Love

I woke up one morning last year and had this crazy idea that it was time I went back to work full time. As many of you will know I’m mum to two little girls and one rather large clumsy Labrador who goes by the name of Buddy.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, being a full-time working mum of small children (and big dogs) is hard work.

Life is one giant to do list.

For life to run smoothly, military precision is required. Despite my best drill sergeant attempts, I have the distinct feeling my tiny army (captain silly, cadet chaos and deputy dog) are mocking me.

100mph lives

A snapshot of our morning would reveal one naked toddler (Chaos Cadet) streaking through the hallway refusing to wear anything but a hat. Her sister (Captain Silly) is chasing after her whooping with loud, crazy laughter. I’m hollering at them to brush their teeth while frantically trying to break the Guinness world record for fast (yet neat) eyeliner application. Dad is on sandwich duty downstairs (a lucky escape from the madness if you ask me) while Buddy (deputy dog) plays a hilarious comedy soundtrack (think Benny Hill theme tune) with his paws on the giant piano which is stretched out across the hallway.

Welcome to our 100mph lives. We don’t do slow, or calm very well but we’ve got messy and crazy down to a tee. There is always a job or ten that needs to be done, somewhere we need to be (10 minutes ago), a little person shouting for “more BAPES (grapes)” or a dog barking to go outside and chase a pigeon. It’s noisy, fast paced, full and fun and well, it’s just us.

Despite this, the health and wellbeing of our family (whether they have 2 feet or 4 paws) is always number one. A balanced diet and good hygiene are never compromised even when we are racing against the clock. Everyone needs to have had a healthy breakfast and brushed their teeth properly before the day can start.

Keeping our dog’s teeth healthy with Dentastix

This includes our family Labrador Buddy. His bowl gets filled every morning as we dish out our breakfast. And although we don’t brush his teeth every morning (I wouldn’t even dare to attempt it!) we do use Pedigree Dentastix as part of Buddy’s daily dog dental care.

Luckily Buddy sees these very much as a treat so never has a problem with brushing his teeth unlike our youngest who is a nightmare.

Look at the excitement on his little face!

 

Packed with yummy meaty flavours the DentaStixs are cleverly designed to be chewed for long enough to be effective, with a gently abrasive texture and active ingredients that help to reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar and  lower the risk of gum disease.

Just as we brush our teeth every day, our dogs should be chomping Dentastix daily to help maintain healthy teeth and gums which is absolutely essential for them. Many dogs over the age of 3 years suffer from gum disease, which can actually slow them down and even lead to costly treatment at the vets.

With two little people and one furry baby to keep healthy and happy, a list of chores as long as my arm, work projects and social engagements to juggle, anything, ANYTHING that can make my life a little easier is a big win with me.

I’m just waiting for them to invent dentastix for kids!

This post is in collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.

As a child growing up in London I wasn’t much of a cyclist. In fact I remember my cousins (who lived up North) laughing at me trying to ride a bike (with my silly posh accent) and falling into a bush age 9.

No, my love of cycling developed later in life, when at the grand old age of 21, I moved to The Netherlands. Those that have visited The Netherlands will know the Dutch like to cycle, a lot! It was pretty much bike or die and I took a crash course (yes literally) in advanced cycling that first year. I’ll tell you a story of how I managed to get a key shaped bruise on my bottom if you ask nicely!

In no time I was a pro cyclist, joining the Dutch in cycling rain or shine, with shopping bags attached to my handle bars and an umbrella in my hand. It was no surprise then when Littlelish was born, that she was on a bike as soon as she could sit up. We cycled everywhere together, there was something very soothing about just grabbing the bike and heading on out of town for a cycle in the countryside. It was a little window of peace in my mummy days and I loved it.

Fast forward 7 years and we are now living in the UK. Cycling is a slightly different affair here, we have hills for a start! With a lack of bike lanes, I find myself not grabbing the bike as often as I would like. But we do like to head out to the park or beautiful Rutland water for a spot of family cycling. Littlelish has been cycling since she was about 5 and is really quite a natural, it must be those Dutch roots. We all agree that getting out on the bike is a great family activity which brings us a lot of happiness.

So when Wee ride got in touch asking if we’d like to try out one of their specially designed bike seats, The Kangaroo, for Babylish, we agreed it was time for her to join us on our family cycling adventures.

To trial the seat, we waited for a lovely warm day (which we’ve had a few of lately – lucky us!) and headed to the local park for a cycle by the river and an ice-cream treat in the park cafe at the end. It was so lovely to be out together on the bikes that we made a pact that it would be a regular weekend activity now we had the perfect seat for Babylish.

The Kangaroo is suitable for children from the age of 1 (it’s actually even possible for 6 month olds to use if they can sit up but officially it’s from 1 year old) up to 4 years old. The really unique thing about the Kangaroo is that although it looks like it is front mounted it is actually, centre mounted on the cross bar. This makes all the difference in both stability and safety with front mounted seats putting all the child’s weight on the handlebars making steering more difficult. Front mounted seats can mean your child gets thrown around, and most importantly, they can be unsafe if you need to stop quickly.

With the kangaroo I never once had the feeling I was unbalanced or unstable. Babylish was seated comfortably within my arms as we rode. Rather than just seeing a very close up view of my back, we could cycle together and enjoy the scenery. She was thrilled with her position in front of the family parade, pointing out things (like 473 dogs – she loves dogs!) having a little snuggle with my arm and occasionally putting her head down on the headrest for a little rest.

