Preparing for a home birth & things I’m looking forward to

A home birth isn’t 100% guaranteed but I’m manifesting it as much as possible, as it’s something I really want to do this time round. It’s where I know I’ll feel most relaxed and with the journey to our nearest hospital being a 40 minute drive, I do worry that during the drive I would either give birth in the car or feel so unnerved about it all, that my body would just do a u-turn and labour would digress.

Josh is still really unsure about it all but I’ve done a lot of reading and I feel it is our best option, with our MLU currently closed. Our lovely midwife, Rachel, who I had throughout my whole pregnancy last time and was even on duty during my last birth is popping round to ours to discuss the home birth and give Josh some reassurance too. I think I’ll really feel like it’s actually going to happen at home once we’ve had that discussion and I can start to prepare mentally as well as get every thing in our home ready too. In a way, it’s made me want to start my maternity leave sooner but I also kind of want to work until the day I give birth, just so I can keep my full wage for as long as possible. We’ll see…

I’m a member of a home birth UK group on Facebook so I read about births daily. It’s called ‘homebirths support group UK’ and I love reading all the different stories. I’ve also been reading up on the best things to have to hand during a home birth, so I’ve done my own list which I thought I’d share here, in case any of you are interested.

For the birth:

  • birthing pool
  • birthing ball
  • towels
  • waterproof shower curtains
  • maternity pads

Pain relief:

  • gas & air (midwives will bring this)
  • hot water bottle
  • comb

The environment:

  • lavender diffuser
  • low level lighting
  • fairy lights/tea lights
  • something familiar/light hearted to have on in background e.g. new season of Emily in Paris.

The items below I’ll have packed in packing cubes in case we have to be transferred to hospital.

For baby:

  • blanket
  • towels
  • hat
  • baby grow
  • nappies

For myself:

  • bikini
  • pj’s
  • big knickers
  • lightweight dressing gown
  • slippers/socks
  • joggers & t-shirt
  • pads
  • lucozade
  • sweets
  • fruit

At this stage we have no plans with what we’ll do with M when I go into labour. The ideal scenario would be that I’d go into labour in the night, she’d sleep through and wake up to her new baby brother or sister but I’m wishful thinking!

I know my Mum and Gran would be on call for her whenever needed and they’re both familiar with her routine, so I’m not worried about that aspect but I should perhaps have a discussion with them.. or maybe just wait until the day comes, I’m sure it’ll all work out.

I will probably sort a little bag ready for her with nappies, pj’s, clothes etc. in, just in case she has to go somewhere for a day/night.

To extend this post, I also wanted to share a few things I’m looking forward to post birth. Currently at 33 weeks I’m getting a lot of pelvic pain. It actually hurts to do a lot of walking/standing so I do try to rest when I can, although on my days with M that is a difficulty now she’s so active! There’s also a bit of Mum guilt there, so I probably have been overdoing it a little. One thing is for certain though, I’m looking forward to that going and also doing some exercise where I can sweat it out. I’ve not exercised since January time and I miss it so much! I can’t wait to renew my gym membership as quickly as possible and build up my fitness again. I also loved going to the gym for 45 minutes on an evening, listening to some music or a podcast, whilst Josh took care of Mali. It was much needed me time, where my brain would focus on something else other than a newborn baby.

In September M starts playgroup, which I think she’ll absolutely love. She’s not been to a nursery yet which will be a big change for the both of us but I feel as though she’s ready and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It also feels like the start a new chapter with baby number 2 arriving and a new chapter with M spending some time with other children/adults who aren’t immediate family or my friends children. I just hope she doesn’t feel pushed out as it will be around the same time our baby arrives.

I’m looking forward to hopefully enjoying and soaking up the newborn stage more than I did the first time round. With M having silent reflux and not being listened to by health professionals until 6 months down the line, I hope that this time round this baby won’t have it and if it does then we spot the signs earlier and get them dealt with sooner. It was a very stressful time and I was physically and emotionally exhausted!
This also leads on to me looking forward to hopefully breastfeeding a little longer than 4 weeks this time round. I’d love to be able to do it again and this time it would be a dream to do it for a year.

I’m excited for life as a family of 4. We are definitely done at 2 babies, so I’m excited to see what life will look like in the years to come as we navigate parenthood again. Our dream is to still move abroad for part of the year and is becoming more of a dream we’re so eager to chase with the shit summer weather we’re having here in the UK.

