The first trimester – the second time round

Ah I’ve missed writing. I always think about coming here and sharing something. God knows what but here I am.. sharing my second pregnancy details. I’ve been reading back through my posts from when I first found out I was pregnant with M and it just makes it all feel like it was only yesterday.

And here she is, my beautiful, happy, thriving 19 month old. I feel I’m coming to a point where I will stop sharing her with the world. I’m beginning to feel really uncomfortable the older she gets and the more I see/read I’m the news and I don’t know how she will feel about it when she’s older. As much as I love to share her cheeky face, part of me wants to keep all that for only the people that know us.

4 weeks pregnant

The day before I was due on I decided to do a test. I just had this gut feeling I was pregnant but Josh just said I was wishful thinking, as we had only just said we would like to start trying for a second. I waited for the second line but it didn’t show so I went and tidied the kitchen and returned back to the bathroom to find the faintest second line. I knew it and I knew that even the faintest line meant HCG had been detected in my urine. How did I know? I kept getting heart flutters about 2 weeks before taking the test. This was something that I had experienced the first time around and had gone to the doctors about as I was worried it was something else. I was also SO tired and more so than usual, even with having a toddler to entertain. I like sleep as it is but I would be in bed and asleep for 9pm most evenings. I kept feeling a little nauseous too, but didn’t know whether it was cause I was hoping I’d be pregnant or because I actually had morning sickness. I was also really emotional and would sob at anything! So, even though it was early, I’d say at 2 weeks I was getting symptoms!

5 weeks pregnant

I got my midwife appointment but it’s not for another 3 weeks, which will feel like forever. I feel like some days I even look a little pregnant but that might be due to me being extra hungry and eating more.. though I have read that hormones can cause swelling and second pregnancies show earlier than firsts. My boobs have started getting really sore now too, which I wasn’t expecting so early on. I can’t remember if the symptoms are much the same as last time but I thought this time round I’d try to document it a little better.

6/7/8/9/10/11 weeks pregnant

Oops. I stopped documenting how I was feeling. We went through a rough patch of sleep with Mali so the times I did get chance to sit for half an hour I decided to catch up on sleep instead. I got to see my lovely midwife again, who I had had throughout my pregnancy with M and luckily at the birth too. It was an hour long appointment going through things and taking bloods, recording height and weight. I pretty much had nausea every single day, all day, much much worse than last time but snacking often definitely helped. Thankfully, there was no actual sickness!

12 weeks pregnant

We finally got to see our baby. What a feeling! To see them there on the scan wriggling around, with little legs, arms and a heartbeat. Nothing will ever compare to that first moment you find out that they’re doing okay. From here on the nausea seems to have subsided and I’m feeling less tired. That could be cause Mali has actually started sleeping a lot better again though.

Looking back, here are a few things I’d tell myself for when second baby makes their appearance.

  • You know your baby best. Don’t let any doctor tell you different.
  • Soak it all in. Even the really hard bits. They don’t last forever and they’ll be big before you know it.
  • The housework can wait.
  • Eat well. Get all the best foods you can. If you can’t find time to cook ask someone to do it for you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I’m sure I have a lot more things to add to this so I’ll do an update in my ‘second trimester’ post.

I just want to add, I am so grateful to be on this journey again. I know how hard this can be for people to see/read and there are lots of different reasons why. Getting pregnant and being able to carry my own child is never something I will take for granted and is something I find totally unbelievable and fascinating. Sending so much love to anyone going through hardship.

1 month in North East rural Thailand

Almost another month has passed since the last time I found a spare moment to sit down with a cuppa tea and share my next post from our time away in Thailand.

I was prompted to write this next part after we had a visitor at work who had cycled and canoed the majority of the Mekong River. It had me reminiscing about my time spent at my Grandma’s home, not so far away from the Mekong, in a small village where the heat was, at times, unbearable and the days seemed long. I do wonder how she and others have spent most of their lives living in such a quiet place, with very little to do. I had only spent just short of a month there and was already getting itchy feet. If it had been a little cooler I could have at least gone for a run but my days were spent laid in front of the fan on the cool tile floors because it was far too hot to do anything else. At one point we had to check in to a motel type room for a couple of nights, just so we had some aircon. 

Most mornings began at around 6am, if not earlier. The cockerels were our alarm clocks, along with the sound of peds whizzing past to get to market. My sister would already be awake boiling sticky rice for the day ahead in their outdoor kitchen, which consisted of a gas stove, a few pots and pans, and a tap fixed to the concrete wall. She’d also be preparing breakfast for my Grandma, my Mum would be sat outside with a coffee and I’d join her with Mali and her milk, along with a cup of Lipton tea and a bowl of cereal.

Most days were spent entertaining Mali, or shall I say, Mali entertaining us. She learnt how to crawl whilst we were there, which is something I will never forget. I did a bit of reading too. I read ‘it ends with us’ by Colleen Hoover and the sequel, ‘it begins with us’. I thoroughly enjoyed both and I would read late in to the night with my phone light because I had to know what was going to happen next. I recently read Verity too which was so well written, I couldn’t put that down either and I have November 9th on order from the library too which I’m so looking forward to starting. We also spent a lot of time on my mums ped which has a little side cart fixed to it, which was great for sitting Mali’s pushchair in and letting her get some air, albeit warm air. We would travel to the local market most days to buy fresh meat and vegetables and I would sometimes pick up a fresh coconut to sip on the journey back.

We drove to a nearby village one day to watch how fabric was made. This is something my grandma used to do but unfortunately sold her old loom due to her age and nobody taking over. It seems to be dying out which is so sad, as once it’s gone I believe it will be hard to reintroduce. I found it fascinating to watch, especially with my love of textiles.

We got to see a lot of family we hadn’t seen since pre Covid and of course it was Mali’s first time meeting my Thai family. Everyone there just loves children and it’s really lovely to see. Even the other children couldn’t leave Mali alone!

