First comes Dog, then comes Baby : Cosmo & Max by Ian Bailie

October 22, 2014

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We have honestly been saying for years “I don’t know how people do it” and we are talking about people who just have a baby without owning a pet first. Having a pet is one of the best things in life, but nothing can quite prepare you for the life change, just like babies. It doesn’t matter if you have a parrot or a dog. Pets have issues too. Cosmo, is our Shih-Tzu and as soon as she arrived home (no bigger than a face flannel) the chaos began. We were up several times a night, cleaning up poop, saving her from electrocution when she chewed live wires, getting her jabs, cleaning her, feeding her, teaching her and playing with her. Having a pet really prepares you for children, especially when your puppy behaves like one…

We have had Cosmo since she was just 10 weeks old and she is 6 this year, she has moved house 5 times, countries twice and to top it all off we had a baby last year! We have thrown some serious challenges at her and of course she has dealt with each one in her very own and unique way. (Mainly barking and sleeping).

When Max arrived I was up every other hour breastfeeding that milk monster in the night and my dutiful husband forced his eyeballs open to keep me company at every single feed. We used these twilight hours to discuss our days or baby poo and we liked to daydream about our future and what it might look like. This is when we started to write the story of Cosmo and Max and Ian ran with it…every time I fed Max, Ian was thinking of a new verse or silly thing that Cosmo did. Then life got in the way and Max kept growing, Ian continued to add to the story as Max and Cosmo grew together.

Cosmo and Max was originally going to be a precious gift from us to Max on a special birthday, but we decided the story was too lovely not to share with the world so we found a fantastic illustrator and self published Cosmo and Max. It is now available to buy on Amazon as of this week and I could not be happier with how it has turned out and I am so proud of Ian for making the book a reality and for creating such a treasured gift for our son and yours.

Cosmo and Max is available to buy for just £4.99 on Amazon

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Eat, Play, Love : The Sunday Post

October 19, 2014

Sundays are meant for lazy lie-ins, roast dinners, newspapers and hoodies, but once you have a toddler it all changes. Think lego, cartoons, screaming, crying, laughing, poop, milk, washing and being used as a human climbing frame especially if you dare to stay in bed for a minute longer than 7am. 20 months in and I wouldn’t change my new Sunday for the world. It is and has become our perfect chaos.

Last night I got the dreaded ‘Sunday Blues’ early as Mr.B left early this morning for San Francisco for work and he is already in the air heading for the Bay. My BAE is upstairs, currently snoozing his little mind off, whilst I enjoy a second coffee with Cosmo and catch up on all my favourite ‘Sunday posts’. So even though I am not nursing a hangover or indulging in a Friends Marathon, I am still having a peacefully lazy Sunday.

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Sweet Potato Chips are becoming an obsession. As soon as October 1st arrived, I craved and inevitably caved into these roasted beauties. They are so easy to cook and great as a snack or a friend for your burger. I splash mine with olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. They taste like tiny sticks of Autumn. So incredibly warming, delicious and healthy too.

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It has been another week of play dates, park dates and cake dates. We have been so incredibly lucky with the weather this week and so I made sure that I got out with Max every single day. The mini B has a cold at the moment so fresh air and a change of scenery was a must for this poorly fellow.

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Our chair from The London Chair Collective arrived yesterday and it looks brilliant and our lounge is finally coming together. We have been in our new house for 7 months now and finding inspiration has been relatively easy, but finding actual pieces that we can use with both a toddler and a dog has been challenging. When I saw this chair I couldn’t stop thinking about it and then within a week it arrived and it is now owning our room. It was originally part of a foyer chair for a hotel, it is Victorian and has been split and re-upholstered in a gorgeous mustard fabric, which looks so chic with our light grey walls. It is really starting to feel cosy and just in time….winter is coming!

My Honest Review : Honestly Healthy 6 Day Soup & Smoothie Cleanse

October 15, 2014

The Honestly Healthy cleanses or detox programmes are favourites to the likes of Victoria Beckham, Mel C and Millie Mackintosh and the cleanses are definitely not ‘as cheap as chips’, so chips have always won in my house…

This is a tale of a ‘real’ life person (ME) embarking on a 6 day soup and smoothie cleanse with the Honestly Healthy fridge fill service. This is my honest review and experience whilst on the cleanse and I hope it helps anyone who is thinking of starting a similar detox programme or cleanse.

