Max is 2!

January 27, 2015

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max is 2

**Picture Heavy Post**

Apologies, but it is not every day your mini you turns two years young is it? Max turned the BIG 2 on Saturday and I think he is officially a “birthday enthusiast” with presents for days including various new things for me to trip over, trains that move with the magic of batteries, a micro scooter, books, play doh etc. The kid was spoilt. We started our morning with presents and breakfast and then we hopped on over to Brighton Sea Life Centre before the mad weekend rush. We had the place to ourselves and Max was besides himself. He loves Fish. He loves saying “fish”, pointing out fish, basically he loves everything, but eating fish. That is mental.

We then had a play on the seafront, threw a few pebbles at mother nature and I threw my best “fashion blogger” poses whilst Ian had the camera for once. We then proceeded to eat large quantities of the chocolate cake I baked for the big celebration complete with sugar, more sugar and a little bit of sugar. You’re only 2 once!

Thank you for all the lovely messages on various social networks, you are all OK in my book.

On a Debbie Downer side note the “Terrible Twos” have reared their ugly head with gusto. Any advice would be greatly received. H-E-L-P.

FYI – Max’s awesome 2 top is from MAGNIFICENT STANLEY (We have a growing collection of their amazing tees).

Sorry, Not Sorry.

January 23, 2015

I am pretty sure that a heart surgeon doesn’t say “just a heart surgeon” when some one asks them what they do for a living and I am in no way comparing myself to a heart surgeon, but why do I feel the need to apologise for being a ‘stay at home mum?’. Is it just me?

Equally if you go to work and let someone else care for your child, are you being responsible or neglecting your motherly duties? Why can we never win?

I have been in two situations this week where I have met someone new and they asked me what I did for a living and through no fault of them…I answered ” a stay at home mum” whilst wincing and almost apologising for not saving the world. As the words came out of my mouth – my face hurt. I was really annoyed at myself for doing it and it has made me question how I feel about being a full time carer to a mini dictator.

The answer is I like it and there is no where else I would rather be so why can’t I say it like I mean it? I have good days and bad days just like anyone who works in a hospital, retail or even an office, so why can’t “I am raising a mini human to make good life decisions, be kind and respectful” be enough?

A lot of the dilemma seems to be other people (when isn’t it?) and their opinions. Being a stay at home mum can sometimes be viewed as a 24/7 holiday. I truly believe that some people think I sit around all day waiting for a 5pm cocktail hour that does not exist. I am here to say it is a serious business, at times it can be a good mix of a Homeland/24 marathon. I often use the phrase “I do not negotiate with terrorists/toddlers”.

In my “job” you need skills in crisis management, you need to be able to hide at a moments notice and seek like Poirot or Quincy, you must be a personal chef and cater on demand, you must be a personal Uber, be able to colour within the lines, but think outside the box, wake up at 5am and be on your game, you are not allowed to take a single break and my boss comes to the toilet with me and judges my wiping skills. This is all just skills that I need to have to be at home – do not get me started on ‘travelling with a toddler’, going to the ‘park with a toddler’ or the dreaded ‘shopping with a toddler’. So as you can see and if you’re a mama, then you know that being a stay at home mum is no easy task, so next time someone asks you what you do for a living please tell them and own it.

My name is Natasha and I am raising a human. Good day.

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Keeping Motivated

January 15, 2015

Keeping motivated is a personal journey or in my case a Lord of the Rings style quest. (All 3 movies). I was born with no will power and hips for days, so my weight loss struggle is real and life consuming. Max is about to turn 2 years old – and I have come to the realisation that I cannot use the “baby weight” excuse anymore, because I no longer have a baby, I have a 3 ft human who can feed himself, walk and talk. So January is and has been my “sugar free” month, my “only green” month, my “everything” month and also strangely my keeping motivated month.

I have grown will-power in 2015. Is that a thing? Do you grow it? Is it given to you? It has taken 30 years and a little bit of progress and I am in. I am in to whatever I am doing, because it is currently working for me, at this time. Yes. This is not just about losing the Crimbo pounds, it is about sticking to something, making a commitment to change and being patient for progress. So it doesn’t matter if you just want to fit into your old jeans, travel more, save money or learn a new skill, you just have to commit.

Commit to change, but be realistic with your goals, instead of setting your expectations and goal posts so high, come up with smaller and more achievable mini milestones. The mini missions are ultimately going to get you to your end goal because you have looked at “the big picture” and realised just how you need to get there. This is something I have always been rubbish at doing, I have always been so busy trying to get to the destination that I have got frustrated by the journey and as soon as there was fork in the road, I turned around. I am like the kid in the back of the car “are we nearly there yet?”.

This year I decided I need to start winning and succeeding. I don’t mean the lottery or a spot on the Victoria Secret show runway…I mean life. For too long I have been happy to take a back seat in my own life and to simply watch it all unfold and go certain paths and avenues, but this year I would like to take control and steer my life carriage all over the place. You know?

