through, and has just about completely dropped her second nap of the day. 

There's two basic daily formats we follow; 1) I give her a long mid morning nap at home, then she wakes up, has lunch and plays. I use this if we have afternoon plans or if we're staying in all day as it's her ideal routine.  2) We go out in the morning, give her lunch out and try to get home for an afternoon nap before she collapses in the car. We use this if we need to be out in the morning and know we can get home for a long afternoon nap. As mentioned above, if I'm not going out at all, I will give her a late morning nap and then a late lunch when she wakes. 

The below routine is what we do most days:


Daily Routine

07:30-08:30 - Wakes up: We hear her start to babble on the monitor and go in, pick her up for cuddles, change her nappy, give her water and have a run around and play. 

08:30-10:30 - Breakfast and play time: Her fav is toast with jam but I like her to have wheetabix and raisins or a banana and fruit. We then play or if I need to get ready/get stuff done then she will watch morning milkshake. 

10:30 - Nap: Around this time I will give her a bottle of milk and put her down for a nap. She always sleeps better in her sleeping bag and with some background white noise (especially as we're at my parents and it's always so loud!) She usually sleeps for two hours.

13:00 ish - Wake Up: Nappy change, shoes on, bunches in then we are ready to go! If we're staying in I will let her play for a bit and then give her lunch, or if we're going out I will either pack a lunch or get her lunch out and about. If we're going out it's a bit of a grab her out of bed and go situation! If I really need to get out I will sometimes wake her after an hour. 

16:00 - Afternoon 'quiet time: If we're at home, around this time I will put her down in her cot for quiet time. 9/10 times she won't go to sleep, but I think it's really important for her to have quiet down time by herself. She will usually be completely quiet and just cuddle blanket and bunny. If we have had a busy afternoon out and about she will fall asleep in the car and I'll let her. If not it doesn't matter. 

17:30 - Dinner: I like her to have dinner with us so she gets used to it but sometimes we will eat after she's asleep. She has a play after dinner. 

18:30 - Bath: We bath her most nights and let her have a good ol' splash around to burn that last bit of energy out. As soon as we get her out she's into sleepy/tired mode though. 

19:00 - Bottle and bed: We always give her a second bottle before bed and she also has dummy/blanket/sleeping bag. All her little comforts. She always goes straight to bed and sleeps right through!


17 months

Although I get so emotional about how my little bubba is developing into a toddler before my very eyes, I am kind of loving how much easier the day is now. OK OK, so in some cases it is harder, I mean a toddler who is in to absolutely everything and runs away at every convenience isn't exactly as easy as a baby who just sleeps in the pram everywhere. BUT I love that my world doesn't revolve around naps any more! The above is just her ideal situation, but if we don't stick to it, it doesn't matter. As long as she has one long nap a day, she's happy! In some ways I do miss her getting up earlier and having a two hour morning nap for me to get ready, but at least now I get a lie in and also don't have to worry about an afternoon nap. 


A few tips and tricks

  • The annoying thing is she does still need a long mid-morning nap, but if I wait for her to have it half the day is gone! So what I do is I alternate it. A couple of days a week (mostly weekends when we can't stay in all day) I will do the second routine, where we go out all morning and come back around 12:30 for a nap after lunch), and the rest of the time I'll do her ideal routine above. 

  • Another thing to note is if she has a late night (if we've been out for dinner or to someones house etc), she will want to regain that lost sleep. So I will make sure I give her an earlier nap at home and will make sure she has it. She will probably want a little afternoon one too. 
  • If I have to do a long journey I will always plan a nap into it. So for example If I need to be somewhere by lunchtime, I will leave just before she starts to get sleepy, give her a bottle and then I know she'll fall asleep on the journey. Then I give her lunch when we get there. 
  • A still use white noise if there is a lot going on and I need her to go down quickly for nap. It always helps her settle. 
  • If she randomly was to wake really early I would just shift the routine a few hours earlier accordingly.
  • Cutting out the long afternoon nap has helped cut out the middle bottle, she now only has one in the morning and one before bed. I know some people cut theirs out quicker but Alice loves her 'malky malky' and it helps her sleep. 
  • I will try to always give her the cot quiet time. Whenever she gets a little grouchy I'm the afternoon I can tell it's time for it. In fact, as I am writing this she is having quiet time! She instantly stops crying when she's in her cot and comforts herself. So cute!

Hope you enjoyed!
In all these pictures Alice was playing in her Kid Collective WigiWama Teepee liked here
Using the code 'morgan10' you can get an exclusive 10% discount across the wigwama range!
*Not affiliate or in collaboration with them but I was gifted the teepee and absolutely love the scandi brand and think you all will too!

Morgan Alice
x



Sunday, 14 October 2018

TRAVEL // OUR WEEK IN NORFOLK PART I


We came on our first holiday to north Norfolk last year (posts here, here and here) and fell in love with the area in all it's golden, autumnal splendour. So much so that we decided to come back again! The same week, the same area and using the same company; The Blakeney Cottage Company.

We had such a success using them last year that we didn't even look anywhere else. Each cottage is perfectly decorated, cosy and equipped with everything you could need. Last year we chose Cockley House and this year we went for Appletree Cottage (which, fun fact, I only realised it was called that because of the lovely old apple tree in the garden, on the last day!) A large kitchen, 3 bedrooms (so Alice could have her own) and a hot tub!

