• Featured ImageDaily Routines – Meet Nick and Isaac

    Welcome to my blog feature where we are sharing daily routines from all types of Mums and Dads. If you have only just come across this feature you can read all about it here. I would love for you to get involved.

    Today we have Nick from Dinner By Dad and his lovely family Nikki and son Isaac. Have a read about their daily routine.

    Tell me a bit about yourself and your family…

    Hi! My name is Nick – the dad behind ‘Dinner by Dad’. I’m a first-time father to my amazing son Isaac – who, at the time of writing this, is 7 months old. My partner (Nikki) and I absolutely love being parents and wouldn’t change a single thing about our experience so far.

    We’re in the process of moving house – which is a little tricky when you’ve got a little one in tow; but we’re making it work so Isaac can have a garden to play in!

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    Are you a Stay at home parent, or working parent?

    I’m a working parent, while Nikki is currently on maternity leave (due to begin working full-time again in December). Living off one income towards the end of maternity is tough, but it’s times like these that really glue you together as a family.

    I work as an SEO Manager within the fashion industry; a really challenging role that keeps me on my toes.

    Describe your daily routine…

    Our ‘normal’ daily routine involves me heading off to work at 8am and returning at about 6pm (much better than the previous job – leaving at 7am and returning closer to 8pm!) – so I’ll take you through a typical Sunday; when we’re both at home!

    6:30-7am Our natural alarm goes off at this point – Isaac begins to sing and shout in his cot, sometimes pulling the baby monitor and slamming that around to make the worst possible noise at that time in the morning! This is a noise you can’t sleep through, so we slowly start to wake up. We normally leave Isaac to slowly wake up at this time and go and get him up at about 7am. It gives him time to have a little crawl around in his cot and perfect his singing voice!

    As soon as we head into his room, he’ll be grinning at us through the bars of his cot; so cute!

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    7:30am After a quick morning nappy change and cuddle with Mummy and Daddy, it’s time for Isaac’s first bottle of the day. If he’s being good, he’ll drain this one… but he has his awkward days! If he does drink it all, he gets something more exciting for breakfast; perhaps fruit or toast – but if he doesn’t drink it all, we mix the remaining formula milk with ready brek or weetabix (still a tasty breakfast though!).

    Isaac now has his bottles cold (well, room temperature) – which is so much more convenient than having to wait for every one to warm up.

    8am It’s time to go downstairs now, so we head down and let Isaac have a little play before we get his highchair set up for breakfast. If we’re feeling particularly organised, we’ll both manage to have a shower before breakfast – but we tend to like lazy Sunday starts!

    8:30am Breakfast time beckons; and Isaac knows it too! As soon as we head into the lounge with the high chair, he shuffles across the floor and waits for us to put him in. Again, if he’s being good, this breakfast will be wolfed down – but it sometimes takes a little coaxing to get the little man to empty his plate.

    Once Isaac has had his breakfast, it’s time for ours. The kettle goes on, Isaac goes down for a crawl around and we take a few short moments to catch our breath!

    9am If we aren’t showered by this point, it’s time to get a move on! Church starts at 10:30 on a Sunday, so we like to be ready to leave before 10. One of us will have Isaac while the other showers and gets ready; teamwork is always at the center of our family – we know that without each other, getting simple tasks done quickly would be nigh-on impossible.

    10am By this stage, if we’re not all ready we’re in trouble! We normally dress Isaac last (just in case his breakfast makes an unwelcome appearance on his clothes!), so we’ll finish getting him ready and load the car up to head to church. Isaac tends to cry a little when we put him in his car seat, but a quick song and a swing and he’ll be giggling away! If we’re lucky, he’ll fall asleep on the way to church – he’s normally due his morning nap around this time and we don’t want a cranky baby in a packed church!

    10:30am – 11:30am Isaac usually behaves himself during mass, but has been known to get a little unhappy, which results in one of us taking him for a walk outside. If he’s awake and happy, though, he has everyone cooing over him; and the priest loves him.

    11:30am Little man tends to get hungry around this point and will soon be due his lunch. Nikki’s mum lives just round the corner from church, so we often pay family a visit and feed Isaac there. We try to avoid jar food (we will still use it for convenience from time to time though), so we’ll have to defrost some batch-cooked food. This Sunday it was ‘Popeye pasta’ – a delicious dish from Annabel Karmel’s weaning book. Isaac loved it!

    12pm If Isaac has finished his lunch (he’s sometimes not started it by this point depending how the morning has gone), it’s time for a quick play and gives Nikki and I chance to start planning for the day. If it’s sunny, we like to head out somewhere as a family and do something nice – last week, we went to feed the animals at a local farm; which was lovely. It also gives us chance to grab a bite to eat; as we’re normally starving by this point!