I also visited my uncle Muan’s grave who passed away in November 2020. We were still living with my Gran at that time and I remember just lying in the bath sobbing. I didn’t know him well at all so the overwhelming feeling of grief really took me by surprise. We would only see him every year or every other year on our annual family holidays to Thailand. He didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Thai but we always had good craic. I also felt so sad for my mum being so far away from the rest of her family but I know she’s grateful for the time she got stuck in Thailand when the whole Covid thing kicked off because she did get to spend a considerable amount of time with her Mum and brother then. This time we got to see his son, my cousin Samat, whilst visiting. I always get so emotional seeing him and goodbyes aren’t ever nice. I think because of the lack of communication you just never know when you might see them again.

The best part was seeing my Thai granny and seeing her adore Mali. Old people with babies is just adorable.

Ah, the days where Mali would just stay in one spot… sometimes I miss those days.

And of course.. the food. I am now kicking myself wishing I’d taken more photos of the food my sister cooked for us cause everything she made was just delicious. The Tom Kha Yum soup she makes especially was just insane, in fact I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it… I did film her making that one though so I’m going to have to have a go sometime soon.

I counted down the days until Josh and my Dad were to join us. We ended up driving to Udon Thani and checking in to a hotel as a surprise to meet them. We picked them up from the airport and I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing Josh again after 4 weeks away from one another. I even made a big cheesy sign to hold at the gate but we ended up running late and they clocked us before we clocked them!

After another few days back at my Gran’s home it was time to say goodbye. Goodbyes are never easy, especially when we live on other sides of the world. But, what I will say is I am so grateful to have been able to have this time with her and my sister and my my mum. Without Josh’s support and encouragement I will never have got to spend a whole month with them and probably never will again. I’ve loved looking back through all the photos and even though it was only 8 months ago it feels like a lifetime ago! Speak soon, L.

Island hopping in Thailand with a baby

It’s raining outside. I can hear it tapping on the velux’s, whilst I’m tucked up in my fresh new bedding. What a perfect evening to reflect on some of our time spent travelling Thailand, whilst also making me feel a little sad that I’m not back out there soaking up the sunshine, eating delicious fresh food and listening to the waves crash on the beach.. instead, I’m here, in Cumbria. Funnily enough, as I was out walking Erik on my lunch break from work, I thought to myself how lucky I was to love my life right now and where I live. It might piss it down the majority of the time but I’m not sure I could move away and leave this place behind for good.. ah, who am I kidding, I probably won’t be saying that come January!
Now.. moving on to our trip to Thailand back in March. As you may or may not know, I spent 1 month at my Grandmother’s home in the North East of Thailand (I’ll come back to that in a separate post) before spending another month in the South.. and here’s how it went!

After spending a few nights in Phuket, we made our way to Koh Phi Phi. We booked the ferry a few nights before and found a hotel on There was very little to choose from as we were travelling during the high season so I’d recommend booking in advance if travelling as a family, especially with little ones. I just found we were left with the cheaper hotels, closest to the nightlife whereas I’d have preferred to have paid a little more and stayed further away, though it wasn’t an issue, booking in advance would just be my preference.

The ferry ride over to Phi Phi was great. The journey was plain sailing, views are incredible the closer you get and there’s a little shop selling food and drinks and there were plenty of places to choose from to perch your bum for the next couple of hours. We opted for the top deck to catch some rays but me and mum eventually moved downstairs in to the shade so Mali could sleep comfortably. In the lower decks there are air conditioned rooms where you can leave your luggage but I found these far too cold! You would definitely need to pack a hoody and some joggers if you plan on sitting in there… brrr!

The ferry takes you directly past Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed. Take this opportunity to head to the top deck and take it all the views!
When we reached Koh Phi Phi we were welcomed by some guys from our hotel waiting for us to help transport our luggage. They got it all on to a trolley and guided us to our hotel but it was a little too early for check in so we went for a wander and grabbed a bite to eat. Once we were checked in, the three of us went for a stroll with Mali in the buggy. She drifted off so we parked the buggy up by the beach and took the opportunity to go for a swim whilst she napped in the sea breeze.

We stayed on one of the beach front resorts, called the Phi Phi Banyan. It was nice, though the pool was a little small and sun loungers scarce but otherwise it was a comfortable stay and they provided a cot for Mali, not that she slept in it though.

After a little nap, and when I say little I mean 30-45 minutes, we then went back to the hotel and let her have some fun in the pool. Mali at this stage was 9 months old and we’d never gotten much in to a routine with her naps by this point and she was a hard one to get to sleep with so much going on around her. We’d also co slept with her so she wasn’t used to sleeping independently in a cot, which did make it a little harder whilst we were away but there were reasons for this which I’ll go in to another time.

We spent a lovely couple of nights in Phi Phi. Though looking back I don’t think we got much sleep! My mum & dad looked after Mali one day so we could enjoy a day on a long tail boat snorkelling together. We were going to take her with us but actually it would have meant swimming one at a time so it was nice to spend some time just the two of us. We had a young lad take us to various beauty spots around the island and we just asked him when we wanted to leave or stay a little longer, it was perfect.

From Koh Phi Phi we headed to Koh Kradan. We booked last minute again via – swear I don’t work for them. We were between the Seven Seas resort and the Mali resort. For some reason we picked the Seven Seas, probably cause it was quite a bit cheaper but I didn’t rate it much. The rooms were quite dark and the outdoor bathroom was not all it was cracked up to be. Sitting on the loo in the sweltering heat whilst also getting attacked by mosquitos was not fun. Not to mention the bat that took up residency in our bathroom overnight leaving piles of shit all over the bathroom floor… On the plus side though, the bed was huge and comfy. The three of us had plenty of space to sleep and the food at the hotel was really good, which was a relief because there weren’t many places to eat elsewhere! Staff were lovely and friendly and there were plenty of sun loungers dotted along the beach front.

We woke early most days, of course, that’s what happens when you have a baby.. and just relaxed. Swimming, lounging about, drinking and eating. I really loved the few days we spent in Koh Kradan. It is pretty much untouched, so don’t expect to find a 7/11 here. I think we bought all the cans of Singha they had in the little shop. You’ll need everything you will ever want to need/have for a baby here, nappies, wipes, calpol (just incase) as there wasn’t anything like that to buy there.

