The smile that melts my heart

I remember back when you were two months old and you began smiling, that first responsive smile absolutely melted my heart and I remember welling up. You Daddy recorded the moment on my phone and you can hear my voice breaking as I am talking to you because you were smiling back at me as I spoke. I will remember that moment forever. 

We are so lucky because you are such a smiley, happy baby. We just have to look at you and you reward us with a big beautiful smile. You are now 5 1/2 months old and my heart still melts every single time you smile at me, I don't think that feeling will ever wear off.  

Every morning I wake up to a big cheesy grin and it is literally the best way to start every morning. I love you so much Noah, keep those smiles coming! 

Dealing with stranger anxiety

I'd heard of stranger anxiety long before I had my own child. I always assumed the children that suffered with it hadn't been socialised enough. Now I have Noah and he is going through it I now realise how presumptuous and untrue that opinion was. 

They say stranger anxiety develops from around 6-12months old but Noah started showing signs as young as 3 months old. We could be at someone's house and he would be fine sat on someone else's knee. He would be smiling and babbling away and then the next minute be screaming hysterically. Red in the face, tears streaming, the works. As soon as he was back in my arms he would instantly stop crying and nuzzle into me. When it first started I found it very upsetting and I didn't know what to do. 

As time went on he would have days were he wasn't so bad and we would think he was overcoming it but then the next day it would be back to square one, if not worse. It has made socialising with other people a struggle and a constant worry as I am always thinking "Please don't cry, please don't cry". It's so difficult cause I don't want Noah to become upset but at the same time feel awful for the family members who are just trying to bond with him and all he wants to do is cry. It's also hard because family and friends aren't getting to see the real Noah. They see him upset and stressed. I once had a comment on how he is "whiny" he is which really got to me as he isn't at all, they just see his anxiety. That isn't who Noah is, he is such a happy and easy going baby who is really coming into his own at the moment. I think that Noah also picks up on that negativity and that can make everything worse.  

When the stranger anxiety begun my Mum would often keep him in her arms whilst he cried and at the time I didn't like it. I wanted to comfort him myself but in the long run this was the best thing as he is now fine with her. My Mum is one of the only people Noah is fully comfortable with other than Nick and myself but it took a while to get there. 

After reading up on stranger anxiety and receiving great advice from fellow Mummies I have found it has really helped. I feel confident now I know why Noah is crying and have learnt some things that can help in different social situations.

- Keep the TV on. This helps us so much as having a little bit of background noise seems to help ease Noah. If everything is silent and then there are people being loud or brash and in his face then he is going to have a meltdown. 

- Sitting on my knee. This eases Noah into these different social situations and new faces. Once he is comfortable and smiling I know he is feeling happy. He then usually feels confident enough to be in the arms of others.

- Toys. Having toys to keep Noah entertained helps him feel calm and cheerful. They are also great as it's a way for others to be able to bond with Noah and helps him warm up to them. 

I think the term "stranger anxiety" is a bit misleading as it's not only occurs with strangers but it can be with family members too. The term also makes it harder to explain to relatives because as soon as you mention "stranger" it can upset them as they aren't strangers at all. 

At the moment Noah is doing really well and has a few days where he has been great with other people and hardly cried at all. We are staying optimistic but we know that it could all change. 

Did your child suffer with stranger anxiety? Do you have any tips you would like to share?

First afternoon apart

Today has been a first for Noah and I, it's our first afternoon apart. The longest I have ever spent away from him was when Nick and I went to see the Hobbit a few months back and we were both itching to get back to him half way through the film. 

My Mum comes to visit us on one of her days off work every week. She doesn't drive and lives a couple of towns away so when she does visit she has to take at least two different modes of transport to get to us. That's dedication. She does it every week, rain or shine. Then Nick and I take Noah round on her other day off, so she see's him twice a week. But each time she see's him he is with me and she hasn't had much quality time, just the two of them.  

She came today as usual and lightheartedly said to Noah "I'd love to take you back home for the afternoon, but your Mum won't let me." I looked at him sat on her lap smiling up at her and said "You can if you want." I didn't have to say it twice. The look on her face, I'd made her day. It wasn't planned and a spur of the moment thing and I am glad that we did it. 