Although the sleep deprivation scares me, I cannot wait to be able to sleep on my back and my front again! I hate sleeping on my side and I’m finding sleeping really uncomfortable. I really don’t know how I’m going to go another 7 or so weeks.

And finally, I’m looking forward to seeing how M is with the baby. She’s such a caring child and loves other children/babies. I’m a little worried she might be too helpful but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Rather that than hating the baby and getting jealous, although I’m sure that’s bound to happen at some stage.

The second trimester & my birth wish

And just like that, we’re into the third trimester. Time has flown! I sometimes forget that I am actually pregnant as I haven’t had time to think about, keep up to date with my pregnancy apps or even had many symptoms. I’m actually a little scared about how fast time is going because we still have a lot of jobs to get done before baby arrives.

I took this photo before M arrived. This room is a lot different now, as it is M’s room until we do up the spare room, which we’re not in any rush to do as the baby will be with me for a long while.

I started with sciatica much earlier on this time, at around 21 weeks. Last time I don’t recall getting sciatica until 30+ weeks with M, so it was a little unexpected. Saying that though, it hasn’t been as bad lately and does seem to be worse when I sit around, like for example when we were away in Turkey and I was only walking from the room, to breakfast, to the pool, back to the restaurant for lunch etc. This time my bump is much neater too but my measurements indicate I am following the baby growth chart as I should. I was measuring on the bigger side with M, so maybe this baby will be smaller.. then again, I think I just had a lot more water retention during my first pregnancy.

At my 28 week checkup we discussed how I’d like to give birth this time. If I could replicate the last birth again I would, it was perfect. However, I had considered a home birth early on and with my local MLU (midwifery led unit) temporarily closed for the next 6 months, the idea of having a home birth is much more appealing than having to travel to hospital. So, this time the plan is to give birth at home, in a pool, which another mama is kindly lending me. I’ve been reading some home birth stories here which have made me so excited to do it all again. That might sound crazy to some people because who would want to go through the pain of contractions again but honestly, I found the whole thing just incredible.

For my home birth wish – I say wish because who knows what might happen – I’m going to have a little basket ready with everything I think I’ll need, whilst also having a little bag ready just in case we do need to get to hospital. This time I will get a bag packed 2 weeks before my due date… because last time it was not ideal throwing everything in a bag whilst having contractions… which by the way progressed very quickly.

Anyway, excuse the radio silence here. I’ve been super tired and with M not sleeping through the night lately I haven’t had time for much else other than general house jobs and self care. I have planned on sharing more about our trip to Turkey, which I will get round to eventually… but for now, Love Island then bed!

Baby essentials I need this time around

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The wonderful thing about knowing we would eventually have another baby is keeping pretty much everything we got the first time round. Most of it is stored in labelled up plastic boxes in the eaves of our attic/bedroom. However, there are some things I didn’t have for the first few months with Mali that I could’ve absolutely used, so I’m going to share with you the things I didn’t buy but wish I had and will be purchasing soon, if not already bought and stashed away pending our new arrival.

First of all, if I still had this* book, I would 100% read it again. I was given it by a friend when I was expecting with M, then I passed it on to a friend who then passed it on so I don’t have it anymore but I think it’s one every expecting Mum should read. I’ve recently (since Christmas) started reading ‘The Second Baby Book’* by Sarah Ockwell-Smith, which also has some really good chapters on how to approach childbirth the second time round. Even though birth the first time round was everything I wanted, I know that this might not happen this time so it’s good to get different ideas on how the birth could go. Even though I’m still hopeful for a similar birth, I can start to think about what might need to happen should anything go not to plan.

A sling – I have the Ergobaby Omni 360 and a Baby Bjorn, both of which are excellent. I’d say the Baby Bjorn one is better for infants and the Ergobaby better for 6 months plus or older, as it’s a lot more robust but I found it not quite as gentle using it with a newborn. So this time around I’m opting for a sling for the first few months so I can hopefully get house jobs done whilst baby sleeps and also play with Mali. The Free Rider slings seem to have great reviews and I do know a couple of other Mum’s who have used these so I will be getting one soon. Just need to decide on which colour!

