lifestyle, parenting

Starting Playgroup and One Emotional Mummy

Oliver has been going to playgroup for two weeks now and I can talk about it a little more easily now. We had a few settling-in sessions together where I played along beside him for the first couple, and then I would go into a different room so he couldn’t see me – he didn’t even look for me once!

Of course as a parent you want your child to not be upset, I would hate for Oliver to be inconsolable when I drop him off in the morning’s; even if they calm down five minutes after the parent leaves. But he didn’t look for me ONCE! Joking aside, I am so, so proud of him. I hope he carries this confidence throughout his nursery, school and working, general life.

The playgroup itself was the only one that was a short enough distance to make it worth our while using, as Oliver attends two mornings a week from 9-11.45am. But as soon as I stepped inside and spoke with the staff and seen the other children interacting with them and giggling; I knew this was the place. Of course, if I didn’t get good feeling about the playgroup – he would not be going.

I know some people will think I’m crazy getting upset about Oliver being away from me for under 6 hours a week, but it really is a massive thing for me. He’s been by my side for his entire life so far, just about every single day, so it is a bit of a shock to the system. It’s also a massive change for Oliver being away from familiar family faces and socialising with strangers, lots of new faces and trying to build trust and relationships, and finding his “safe person” whilst he’s there.

Today I witnessed Oliver going up to his key worker and showing her the trains he wanted to play with and laughing with her and it completely melt my heart. I hope he builds a strong relationship with her and feels safe in her company.

His first day on his own went so well, I had a midwife appointment that morning so luckily Scott had taken the morning off to watch Oliver as we didn’t know when his first day would be. So, mum and dad got to see him off to playgroup. He did cry a little when he seen us leave, which did make me unbelievably guilty but by the time we got to the car the manager had knocked on the window and gave us a thumbs up to say he was completely fine – only 30 seconds later! When I picked him up he was grinning from ear to ear and sitting eating a snack with his little buddies and I was told he was non-stop all day. He’s taken a real liking to the house area, he’s known as the “cutlery thief” and makes lots of tea and chocolate cake (pine cones!).

I know deep down that this will benefit him in so many ways, development, confidence and social skills. I hope he meets a few friends – he’s growing up and it’s bloody scary!

x

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lifestyle, Uncategorized

De-stress Your Morning Routine

Before I became a mum I spent quite a bit of time getting myself ready and there was no real rush felt in the mornings. I would pad about the house, taking my time to get ready for work; wash, dry and style my hair before heading out the door. Since becoming a mum I’ve had to change my morning routine as I have a little person to care for and have learned that organisation really is key. Here’s what I do to ensure a positive start to the day.

Lay out Clothes the Night Before – This makes life so much easier for me in the mornings as it’s one less thing to think about. I lay out my own clothes and keep Oliver’s clothes downstairs for after breakfast. We also keep a toothbrush in our downstairs toilet for convenience, so that I can brush Oliver’s teeth straight after breakfast.

Restock your Changing Bag – Every night I make sure I have nappies, wipes and essentials in my changing bag so that I can grab and go in the morning. We have toddler groups and just generally like to be out the house early to enjoy our day so this is a huge help.

Prepare Snacks & Lunch – I usually prepare Oliver’s lunch when I’m making Scott’s for work. Since I’m pregnant I’ve been packing snacks for myself too. I pop everything in a seperate bag in the fridge to grab in the morning. You should never leave the house with your toddler without bringing food – you will regret it!

Shower in the Evenings – Up until very recently, I’ve always been a morning shower person but I find it so much easier if I’ve showered, washed and dried my hair the night before. It saves me so much time and I feel less stressed in the mornings. I can quickly throw myself together, as I wake up only 10 minutes before Oliver – I like my sleep!

Get Dressed First – I found that especially when Oliver was younger, if I didn’t get dressed before getting Oliver up for the day, I just wouldn’t find the time. Now I make sure to get myself ready first in the morning and I feel so much better for it.