Noah is currently suffering with stranger anxiety (which I will be blogging about soon) and my Mum is one of the only people he is fully okay with. He did used to cry with her too but she persisted with him, didn't let it put her off and now he is smitten with her. I wouldn't of let her take him for the afternoon if he wasn't. 

I got all his things ready and she didn't waste anytime, they were off. I did feel a little strange packing his nappy bag up knowing I wasn't going with him but it was only for a few hours. 

My Mum has been keeping me updated with everything they have been doing and has been sending me lots of photo's. She's taken him on the train, took him shopping, went on a walk and went to feed the ducks with him. The train and feeding the ducks are a first for Noah. Here are some of the photo's she has sent me-

I should of spent my free time relaxing but instead I spent the day cooking and bleaching the kitchen! He is currently with my Mum whilst I am writing this post but once I click post we are setting off to pick him up! I'm so excited to see him! 

How old was your little one when you first spent time apart? 

Review: Organic Bambino Boutique

I've said it once and I will say it again, us new Mum's are always looking for fab new brands and companies to support and indulge in and Organic Bambino Boutique are one of my most recent finds. 

Organic Bambino Boutique is a family run business that was started after one gorgeous baby boy was born. Rachel, the founder of Organic Bambino Boutique loved dressing him in bright, bold and colourful clothing and struggled to find what she was looking for here in the UK. Her family had recently emigrated to Australia and were sending clothes over for the new baby and she was very impressed with the different styles and quality of clothing. She didn't want to have to rely on packages from the other side of the world and decided to source and sell them herself and so Organic Bambino Boutique was born! They aim to offer unique and different designer and organic clothing from all over the globe.

Noah was sent the Alfie Playsuit from the Green Nippers collection to review. At first glance, it wasn't something I would of bought Noah but I liked that as I always open to trying new things. It is 100% organic cotton and I was so impressed with the quality of it. Noah comfortably played all afternoon in the playsuit and I felt good knowing he had something so soft against his skin whilst he was wriggling about. 

We was also sent a bandana bib from the Funky Giraffe range. This is a brand I have heard of before and I was happy to see the collection on the website. The price is insanely cheap for a bib that is so well made. It is top quality and comes in countless different designs. I will be stocking up on these bibs as Noah is constantly dribbling at the minute and they are currently just £2 each.   

Noah and I are very impressed and we love Organic Bambino Boutique. Make sure to check out the blog and the website as they are always adding to their collection and as it is a boutique, once it's gone it likely gone! 

My mini me

Back in October while I was pregnant I wrote a post called "Daddy's double or Mini Mummy" because throughout my pregnancy I was always wondering who our baby would resemble. For the entire nine months I was trying to imagine his face inside my tummy. He had a name for nine months and I so wanted to put a face to that name.

When Noah was born everyone commented on how much he looked like Nick. We even nicknamed him Nick Jnr or NJ as he really was Nick's double. Now as he is getting older he is really starting to look like me when I was a baby. I think the resemblance is uncanny but I may be biased because I secretly wanted him to look more like me. Why is that? Why do we like it when people say our children look like us and actually feel a little hurt when they say they don't. Or is that just me? 

What do you think? Is Noah a Mini Mummy? I think so!  

Review: Your Image 2 Canvas

If you know me at all you will know my love for photography. There isn't a day that goes by without me taking two dozen photo's, mainly of my Son. Whether it be on my iPhone or with my Nikon DSLR, there's always some sort of camera at hand. When Your Image 2 Canvas contacted me asking if I would like to review one of their canvas prints I was more than happy to oblige.

I knew that I wanted a canvas of Noah, that was a given. But which one do I use? I have thousands! I absolutely adore the photo that I chose of Noah and I. It was taken on my iPhone and isn't the best quality image but I love the photo that much that I decided to go ahead and use it. 

I simply selected the image I wanted and the rest was out of my hands. I didn't have to order it myself as they did that for me but I decided to take a look on their website anyway so I could post my opinion. I found the site very straight forward and easy to use. There are numerous different canvas options available from sizes, depth, finish. I was excited to see which my canvas would be, it was like a lucky dip!

