I’ve written about having no routine before prompted by Sonny’s awful sleep and a gnawing sense of self-doubt that I was doing something wrong. I questioned if he’d sleep better with a routine, and I became paranoid that there was this ‘thing’ that so many other mums seemed to be doing that I should be doing too. I thought long and hard –  I even had a go at sticking to one devised for us by the very lovely Heidi at Parent and Baby coach – but if I’m honest, I knew routine and doing things by a ‘clock’ were and will never be for us. And here’s 10 reasons why in my heart of hearts, I’m more than OK with that:

1. I want our kids to work around us

I think this is really the crux of our zero routine lifestyle and is actually a really important point that I see as key to our happiness as people and as parents. You see, we started having children years before any of our friends and as if having a baby doesn’t change your life enough already, I didn’t (and still don’t want) to be that person who ‘disappears’ when they become a parent or stops having fun as we knew it before. So whilst our friends were still having all night house parties and living it up at festivals, we didn’t want to have to wave goodbye to that part of our lives. It began when my best friend had her 30th birthday days after Jack was born which I didn’t want to not attend. And it went from there really. All our friends watching a big football game in the pub? Sure, we’ll come, but we might just have a kid sleeping at our feet and a baby on my knee. Weddings, pub lunches, dinner parties – as much as possible, we did it all. Now with two, I have to say it is different. (Pushing two kids to sleep in the back garden whilst the house party going on inside wouldn’t be the best look. Or the most fun)  But our philosophy is still the same: we want our kids to work around us and our plans, it’s as simple as that.

2. I like to follow my kids’ lead

Because there’s no clock watching, I feel like I know my kids’ signals really well. The minute Jacks asks to watch TV means he’s tired; when Sonny clenches his fists or rubs his eyes, he’s ready for a sleep.

3. I live for the spontaneity

The idea of the kids napping and eating at the same times every day – rather than bringing me a sense of calm which I totally understand it does for some people – actually sends me into a bit of a panic. For me personally – and this is all so personal – I would find it monotonous and take much of what I love about motherhood out of the picture. Every day is so different. Call me a weirdo, but I kind of like not knowing when they will nap; I like wondering where and what they will eat any certain day. I loved our spontaneous family nap in the car this afternoon, I love deciding we’re all going to skip breakfast and go out for brunch instead, I love giving the kids a late dinner quickly in the bath. Most of all, I love the spontaneity.

4.The world is our oyster

I don’t like the idea of being ‘confined’ by a kids routines. If someone invites us out or if we fancy staying out late with the kids or doing a big trip away, we are never restricted by timings (or time zones). I like to think that we are ‘YES’ parents.

5. Creates flexible kids

There is somewhere floating around an idea that you are doing your children some harm or not being a good parent if your kids don’t have a routine. Some people think that children “need” one, and that it’s good for them. In my (very humble) opinion, not having a routine is good for children; I think it makes them flexible and mature who I have high expectations of. So for example, Jack (and Sonny to a lesser degree) can cope perfectly fine not eating breakfast until 10.30am (he may get a little hangry – but don’t we all?!), and stay up til 10pm if we are our for dinner.

6. I’m way too disorganised

I understand how playdates can be arranged around your children’s timings but what about immutable things? That doctor’s appointment slap bang in the middle of naptime with nothing else available until next month? A birthday tea that edges into bathtime but they’re yet to cut the cake? Small details but I know I’d find these are things hard to navigate.

7. The shit storms are a challenge – which I enjoy

Yes, having zero routine means that things do definitely go wrong. Kids getting over tired is probably our most common problem – but doesn’t this happen to kids with routines? And even when things do go wrong, they are a challenge which I sort of weirdly enjoy, or at least learn something from.