Of course when you become a parent, YOU take a back seat, you are no longer the priority and I love how selfless and eye opening having a child is, but I have found that I have disappeared a little. I can’t quite remember what I was like, I find myself asking “have I always laughed like that?”, “did I really think that?” and “why can’t you let it go?” and so on. It can also be confusing because YOU have changed, you are a parent, a carer and a teacher. Of course you can still be you, but don’t under estimate the change. I am definitely struggling somewhere in the middle…I was like this, but I like this part of my new life – which is right and real? Am I pretending to be someone I am not? Am I a better person now? Can having a bambino affect you that much? Which is better? Can I be both?

So if you are trying to lose weight or be a better person, you can DO IT! We can do it, with a little commitment, patience and will power you can find answers, change and progress. Good luck x

Let me know if you are keeping motivated with any new years resolutions or if you struggle like me on the official “mama back bench”. I would love to hear from you, leave me a comment below to let me know.

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Blog Loving!

January 6, 2015

bloglovinI have a blog, I write a blog, I read blogs. I don’t have time to read magazines anymore and quite honestly I was tired of handing over the best part of £5 just to flip past 20 pages of Gucci ads. I have been reading blogs for over five years, they are the perfect reading cocktail for a gal like me. I want to get in and get out. I want to know where you got that top, but also what did you think of that CC cream? I want you to get to the point in a paragraph or so, whilst I try and find the latest Ben & Holly episode for Max.

I read a lot of blogs, from babies to travel, from beauty to interior design. I feel like I am covered on all of my personal interests and even when a blogger is clearly being sponsored or compensated for a review or mention – I like to think that ‘they’ wouldn’t misuse the trust they have worked so hard to get. Also I am a realist and I know how “this all works” so it is up to you and the blogs you choose to follow, but here are some of my favourite and trusted sources:

If you like this blog, then you will LOVE these total babes:

Caroline Hirons http://www.carolinehirons.com/

The Hirons is a skin care expert/legend/queen. Caroline’s blog is filled to the brim with skin care questions, answers, concerns, cheat sheets, help, guidance and advice. There is nothing Hirons doesn’t know and she just wants to help you in your personal quest for good skin. From teenage acne to pregnancy hormones and ageing – Hirons has you covered.

Lauren Conrad http://www.laurenconrad.com/

This is my only “celeb blog” favourite. I cannot afford Goop and I don’t think I am a ‘Preserve’ kind of a gal so Team LC all the way. I grew up watching ‘Laguna Beach’ and ‘The Hills’, so my Conrad obsession started a while ago. I like to stalk/keep up with all her endeavours and successes. I think she is an excellent role model for women, she holds herself very well and the content on Lauren Conrad dot com is always lady like, professional and informative. Conrad also covers everything from fitness, love, life and style.

Anna Saccone http://www.annasaccone.com/

I have been a long time fan of the Saccane-Joly’s daily YouTube videos, but I was drawn to Anna’s blog when I fell pregnant with Max. Anna is a full time mama to two kids under two so her blog is full of bambino and toddler advice, from monthly updates to dealing with post natal issues and everything in between.

Wish, Wish, Wish http://wishwishwish.net/

I bloody wish is more like it! Wish, Wish, Wish is the ultimate inspiration blog. Carrie has such beautiful style and manages to make even the greyest days light. A dreamy blog to help keep your head in the clouds!

Breathe Happiness http://www.breathehappiness.co.uk

Breathe Happiness is a blog that has it all – written by two awesome broads, it covers everything from photography skills to fitness, from interior design to personal struggles and advice. Shannon and Hayley clearly love their corner of the internet and it shows, they post regularly and their content is both personal and has a lot of heart.

What do you love reading? Have you got any blog favourites that you’d like to share?

Happy blogging,

NB x

That’s Entertainment!

January 4, 2015

serial podcastI have always loved TV, when I talk of TV I mean actual entertainment as apposed to reality tv or soap dramas. Once upon a time they did have their place, but since I have had Max, it is all about quality rather than quantity, because long gone are the days when a Hollyoaks omnibus and a Friends marathon were our weekend activities. Nowadays we are at the park, or washing clothes, working, editing, writing, travelling to a farm etc. Nothing terribly strenuous or mind blowing, but we are out or just busy. That is not to sound like I am too busy having a fab ole time that I couldn’t possibly watch television…far from it. I just…I need to be entertained and I guess, dear reader that is my point.

For the first year of Max’s life – he did not sleep, which ultimately meant we did not sleep. You would think that with 24 hours in a day and possibly only managing to sleep for 5 of those that we would of consumed a lot of entertainment, but I have either blocked it out and/or I was rocking that nugget to sleep, whilst giving a stella performance of ‘hush-a-bye-baby’ and yelling at Ian to narrate the ‘Baby Whisperer’ book for the tenth time that day. That is the other thing…I never realised how much I love to read until the luxury was taken from me. Sure, I spent hours googling ‘why does my baby cry?’, but its not the same is it?