The cottage was in Sharrington, a small Hamlet outside of Blakeney. I asked on instagram for some recommendations for around the area we were staying and received so many! We took on board a fair few. Here's a little tour around our cosy cottage:


Downstairs had a huge dining room which had a door out to the patio and hot tub, then there was the kitchen was all open plan and looked out into the garden. It had a two part lounge too, one with a beautiful blue sofa and coffee table, we used this as the film watching area, and then the other bit had lovely baskets full of toys, another TV and a sofa, so we used it for Alice's morning play time and cartoon watching! It was such a perfect house to go to with little ones (more so than the last one) as it had a high chair, travel cot and lots of toys. We're so used to places not having this sort of thing that we packed it all and didn't even need to!


The upstairs had three bedrooms, two doubles/kings (one for Jason and me and one for my parents) and a twin bedroom which we put Alice's cot in. It was so lovely her having her own room! The bathroom was pretty special too, a massive bath (Alice and I actually had one together for the first time in forever) and lovely decor. The only negative any of us could think of about this house is that this was the only bathroom/toilet. Not ideal when there is 4 + a toddler's baths to work around. At one point I think the men went in the garden as I was having a long bath and refused to let anyone in haha. But the location/style/feel of the cottage was so perfect that we think we would go again despite this. 

I always order a bunch of flowers to be waiting for, this one was the beaut Elysian Day by Bloom And Wild, get £10 off here 

We arrived on our first day in the afternoon, quickly made ourselves at home and put Alice down for a nap while we unpacked (and I took pictures of the place!). Unlike last time we came, Alice is now a lot easier in some senses. She sleeps a regular 19:00-07:30 each night (last time we were sleep training and she was refusing to go down and also woke up all through the night) and also mostly has one long nap a day, in the morning. This gives us all afternoon out and about, without worrying about nap time. Also, she will just eat whatever we eat which is so handy! Oh and she walks everywhere, so come places we didn't even need to take the buggy!    

That evening (once we'd bathed and put Alice down at 19:00) we truly got into the holiday spirit: delicious home cooked meal, opened a bottle of wine, then hot tub and a film. Perfection!

Waking on our first morning relaxed, chilled and in the mood to explore.....well except for this little peach, always on the go!

But not long before she's off again...


Day ONE

On our first day we went to Holt to go on the old steam train ride to Sherringham. Jason works for the trains and is a bit of a train geek, and my dad is just a general history geek, also we thought Alice would enjoy it. We all agreed at the end of the day that it was a lot better than we expected! We got to go on a vintage steam train (like the Hogwarts Express and others used in films) and the scenery was just beautiful too. Definitely recommend this if you're nearby! Such a good thing to do for all ages. 

 But not long before...yup, she's off again!

We took the train the full journey to Sherringham, an old fashioned beach front town (with some slightly tacky bits), where we had lunch and a little explore. It has a few nice shops worth a poke around but lots of lovely butchers, bakers, fruit and veg shops etc...oh and the best ice cream!



On the way back we managed to get a cabin which reminded me so much of the Hogwarts express/murder on the orient express and all the old films. 



 Day TWO


Last year we missed the famous seal watching at Blakeney so we agreed it was a must this year. We checked the tide times and pre-booked with Bishops , got our wellies on and made our way there. Alice loooooved walking around in her new wellies and seeing all the birds and animals. It was also sooo peaceful and beautiful out on the water. Reins were essential though as we were all worried around her jumping overboard! 

Spotted! Loved how close we got too. They came right up to the boat. 

Day THREE

Of course we had to get Alice a new Jelly Cat from the trip! She chose the softest penguin who we call 'penguiney'. 

On Saturday it was pouring with rain, so we thought what better to do than explore a stately home. Last time we were here we did Blickling hall (post here) and I love the Tudor style, so we thought we'd do Felbrigg hall this time. A little smaller and less grand, but true Tudor style with the majority of the house to explore. It was also national trust so we knew it would have a cafe for lunch. 

What we forgot to take into consideration was that last time we went, Alice was just four months old, couldn't walk or crawl and just chilled in the baby carrier! Quite the opposite to our cheeky, into everything, walking toddler. Picture chucking stones, trying to touch things she shouldn't, walking on carpets and places you aren't allowed. Oh and knocking down the rope barriers! I'm actually cringing writing this remembering it all. Still, I'm glad we went to see the beautiful house and gardens, and also it taught us what not to do at the other homes we were visiting this trip.                                                                                                                                                                                         
Make shift reins (aka my mum's scarf), we were getting pretty stressed and tired by this point haha. 

We had just got upstairs when she went into this room, pulled off all the cushions and started to fill her nappy! We were getting such dirty looks so we thought, time to reset, get the baby carrier and start again. She hasn't worn this since new York but it still fits fine and she really enjoyed being in there! From now on, stately homes with baby carrier only

Check out the vintage box of Lindt chocolates
 1500's wallpaper which is probably fashionable today!

By this point we thought it was time to go home, light alllll the candles, watch a film and have a soak in the hot tub. 

I think this post is plenty long enough for one day, so I will start a new post on the rest of the days tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Morgan Alice
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