Here is what makes Your Image 2 Canvas better the rest;
• 100% pure cotton white canvas

• Printed at 1440 dpi 
• FREE UK 24 hour delivery
• Handcrafted pine frames
• Price match promise – They will beat any other quote by 10%
• Same day despatch (orders before 3pm will be delivered the following working day) *Monday to Thursday
• No hidden extras! The price you see is the price you pay (all prices already include VAT)
• Genuine Epson Inks guaranteed not to fade for 75 years

I absolutely love the canvas! Even though I sent them a poor quality image they made it look the best they could and I am impressed. It is currently up in Noah's nursery but as we are moving house shortly who knows which room it will end up in. One thing is for sure it would look perfect in any room. I was extremely happy with the service and product and I wouldn't hesitate
 in recommending Your Image 2 Canvas to everyone!

Our family walks

One of our favourite things to do as a family is to simply go on long walks together. It's good to get out stretch our legs, get a bit of fresh air, enjoy the scenery and to just spend quality time with one another. Our favourite place to do this is at Townley Park which is right behind the house that we are about to buy. It was one of the factors that made us want the house even more, having this beautiful park and forest right on our doorstep. Yesterday we went on a walk through Townley park, up into the forest and took a few photo's a long the way. I thought I would share some of my favourite shots from the day. 

What is your favourite thing to do as a family? Do you enjoy going on family walks? 

Noah makes art

I would like to say I am an artistic person but that would be lying. I have always enjoyed drawing, painting, and creating but that doesn't mean I am any good at it! Photography is my creative medium and I will stick to that. Stick to what I know. 

Lately, I have been seeing lots of photos of babies of a similar age to Noah enjoying a spot of "messy play". Initially, the thought of a baby and paint left me feeling very apprehensive. I imagined thick staining paint all over my child, his fingers in his mouth, paint all over the sofa, and so on. I was reassured by other Mum's that there's nothing to worry about as long as I pick up the child safe, nontoxic paints. They were right, it simply washes off with a baby wipe and I didn't have to worry about any going into Noah's mouth! 

We picked up a pack of finger paints, coloured card, felt tip pens, and paintbrushes this weekend. The Works has a brilliant range of arts and crafts supplies for all age groups. We decided to embrace the mess and go for it! Noah was going to experience paint for the very first time and create some Easter cards. 

I made sure I caught Noah in a good mood and stripped him down into his vest. He sat waiting in his swing, paintbrush ready whilst I prepared everything. Large plastic mat on the floor, paints open, jug of water, paintbrushes out, card folded, we were ready to go!

Nick kept a firm grip on him while I painted his hands and got the card ready. He wasn't really phased by having his hands/feet painted and was fascinated with the bright coloured card.

I let him explore the card with his painted hands but he wouldn't just touch the card he wanted to take it out my hand and waft it around! I also attempted to get hand and feet prints from him, which every parent knows is easier than it sounds! 

I had folded 10 pieces of card to make into Easter cards for our family. About 4 cards in and Noah was getting a little fed up. He wasn't unhappy but I could tell he was getting a little frustrated. The paint had begun drying on him so I doubt it felt nice. Still, he carried on and he created ten messy pieces of art. 

I was going to write "Happy Easter" on the front of the cards or draw on a chick or bunny but decided to leave them as they were cause although they just look like messy splodges to others they are pretty special to me. They are Noah's first paintings! I put two aside for myself, one went straight into his memory box and another I am framing!  

If you are thinking of having a play with paints with your little one then I urge you to. Not only is it fun but you are also creating lovely keepsakes. I can't wait until Noah is older and we can dig the paints out again and have crafty afternoons with one another. I would love Noah to have a creative side and enjoy arts and crafts just as I did when I was a child.  

Noah's first Easter

The past couple of days have been so much fun, I've loved every second! Nick has been off work with us for the bank holiday and Easter weekend and we have taken full advantage of the extra family time! 

On Good Friday we took Noah to the zoo for the very first time. It was a lovely sunny but awfully busy day! We can't wait to take him back when he is a little older so he is able to enjoy it more. 

Saturday we introduced Noah to paints and made some beautifully messy Easter cards (which I will be blogging all about soon). We then spent the afternoon at the park with Noah's Auntie, Uncle and Cousin which he loved! 

