Deciding to stay home after maternity leave, my YOUNIQUE experience!

This has been one of the biggest decision of my life. Deciding to put my career as a corporate lawyer on hold to stay home with my daughter. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly and I knew that in making it, I would need to find ways to supplement our income and help support my family. What would I do? What would become of my career? Would my education go to waste? Would my daughter suffer for not having the experience of socializing at nursery school everyday? These were all questions running through my mind. It was not going to be an easy decision…

After months of thinking about it and speaking to everyone I could think of that would have insight into life as a stay at home mum, I made the decision to put my career on the back burner and stay home with my daughter. I decided to enroll her in as many baby activity groups as possible that she and I could attend together which meant we could both socialize with other mums and babies regularly. This has been great as I have not only made great friends, but Izzie is getting used to other babies and I find she is learning to be less possessive of me. 

In terms of my career, I am very fortunate that I had this as an option as I know many mothers out there would love to be able to stay home but for whatever reason cannot. I also know that there are many women out there who are grateful for the respite and adult socialization that their career provides them so they choose to return to work. For me it was definitely a toss up, I love being a lawyer and I LOVE being a mum. It was not easy. I would still need to earn a supplemental income to help with our monthly outgoings and I needed to figure out how I was going to do that and fast.  

Once Izzie and I had settled into our routine, I began thinking about all the ways I could contribute to our household income. I spent a lot of time focusing on home based businesses and asking all of my friends their opinions on the different possibilities. It needed to be something I could do in my spare time when I wasn’t chasing a little one around, feeding, changing and bathing her.  I have focused a lot of my time on researching home based businesses and I am even looking into the possibility of developing on some of my entrepreneurial ideas. It’s been a lot of fun exploring all the possibilities and coming up with my list of options. What have I chosen to do?! Well, I have decided to put my business mind and entrepreneurial spirit to good use and start my own businesses! Yep! That’s right! business(es!). My main source of income at the moment in my business with Younique Cosmetics and Skincare. I absolutely love working with and selling Younique! In addition to Younique, I am also in the process of launching a number of other businesses. It’s an exciting time and I love that I am taking control of my future and building my own dream rather than someone else’s. 

I never thought I would be able to do it. I have completely surprised myself and I am so proud to say that I am now well on my way to finding success in my own right. It’s amazing!

If you are interested in learning more about my YOUNIQUE journey, please feel free to contact me through my website: http://www.youniqueproducts.com/breejamiesonholloway

 

 

 

 

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Teething trauma

I freely admit I’m the salespersons dream, when it comes to trying to relieve a baby of discomfort I will buy almost anything. So when the baby started drooling like a bulldog, stuffing his fists into his mouth and emitting a low grumbling noise I rushed out and got :
teething bears (rubbish he can’t even get them into his mouth), powders (I know this is a Marmite product but it just made my house look like I sold drugs) and a rattle teether which just always ends up on the floor. I still have to do the quick floor cleanliness mental quiz when retrieving and handing back a toy – how long has it been there, when did I last wash it, is there any fluff attached and the key – how angry is the baby. I know, bad mother!
Anyway my point is I think I’ve finally found 3 things that work, at least for this baby.
1. A cold dummy, good for quick relief I now have dummies on rotation, although I always suck it once to make sure it won’t actually stick to the baby!
2. Teething gel – he loves the basic boots stuff that tastes like spearmint.
3. And finally the Gumigem necklace, absolute genius, I love the person who created this. The baby can chew on it to his hearts content, entertains him , looks good and doesn’t fall on the floor. Saw a friend wearing one and am now a convert.
I don’t know how much longer any of these will keep working for so any more tips gratefully received!

Flying to Canada with a 3 month old. Terrifying? Not when you’re flying British Airways (BA) and your air hostess is called Katie!

I recently flew to Canada with Izzie on British Airways (BA) so she could meet my family. As she was born in London, no one from my family other than my Mum had met her yet.The idea of travelling with such a young baby terrified me so much that I started planning our adventure 2 months ahead of time. I was adamant I needed to know everything about flying with an infant, especially considering my husband was staying behind. I looked at every website and blog I could find to ensure I knew exactly what I was allowed to bring on board with me etc. Being a notoriously heavy packer, I knew I had to somehow consolidate my clothes and toiletries, the plan was to stay for 3 months so that meant I somehow needed to fit everything in, including Izzie’s extensive wardrobe of 3-6 month clothes.  I finally managed to fit everything into two suitcases weighing 23kg (EXACTLY) each and shoved everything else into our 3 carry-on bags including her bottles. I knew I would not be allowed to carry large amounts of formula through security without having to open the sterile ready-feed formula bottles to taste them, so I opted to purchase all of the Aptamil I needed, plus some, from the Boots through security at terminal 5.

Getting to the airport was easy. My husband took us to the check-in counter and carried our bags. I chose a back pack, my Storksak nappy bag and the bag that fits on the front of our Stokke Xplory pram, as my carry-on bags as they all attach to the pram so I knew I would not have to carry anything and balance the baby as well. We figured out a way to wedge the car seat under the pram seat so it stayed put and off we went through security. The tricky bit started when we arrived at the gate.

