Guest post by @alifetwintastic- A new routine:

Guest post by @alifetwintastic- A new routine:

Ellie is a mum of three from Gloucestershire, UK. A wannabe perfect housewife, to-do list checker and mental health advocate with dreams of a healthy lifestyle, unburnt cookies and mini adventures. Find out more at alifetwintastic.blog here.

I’m usually all about the routine. It’s embedded into my DNA. The need for structure and organisation. To know what’s coming next and to feel a sense of control. Routine has served me well in the past {hello baby twins} but as with all things, life changes and routines adapt.

When the boys were babies I quickly realised in order for me to survive {mentally} I greatly needed some stability and control in the way of a routine. This worked to a certain extent and it got me through that seemingly impossible first year but not without sacrifice. I became highly set on our schedule, blinkers on and my anxiety at an all time high. I struggled to see past the next job on our list and became irritable and stressed when the routine was messed with {including snapping at my mum in the car one day when I was trying to get the boys to nap}. Having the boys in the same routine was my coping mechanism. Being a first time mum of twins and being naturally inclined to like control and structure caused a huge wrecking ball type effect.

It’s hard to admit it but those days were dark. Postnatal depression crept in. Not accepting any kind of help, feeling like a failure and distraught

With Penny I have always been more relaxed. Be it being a second time mum, a single baby or her generally chilled personality. I don’t know. Again probably all of these things. Penny’s start to life was anything but straightforward. Almost constant morning sickness throughout my pregnancy, a breech baby, emergency c-section, diagnosis of hip dysplasia and subsequent Pavlik harness and then CMPA. But these things didn’t phase me in the same way as they probably would have done the first time round. Don’t get me wrong it was hard. There were dark days but overall the whole experience was much more relaxed and enjoyable.

We have never had Penny in any kind of routine. She woke up when she liked, slept when she liked and fed on demand. She fitted in with our lives as younger siblings do. As a result we were all a lot calmer and relaxed. She made her own daily routine and adapted it when needed. I felt like I could read her better and knew what she needed. This is not to say things were easy. Another bout of postnatal depression hit but this time I was more accepting of it. I accepted help more readily and didn’t blame myself in the same way.

Fast forward to today and I still have a strong sense of routine {on paper} however my mindset has shifted in recent years. Be it an age thing, a family thing or personal growth – probably a mixture of a lot of things. The boys have just turned 5 and P is in full toddlergedon mode. We are in the midst of a National pandemic which has seen us basically locked up at home for the past 7 weeks.

This is a time of surviving and supporting. People are putting their health at risk to keep the majority of us safe. Routines have changed. For us it’s been a time of stepping back and slowing down. Time to spend with our little family and letting the days merge into one. No alarms set. No set bedtime. No real routine. There has still been work and homeschooling but everything seems to have slowed down and relaxed. Increased flexibility it will be hard to let go of when life gets back to normal. Different ways of connecting and supporting one another. Retreating into our bubble and taking time out from being constantly busy. A taste of what life could be. Maybe not all the time but certainly some of it. Time out. A new normal. A new routine. 

Ellie xx

www.alifetwintastic.blog Instagram: @alifetwintastic

www.alifetwintastic.blog Instagram: @alifetwintastic

Gift guide for your paper anniversary.

Gift guide for your paper anniversary.

Now that we have officially celebrated our first anniversary I can officially put together a gift guide. Why paper? Well I have only been married a year and that’s the token gift for a year. Not very glamorous but you know, you can make it work!

So first of all if you’re sticking to theme obviously you want the gift to be some kind of paper gift. So here’s a few ideas on what you could get on theme.

I got my husband a print. I got a illustrator, the lovely novell_designs to design me a print for our anniversary which was to bring a photo of the three of us together in a photo alone. On our wedding day nobody took a picture of our family of three so me and James absolutely love what she’s done. If you enter quick I have a giveaway with her at the moment that ends at 9pm tonight so hurry up to my Instagram if you want to win!

That’s not to say it has to be something like this. I got this as previously me and James have got each other quite a lot of similar gifts. We’ve had prints made and photos printed and I even a few years ago got James a print of the words of his favourite song in the shape of a cd which he loved! so I wanted to try and be different. I have recently brought for a family members anniversary a star and they got a certificate and everything which I thought was cute! We have also designed a star map which makes the perfect anniversary gift seeing the nights sky of your wedding night for all of eternity!

