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How Facebook groups helped me successfully breastfeed – blogtober day 27

Day 27 of #blogtober is ‘Facebook’ – so I wanted to share the amazing resources that exist in this branch of social media, without which I would not be continuing to breastfeed my 2 year old. 

In the early days of breastfeeding, when your lady parts feel like they’re falling out and your nipples don’t know what’s hit them, it can be really tough. And even if breastfeeding is painfree (which it should be – though often isn’t), it’s hard work – it’s an emotional journey and it can take some adjusting to. 

So many nights, I’d be wide awake, feeding Squid, feeling like the only person on the planet who wasn’t asleep. Until one night I discovered a whole tribe of women, also awake and nursing. They were women inside my iPhone. Women who were part of several Facebook groups I’d joined – groups specifically geared to help with breastfeeding. 


These groups became a place of solace for me – ‘why will my 5 week old not sleep away from me?’, ‘why is my 4 month old waking for milk every 45 minutes?’, ‘help! My one year old has bitten me!’, ‘why do I feel so angry when I breastfeed sometimes?’, I’d ask. For every query or worry, there were women who have been through it too, or are in the thick of it – women who offered advice and suggestions, but most of all, companionship and solidarity. 

And even now, I regularly consult the people in these groups, when something changes or I need help. Without these people, I wouldn’t be breastfeeding – and much less likely to be breastfeeding past infancy. One group in particular – ‘Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond’ – helps me to feel normal in what we do, and the women in this group keep me going to achieve my goals. 


If you’re needing support and guidance with breastfeeding, of course face to face support is best, but that’s not always available at 3.42am when you need it the most. My favourite groups are: 

Breastfeeding Older Babies and Beyond

Breastfeeding Younger Babies and Beyond

La Leche League International (and also search for your local LLL Facebook group!)

For inspiration from a natural term breastfeeder who posts quotes and facts daily, follow The Milk Meg – she is simply amazing! 


See you tomorrow, 

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Drusillas Zoo – family fun! Blogtober day 26

Day 26 of #blogtober is ‘Zoo’ – which is handy, as we only recently went to a local zoo – Drusillas in East Sussex. 
Read on for some top tips if you’re planning a visit! 

First off, I recommend seeing if you can get bargain tickets – if you’re a Tesco Clubcard member, you can use their Clubcard Boost scheme to trade your Clubcard vouchers in for tickets to all sorts of places – including Drusillas! As under 2s are free (and Squid was at the time… just!), and we had £6.50 in Clubcard vouchers, we only had to pay for one adult ticket (£19.50). I have to say, we had a brilliant day, but I’m really glad we didn’t pay full price – it would’ve been nearly £60 for the three of us had we paid full price and had Squid been just 3 weeks older! 


I’d hugely recommend packing your own lunch to take with you – there are plenty of places to eat in the park, but it saved us loads by packing our own sarnies – and it meant we could eat whenever we fancied!

Definitely take swimming gear for your sproglets – there’s an excellent water park there and Squid absolutely loved splashing around! 


The zoo itself is a little bit underwhelming animal-wise. This is the first bit you enter when you go in, and it’s set out Ikea-stylee: it’s kind of like a maze. There are safari animals and farm animals, and at various points in the day, there are feeding opportunities (though we somehow managed to miss them all!). Highlights for me were the otters and Squid loved the camels!

There is a train which tours the zoo, so you can see a few of the animals again. This was great fun! The queue was long around lunch time but died down after the rush. 

The park and adventure playground are fantastic – and there are 2 parts to it: one for older kids and one for pre-school aged little ones, which meant no being knocked over by the big kids! We loved the banana boats and the windy slide! 


Then there are loads of toddler and young children-friendly rides, and this really was the best bit. Being over 1m tall, Squid was allowed on them all, though had he been under 1m, there would only have been one ride he couldn’t have gone on! I thought this was great – it really is all geared towards under 5s and it made for a very enjoyable day!


We’d definitely return – when we’ve got enough Clubcard vouchers, of course!

Have you ever been to Drusillas? What did you think?

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Year in review: 2017. #blogtober day 25

25 days in… today’s prompt is ‘Y’ for the ‘Year in review’ – so without further ado, here’s the low down of my 2017…

January 


Daddy’s birthday, a new year, cold weather. I’m not a fan of January what with the Christmas slump, but the days pass quickly when you have a small human!

February


A difficult month in my personal life, and another hospital admission for Squid. 

March


Mother’s Day! A wonderful one spent in some beautiful gardens with a picnic and my favourite people. 

April


We saw lambs being born and held some ducklings… Squid bloody hated it…

May


Still nippy, but I love May-time! Look at those bluebells!

June


A house move meant total unheaval… it was exhausting for Squid as you can see. 

July


A family holiday to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday and the addition of our newest family member – Boofulcat!

