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!

 

I am the type of person that needs a project on the go. I think it is in a PA’s blood. After going public and venturing onto Twitter with Me.Wife.PA.Mum (very brave!) I soon found myself looking at posts from other PA’s, checking out networking events advertised and going through hashtags. Back in the days before Edward – when I was working – I used to get invited to so many amazing PA networking events in London. It was always difficult to get into town in time for the event so I always had to decline. The events were usually held at swanky venues, had an amazing speaker, fab goodie bags, presented a great learning opportunity but more importantly, a chance to network and meet other like-minded professionals. I absolutely LOVE my job and other PA’s will know that the majority of the time it is not what you know but it is who you know! The power of networking and knowing someone you trust who you can turn to and ask for help in our profession is invaluable. Building relationships is so important.

There ‘hatched’ BUCKS PA NETWORK… I’d like to thank Lindsay Taylor at Your Excellency for getting in touch with me and sending me her fab article To Tweet or not to Tweet….that is the question. I’d also like to thank a few other lovely Twitter contacts for advice including Matthew Want from Executive Secretary Magazine. I now really understand the power of social networking!

I’ve set up all the social media accounts I need and I’m working on a website. I’m slowly but surely making fantastic progress. A launch event is in the making – I already have several companies interested in being involved. I’ll hopefully have a launch date and venue secured in the next week or two. I am working with a fab event company who are on the case with me – (Mabrouka Events http://www.mevents.net).

Am I excited? YES.

Does this fulfil my need for a project? YES.

Am I loving the list writing and more importantly the ticking off? YES and 100% YES.

I can’t wait to meet other professionals and get this off the ground. Watch this space – part 2 to follow after a successful launch!

Over and out – a PA on maternity leave with a purpose! Sarah x

If anyone is interested in being part of the Bucks PA Network team, whether it be to help spread the word, assist at an event or become a member – please do get in touch. The current email address is BucksPANetwork@gmail.com. The same applies for local Buckinghamshire businesses who would be keen to sponsor the Network, do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Buckinghamshire PA Network

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Twitter: @BucksPANetwork

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I’ve been meaning to fill in the “baby book” but I never get any time to do it (does anyone, really and truly?). In a bid to never forget, I’ve decided to add a few landmark posts onto the blog so the moments are captured. I’m stealing a format I saw a few weeks ago, all trial and error, (and I will try to add a 1 month, 2 month and 3 month update) so here goes…

Edward Howson – Diary Blog Update

Age: 4 months

Things you love: Babyrice – you are mega hungry still and waking up at least 2 X in the night, mummy loves giving you your baby rice which you just guzzle down. You started at 14 weeks and loved it from the start. Being lifted up in the air – you love facing someone and being thrown in the air, giggles galore! Colourful scarves being draped over your face – you get a total kick out of having something draped over your face. You have the cutest gummy laugh! Your Daddy Monkey and Baby Monkey seem to be the favourite toys at the moment as well as Freddie the Firefly and Terrance the Tiger Shark.

Things you are not so keen on: Teething – your hand is in your mouth constantly now, you don’t grizzle but I can see you are in so much pain, you like to chomp on my finger and what a chomp it is. 4 month injections also rocked your world! You 100% are not keen on injections, Daddy held you this time and gave you a massive snuggle. You also hate hand dryers and properly throw a screech and turn grumpy when you hear them! When you go to throw a paddy, your lip drops and you look so dramatic. We always end up laughing at you because you look so cute!

You have been to these places: Spain – first holiday to Marbella, you were a gem, no crying on the plane and you loved the pool even though it was freezing, you had camps made for you, you slept in your tent, looked at the boats in the marina and loved walking next to the waves. You had full on attention and playtime with Daddy, Nanna and Grandad. Apart from a little (!) nappy explosion whilst out for dinner one day, family H nailed the holiday! Baby Sensory Class – you love these classes and each week you pay more and more attention to what’s going on. Puppets seem to be your favourite thing to play with. Space and Back was fab, you cried when the crinkly silver paper came out, it’s the same noise as hair driers which you also hate! Next week is the Pumpkin Patch session and I can’t wait to dress you up in a pumpkin outfit! In fact, you are going to be dressed up a lot (sorry!), you will have more than one outfit for Halloween… and don’t even start me on Christmas.