Keeping on theme with paper you could make some little notes on why you love them and even write them a letter. Aswell as that you can even make some vouchers for things like household jobs and letting them pick the movie for once.It’s free and nice. You can also get some photos printed or make a collage of your favourite photos together! My husband shocked me with the cutest gift he has ever gotten me which was a little box filled with notes he had made telling me reasons why he loves me. This may be the sweetest thing I’ve ever received and it’s not just a gift for the day it’s something I’ll read over and over again especially if I am sad.

None paper gifts are also a easy one too. Not everyone is into lovey dovey stuff and that’s okay! You can always buy them their favourite sweets or a bottle of gin. Whatever you know they like get it. Following somewhat tradition of anniversary’s (we got married on five years of us being together) I have always received flowers from James. This year he completely outdone himself and they are the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. I think this isn’t just a gift for me but everyone in the house as I really think flowers boost everyone’s mood. If you’ve got hayfever get fake ones! I still have my wedding bouquet in my living room because it was artificial and I smile at it everyday.

Whatever your thinking of getting don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s your anniversary enjoy it. Congrats on being married a year and enjoy a life time of happiness! Charlie x

Being a parent in a pandemic

Being a parent in a pandemic

Good afternoon, i hope everyone is well today and feeling a bit more positive today. I am coming to you today from a more positive mindset then i was in last week which was me at a very low point. I was at a point in life i was struggling with both my mental and physical health and the lockdown did not help things atall. On a normal day parenting can be hard, but throw in lockdown, terrible twos and potty training to the mix and we are really struggling.

First of all i’d like to say i cannot praise my son enough for how well he has done with all of this. To be told you can’t see your friends, family or even leave the house must be such a horrible thing for a child to endure let alone if they’re too old to understand why they are stuck in. It seems everyday he asks to see his family and friends, i think it’s quite sweet because it shows he thinks about others and how much he loves them. We had a pretty active social life by anyone’s standards, we would be out everyday seeing friends and family or going or just as mother and son (or the three of us). We’d do different things all the time such as meals out at different places, go swimming, soft play, bowling, the zoo and to different parks. I think he struggles most with understanding that he can’t go for play dates at peoples houses or they come to play here.So i do feel horrid when we have to stay inside each day, infact i have major mum guilt that just won’t shift. I try so hard to come up with play ideas and to keep him in contact with friends that it physically drained me last week so much so that i didn’t want to try to come up with anything new and wanted to give up my creative side for a few days.

Obviously we still have all the same cleaning responsibilities around the house, in fact more. For some reason being locked in makes me feel i need to be productive and clean and organise the whole house in every nook and cranny. The issue with being a parent is you struggle to have time to clean or perhaps do some diy like everyone else seems to be able to do such as painting the whole house or doing something from scratch. I can’t say to my son entertain yourself i’m off to redecorate or to deep clean a different room then he’s in. It gets you a bit down watching others enjoy this time to be productive. Of course my house is always very clean but i feel there is more i could do. I did a big clean the other day and brought elijah in each room i cleaned (except bathroom and kitchen) and let elijah watch his tablet too entertain him and i felt so guilty for taking time to clean the house. Some positives of this have however been that my son has took more interest in cleaning and likes to help sweep, dust and wipe the surfaces down with me. He’ll even try his hand at mopping, hoovering,tidying his toys away and he even has started to make his bed. It’s good to teach him that houses don’t stay clean and we all must work together to keep it clean. Aswell my house does look a bit more tidier as I’m not out all the time and don’t find cooking and cleaning as much of a chore then I did before. Its enabled me to slow down and really appreciate my house, how we’ve decorated and who and what is inside of it.

It’s quite hard being on my own with elijah by myself everyday with nobody to talk too till james is home at teatime and weekends. It must be so hard for single parents in this lockdown my heart really does bleed for them and i have the upmost respect. I really struggle with feeling lonely in this time and I kind of spiral from that. I feel so alone, when i am not alone because my son is here but he is two, he cannot hold a conversation and has much better things to get on with like playing with his dinosaurs. I also feel a pressure not to let him know i feel sad and be upbeat which feels so fake and horrid but i want to make my son feel happy and safe in this scary world. The positives of this is we get to spend more time together just the two of us and I’m able to construct more learning through play as I have the time. We spend a lot more on the floor playing and try to keep busy the best we can. It’s nice that Elijah seems to be learning well and hopefully he won’t become shy when he leaves the house again.