Run the Dishwasher Overnight –  There is nothing worse than waking up to dirty dishes. I make sure to fill and start the dishwasher before I head to bed and quickly empty and re-load after eating breakfast.

Evening Speed Clean – Once Oliver is in bed I quickly tidy up the bathroom from bath time, toys or mess in the living room and quickly go over the kitchen. I will load the washing machine to switch on first thing, it saves me running around in the morning gathering laundry.

Make the bed – I don’t know about you but making my bed in the morning makes my bedroom look instantly tidier. It takes two minutes and really does boost my mood.

x

lifestyle

Autumn Bucket List

My favourite season is finally upon us – I absolutely adore Autumn. It’s all about getting cosy, embracing halloween and drinking lots of takeaway coffee!

Pumpkin patch: Last year on my Autumn bucket list I mentioned picking our own pumpkins. It never happened and I’m quite upset about it, sad I know. I hope this year we manage a visit it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time (thanks Instagram!).

Crafting: Last year Oliver I collected lots of treasures and we made an Autumn inspired fairy light jar. It was a fun activity to do and Oliver really enjoyed it. We also collected leaves and made different pictures with glue and leaf paint stamps.

Pumpkin spice latte: I’m a sucker for a pumpkin spice latte, I think everybody is. I’m looking forward to my first cup!

DIY halloween costume: Last year I made Oliver’s halloween costume, he went as Carl Fredericksen from the UP movie – it was adorable! I’ve been thinking of throwing a halloween party in the house for a few of his little buddies too.

Fireworks display: I love a fireworks display, even if it’s absolutely freezing and you’re standing around. We have been twice with Oliver but this year I feel he will be more aware of what’s going on.

Woodlands & Country parks: Getting outside during Autumn makes me so happy, it’s such a pretty time. I still have a lot of places to cross off my list of places to see in Edinburgh, so hopefully we get through a fair few.

Get in Photos: One regret I know I will have later in life is not being in photographs. I don’t like the way I look and I don’t want to be reminded of it; but I know I will regret not being in family photographs so this needs to change. Even if it does make me feel a little uncomfortable. I also want to take more photographs of Oliver, ‘proper’ photographs that can be hung on the wall. I’m not a photographer by any means but I’m looking forward to giving it a try. And I do love a pretty Autumnal backdrop.

Purchase a new chunky scarf: Nothing says Autumn like a big chunky scarf now does it? I love a scarf, it instantly changes a boring outfit; and boring outfits are what I’m all about on mum days.

Me time: I really want to dedicate a little time every week to myself and my little blog. I intend to get out and blog in little cafes dotted around Edinburgh, let’s see if I can do without feeling extreme mum-guilt.

Cosy the house: Throws, fairy lights, scented candles, little touches and a few DIY decorations that make your home feel cosy is what I plan to introduce over the next couple of weeks.

x

lifestyle, Uncategorized

Morning at Roslin Glen

There are so many beautiful country parks and green spaces in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, we have lots to cross off our list. We decided we would get up early on Sunday and head to Roslin Glen country park, set on the North Esk Valley near the village of Roslin. If there’s anything Oliver needs, it is wide open spaces and places to explore. We packed our picnic, put on our wellies and headed on our adventure.

We walked through woodlands, crossed a little bridge and climbed a million (not really) steps and found Roslyn Castle ruins – which was very high up! Oliver collected sticks, stones, leaves and whatever else he could scavenge and jumped in lots of muddy puddles. There are many paths and walk ways through woodlands, riverside and meadows, but for little legs we didn’t venture too far. We headed back to enjoy our picnic on one of the benches and Oliver had a little play.

Roslin Glen is a lovely place to enjoy a walk with family. If you have little ones, be on your guard and help navigate them; there are high drops, slippery surfaces, steps etc, but it’s a really good morning or afternoon out for them and Oliver was absolutely worn out by the end of it!

You can find lots of information on the park noticeboard, including different events happening throughout the year for children and adults alike. According to the Midlothian council website there are ‘free resource boxes’ available from the Ranger Service which includes equipment for pond dipping and mini beast hunts.