A dimmable light – I didn’t realise how bright and disorientating turning on a bedside light in the middle of the night actually was until I had to feed frequently with Mali which, reading more in depth about it, obviously knackers up yours and babies circadian rhythm. There are a couple I’ve found online but I decided to go for this one here* and I really love it. It’s a lot smaller than I expected but it’s perfect and an ideal size for taking with me if we need to go away for the night. Josh even said he wants to get one for the spare room for those nights he has to disappear and make room for Mali!

Another white noise machine – something we didn’t purchase for ages after Mali was born and I so wish we had got one sooner. All babies are so different but M is such a light sleeper, anything would wake her up. We use this* white noise machine at night for her and it stays on until we turn it off in a morning when she wakes. It just gives us that bit of grace on an evening or in a morning and we don’t have to tip toe around. Be careful how loud they are though and how close to baby you’re using noise machines. it shouldn’t be any louder than heavy rainfall, which is I believe, 50-60 decibels. My Apple Watch has a feature that tells me how loud it is, if I’m ever concerned it’s too loud and I have it on the other side of the room to Mali which is more than 3 metres away. I think, but don’t quote me, the recommended distance is 2 metres of more away.

A new baby monitor. Though this isn’t something we will expect to use for a little while, I do want another one handy and one that will flick between Mali’s room and new baby. A friend of mine has recommended me this one here* which seems like a really good one. I want one that doesn’t use Wi-Fi, as I’ve seen a lot of scary things about hackers.

Dummies! I was so adamant that my baby was not going to use dummies… but they were a life saver with M. We tried a few different ones, like the really aesthetically pleasing ones BIBS and FRIGG but M did not take to those. I didn’t like their rubbery smell either to be totally honest. We ended up getting these* MAM ones that come in a little box where you can add water and sterilise themin the microwave. Perfect in my opinion if they help you and baby. I already got some ready for when number 2 arrives but won’t use them unless I feel necessary.

Bottles. I thought about going for the Tommee Tippee ones again but I don’t think I will, even though I have the water steriliser for them, I hated it on the side and found cleaning it a pain. I am hoping to breastfeed for a year *fingers crossed* but would still like to pump to allow Josh and my Mum and Gran to feed the baby, so the plan is to still have bottles ready. A lot of my friends use these* MAM bottles which I am leaning towards at the moment. I would actually prefer to use glass bottles but I’m not sure on how safe they would be as I’m a little clumsy and would probably end up knocking them over and smashing them. What’s great about the MAM bottles is that they are self sterilising, meaning you can stick them in a microwave for 3 minutes and they are ready to use again. They also have a ventilated base, reducing colic in 80% of babies, so the more I read, the more I will probably just end up going for these.

This leads me on to breast pumps. Now I probably won’t buy a pump before baby arrives because I’m not sure how my breastfeeding journey will go. We only managed 4 weeks last time but I’m hopeful things will be different this time. We were kindly given a Haakaa manual breast pump which I passed on to a friend when I stopped breast feeding. I loved this, it was super easy to use and because I was producing a lot of milk I was able to collect a lot. I didn’t have the one with the lid or the suction base but now I’ve seen those are available I will definitely 100% be getting one of those. You can find those here*. With the basic one I did knock it over a few times, losing all that precious milk and I also found that there were times I couldn’t get it immediately in to a storage bag, for example when baby fell asleep after feeding and you didn’t want to move, so a lid and a suction base would have been ideal.

Obviously I have a LOT of things already for baby number 2, but the items mentioned here were things I didn’t have at the beginning and really wish I did have. If anyone would find it helpful for me to list every thing I found helpful during those first few weeks/months, then just pop me a message on Instagram or send me an email and I’ll be happy to put a little post together.

Halfway with baby number 2

I can’t believe we’re already half way through this second pregnancy. Time has gone fast but has also stood still.. the countdown from here is now on, my brain can’t quite handle it!
With this pregnancy I’ve found it a little different to my first. I don’t think I’m showing as much, although I am feeling a lot more movement which started as early as around 14 weeks. I’ve even managed to feel the kicks on my hand which I don’t recall feeling on the outside as early on last time.
I’ve weirdly got more energy, whether that’s because I’ve had to with having a toddler or down to something else.. but I definitely feel a lot fitter and more energetic.
Saying that though, I have had sciatica early on this time, right down one leg and in one butt cheek. I remember getting this real bad for the first time around 33 weeks when we were on our ‘baby moon’ in Rhodes, so it came as a bit of a shock to get it around 18 weeks with this one!
My skin is worse, I’ve had some awful spots and dryness, whereas last time I thought my skin was glowing! It could be down to my lack of sleep and not eating as well during my last pregnancy… who knows!