Aside from that, it is pure bliss and was voted best beach in the world last year. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get a whole load of hotels, restaurants a 7/11 and a strip built on it.

Who needs a swimming pool when the sea is this clean, warm and calm? But if you did fancy the pool, the Seven Seas have a lovely little pool.

On one of the days we rented a long tail boat for the day. We wanted to see the emerald cave in Koh Mook. It involved swimming through a dark cave for around 100 metres or so, in to a cove that felt like it was in the middle of a jungle. Apparently this was a place pirates used to hide their treasure! I opted for a life jacket and I was so glad I did, the water was choppy and I got a bit breathless at times! My mum kindly stayed with Mali on the boat whilst we went but there were families taking their children through on inflatable rings. I just didn’t feel safe or comfortable enough to do it, especially with how young Mali was.

We snorkelled, found lots of starfish, jumped from the boat and just enjoyed the day. On our way back we asked the guy who’s boat we were on if there was a chance to see turtles, so he took us to the shallow waters close to Koh Mook and within minutes there was dozens of huge turtles swimming by our boat. It was incredible and I couldn’t believe how many we saw. I also couldn’t believe how fast they could swim! What a day it was, one we will certainly remember forever.

From Koh Kradan we headed to Koh Lipe.

My Mum, Dad, brother Alex and girlfriend El stayed in a house on sunrise beach last year, which we rebooked again for our trip this time. It was an ideal location, at the quiet end of the beach, with 3 double bedrooms and a kitchen, as well as a huge terrace on the room which was a great spot for watching the sunrise from. It was great for Mali as all 4 of us were there to keep an eye on her and she was just starting to crawl so the tiled flooring was perfect for her. My only gripe with the location was that you had to walk along the beach to get to the town, which wouldn’t be a problem usually but because we now have a baby and a buggy, it was a pain having to drag the pushchair through the sand. And when it was already so hot and humid, it just meant we got even more hot and sweaty having to either lift the thing or drag it, on top of any shopping we had and then with Mali in our arms or on our shoulders.

On one of our final days in Koh Lipe, we rented another long tail boat and asked if we could be taken out for a day fishing. The two brothers took us out early and we fished, watched them trawl and then they took us to our own private beach, where they cooked our fish we had caught on a bbq. My mum had prepared some other bits and we sat on a picnic mat under the shade of the trees, listening to the sound of the waves and the silence. We were on our own private stretch of beach, in paradise, eating freshly caught fish. It doesn’t get much better than this.

I’ll end this post with a few things I’d like to share as tips for island hopping with a baby and as a reminder for myself in the future, should I ever be lucky enough to have another..

  1. Relax, what will be will be. At the beginning of our holiday I was so caught up on getting Mali to nap at certain times and really stressing myself out about it. It’s easier at home trying to get babies in to a routine with sleep within the right sleep environment etc. but I think it would have just been easier to have been a little less strict and gone more with the flow whilst we were away. Easier said than done though!
  2. Check your accommodation first before booking for things like, a cot, high chair, separate living space to bedroom and/or balcony so that once baby has gone to sleep you and your partner don’t have to tip toe around and can actually spend a few hours together. Things like location I.e. not too close to bars that play music all night long. Your baby might sleep through it but you might not and with lack of sleep from disruptive nights anyway you need to get all the sleep you can whilst you can! Also my preference would be a room/guesthouse that you can access with a pushchair without having to lift, carry or trudge through the beach too. You don’t want to spend the evening out for tea, baby asleep in the pram but then gets disturbed being thrown around in a pushchair!
  3. Always pack enough food, snacks, milk and then a bit more. Incase of delays or emergencies, always have something you can offer baby to help keep your stress levels low and them at ease. Thankfully we never really had any issues with delays but an emergency bag with some extra snacks in is always the solution.
  4. Not that I needed it for this section of our holiday but next time I would definitely invest in a Doona pram. The one that is a car seat and also converts straight in to a pram. We didn’t have a car seat with us and I did feel a little unsure travelling without one, especially in minibuses and the hire car we had at my Gran’s and in Phuket.
  5. Don’t be scared! It’s always going to be harder than travelling ever was before but you’ve got your baby with you experiencing all these new things with you. It’s an amazing feeling and you will feel so empowered that you did it. As long as they are fed, clean, warm and safe, that’s all you really need to worry about.

Sprinkling Tarn from Seathwaite

Finally…some much needed sunshine and vitamin D! I’d been keeping my eye on the weather forecast all week and with Saturday and the next few days looking lovely, I told Josh that we must not miss this opportunity to get out in the hills and fill our lungs with fresh air. So, that’s exactly what we did. I asked a few friends and colleagues about where best to go, as I wanted to do a walk we’d never done before. By Friday evening we’d already changed our minds several times before deciding on Great End from Seathwaite.
The year we found out we were having a baby, we’d spent a beautiful summers evening camping up at Sprinkling Tarn, before making our way behind Great End and on to Scafell Pike the next morning. That time we had started the hike from Wasdale Head and it was a really lovely walk up so I was looking forward to approaching Great End from another angle. You can see that post here.
However, now with a little person in tow, we aren’t as quick as we once were. Lunch breaks take a little longer and because Mali is pretty much walking she is desperate to get out the rucksack and practise her new found skills. This meant we did cut our walk short and ended up just making it to Sprinkling Tarn and then heading back down the valley, instead of carrying on up to Great End. In all honesty though, I am well out of practise and cutting out another couple of hours walking really did feel like a relief!

We started the walk from Seathwaite Farm. We actually parked a little further down the road, on the roadside and walked to the farm but if you wanted to park in a car park then the farm do have one. Not sure how much it is but there was someone taking payment upon entry.
We crossed the river Derwent and followed river along a boggy footpath, where we eventually had to scramble up to a waterfall. This was a little sketchy, especially with having Mali in a rucksack. There’s a steep drop to one side but it is the less travelled path so we didn’t bump in to anyone else, which is what we like.