August


Lots of sunny-summer holiday activities – it was so wonderful to have time off with Squid…

But August brought with it a further hospital stay for baby boy…


September 


We celebrated 2 years of life for Squid – a happy happy day. September was the start of me working (temporarily) full time… it was a slog!

October


My favourite month, and it’s nearly over! We’ve had lots of leafy walks, and Squid has changed so much over the last month. 

What a quick year! I can’t believe we’re on the descent to Christmas already. 

What has been your 2017 highlight?

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Wet Weather Autumn Activities with a Two-Year-Old: #blogtober day 23


Day 23 of #blogtober is ‘weather’ and with the miserable weather that the UK is currently experiencing, I thought I’d share some photos from our rainy day! It’s been cold, windy and drizzly – a typical autumnal day in England really. But if we let every wet and dreary day put us off venturing outside, then we’d never leave the house! And after all, we’re not made of sugar, so a bit of rain won’t hurt. 

I’ve been looking forward to this half term week since I went back to work after the summer holidays, so today we donned our wellies and rain macs and went exploring! This is absolutely our favourite wet-weather activity – it’s free which is a huge bonus, plus it gets you out in the elements and enjoying all weathers!

Firstly we splashed in puddles: no matter your age, who doesn’t love splashing in puddles?! We had a little rubber ducky with us so he joined in with the puddle splashing! 


Next onto leaf-kicking –  a great way to burn off some energy if your toddler has l been stuck in doors (and it may just guarantee you a rest if said toddler naps afterwards!) 


We saw beautiful patterns today – raindrops on leaves and an intricate spider’s web. I love seeing the world through Squid’s eyes – everything is amazing! It really helps me to stop and take it all in when he is so awe struck!


We collected lots of different leaves and twigs – Squid was incredibly selective about the leaves which met with his approval! 


Squid was most unhappy to pose for photos, but here are a few!


Obligatory mummy milk – so mummy got the wet bum sitting on the bench and Squid was nice and warm! 


Back at home, after a hot chocolate to warm up, we created what can only be described as works of art! Leaves and flowers make excellent paint brushes and stampers, and we painted lots of pretty autumn patterns, then glued some of the leaves onto the picture too. I had some orange cellophane which made a great noise and looked pretty as well! 


And then we did some leaf embossing by putting a leaf under paper and using a crayon to mark the top of it! 


We still have half a bag of leaves left – so suggestions on a post card for what to do with them would be appreciated!

What’s your favourite rainy day activity? We have the rest of the (presumably rainy) week to fill, so hit me up with ideas! 

See you tomorrow – only 8 days left of blogtober to go!

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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Self care – making time for yourself in the midst of motherhood

Day 18 of #blogtober is ‘relaxation’ – something I don’t do a huge amount of, but something that is so vital to your well being!

The past 7 weeks I’ve been working full time, whilst juggling home life and parenthood. It’s been really really hard work, and 2 days away from half term, I’m feeling incredibly burnt out. There’s been a lot of burning the candle at both ends going on, and so this post is really a memo to myself: you can’t pour from an empty cup. 

Me time used to be a shopping trip with friends, or coffee and lunch in a pub. Sometimes I painted my nails, or fake tanned my legs… Since becoming a mum, relaxation and me time sometimes reaches the dizzying heights of treating myself to a 49 second poo in peace. 

So how do you make time to relax amidst the busy goings on of life?

Nowadays, for me, it’s with a cup of tea (preferably piping hot, no sugar, a dash of red milk; leave the tea bag in, thanks). Sometimes I don’t even have time for a cuppa full stop, but when I do have time to sit and enjoy one, it can really keep me going!


I rarely get a bath in peace, so I can’t say that’s necessarily a go-to for relaxation, but occasionally I get treated to a child free bath, and I absolutely love Lush bath bombs when I do! A friend recently gave me this one – I can’t remember what it was called, something with honeycomb, but ahhh it was bliss!


Sometimes me time is pub night with my girl friends. A rare treat, but all conversations over a bottle of prosecco seem to soothe the soul! 


Sometimes relaxation is reading a blog post from another inspiring Mama, or catching up on the goings on on social media. 

Occasionally, I get to read a book – something I absolutely love to do but don’t often have time for. I have quite a collection of books on audio so I can be read to – Harry Potter is my favourite!


Lastly, sometimes relaxation is curling up on the sofa with my hubby and chatting about our days. This seems to happen less and less nowadays – we’re both often still working until 10pm, but I love it when we do get a chance to chat about nonsense! 

How do you make time for yourself? 

See you tomorrow,

Love, Squidmamma x🐙

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#blogtober day three: birthdays on a budget 

So #blogtober day three’s prompt is ‘cars’, and I thought I’d merge two ideas into one! The link to ‘cars’ may be very tenuous, but bear with me!

