• Growing Up & Letting Go

  • Old Haunts, New Memories

  • Easter Feast-er

  • SUPERMUMS

Growing Up & Letting Go

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A friend with a one year old asked me if “it has all gone fast” the other day. “It” is being a mother and “gone fast” is Max’s ‘baby years’. I replied “yes and no”, because yes…wowee I have a two-year old, but it has not been sudden. I still remember the sleep deprivation, the sterilizing, the puree, the sore nipples and I remember living in the process. The process of Max becoming a toddler who crawled, walked and has not stopped running since and I feel very privileged to be a part of that process.

This week I left Max at nursery. I have been settling him into nursery for a long time and it has been one of the hardest things I have had to do since becoming a madre. I don’t even know how many ‘settling in’ sessions we have had – it has been that many – much to the dismay of family and friends who simply look at me in horror and say “you haven’t left him yet?!”

It is not as simple as yes or no. Since pregnancy and birth I have been bombarded with bonding rituals and ideas and ideals and chances are that you have too and then one day you are expected to take your mini human to nursery, turn your back and walk away. It feels like the most un-natural thing to do and it certainly isn’t something that just happens overnight or falls into place. It takes a lot of work, trust and bravery.

Firstly, just finding the right nursery is half the battle – it is up there with finding the dream house, husband, labour ward and buggy. Much like house hunting, when you find THE one YOU know. I walked into Max’s nursery and instantly felt happy and at ease with the environment, the staff and their ethos. Secondly, the staff – these are the people who are going to help your child grow into an awesome human – ask them all the questions. Apparently I am that parent – the staff at Max’s nursery most probably think I am a loon, but “for the first time in forever” I don’t care. I am a mother, give it to me straight, I haven’t got time for nonsense – I have to clean somewhere with a wet wipe stat. Cah-PEESH? Communication is key. Thirdly, ‘settling in’ sessions – the best gift a nursery can give you – use and abuse these chunks of gifted time. My nursery allows for 6 ‘settling in’ sessions, but I have friends who have had half of that. As with everything in life – there is wiggle room and you can negotiate. Also get settled, find your peg, check the exits and get comfortable because you could be there for 2 sessions or 10. One size does not fit all and that is OK.

Today marks my third “turn your back and walk away’ day, so please know that I have no clue what I am doing and I am by no means an expert, but this is and has been my experience and it is true what they say – it does get better/you get tougher. Trust that the nursery have yours and his best interests in mind, trust that he will eat, play and learn, trust that he/you will cry, but trust me – he will be OK.

Since starting our nursery journey I have noticed a huge change in Max and for the better and it is amazing. Amazing, amazing. Grab a cracker and some relish because here comes the cheddar, but wow. Max has gone from being a very shy and clingy toddler to an independent and curious kid who wants to make you laugh and it honestly feels me with the most overwhelming pride. The dread of leaving him is always forgotten and replaced with the most incredible high when the nursery tell me what he has been up to or what he did in my absence and honestly it is worth it.

So it is official, Max is growing up and learning to let go and reach out for new experiences, but I am still part of the process and even though we are not at our destination yet, I am trying to enjoy and learn from the journey.

Old Haunts, New Memories

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The west pier in Brighton has always had a special place in our hearts. We have made new friends in front of it, shared a tinny or two beside it, burnt many a sausage whilst looking at it, we’ve flown kites into it and we watched it burn down, which was incredibly sad, but today…we shared it with Max.

It may seem strange that we have only just shown Max Brighton’s West Pier, especially as we live in Brighton and have been back for an entire year, but it wasn’t a priority sadly. The West Pier is a skeleton of its former self and we were busy showing him the boats at the Marina and the colourful beach huts on Hove Lawns, until today when the sun was still shining at 5pm and the promise of Summer smacked us in the face with some good ole nostalgia and we shimmied down the pebbles and made some new memories.

It wasn’t until we skimmed our first pebbles and collected a few shells that we even realised how special this place is to us. It was a mad evening – there was an insane glare on the water which made it look like there was no horizon and the water was as calm and still as a pond. It was serene, beautiful and incredibly peaceful.