Firsts: Rolling over onto your tummy – you mastered this on holiday when I kept finding you smushed into the side of the travel sleeping tent. I could hear a shuffle shuffle shuffle, now I know you were scooching around. Lifting your head and enjoying the freedom to see – you’ve not been keen up until now, now you just love being nosy, you lift up look around for me and smile the biggest smile, manage about 20 seconds then drop down. As soon as you realise you are stuck you get frustrated and make some weird noises. You’ve also found your voice and have had some good old screeching sessions, it’s so cute to see your reaction and hear you talk.

You are eating: Baby rice everyday, lots of it too, now mainly at 5pm ish though to try and fill you up. You’ve tried carrots but you are not too fussed, sweet potato seems a hit. You are drinking 7oz of milk about 5 X a day – you wake at 8am, again at about 12pm/1pm ish, 4pm ish, then baby rice, then a bottle before bed about 7pmish. I’ve been giving you a dream feed at 11pm where you’ll have 6/7oz and when you wake at 3/4am you guzzle 7oz. I’m going to start feeding you up at lunchtime now too. You weighed in at 16lbs at 19 weeks old, up a tiny bit from 15lbs at 11 weeks – you are on the 85th percentile.

You are sleeping: You are in your own room in the big cot (19 weeks), it took a couple of nights to work out that you need to be in a sleeping bag to stop you doing cot gymnastics and that you need to be tucked in to stop you flipping over! I slept in the same room with you for a few nights to make sure you were ok too. It’s a sign of you growing up… you are growing so fast, the Moses basket and the crib never stood a chance really. You are still waking 2 X a night, I don’t mind snuggling you at all though as you are up, you down a bottle of milk,  then you go straight back to sleep – all done and dusted in 20 mins and I often get a great big smile. I kiss you a zillion times throughout the day which I know I won’t be able to do forever so I’m sneaking the kisses in! I need to start getting you to nap properly now during the day.

Other Bits: You are SUPER smiley in the morning and love a good cuddle first thing. We like to call you all sorts of names, mainly munchkin, Edwardo, Edward and Ed. We have so many snuggles, or snugs for short. I kiss you tonnes and tell you that I am going to kiss you forever and you will just have to deal with it. I sing to you and you laugh at me – your two favourite songs are: You Are My Sunshine… and also Elvis, Teddy Bear (we have them on repeat  and I still don’t know the words)! You also love the 5 Little Ducks and 5 Monkeys Jumping on the Bed song. We go mental in the kitchen and dance to the Peanut Butter Jelly song on the radio. You love your dummy but can sleep without it, you are finding your thumb every now and again which is cute as Uncle Craig used to suck his thumb! Daddy loves to give you your last bottle before bed, he loves his snuggle time with you. You’ve had a few boy’s nights in with Daddy too. You’ve had so many visitors, too many to mention – Auntie Lissa has put you to bed, Debbie has been round to look after you, Conor and Daisy love having cuddles with you and took you for a walk. We’ve had a family roast at Nanny and Grandad Howson’s house with your cousins and Uncle Lee. Auntie Jane loves cuddling you! We’ve met Auntie Suse and Auntie Janey for lunch. On holiday you saw Christine and Dave and the Lasenby family. You’ve been snuggled by Lizzy and Sarah, my Auntie Mary, your great Nanny and all the girls from the Baby Group. Auntie Mel and Isla for singsongs! Auntie Kirsty and Evie met us for the longest lunch ever and we managed to meet Laura and the gorgeous twinnies Poppy and Lottie for playtime at Whizzkidz. Nanna and Grandad snuggle you as often as they can and always sneak over to the house. Grandad loves building you secret camps and has babysat you a few times too! You are so loved, so popular and so BUSY!!!

My name is Sarah and I have a gel nail addiction.

It’s the little things that make a big difference to me. Getting my nails done is one of those little things. I feel better about myself, polished, like I’ve made an effort without even making an effort. I just can’t let it go and won’t, EVEN with a baby! I just can’t sacrifice the nails!

Thankfully I’ve found a gem of a nail salon in Wooburn Green – SERENITY. Aimee is lovely, bearing in mind I am MEGA fussy when it comes to gels, she ‘nails it’. I can even bring Eddie along with me which is a lifesaver.

Selfish? Yes – and there is nothing wrong with that every now again.