Squid turned 2 a few weeks ago, and as anyone knows, birthdays can be very expensive! However, with most of my wage going straight back out of my bank account to pay for child care fees, we like to save money where we can, and for us, birthdays are no different! Most of our furniture and clothes are second hand, and I get a real buzz from finding something lovely!
I absolutely love searching through charity shops and boot sales for bargains, and so Squid’s 2nd birthday presented an excellent opportunity to hunt around the local charity shops to find some cut-price presents. We’re not fussed about ‘new’ things – so long as I can clean up a pre-loved item, if I want it, consider it sold!

Squid’s birthday goodies!

We did buy one new thing, which was this Aldi puppet theatre – and at £29.99 I thought that was a great gift to invest in – plus we purchased it in June, so it was a nice bonus for us to have that stashed! I think this will be the kind of gift which lasts for years and we will get lots of play from! I made some Gruffalo puppets to use with it – printables from Twinkl, on lolly sticks!


Squid is an avid fan of all things Julia Donaldson and so I jumped for joy when I picked these books up for 20p at a car boot sale! These books complete our JD set and Squid absolutely loves them. The rhymes are so fun and child friendly, Squid knows ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ and ‘The Gruffalo’ word for word!


Next I found this Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler interactive magnetic farm book for £1. Absolutely hours of fun, and in excellent condition!


I thought this would be good for out and about – in restaurants when bored toddlers want to cause mischief!

This Early Learning Centre aeroplane was also just £2 – complete with 3 little characters! A great addition to our Happyland sets.


Finally, I found this. A beautiful, vintage wooden farm (£2!) and stable (£1). They go perfectly with the wooden farm animals we already have – also a charity shop find!


Squid ADORES this farm set and has spent many happy hours playing with his animals, feeding them hay and herding sheep!

£37 well spent, I’d say! Considering how much money all of these things would have cost new, I was really pleased to keep the costs down.

Birthday boy!

And the ‘car’ element of today’s post? Well, Squid’s beloved ‘Daddad’, my dad, turned up with THIS monstrosity… I can’t exactly put this on the Kallax next to the wooden farm can I?!

Where I am supposed to keep this?!

What’s been your best second hand bargain?! Share it in the comments!

Join me tomorrow for another post, and on Instagram and Facebook to see what I’m up to!

Love, Squidmamma x

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#blogtober day one: about me

In an attempt to give myself a kick up the bottom and get back into the swing of writing again, I’m taking part in blogtober: a post a day for a whole month! Let’s see if I can manage it…

Day one is All About Me. 

I’m pretty ordinary so I am not entirely sure there’s much to say, but here are 8 facts about me which hopefully give you a bit of an insight into my life!

1. I was born in County Durham, in October 1990, and I lived up north until I was around 6 years old. I used to have a very broad northern accent – old home videos are quite hilarious! It always amuses me that my accent is so ‘southern’ now – not a hint of Geordie left!

Baby with dad

Daddy and I – no he’s not Freddie Mercury!


2. I am a teacher, currently teaching Year 5, which is, in my opinion, the best year group. I love my job, and a teacher is the only thing I ever wanted to be when I was growing up! I am shockingly disorganised and untidy though – so I am always losing bits of paper and my mission this year is to keep my classroom tidy! 

Stationery

Best bit about being a teacher! New stationery!


3. My name is Emily, but 99% of people call me ‘Em’ – though my mum calls me Lulu or Loulabelle – on account of my middle name being Louise! Highly embarrassingly, my husband calls me ‘Pickle’…!

4. Speaking of husbands, I met mine at the student union bar at uni – we were 20 (just!) and as soppy as it sounds, I knew straight away he was ‘the one’ – despite being very anti-men at the time 😂 The student bar was called Sparrows (Greenwich Uni, anyone?!) and we now both have sparrow tattoos permanently etched into our skin – a bright idea from our younger years! We were engaged at 21, married at 23 and parents at 24, and the rest is history! 

Husband and I 💛


5. Together, husband and I are the proud owners of one child (aka Squid), who is 2 years old, and one cat (a British Blue Shorthair named Boofulcat). They are the loves of our lives. 

Our boys


6. Our son is nicknamed Squid for a few reasons. Whilst in labour, at the point I had lost my marbles on gas and air, apparently I was telling anyone who’d listen that I had lost my legs and they’d turned to tentacles – and I was a squid! This squid theme continued when we got home, as feeding our baby boy was a bit like wrestling a many tentacled creature… and so Squid got his nickname. 

Oh, baby Squid 🐙😍


7. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I am feeding Squid and we will continue until he decides to stop, whenever that may be! Want to know why I breastfeed my toddler? Read more here

Ain’t no milk like my mama’s milk 💛


8. Raw carrots make me gag. I honestly cannot swallow them 😂 

Well, if one of the most interesting facts about me is about carrots, maybe I should just stop here…! But, ever onwards!

See you tomorrow for a post all about… babies! 

Catch me on Instagram and Facebook for more life snippets 😘

Love, Squidmamma x

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