Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year, New Resolutions?

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." - Hal Borland
2013 has been the most life changing year for me. I gave birth to my son and have experienced a love I never knew existed. I have also learned a lot about myself along the way. 

I'm now on the road to becoming self employed so that I can spend more time with him - something I have always wanted to do but never been brave enough. Keep your fingers crossed that it all pays off! :-)
I have also learned that some friends are only friends because the 'conditions' of the friendship suit them. This has made me appreciate all those genuine people in my life even more so.
Onto the new year and potential resolutions. :-) Why does it take a new year to make resolutions? For some unknown reason it seems like a new year rolling around is the perfect time to make changes.
In recent years I have decided not to make resolutions. They seemed pointless, one month later I would be back to old ways.  Why set myself up to feel like a failure?
Yet, this year I feel compelled to make a few resolutions and I feel determined to stick to them. Who knows if it's just a fleeting feeling...only time will tell. :-)
The resolutions are:
1. I will diet and I will lose weight.
2. I will appreciate the here and now, not dwelling on the past or daydreaming of the future.
3. I will open a savings account for my son and make sure it gets regular contributions.
4. I won't let other people's attitudes/negativity rub off on me. They will live their life how they wish, as will I, I will chose to be positive. Hippy dippy enough for you? ;-)
5. The last but the most important is that I will enjoy every single moment with my gorgeous wee boy. When it comes down to it, it's all that matters anyway.
Are any of you making resolutions?
Love. x

@latte_fiend on Twitter. 

Monday, 30 December 2013

Grow Your Own Pizza Chef - Apparently. :-)

Every Christmas I buy myself a present. It might be a big thing, it might be a small thing. It's just whatever takes my fancy at the time.
Just before Christmas I was in Tesco doing a last minute shop. Even with a list I had been compiling for a month, I still forgot so many things. :-)
I seen this sitting on a reduced shelf, £1.75! It's from Gift Republic and is sold on their site at £9.99. 

I have recently been attempting bread making in my limited spare time and pizza dough has to be one of my bigger successes. So, this wee box seemed perfect as a gift for myself. Whether it works or not...time will tell but it's a bit of fun. 
The inside of the box contains the following: 
- 3 coconut husk starter plant pots
- 3 coconut husk compact discs
- 3 lollipop sticks (which they call plant markers)
- 1 packet of tomato seeds
- 1 packet of oregano seeds 
- 1 packet of basil seeds
- A short instruction book

Unfortunately I received two packets of oregano seeds & no basil seeds but hey ho, it didn't exactly break the bank. :-) Excuse the names on the sticks. I didn't realise I had no basil until after the photo had been taken & I was looking at the writing on the seed packets. :-) 

I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow (or don't!) I suppose they're a bit of practice for the vegetable/herb garden I intend to get started on in the early spring. It's been one of the 'wants' since I started house hunting & now that I have this place I have no excuse. :-) 
Is anyone else green fingered? 

Love. x 

@latte_fiend on Twitter.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

My favourite Winter Skincare Products

Since I fell pregnant and had my son my skin has changed completely. Who would have thought it possible? Not me! I used to have an oily T-zone with a few blemishes every month that tied in with my period. The fun of being a female! :-) Now I seem to have combination skin with an infuriating mid area on my face (nose and under my eyes) which is dry. Couple that with the cold winter weather & it's been a chore to keep on top of it. That is until I got my grubby paws on these next few products. They have made my winter skincare routine easy as opposed to a military effort.

This is Lush's Mint Julips. It's a mint chocolate flavoured lip scrub. I use it every night before I go to bed & it leaves you with the smoothest, kissable lips. :-) The smallest amount will buff away any dead skin and at £5.50 it's not going to break the bank. 