With this being our first proper day out walking with Mali much more aware of her surroundings, we were a little unsure of how it would all pan out but she seemed to enjoy it. She was looking at everything, taking it all in and chatting away in her comfy Thule rucksack, which I wear every single day to take her and Erik out for a walk. I find it comfy but Josh seems to find it a little uncomfortable. Whether it’s just because he’s not used to it or we haven’t adjusted it quite right for him. Something to bear in mind if you’re looking at baby carriers for your adventures!

We were a little stupid and rushed out the house without breakfast. Mali had her weetabix in the car, after drinking her milk at 7am but mine and Josh’s tummy’s were rumbling so we stopped for lunch quite early and spent an hour or so munching whilst Mali enjoyed dipping her toes in the stream and throwing stones for Erik. There were so many little pools to stop, strip off and take a dip. It was the perfect day for it but I only packed a small towel so I decided to go in towards the end of the walk which was freezing!

We then carried on, along a nice path up to Styehead Tarn, past some Highland Cows. The clouds had started rolling in by then so I was glad we had stopped for an early lunch as it meant we got to enjoy it with a little sunshine on our faces. This would be a lovely place to camp with Great End in the background. Noted for next Summer!

As we approached Sprinkling Tarn, Mali had drifted off.

Great Gable with Sprinkling Tarn to the right.

As we started descending, we were presented this magnificent view of Derwent Water. I wish I’d used my camera instead of my phone for this one.

And finally, after a quick dip in the stream on the way down and letting Mali stretch her legs, we made it back to the car. We stopped in Keswick for a burger at The Round, Mali had some Mac n’ cheese and then we headed back home for a hot chocolate, shower and bed. I loved being back out but it is exhausting and I always feel so headachey afterwards. Probably cause I don’t drink enough water to compensate for all the sweating!

Here’s the route we took, which I’ve uploaded to the footpath app. If you want to have a go at it yourself, you can find it here.

Travelling long haul with a baby

Why, hello there! I’m back.. but this time who knows how long for, until I disappear from my blog for another several months! I always like documenting our travels because, I must admit, I love reading back through all my travel blog posts and seeing all the photos I have forgotten about.

Friends and family will know that this trip has been planned for SO long. We were due to return back to Thailand last year but decided to cancel because I was heavily pregnant and I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it like I would normally so we decided that we’d attempt the trip with our baby instead and Josh had the best idea of asking me if I’d like to go for a month before him, along with my mum… so of course, I said yes and several months later we landed in Bangkok.

Usually we split the flight in to two and fly from Manchester to either Doha or Dubai and then on to Bangkok but this time the flights worked out much cheaper with Singapore Airlines, which meant a 13 hour flight from Manchester to Singapore, then a 2 hour flight on to Bangkok, with a 2 and a half hour break in between – however, this turned out to be much longer and we were delayed arriving in Bangkok by 4 hours! Not only that… but my suitcase went missing and I didn’t receive it until day 3 of our stay which was SO annoying but I was determined not to let it bother me.

If you’re here you’re probably wondering what it’s like flying this distance with an infant.. I was unsure how it would all pan out because I had so much stuff to carry around with me and Mali isn’t a good sleeper but she was kept entertained by just looking at people and people talking to her and playing with her, which was lovely. She didn’t sleep much at all on the plane, only 2 x 2 hour stints which is very very little but I tried not to think too much about her sleep because I know that trying to get her to sleep and forcing her doesn’t work unless I can get her in a pitch black room, in her cot, at home.

The 13 hour flight was daunting but it actually seemed to go pretty quick and next time I’d probably try and get a direct flight to Bangkok, so there’s no getting off the plane and on to a connecting flight, less chance of a delay and less chance of a bag going missing too but direct flights tend to work out a little more expensive. We always use Dial a Flight to book our flights with, they often give us the best deals on flights and can tell you which airlines are cheapest at the time of booking which saves you the hassle of looking. If you’re booking in advance you can pay a deposit and then pay the rest off in full so many weeks before you fly or you can call whenever and pay it off bit by bit.

Tips for flying long haul with an infant

1. Request a bassinet if you’re flying long haul, and request it as soon as you make your booking. The bassinets come on a first come, first served basis so you’re more likely to get one the earlier you ask. The seats with the bassinets also have a little more leg room, which is nice when you’re sat in one place for 13 hours! It’s also a great little floor space to put baby down if they can sit up themselves and have a play.

2. Check with the airline how much extra baggage you can take, including hand luggage, check in luggage and a pushchair. I was able to take an extra 7kg hand luggage bag, 10kg check in and a foldable pushchair which I could use around the airport and then fold down and leave just before boarding the flight. The extra baggage was needed because I was carrying about 18 tins of prescribed milk for Mali but I probably wouldn’t have bothered with an extra hand luggage as it was just another bag to think about but I did need it, it was just a lot of stuff to get through security and stressful at Manchester because it was so busy.

3. If you’re carrying formula, any special dietary related foods for baby, medication etc. I’d spread these out across multiple bags just in case any of them do go missing. Or you can pack it in your hand luggage if it’s sealed – just remember whichever you do, I’d get a copy of prescriptions and a doctors note to show proof of why you’re carrying it. I packed most of Mali’s milk in my hand luggage and every tin was checked by security to make sure it was sealed.

4. Take lots of snacks for baby. Things you know they love and maybe a couple of new snacks to keep them interested. I found Mali got bored with toys quickly (I wouldn’t bother packing many toys, I just brought 3 little toys for her which she picks up every so often) and food kept her quieter for longer. Things that don’t make too much mess are best!

5. A baby carrier and a pushchair are both great for airport. I didn’t think I’d want the pushchair in the airport but was so glad I took it because it was just a change of positioning for Mali and it meant if she did get sleepy she would fall asleep in there and I could still sit down, eat, read a book, wonder round on my own whilst Mum watched her etc. The pushchair was also useful for putting my rucksack on, or any bits we picked up in duty free if Mali was in the carrier. The carrier was good for getting on/off the plane and for frantically trying to get to get to connecting flights. Turning her facing me when I knew she was due a nap made is quicker for her to fall asleep too!

6. If you have room in your check in luggage, I’d pack extra nappies and wipes so you don’t have to rush finding a shop when you arrive at your destination. I was so tired the first few days that all I wanted to do was stay in the hotel and chill by the pool. It’s not a big deal but if you’re on holiday you want to relax, not go shopping as soon as you land, especially if you do get long delays or experience any other hiccups along the way.

