Wednesday 27 September 2017

Archer's 16 Week Update

Archer is 16 weeks old (as of the 22nd September)! I don't know why but it feels like this was the week when Isla properly became her own little person- and it's definitely ringing true with Archer too. He's changed so much over the last week or so- he's seeming less of a tiny baby and more of a little person gearing up and getting ready to take on the world.

Weight: Currently unknown (over 14lbs)

Clothing size: Up to 3 months, unless there are feet attached. Long and skinny still.

New this week: Laughing, cooing and yelling literally non stop as if he's chatting away, kissy noises with his mouth, outgrown the newborn bath seat, having an actual bed time before mummy and daddy.

Likes: Splashing legs in the bath, trying out the Jumperoo, stuffing everything into his mouth that he can, sleeping with a stinky muslin on his face

Dislikes: Watching everyone eating food without him (his sister was the same and an early weaner at 4 months!), getting stuck on his side when trying to roll, going to sleep in his own bed

Mummy & baby product shout out this week: Archer is getting to the stage where he wants to be moving around but can't because he has a massive head and hasn't learnt to roll both ways yet...this means when he's on his back for too long he gets super crabby, and I can't hold him sitting up all day as I'd never get anything done- so we've been sticking him in his Fisher Price Sit Me Up Chair for small periods of time (he has the perfect head control for it). He is so much happier when he can sit up and watch his sister play, and it gets him off the floor for a bit when I need to hoover or eat!

What did you do once your little ones started to hate being immobile? 

Archer's next update will be at 20 weeks!

Steph xo

Halloween Crafts- Toddler Friendly Activities

Did someone say Halloween?! Yes it is only September- there's actually over a month before Halloween hits us (although the shops would think it was Halloween as soon as the summer ranges left the shelves) but it's my favourite holiday so I just couldn't resist getting Isla into it a bit.

We've simply taken a bunch of old bits from our arts and crafts box- straws, pom poms, lolly pop sticks, foam shapes, googly eyes and glitter- and used them to make these spooky monster puppets and pom pom spiders.

Both crafts take less than 25 minutes (not including drying time) and there's no real directions to follow. I just encouraged Isla to copy me and try out each stage of putting bits together while talking about all the things we will do for Halloween to get her in the spirit.

Using the small googly eyes and small grains of glitter are also great ways of helping strengthen the fine motor skills and pincer grip. You can also ask a lot of questions to get your child thinking while they create e.g. "What colour are you using?" "Which eyes are the biggest?"

What spooky activities are you going to be trying out before Halloween? Let us know!

Steph xo

Thursday 14 September 2017

What They Wore- September Weeks 1-2

It's definitely started to get cooler the past few weeks so we've pulled out a lot of warmer items. I've also realised in the past week or so that Isla mostly owns shorts and dresses in her current size. They were all she wore when potty training and she gets so hot so fast as well- definitely need to invest in some more tights and thicker leggings for the coming months.

Here's my outfit highlights for Isla and Archer over the last two weeks!


This pinafore dress was gifted to us by Isla's great grandma. It's from next. I honestly wouldn't have thought myself to buy something this style, but it's such a nice heavy material, perfect for layering over the colder months and it does look adorable on her.

This dress is from Tu clothing and is a lovely warm cotton. Not too thick so it's also perfect for layering with a cardigan and some thick tights as it gets colder.


Blast off! I absolutely adore this set from F&F Clothing. The bottoms and top came together and honestly monochrome is my favourite aesthetic. I love the bold design!

This is another outfit from F&F Clothing. A gorgeous modern 3-piece with robots all over. Matching outfits really are the best on babies right?

The final outfit for Archer really embodies the weather in the UK at the moment and sends off some proper Autumn vibes. Who doesn't love a proper cosy jumper on a cold morning...!

Are you looking forward to comfy cosy clothes now it's getting colder? Let me know what your favourite thing is to wear on a cold morning!

Steph xo

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Painting with Straws- Toddler Friendly Activities

Painting is always a big hit in our house. It's a fantastic activity for children who love to get messy, and can be used in educational setting as well. It encourages the exploration of colour, fine motor skills when holding brushes and it's a great sensory activity if you let your little one get their hands involved.

I decided recently to do something new with Isla and let her try painting with straws.

To begin we combined bubble mix and paint- the resulting fluid can be quite watery however so we added in a good dollop of PVA glue to keep it thick and make an interesting texture. Then I handed Isla the straws, ensured she knew not to drink through them and let her go to town!

There is no set method and it is always good to let your child lead- I feel like hovering and instructing too much would discourage them from using their imagination. 

