After day three of waking up at 6am ‘bright and early’, even before the sunrise may I add… it dawned on me that you get more holiday for your money with a baby/toddler. Fact. Gaining at least 3 to 4 hours a day depending on how lazy one used to be pre-baby means you are first to breakfast, first on the beach, best selection of beds, more sunshine, more pool time, more swimming sessions, more sand castles. Bonus!

I haven’t got any magic tips to give because I think everyone knows what’s best for their bubba’s! Bring more of what you think you need though, we ran out of formula and had to start using normal milk which is fine, I just should have packed more. For me – Ed living off cold baked beans, grated cheese and good old spaghetti bolognese for the whole holiday worked a treat. PLENTY of snacks too, my boy loves a snack. Swimming and running up and down the reception ramp continuously is hard work!

Lots of family memories. Lots of quality time. Lots of beach time, pool time and sunset watching time! Lots of rum punches… but just in different quantities to what I used to have. I would HIGHLY recommend Barbados – I’d return time and time again without a doubt and look forward to my next trip! The locals are super friendly and LOVED my little man. He found his groove and loved dancing anywhere he heard music, the stage at Oistins was his for at least an hour – he’s got a super little shoulder jig going on now. New moves!

I am lucky & blessed!

 

Goodwood Revival - On Site

Well, it’s been a very long time since I last posted anything. A very long time indeed.

All I can say is it has been a whirlwind of 1/2 year – one minute maternity leave was coming to an end and I was heading back to my job as an Executive Assistant. The next minute I’d handed my notice in, and yes, this was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done – the risk, the unknown, this thing called ‘work/life balance’, my little man, my ‘family’ now actually mattered to me. As heartbreaking as it was for me (8 years at one company IS a long time) and I do NOT like letting people down, it was a decision I made and went with – my gut, my head and my heart all helped!

I was sent an email the other day, a lovely PA I’ve known from many moons ago. She was introducing me to someone I should speak to, this was the introduction used:

Firstly, you are both top ladies who totally rock and I know you’ll get on. You both juggle insanely busy work lives with family whilst managing to make it look easy.

Sarah – is the founder of Bucks PA Network, a group to celebrate the fabulousness of PAs and get them together to hangout at amazing events in great local venues. The last event I went to was Stoke Park. I met Sarah when she was the EA to a client my company worked with a million years ago. She set up the network whilst on mat leave and “a bit bored” (I’m sure I’d just sit about looking horrified and eating custard creams for 11 months!). She has now got a new job and has moved in an eye blink from EA to Event Manager.

I know. You are thinking what a LOVELY introduction, right? Yes. Believe me, it made my year.

It’s after I read and re-read it through a zillion times I realised what I’ve actually achieved this year.

A shiny new and amazing long-awaited IVF baby, maternity leave successfully nailed, Bucks PA Network set up ‘because I wanted to network’ whilst being off work and to top it off I’ve got a fab new job in a new industry which I am absolutely LOVING! I am made for events, I just love it!

Wow.

So… thank you to this lovely person for pointing this out to me. You have literally made me smile and feel very proud of myself. I am not one for giving myself a high five at all. However today, as I sit looking at all the presents I need to wrap, all the cards I need to write and all the housework that is waiting to be done… I am ACTUALLY going to give myself a high five! It wouldn’t be worth giving without a large glass of Marlborough, we all know that…

Here’s to working mum’s and dad’s, here’s to balancing and juggling, here’s to being what you want to be! Going with your gut, heart and head pays off.

The image I’ve chosen for this post is me smiling at Goodwood this year, the final day, the Sunday. I think I’d had about 4 hours sleep the night before, 5th day out of 7 on site. The day before it had torrentially rained whilst I had a group at Goodwood ALL DAY, after plying them with champagne to ensure they were smiling, I got back to London and escorted another group to watch Phantom of the Opera that evening followed by time in bar for a G&T nightcap (of course!)… then did it all again the next day. I LOVED IT.

Happy, blessed, humbled, thankful and grateful. That is well and truly me.

 

We’ve had a few really great days out recently. Now I’ve hit the ‘less than 3 months’ left of maternity leave and Spring seems to have sprung I am making sure I squeeze in as many fun things as I can with Ed. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the best; a nice walk along the river, a visit to our local kids farm, feeding the ducks and going to the park are our favourites. A bit of fresh air does everyone the world of good. Spending fun time together is really important to me at the minute as is having tonnes of snuggles in the morning. The countdown is on. I’ll no doubt have mixed emotions about it all, at the moment I’m at the I’m really looking forward to returning to work stage. I am convinced Ed will love nursery (or am I convincing myself!). I’m keeping positive and remembering how lucky I am to even be able to have a whole year off with my son. I’ve had the best year of my life. Here’s to two months of total FUN!