7. Lots of people suggested feeding baby milk on take off/landing to help with the pressure in their ears. I tried to feed Mali but she never seemed interested and her ears never seemed to bother her. All babies are different though, I know my ears affected me in my younger years (around 5 years old) until I was in my early teens and now they don’t bother me at all.

8. And lastly, just try and go with the flow. I love routine and I’m always adding up the hours Mali has slept throughout the day when we’re at home but I just had to let all of that go, to a certain extent.. haha!

I think that’s it.. I’ll add any other tips if any spring to mind but do feel free to send me a message if you want to know anything. Hope this helps in some way! Lots of love, L.


Well, hello there! I’ve missed writing here on my blog but I’ve had my hands FULL for the past 5 months. We’re slowly getting in to a routine now.. so hopefully I’ll get chance to post here weekly or fortnightly or maybe we’ll just go for monthly for now.. we’ll see!

Mali’s first Wainwright – Loughrigg Fell

The past 5 months have been a whirlwind. Part of me can’t quite believe that I have a 5 month old baby already… and the other part of me feels like she’s been here forever!

If you’re new here, I had a baby girl in July! We didn’t know if we were having a girl or a boy, and the only name we had was a girls name, Mali. In Thai, Mali means jasmine flower and jasmine is one of my favourite scents. You can read more about pre birth and post birth in my previous posts, if you wish.

So, what have we been upto?! Well, not a great deal to be honest. The days just whiz by! Mali is almost sitting up now which is a little scary. We have the best chats at around 6:30am when she seems to love using her voice the most. Those little noises and squeals really just make me smile on the inside. My tummy just feels happy, if you know what I mean..

She’s using her hands to play with her toys, and loves taking her dummy out of her mouth, inspects it and tries to put it back in but sometimes doesn’t get the positioning right! She recently discovered her feet, so they end up in her mouth too whenever she has her socks or baby grows off. I wish I was that flexible! She’s much easier to put down for a nap now. For the first 3 months or so she would only sleep in someone’s arms, making it extremely difficult to do the most basic things like shower, go to the loo, make some lunch, brush my teeth etc. I think I spent most days with my hair and teeth unbrushed (gross) but that’s just how life was for a little while. I think this was mostly linked to having silent reflux though, so not all babies are like that!

We recently spent a few days in London again, to get Mali her Thai citizenship/passport sorted before our trip next year. She is now officially a Thai citizen, which I hope she uses one day to work/travel/explore. My mum, Mali and I are spending 2 months in Thailand, visiting family and then visiting some of the southern islands with my Dad and Josh who will later join us. I’m so excited to be heading back! It will be 4 years since mine and Josh’s last trip, which was the same year we bought our first home, so this trip is going to be so special, especially now with our baby girl. Saying that, I’m a little nervous about the long haul flight. We are flying from Manchester to Singapore which is a 13 hour flight, then a short flight to Bangkok. I’ll let you know how it goes! And if you’ve done long haul before with a baby, any tips are welcome 🙂

I’ve slowly been getting in to cooking again, although it tends to be very basic stuff it’s nice to cook something for myself and Josh and enjoy it. At the moment, I love the tikka infused salmon fillets by Young’s. I get them from Asda and I love them with stir fried egg noodles or just a bit of cheesy mash and veg. I need some more inspiration though, as I’m struggling on healthyish meal ideas and I really want to be in good shape for Thailand. I was hoping to join a gym for a few months but I have no idea when I’ll get the time to go.

Speak soon, L. X

Life recently / Silent Reflux & London

Wow, where have the past 8 weeks gone since I last checked in here?!

Reading back over my last post takes me back to a very difficult time and makes me feel a little sad. I’m glad that those days are behind us but whilst the sleep has got a little better, we recently had Mali diagnosed with reflux. Although she’s been on the Aptamil anti reflux and regurgitation milk for a while now, she’s never really been settled. I kind of brushed it off as perhaps she was just a clingy baby and wanted to be held. I also spend most days with my Gran who would be there to hold her whilst I got on with jobs in the house, so I probably never really noticed it as much had I been on my own during the day with her. At baby massage the other day, I noticed how she was the only baby out of around 10 others that just would not settle on the mat in front of me.. meaning I wasn’t able to massage her but sit there for the duration of the course just trying to soothe her on my knee.

That day, Josh had also ordered the Sensational Baby Sleep Plan book by Alison Scott-Wright, which I initially refused to read after hearing negative feelings towards it not being the right thing to do for a baby but because I found Mali such hard work on my own throughout the day, like not being able to put her down for her naps and wanting to be constantly held, I was intrigued to read it and I’m so glad I did. Not only did it help me understand a lot about babies and the importance of sleep but it also gives a lot of information on reflux and dietary related intolerances. There is an extensive list of symptoms relating to reflux, which Mali did have. It also explains that reflux doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby will vomit, which is referred to as silent reflux, but may have a couple or several other symptoms that would suggest they are suffering from heartburn and indigestion. Anyway, from this I decided to contact my health visitor who asked me a few more questions and then asked the GP to prescribe some medication to help. I’ll pick the prescription up tomorrow and see if it helps with being able to put Mali down for her naps during the day and update you on our progress. I just wish I had had more knowledge on this before having her, so I could have looked out for the signs earlier. It’s upsetting to know she’s in pain and not getting the sleep she needs to develop as an infant because of it but it’s also tainted the first few months for us meaning we haven’t enjoyed parenthood as much as we would have, had we had the right treatment earlier.

Last weekend we had our first mini break away as a family of three – Erik not included because it was a city break to London to get a Thai birth certificate for Mali, so we can eventually get her a Thai passport to have dual nationality. I was unsure how it would go, especially as we’re still co-sleeping. I was actually so pleased with how smoothly it went, from the car ride down to Luton, to jumping on and off the underground with three bags, a pram and a baby. I did worry I would forget something but then reminded myself that anything we did need could be bought whilst we were there. The best thing we did was visit London Aquarium, which was so much better than I thought it would be. Mali absolutely loved it because of the dark rooms and the changing coloured lights, it was so lovely to watch her little face! And because we travelled in by train from Luton, we booked tickets through where we got 2for1 tickets, making it much more affordable. You can do this for a lot of other attractions too, like the London Eye, Madame Tussaud’s etc.