A few days ago we had our 20 week scan! I was super nervous and excited for this scan, my tummy was doing somersaults on the way to hospital. This scan is a lot more in depth, with measurements being taken of babies head and thigh bone, checking the blood flow in to the heart and the umbilical cord. It is so fascinating and I still count my lucky stars that we are on this journey again. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that Josh and I have felt a little indifferent when it comes to finding out this babies sex. I was against finding out whereas Josh was keen to find out this time around. When the sonographer asked whether we wanted to know, we said we would like it written down if possible, which she was happy to do for us. When I got home I stuck the envelope on the fridge, alongside the new scan images. Even though initially I didn’t want to know, I was so tempted to open it up and have a peep! That night we said we needed to make a decision, find out or not, so we battled it out over rock, paper, scissors. The first 3 times we drew the same hand! Paper, scissors, scissors, if you’re wondering… and on the 4th go Josh drew scissors and I drew rock, so I won and on to the fire it went. Part of me felt a little gutted but now I feel so much better that the temptation has gone! We have no more scans now, which means we don’t get to see him/her again until they arrive in to the world – isn’t that crazy?!

Trying to make the most of these days with just one baby to look after before the sleepless nights and exhausting days. Wouldn’t have it any other way though!

What we did in Phuket

After spending one whole month at my Grandma’s home in the scorching heat I was so ready for that sea breeze. When we visit Phuket, we always stay at the same place in Patong. It’s located on Nanai Road, 4 roads back from the beach road so it’s much quieter but not too far to walk, get a tuk tuk or ride a ped to the food market, beach, shopping centre or main strip. They have space to park motorbikes or a car, if you’re hiring either of those too, and it’s sheltered from the sun, so no burnt bottoms when hopping on your ped!

My Mum & Dad had eaten at Kan’s Haus on the beach front last time they visited Patong and highly recommended it, so we ended up eating breakfast here a couple of times, overlooking the sea.

Later one afternoon we made our way South of Patong to Nai Harn beach. I remember coming here for the first time a few years ago and it being so quiet but now it is one of the most popular beaches I’d say. It was really nice to arrive late afternoon, as it wasn’t scorching hot and we sat and had tea on this lovely green picnic mat I’d bought up at my Gran’s. The sunset was just beautiful, I could’ve sat all evening just listening to the waves.

Usually we’d rent motorbikes to get around the island but with a baby now in tow we didn’t feel it was safe enough to be driving around on peds, so Josh and I rented a small car to get around. My favourite beach in Phuket as of our last trip would be Surin. It’s a fair drive from Patong but it is lovely and there are lots of individual food stalls a couple metres from the beach serving all sorts, which is really handy. The under currents here are really strong though, which is something to bear in mind if you’re travelling with children old enough to swim alone or if you’re not a confident swimmer.

We had some Singha’s whilst watching the sunset and Mali enjoyed her sunset dip, taking a few steps along the soft sandy beach.

That night, my Mum and Dad offered to have Mali so we could spend the evening together doing whatever we fancied. We headed out for food and a massage, which was heaven. It was songkran though, which is Thai new year, so we ended up getting absolutely soaked before we even got to a restaurant.

The following day was spent relaxing by the pool and then heading down to our friends bar and restaurant for food. I used to love songkran as a child but now I just find it an inconvenience, especially with a baby. Definitely something you have to experience but when you’ve experienced it more than you can count on two hands, that’s enough for me!

And the following day we woke early to make our way to Koh Phi Phi. This was all of our bags, between 4 of us! It was a struggle, to say the least. Next time I’m definitely going to have to learn to pack much better than this.

Thoughts on: Moving abroad

At the beginning of every year I set myself some goals for the year ahead, as I’m sure do many others. Things I’d like to achieve, cut out of my life, change etc. This year wasn’t any different but instead I focused on what I, or shall I say we, want the next 5 years of our lives together to look like.
I definitely look at life a lot differently since having M and with another on the way I can’t help but think what I want their childhood to look like, as well as our lives as a family.