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I feel like I should add that I knew that I wanted to share my journey on the blog, but I did not necessarily know or plan a format etc. However during my 6 detox days I kept a diary of how my day went, how I felt, I listed my struggles, my highs and lows and I noted any observations I had throughout the days. Once I finished the cleanse and read back over my notes I decided that they were so ‘straight to the point’ and funny that I would simply share them here, completely un-edited for a seriously honest, Honestly Healthy review.

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Day 1

What have I done ? It’s Saturday and I deserve coffee and to eat all the things at the frikking farmers markets. Husband decides Chinese sticky back ribs are an appropriate solo meal whilst I drink soup. All dishes taste surprisingly delicious. Never feel hungry. Have an intense caffeine cold turkey headache. Take a nap whilst the boys swim and once Max goes to bed I have a bath, binge watch AHS and go to bed before 10pm. Get up to pee three times in the night, reminded of pregnancy days.

Day 2

I can’t believe I got through a day. Woop, woop. Oh god, waking up and realising I have 5 more days to go… All dishes super tasty and filling until the next one. Niggle of a headache today. Family round which is a huge test of will power for me. They had ice cream and coffee. I didn’t. Feeling smug. Have never wished for next week so bad. Husband cooked chilli tonight whilst I boiled soup and I internalised swear words, but the man has to eat!

Day 3

My joints hurt…am I dying? Had an awful nights sleep, but that was probably due to the 10 hours I had the previous night. Longing to chew. Went on Pinterest. Big mistake. Pinned all the food. Lost followers. Wondering why I thought I could do 6 days instead of 3. Realise I’m dumb. Smell coffee. Ok so I went back on Pinterest to look at food and found lots of fitness and positivity quotes. Feeling motivated. I’m back in the game and sipping some kind of carrot juice…lunch soup is delicious! I cracked and ate a few raisins. Failed! Dinner soup looks suspicious, tastes amazing and super filling. Not craving dessert/sugar. Run out of cleanse food and await delivery for the next 3 days. My fridge looks less Sci Fi without the containers.

Day 4

Had an ok nights sleep and feel good. More energy than the previous days and jeans feel looser. Awaiting to hear when my delivery for the next 3 days will turn up and wondering if peanut butter on toast will do in the interim? That and a frothy cappuccino? Make my own veg, fruit smoothie instead as I’m hungry and cannot wait till 11am because I have been up with a toddler since 7am! Skin looks clearer, which is amazing as I have had a lot of hormonal skin problems, but then again I’ve gone H.A.M with the Clearasil so who knows?! And I’m drinking so much water. Went to the park with mini Max and could hardly keep up, either he’s going through a growth spurt or I’m seriously low in energy? Just remembered I have full 3 days of play dates so need to bake… Chose to bake banana muffins. Torture. Using all my resolve not to go off plan. I’d like to read how Posh Spice does this with such ease! Fennel & pear soup for dinner, get me.

Day 5

Woke up this morning, feeling fine! Had a great nights sleep and this might be the first day I haven’t had a headache… Big woop. Husband has somehow smuggled in some Cadbury Twirl bars and thinks he has hidden them. Honestly why did I not decide to cleanse whilst he’s away on business? Again, dumb. Not craving the Twirl though…lifechanging! Max offered me some hummus that I had to pretend to eat… Torture. Seriously tired of sipping, but amazing for not slipping on my programme. I think this cleanse is making me rhyme. God, I’m cool. Decided I hate the smoothies and love the soups. One more day to go. Headache before bed, but I just watched the Kimye wedding so it could of been my brain cells screaming at me to sort my shizz out. One more day.

Day 6

D-Day! The last day. Thank heavens. Waiting for the eureka “oh I only eat bee pollen now” moment. When is it coming? My colon has decided to start it’s own cleanse. (Know what I’m saying?) Every juice and soup tastes more delicious knowing it’s the last time I will be gulping it. Felt incredibly tired today and realised I’ve taken more baths in the last week than in the last year…if anything this cleanse has made me relax! Eating my last soup and reflecting on the past six days I can’t help, but feel like I’ve hit a reset button. A button I’m motivated to keep shiny and new.

FINISHED!

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This past week has showed me where I’ve been going wrong with my diet and the detox has made me so much more aware of what I’m putting into my body and for that I am grateful. I think that I am self aware, but by doing something as drastic as a cleanse with a menu and all my food laid out for me, well I found myself feeling more accountable and the difference between what I wanted and what I actually needed was suddenly far clearer than before.