My next saviour is Lush's Ultrabland Facial Cleanser. It's quite a creamy/oily texture (that will be the almond oil). There's no faffing around with it. You rub it over your face and remove it by wiping it off with a cotton pad or flannel that's been run under warm water. One of my friends particularly likes to use her muslin cloths to remove it. 
 Lush actually advise that you use this product and only this product for one month to bring skin back into balance. I did this and it certainly worked for me. I'm more than impressed. Again, I don't think the cost is extortionate at £6.95 for a 45g pot or £10.95 for a 100g pot.

Product number three is Lush's Ultrabalm.

I work outdoors a lot and since I have developed this dry area I feel that I need to take that extra step to protect and nourish my skin while I'm outdoors. This product has the texture of wax and goes onto your skin a bit like Vaseline. I wouldn't recommend wearing it alone in the summer or under make-up as you will no doubt end up shiny (never a good look!) but for overnight and during winter it is perfect & incredibly nourishing. 
It has many, many uses! The Lush website states:
"Use it anywhere that needs some moisture; as a hand cream, on your hair to keep static flyaway at bay, as a lip balm, to brighten up your tattoos, on dry knees and elbows – even to tame your eyebrows and hold them so. There’s no end to the things you can do with one little tin." 
I also use it as a hand cream overnight while wearing moisturising gloves and in the morning my hands are so soft. It's £8.50 for a 45g tin and could probably last for an entire year! That's got to be a bargain item, right? :-)
All of these products are brilliant, I can't speak of them highly enough but I'm back to square one once the warmer weather rolls in. So, any advice, recommendations or suggestions are very welcome! 
What skincare routine do you have? What products do you use?

Love. x

@latte_fiend on Twitter. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

First Christmas With Little Man

Well, its Boxing Night and I have done nothing but overindulge for the past two days. Its been great! I thought I would take this quiet moment to write a post since I have been neglecting my blog recently.

This Christmas was a Christmas of firsts for me.
- My first Christmas as a mummy.
- My first Christmas with my gorgeous little man.
- My first Christmas preparing for Santa.

I have loved every single minute of it and cannot wait to do it all over again next Christmas. I had a "Baby And Me" day on Christmas Eve. We woke up, had breakfast together, napped together, opened LM's (Little Man) Christmas Eve box, had a walk together where we fed the ducks and deers, watched The Snowman together (well I watched it while he glanced at it now and again and rolled around on the sofa!) Then we decamped to my parent's house to spend a few days with family.
Waking up on Christmas morning to my son's smiley little face seemed to encapsulate in that moment everything that Christmas is about...love, family (& I don't just limit that term to those related by blood), happiness, the small, simple and insignificant things. Yes, we all like to receive nice things but Christmas is about so much more than that. 
My son eventually understood that the wrapping paper came off his gifts and revealed the toy inside. His favourite toy was still the mountain of discarded wrapping paper though. :-) He was overwhelmed at times, I think our excitement was rubbing off on him but he had a fun filled day which is what matters.
I couldn't help but get involved in Sarah Millican's #JoinIn on Twitter. So many people were alone (and lonely) this Christmas and something as minute as a hashtag seemed to make them feel loved. You could get a real sense of the spirit of Christmas through that timeline. I'll definitely be dipping in and out next Christmas too. 
I hope everyone else enjoyed their day and continue to enjoy the festive feeling for a few more days. 

Love. x

@latte_fiend on Twitter.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Life is so short

Apologies for the absence but I have been busy moving myself and baby boy into our new house. I now fully understand why they say that moving house is one of the most stressful things a person can do...
At least I thought it was one of the most stressful things until I got a bit of perspective.
I write this as I await news about a baby I know in respiratory failure. The doctors are using their last option to help him, after that there is nothing they can do for him. I look at my son, who is just a little bit younger, and I cannot imagine being faced with that. How do you even begin to prepare yourself? The thought alone kills me. Life is so very cruel sometimes. I still hope against hope that this little boy will be the one to make a miracle recovery.  He has so many people rooting for him. 
All of the above, that's real stress. Not "shopping" for a new house moving boxes around. It's sitting by your babies hospital bed not knowing what's around the corner.
It shouldn't take things like this to make you take stock of your life & appreciate what you have but unfortunately most of us lose our way a little.
I don't think this particular blog post serves any purpose other than for me to say - sit down, think about everything you have & be thankful. That's what I intend to do. 