    1pm If we’re not on the road somewhere, then we’re usually with family at this point; and that’ll be the day sorted for us. We value spending time with close family and this tends to take up quite a bit of our weekend – but it’s a worthwhile sacrifice of our time!

    1:30pm Wherever we are, at 1:30 it’s time to stop and give Isaac his next bottle. He’s been better with this one recently, but had a few weeks where he just didn’t take to his early afternoon feed! Depending on how he’s been in the morning, this bottle can sometimes send the little man off into a nap – but he tends to be full of beans for a little while afterwards!

    Isaac normally naps for an hour or two, so it frees up some time to do a few things for us. This may be housework/cooking – but it’s normally heading for a walk or nipping for a brew and a slice of cake somewhere :)

    3pm If Isaac is awake by now, it’s time for more playing. If it’s sunny, he loves crawling around the lawn (grass-staining his clothes) and playing with his toys. If it’s raining, he likes to cause destruction inside instead! What we do now really depends on little man. We sometimes head for a late-afternoon walk, but often head over to my parents for a visit (and tea, if it’s on offer!). I know that during the week, if Nikki is at home at this stage she’ll run around and do a few chores – but only if Isaac lets her, so we do try to get the house in order too!

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    4:30pm We’re normally exhausted by this stage, but there’s no rest for the wicked! It’s time for Isaac’s tea. We normally take his tea of out of the freezer to defrost earlier in the day; so it will just take a few minutes in hot water/over the pan to warm up. There was a time when Isaac didn’t eat much of his tea, but providing we remove ALL distractions, he’ll happily eat now! For a short period of time, which I wrote about here, Isaac wouldn’t eat his tea unless we blew bubbles at him… strange child!

    5pm With tea time now over and done with, Isaac sometimes has a catnap – it’s a hard life being a baby, you know! If he’s not napping, we’ll let him have a play while I cook tea for us. I like to prepare fresh food rather than just cook frozen pizzas, etc. so tea can often take an hour or so to cook.

    6pm While we munch down on our evening meal, Isaac will continue to play – but often starts to get a little bit tetchy at this stage. We do our best to entertain the little man as it’s another hour or so until his bath time. If he hasn’t napped earlier, Isaac sometimes needs a nap now to keep him going!

    7:30pm It’s bath time! Isaac loves his baths and gets super excited when I pick him up and take him towards the bathroom. He’s so eager to play around in the water that he squirms and wriggles his way out of my hands as much as he can. He’s starting to learn, though, that playtime comes after wash time! As soon as bath time is done, we dress Isaac in his bedtime clothes and prepare his final bottle of the day. He’ll drain this one and sometimes falls asleep on it. Recently, he’s been drinking the entire bottle and having a little play before dropping off – but he’s normally very good with routine this late in the day.

    8pm Without fail, we try and ensure 8pm is bedtime. Of course, If Isaac is still screaming (happily, of course) and singing, we’ll give him a little run around to use up the last of his energy, but that won’t take long! We give him a kiss goodnight and put him down in his cot with his teddy. He’s really good at getting himself off to sleep now, so if he’s not already zonked, we know he will be soon!

    8:30pm Isaac might be in bed, but it’s not time to stop yet! Now begins the mad rush to wash, sterilise and prepare his bottles for the next day. As I mentioned, he takes his bottles cold now, so we can just put boiling water in them the night before and they’ll be fine for the entire next day. We also use this time to ensure his change bag is fully stocked and his snack pot is full too.

    9pm And there we have it, the doors are closed, the curtains drawn and it’s time for us to collapse onto the sofa. This is our time now and we spend it watching TV, films, reading, drinking prosecco… whatever takes our fancy really! Isaac is a really good sleeper, so we don’t normally hear a peep from him now until morning. He did go through a stage of waking up at about 11pm for a little while, but this seems to have stopped now :)

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    Describe your day in three words…

    I guess for me it would be: Work, Isaac, Rest.
    For my partner it may be more like: Isaac, Isaac, Rest!

    What is the highlight of your day?

    The highlight of my day is definitely getting home from work and being greeted by Isaac’s cheeky smile. Knowing he’s happy to see me when I walk through the door makes all the hard work well worth it. From here, it’s shortly followed by the time I get to spend with my partner in the evening. We’ve brought bedtime forward a bit for Isaac, so we now get a little more time together; which is great.

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    That just about covers my day – come over to my blog – Dinner by Dad – after reading this and check out my latest posts; would love to hear from you in the comments :) Head here: http://dinnerbydad.co.uk/category/dear-isaac/ to read a collection of letters I have written to Isaac – all of which I’m saving for when he’s older!

    Come and say hi on Twitter and Facebook too – I’m a friendly guy, promise!