So you can imagine my complete ecstasy when I say “My name is Natasha and I have a 23 month old who loves to nap and sleep”. Luckily it has been this way since Max turned 13 months. Something clicked and I have no idea what it was, I promise I don’t have a secret or a method…it just happened. We still get the occasional nap time dilemma, but his routine is pretty clockwork and it finally means we are getting our groove back. By groove, I mean time and we are using it.

The best thing about having ‘a year off’ from TV and books is that we have had a lot of catching up to do and we have had marathons of entertainment. It has been bliss. This Christmas we were both gifted books and for the first time in years, we realised that our new novels could go straight to our bedside tables instead of our dusty, untouched book shelves. We are reading again!

This might sound strange or a bit of a silly thing to be writing an entire blog post about, but we all need a bit of escapism now and again right? To immerse yourself into a new world or to lose yourself in imagination is an incredible luxury and one that I took for granted.

This year I vow to read more, it doesn’t have to be a classical piece of literature or an important historical manuscript, but I want to laugh more, have a good cry, be informed, be shocked, lose and discover, solve a mystery and crack a case wide open. Thats what they say right?

What do you do to escape? Where do you go?

Paris

January 3, 2015

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Max saying Au revoir Paris!

Ah…Paris in winter. Said no one ever. More like “Argh! Paris in Winter”. Two words: freezing cold.

Freezing cold, but pretty dreamy. We have decided to nickname the week between Christmas and New Year “crimbo limbo” and we decided that this crimbo limbo we were jumping ship or Eurostar in our case to escape the endless Quality Street tins for Paris.

We found a fab airbnb apartment in District 8, which was fabulous and a real home away from home, which is something you need when travelling with a mini person. Life and days with a toddler can be unpredictable and scary at the best of time, so to have a base that has more than one room (ala a hotel) is essential. We planned for rainy days – toys, colouring books, lego, movies, books etc. We planned for restaurant tantrums – bread, books, colouring books, fast ordering and eating. We planned for almost everything and I truly believe we had a better time because of it. Not to sound like a hippy, but I believe “we went with the flow”.

I would not recommend taking a toddler to Paris if you want to visit the Louvre or spend hours drinking wine and eating cheese whilst people watching in a local bistro. Eiffel tower? Forget it.

We were lucky as we had visited before and done everything as a couple so seeing the Mona Lisa was not a priority for us on this visit. We simply chose Paris as it was 2 hours away (maximum time we figured Max would ‘happily’ travel) and we desperately wanted a change of pace and scenery and what better destination to do just that, than Paris?

We ate our body weight in cheese and crepes, we walked for miles, we played for hours and we had a really nice break from house chores and obligations. It was such a lovely way to spend the crimbo limbo week that it may have started a Bailie family tradition. We arrived home on the 31st, just in time for New Year’s Eve. It was nice to wake up on the 1st January 2015 in our own bed with a brand new year ahead. Bring it on 2015!

Joining a Gym…

January 2, 2015

joining a gymGuess what? You can probably guess from the title of this post – I just joined a gym. Yes, you may be nodding and saying “you and all the other billions of people who just made ‘new year, new me’ goals”, but to be honest is the timing really important? Sure, I would like to lose some crimbo calories and breathe normally when I climb the stairs, but joining a gym is no easy task. It seems simple and on the one hand, it really is. You simply sign up. Sign up, pay money, go to gym. Simple…right? Ah if only emotions were as simple…

Half of my friends would never set foot in a gym, afraid of being ridiculed in the locker room or falling over a treadmill on their way to the water fountain. The other half are gorgeous gazelles who love to eat grass and run outside (they are not actual gazelles), but you get my point. I am definitely somewhere in-between on the fitness spectrum.

Confession: I have always loved treadmills. Treadmills are a strange thing to love, but I like that I can control my speed, keep a steady pace, watch TV and listen to music. I prefer the hamster run to the gazelle style of running, which is to run free, outside in fresh air. My point is that I am no gym bunny, but I am not a gym virgin either, although it has definitely been a few years since I last entered one.

So today, lets start with today – I made my way to the gym with my head down low, hands in my pockets and my best ‘please don’t notice me face’, but once I arrived I soon realised that everyone else was far too busy with their own lives to even notice my new trainers and rather perky ponytail. Shocker! The gym is not scary at all. I even made a pal, granted it was through our mutual confusion over the locker padlocks, but I have a gym friend! Woop.

Getting through the door was the hardest part, but once I was inside my curiosity got the better of me and I fondled every piece of machinery and equipment in the joint. Thanks to an awesome pre-planned gym playlist I even managed to run for 20 minutes on the treadmill in-between 2 ‘Kendall Jenner’s’ too, which would have normally put me off, but somehow motivated me to move faster. 20 minutes today, but maybe 25 tomorrow and so on. As long as I am moving, I am making a lot more progress than in 2014.

I entered the gym today not knowing what to really expect and with a lot of pre-conceived ideas of what it was going to be like, but I honestly left feeling like a peacock with all my feathers out. It was a really nice feeling and one I have not felt for a long time and I thought to myself ‘well if that can happen in just 20 minutes, what is going to happen when I do 25 minutes tomorrow?’.

2015 is going to be a peacock of a year!