8. Kids aren’t machines (adults aren’t either…)

I remember one morning, after noting down the previous day the time that Jack had napped, on seeing that time come around the next day thinking AHA, THIS IS IT – this is nap time! And so off I went to put him in his bouncer. And after sitting there for 25 minutes bouncing the poor kid, hushing him, carrying him, until I just thought – hang on – maybe he’s not tired. Maybe he was tired this time yesterday but today for all sorts of reasons he’s just not tired today. I took him out the chair, gave him a snack and off out we went for a walk in the carrier which he loved and was stimulated by and sure enough, around 45 minutes later, he dropped off. He definitely wasn’t ready for a sleep when I’d tried to put him to sleep. And I know this was only the one day but I had the same realisation on the food front. Maybe he was really hungry yesterday at a certain time but today he’s not. There are definitely days I feel more alert than others, days when I’m not so hungry and days where for whatever reason, I need all the food in the fridge. Adults don’t do the same thing everyday so why should children?

9. Life doesn’t have to change (entirely) when you have kids

Just because we’re parents does not mean we are JUST parents. I touched on this earlier and of course life does change but not revolving our lives around our kids’ routines, I think, makes us feel quite ‘free’ as people still. It might sound awful but sometimes I feel like Sam and I are getting on with life and our kids are coming along for the ride (and making it ten million times better, of course!) As you can imagine, I am a big believe in the mantra – “happy parents, happy baby”.

10. Takes the fun out of parenting (for me)

In my opinion, parenting should be as fun and positive an experience as possible – so do whatever will get you to that place. For me, that means forgetting what time it is, living for and *in* the moment as much as possible and doing what makes US (the parents) as happy as possible (we’re taking them backpacking around Cambodia and Vietnam next year and I could not be more excited!)

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Don’t get me wrong, there are times our way of doing things goes totally tits up.I always say that being a non-routine based approach works awesomely for us 80% of the time; the other 20% not so much – but then, isn’t that also just parenthood? There are times when you’ve woken your baby up one too many times from their nap and they become irate. There are times when your toddler naps before he’s eaten so he wakes up at 3pm, really hungry and you’ve just left the house cue dashing to the nearest corner shop for a banana and yoghurt.

The overriding result is that apart from us leading lives as close as I could-ever-have-dreamt-of pre kids, I think we have a lot fun as a family, know our kids’ signals extremely well and have made them into flexible and on the whole, well behaved people. They slot into the rhythm of wherever they are; whether that’s nursery, grandparents or a play date with another toddler. I do believe they just goes with the flow which is something I’m really happy about and proud of them for.

A common argument for having a routine is so that you know when you’re going to get things done. I do understand this, but unless you have deadlines to hit at the end of each day, or a time of the day you HAVE to be on a work call (though when I have those I just stick the kids in front of the TV), I do know that I *will* get some time to myself when one of them naps, or plays.

How do you do things in your family? What works for you? What’s your family’s rhythm?

Emma x

P.S A Slow Day In The Life (we did tie dye!) and My Cloth Nappy Routine

 

So if you’re wondering (my mum definitely was…) why I embarked on this experiment in the first place, it’s a combination of reasons:

* An interest in ‘minimalist’ and simple living
* A desire to consume less
* A passion for ‘natural’ products (or put another way, really wanting to know what’s IN the stuff I put in and on my body)
* A dislike for the idea that shop bought shampoos strip your hair of all the nice natural HEALTHY oils that protect your hair
* A love for DIY
* A healthy dose of laziness
* A way to save money and time

Below is a description of each method I tried and my impressions regarding their effectiveness and ease. I last washed my hair with shampoo on October 17th 2016 (it’s now December 15th 2016) and I have no intentions of going anywhere but forward from here. (even though I think I’m currently in the ‘transition’ month which tends to be month 2 /3 and is when your hair gets most greasy. It’s kinda intense but I’m determined to get through it!). Here’s everything I’ve learnt and what you need to know if you’re considering going nopoo:

1. Just water

What the heck did I try? Just washing my hair with cold water and massaging my scalp.
Why this? It’s the easiest and most ‘basic’ method (aside from not washing AT ALL – the holy grail) which is a key objective for me of this experiment.
How easy? See above!
How effective? Hair felt clean for a day or so but it didn’t last

2. Banana mask

What the heck did I try? Mixing banana, honey, coconut oil and coconut milk, applying to my hair and leaving for half and hour, then rinsing out.
Why this? Bananas are very rich in potassium which strengthens hair, they are said to help repair damaged hair and because bananas contain natural oils and 75% water, they are also great for moisturizing hair. On top of that, coconut milk has a tonne of antioxidants, coconut oil is very high in vitamin E and healthy fats to encourage shine, and it’s also said to help with dandruff. Finally honey is said to help hydrate hair and lock in moisture. All in all, this is just a bunch of good stuff.
How easy? It took me about 5 minutes to make the mixture but it was quite messy to apply (and banana stains are not cool!)
How effective? This method was no good for me – it made my hair super greasy and gloopy (think that was the honey)

3. Shikakai

What the heck did I try? Making a paste with shikakai, massaging it into my hair then rinsing out
Why this? Shikakai is a shrub that grows in India and like apple cider vinegar (more on that below…), has been used for centuries for cleaning. It contains antioxidants essential for hair growth and is very high in vitamins and is thought to strengthen hair at the roots. Shikakai also has super low PH levels so it won’t strip your hair of its natural oils and also works to help detangle.
How easy? It made a fine mess in the shower (it’s a brown grainy powder) and it really stung my eyes.
How effective? It made my hair feel clean but it didn’t get my grease spots out.

4. Bicarbonate of soda + Apple Cider Vinegar

What the heck did I try? Mixing 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in 500 ml of water, sloshing that over my hair, rinsing, then 1 part ACV to 4 parts water (mixed with some essential lavender oil), sloshing that over, then rinsing with cold water. Then whilst my hair was still really wet, combing through it with a large comb
Why this? Baking soda helps remove dirt and dead skin cells without stripping all the natural oils away like conventional shampoo does. Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries for various health reasons from getting rid of acne to helping cure indigestion. As I write this, I have a bit of a cough so will be making this tomorrow to help. Apparently it was one of Cleopatra’s favourite beauty products! It honestly has so many health benefits…With this method though, the ACV restores the PH level after the baking soda (which is very alkaline – this is important otherwise the hair will try to do it itself and create more grease).
How easy? Easy – but if I go with this method, I’d make it even easier for myself by keeping a small plastic tub of the baking soda in my shower.
How effective? It worked well and definitely eliminated some of the grease. It felt particularly clean the day after, especially once brushing through with my spornette brush the night before.

5. Soapnut shampoo bar

What the heck did I try? Wetting this soapnut bar, lathering it in my hands and then applying to wet hair all over including roots and tips before rinsing throughly out. You can do a couple of washes – just rinse every single time. Also, it’s really important to get loads of lather when you do wash.
Why this? Soap nuts grow on trees (they’re a fruit though, not a nut) and contain a natural soap called saponins that can be used to clean anything from your skin to your clothes and of course, your hair. There’s lots of recipes to make your own shampoo from the whole nuts but I got a bar for ease.
How easy? Super easy! Just lather up the soap in your hands and apply to wet hair. I ended up actually rubbing the bar against my scalp.
How effective? Really effective. My hair lasted a good week and felt light and clean plus I loved the lather from it like the traditional shop bought shampoo gives you (and let’s face it, that we like and are used to)

6. Coconut oil and sea salt

What the heck did I try? Mixing 1 teaspoon of coconut oil with some pinches of sea salt.
Why this? Sea salt adds volume, shine and helps greasy hair and the coconut oil is great for added softness.
How easy? Very – though I would recommend melting the coconut oil in a pot before adding the salt.
How effective? The coconut oil made it very greasy (perhaps I applied too much) and triggered a mini crisis…!