When you blow bubbles with the paint mix, they pop and create a fantastic splat effect on the paper. Blowing bubbles with the paint through the straw also helps to develop oral motor strength which helps to aid pronunciation and speech skills.

Isla also really enjoyed scribbling through the paint with the straw as it made a scratchy effect, blowing bubbles and blowing the paint already on the paper.

We talked a lot about what colours we were using and what happened to the paint when we tried different things- flicking, blowing bubbles, dotting onto the paper and mixing with the colours together. You can encourage them to understand their understanding of cause and affect by asking lots of questions e.g. "What do you think will happen if we blow the pink into the green?" and letting them test it for themselves before answering.

It was a lovely way of adding in some new skills and learning different ways to put paint to paper.

We also found that because we had used PVA glue as a thickener, Isla had a cool colourful layer dried on her hand which she really enjoyed pealing off- it fascinated her.

How do you like to shake up a simple activity like painting? Let us know!

Steph xo

Tuesday 12 September 2017

What's in my Changing Bag- Baby & Toddler Edition

Now that I'm a mum of two, my changing bag has reverted back from a backpack full of snacks and a few nappies (when it was just Isla) to a whole sack of "just in case" items and "you never know" essentials.

Since there is a risk of either child ruining their clothes/needing the toilet/being hungry at any moment, I like to ensure I have something for all occurrences and keep the bag ready to go so I don't have to do the mad scrabble before we leave.

I got my bag off of Amazon- a brand called Kidzzone- and it looks close enough to handbag to still be fashionable, with a lovely waterproof inside and lots of pockets to lose biscuit crumbs in.

For the toddler:
  • Spill Proof Cup: We use both the Nuby variety and the Munchkin 360
  • Snacks: For nutrition and bribery purposes
  • Spare pants and shorts/trousers: Potty training has gone well, but we still like to prepare for an accident just in case
  • Spare outfit: Because you never know
  • Fold up raincoat: If it's cold, Isla will wear a coat out but I like to keep something waterproof handy in case she isn't under the raincover on the pram
  • Sun cream: This is for the baby too, to keep them both protected
  • Sunglasses: For the rare sunny day
  • Toys: We usually have a handful of cheap toys that Isla can fiddle with if she is stuck in the pram for a long time
  • Plasters: Isla is a little bruiser and scrapes her knee every other day

For the baby:
  • Nappies: I try to keep at least 5 in here for a day out, around one an hour and a half although he rarely needs changing that often
  • Wipes: helpful for both the toddler and baby, for everything from bums to hands to wiping tables
  • Nappy Cream: We use most brands, but at the moment we're using E45
  • Muslin Clothes: For spit up, dribble, and Archer loves them to snuggle as he falls asleep. Also good as a cover for breastfeeding if it's windy or I want to cover up a bit
  • Spare Outfit (x2): For the inevitable poo or puke explosions
  • Spare dummy: Archer can shoot a dummy two metres through a crowded area, never to be seen again. 
  • Sun & Winter hats: I keep both handy because British weather is ridiculous and unpredictable
  • Coat: An easy to add layer if it gets cooler
  • Nappy Bags: Great for stuffing dirty nappies in till you find a bin, and also to use as wet bags to bring home any soiled clothes or toys
  • Travel Changing Mat: For if we can't find a baby change- any surface becomes suitable or cleaner at least

For mummy:
  • Purse
  • Hand santiizer
  • Reusable breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Snack
  • Sterilising anti-bac surface wipes
What's in your changing bag? If you have anything you can't live without let me know!

Steph xo

Monday 11 September 2017

A Letter from Mummy at 100 Days Old

10th September 2017- 100 Days Old.


How can it be, that a hundred days with you feel like a thousand or more? It's like you've always been here. Always been staring up at your sister with fascination, or babbling away to daddy or snuggling close to me in your dreams.

I'll admit that after Isla was born, I was worried I wouldn't be able to love another little baby as much as I love her, but I do. I love you more than I ever have imagined or hoped. So does your daddy. So does your sister.

You're already such a sweet little boy, and oh so cheeky. I am so excited to see what you become over the years to come. I'm ever so proud to be your mummy.

It's been a whirlwind since you were born. There have been a lot of tears from everyone (mostly me) and a lot of laughter. You have changed our lives so much, but I don't ever want to look back.

I feel so blessed to have you. Thank you for the last 100 days, and here's to a lifetime more.

Mummy x


Friday 8 September 2017

Toddler Holiday Essentials- What's in Isla's suitcase

I know that summer is basically over, but because of the cost increases in the school holidays we usually go on our holiday after the children go back at the start of September. This does mean unless we get a rare hot September, our holiday is cooler (and as we holiday within the UK it's often wet), but the resorts are always much quieter which is great if you've got toddlers or very young children.