Sing

Ba Ba Black Sheep, Incy Wincy, Jack and Jill – all classic nursery rhymes, remembered from childhood, straight forward, ‘normal’. Ones I’ve got nailed. I know the tunes, I know the words and I know the hand gestures.

Fast forward to now… 2015… it’s all so confusing… I’ve been to a few baby group’s recently where there’s a spaceship song (?!?) a turtle song with bubbles (yes, real bubbles are blown around the room at the kiddies?!?), verses that have been added to said ‘classics’ above that I swear did not exist and a few others I’ve never even heard of!

So picture the scene, I rock up to the library. Go through the front door (everyone goes through the back where the buggies go, first error). I have a coffee in hand, oops, no drinks in the library, second error – duh! So… imagine me, first time mum sat in the circle with my baby that seems to fall asleep just as all the action is happening. Song-time starts with a ‘welcome’ song – never heard of it. Then we have the ‘turtle’ song – never heard of it, then another one, something zoom zoom zoom, blastoff!, never heard of it. We do have a few normal nursery rhymes where I am able to sing with gusto but what a revelation, where have these other songs come from? Turns out there’s a couple of mums from my birth group in the same boat… thank god! We just stare at each other in a confused yet embarrassed state. Finally we finish with a ‘goodbye’ song. Yes, you guessed, I’ve never heard of that either.

I’m going back to the group. I’ll master the songs. I’ll be able to sing them loud and proud karaoke style to little Ted – I know he loves my renditions of Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder (poor child), thankfully MTV is on all the time so he’s also well versed with Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and One Direction!

Off to look at YouTube nursery rhyme videos… ha ha ha.

Edward's First Trip to the Library for Songtime
Edward’s First Trip to the Library for Songtime

I have to admit that I’ve never been SO BUSY! I’ve had doctors appointments, health visitor visits, post-natal group sessions, ‘Bubbles’ play sessions, ‘Baby Massage’ lessons, lunch dates out, lunch dates in, picnic dates, copious coffee dates, injection dates, baby weigh in sessions, baby register appointments, visits from friends and family. The list goes on. and on. and on.

My CEO was demanding but he has nothing on my son! I absolutely love my job as a PA (I say ‘love’ rather than using the past tense ‘loved’ as I WILL BE GOING BACK!). It’s the perfect role for me; no day is the same, you are thrown curve balls often, you have to think on your feet, take control, be assertive, generally do a million things at once. Thankfully I am quite good at it. Motherhood seems to be drawing on the same skill set only instead of booking flights, scheduling meetings and organising events I am dealing with sterilising, bottle making, changing nappies full of types of poo I never knew existed, juggling all of the appointments listed above and trying to be a wife also.

I never understood how busy a mum could be… until now.

Thankfully I am absolutely LOVING it all. I love being busy. Apart from learning early on not to cram too much into a day and making sure I leave time to be ‘at home’ to snuggle my little man, I am having the best time and am treasuring every minute.

Signing off – Edward’s Personal Assistant.

My new BOSS.
My new BOSS.

I have been trying to set this blog up for about 2/3 months now. I thought I’d have plenty of time while I was on pre-baby maternity leave (no chance… too many snoozes, lunches and my new-found OCD’ness ‘everything must be clean, tidy and sorted out before the baby arrives’). Then I had Edward, my not so little baby (11lbs 3oz – c section in the end!) and thought I’d have loads of time. Again, no chance… having a newborn is so magically time-consuming. I’m now 4 weeks in and have managed to finally post my first post. Massive achievement. Almost as big as being up, dressed, showered and ready to walk out the door by midday! Oh how times have changed.

WHY have I set this blog up? As per my ABOUT ME page (I’ll work out how to do fancy links one day – http://wp.me/P6g44C-1) – I have always wanted to. Simple really. I have ideas I’d like to share, I’d like to look back on the journey I am about to take over the next few years and see it documented. I’ve read so many blogs which have inspired and encouraged me and I hope that I can do the same. I can’t promise I will be sending out a daily or even weekly post but I’ll do what I can, when it suits me about what I want. I’ve purposely called my blog ME.WIFE.PA.MUM so I can split things into those four categories. Wish me luck on my journey.

The first picture HAS TO BE of my little boy. Quite personal to me – but one of my proudest moments yet.

First mummy & son kiss.
First mummy & son kiss.