We’ve started looking after our neighbours a bit more. I regularly ask my older neighbours if they need anything as they are being shielded. we’ve gone to fill there gas and electricity cards for them and shared our food and brought them bits from the shop. We’ve also ordered them a box of fruit, veg and dairy products to arrive Monday. It’s been quite nice as we’ve started talking to them more and getting to know them more. Luckily we can see them as our fence fell down but obviously it’s not getting done for a while now! It’s quite nice because she said she was feeling lonely because of it all and we’ve been chatting because her family can’t help either! We made them a card from Elijah as Elijahs starting to call them grandma because they have white hair! So we joked he’s adopted a set of grandparents. They even made us some delicious cheese and onion scones and we had them for our lunch today! It’s nice to feel like a community and everyone seems so much more friendly. Maybe it’s the missing of everyone’s family and friends that brings us together .

We’ve however sorted the garden mostly and that means we get to play in the garden more. Elijah’s fabric toys where all ruined from the storms but I was able to salvage everything else. Looks like I’ll have to order a new tent and paddling pool if I can’t fix the old one up! It’s been nice watching Elijah enjoy the garden and getting some exercise in. We’ve done lots of sensory play in garden too so saves my living room from the mess. I feel for people who don’t have gardens so try to make my play ideas adaptable for people living in flats as well. T

his weather is pretty nice to so I’m making the most out of getting out alone. I know I should take my son when I can but I only get one form of exercise a day. When i’ve endured Elijahs grumpy behaviour all day I need that me time for my mental health. I do take him out some days but I really worry about him getting the virus to be honest. The way people still get too close really makes me anxious and I worry about him or me getting it. I also worry about him having a breakdown he wants to do something like swim in the lake or play on some play equipment in the park. I don’t want to feel like there’s more no’s o have to say to him and it makes me feel guilty enough. I try to take him out when James is off work so that we can enjoy family time as every weekend we would go out and I want to keep some element of reality even if that is just walking to the meadows by our house.

When home I like to open all my blinds and enjoy the sun beaming in now. I like to feel like I’m not in a prison but I’m safe at home and the weathers nice and warm so I can go in the garden and relax. I like to get dressed everyday so I remember it’s a different day and it makes us all feel a bit more positive. I’ve got really into taking time to enjoy food and experimenting in the kitchen a bit more. I don’t want to know how much weight I’m gaining from all the cakes and bits I’ve been baking or cooking. I’m finding more time for me to do my skincare at night and finding new hobbies all the time. Although all of this is great I do still miss leaving the house and having social interaction. I miss going out with my friends for dinner without the family too because it was my little bit of freedom to be again except for mummy.

The thing is being a parent really is hard. When a child is upset they fixate on it and have a meltdown to process those emotions the only way they know how. Although we understand they are trying to express those emotions and want to be supportive it’s hard to push our feelings down. For example being upset about a tantrum. After a whole day of dealing with tantrums it can really upset you. Physically and mentally. It is possible to accept their feelings and your own and you should not feel guilt about that. You are allowed to feel stressed when your child is being a terror and that is okay to feel emotions about it. So long as your not taking those emotions out on your child it is okay to have these feelings. Just because other people want to paint a perfect picture that they never have any negative feelings towards a child’s behaviour that doesn’t mean that what they say and post is true. We are human and we are going through a pandemic. Everyday we must try and adapt to new changes. We are afraid of others and the world around us. When it will go back to normal I do not know but I wish that we could start supporting others and say it’s okay to be struggling. This reality we live in is new and you have done damn well to adapt to it. You continue to support yourself and your children through every emotion and take on the role of superhero to get through this. You are staying in to save others, to save your family and friends. If you got up today and got on with the day you’ve done all you need to do! So well done! Continue to stay safe and be proud of what you’re doing everyday. You’re allowed to feel stressed and you’re allowed to feel down. My inbox is always open. Be safe and stay well.

Six months married!

Six months married!