We're off on holiday in the next months, so I'm sharing my essentials you should pack for a toddler, and what's in Isla's suitcase.


We are going away for a week in Autumn so we will be taking outfits where layers can easily be added and taken away for the changing temperatures. I always pack for the possibility of an outfit change a day (potty training toddlers are unpredictable) but don't over pack more than this- if she were to need more, there are always shops around.

Just in case it is sunny, we're taking sun hats for good measure to keep her protected!

  • Huggies Swim Nappies. Isla is potty trained in awake times but all that exercise and time in the pool.. I'd rather play it safe and I love the Huggies swim nappies- we've never to this day had a leak with them.
  • Swim ring & Armbands. Previous years, Isla has had one of those inflatable seats or been limited to our arms but we find that with a ring and arm bands she can swim freely without being held. The armbands stop her slipping through the ring so with supervision we are confident she is safe.
  • Beach Ball. Even in an indoor pool, it isn't a proper holiday without one!
  • Swimming Costume (and a spare just in case!)
  • Mess free colouring (so she doesn't stain anything where we stay or in the car)
  • Snacks
  • Spill free cup (Nuby and Munchkin have some trustworthy options that wont flood your car or aeroplane seat)
  • Travel Potty, for the inevitable stop
  • Travel Potty Seat. Isla is dry in the day so we will need this for in the caravan and about the town.
  • Sun cream. Even on cloudy days she will need protecting as we are outside most of the day.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Shower Gel
  • Night nappies
  • Talc (Throw it at them after being on the beach and the wet sand dries up and drops off!)
Do you think there's anything we've forgotten? We will of course be taking a few toys but will 
probably be too busy to stop and play!

Let me know what else you'd take in the comments!


Thursday 7 September 2017

Hyperemesis Gravidarum- My Experience

It's a condition you've probably seen plastered all over the news this week following the Duchess of Cambridge announcing her third pregnancy. For the third time, she is suffering with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a condition I suffered with during my second pregnancy.

If you have seen it in the news, there's no doubt you've seen this condition referred to as "extreme morning sickness". I need to say now that this is a ridiculous expression and the condition is nowhere near comparable to morning sickness of any sort. It is a serious and dangerous condition that resulted me being on IV's and heavy medication in an attempt to keep my body from drying up completely from dehydration, that thousands of women suffer with in silence.

When I was pregnant with Isla, I did not throw up even once. Slap my back and applaud, I was kicking pregnancy's ass. My second pregnancy, with Archer however, was a different story.

It all began in the early weeks when our household was hit with norovirus. Everyone seemed to get better after 2-3 days and stop throwing up except for me. I assumed it was morning sickness, except it was all day, dozens of times an hour. I would throw up until I was choking on nothing as there was nothing to come out. I couldn't keep anything down, and even imagining being sick would lead me to run to the bathroom.

Smells would set me off- something common in pregnancy... but even thinking about a smell again would have me running to the bathroom. I would wake up feeling dry- my skin felt dry, my mouth was dry, my eyes burnt. I ended up being so so often that I had to have IV fluids to top myself up. I was taking sickness pills that left me in a zombie like state as a side effect, but I had no choice.

I couldn't look after myself from exhaustion, or look after Isla. I regularly had to leave work as a result of the sickness. I was told morning sickness generally staves off around 14 weeks, but this continued into the third trimester. I would faint from exhaustion, often in public places.

By 30 weeks pregnant, I had gained no weight. I was actually lighter than when I had fallen pregnant due to the excessive weight loss caused by throwing up! My bump continued to grow perfectly though thankfully.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is far from "extreme morning sickness". It is a lonely, crippling condition that I would not wish on anyone. It left me wishing away my pregnancy. Lots of people kept telling me it was normal and that I'd chosen to be pregnant so had to deal with it but this really isn't the case.

I hope that anyone suffering gets the help and support they need- ask relatives and friends if you need something, make sure the GP and midwives take you seriously, and don't let anyone brush it off as just a normal part of pregnancy. There are also some fantastic support groups you can find online and on Facebook and in most communities.

Did you or anyone you know suffer with HG? Share your story- I'd love to hear it.

Steph xo

My Random Musings

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Three Months Postpartum- Baby #2

Three months out! That means we're out of the fabled fourth trimester, where baby is all floppy and helpless and their instinct to not be abandoned means they shriek and cling to you for 12 weeks...