Sometimes I have real moments where I regret coming home because I fear what I am missing out on, but equally I felt like that when I was that side too – I apparently think the grass is always greener. (I am working on it), but sharing this special part of our old life with our new life was so humbling and filled us with all the feels.

I am so excited about summer in Brighton and making some new memories in our old haunts. It is so special to share this place with Max – who is turning out to be quite the Brighton dude.

Easter Feast-er

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IMG_2431The Easter Feast-er as it is now known started on Good Friday and is still going…a whole week later. We have encouraged a tradition that has become a routine, it’s as if we’re stuck on loop in a vine video. Max wakes up and forgets chocolate exists and then he wakes up from his nap and makes his way to the “chocolate door” (aka the larder/pantry/cupboard with all the dry food in and…chocolate). What have we done? Next year, his Easter basket will contain hard-boiled eggs and grapes!

I hope you had a smashing break and long weekend,

NB x

SUPERMUMS

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This weeks vlog includes at least four meltdowns and all of them were mine. We are going through a particularly ‘trying’ toddler phase. Max has basically been poorly since he started nursery, which everyone told me about. Thanks. A poorly toddler + the terrible twos + a mum who has lost all patience = a cocktail I did not order! Whilst I am throwing this pity party…I am also a single mum this week. S-O-S.

Yesterday I pulled my socks up and left the house to first – get coffee, but secondly the local park had been on our weeks bucket list and so with wellies and a well stamped coffee loyalty card we ventured out. Whilst we were out I met a mum in the park who turned out to be lovely, she was chatty, just moved here from London, has 2 sons, lives in the next street and she had cool shoes. Not only did she give me some great “just starting nursery” advice and dealing with boys wisdom, but she also told me how her husband commutes to London everyday and works insane hours and she is on her own all day and night and with two boys under 3. Now I cannot decide if she is nuts or a super hero….I think both, but mainly the latter, but wow.

Super mum is a term that is thrown around, but I think I met a real one yesterday. All I kept thinking was “how has she got her shizz this together and I am hanging on for dear life?”. Truth is, not to get too dairy on you (again), but we are all super mums. The fact that all of my friends do what they do and raise such sweet humans is mind blowing and no mean feat. We all put a lot of work into our routines, into playing lego for hours on end, into building train tracks, into our dramatic readings of The Gruffalo and so when life goes ‘off piste’, our whole world can feel like it is crumbling down, but just like lego – YOU can build it up again.

It is crazy to think that I was going to stay in yesterday, sometimes the best stuff happens when you’re not looking and meeting someone, even if it is for 20 minutes – it can totally turn your day around. So thanks super mum and if you are reading this and feeling stuck – get out if you can. LIFE IS HAPPENING.

Sick Day/s

themilkstandLast Sunday Max was invited to his first proper birthday party, complete with party hats, pass the parcel games and cake, so of course he woke up with a streaming nose and puffy eyes. We have been in quarantine ever since and it is now Thursday. To be said in Big Brother voice : “Day 4 in the Bailie sick house, Natasha has developed a nervous twitch in her right eye and can now administer Calpol with her eyes shut. Max now looks forward to taking his medicine, it has become routine, both mother and poorly toddler have watched every Pixar/Dreamworks movie that has ever been made.”

Sick days are the worst, my heart hurts for the little guy who just generally looks forlorn and sorry for himself. There is nothing to do except sit and wait for this bug to pass, but 4 days without seeing another mother is sending me coo coo for cocoa puffs. I have become a teenager – always on my phone begging for interaction with other humans. People are social creatures…I need to socialise.

Sick days make me appreciate social media more than ever and my WhatsApp mothers meetings are priceless, without them I would have ordered 60 packs of mini eggs in my online Sainsbury’s shop and eaten them. Seriously what did our mothers do? What did their mothers do before that? I think those were the days when your neighbour was also your babysitter and friend. I hate that all my favourite people don’t live next door, but I am so lucky that its just as easy to pick up your phone when your house is in Singapore, Dubai, California, France or London. My “neighbours” may not be local, but they sure are worldly.