Six months of being married today. Time goes by so fast and I can say although things don’t change in big ways I have felt a change in our relationship. I am insanely proud to refer to James as my husband and not my partner like previously. I always feel my heart skip a beat whenever James refers to me as his wife to other people. I’m always like oh hi I’m the wife! He chose me and we’re totally grown up because we’re married. I feel closer then before, I don’t know how but something just shifted. For us we spoke about marriage since we first got together and when we got engaged I wanted nothing more than to become married to each other. When we got married I remember crying walking down the isle as I was so proud and full of love and I kind of worried James had ran off but he hadn’t. He was there handsome as ever and both our hands where shaking and tears fallowing we were so nervous and happy. Marriage was never about the ceromony for me it was always about us becoming husband and wife and making a life long commitment to each other becoming equals. I am happy whenever I look at my rings or whenever I look at James. Maybe one day I’ll get bored of our rings and the words husband and wife but for now I will continue to adore it. Today we’ve been together 5 and a half years aswell which is such a long time. It feels like it’s gone by in a heart beat and no measure of time with James will ever be enough. Here’s to always being more in love each and everyday. May we make each other smile and laugh at the most pointless things and forever be as happy as we are now.

Let us give each other chins from laughing for life.

It’s hard not to miss your old life.

It’s hard not to miss your old life.

Elijah went for a sleepover at his nanny’s yesterday so me and James could go cinemas and destress as we had a very stressful week and needed some time to just breath. It got me thinking that sometimes I miss our old life. When it was us two. I obviously don’t wish away or regret having Elijah but sometimes I ache with a need to just be us sometimes.

Nobody really warns you when you try and get pregnant that you will no longer have time just the two of you anymore. You get told from everyone they’ll be there for childcare but once baby exits your body nobody wants to know. Childcare is a few hours of peace and it’s rare to get anymore than that. I can count on one hand the nights away from Elijah we’ve had. In two years that’s not a lot of time. Although I love our family time and cuddles on the sofa I miss life in the slow lane.

It’s the little things you miss, waking up at the weekend after a lay in. Slowly waking up and scrolling on your phone and chatting till you decide to get up and go have breakfast. Having a a slow breakfast eating whatever you want with no mess to clean up after, hands to wipe or hands grabbing at your food. It’s deciding what you want to do and just going out to do it. No packing a massive bag and cramming with snacks and nappies. No thinking do they have baby changing? Is it kid friendly? How long should I be there before I need to come home and get the kid to nap?

It’s missing out on dates. Where you used to randomly decide at 7 you where going to cinema and just get in the car and go and now it’s can you have the kid in a weeks time for two hours please and we’ll pick and drop you off? It’s going to a restaurant and spending the whole time worrying about other people judging your kid for going on your phone or making a noise or something like that. It’s also cleaning the floor and sides after eating a meal. Something you’d never do just the two of you on a date.

It’s the conversation being calmed down. Not swearing except for when the kids in bed and talking about certain subjects so they don’t learn the words and go round using the c word or something like that. I will say however I find it hilarious when kids swear by accident it brings my soul pure joy!

I miss not relying on anyone to do things just us two now and when we go and do our old hobbies not having to rush them because Elijah grows bored or tired. I miss going to bed when I wanted and not waking up exhausted. Not having to listen to baby alarm in a light sleep and waking at every roll in his bed all night long. I miss when 7 am was early to me on days I wasn’t working.

Overall I love our life now and wouldn’t change it for the world. I love our family and how much better life has got since having Elijah but sometimes, just sometimes I miss when it was us two and we could be just a couple .

My experience owning a African Pygmy hedgehog.

My experience owning a African Pygmy hedgehog.

After years of talking James Into it he finally allowed me to get one. After finding a breeder willing to drive to me from a hour away for extra tenner we got our little guy milo. I named him and we got him a few weeks after he was ready to leave so was still a baby. He was a pedigree and sent us his birth certificate (which traced his great great grandparents) alongside some food and bits we might need. We had already gotten him a large cage, heat mat and washable carpet fo protect his little feet and keep the warmth and cut up blankets for him to snuggle in. (Yes adorable)

It took him a while to get used to us and would be very scared around us and Puff into a ball but with some guidance from the breeders we learnt if we tickled his spine gently he would enjoy a massage and sometimes even lick us. Some hedgehogs love to be held but milo didn’t do so we just let him really do his own little thing and handle him with oven gloves till he was comfortable with us.

We brought him cat toys which he loved playing with he’d play noseball pushing a bell ball around and enjoyed play fighting with little toys on a string. He also loved to chew and play with empty toilet rolls. His favourite thing however was his wheel he would run all night long!

