Date night with a baby.

Everyone always talks about the importance of date night with your partner once you have a baby. And this is definitely true: there is something wonderful about cavorting around the streets, hand in hand, without a buggy or changing bag weighing you down.

However, the importance of getting out of the house, with your little one and as a family is, in my opinion, just as important. Not just because it eliminates the washing up and highchair scrubbing but also because it allows you to step outside the everyday and take a moment to enjoy being a family in public and to reconnect.

So even though date night with Jack doesn’t ever involve gazing into each others’ eyes over a flickering candle, it feeds our soul in other ways.

Cavorting around with cider....and Jack.

Cavorting around with cider….and Jack.

Megan.

Megan and I got married to each other age 14 and have 11 children together. We have collapsed on the ground from laughing so much together. We have spent evenings putting the world to right. We do headstands together on the grass.

We leave each other long answer machine messages,  knowing that the other one will likely never even listen to our ramblings but it just seems a great outlet to laugh or vent….to ourselves.

Megan’s support to me whilst having Jack has been immense…she listens to my frustrated ramblings whilst simultaneously seeming to offer lifting advice.

Some friends move in and out of each others’ lives, and I know that Meg and I will have flux within our friendship, but we afford the relationship such respect that we will never ebb too far from each other.

And this year Meg, my sea-loving best mate, is getting married. Words cannot explain how happy I am for her that she has found her one, so this is really just a post to express that, and to thank her for being such a rock in so many shapes and forms over the years.

Easy peasy monkey cake.

I knew that I wanted to make Jack a cake for his first birthday, but having recently returned back to work I also knew that time was somewhat limited.  I hunted high and low on the internet for an easy recipe that didn’t require me buying Lakeland out / dusting off my magimix / breaking the bank on special ingredients and finally stumbled across one. It’s genuinely super easy, and I promise you, anyone can make this. I am by no means a “baker” and let’s just say, this ain’t going to pass as shop bought. But I kinda like it that way. Hope you give it a go one day 🙂

What you will need:

  • 280g butter
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tsps of vanilla essence
  • 2 tsps of baking powder
  • Betty crocker chocolate icing
  • Better crocker vanilla icing
  • Pack of giant buttons
  • Pack of catherine wheels

Mix the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, mix, then add the vanilla essence.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder

The dream.

Just seeing a VW campervan makes me come over all funny. To me, they conjure up wind-blowing-through-your-hair freedom and open ended adventure. They take me to a place away from petty disputes over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher and instead transport me to a world where washing machines exist only in vibrant new cities or they are the breeze on a beachfront where you sit and wait on the sand for hours only to let one pair of socks dry for the next day.

I find myself day dreaming about packing up and setting off with Sam and Jack on one long road trip adventure where the resting place is unknown. Routine is my anathema; spontaneity is my life force. I get adrenaline rushes every time there is a new happy twist to the story; whether that’s something as stoopid as the bus terminating at an unexpected place and having to work out a new route home, or being gifted an extra night for free in our cabin in the woods in Austin because we made a mistake with our booking, I was 13 weeks pregnant and our Air b n b hosts were awesome.

We once hired a campervan when I was 30 weeks pregnant. We drove to Kent and spent three of the wettest, most miserable nights cooped up in the van. We ate pasta out of the saucepan, trudged to the campsite toilets in our pyjamas and wellies and used a hand towel as a doormat … but we also had three hilarious, romantic and totally random nights.

So why don’t we do it? Why don’t I just suggest to my hubby that we pack up and head off ? OK, why do I suggest it but don’t have the guts to go through with it?

The answer for me, I’ve come to realise, through the sleepless nights, Jack falling poorly, work becoming stressful, lonely mornings spent just wanting someone to have a cup of tea with, having little idea how to wean a child, inevitable bickers with my husband due to aforementioned tiredness, DOT DOT DOT, is the support. Support when you have a baby is the most precious thing in the world. (which is also why I am so disappointed that the Government are doing this.) Not new clothes for your baby, not another toy, but time, an ear and a kettle. Really instead of a campervan, I should have a big photo of my family, particularly my mum and Sam’s mum. It’s easy to take it for granted but someone to really look out for you and your other half and genuinely care when you have a baby is insanely wonderful and I feel extremely blessed to have it. Due to the fact that I only really have one close friend who has a baby, my family really became my friends and my main support network. So even though packing up and heading off is a pipe dream, I know there are a good few special things right here on my doorstep worth sticking around for. (quite literally on my doorstep as my mum lives across the road) Who is the one person you couldn’t have been without when you started out a a mum?

Jack enjoying one of his afternoon's with his grandma.

Jack enjoying one of his afternoon’s with his grandma.

My non changing changing bag.

I ummed and ahh-ed about choosing a baby changing bag for ages. I think it was because it was my first opportunity to add some of “me” into motherhood. Everything I saw around me in the shops was either covered in cupcakes or polka dots or plain and “trendy” to a degree that it looked like something my hipster friends would take to work. On top of these such extremely important stylistic issues, I suffer from back pain which isn’t ideal for lugging copious amounts around with me (read: everything you need to keep a baby alive). Moreover, I don’t even own a traditional handbag so there was little chance that as I embarked on motherhood that I would suddenly embrace normal female bag habits. The situation was calling for one thing and one thing only: a rucksack.

Why men get to wear rucksacks when women blatantly have a tonne more to carry around has always baffled me. And with motherhood looming, I decided to full on embrace geek motherhood. In the end I went for an Eastpak Aztec one which I absolutely love. It sits firmly on my back, is big enough to hold everything I need for Jack plus a few of my essentials and I think it’s pretty funky too. If someone could just invent a rucksack with compartments, I’d be sorted as my lipsticks have ended up stuck in the creases of Jack’s nappies a fair few times.

So if any pregnant ladies are reading this, embrace comfort and space, with a bit of chaos, eschew the stereotypical changing bag and get yourself a backpack.