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7. Rye flour

What the heck did I try? Mixing 2 tablespoons sieved rye flour with water to make a paste, covering my wet hair in it and then throughly washing out.
Why this? Rye flour is full of vitamins, nutrients and minerals for skin and hair and it’s also the perfect PH level for our scalp.
How easy? It took 5 minutes to grind it using a mortle and pestle (but you could do a bulk batch). Also, try to use organic rye flour and remember, the more finely ground, the better!
How effective? It definitely gave my hair a nice shine but I did struggle to completely remove it from my hair (this is probably because my hair was too tangled – be sure to brush it thoroughly before). It made my hair feel really silky and probably the ‘cleanest’ of all the methods.

8. Just apple cider vinegar

What the heck did I try? Mixing 2 tablespoons of ACV into a jar of water and sloshing it over my hair. No rinsing!
Why this? See above for the benefits of ACV…On top of this, Lucy from Lulastic and the Hippyshake mentioned to me that living in London, my water could be really hard (which means that it contains a lot of calcium/magnesium which is very harsh for hair). Although you can counteract this by boiling the water first, using distilled water or buying a shower filter to soften the water, none of these appealed.  Lucy gave me a tip to try this acidic vinegar rinse to help neutralise the hard water.
How easy? Super easy!
How effective? Very. My hair felt in really good condition afterwards with no vinegar smell either (it smells when wet, not when dry).

So that’s my round up of the either methods I’ve tried to date -it’s been an amazing journey with highs and lows (#coconutoilgate was not easy!) and I’ll definitely keep trying other recipes. For now my current routine is a once weekly wash and I alternate between using a soapbut shampoo bar and the vinegar rinse. To be honest, I think I’m slightly in transition phase (where your hair recalibrates and can feel greasy / waxy and is very typical for around the 2 months stage, which is where I’m at) but it’s totally under control. Most importantly, my hair feels good, it’s got very long very quickly and it’s also a lot more wavy which I like. I’ve saved a bunch of time and money, and I LOVE experimenting with GOOD ingredients and saying goodbye to those weird words you have no clue what they mean found on the back (and in!) traditional shampoos and conditioners.

Here’s some final need to knows:

Scritching and brushing with the boar bristle is really important throughout – This is a method that consists of massaging your head using the tips of your fingers (see my video here) and then brushing with a boar bristle brush. I try to do this approx 5-6 times a week when watching TV or before bed and it always makes my hair less greasy in the morning.

Pick a period of time you don’t have a huge party where you want to look good – I’ve had a photoshoot, wedding and Christmas parties so it hasn’t been ideal!

Try it in Winter – Bobble hats will be your friend.

My hair never smells – I’m still washing it so it’s clean – it’s just oily – and oily with my natural scalp oils which I’m trying to give a chance to do their job!

Always comb out dry hair before trying any method

You’ll always have one tricky part – The most common spot, especially for people with long hair, is at the back of the head – this is my nemesis right now!

Everyone has different hair types – Everyone will therefore need something different, not to mention have different standards as to how they want their hair to look. I have pretty thick hair so my method will likely differ to someone with fine hair.

Variety is the spice of life – keep experimenting until you get it right!

Ingredients are important – I recommend getting hold of this apple cider vinegar and this baking soda.

Finally, head over to my video diary of going no poo and see some of my reactions at the time…the kids make some cameo appearances too and sorry in advance if the music gets kinda loud. I got a bit carried away !

Are you thinking about taking the plunge? What’s stopping you? Let me know in the comments below if you are either on the no poo journey or are considering starting it…

Emma x

P.S A Mum Accessory Life Saver  and How To Make A Floral Crown

Perfect Weekend Apple Bircher Muesli

I’ve finally realised that the art of an epic breakfast requires 30 seconds of preparation the night before which on 1-2 hours a sleep at the moment (thanks Sonny!), is just about all I can muster up. And when that preparation involves chucking handfuls of ingredients in a bowl that really you just happen to have in the cupboard and swishes (not a word) of milk, I’m on board. Think of the below recipe as a guide; you can easily substitute almonds for the sunflower seeds, for example.

