The week before Christmas, Reuben and I were lucky enough to have a baby-free evening at the Bolton Hotel in Wellington. I haven’t had many nights away from Baxter but knew we both needed it. Not only does having a baby change your life in many amazing ways, it changes your relationship too and both Reuben and I knew we needed a night away to treat ourselves and relax (well, try to anyway as I am terrible at it). The Bolton Hotel is a 5-star boutique hotel in the heart of the city, located on Bolton St off The Terrace so it’s in close proximity to all major amenities, tourist locations and a short walk/uber ride to the nightlife scene.

We hadn’t stayed there before and were hanging out for the peaceful break! I must admit, though, we did dial into the baby monitor at Mum & Dad’s on several occasions just so we could sneak a peek at our little man. I trust my parents 100% but it’s always nice to see them (and check they’re sleeping). The staff were amazing when we arrived, super friendly and gave us the run down, where everything was etc. I loved that we could park right out the front so I didn’t have to waddle too far (ha).

We stayed in one of their Classic Suites, which had everything we needed or could have needed. I liked the fact that it had a separate living area to the bedroom (which meant Reuben could watch the cricket – zzz) and I could blob on the bed and order room service or trawl Facebook feed using their free WIFI (who doesn’t love free WIFI?) even better, they have an in-room iPad for you to use complete with a jazzy hotel app which allows you to order all sorts of delicious goodies, see what’s happening around the city, book a wake up call and so many other things that didn’t involve picking up a phone and talking to somebody. I was super stoked to see a bath in the suite. Yes, we have a huge bath at home but it’s nice to not bath surrounded by floating plastic toys or having a child sticking their finger in your belly button and laughing.

We were treated to dinner at their amazing Artisan restaurant too, we googled the menu before we had even checked in as anybody who knows me, knows I am ridiculously fussy. We were both well impressed with the menu, although we didn’t know what half the things on the menu were (cue more googling). This is purely from lack of us getting out and experiencing/trying new things. Well, try new things we did. We asked the lovely lady looking after our table what she recommended and she guided us well. We started with Halloumi fritters, brioche crumb, quinoa and broad bean salad, tamarillo jam and the Goat’s cheese soufflé with cherry tomatoes, spinach. Wow, I would not usually eat any of the above, and it was a taste explosion, one I thoroughly enjoyed and I am not just saying that. Even Reuben was amazed that I polished off all of mine (and ate some of his). For dinner, we played it safe and selected something we knew we both loved – Beef. We chose the Beef fillet and short rib with Pho beef broth, herb tortellini and mirepoix. Again, divine. Had a real Asian twist to it, something I am usually scared of (flavours in general). My god, it was delicious. Come dessert, I am all about the Chocolate, we had the Chocolate “en surprise” with dulce de leche and roasted peanuts to share. I am pretty sure I ate all of it. Holy moly, what a dish!! The presentation blew me away and I simply didn’t want it to end. The staff were fantastic with us, explaining which cutlery to use when (yes, we’re that noob). They also made me the most delicious Strawberry mocktail (pregnant and all).

We slept amazingly and had a late checkout to allow us to demolish the breakfast we had delivered to our door that morning. By far, the best hotel breakfast I have EVER had in my life. REAL coffee, the most delicious smoothie, REAL bacon and again, presented really nicely and piping hot when delivered.

When checkout time came, the car was waiting at the door for us and the staff were super friendly and chatty.

Would highly recommend for a child-free night, would also attempt taking Baxter (the idea still scares me) as you could easily set their porta cot up in the living area so you have some privacy/peace still or you could opt for a bigger twin room.

As I know, all you mamas are super hard working and deserve a night off for some relaxation. So, I’ve teamed up with the lovely team at The Bolton Hotel to give away a nights stay for 2 with complimentary breakfast*.

To enter, just comment over on the New Mum Club Facebook page pinned post (the post you clicked on to get here) why you and your partner (or you and a friend) deserve a night away. You must also like the Bolton Hotel Facebook page (we can check).

The winner will be drawn on February 16th at 6 pm.

*Bolton Hotel T&C’s – stay can be used on a weekend night (non-event) and will have 1-year validity.