It also means I'm finally starting to feel a bit more myself and a bit more human. I'm not fully there, but it's a start and I'm definitely trying to be more patient as Archer is my second baby (although I didn't even come close to bouncing back with my first either).

Weight: I only gained 3lbs in my pregnancy as I suffered with Hyperememis Gravidarum (HG). I was still overweight to begin with though as I never lost my baby weight from Isla. I am now at 12st7 meaning I have lost 17lbs since Archer was born.

Mobility: I spent the end of my pregnancy wheelchair bound due to severe SPD (you can read about this here). My hip and pelvis still ache if I walk too far in a day and I end up limping but I'm able to get about if I take it easy which is a big improvement.

Body: I still feel pretty huge despite the weight loss. I'm smaller than I have been for two years following my 5 stone weight gain with Isla's pregnancy, but I'm not happy. I'm soft all over despite being smaller so clothes are fitting quite weird. My breasts have gotten pretty huge from breastfeeding too so I'm struggling to find anything to wear that suits them. I think a lot of it is just poor body image which is something I've always had an issue with.

Mentally: For the first few months, I did suffer with PND (post natal depression). I talked to a lot of people and this has improved, but I'm still feeling up and down. The really bad days are mostly due to my body image and how I see myself. I've dyed my hair recently which helped as I've decided to stop trying to look like "mum" and just be myself, but it's weight loss that will make me feel better I'm sure. I feel pretty burnt out when both children have a bad day and I do get stressed the day after a bad night, but at three months out it's really improving.

How were you feeling three months out?

Steph xo


Sunday 3 September 2017

Pregnancy: Why I had to be induced early

My first pregnancy with Isla, besides her attempt to be born at 31 weeks, was fairly smooth sailing. I did not have any morning sickness- not even once, I did not suffer too much with aches and pains and besides a little period of low blood pressure I was feeling fine physically for the most part.

With this in mind, I expected my second pregnancy to go as smooth, if not better, as I'd been giving the false impression that the second one is always easier. I was sorely mistaken. 

I am fully aware every pregnancy is different, but I never imagined myself unable to gain any weight, or wheelchair bound and dosing on Tramadol while injecting myself with blood thinners. With all this, I had to be induced 3 weeks early.

I suffered early on with morning sickness- except not just in the morning or a particular time of day. The sickness seemed to be hitting all day and even as a result of sipping water. After a week of it getting particularly bad I ended up in A&E. I'd woken up feeling DRY. That sounds silly, but I felt like I had heat stroke, my wee was brown and I was really dehydrated. I was given IV fluids and kept in for observations before being sent home with sickness tablets. 

The tablets made me feel like a zombie, and they didn't stop me being sick fully. I was told I was suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum. To put it into perspective, by 30 weeks pregnant, I was 4lbs UNDER my start weight at 4 weeks pregnant. My baby was growing perfectly, but I had lost so much weight that even with my fluids, the baby and the weight of my placenta I was in negative numbers.

The sickness kept me moderately house bound, however around 28 weeks pregnant I noticed I was beginning to ache around my hips and pelvis and leaving the house was a slow painful process. I'd intended to work until 34 weeks, but by 30 weeks I found my 5 minute walk to work had turned in 20 minutes and I would be barely able to walk for the rest of the day.

My pelvis had misaligned due to a severe acute case of SPD. I jumped from walking with a limp and aches, to needing crutches, and within 2 weeks of me noticing it, I was in a wheelchair for any journey further than 1 minute. I was having to take Tramadol up to four times a day- a drug so strong it is not recommended for pregnancy and is highly addictive. I was also having to inject myself with blood thinners due to my lack of mobility, to avoid clotting.

The sickness, the wheelchair, the pain... it left me unable to look after myself, let alone my two year old daughter or my family and home. I couldn't cope with my mood. I was crying every day and I began to fear I was going to hate the baby as a result.

The midwife took one look at me and booked me in to see a specialist and arrange induction as early as was safe for the baby. It was not in my best interest to be pregnant anymore. The benefit for baby to stay inside was being outweighed by the drugs I was having to put in, and the affect it was having on myself and my families mental well-being.

Archer was born at 37 weeks following a two day induction, and within a few days I was able to move around the house with ease and I felt a million times better. The pain and sickness seemed to subside hours after he was born- it felt like a miracle. 

My pelvis still aches, three months out, if I walk too far or for too long. I have to remember the severity could have caused permanent damage and am still waiting for my follow up physio, so hope it goes away for good one day.

Were you induced at the end of pregnancy? Did you suffer with HG or SPD? I'd love to hear from you- let me know!