We’ve always discussed moving to Thailand one day but it was kind of one of those things we’d say on our way back home from spending 4 weeks there, wishing we weren’t flying back to the rain and cold. We knew we wanted it to happen one day but didn’t really look in to how we could make it work or when we could make it work. You could say it was a pipe dream, something we both never really thought would happen but still hoped the chance would arise.

This winter has dragged, more so than others. I think I’ve felt this more so with having M and not being able to get out and about doing things with her, unless it involves soft play or expensive day experiences. I want to see her running barefoot on the beaches, playing in the sea, eating fresh delicious food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I want her to experience a different culture to western culture. I want her memories of her childhood to be care free and I want the two of us to be the best versions of ourselves for her and her sibling, relaxed and relatively worry free.

We live in one of the wettest parts of the UK and I honestly don’t think a day hasn’t passed since November where it hasn’t rained. I know I’m exaggerating a little there, so let’s say 2 days max where it hasn’t rained. It’s left us feeling just pretty damn drained, fed up, wondering what the hell we’re doing here when there are so many other places we believe we could be happier, living outside, spending time by the sea.

For years I’ve said that the dream would be to live the Spring/Summer months in the UK and the winter months in Thailand, over their summer months.. and now, all of a sudden, I feel a real urge to make that dream a reality. Maybe it’s because I follow @carlyrowena on Instagram and seeing her living the life out in Costa Rica with her family has made me believe that it might not be so out of reach as we thought.

Who knows, we might get there one day and not be so in love with living normal every day life over there. We’re only used to being ‘tourists’ for a couple weeks of the year so it’s hard to imagine what living like a Thai would be like, with routine and structure, as well as having to work, which of course is another hurdle we have to look at. Then there’s our house and what we would do with it for 6 months and how would we cover the mortgage and Erik, our dog, who we wouldn’t be able to take to and from Thailand every year, due to the cost and more importantly the stress it would have on him. We’d need to find someone we know he and ourselves both trust to take care of him for half the year, if that is even something anyone would be able to commit to. There are so many things we need to thoroughly look into now that we are grown up and have all these commitments and dependencies but I know it’s not impossible and I feel like within 5 years from now, we’ll be there.

If you know of any blogs or people on Instagram who are currently living half the year in the UK and half the year elsewhere, please let me know as I’d love to have a little peek in to their lives! Or if you have any experience or knowledge on this, drop me an email – [email protected].

Thoughts on: Homeschooling

Hello world. 

It’s me, back again! 

I would say I miss writing here but I say that every time so you should know by now, if you’ve been here before, that I miss my blog and I miss writing. I’m going to try and make it a regular thing now though.. maybe every other week or maybe just when I feel like I have something relevant or irrelevant to share. 

Today I want to share something that’s been on my mind for a little while and that’s homeschooling. 

It’s something I’ve always wondered about, even growing up. I grew up thinking it was weird and a little unheard of here in the UK but now I’ve had M and have another on the way, I’ve been more intrigued about what it entails and if it’s right for us.

There are a number of reasons why I’ve considered home schooling.. and here are a few. 

My main reason for considering going down this route is that every child is so different and learns differently. I wasn’t academic and I found I learnt better in a ‘real life’ environment. 

1 to 1 learning will be more beneficial, surely? Without the distractions of class mates, friendship politics, who’s wearing or not wearing what.. you know what school can be like. 

Your days aren’t as rigid/structured. Some people may think structure is a good thing, which I do believe is in some form but Monday to Friday, 9-3:30 with set breaks could be quite a lot for some children, especially from the age of 5. 

Focusing on things your children really enjoy. With homeschooling you don’t need to follow a curriculum, so really you have free rein of what you teach and what they learn. Of course, learning things like Maths and English are vital for every day life but if they enjoy getting creative more so over sport or music over history, it gives you the flexibility to focus on those subjects a little more rather than trying to be a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. 

Things I’m worried about…

Making childhood friends. This is my main concern really as my closest friends are the friends I made in primary school and continued to stay close with throughout high school and now in to our adult life. They are the people who know me best, I’d say! 

Financially how can we do it? There is no funding for homeschooling, which would mean me spending all my time with my children and living off one wage. Whether we can afford to do it, I don’t know.. 

Not providing enough variety in terms of equipment and technology. 

And for the time being those seem to be the main pros and cons for me. I’d love to hear your helpful opinions and any feedback on parents who are currently homeschooling or have homeschooled, please drop me an email – [email protected] 

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.