    @dinnerbydad
    www.facebook.com/dinnerbydad

    Thanks for taking the time to share your routine with us, it sounds like you have an action packed day full of spending time with as a family. There is nothing better. Make sure you check out Nicks blog for more about their family life. Please also get in touch if you would like to feature your daily routine.

    Thanks for reading

    The L’s Mum.

    If you like reading this blog then please follow me on bloglovin.



  • Featured ImageWhat Being A Stay At Home Mum Means To Me

    I am about to admit something here that perhaps not everyone will agree with, but I am sick of their being a particular perception of what being a stay at home mum is actually really like, but here goes, It’s hard. Yes I said it, but please don’t send me to the slaughter just yet and let me explain why.

    Here’s some background. I was a full time working career minded woman. I had a great career in sales and once pregnant I moved over to the admin department for a more office based role. I loved working, and I always had the drive and ambition to do my work to the best of my ability. To be at the top of my game. When I got pregnant I intended to return to work, however unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, I couldn’t justify the childcare costs and what disposable income would be left at the end of each month. You see as some of my readers will know my parents emigrated to Australia and I just haven’t got the family I could really call upon to help take over some of the childcare.

    So the decision was made that we could survive on the one wage and I would stay at home. However the ambition and drive hasn’t left me and I have since started my own business and work on my blog which I love. Predominantly though my priority is my son and he comes first.

    Don’t get me wrong for some stay at home mums the life is all glorious and their is no worry in the world. They can make jam, and bake. Go to the gym and be a woman who lunches. I wish that was the case for me, or for some other stay at home mums. The perception to a lot of people when you tell them you stay at home is perhaps we’re work shy, lazy, and we spend our days in Costa coffee. These are the words of Katie Hopkins and this infuriates me. Ok so perhaps some people want to stay at home because they don’t enjoy their work and lets face it if you can be the woman who lunches and goes to the gym then a lot of women would take that life all day long. But I am not work shy, and I am not lazy, and I definitely don’t spend my days in Costa Coffee. I wish I could.

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    My life is my son right now, and sometimes I find that hard. Some days we don’t get to leave the house because there is so much housework to do or work commitments to attend to, I certainly don’t go to coffee shops on a daily basis because I haven’t got the funds to do so. Some days I only talk to Baby L. Being a stay at home mum can be isolating at times.

    I’m not someone that doesn’t work because the government funds me, I am not entitled to anything, I stay at home because really there was no difference to income whether I did or didn’t.

    Sometimes I find myself being a little jealous of the working mum, I suppose just like they can be jealous of us stay at home mums. I can’t remember how it feels to dress smartly and wear a suit, to have a day that doesn’t involve me getting food in my hair or milk on my jeans. To have an uninterrupted lunch break without little fingers sniping it, or to even actually be able to eat lunch.

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    But having said all that I wouldn’t change my life, maybe a lottery win would be nice, but I know how lucky I am and how people would love to trade places with me, The L’s Papa included. I just wish that some people wouldn’t generalise what being a stay at home mum is all about, or even what being a working mum is all about. I talk about my own situation and my own experience, and I won’t be the same as any other stay at home mum. Every situation is different and every life is different. Being a stay at home mum to me means I am the luckiest lady in the world, but all I want to say is that please don’t think we have it easy. Not all of us do.

    The L’s Mum



  • Learning Responsibility Through Family Pets

    *This is in Collaboration with All Pond Solutions*

    We all have a responsibility of some sort in our lives, be it our careers, our families or our own general health. However responsibility can extend to a vast amount of things from learning to deal with finances, to providing a home cooked meal for the family. We all deal with these kinds of situations on a daily basis. But where do we learn how to be responsible? As a child everything is pretty much taken care of for us. No meal to prepare, no bills to pay, no work deadlines to meet, unless you count school of course.

    From as far back as I can remember family pets have been a huge part of my life. I was very fortunate growing up to have a pony, a cat, a dog and even fish. There was nothing I was more prouder of than being able to take care of the pets we had. I think it was instilled into me from a young age that I needed to learn the valuable lesson of responsibility and by having pets I think I learnt this lesson very well.

    Fast forward a few years and I still have a family pet dog and cat and my own young family to take care of. I am responsible for the running of our family home, the household chores and to make sure everyone is fed including the animals. By having pets in our house I know straightaway that already Little L is taking on a responsibility of our pet dog. He feels that its down to him to make sure he is looked after and i’m hoping to teach the same message to Baby L when he’s a bit older.

    A fantastic first choice of pet for any child are fish. I use to love watching our two goldfish bob up to the top of the tank when I was feeding them, I always needed to remember the time we fed them and this routine helped me to realise how important being responsible for something was but also how satisfying it can be to. I will definitely be looking into welcoming some fish to our family as an ideal first choice of pet for Baby L and All Pond Solutions really have everything I could possibly need to get started.