Mix together roughly 100g porridge oats, a handful of raisins, a handful of sunflower seeds and a few ground cardamom pods. Then grate an apple into this mixture (don’t peel the apple – win!), add 150 ml of a milk of your choice (I like almond milk) and a good swig of apple juice (optional). Then simply cover with clingfilm overnight and stumble into the kitchen the next morning, uncover and tip on a dollop of yoghurt, coconut flakes, the leftover grated apple and any fresh fruit you happen to have (berries are a winner).

Best enjoyed with a big brew <3

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10 Things I’ve Learnt About Men*

Sam and I have been married for coming up to 4 years and known each other for 15 (we met at school though haven’t been together exclusively since then…) and yet I still learn new things about him everyday, and never more so now that we are embarking on this one stop party train called parenthood. I started compiling a mental list of ‘learnings’ about him and it began to grow – so partly to remind myself of the things that make him ‘him’ (in other words that he doesn’t really mean to leave empty cups of tea everywhere) and also because I’m sure that some of his traits are universal to all men, I thought I would share it on here. So yes – this post contains HUGE generalisations plus a lot of first world problems but take a read and let me know if any of these things ring true to a particular special male in your life. Oh, and I hope some of it might even bring a wee smile to your lips too…

1. They mean what they say

When he asks me, “is it OK if I go out tonight?”, I reply “yes”, but underneath I often really mean “ummmmmm, you were out last night and I was counting on you to do bath and bed time tonight”. Why do we do it? In contrast, when I ask him something, he will reply straight up. For example: Me: “Does my hair look greasy?” Him: “yes.” That being said….

2. They’re sometimes shit at communication on the go

Whereas I feel like I’m constantly updating him on my whereabouts (I seem to always be texting saying something along the lines of “2 minutes away!”), I sometimes find it’s 7.30pm, I need reinforcements, I need wine, and I need him but no real idea where he is (inevitably just busy at work and not checking his phone). I do sometimes just wish he’d text me to update me how much longer I gotta hang in there. Any other men out there kinda bad at touching base just when you need them?

3. Men and women cope with tiredness *differently*

When I’m underslept I find that I get sensitive to *everything*, whereas Sam just goes kind of silent and spends A LOT of time staring at his phone. He literally just stops talking and retreats into a screen and mumbles every so often. And when he is SUPER tired because he lets me drive.

4. They’re not good at compliments

Maybe this really is just Sam (insert emoticon with weird diagonal frowning eyebrows) but getting my dude to say summat complimentary is almost as difficult as wiping 4 day old weetabix off Jack’s breakfast table. That is, pretty bloody tough. That said, when he does comment on something, it is special and I do tend to turn into a lovestruck teenager.

5. They don’t like nagging but they do like direction

I find I can pretty much ask anything of Sam if I do it in a ‘chilled’ way, but if I fall into a ‘moany’ tone (my words, not his), it’s a bit more tricky. That said, I recently heard the phrase “if they’re nagging, then you’re lagging” which I now love (and totally agree with – ha!) though needless to say when I regaled Sam with my new line he didn’t agree!

6. They just don’t have same attention to detail in the home

I’m certainly not a tidy person but it’s the small things that I seem to pick up on that Sam just doesn’t (or does but chooses to ignore?) Finished loo rolls, one discarded sock and beer bottle lids…please just throw ’em away my love.

7. They love live sport

There is literally nothing Sam enjoys more than sitting down with a cup of tea to watch some sport (preferably alone). My equivalent is reading a magazine whilst nibbling on dark chocolate. What’s yours?

8. Daddy is still a bit more exciting than mummy

He just is. And I’m totes OK with that. My relationship with my children is different to theirs with their dad – and that’s the way it should be.