We spent around 3 hours here so there is loads to explore, take a picnic and make a longer stay of it. Let me know if you decide to visit and what you think of this beautiful place.


Please feel free to leave your recommendations below of places to visit in and around Edinburgh! 

lifestyle, parenting

Fairy Trail Archerfield Walled Garden | North Berwick

One of our favourite things to do is explore the outdoors. Oliver loves being able to run free and collect treasures and at Archerfield Walled Garden, he can do just that.

The grounds and surrounding areas are beautifully kept, the cafe offers a lovely range of food and drinks and it won’t be difficult to pick something up from the deli and shop. You can enjoy sitting outside on the benches whilst your little ones play in the enclosed play area.

The trail leads you past several willow structures for kids and adults alike to explore and play. You can tie your ribbon, purchased from the shop, around the wishing tree on your way to the fairy trail.

The magic begins with a little red door for the children to enter and begin their search for fairies. Unfortunately, no fairies have been home whilst we’ve been there, but we’ll keep looking! As you follow the trail, you find out who lives behind each door and what their jobs are. Oliver gets so excited running up to open the fairy door to check if someone’s home. The magic and excitement of it all in his face is truly wonderful to see.

I would definitely a visit whether it’s to enjoy the fairy trail or a dog walk in the woods, there’s something for children and adults alike.

You can find more info here on the Archerfield Walled Garde website.

 

Natalie x

 

lifestyle, parenting

Briarlands Farm | Stirling

As fellow parents will understand, I spend a lot of time outdoors with my son Oliver and we are always on the search for new places to visit. We decided to meet up with friends at Briarlands Farm in Stirling, about an hours drive from our home in Edinburgh.

There are plenty activities to suit all ages and although we were there almost four hours, we didn’t see half of the park – but that’s the norm for us parents of toddlers! The farm boasts wide open space for kids to let off steam; jumping pillows; toddler trike tracks; sand pits; feeding the animals using feeding tubes and tractor/trailer rides amongst others. You can even meet some of the furry animals throughout the day.

Here’s some photos from the day:

Cred: @raimonda_days

Cred: @raimonda_days

Some activities and animal feed bags incur an additional charge (around £1 each), but with the low entrance fees you can’t complain. As Oliver is under three years and therefore free, I only paid one adult at £5.50!

We enjoyed a quick coffee and scone in the cafe whilst the boys played in the soft play. The cafe offers a soft play climbing frame as well as a large kids area filled with toys, play equipment and books. It’s free to play in the inside play areas – another perk. Oliver allowed me my full hot cup of coffee as he was having so much fun – result!

I would definitely recommend this farm to friends and it should go on your must-visit list.

We are always looking for new places to go, please leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Natalie x

 

lifestyle, parenting

My Priorities Have Changed

The second Oliver was placed in my arms, my life changed. My outlook, priorities, everything changed. I no longer wanted to rush into a career, all I wanted was to be a stay at home mum to my beautiful son.

Becoming a mum has most definitely given me a sense of purpose. I’ve been at home with Oliver for two years now and I’m honestly loving every minute of it – even the challenging parts. To me, there’s nothing in comparison to seeing first-hand your baby grow, achieve each milestone and experiencing new things together. Being at home with my child is extremely important to me and I’m so lucky to be in a position that enables me to do that.

My decision to stay at home attracted mostly positivity but I have had some negative comments along the way, mainly surrounding my future career. The way I see it is I’m only twenty-five, I will no doubt be working way past my seventies, probably eighties! so I have plenty time to find a career. For now my main priority is raising my child.

Every parent is different, some work some stay at home, we do what we feel is best for our family. I will never understand those who judge other parents decisions on the subject. How can my choice of staying at home to bring up my son be such a negative? From where I’m standing, there’s absolutely no negative.

Apologies for such a sporadic post, but I needed to vent. I’m interested to hear if anyone has encountered negativity with whatever decision you made; whether it be staying home or working. Us parents have a lot of guilt as it is, without other people adding to it. Do whatever works for you and your family, that’s all that should matter at the end of the day.

 N x