The photos below are of Edward at ages 8 and 9 months old. He is such a little character now. Crawling mastered. Standing up against stationary things mastered.  Bottom two teeth out relatively stress free. Top ones on their way but no sign yet. He hates lumps in his food… after three projectile vomiting episodes I’ve decided to just go with it. I never realised projectile vomiting actually exists and have to admit I always thought it was just an over reaction to a bit of puke. Nope. It isn’t. He’ll master lumps in his own time, I am no way adding lumpy foods to his dinner – my clothes will stay cleaner for longer!

 

January and February saw the “H” family go on a huge amazing adventure! My brother’s wedding in Brisbane, me being on maternity leave and my husband in his quiet season were three bonafide reasons to book a long trip and have a month of a lifetime. For the record, I am open to having a holiday anytime – I certainly don’t need a reason!! It just made sense though. Cue three Singapore Airlines tickets booked and paid for before Ed was even born!

I heard so many shocked people say to me, in the politest manner I am sure you can imagine, “How the ?@%&@!! hell are you going to travel that far with a baby?”, “You must be mad”, “Are you crazy?”. I laugh in the face of danger and when someone says it’s going to be tough or a challenge. I am up for it even more. I like to prove people wrong!

So how did travelling with a baby go? Well. Actually is wasn’t that bad… In fact on reflection as I am now home, it was bloody brilliant! Ed was a superstar. Now, I know I have a totally chilled out little boy and am very lucky. I don’t shout too loud about it for fear of being jinxed but he’s very much like me (ha ha ha). Chilled. Happy to go with the flow. Loves his sleep (especially on flights so it seems!). Loves food, drink, wine and cocktails. (No, I did not give Ed wine or cocktails). He’s certainly like his dad by the fact he also loves a party. In fact, we’ve decided that Ed is made for travelling. Don’t get me wrong, we had a few hairy moments: Cue ambulance to get us to the hospital for Ed in Australia (I am sure him putting the Singapore remote in his mouth didn’t help that!). Cue forgetting the 50spf factor sun protector buggy thingy that I purposely spent £35 on for Australia only to find I’d forgotten to pack it & finally, cue washing bottles out of the tiniest bathroom in Singapore and playing with Ed at 3am in the morning… jet lag only hit him the 1st day which was actually ok in the grand scheme of things!

As a family, we had the BEST time. Made so many lovely memories and laughed so much together. It was a whole month of pure fun and pure quality time. I took a million photos and made sure I treasured every moment. I realise how lucky I am and am so grateful to have this cute little dude.

My main reason for this post is in the wise words of Nike – JUST DO IT – with a baby. Going out, a trip to Aus, a weekend away… whatever it may be. You can make it as stressful or as easy as you want to. We both went into this trip expecting it to be ‘pretty’ challenging and to our surprise we just took everything in our stride and went with the flow. We went it to it as a team. TONNES of people have said to us, “Easygoing parents, easygoing baby”. Is this true? Who knows… From the day Ed was born we’ve made him fit into our lives. He’s partied late into the night (NYE!), he’s snuggled me in bed and we’ve been lazy until I kid you not 12pm noon, he’s been on trains, planes, trams and taxis – adventures are just the best!

And no… Ed didn’t listen to headphones at the age of 7 months or sit and watch cartoons! The photo opportunity was just too great to miss!

 

 

 

It’s time again to put a few Ed reminders down on the blog. It’s been a few months since the last update, well, any update for that matter. Ed time is far more important even though I do wish I had more time to blog. My little one is 7 months old now! 7 months.

Edward Howson – Diary Blog Update

Age: 6/7 months + Christmas

Things you love: FOOD! Your favourite meals are mum’s mixed veggie special with lots of cheese (sounds exotic but trust me, its not). You love a jar of Orchard Chicken and you love fruit puree’s or mashed banana with Greek yoghurt. You like the Wotsit organic carrot flavoured look a likes. Avocado fingers are a fave, you love smushing it all over the place! Still drinking your milk but we’ve moved to ‘Follow On’ now, normally 3 or 4 bottles a day still 7oz. You love standing up! You’ve started to sit up properly all on your own now, you fell a few times… but you were brave and only cried a little. You like being scared, for some reason when something makes you ‘jump’ you laugh your head off. You LOVE balloons and wrapping paper way more than presents! You loved Christmas too. Father Christmas did not faze you. Nanny H and I took you to see him and you were brilliant, you just yanked his beard! Mummy dressed you up as Santa so many times. You looked super cute! Bring on Easter (you’ll make a great bunny!) and St Patrick’s Day (dressing as a Leprechaun for Auntie Mel’s BD has to be done). You still love a mummy snuggle and you still melt my heart. Your smile is amazing. Grandad Crystal loves feeding you, you really enjoy sitting in the high chair and being fed by him. You love your Nanna too, now when you hear her (loud) voice as soon as she comes through the door your face lights up.