He ate dried cat food and ate chicken as a treat which he absolutely loved and would eat so fast. Bathing him was a bit of a task! Despite videos online hedgehogs do not like water and should never be on their back in water and the water should never be too deep they breath water in their noses or they sneeze constantly and could get ill. Also they have to keep warm so baths need to be warm and dried quickly! We started bathing him in our bath but it was to slippery for him so we brought another washing up bowl just for him and bathed him with a toothbrush and baby was to get gently under his bristles and to get his feet we also once a month had to trim his toenails which he hated but needed doing.

Despite him being a part of the family he was very difficult to look after (we also had a hamster to look after too). He would need constant spot cleans of his cage and he would need cleaning every other day as he would stink as his wee and enormous pops would smell horrid. (His cage was disgusting to clean every time as his poo was awful Constance’s and would go hard especially on his wheel).We where constantly having to shake of his mats and blankets for poo then clean them and dry them quickly ready for next day to be changed! He would constantly tip over his water bowl so had to replace it constantly incase he didn’t get enough to drink. He was also quite grumpy so cuddling wasn’t his thing which is cool but hard when your working so hard to look after him!

When I fell pregnant I couldn’t get down on floor to clean him out and he’d always escape his playpen and hedgehogs run bloody fast so my husband had to take over which became tiring and when our baby was born we had to get family to look after him while we where in special care. When our son was a few months old we decided to Rehome him because of the amount of cleaning and care and little attention he was getting because of the baby!

So we decided to go with a friend who I got to prove her knowledge on hedgehogs before he went to her. She still sends me photos now and it’s very cute he is happy and loved. I felt so sad when he left us but it was for the best for all of us. Would I get a hedgehog again? In short no. Although I loved him they are so much work and while it was ok when I didn’t have a child and wash to do having a child and a hedgehog just won’t do and whenever children came to look at him he wasn’t very happy too see him so I decided that he probably wouldn’t like my son when he was interested in him either. Also the electric bill and cleaning products we used to clean him out expense is quite high too and our hamster was so much easier to care for. I’d say this pet is suited for people with children 5 and above!

Enjoying the little things

Enjoying the little things

Having a toddler it’s hard to enjoy the little things when your world goes by so quickly. This morning we got up and did our morning routine. As much as I adore a lay in I’m becoming fond of our routine. I love coming down with Elijah chatting away as we make breakfast, Elijah stands with me and talks to me as I make it and tells me what I need to get such as a bowl, spoon, milk and cereal. He gets so excited and I love watching him dance around excited for what’s next. We sit and have breakfast together and I don’t feel lonely as I used to when James would be at work and on my days off I would be alone. I enjoy how Elijah eats by himself now and I sit and think how clever he’s become, he doesn’t make a mess and tells me when he’s done and tells me how much he enjoys the food by saying “a NICE!! Mmmm!” Tilting his head back smiling!

I enjoy getting him dressed in the morning, I enjoy picking outfits and letting him choose. My favourite thing to do is buy him lovely clothes and letting him choose what to wear everyday. I love him looking stylish and his little confident stride as I compliment how lovely he looks everyday! Boys probably going to have the worlds biggest bead by time he’s in school!

I love playing with him. I love he can play alone too, but I love when he brings me his toys because he wants to include me. I love playing together and pretending to be different characters or doing an activity pretending it’s real. I love doing arts and crafts and activities he needs me for as it’s nice to be able to help him do things he can’t normally do. I love teaching him. I love showing him the world and explaining what it is and teaching how to be a good person. I love our chats about animals and daddy and will never get bored of saying lion 197227726 times a day as he gets so excited. I love watching his imagination work away as he plays or thinks and talks.

I love having a cuddle, it’s rare now but I absolutely adore it. It makes it all worth it. It makes me feel like his mummy again and not just someone who does everything for him. I love it when he tells me he loves me and calls my name when I leave the room. I love hearing “muummmmmy where are yooooouuu “ and his excitement when I return. I love how much he loves everyone and shares his love. I love how he shares his toys without a problem and insists on sharing! I love watching him learn and his mind working and how proud he is of himself and how proud we are.

I love when I read him story’s and he sits twiddling his fingers and trying to read it with me sitting cuddled up to me on sofa or in his story tent in his bedroom. I love how he insists on a big cuddle before bed and taps our backs as he does so. I love watching him dream and how cosy he looks and how I ache missing when he would sleep on my tummy but now he’s his own boy and wants his own bed. I love being his mummy.