If you’re going “through it” too (the bugs are making the rounds) I will high five you on the other side!

Friendship

emieandmaxFriends come and they go and they come back and they go again, but some friendships are like diamonds. Genuine, lasting and hard to find. Since turning 30 and having a mini human to worry about, my time has become precious and I choose to spend it with people who I know, care and love and who, quite frankly have the super power ability of making me feel like a goddess on even my darkest days. I could get all Pinterest on you and spout some “real friends do this” rubbish, but I have a feeling you have already pinned it.

In the past year I have made new friends, which is something I haven’t had to do since school. When Max arrived I soon found out the importance of “mum friends”, but finding them was tricky. Mothers are everywhere, but finding the right one is no easy task. I was extremely pro-active in my quest for friends when I moved into our new area, because I knew that without a support network I would fail. I got lucky too – I was introduced to friends of friends, I found a gem of a mother in the library and this blog has given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing mothers who have become key people in my life. Since becoming a content creator on YouTube I have also discovered a fantastic community of like minded women and mothers. To quote Ron Weasley “its bloody brilliant”, because half the mums who answer my SOS texts or actively comment on various social media pages have become my friends and it is incredibly empowering to have a large network of women who are genuinely ‘rooting’ for you and I for them.

If this wasn’t cheesy enough, yes that’s right grab a bread stick because this is about to go fondue – seeing your mini human play with your friends mini human is mind blowing. All the feelings and all the cheese I know, but Max is now at an age where he is taking an interest in other kids. Up to this point it has all been about parallel play and the only interaction was fighting over a rice cake or a Thomas train, but something has shifted and Max is interested in making you laugh and running like a loon with a buddy and it is so nice to see, because I like to do that too with my buddies, but you know…I swap running for coffee.

Most of the mothers I now know I have only ever known as ‘mothers’ because we found each other AB (after baby) and what I have learnt is that behind every great mother is an incredible woman. Women with drive, ambition, talent and the ability to turn my day around with a filthy joke or a cup of tea & crumpet and that my friend, is true friendship.

Learning to Drive at 30 something…

clueless-helloI am not a virgin and I can NOW drive. According to the movie Clueless I am now a somebody. (Apparently).

When I turned 17 the last thing I wanted to do was learn to drive, I was too busy spending any cash I earned on Topshop jeans and mobile phone credit (those were the days) and I lived smack bang in the middle of town so I could walk to Topshop easily. I remember all my friends getting their ten driving lessons as birthday presents and honestly I never gave it a second thought. If I was in a real pinch or needed to get somewhere I always had a fabulous friend who could drive me around so I never needed my own set of wheels. I was basically like Lady Penelope in skinny jeans!

I applied for my provisional license when we moved to the countryside which was about 5 years ago and I did genuinely apply with all the intentions of learning to drive. I had to, I had no choice and Topshop was a zillion miles away. We then moved to Singapore for 3 years so the need went away again and I found myself smack bang in the centre of it all. Again.

We moved back to the UK one year ago and now I am happy to share that I just passed my driving test and I have my full driving license, so hop in the back Lady P! Getting my drivers license has not always been my top priority, but since having a mini human who relies on me for everything, my need for a quick getaway has become paramount to my/our survival.

I started my lessons last May and it took me 3 practical tests to pass, but did I find it any easier or worse being a thirty something driver? The answer is nope and yes. After everything I have just done and conquered I know that at seventeen years old (this might be just me talking), but I was not ready to be behind a wheel and in charge of other people’s safety whilst getting to and from various Topshop stores. I am now 30 years old and I have seen a LOT, felt all the feelings and more importantly I know how I work, I could finally afford the lessons and my mobile contract and that new pair of jeans and I had time, no pressure to pass, just time. At seventeen I could have had this, but I remember being 17 and the pressure was heavy and high with school, boys, home life, work and if I had mixed in learning to drive too – I would probably have driven over myself ala Brian Harvey.