Steph xo    

Saturday 2 September 2017

What's wrong with my baby? Archer's Hernia

What's wrong with my baby? That's what I found myself asking when Archer was around a week and a half old. We had already seemed to suffer enough- with his severe tongue tie having caused re-admission and low blood sugar, to then being re-admitted again due to severe jaundice- our little man wasn't having the easiest of starts..

To then notice that his belly button stump just wasn't healing or looking normal.. it did leave me wondering if I'd done something wrong during my pregnancy to cause it all.

Archer's cord stump fell off when he was 5 days old. For some that would be considered quite soon, but Isla's came off really early too so we were sure it was fine and it started to dry and heal. It was around a week later that I noticed it seemed quite swollen and purple. When I lightly touched it, it was very soft and just didn't seem to want to dry up. If he cried, it would enlarge and I figured that must be what kept re-opening the wound.

It got bigger and bigger every day, and started to look enlarged- up to an inch sticking out of his stomach, especially when upset. After all the trouble we'd had already, I was terrified of asking the doctor or health visitors for advice, and decided to just wait until the home visit at his 2 week check instead of calling.

When the health visitor came she confirmed to me that something was wrong with Archer and I'd been right to question it. He had an umbilical hernia.

An umbilical hernia occurs when the stomach muscles do not close up where the umbilical cord was attached- usually they close up a few days after birth. Internal organs, fluids and the intestines push their way through the opening in the stomach. It is quite common in premature babies (Archer was induced 3 weeks early) and in babies of African descent.

My mind instantly became a panic of surgery, deformity and general discomfort and worry as it was all explained to me. I was told to look out for signs of strangulation- where the hole closes fully or partially and some of his organs get stuck inside and cut off from circulation- and encouraged to push it in and out with each nappy change.

The GP confirmed it all for us at Archer's 8 week check up, and told us that surgery wouldn't be considered unless he still had it past 3 or 4 years old. We weren't given any sort of average timeline for self repair, just that anytime from 3 months to 3 years self repair could occur.

We are now 3 months out and I'm pleased to say we've noticed more and more often that Archer's belly button looks flat or slightly inverted. If I press, I can still feel the hole, and it still seems to protrude dramatically, especially when he needs to poop (kind of like an oven timer haha) and of course when he coughs or is crying it reappears.

He isn't healed, and we have no idea how long it will be this way, but thankfully as time has gone on I've stopped that crazy mummy guilt wondering if it was my fault, and accepted that he WILL get better and he isn't in pain. I'm still grossed out by the horrible noises it makes though- you can actually hear the fluids squirting in and out of the hole when he's tensing!

Have any of your little ones been diagnosed with an umbilical hernia? If they have please share your story- I'd love to hear from other mum's going through the same.

Steph xo
Hot Pink Wellingtons

Friday 1 September 2017

Toddler Favourites- August 2017

Isla is a few weeks short of being 2 and a half years old, and is deep into the phase where she knows exactly what she likes, and when she wants it (usually NOW).

Here are some of her favourite things from this month.

1. Sylvanian Families

We got Isla the Cosy Cottage starter set for her second birthday as she had shown quite an interest in role play imagination toys. Well, she has been hooked since and her collection of dolls, houses and accessories now trumps anything I'd amassed as a child. From pirate ships to school buses, she loves all of it. I've even started collecting the furniture sets which she uses in this old victorian style dolls house I've been fixing up for her.

2. PJ Masks

As much as I am pleased she is moving on from the likes of Justin's House and more baby directed TV, I can't express too much joy at her new found love for PJ Masks. I don't really understand it further than the fact she keeps smacking me with a coke bottle sword and calling herself Cat Boy... all jokes aside, she seems to get super psyched to watch this and it gives me 15 minutes of quiet to get stuff done.

3. Munchkin Apple Plates

We've been using these plates to make some cheap and simple, but super exciting toddler lunches. Isla was going through a bit of a phase where she didn't want to eat much at lunch time. I figured she was getting bored of the sandwich & snack combo. We've found using these plates and arranging different foods and presenting them in a fun way has got her motivated to eat again. You can read a whole post featuring these meals here.

4. Infacare Ultra Mild Baby Bath

It just isn't a proper bath without bubbles according to my toddler, and unless those bubbles last all the way through a hair wash, Archer dipping in and out for a quick wash, and another fifteen minutes of furious playing...well then they definitely aren't worth it. These bubbles really do what they say on the bottle and last for the entire bath. They smell lovely too which is a bonus.

If you have a toddler, share below what they're loving at the moment in the comments!

Steph xo
© Under Our Roof
Blogger Templates by pipdig