I am definitely much more relaxed about going away as a family now, knowing that I needn’t worry about packing too little or not being able to make milk when needed, which was my main concern. All the cafes we asked for boiling water from were happy to do that for us and if we were struggling, we had packed a jet boil so we could boil our own water out and about as a last resort. And if we had struggled to do that, I did pack a couple of the pre made ready to drink bottles of Aptamil for emergencies!

The first four weeks of the fourth trimester

I wish I was here telling you how easy I have found adapting to becoming a mother but I’d be lying if I said that. In fact, it’s been much harder for me than I ever anticipated. Even though I always knew I wanted to have children and even though I breezed through the pregnancy and the birth, nothing can ever quite prepare you for what those first few weeks at home are like with your new bundle of joy. I thought that the first week would be what everyone describes as that ‘newborn bubble’. I kind of imagined it as a restful week after giving birth, where baby would sleep lots and we’d learn the ropes of becoming new parents but looking back it was all quite the opposite. My body was sore from giving birth, breastfeeding was taking me a while to get the hang of, my emotions were up and down, I’d cry whenever it got to 6pm from pure exhaustion, just dreading the evenings because I knew I’d be up half the night and the house was so untidy I felt like any chance I got I needed to be tidying up. As much as I wanted to enjoy this time, the lack of sleep was just taking over. We ended up introducing a bottle of formula just so I could get a couple of hours sleep alone. It did make a big difference for a short time but in week 2 we think Mali developed colic, so I started cutting out certain foods from my diet. On top of everything else, I was now depriving myself of all my favourite things, like milk, cheese and butter, hoping it would help Mali’s stomach. It did seem to get better but not being able to comfort her was torture. I’d feed her, change her, wind her, cuddle her, but she’d still screech in pain. Thankfully that didn’t last too long!

The weekend before Mali turned a month old, I made the decision to stop breastfeeding. It was a hard decision because I so wanted to continue and I really enjoyed those special moments where I’d hold her so close to me and was able to feed her and comfort her without the need of anything else but myself. I’d watched her grow and put on tonnes of weight from my breast milk alone which was so rewarding but at the same time just making me feel like I couldn’t be the best version of myself for her and for those around me because I was so exhausted, which is why I decided to stop. I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders ever since. I’m now able to leave her with Josh or another family member for longer than an hour without worrying whether she needs feeding and my bed sheets and clothes are no longer getting drops of breast milk all over them! In fact, my Mum has been brilliant and has had her to stay for the odd night which has meant I’ve been able to get a good nights sleep which really helps make me feel normal. I also think it’s good for Mali to be passed around as much as possible, so that she feels comfortable with other people and doesn’t just feel safe with Josh and I.

Every day is different, some days Mali sleeps for a little longer alone in her pram and some days she just wants to be in your arms. I’ve realised that although it’s hard at times, it doesn’t last forever and I will miss it when she’s bigger and wants/needs me less, so I’m going to soak it all up and enjoy it whilst I can. There is a huge part of me that misses what life was like before her. The freedom of just being able to nip to the shop, or take Erik for a walk without needing to pack a bag for her. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way because becoming a mother has been so rewarding and, to me, is the biggest life event I will experience. What’s been good for me is having my family and friends so close by who have been able to give me those extra few hours to shower, go for a walk, clean the house, pop to the shop, cook tea etc. I really wouldn’t have been able to get through the first 4 weeks without them and I take my hat off to all the mothers out there who do this alone because you really are something else!

My birth story

On July 4th, we welcomed our newborn baby girl into the world. Arriving 4 days early than her due date.

The Birth

I had planned on sharing my birth plan and what I had packed in my hospital bag the week leading up to my due date because most first pregnancies tend to arrive after 40 weeks, but for us, our surprise baby girl arrived four days early, exactly the way I’d hoped.

The plan was always to have a water birth at my nearest MLU (midwife led unit), instead of a hospital. My pregnancy was low risk, so the chances of needing the support from a hospital were slim but if I did need an emergency c section or extra care then we would have been blue lighted to the nearest hospital which is around half an hour away. Thankfully we never had to be!

At 02:50am on the 4th July, I woke up needing the toilet. I thought I’d just eaten way too much that day, after going out for lunch with Josh and then going to my friends surprise baby shower for afternoon tea. After relieving myself, I got back into bed but began to get the same feeling again, so went to the toilet to see if I could relieve any more pressure in, what I thought was, my stomach. That feeling didn’t disappear.. so I woke Josh up to tell him that I thought I was having contractions. I went downstairs and put Emily in Paris on, whilst bouncing and rolling on my birth ball. I started noting down the time between each contraction, which was around 3 every 10 minutes, each contraction lasting between 20-50 seconds. I called the MLU and they advised me to keep timing the contractions but to call back if I was having around 4 every 10 minutes, lasting for around 40-50 seconds. I timed them for a further half an hour and noticed that they were speeding up and getting more regular, so I called the MLU to tell them I needed to go in. By this point, Josh was up packing the hospital bag. Luckily I’d already sorted the baby stuff out but hadn’t got anything together for the pair of us. In hindsight I should’ve got this done a week earlier so there wasn’t the stress of it on the night.. but you live and learn! The only things I used from my hospital bag were a change of clothes, deodorant, maternity pad and most importantly, a bag of fruit pastels that Josh fed to me in between having gas and air. They kept me going!