Easter Sunday we got up and I gave Noah his Easter present which was a cute bunny teddy in a basket. I had intended on making him an Easter basket but thought he was too young but by the time I realised I could make one suitable for his age it was too late. I was trawling through dozens of shops in town and there was hardly anything left. Next year I will have to make an extra special one as I love the whole occasion gift basket traditions that I've seen so many people do.

We then spent the afternoon visiting my Dad, his partner and my two brothers for a catch up. They had bought him a lovely teddy bear for Easter which Noah instantly took a liking to as he loves his cuddly toys. Then it was off to my Mum's for tea with my other brother and sister. My Mum was a bit unconventionally and made us a curry for a tea, which was delicious! My Mum had bought him some Easter gifts too, books and a teddy! He's a very lucky boy. 

Today we have had a rather chilled out day in comparison to the past couple of days. The three of us had a lie in till around 10am and then we relaxed at home till after lunch time. We went on a lovely family walk in the woods. I took my DSLR and got some snaps too (which I will also be blogging about). 

Who knows what we will be up to tomorrow! We are thinking of going somewhere on a day out though as it will be Nick's last day off before he has to return to work but I would be equally happy having a lazy day with his busy we've been lately! 

What have you guys been up to over the Easter break? 

Noah went to the Zoo

Yesterday Noah had his very first zoo experience! 

Both Nick and I are huge animal lovers and as parent's we aim to teach Noah how to love, care and respect animals too. He is already showing such fascination for our cats and he always smiles when he see's them. He's a little David Attenbourough in the making! 

As an animal lover I have a split opinion on zoo's. On one hand it is cruel to see these wild animals in captivity but on the other some of the animals are endangered and zoo's play a part in their conservation.

It was such a sunny and busy day at the zoo when we got there, it was chaos! Trust us to decide to go in half term and on a bank holiday. We don't have a parasol for the pram yet so whenever the sun shone on Noah's face he would squirm around and whine. It was a constant battle trying to find shade, make sure the sun was no where near him all while dashing out the way of people with the pram. 

We had a lovely long walk around the whole zoo and saw countless animals. My favourites being the Lemurs! They were so adorable. They are in a walk in enclosure so they were bouncing all around us. A couple of them jumped on the fence beside us and one of them put their hand on the handle of the pram! I was stroking them too as I didn't realise it wasn't allowed! They were such tame, playful and beautiful animals. 

After we visited all the animals we went to a sea lion show. It's amazing to see how intelligent they are. It made me envy the zoo keepers and trainers, how much of an amazing job would that be? We can't wait to go again when Noah is a little older and will be able to enjoy it more. 

We had a sit down in the park before we left and Noah had his dinner in his pram, dining Al Fresco! We then bought Noah some souvineers; a monkey teddy, tiger rattle and a flask with his name on it and headed home. It was one lovely, sunny, animal filled day! 

Slimming World - 1 stone lighter

Another New Years Resolution of mine was to lose weight. I had put weight on before becoming pregnant then put weight on whilst being pregnant and even more so after Noah was born. In those newborn days we were eating a lot of takeaways and having naughty treats as we didn't have the time to cook so the weight pilled on. I have around 3 stone to lose.

I chose Slimming World to help me on my weight lost journey and I love it! I am now 8 weeks in and I have finally lost my first stone! 14lbs! I am so happy! I feel so much better in myself, healthier and happier. I've had good days and bad but I have on a whole been strict with myself and know I need to stick at it otherwise I won't shift all this baby blubber.

I have tried other diets in the past but soon lost all motivation a couple of weeks later and then quit. I found myself bored, hungry and felt it wasn't worth it. This hasn't happened with Slimming World. I am never hungry and it's easy to mix up your eating plan each day to keep it interesting. You can also have treats too which you syn. I like that you can still have chocolate, crisps, bread, cake as long as it is within your daily syn allowance. I think that is where I have gone wrong in the past, I have done diets where you can't have them. I need my treats! 

Slimming World isn't really a diet, it changes the way you look at food and makes you think about the food choices you make. My diet is a lot more balanced now. As you cook most meals from scratch I feel like I have become better at cooking too, which is a win win. 

If you are thinking of losing weight then I couldn't rate Slimming World high enough. I am aiming to lose another stone before the end of May as I have a wedding coming up and want to look my best. If you have any questions about Slimming World or what to join me on my journey then I am just a comment or tweet away!