@latte_fiend on Twitter 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Hard Parts

This saying has rang true for me on so many occasions this year. It has been the most enjoyable/exciting rollercoaster I have ever been on but it hasn't been without its hard parts and its those hard parts I want to write about for this post. As with most of my posts, I can only talk about it from the perspective of being a single mother but I'm sure some of the things I'm going to talk about can ring true for any parent at some time or another, single or otherwise.

The loneliness. My baby boy is the best company! Even though he has me awake at 5am most mornings, the day seems to fly by and before I know it its 7pm and time for bed again. That said, when he goes to bed I can sometimes feel the loneliness set in. In order to stave it off that's when I normally throw myself into cleaning, cooking something to eat and paperwork. It means that I never really relax.

No other team players. Not so much now but in the earlier weeks/months I found it hard not having anyone to hand the baby over to. I found myself bathing at 2am on some occasions because I knew it would be my only opportunity. Sometimes my first proper bite of food would be midnight. People are very happy to talk about "helping" but what they really mean is they'll hold the cute baby while you bust a gut doing something else.
Now that my son is crawling and climbing up on everything, I find I can't take my eyes off him for two seconds. So once again I find myself longing for someone to be there just to keep an eye on him while I make him lunch/dinner etc. without worrying that he's swinging from the chandelier! ;-)
I also sometimes wish there was someone there to take their turn at getting up at 5am while I catch up on some much needed sleep. I have never lusted after anything, or anyone for that matter, like I lust after a full/long nights sleep.

Nobody to tell me I'm doing a good job. Ok, this one is a wee bit self indulgent but we all like to hear that we're doing a good job, don't we? After a tough day or long night its sometimes just the boost you need to hear to keep you going.

Sleep deprivation. This one is the b*t*h. There's a reason some countries have used this as a method of torture....it works! It affects how you think, how you feel and it makes you become someone that you don't recognise.

Nobody to share the amazing moments with. In quick succession my boy started to sit up unaided, then started to creep, then crawl and he's pulling himself up on the furniture now. He's doing a combination of baby led weaning and traditional weaning. He's about to move into his own room (I don't want to talk about it! lol) So many moments like these have passed by and each one has brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. I couldn't be more proud of this little bundle. I don't miss my ex (not in the slightest), I don't miss that life and what it done to me but I do miss the notion of having someone there to dance around the room with me when my child has reached yet another milestone. Instead I phone family and close friends and they do a brilliant job of being just as elated as I am. :-)

How have you other single mothers found things?

Love. xx

@latte_fiend on Twitter.

Friday, 22 November 2013

What I've Learned So Far

I'm a single mummy. Its the best job I've ever had, its rewarding and makes everything worthwhile but its hard. Its not all sweetness and light but then most parents have learned that little titbit, haven't they? :-)
While pregnant the label "single mother" scared me. Were people going to judge me? Were they going to think that I was someone that had messed up? Were other women going to think they were better mothers than me because they had managed to "keep their man"? Granted, a lot of the doubt was down to hormones but still, I'm sure I'm not the only single mother that thought those things.
My baby is 8 months old now and I've learned quite a few lessons so far. This is what this particular post is about.

No regrets. When I split from my ex I wished I had never met him, I regretted that I had wasted so many years of my life in an abusive, dysfunctional relationship. Then my baby boy was born and the moment I held him I instantly realised that the past is just that, the past, over, gone. I never need to repeat it. I've learned my lessons and I'm moving forward. I'll never get to the end of my days and think "I wish I had spent more time looking back".

A couple with a baby doesn't make them happier than me. I've met some mummies through baby groups etc. and some of them are miserable in their relationships, others are as happy as me. Its taught me that having an other half might make the load a wee bit lighter at times but it doesn't make their "happy tank" any fuller than mine.