Things you are not so keen on: Teeth are still giving you issues but in the grand scheme of things you are being really brave and not getting too upset. I give you a bit of calpol every now and again which seems to do the trick.

You have been to these places: We had a lovely posh lunch at The Hinds Head in Bray – we saw Father Christmas together and then we had lunch. You were super good. We were so proud! We had Christmas at Nanny and Grandad’s and you were totally spoilt by everyone. Your great Nanny bought you your first golf club which was really cute. Christine & Dave’s for a New Year’s Eve party! You rocked the party lifestyle (everyone had a midnight snuggle) and you loved the midnight fireworks on Marlow bridge, you didn’t cry at all. Isle of Wight at the beginning of January! The ferry crossing was interesting (trying to change you was hilarious) but you loved the IOW so much, I think you loved being spoilt by Ruby and Sky even more though! Playing with your Evie was super fun too. You both are just the cutest. Your next big trip is going to be Singapore and Australia to visit Uncle Craig and Auntie Sarah… Your first wedding too – WE CANT WAIT!

Firsts: You are now rolling back and forth. You are never in the same position in your cot, we call you a little traveller because how you manage to flip yourself around puzzles us! Sitting up… Eating ‘big boy’ foods! You are slowly learning how to swallow properly although you still love a puree which is fine, we are in no rush! You have to be strapped everywhere, no leaving you anywhere because you move!

You are eating: A huge variety of foods now and I am starting to give you a bit of whatever mum and dad have. You love chomping on bread. You love a little rice cake too. It’s time to start getting adventurous which I am excited about – bring on the messy kitchen floor. You also love a bit of water with your meals.

You are sleeping: Really well. I am not going to say any more because I don’t  want to jinx it in anyway. You have definitely got your mothers’ genes when it comes to sleeping. You legend!

Other Bits: You are really becoming your own person now. You get so frustrated at tiny things, like dropping your hippo at the table. You properly throw a hissy fit! You love your food and get cross if whoever is feeding you is slow. Your favourite nursery rhyme is Round and Round the Garden… you love waiting for the tickly under here bit and laugh so much. I think you are ticklish under your arms which is brilliant. You love your milk at night with Daddy, quiet time and a snuggle settles you nicely before you go to bed. Your hair seems to have had a massive growth spurt too! Everyone says how much hair you have!

I cried the other day when I saw that you are cutting your two bottom front teeth. For some reason, for me, baby’s who are no longer gummy and toothless just seem so “grown up”! They are no longer, ‘baby’ babies. It’s the ‘next stage’ and although I am excited and can’t wait to see how this little cutie grows up, I equally don’t want time to go so fast.

Until next time.

So I am now 6 months post natal… yes, my baby is 6 months old and I am amazed at how quickly time has flown by – complete cliche, and I know all new mums say it, but as per my first post; time does really fly.

My body was a temple before and throughout my pregnancy; when I say temple, I am talking plenty of fruit, vegetables, iron, Vitamin C before you take the iron so it absorbs quicker, water, water and more water. Avocados, nuts, seeds, full fat dairy (because low fat or no fat is bad), organic this and organic that, more water, red foods (!) to enhance your blood cells – beetroot, red peppers, plums etc.. You name it, if there was an article, a blog or evidence supporting the increase of IVF success, I was on the case. If you think alcohol was included in the equation you are wrong. I detoxed for 5 months before the process started… I “eat clean” and drank clean. That means no caffiene and diet cokes, aspartme is also a no-no. No wine, no prosecco, no pimms, no wine… Oh, I already said that. It was all worth it though and I do not regret any of it.