When I got to Helme Chase (the MLU) the midwife checked how dilated I was, which was 4cm and then left us for a while for the contractions to get further along. She did keep on coming in to check on me, though it all seems much of a blur by this point. Once I was a little further on, I asked if I could get in the pool but because I wasn’t classed as being in established labour the midwife could only run me a ‘bath’, which was slightly shallower than a pool. As soon as I got in the bath, it was so soothing. That’s when my contractions picked up a lot quicker and stronger. Sooner than later, they were running me a pool and I was asking for the gas and air, although I was pretty adamant I would never need/want it but I was willing to give anything a go to help with the pain of the contractions. Time flew by and I feel so lucky that my midwife, Rachel, who I had throughout my whole pregnancy journey was on the ward at 9am. She really helped keep me calm and encouraged me when I felt like giving up because I was just so tired. Josh was also my rock throughout labour, he sat with me and held my hand by the edge of the pool, giving me the gas and air when my contractions started and took it away when they stopped. Without his support it would have been a totally different experience and it was just incredible for him to be able to experience it all too.

By 10:31am our baby girl was born. We couldn’t believe we had had a girl, as we were so convinced it would be a boy! Her umbilical cord was wrapped around her legs and neck and she didn’t cry or make a noise when she was brought up and out of the pool but the midwives did say it was because she was born in to the pool very calmly, which is the same temperature as my body. They gave her a little rub over and she let out a cry. It was just the most emotional, incredible, exhausting experience, it’s so hard to describe!

After the birth, I got out of the pool and on to the bed. Mali and I did skin to skin and I was just so mesmerised by her tiny toes and fingers. I couldn’t believe we had made her and she had been in my womb all this time. We did the delayed cord clamping, so she was still attached to me with her umbilical cord until it went white. This allows her to receive all the nutrients from the placenta and was something I knew I wanted to do from the beginning. Josh then got the cut the cord!

Note the canvas in the background. One of the places that have a special place in my heart. Wastwater ❤️

The next step was to deliver my placenta.. which initially I thought I would wait to come naturally but I decided I didn’t want to go through the pain of the contractions again, so I asked for them to give me the injection in my thigh to help get it out quicker. I was nervous about the placenta coming out but it was totally fine and actually really awesome to see what also developed in my womb, alongside a baby. I’m still amazed by my body, to think it grew this tiny little person! I don’t think you ever really fully realise how amazing it is until it happens to you.

After a check over and a few hours just coming to terms with the fact we’d just welcomed our baby girl into the world in less than 6 hours, we headed to McDonald’s for a cheese burger and a milkshake to celebrate! We were so hungry!

I’m sure there may be bits I’ve missed but if there’s anything you want to know, send me a message! I found it really helpful speaking to Mum’s about their experiences. I do think knowledge is key whilst also trying to be relaxed as possible. I’ll share my feelings on the fourth trimester in a separate post, as this is quite long now! Speak soon, L. X

Our Baby Shower

A baby shower is something I never thought I’d want to have but seeing as this is our first baby I did want to do something special (apologies in advance to baby number 2, if and when the day comes), so I got all my closest girlfriends and family together for an afternoon of nibbles, drinks and a few games. When it came to choosing a venue I wanted somewhere laid back and cosy. Fold Coffee was the perfect choice! Chelsea and Jess helped me organise the day and were so accommodating with food and everything else. I wanted everyone to mingle as much as possible, so we decided to have a buffet style lunch with delicious finger sandwiches, coronation chicken, salmon and cream cheese and ham & cheese, cute little brownie cupcakes, scones and carrot cake, scotch eggs, sausage rolls and hummus etc. all made by Jess. Everything was so good, especially the coronation chicken and carrot cake… yum! There was even plenty for us all to take boxes home with us!

I didn’t want too many games that people would feel a little uncomfortable and I also wanted enough to do so that nobody would be bored. We played ‘guess the baby’, which I put together using baby pictures of each guest and everyone had to match the baby up with someone in the room. I guess this one was quite hard as not everyone knew one another but I hoped it would get people talking. If you try this game you could perhaps make name tags for each guest to help!

We also played ‘who knows the parents best’. This consisted of around 12 questions all about mum & dad AKA Josh and I. I gave out little prizes for the winners of each game too, a box of chocolates and a little bottle of Prosecco!

I made a ‘predict the date’ calendar for everyone who wanted to join in. Dated from 37 weeks until 42 weeks! To play, put a £1 in the pot and pick a date you think baby will make their appearance! Winner takes the pot.. not long to go!

After a couple hours, Josh, his brothers, my Dad and brother came to join the party. It was nice for them to come and spend time with us too, especially for Josh as it’s half his baby too! I would’ve actually loved to have got all our close family and friends, women and men, together. Perhaps we’ll organise something for when the baby actually arrives as we won’t be having a head wetting.. but I have heard of a ‘sip and see’ where you drink and meet the baby, so that’s an option!

Afterwards, a few of us went for a drink and some tea at a local pub. I was so tired, my feet and hands swollen.. I kind of wished we had just gone home as I was feeling so overwhelmed with the whole experience. It was the most perfect day though and it’s made me even more excited just knowing that we have the most amazing support network around us.

I only have 5 more working days left at work now! I’m so ready to start nesting and get all the little jobs done before he/she arrives. We still have quite a bit to do.. like build the utility, get some carpets down, get a new mattress, some curtains/blinds etc. but I’m sure we’ll get there…. I’m going to share what I’ve packed in my hospital bag and my birth plan next week. I’ve done a bit of research and have asked lots of mums what they needed, used/didn’t use so hopefully I’ve got it down to a t! Speak soon, L x

Baby moon in Rhodes

The Hotel

Finding somewhere that would be fairly hot mid May, picturesque and pregnancy friendly was actually pretty easy. As soon as we spotted Casa Cook on the Thomas Cook website we just knew that spending a week there pre baby would be just perfect. I read every single review on Tripadvisor, as I always do, and after getting our friends on board for the vacation we got it booked.

What I loved about Casa Cook, Rhodes were the two pools and the pool accessible from your own private sunbathing terrace. I thought we’d spend all our time in our own little private spaces but we didn’t, mainly because the sun only caught our terraces from 11am until around 3pm. We did however spend most of our days basking in the sunshine by, what we called, the ‘quiet pool’. There was no music, the pool was refreshingly cool and there never seemed to be that many people around it. Perhaps because the walk to the bar/restaurant was a fair walk away.. but we didn’t mind that. We stocked up on ice coffee, Haribo’s and crisps from the local supermarket. What a diet!