What they don’t tell you when you are travelling BA is that if your need to take a bus to your aircraft, you first have to collapse your pram. This presented a problem as my pram was holding all three of our carry-ons, my baby and the car seat. There was no way I was going to be able to manage it all on my own, in addition to carrying my collapsed pram and pram seat. I started to panic. What was I going to do?!?!

No, I said to myself, I will not panic, I will  become supermum and pull this off. It was fine, really, I’ll just balance the baby, one bag here, then put the seat under that arm… oh crap! I was royally screwed!

Except, luckily, I was flying a BA flight with a superb crew that day!

As I was collapsing my pram, a lovely lady working at the desk offered to hold Izzie while I sorted everything out. Another gentlemen offered to carry my pram and car seat onto the bus for me.  Great I thought, but how do I get it all off again?!?!  No problem!  I don’t know why I was worried, I was flying BA.

When we arrived at the aircraft, the bus driver, kindly took my pram and car seat to the drop point so it could be loaded on the plane. I then had to climb the stairs to the aircraft, this was by far the most difficult part of our journey as I did have to carry our 3 bags and my daughter up the stairs – bearing in mind 3 months of formula I bought at the terminal. Do not fret however, I was flying BA, it got easier. When I arrived at the door I was greeted by the most lovely air hostess I have EVER met, Katie (KATIE!). The air hosts greeting us at the door all saw we were struggling and Katie was the first to spring into action. She took Izzie and one of my bags for me and escorted me to our seats. Katie, promptly assisted me in getting everything I needed for take-off out of my bags and helped me get settled quickly and effortlessly. As I settled into my seat Katie kept hold of Izzie and reassured me that everything would be fine (did I mention I was a panting nervous wreck at the thought of flying across an ocean with my newborn?!?!).

Once all the passengers had boarded, Katie brought me Izzie’s safety belt and talked me through everything I needed to know to keep her and I safe, and comfortable. She explained I should feed Izzie during take-off and landing to help her ears and that I should leave it as long as possible before I began the feed. When the seat belt signs were switched off, Katie quickly got me a cot for Izzie and secured it in front of me so she and I could both rest comfortably. Throughout the flight she would check on us and would watch Izzie for me while I used the loo. She was wonderful!

When we landed in Toronto deplaning was just as easy. Katie assisted me in taking all my bags to the aircraft doors where my pram and car seat were waiting and she again held Izzie while I assembled it all. Katie went way above and beyond to assist me and make our flight as enjoyable as possible – A SAINT! Katie and the rest of the BA staff were absolutely wonderful and made my journey home with Izzie as easy and comfortable as I could have ever hoped for.

So from my experience I have compiled some of my top tips for flying with a newborn:

1)      If you are not exclusively breastfeeding, bring all your bottles pre-sterilised and pre-order ready-made formula from the chemist on the other side of security (click here to learn more).

2)      Use bags which attach easily to your pram as your carry-ons. This frees up your hands and gives your shoulders a break;

3)      Bring lots of baby wipes in your nappy bag. These come in very handy when your baby is touching everything and potentially picking up germs from all over the world that they are not immune to, but they also come in handy when the air pressure and altitude cause poo-plosions and baby sick incidents (trust me!);

4)      Sleep when your baby sleeps. This is especially important when you are flying long haul. As tempting as it is to stay awake and watch that new release, it is unlikely that your baby will sleep through the length of the flight and you need to re-energise to keep them entertained when they do wake up;

5)      Fly BA and ask for KATIE!

(HOT TIP: Unlike some airlines, when you fly BA with a child under 2 you do not pay a percentage of the adult fare if the child is travelling in your lap (this includes seats with cots), all you pay is the taxes.)

 

 

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My new favourite product

 

leg warmer

Baby leg warmers.

Why?

1. Socks are all well and good but James has chunky legs so they always fall down leaving a bit of his leg to get cold. Finally I have something to keep that bit of his leg warm!

2. When the day starts off cold but ends up sweltering, I can put him in a onesie and some leg warmers in the morning and take off the leg warmers when it gets hot. Easy.

I bought mine from Tiny Nippers based in the UK. They’re the same as the ones from China that you can buy on ebay, described on their site as “ebay cheapies” so I was a bit nervous, but they’re fine and seem nice and comfy.

 

A shop where everything’s £1 (or 99p)

£1

99p store or Poundland – just suck it up and go, no one will see you, no one will care and you will get some real bargains. Here’s some reasons why you should try it…

Your washing machine stinks – you know it, I know it. You’ve noticed it haven’t you? It’s because you switched to non bio detergent when you had the baby. Well no need to faff about putting vinegar in there like some people suggest, just get some 99p or £1 washing machine cleaner from the pound store (it’s £3+ in supermarkets). I’ve just done mine; yes, I know I need to get out more – but at least my washing machine doesn’t stink.