Equally at thirty I have similar pressures, but I know now that they are not life or death. On the flip side I couldn’t practise driving with my husband for fear of divorce and I had to go to each driving test surrounded by teens and feel like the “late bloomer.” On my second test my driving examiner told me a great story about the test before mine: a woman who had just turned 67 years old had just passed with flying colours. The woman’s husband had died the previous year and had never let her drive and she DID IT! Even thinking of this story now makes me smile, because seriously it is never too late, there is never a right time or a wrong time, age doesn’t matter, but your drive to drive should, so do what you REALLY want and when you want, this goes for everything in life – life really is too short so walk, run and drive when you can.

In the Country

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IMG_2420This week we are in the country, the Sussex countryside. We both grew up here so its always special to share some of our favourite places and green spaces with Max. We are staying with my very accommodating in laws, who have just returned from Sri Lanka. I only mention this because can you imagine fighting both jet lag and a spinning 2 year old? They have also had to build pillow forts and read Thomas the Tank engine one billion times. Max’s Grandparents have the patience of saints.

We are here because our house is currently a war zone, there is merely rubble where our kitchen used to be, we now have an exposed brick wall due to some cowboy plastering and new floors throughout. We decided that we needed to get the spinning toddler away from the heavy machinery and seek solace in West Sussex. We have taken full advantage of our country surroundings with lots of leisurely walks and as you can see from the pictures above, Max has decided to take the lead. Actually take the lead, Cosmo’s lead. It was adorable!

There is a different pace here, everything moves a little slower, people say “hello”, it is quiet and there is so much sky, which might sound like a strange observation, but uninterrupted views equals more sky. More sky, more stars, more birds. I just hope the stillness we feel here can come back to Brighton with us.

Peace out!

The Terrible Twos

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Which way is Human Resources for motherhood? Because Bailie is out. I quit.

Firstly, many apologies for basically going MIA on you, but I was negotiating with a toddler, then compromising and ultimately pleading, losing and so on. (Send H-E-L-P). To say the last couple of weeks have been tough would be an understatement. Since Max turned 2 it has been all systems go with tantrums and tears and dear reader, they were not all his. (S-O-S).

Pals did warn me so I may only have myself to blame, but the “terrible twos” have hit casa Bailie like a tsunami. The worst part was that Max’s hour long tantrums really came into their own, complete with jazz hands once his ‘Dadda’ left for the land of the Americas for work related business. Brilliant. My week of tantrums has now be renamed “Les Miserables”. When Mr.B came home I was a shell of a woman, the house was a sty, the dog was depressed, the fridge was empty, but Max had a dozen more new words and is basically chatting to us. Also he clearly has no memory of Les Miserables week.

I was an avid reader of the book “The Wonder Weeks” when Max came into the world. It was really helpful to understand when your baby is going through a leap or having a growth spurt and why. I had a love/hate relationship with the book, but only because it was like a friend who gave advice, but I always thought I knew better and guess what? the friend is and was always right. God damn.

I have not read a “baby related manual” in a long time so I had completely forgotten/blocked everything out that I had ever read about leaps, but of course Max is a growing boy so he will be embarking on many. This past week was no different. He had to go through it so he could come out the other side. He had to apparently scream through his frustration and push all my buttons to get to the place we are at now, which is bliss. Pure bliss.

We can now chat, there is some understanding, I can say “no” without a melt down occurring. It is like magic. I always forget/block out these times and that is what is so great about having and writing this blog. I started writing in this neck of the internet woods to help others and I am actually helping myself, which is a nice. Mr.B came home after 4 days and exclaimed that it felt like he had been away for a month when Max started chatting to him and that was the reward.

Sometimes you cannot see the wood through the trees…I am guilty of this, but my goodness when you do reach the other side…it is quite something and as if by magic all is forgotten. Until the next time.

Max turns 2

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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).