New Mum Club standard T&C’s – https://newmumclub.com/terms-conditions/

Second time round I am going into this whole experience with so much more knowledge than when I was pregnant with Baxter and well, knowledge is power – right?

I will not allow myself to feel bullied, judged or pressured into anything. I’ll have my tin of formula in my hospital bag if I’m having issues and my baby is hungry. I won’t question my decision for a moment. I will give breastfeeding a go but I will not allow myself to get consumed by bad feelings, pressure and the potential onset of PND.

I’ve come up with a few points that I need to remind myself when times get tough.

  • Don’t be so hard on me – high expectations often result in disappointment, like the above, be strong, stick to your guns and don’t allow yourself to get pushed around.
  • Accept help when offered, even if they don’t do it the way I do – I am the biggest control freak and I NEVER accept help when asked. It’s just not in my nature, I am always the first to put my hand up to help others but when it comes down to people offering help, I always say no.
  • Have an open mind when it comes to breastfeeding – don’t put so much pressure on me. Same as above. I am sticking to my guns, I know what I want and what I won’t allow. I want my baby to be healthy, happy and not hungry. If it all works out, awesome. If it doesn’t, well I tried.
  • Don’t buy so much shit – so many clothes didn’t get worn with Baxter because I went crazy (everybody does with first babies, right?), at least his sister can rock them. The flip side is because we did buy so much crap for Baxter, we didn’t need to buy too much for his sister.
  • Enjoy those first few weeks – we know it’s going to be shit, so let’s try and enjoy them. It really is scary how quickly those weeks go so embrace the fourth trimester in a haze of sleep deprivation and hormones.
  • Try not to compare them – the births, the kids, everything. They’re two totally different children and will no doubt act it so don’t be disappointed if one doesn’t sleep as good as the other (this is a legit fear as Baxter is the bomb sleeper).
  • Don’t freak out during the adjustment period – Baxter isn’t going to be impressed with the new family member (nor is the cat) so I need to give him time to adjust and come around to the idea that he now has this little bundle to help me protect.
  • Just breathe – it’ll no doubt be a bit shit for a while, but they will love each other eventually, right? Don’t sweat the small stuff, what will be will be.
  • Spread the love – remember to give equal amounts of love to both kids, while the new baby is going to need lots of attention and will be very dependent on me, don’t change how I am and have always been with little B.
  • Don’t feel pressured with visitors – this got me last time, I knew people wanted to meet our new addition but I put a lot of un-needed pressure on myself to keep the house clean and was still finding my way with establishing feeding which didn’t help as I wasn’t comfortable with getting my boob out in front of friends/family in those hazy first few days.
  • Take care of myself – know my limits, you know your own body better than anybody and if things don’t feel right physically or mentally, talk to your midwife or GP. With a history of anxiety/depression and PND with my first, I’ll be kept a close on eye on this time around and I know what to look out for. Don’t be afraid to admit you’re struggling.

I know there will be plenty more that I’ve forgotten about and will learn on my journey to 2 under two (oh my god).

Bare with me while I learn to not lose my mind!

Reuben said to me last night “you need some new content”. The sad thing is, he’s right. Life has been so insanely busy as of late that I really haven’t set aside time to blog as much as I would have liked. I’ll be honest, I’ve set aside NO time. As I’m sure you’ve been able to tell. We’ve had a pregnancy announcement, Christmas, NY, my 30th birthday in less than a week (cue meltdown). I’ve celebrated the 2 year anniversary of this very blog and the Facebook page ticked over 30 THOUSAND followers, I am still in shock. To top it all off?.. the baby is going to be here in 13.5 weeks. OH MY GOD. That is 95 days away. Are we prepared? Um, kind of.

Having a second baby is NOTHING like having your first baby, well this is how its been for me anyway. I was so extremely organised about this time with Baxter. His room was ready and I’d probably moved the furniture around and re-organised everything like 5 times and I was probably packing my hospital bag for the 3rd time. I was petrified about the birth and each week I would remind Reuben “you know the baby is going to be here soon right?” cos men, well. You know.