    Being a responsible parent means bringing your child up to know what being responsible and accountable is all about. There is no greater way to install this life lesson than with family pets.

    Do you have any family pets?

    Thanks for reading

    The L’s Mum

    *This post is in collaboration with All Pond Solutions*

     



  • Funky Giraffe Bandana Bib Review

    Baby L was always a dribbler, and I don’t mean in the football sense either although The L’s Papa has high hopes for that. Ever since I can remember he has always dribbled and even more so when he is teething. I knew that I didn’t always want to have to constantly change his vest and so I have always been on the look out for a product that would help me with this problem and then I found Funky Giraffe. 

    When I was given the opportunity to test out some of there bandana bibs I jumped at the chance. I have been aware of the brand before and always knew that the quality was good but they have recently revamped there website and there are so many more colours, designs and patterns to choose from.

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    Here are the five bibs we were sent. I was given the added advantage of picking some designs so I went for a mixture of bright and colourful with sleek and understated so that i had a few options that would go with various outfits.

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    I love the style of a bandana bib. I feel that because I need to have some added protection the bandanna bib is more like an accessory to an outfit. The thought behind the style and look has been a big plus point for me. Baby L will wear one of these for most of the day. It needed to be comfortable but also do it’s job and keep his chest dry and they really do work.

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    The material is a cotton front and an additional polyester layer underneath. They feel slightly thicker than the average bib which obviously serves it’s purpose.

    As previously mentioned the designs and colours are  a big plus point for me. I love Baby L to be in bright colours and unique styles and these bandana bibs really fit into his clothing style perfectly.

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    All in all I can’t recommend these bibs enough. What is fantastic about the website is the more your purchase the cheaper your bibs become, 20 bibs can cost as little as £2 each meaning you have a total of 10 to choose from. The only problem is choosing your favourite designs, there are so many to choose from.

    Thanks for reading

    The L’s Mum

    *I was sent 5 Funky Giraffe Bibs for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions are my own.*



  • A Blackout Day

    Yesterday I was feeling rather sorry for myself. I was feeling a little under the weather and just not myself. I really didn’t know how to pull myself out of it. I just had a sort of can’t be bothered outlook and felt really heavy and sluggish. Anyone else ever felt like that? Baby L and had such a lovely day recently and I couldn’t quite understand why I was feeling so low.

    I then remembered a little glimmer of advice from the latest Hannah Maggs video, which if you don’t watch them where have you been? Hannah and her husband have recently been doing”blackout” nights and by this they mean no technology, phones or social media for the whole evening. A sort of going back to basics. Hannah and her husband Stef summed up the way our lives tend to work these days. Most people spend their days with the heads in front of a computer screen or walking face down with the eyes glued to their phones and really missing out on life around them. How did everyone manage years ago before Facebook was invented or before the invention of the mobile phone? Personally I have become one of these people and it’s become clear to me why. As Hannah rightly points out, everybody wants to be loved, or feel loved, it’s an instinct and we are drawn to it. The internet gives us this love almost instantly. By posting a picture on instagram and someone likes it. By adding a status to Facebook and twitter and having someone comment, even posting a blog post and then looking at how many page views it has had. I’m sure one way or another we have all been a little guilty of wanting to feel the love and getting that little buzz when some likes or comments on our lives.

    The Blackout is suppose to send you back to basics, and once I had finished my emails and catch ups yesterday morning at 9am I switched them all off. I left myself my phone for communication purposes but really I didn’t text anyone or make a call. It was just me, my life and Baby L yesterday. We didn’t even do that much. I went to the post office, a neighbour came round for a cup of tea, but that was it. Bizarrely I felt uplifted. I felt energised. The house was tidy (much to The L’s Papa’s amazement), I had made a cottage pie for tea, I just felt good.

    It was like a kind of pressure had been released. Which I suppose is a very strange way to describe it because lets face it I don’t have to put a picture on instagram or update my twitter timeline. I think that perhaps you get dragged into the virtual world in a way. Our phones can really have our whole life on them. We use them to photograph our lives, we use them to organise our daily activities, we shop on them, we can record our workouts. The options are endless but taking them all away kind of feels like a day off. A day off from the grind of everyday and to just soak in what life is really all about. Living in the moment.

    I wanted to share with you my experience and recommend to each and everyone of you to have a blackout day, night or even just a  few hours. Remembering that there are so many beautiful things going on in the world, and somehow the little things can go unnoticed because our attention is drawn to that notification that just flashed up on our mobiles.

    Have you ever tried a blackout? How did it make you feel? Let me know if you try them out, and thank you to Hannah Maggs who put the idea out there, such a simple thing to do with great results.

    The L’s Mum