9. They like to stay up late

Don’t get me wrong; I dream about staying up with a bottle of wine, getting slowly tipsy whilst watching a film before flopping into bed with my loved one. The reality: a frantic and silent teeth brushing, a breastfeed and then a good twenty minutes of rocking to sleep before I dive into bed to catch 45 mins of sleep before Sonny is awake again. (he’s going through a super bad patch of sleeping as you may have seen me moaning about over on my Instagram)

10. They do flippin’ love us

We drive them crazy at times with occasional nagging and weird modes of communication, and they sometimes send us a little cray cray by leaving all sorts of bodily hair (oh wait, I definitely do that too….) everywhere and staying up past our bedtime, but shit the bed, they do love us.

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So that’s it – my 10 ‘learnings’ on this weird and wonderful old thing of mine called a relationship. This is a bit of a different blog post for me – it’s a lot more personal – so I hope you enjoyed it. Writing it certainly made me realise how much we actually in common, just often expressed in different ways…

Thanks for reading as ever and leave me a comment to say hey / share your experience – I’d love to hear from you.

Emma x

*ok, maybe just mine but maybe some of them remind you of a special male in your life..!

 

DAN KIERAN

This week I talk to the lovely Dan Kieran, author of 11 books (including one of my all time favourite books, The Idle Traveller, Crap Towns, Idle Pleasures and I Fought The Law), travel writer (Guardian, Times, Observer, Die Zeit) and CEO and co-founder of the publishing platform unbound.com. Dan’s also just had a baby girl so his answer to #3 might be subject to change…

Hi Dan, how’s it going? Congrats on the new arrival! Tell me……

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

It’s when my thoughts are clearest, so ideas really. Poking them, finding connections between things and trying to pull them apart.

Whats the first thing you do once you are up?

Suppress the urge to look at my phone. I’m not always successful.

Tea or coffee or ‘erb?

Always tea.

Fry up or healthy?

Healthy fry up? Scrambled eggs and salmon is my favourite.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Being alone.

When are you happiest?

Being tickled by my wife and children. Adults need to be tickled.

What makes you angry?

When people with power and privilege turn their opinions into laws and policies that damage the lives of those with neither.

In the last year you have become…

Comfortable in my own skin.

If you can pass one piece of advice on to your former self, what would it be?

You’re going to have the time of your life. Stop worrying and enjoy it.

And finally, crunchy or smooth? (peanut butter)

For 30 years I was crunchy and then I tried smooth and preferred it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere!

Thanks Dan – now go and grab yourself a cuppa and some *smooth* peanut butter on toast. Check Dan out at unbound.com or Google any of his awesome books to grab yourself a copy.

When Emma posted about Jude’s reflux I was, in typical mama pride way, just soldiering on, ‘making-do’ with him in pain. Neither of us expected the huge response to our reflux plea and I am happy to say that so much of your advice has helped made Jude more comfortable. So firstly, a humongous thank you to everyone who spent the time to give Jude incredible reflux advice. 

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10 Tips On Getting Out And About with 2 Small Kids

My journey of becoming a mum of two small ones started off something like this ( that is, spending evenings in my pants knee deep in teeny tiny pieces of spaghetti desperately resisting making *that* phone call where you beg your other half / mother / neighbour / ANYONE to come over to offer some sort of assistance as soon as umm, physically possible). The idea of showering and generally sustaining myself seemed like a huge task and I would feel quite anxious running up to the days where I had the two of them (three out of five weekdays). Fast forward five months and a good few “learning experiences” later (manoeuvring a double buggy during rush hour on a packed tube with a hungry newborn and an extremely overtired toddler is not a good idea…the sweat droplets were real), and whilst I’m still very much winging it and taking each day, heck each MINUTE as it comes (we found a beer bottle lid in the kids’ bath the other night…WTAF?!), I feel like I’ve learnt a lot over the past 20 weeks. So here’s 10 things that have helped getting dressed, out the house and generally mothering two whilst still having fun when out in the big wide world easier 🙏 :