This pregnancy has been oh so different and I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that its a girl. I have to check the app on my phone to confirm how far along I am when people ask and am only just now starting to really come to terms with the fact that in a few short months, our baby girl will be here and our family will be complete. Yes, no more babies. I know what you’re thinking.. everybody says that no more. But this is what we want. We’re ecstatic to be having one of each and 2 is what we always wanted.

Babies room is nowhere near completed. We’re doing some renovations on the spare room which will end up being Baxter’s new room, and shrimpy will go into Baxter’s current room once she’s graduated out of our room. That is the plan, the room needs to be painted and currently resembles a hoarders living room. As Reuben would say “we have pleeeenty of time”. It’s not doing good things for my anxiety, thats for sure. But I know it will all work out.

Do you know one thing that is really starting to scare me? Freak me out, make me anxious? Its extremely selfish. Really. Baxter has been an amazing sleeper since an early age. We’ve been so so lucky, everybody told us he would stop it eventually and “it won’t last for long” typical buzzkill comments. He hasn’t stopped. He is still sleeping anywhere from 12-15 hours a night. I am not joking, this kid is a mini version of his Dad and he LOVES to sleep. And yes, he has a small day sleep too. I am so scared that the new baby is going to affect his sleeping and that we will all fall apart. Deep down, I know its selfish. Baxter being a good sleeper has really helped my PND because I KNOW that sleep deprivation is a killer, trust me, I did experience it. Those first 3 months were hellish. It actually fucks with your brain and it can be quite dangerous at times. I am genuinely worried that if his sleep gets all out of whack then we will have two not sleeping and how will we cope? Oh poor me you’re probably thinking, but its scares me and triggers my anxiety. I don’t know how I will cope.

I know its going to be tough, we’ve done it before, I know the rough times will pass and you start having good days between the bad days, then good weeks, good months. I am just starting to panic. I know Baxter will change a wee bit with his sister arriving, although he is young. I am sure he will know. He seen me with a friends 9 week old baby a few weeks ago and the look he gave me truly broke my heart. It made me feel like. I had to sneak back into his room later to tell him that I loved him. I felt terrible and I know these feels with flood back soon when I am spreading my love and attention between two.

Every baby is so different and I have no idea what to expect.

I am shit scared that my PND is going to come flooding back in full force. My GP, Midwife and family are amazing. I have a great support system so this shouldn’t be a concern of mine, but it is. After discussions with my GP, Midwife & Reuben we decided it was better for me to remain on my medication throughout this pregnancy. I felt good about the decision until some dip shit pharmacist who filled my prescription scare mongered me and told me it was extremely dangerous for the baby with me being on medication. Who the hell does he think he is? Like I wasn’t in a vulnerable enough state.

Anyway, I am starting to ramble a bit. I haven’t blogged in a while, I start to type and now I can’t seem to stop. Sometimes airing your thoughts and fears make you feel a shit load better. I know it often makes others feel better because they realise their fears are normal.

Thanks to my anterior placenta (I had one with Baxter too), I’ve only felt movements in the last two weeks but it definitely makes it all feel a lot more real.

Life has been hectic but I promise I will blog at least once a week going forward!

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I am usually one of those people who post a big New Years status saying ‘new year, new me’ blah blah you know the ones. And as I write this I’m thinking to myself, this kind of IS one of those posts (haha, awkward).

I guess it’s coming from a different angle.. bear with me.

I am not going to change this new year because I am happy with where my life is, I’m content. Yes, I’ve lost a lot of friends in recent months due to everybody being busy with their families and other friend groups and I am now in a place where I am OK with this, I get it. I’ve been super busy myself and maybe I haven’t made as much effort as I could have but friendship is a 2-way street and for years I’ve felt like I’m the one always making the effort. Sometimes all it takes is a nice text to say I am being thought of, these texts are rarely received nowadays. I was never one to maintain a group of friends from school, I was working on new things and side projects and many didn’t understand that at the time and would have preferred to go and get drunk. I guess this has followed me through life and at times I worry that maybe I am not a good friend but I’ve recently realized I am a bloody good friend and I will always be there for my true friends, they know that I would do anything for them and while I am not always present, I am there.

As we grow older we realise what’s important and what’s not. Materialistic things which used to excite me no longer have that effect. Sure, it’s nice to have ‘nice things’ but what is the real desire behind wanting them? Once you start to think about that you realise that it’s really not important. I’ve worked super hard and sometimes it is nice to treat myself but there’s a difference between the odd splurge and falling into this vortex of having the best of everything purely to claim a ‘status’.