They sell branded baby stuff Johnson’s Huggies and Heinz being just 3 baby examples! They also sell things like feeding bowls, spoons and bibs that don’t really need to be branded. Yesterday I picked up a plastic weaning bib, 3 bowls, 2 forks and 2 spoons in a travel holder, a Disney water filled teether and 2 pots of Heinz baby food (just in case) for a fiver! A fiver!

Their cleaning products are great – not only do they sell all the usual suspects like Flash and MrSheen, they also have things like Oxi (similar to Vanish) that works just as well and is less than a quarter of the price! I got some “Astonish” carpet cleaner yesterday that removed a 4 month old Thai take-out chilli oil stain from my cream carpet that I’d tried everything to remove – and this one did the trick. For 99p!

There is one near everyone, you can’t walk down any high street anymore without tripping over a 99p store or a Poundland. Good lord I’ve just come across an online pound shop whilst finding the store locators – Sorry, I’ve got to go…

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Useless or useful?

Just when I find myself offering advice based on my one baby to a pregnant friend another survey, poll or article comes along to prove just how different every baby, and experience is. This time it’s the Which survey of over 2000 parents revealing the least useful items people purchased for their baby. I was pretty surprised to see a baby carrier (which I completely rely on) at number 5 and frankly a bit annoyed to see the door bouncer that I’d just got right up there at number 1! That said a nappy stacker (6) seems like being properly lazy (apologies to anyone who has one but really?!) and even though I got one last week I can see the Bumbo (7) retiring to the attic fairly soon.
That said while laughing at the person who buys a special baby washing bowl I have to admit there is a corner of the nursery where a pile of guilt inducing unused baby things are already building up. The beautiful wool blanket I got on holiday (in my defence pre baby) – non breathable, cold wash and too tiny for a pram blanket – nice work! The many tiny handmade cardigans and beautiful clothes with numerous buttons given to us that it feels rude to Freecycle, the tiny shoes that never stay on, the bottles of baby lotion that health visitors say you must never use and the ugliest of the stuffed toys (who knew they still made cabbage patch style cornishmen!)
On a more positive note the baby bjorn bouncy chair, baby gym, breathable airflow cot bumpers, Lamaze firefly and city mini pram have all been amazing – but then what do I know next time round I might be begging for a nappy stacker.

What to buy a new mum

We thought we’d put together some new mum gift ideas. It’s hard to buy things for new mums when you don’t have kids yourself, or you do but you’ve forgotten what the first few weeks are like!

A copy of your own favourite children’s book
I (or rather Serena) was spoilt with a surprise baby shower, where my friends had all agreed

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Mum Porn

I have a secret, guilty pleasure. When my baby’s gone to bed and my husband is out for the evening, I grab my laptop and indulge in a little fantasy…shopping that is. I make myself a disgusting, guilty dinner (like microwave macaroni cheese), I watch disgusting, guilty TV (keeping up with the Kardashians / MTV Cribs) and indulge in a little mum porn online.

So, in the spirit of sharing, here’s my current Mum Porn fantasy list:

NB. I can afford none of this stuff

serena

Individually these clothes aren’t that expensive but together they’re pretty pricey.

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Picking boogers is therapeutic and poos are a thing to be celebrated!

I am someone who appreciates sanitation, I am a self confessed germaphobic (sort of!) and I like clean surfaces and tidy rooms. I DO NOT like disgusting smells or the sight of bodily fluids and the sight of snot makes me sick! If you had met and asked me 6 months ago, this is what you would have heard. Things have changed…

Becoming a mother for the first time really changes you. Like all mothers I now walk around reeking of baby sick, with boogies up my arms and slobber in my hair. I have learned to accept these things as part of life, though I still carry anti-bacterial gel, Tommee Tippee anti-bacterial soother and teat wipes and Boogie Wipes with me everywhere I go!

I now take comfort in cleaning snotty boogies out of Izzie’s nose. After all I want her to feel and be clean. In fact the act of cleaning out my daughter’s nose has become oddly therapeutic (think Mummy monkey picking ticks out of the fur of their young). I feel devastated when I see children with crusty noses and messy faces. I find myself thinking: “If you wouldn’t leave the house looking like that why would you let your child?!?!”

Infant defecation is something I always thought I would struggle with. I hate strong smells and detest the smell of poo most of all! However, rather than feeling sick at the sight and smell of diarrhea and baby sick, I feel sorry for the poor little dear who has just defecated and vomited all over me. Often in my hands, face and hair!  When Izzie poos I want to call in a steel drum band and celebrate! It’s like a triumphant accomplishment each and every time. Never did I think I would be a mother who squealed with glee every time her baby had a poo! And get this… the looser the poo the more excited I become. No constipation here!

I now walk around proudly wearing baby sick and food stained clothes and sporting my new favourite scent “eau de Izzie”! I have actually become grateful for these things because they remind me each day of how lucky I am to be a Mummy.

 

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.