The food at Casa Cook was really good. Breakfast was served from 7am-11am and there was a great variety of breads, local delicacies, cooked bacon, eggs, etc. which was included in our stay. We ate lunch and dinner there most days too, which I enjoyed more than breakfast. I recommend the hummus and Grandmas potatoes, they were two of my favourite poolside snacks!

Rhodes Old Town

On one of the less sunnier days, which actually turned out to be a lovely sunny day, we hired a car from our hotel to explore a little more of the island. The guy we rented the car from gave us a few suggestions and told us to visit the Old Town early on, as traffic/parking would get worse in the afternoon. Wow, the Old Town was stunning. The beautiful cobbled streets, the shops, the cute cafes, the flowers in bloom made it all so beautiful. I recommend veering off the main streets to find some hidden gems!

Anthony Quinn’s Bay

This little cove is so picturesque but it is only small so you may struggle to get a lounger, which costs €6 each. However, it’s definitely worth stopping by and going for a swim or even stopping for a drink at the cafe before you head down to the beach which looked lovely and super busy! It was very ‘instagrammable’.

St. Paul’s Bay & Lindos

The few people I spoke to who have visited Rhodes recommended the restaurant in St Paul’s Bay – Tambakio. It was stunning.. really. The perfect place for an intimate wedding. There was a huge range of food to choose from, from salads, seafood, meat, pasta etc. which all sounded amazing. I ended up going for a Caesar salad and chips which were delicious but I kind of wished I’d gone for the Scallops or another type of seafood dish because Kelly’s seafood pasta looked amazing!

How I found being 33 weeks pregnant

I was 32 and a half weeks pregnant when we flew out to Rhodes and by this point I was feeling quite tired, so it was really lovely to just sunbathe, eat and swim for a week. The flight out was ok, though I kept needing the toilet after drinking too much before the departure. Don’t treat yourself to a vanilla chai latte 10 minutes before take off.. my bladder just isn’t the same as it used to be! I definitely recommend booking an aisle seat if you can, at least then you are quickly up and to the loo and don’t have to disturb any other passengers.

I remembered to pack my flight socks, so managed not to get swollen feet/ankles for our holiday, but totally forgot to put them on on the way back.. and ended up walking through Edinburgh airport looking like an elephant. But at least we were heading home! The swelling didn’t go down for a day or two which was uncomfortable, so if this happens to you remember to elevate your feet at any given chance! I slept quite well on the flight back, mainly because it was an evening flight and we were delayed almost 3 hours and I didn’t find it too uncomfortable.

Whilst in Rhodes, I did find my skin to be extra sensitive. I got quite bad heat spots all over my body which itched so much, on top of the dozens of insect bites I got on my ankles and legs. It wasn’t pleasant and I didn’t sleep so well without my pregnancy pillow either. I’d definitely recommend packing a decent insect repellent – I usually use the Avon Skin So Soft, an insect bite cream or balm like Tiger balm to help soothe the itchiness, a good factor 50 that allows your skin to breathe and sweat to escape so you don’t develop heat spots and if possible, try to take your pillow so you get a decent nights sleep! Obviously the repellant and bite cream only applies if you’re loved by ants and flies etc. but it’s always worth carrying something you know works than spending unnecessary money on crap stuff.

I felt most comfortable wearing bikinis and long linen shirts most days. On evenings I wore long stretchy dresses but some linen trousers to stop my thighs from chaffing would have been a good option. Talcum powder was needed too, which unfortunately I forgot to pack! Ideal for getting in those nooks and crannies you’re not used to having!

Pregnancy – The Second Trimester

I can’t believe that I am almost into the third trimester! I thought because the first trimester went so slowly that the second would too but it has flown by! So far pregnancy has just been wonderful and I know I’m extremely lucky to say that I’ve found pregnancy really quite easy because the majority of women have a tough time. I’ve loved watching my stomach grow and using the excuse of “I’m eating for two” at any given opportunity. I’ve loved showing my bump off and dressing it up, feeling the wonderful wriggles and rolls and now seeing my skin move from the punches and kicks. I’ve even liked being designated driver and not drinking alcohol.. who knows, this may be the making of a t-total Llana… but don’t hold your breath!

Shop the dress here (affil)

Earlier this week we made a start on what will be the nursery. We were using this room as a dressing room and had originally planned to have a ‘walk in wardrobe’ style room. I had lots of ideas for the nursery and I would have loved to have gone a little crazy with greens and tropical wallpaper but in the end I decided to play it safe and keep it neutral on the walls and add pops of colour and bold print with the furnishings! I’ll share more photos of this room as it comes together.

My Gran has washed all the baby bits I have either been given or bought so I’ve gone through what I have so I don’t double up on anything. It’s so surreal that a little human being will fit into these doll size clothes! Erik is a little unsure of what’s going on.. he does not like the polar bear teddy or any of the other teddy’s we have. It must be a phobia of his!

Meeting baby Louie for the first time at only 2 weeks old made me all the more excited to meet our baby. It also scared me a little that we would be responsible for a tiny person.. I just hope that it does come naturally and we find our feet as quickly as possible. If anything, it’s not so much the birth that worries me at the moment but adapting and being able to take care of something so small and helpless does. I worry about leaving hospital and getting home. What happens in those first few hours? Will I feel normal or will I feel like I’m on another planet? Probably the latter! Will I be able to keep them warm enough or cool enough? Am I holding them correctly? Am I checking their nappy often enough and cleaning them properly? What about bathing them, how warm should the water be? These are just some of the things I think about daily! I know I’ll have the most amazing support system around me but I can’t help but wonder how we will manage!

I haven’t bought much for myself during the second trimester, as I haven’t really felt like I’ve needed to.. however, my favourite product given to me by a friend has to be My Little Coco bump butter which smells Devine and you only need a small amount to make your skin feel super hydrated. I apply this every other evening if I remember to and I try to do it more than an hour before bed, otherwise it can feel sticky on the sheets!

My undies were in need of a refresh so I picked up these M&S thongs and they have to be the comfiest knickers I own. So soft and go great under leggings! Especially those black thin maternity leggings where you feel a bit self conscious about your bum and people seeing your knickers/vpl!