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Start weight : 62.6kg 

End weight : 60.6kg

  • Things I hated: Caffeine withdrawal headaches, feeling tired and low of energy, husband eating and cooking (mans gotta eat), eating a meal with no sense of ‘occasion’. Bad sleep.
  • Things I loved: Drinking more water, better skin, better digestion, flatter tummy, weight loss, good sleep.

Other Information:

  • Honestly Healthy offer a ‘fridge fill’ service that is delivered straight to your door. This was only previously offered if you had a London postcode, but HH now offer this service nationwide! Go.
  • There are many different cleansing options to choose from and you can select to do a 3 day cleanse or a 6 day cleanse. you can choose to just give your system a kick start or if you’re tough enough you can dive straight into the ‘deep cleanse’.
  • To check out all the plans and cleansing options, click here: http://honestlyhealthyfood.com/plans/

I hope this helps anyone who is interested in the cleanse and feel free to send me questions via email or simply by leaving me a comment below. I will try and reply as soon as I can.

Mum & Toddler : September Favourites!

October 7, 2014

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September was sunny, blue and surprisingly warm. Today was cold, wet and windy…what a difference a month makes…hello Autumn! This month we have been loving a lot of things and I cannot wait to share them with you.

Le Toy Van London Car Set

Max is a boy who loves his cars. He loves lining them up, driving them around the living room and yelling “zoom, zoom”. We actually had to buy two more sets. This dude is mad for cars, trains and diggers.

Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food Recipe Book

I have every Jamie Oliver cook book going and so this was an obvious purchase for me, but woah Nelly Furtado! the recipes are amazing. Filthy, calorie-tastic comfort food. Delicious!

Alphabet Placemat

Up until now Max has been eating his food off his high chairs tray, but I was getting so tired of endlessly scrubbing every nook and cranny for spaghetti bolognese and he was starting to refuse to get in his chair so I needed a NEW strategy. This alphabet placemat has been the answers to my prayers…it is entertaining, colourful, interactive and best of all it is amazing toddler ‘come eat your dinner’ high chair bait.

Hape Construction Site Peg Puzzle

Max loves these peg puzzles, we now have 4! Need I say more?

JoJo Maman Bebe Fisherman Coat

This anorak is adorable and I am pretty mad that it doesn’t come in my size. It is waterproof, warm, it has a hood and makes Max look like the smallest fisherman ever. If the yellow is too bright for you – the mac also comes in navy and red.

H&M Shaping Jeans

A friend who works in H&M HQ told me to get a pair of these jeans as soon as possible and the promise was that they would change my life. It took a lot for me to click the mouse, because I am a Topshop jeans gal, but woah Nelly Furtado these jeans are amaze balls. Super shaping and great for anyone who wants to fake it till they make it! They are my new secret weapon.

Clearasil Ultra Skincare Collection

I have had such a problem with my face for the last 3 months. I am used to getting the odd blemish, but recently my hormones have attacked my chin and they invited all their friends. I had to take drastic action, seek professional advice and cry a lot before I purchased some of the Clearasil Ultra skin care range. I started with a clay mask and then a cream and now I own some toning pads and a scrub. My acne cleared within a few days and I noticed such a difference after just 12 hours. It is a miracle. I am not spot free yet, but I am getting back to my old self again and I am so grateful.

The Honourable Woman

Watch it! Watch it! Watch it! Amazing television and highly addictive. We watched half the series in one sitting. BBC2 iPlayer.

Sticky 9 Instagram Photo Fridge Magnets

I have mentioned my photo magnets before on the blog, but I just placed a huge order for even more instagram picture magnets. Max loves carrying these around, as well as re-arranging them on the fridge and freezer. I am an instagram addict so it is so nice to have our captured moments displayed where we can all see them every day, especially as we hardly ever print our pictures anymore.

Wakehurst Place

October 6, 2014

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This Sunday we shared Wakehurst Place (our secret garden) with our buddies ‘The Minters’ and we could not of picked a better day, the sun was shining, there was an autumn chill in the air and there were leaves everywhere, which is the dream when two mummy bloggers get together! The kids loved running around the gardens and exploring the vast estate whilst we all chased after them, threw leaves, wiped their noses and tempted them away from the duck pond. The usual.

The Minter ladies in particular have become a huge part in both mine and Max’s life and I am so lucky to have met these broads. Little Harper is a few weeks younger than Max and she follows him everywhere whilst repeating “Max, Max, Max” until he notices her. Laura is my rock and without her I would be in a kids ball pit, overdosing on caffeine, singing the Peppa Pig theme tune on loop.