1. Transportation

Obviously this depends on the age of your little ones, but when Sonny was a newborn I always went for the buggy + sling combo as he would just effortlessly attach onto my front (I use the close caboo) and end up falling asleep. Now Sonny is getting older and more wriggly (five months), he is a little big for the sling facing inwards and outwards there is a recommended time limit, and well, to get him onto  my back without another adult pair of hands requires a little more practice.  So now Jack tends to walk and Sonny goes in the buggy and I use the double buggy when I *have* to – it does my head in as it is crazy heavy (people go to offer with a limp hand and I have to politely explain that they will need their entire body weight). I’d also like to give the buggy board a go as I think Jack is *just* about at the age where he wouldn’t just find it hilarious to run off all the time and it would certainly get us around quicker (though I can’t say I don’t like the meandering…. that’s for another post!) Oh, and I always take reins too.


2. Try to think ahead

What I mean by this is that when the toddler is happy, it’s a good idea to feed /change/ generally show some attention to the baby (!) You won’t get much other time. Same goes for attending to mama herself. Any spare moment you have, I really recommend using it to eat, drink or pee (yes, peeing with two is IMPOSSIBLE).

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

I’ve wasted far too much time dawdling at the bottom of stairs staring aimlessly, hoping for someone to stop and help. These days I pretty much holla at the first person who passes to do anything from direct me out of a parking spot to take a quick snap of my crew to watch the kids whilst I dash to the loo (see #2). I’ve also been known to totally latch myself on to people for entire tube journeys when I think they can help further down the line (insert monkey emoticon covering eyes)

4. Avoid any extreme weather conditions

Umbrellas / rain covers / sunhats are just one thing too many in my books for an afternoon out. That said, however prepared you are, you will never be ready for the UK weather. Once I left the house with a thermos flask, sun cream, and raincoats for the boys. And I STILL felt too hot and Sonny still got wet. I kid you not. (forgot the raincover didn’t I?!)

5. Use bribery… and be ok with that

Let them eat cake, basically. And by them, I mean the toddler. It doesn’t really matter does it? Let’s just focus on keeping the peace. And on that note, my favourite snack is an apple (takes them ages to eat) . So just remember – chocolate rice cakes before 11am are totally ok.

6. Keep it simple

For us, spending half the day in the house and half the day out the house seems to work really nicely. And we tend to keep it real simple when we do venture out. If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we’re not huge fans of baby groups, so a trip the supermarket, the library or the garden centre are some of our favourite activities.

7. Go it alone

Venturing out solo with just my brood always seems to works best and everything goes much smoother – plus you can walk along singing Old McDonald without feeling awks about it (we sang that SO loudly the other day)

8. Remember your essentials

Snacks, books, phone charger (seeking out plug sockets in public spaces is not a fun activity). Plus I always try out bring out a hairbrush, perfume, hand cream and a red lipstick – applying any of the aforementioned will feel like a mini spa experience in the middle of the possible mayhem.

9. Quit whilst you’re ahead

I’ve learnt this the hard way. If you’re doubtful about whether you can just nip to get yourself a(nother) coffee in time before the toddler starts to lose it out of tiredness, you should probably forego it. However important caffeine is (and we all know it’s CRUCIAL), it’s not worth the melt. down.

10. Have fun with your procreation

This is why you created them after all, isn’t it? So get out there, see the world, and enjoy it. Just don’t forget your lipstick. Or the snacks. Or the wet wipes. Or the sling. Oh…..

Sorry if the above seem obvious (they didn’t seem so obvious at the time…) and I hope they can be of some help. Let me know in the comments below what your top tips are for getting out and about with your brood.

As ever, thanks so much for reading.

Emma xxx

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