After I had my 11llb 3oz little baby, I lived on chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. I couldn’t get enough of the naughty foods – carbonara and legendary cheesecake from our local Italian, pastries, cheese toasties, BLT’s, burgers, local bakery breakfasts (it’s very dangerous living 150 yards from a bakery AND an Italian resturant!)… If you do the maths and think to yourself, wow, she must have dropped a stone of weight straight away, sadly this did not happen to me. If it did I missed it and I am truly gutted that I didn’t rejoice on the scales and throw myself a party. I kind of didn’t care either. I wanted to enjoy my baby, eat cake, drink tea and snuggle my boy.

After 3 months I thought I better tone it down a bit. This did not happen. It didn’t happen after 4 months either. By month 5 it was time to take action… I had a word with myself, I am going to be a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding and DO NOT want to be the big fat sister from England (he’s getting married to a lovely Aussie girl in Brisbane, Australia). With this in mind, I joined the local gym. A fancy “David Lloyd” gym no less. It’s 1 mile down the road, it has a creche, it serves Costa coffee AND wait for it, it serves alcohol. It also has a million classes I can attend because I am so lazy when it comes to the gym (I need someone to shout at me so I actually do something). I’ve since worked out that it has controversially been named “David Lloyd BEACONSFIELD” even though it is clearly in the beautiful village of Wooburn Green (where I live). This has caused major upset (seriously, google it) but in truth, if I had a business and had the choice Beaconsfield would win hands down… It’s also controversially changing from an Adult only gym to a Family gym. Bonus for me! Ed will be ‘allowed’, this is also causing major upset. Change seems to be the problem. Embrace it I say.

Back to the point of my post. It’s a bit daunting a) being active after a C Section, as horrible as it sounds there is a small percentage of you that thinks your belly is going to pop open at any given point, b) exposing one’s body to the world after having a baby, no explanation required and c) being the new girl in a gym where there are lots of ‘amazing’ healthy beautiful people who don’t have an ounce of body fat on them wearing super cool snakeskin lycra leggings and funky trainers. Instead of shying away from it all I’ve embraced it, after all, that IS the reason why I joined. I want to be fit and healthy again. Thankfully I am tall and can get away with a lot… but there comes a time when you just want to feel good and become ‘normal’ again. Don’t get me wrong, I am still eating cakes and drinking coffees. That’s the only things new mum’s do hey? (That is seriously a JOKE). I just feel much happier now because I’ve earned my cake.  It’s all in my mind!

I’ve been to Zumba for the first time and worked out I have no co-ordination. I’ve also worked out that rocking out steps 30 seconds behind everyone else by the glass see-through door is not clever. Lesson 1 – back of the class, hidden in the corner, don’t try and be brave until you know the routine. Stay away from the front. It was fun though and I did enjoy it. Whatever the instructor had taken before teaching the class deserves to be bottled and sold. I for one would bulk buy. I’m sure she’s just high on life though, you’d need to be to be a fitness instructor in my eyes.

I walked into a class called BodyPump thinking it would be aerobic based. Silly me. It was not. I actually can say that I “pumped some iron”. It was a comedy moment for a split second. A few of the members saw my face and said that I’d be able to do it, give it a try , don’t worry etc… so there I was with an iron bar with a 1kg weight on each side. I did it even though I was tempted to run a mile! Lesson 2 – read what the class is before you sign up.

Aerobics is the class that made me laugh the most. High energy, jumping all over the place, music blaring out, full class, amazing bodies, a routine that would blow your mind (it’s the turning around and ‘travelling’ that does me in). Everyone is in time except me. Everyone knew all the moves except me. Then… the instructor shouted out shall we get the HULA HOOPS? Ooooh, I thought. Hula Hoops. Yum. Oh how wrong was I. She meant ACTUAL Hula Hoops. Cue my worst nightmare. I am not even going to describe what happened next. Let’s just say, just because you could do something really well at 8 years old does not in anyway shape or form mean you can do it when you are older. It doesn’t help when some of the ladies were hooping with 3 hula hoops. They are my heroes! Lesson 3 – don’t think of eating crisps when exercising. On the positive side, I did manage a few hula’s after about 10 mins of trying. And the instructor gave me a well done ‘nod’. Proud of myself or what.

I am not sure this will work, but I saw this video on Facebook.

It. Is. Me.

Give me a few months. I’m determined. I’ll be queen of the hula hoops, I’ll be ripping out the routines and doing back to back classes (yes, this actually happens, people do do this) before I know it. In the meantime, for those wondering if I put little Edward in the creche, don’t go to the gym so I can drink wine – I don’t. That would be wrong. The creche is only open until 1pm anyway. There is however, my local pub on the way home for that and as they say, it’s after 5pm somewhere in the world!