If you hadn’t guessed from these pictures – it is officially Autumn – it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Check out Laura and Harper’s blog : http://littlebuttondiaries.com

What are we wearing?

NB – Hat: ASOS, Kimono: ASOS, Jeans: H&M

MAX – Mothercare and Vans Toddler Shoes

Boys and Sticks and Cars

September 30, 2014

boys and cars the milk stand

I honestly had never thought about the gender difference in toys and activities that are available to children until I had a bambino all of my own. Max has always been ‘too young’, ‘too small’, ‘too little’ to be bothered with most toys and so he mainly had books and blocks to play with, which in my eyes are pretty gender neutral. Once Max turned 14 months he started to get interested in toys and he was able to ‘choose’ what to interact with for periods of time. Up until this point Max’s toy collection mainly consisted of ‘hand-me-downs’ from family and friends. Granted there was nothing pink or doll like, but they were mainly bright coloured toys that made loud noises or moved, so again, nothing that screamed ‘BOY TOY’.

I remember taking him for a walk around the local park when he was around 14 months and he started to collect sticks, he wasn’t doing anything with them, he just wanted to hold on to them and fit as many in to his tiny paws as possible. I actually remember experiencing one of his first major meltdowns because he couldn’t hold every stick in the park and walk and drink his milk at the same time. Go figure! I am sure there are girls who do this too and it has nothing to do with Max being a boy, but a toddler, but suddenly the saying of ‘boys and their sticks’ came to me and I wondered is ‘that’ really a thing? and seriously why do boys like sticks?

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Max recently passed the 18 month milestone (he is actually 20 months as I type this) and he is suddenly in love with all things cars and diggers related. He probably had 2 ‘car come digger’ type of hand me down toys at the bottom of his toy box that he had never spied before, until recently when he started lining anything that had an ‘engine’ along the floor, sofa and dog if she stayed still long enough! We had to ‘emergency buy’ some cars, vans, bikes, tractors and diggers. When I say emergency I mean Amazon Prime. Max now has quite a collection of ‘boy toys’, but where did the interest come from? I honestly have no clue and find it simply fascinating that boys really do love sticks and cars and diggers.

This all came so suddenly that by next week it could be puzzles, dolls and lego, but I am really enjoying watching him play and develop. Within a week he is now making all the noises for the vehicles and I find myself adding parking garages and road play mats to my Amazon wish list daily.

Does anyone have a similar tale for their little ladies? I would love to know if there is a huge difference or even if you have a girl who loves sticks and cars too. Let me know and leave me a comment below.

Why I Blog

September 18, 2014

why i blog natasha bailie

I love blogging , always have and always will. I am a huge blog fan. I like reading them, I like commenting on them and I love writing them. I enjoy having a corner of the internet that is mine and I like to share knowledge, wisdom (if any), favourite discoveries, my adventures and my experience of being a first time mama, but never food. Get your own!

I started this blog as I was breastfeeding for the millionth time in the space of 24 hours on something like day 88 of being a new mother and I was desperately looking for answers/inspiration and advice on my then current situation. All I got was forums (too “shouty” or soppy for me) or the NHS (too clinical for me – although I like that they get to the point). I had always read blogs, but bambino development books had become my new best friend and I had only ever read blogs for inspiration and absolutely never about babies. The Milk Stand was born. I wanted to create my own blog in the hope I would find others like me…

The idea of ‘mum blogs’ scared me a little to begin with as I imagined that most of the mothers were the same ones who were writing and judging strangers on forums. I feared that ‘MUM24567′ used her blog to really get her point across, but how wrong could I be? There are those blogs (of course), but if you delve a little deeper it is easy to find like minded mamas who not only inspire you, but become your friend and part of your support team. Those women are incredibly awesome!

So The Milk Stand was/is my space to write about my life and share my experiences as a first time mum. I found it so helpful finding other women going through the exact same scenario that I was and even though I started the blog to gather information like a squirrel with his nuts, what I actually found was a community. A community of like minded and strong women who are still my friends today and will be for baby number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. (I kid….no seriously though, don’t even mention baby no.deux).

Best of all I like my blog. I think I can say that – because it is mine, but I love it. I enjoy sharing everything, especially the incredible highs and lows that motherhood can bring. I like to think The Milk Stand truly reflects me, my life and the realities of becoming a mother. I hope you enjoy reading it and that it helps one of you glorious mother’s who are looking for some kind of answer at 2am in the morning! Keep going.