I am 30 in just over 2 weeks and soon to be a Mum of 2 under 2. I am scared. No, wait, I am petrified as not only am I getting older – life’s about to get hectic as hell. Even more so than it is now. I worry about how I am going to cope. Am I going to suffer from PND again? Whilst I am doing what I can to manage it, the future is unknown and it’s a little daunting. I am going into #2 with a lot more knowledge and power so I know what I do and don’t want, I know the warning signs and I know what action needs to be taken should I feel myself slipping again.

I really don’t even know where I am going with this post. Yes, it’s a new year and the beginning of a new year is a great time to adopt change and make goals but it’s not a must. If you are happy with your life, why change? Don’t do it for others, do it for you.

While my full-time job and my blog require me to be online and on social media a lot, over recent weeks I’ve recent stepped back on the personal front to ensure I don’t allow myself to get too consumed.

I stopped my photography business after 10 years a few months ago and it was one of the best changes I’ve made for myself. I would work myself to the point of exhaustion and to the point where it was no longer enjoyable.

If I can take one thing away from 2016, it would be to focus on me. Don’t be selfish, but in order to love and care for others, you need to look out for yourself. I’ve constantly done this for others (which I will always do) but often I would then feel deflated when things were not appreciated. Having Baxter changed my views and my life in so many ways it unreal.

For me, being happy is a mindset thing. Once you stop overthinking every situation and filling your life with clutter and meaningless things you truly start to appreciate the good things in life.

This is your year, you got this!

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I’ve just realised I’ve barely made any updates in regards to my second pregnancy aside from the announcement itself. So if you missed it.. yes, I am pregnant (again!). Baby is due in April.

I am currently 17 weeks and this pregnancy has been nothing like the first. I am not sure if that’s just how it is with your second pregnancy or if it’s an indication of gender as some like to say (I wish). I personally am just taking it all as it comes and whatever will be, will be.

People say “oh, do you have a preference?” well, a healthy baby would be great! I would be happy with either, of course, it’d be nice to have a girl so we have one of each as this is it for us. We’ve talked long and hard about this, it is what WE want. We always wanted to have the 2 in close succession while things are still fresh for us and we can re-use things of Baxters. We’re still in that baby mentality and remember (very vividly) what it is like to have a newborn so for us, it’s easier to have #2 now and ‘get it over with’ so to speak. They’ll be about 19m apart and that’s a great gap for us plus it means they’ll hopefully grow up to be the best of friends.

I am finding with this pregnancy, I don’t have that much time on my hands to think about it and dwell on things. I am somewhat mentally prepared from the first. I know the pregnancy is going to be a bit shit and the whole birth part, well, it hurts like fuck but the pain is only temporary and the outcome is SO worth it. Working full time, running the blog and having Baxter to run around after keeps me pretty busy, I often need to refer to a phone app to tell me how many weeks I am. Baxter stays home with Reuben these days so that definitely takes some pressure off but even the most menial of tasks are a bloody mission these days because I am just so damn tired all the time. The bump appeared much earlier than last time, they say this is pretty normal also. I am concerned just how big I am going to get – haha.

I am lucky to not have had a bad run with morning sickness, I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of nausea which was somewhat similar to my pregnancy with Baxter.

I looked into coming off my PND medication but after thorough discussions with my fiancee, midwife and GP, we all decided it was best for my mental health to stay on them. They’re no risk to the baby and why change if it’s working for me right now? The weeks of weaning off them were fucking horrific and I am kicking myself for even attempting it, I wasn’t ready but thought it was best. It wasn’t. Sometimes it’s OK to admit defeat and admit that things aren’t OK.

Does Baxter know mummy has a baby in her tummy? Nope, I think he is still just too young (14m). I have told him and on the odd occasion he will put his hand on my belly but he gets more of a kick off sticking his grubby fingers in my belly button, lol.

I totally watched the clock with Baxter and now I simply don’t have the time and it’s scary to think in just 3 weeks we’ll be at the half way point!

 

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Photo taken at 16 weeks