Not all families look the same. I've always known this but being a single mummy brings it to the forefront. Baby boy and I are still a family, a unit. I'm glad that things have changed so much over the years. As my son grows older he will be able to look around and realise that families are all very different - 2 mummies, 2 daddies, different nationalities, races, 1 mummy or 1 daddy. I'm not saying the nuclear family is bad - I'm just glad that there are many different variations now.

Trust my instincts. People offer lots of well intentioned (but often uninvited) advice when you have a new baby. Everyone seemed to want to offer me advice, even though it was the last thing I needed. The baby thing has always been easy. I've worked in childcare for 15 years so a newborn baby didn't worry me. Though, when you have just given birth your hormones are raging, you're running on adrenaline but you also feel quite vulnerable. Because of this, the "advice" started to make me question the decisions I was making. Maybe I was doing things incorrectly? I had a moment during a night feed and decided that from then on I would smile sweetly when offered advice & then do things the way I wanted to. There aren't many people that I trust as much as I trust myself. :-)

How to be frugal without being miserable. I have to be smart with my money for obvious reasons but I've learned to make it go quite far without having to be miserable. Only buying what I need, making lists and only buying what is on the list, freezing the food I can't use before their date, batch cooking etc. I'm still learning. :-)

I'm extremely proud of the job I'm doing. I have a baby who is happy and more loved than he could ever imagine. We're just at the beginning of our story but I look forward to the next page.

What are your thoughts and experiences?
@latte_fiend on Twitter

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Yu! Healthy Snacks

In an older post I wrote about wanting to lose my baby chubb. Once I get into the swing of things I find dieting relatively easy but I do struggle with wanting a tasty treat or a sweet hit on an almost daily basis.
Just recently I won a small #FF competition on Twitter. Its the first time I've ever won anything so I think I was more excited than really necessary. :-) It was a small goody bag of Yu! Healthy Snacks. I received:

- Raspberry pieces covered in yogurt
- Blueberry pieces
- Cherry pieces
- Raisins covered in yogurt
- Strawberry fruit bar with yogurt coating

These things were yummy! My personal favourite was the strawberry fruit bar with a yogurt coating. It really hit the spot and killed the sugar craving I had that afternoon. I normally find yogurt coatings taste too processed & unpleasant but this yogurt coating was creamy & delicious...more like white chocolate than yogurt.
My dad loved the raisins & has since went out & bought more for his lunch at work. :-)
For someone that is on a calorie controlled diet these wee snacks are perfect. I get to be "bad" without actually damaging my diet for the day.
If only I could win more competitions like this one. ;-)


@latte_fiend on Twitter


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Single Mum & Dating - Where To Begin?

So I've been single for a long time now. I split from my ex at the end of last summer & was 7 weeks pregnant at the time. My priority was to heal after my that relationship & prepare for my baby to join this wonderful world. He arrived in March & its been everything I thought it would be & much much more. In one word, its been magical. An adventure. Though I digress. Baby is now 8 months old & we've found our groove together.

While I don't think I'm quite *there* yet, I am beginning to think about dating. The question is, where do I begin? In my adult years I've been in 2 serious relationships that both stemmed from friendships so I don't really know how to "date". I cringe at the thought of it if I'm honest but how am I to ever meet anyone if I don't date?

I also need to get over this overwhelming sense of guilt at the notion of leaving my baby while I go out with someone. This is why I say that while I'm thinking about dating, I'm not quite *there* yet. I'm a big believer in the idea that if it doesn't feel right, its probably not right. And dating right now doesn't feel right....but maybe in the future.

I've spoke about it with friends & they seem to think I won't feel guilty if I arrange dates for times when I know baby will be in bed. That way I can still do the bedtime routine (which is so precious to me) & I'm not giving up any quality time with son because he will be snoring his gorgeous little head off.

The whole dating scene seems like a minefield & I don't know if I'm cut out for it. That said, while I'm not overly eager to start meeting new people at the moment, I also don't want to be alone for the rest of my life either. That's exaggerated but you get the idea....