Assembly

The seat will attach to a ladies or mens bike and pretty much every model. We attached the bar to my bike and it took us (well my very lovely helper) around 20 minutes. The instructions were very thorough and we had all the parts and tools we needed in the box to compete the job. The bar fit securely onto the bike and the seat attaches on to it, this means the seat can be removed instantly if you want to ride your bike alone. You can also buy an extra bar to attach to another bike to change the seat over between bikes / parents if needed.

Safety features

I felt very secure fastening Babylish in the seat. The belt is a 5 point safety strap which requires you to push and hold in two places to undo. There is also an extra loop joining the belts at the top so little Houdinis like mine can’t wriggle their arms free. There are adjustable footrests which hold the Childs feet in place whilst you are cycling (unbelievably she didn’t complain at this so it must have felt comfortable).

Comfort for baby

Soft plush velvety cushioned fabric covers the seat which feels so comfortable. It’s like a mini cycling throne! At the front of the seat there is a little headrest for the child if they are feeling tired or sleepy.

Comfort for mum

Honestly this seat is fabulous when you are cycling. There is no strange weight where it shouldn’t be making you feel unstable or wobbly. I also didn’t need to adjust my cycling position at all to accommodate the seat or Babylish which was perfect.

Kangaroo vs rear bike seat

For me there are several advantages to cycling with a baby bike seat on the front of your bike, firstly its easier to get on the bike, you can just swing your leg round the back. It also means I can see her and touch her if I need to when cycling, this make me feel more secure and I’m guessing it’s the same for her too. I also find it easier to put her into the seat and hold the bike still with the weight being in the centre of the bike.

Both Babylish and I are thrilled with the Kangaroo, despite her looking a bit grumpy for the camera – she isn’t a fan of the paparazzi poor kid! It really is the ultimate baby bike seat and I can see why it is the number one best seller in the UK and USA. We hope to venture out on lots of adventures and are heading to Rutland water this weekend for some more family cycling fun.

Thank you to the fab team at WeeRide, firstly for making such an awesome seat and secondly for collaborating with Lish Concepts. We received the Kangaroo seat free of charge but can honestly put our hands on our hearts and say it is fabulous!

 

3ofus I don’t know if you’ve noticed but things have been a little quiet on here of late. I’ve been taking some much needed time for myself and my family.

Don’t worry we are all well and happy but it took me stepping back from the blog and a few other commitments to achieve some balance and peace in our lives.

You see adjusting to being a mum of two was much harder than I EVER imagined. I mean before the arrival of Babylish I definitely had the mum thing down. Littlelish and I were a well oiled team, we knew all the rules and each others boundaries and things worked.

Then the most beautiful little bundle of curls and cheeky smiles arrived to shake up the scene and boy does she have the personality to cause some havoc. Full of energy, feistiness and mischief by the bucket load. Adorable, totally flipping adorable but pretty hard work.

I spent months trying and failing to juggle my life and the roles I had created for myself. ‘The creative blogger’, ‘the devoted stay at home mum’, ‘the perfect wife’, ‘the renovating interior lover’, ‘the desperate (to have a clean) housewife’, ‘the interesting/sociable/smart/caring human’. It was ALL too much to bear. I was spread too thin and I couldn’t be any of these things.

Many days I felt like I was losing my mind. I so wanted to be me, the fun spontaneous, interesting me but I was tired, stressed and on edge. I felt like a failure in every one of my roles and it was making me totally miserable. Looking back I wasn’t failing at all but had put so much pressure on myself. After all I had a young baby, I was renovating a period property and planning a wedding. That’s like 3 major life milestones all at once. I hadn’t made things easy for myself had I?

The tipping point for me was the day  Littlelish found a little white feather.

I told her an angel had blessed her with a wish. She closed her eyes and wished, thinking long and hard, making sure she made the right choice.

She asked me if I wanted to know her wish, she often does this, as if the excitement of the wish is too much to keep to herself. Playfully I guessed she had wished for another pet dog, it’s her default wish. But that day she told me she had wished for something different. She wished her mummy wasn’t stressed and that she and her sister could be good girls so mummy could feel happy. My heart ached.

So for the sake of my sanity and those around me I decided to go into what I call survival mode, focusing only on my primary priorities. I selfishly became, just mum, and took off some of those heavy labels that were dragging me down.

These days I am not stressed. You will find me playing with the girls and tending to what I can in the house. I make good food and I make the time to go to the gym for some me time. I visit friends with small children, I play in the garden, I do the school run. It’s a very simple existence but it’s what I needed. I know I am blessed to be in the position to be able to do this and for this I am truly grateful.

All the things I used to take great pleasure in doing, blogging, reading, writing, drawing have had to take a back seat. I’m simply ‘being’ these days and it is doing us all good.

I’ve also deliberately taken a step back from social media, it helps me to drown out the noise of ambition, pressure, competition and expectation.

I’m keeping sane, peaceful and most importanly I’m smiling every day. It took a while to figure out but I’m there and embracing it.

There is plenty of time to be the business woman I want to become, for self discovery, growth and ambition. Conquering the world will have to wait.

I’ve learnt there is nothing wrong with just being mum. After all I’m the world to them.

 

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