I never thought this would be so hard to ponder over. Or maybe I have too much free time on my hands.......as if. :-)


@latte_fiend on Twitter

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Spring cleaning my friends?

I thought when I got to my late 20s that I knew who my friends were, I thought that they would be my friends for life. I've learned that people change, both myself & others.
I'm a single mum of one. When I fell pregnant last year the reactions of some were a surprise. Some friends were over the moon for me, said they would be there to support me as & when needed. Others acted like it was the end of the world. Was it going to affect their lives in the slightest? I think not. I just put it down to them being shocked about the news & moved on. 
As the pregnancy progressed people I used to think of as good friends were withdrawing from me. Now that I couldn't get drunk & didn't want to go out partying I seemed to have lost my appeal. I had enough on my plate though so I swept it to the side, assuming those same friendships would come right in the end. 
When my baby boy arrived this year I got some cold, clipped congratulatory texts....basically just paying lip service to save face. 
Now my baby is 7 months old & those friendships haven't improved. I'm tired of trying. I'm tired of being the one to put in all the effort. I'm sick of phoning to see how they are & having them not ask about my son in return. 
Just like I sometimes need to spring clean my house, I need to also spring clean my friendships & bin those that are no longer working. It's sad to turn my back on years of friendship but I refuse to waste my time on what is no longer working. Not to mention that if people couldn't be there for me during the biggest event of my life to date, well then they have no business being in my life at any other time. 
I wish them no ill will but it's time to move on & leave them behind.
Peace. 💋

@latte_fiend on Twitter

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

To my 16 year old self....

I was talking to a friend about an article I had seen in The Guardian from 2011, if memory serves me well. It was letters that celebrities had wrote to their 16 year old selves. Some were funny, some were touching, some were sad. 
It got me thinking about what I would tell my 16 year old self if the opportunity arose. I decided that if a celebrity could write themselves a letter, I could too. I thought it might be cathartic if nothing else. Below is my letter. 

Dear 16 year old me,
The things you're about to experience & go through...I'm jealous that it's still all ahead of you! :-)
Some of it will be amazing - memories that will stay with you & forever make you smile. Live in the moment & soak it all up. 
Some of it will be utter utter crap. You'll wonder why you're getting the shitty end of the stick but learn the lessons & move on, that applies to shitty people too. MOVE ON! It will all make you a better person, a more empathic person & that can only be a good thing. 
You'll go through a very dark period when you're much older. You'll wonder what you did to deserve this, how you went so wrong but stick with it. It will test your metal, prove that you're as strong as you think you are & the most amazing wee person is going to come out of it. He'll change your life forever (for the better) & suddenly the regrets you have about that chapter, they'll no longer be regrets. They'll be a means to an end, an amazing, fantastic end. Words can't even explain....
Trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, it IS wrong. 
Love people with your whole heart. Nothing else really matters at the end of it all anyway. Forgive & if you can't forgive then forget & move on. See the pattern?
Enjoy it, really really enjoy it, every inconsequential wee thing. It flies by so quickly & one day you'll be sitting writing a letter to your 16 y/o self realising just how quickly.

Love.  xxx

@latte_fiend on Twitter 

Monday, 7 October 2013

A new chapter

I am soon about to embark on a new chapter for myself & Little Man. We will no longer be living in rented accommodation, dealing with rubbish landlords etc. - we will be moving into our own home. :-D
The last 18 months have been an emotional rollercoaster. I learned a lot - about myself, about life, about moving on & letting go, about looking after number 1 first & about loving yourself. This final step is one towards a brighter future. No looking back, no dwelling on the past. It was a dark time in my life but something so so so amazing came out of it all, my son. For that I will always be eternally grateful. Here's to looking forward & enjoying each & every day. Let the chaos commence. :-) 

@latte_fiend on Twitter 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Time to lose this baby chub

I lost a lot of weight prior to conceiving. I was finally happy with what I seen in the mirror. I wasn't skinny but I was comfortable in my own skin. Go me!
I got pregnant, ate healthily through the pregnancy & I was determined that the only weight I would put on would be actual baby weight.
He was born & my goals changed. I was so preoccupied with my little boy. I'm a single mum & I was determined to prove I could do the job & do it well. There was never any doubt from anyone, I just got it into my head that I had something to prove. 
The weight has slowly crept back on & I'm so mad at myself. I knew it was happening but I was complacent. All I cared about was my baby.
Now I'm back to an unhappy place with what I see in the mirror. The weight has to go & it starts here. 
Any recipes, advice would be very gladly received! :)


Monday, 9 September 2013

Creating bad habits.

When you are expecting a baby you get polluted with do's & dont's. Since having my son, the one quote that I repeat to myself over & over again is "Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you'll be criticised anyway" (Eleanor Roosevelt). 
For one thing, I occasionally co-sleep with my baby - if he's particularly restless, teething etc. Sometimes a baby just wants to feel security! Don't we all? 
People are entitled to raise their children how they see fit. I personally lean towards attachment parenting. Some people raise their eyebrows, tell me I'll end up with a spoilt baby, a mummy's boy, blah, blah, blah. Since when was being well loved the equivalent of being spoilt? Since when did people think they had the right to offer a running commentary on my parenting skills/techniques? People have forgotten how to filter what travels from the brain to the mouth. 
Recently Tesco was having Twitter Q&A with Sarah Ockwell-Smith (@TheBabyExpert). She took the time to respond to my questions (long after the Q&A session) had ended & she has only strengthened my knowledge that I'm doing nothing wrong, nor am I putting down the foundations for parenting issues when baby is a little older. 
She pointed me in the direction of a few interesting articles which I very much enjoyed reading so I'll include the links here. 
As long as babies are fed, loved, clean, warm etc. do we really need to get bogged down in judging each other? Surely we're all just trying to do our best & what works for us & our little ones. 

@latte_fiend on Twitter. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Sleep deprivation

I think sleep deprivation is one of the hardest things I've dealt with while being a single mum - the having nobody to share the night shifts with. 
Sprout will sort his sleep routine out, sleep through for a while, allow me to become accustomed to it then BOOM it's all over.  :-) 
Just recently he has taken to rolling back to front while sleeping. He finds himself on his tummy, has a meltdown about not wanting to be there & then it takes ages to settle him again. He cannot roll front to back just yet so it's a mummy job every time. I'm assuming its something I'm going to have to ride out but boy am I exhausted. 
I'm off to drink a litre of coffee & hope for the best. :-)

@latte_fiend on Twitter

Saturday, 31 August 2013

It's just the beginning...

I'm a single mummy to THE cutest little 5 month old boy.
I know a lot of blogs are about gaining followers etc. If this happens at some stage, great. If not, well I'm using this as somewhere to put my thoughts & feelings. I think it will be interesting to look back in a few months (or years!) and see how far I have come as a person.
As I said, I'm a single mummy. When I found out I was pregnant I was in the process of splitting from my ex. It's a long story but he was bad, bad, BAD news. He decided that parenthood wasn't for him & so it's just me & the gorgeous one on this wonderful but crazy rollercoaster called parenting. :-)
Before I gave birth I panicked about so many things. Would I be enough for Sprout? Would I cope financially? How will I manage without having someone there to lend a hand? So many things! I gave birth & while its been hard at times, I've done it! We have our routine. We take each day as it comes & I've adopted the attitude that as long as we're both fed, clean, loved, warm & dry then everything else will be a breeze....hopefully. :-)  If the cleaning has to wait because we're having a cuddle day then it waits. Simple as that. It doesn't mean I live in squalor, don't worry. ;-) It just means that I've prioritised & housework isn't top of that list. There will be plenty of time to be a Suzy Homemaker but I'll never get this time with Sprout back again, so I know what I chose! :-)
That's all for now...x

@latte_fiend on Twitter