Organising Christmas as a Single Mum!

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Christmas if fast approaching and I’m feeling overwhelmed. There’s so much stuff going on that I can’t keep up. I now can’t leave the house without my diary.

The day my sister is coming home has changed 3 times. I think we are now settled on the 21st. Or maybe it’s the 20th? Actually,  have no idea.

I have my work Christmas party in Ilkley (yes, I’m going to have to drive) on the 8th December. I need a babysitter. More stress.

Then Arthur is a Shepard (last year he was about 5 weeks old and played Baby Jesus) in the nativity in Durham Cathedral on the 23rd December which has just changed from the 18th this morning. Originally, on the 23rd I had a Winter Wonderland thing booked which I am no going have to change to god knows what date.

On the 22nd I have my yearly spa evening with the girls. And I am not bloody missing that as I missed last year. Recovering from giving birth and going to the spa do not mix. That is also the day everyone breaks up from work so finding a babysitter is going to be tough.

On top of that I have Christmas dinner to organise. I have wreaths to order for my mam and uncle’s headstones. It’s our first Chrismtas without my mam and I’m dreading it. She LOVED Christmas. I have a Turkey to order. I have table decorations to sort out. I have the house to clean and tidy. I have decorations to sort. The list is endless.

I also want to take Arthur to Fenwicks window in Newcastle and we have a dinner with Santa booked. The date…no idea.

I have no spare time in a normal schedule. I have no babysitter, I work 3 days a week (full time after Christmas) and I do all the cooking, cleaning, ironing, tidying and food shopping.

Does anyone have any tips for getting organised? Maybe I just need to chill out and take it as it comes.

Wow….I’m stressed just writing this! HELP!!!!!

 

My labour story!

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This is a tale that I’ve been reliving a lot lately as Arthur’s 1st birthday is only a few days away. I am constantly thinking, “What was I doing this time last year?” I think it’s quite normal to get emotional at your baby turning 1 but I have another reason…my beloved Mam isn’t around to see it and everything I was doing this time last year, was with her. We were going for long walks, going for spicy currys and she was my birthing partner.

Arthur was due on 1st November 2016 but I was booked in to be induced on the 8th November. I have had Vasculitis for a few years so they weren’t letting me go any longer than a week over. After a failed sweep on my due date, off I went to the hospital to get things going.

I was booked in at 3.30pm and of course, they had an emergency so I had to wait. I finally had my first pessary at about 8pm. The midwife gave me a sweep at the same time and said my cervix was fully closed and quite hard and that it was probably going to take a few tries before labour started. I was on a ward so my Mam was sent home and told to come back the next morning. I managed to fall asleep watching America’s election results coming in (yes, Arthur was born on the day Donald Trump was elected and I’m sure it’s going to be the winning question on a quiz one day) to be woken up at 10pm with my first contraction.

Now, those of you that have been induced will know there’s no gradual build up and that first contraction is bloody strong. I pressed my buzzer after about an hour and the midwife came and offered me some paracetamol and to run me a bath. F*****G PARACTAMOL??????? Anyway I took it and had my bath. My contractions were every 4 minutes all through the night. I was moving around and bouncing on my ball and nothing helped. At 8am the next morning (still only being 2cm) I called my mam and she rushed through and I was moved to delivery. Another examination and I was 2.5cm!!! I cried.

At this point I took the gas and air and everything becomes a bit of a blur. The midwife broke my waters and Arthur had pooped which meant I was now restricted to the bed so Arthur’s heart could be monitored. His head was blocking my bladder so I also had to have a catheter. I was trying to eat breadsticks to keep my energy up then a contraction would come so I grabbed the gas and air which resulted in breadstick been sprayed everywhere. At about 2pm I was 5cm. At 3pm I was 6 and by 4.30pm I was 10cm. During this time I had told my mam if she didn’t organise me a C-section I would never speak to her again and I had shouted at the midwife that it was her fault I was missing my Strictly Come Dancing Rehearsals with Danny Mac.

I started pushing. It was too late for an epidural so gas and air was going to have to see me through. I honestly thought I was dying. 2 hours of pushing and Arthur was back to back and totally stuck. After a tug on that dreaded red knob on the wall 6 doctors/nurses/spectators (I have no idea who the hell they were) came running in to the rescue. Within 2 minutes my legs were been fastened up on stirrups and the bottom half of the bed had gone. I had to have an episiotomy and ventouse. I was in so much pain all over that I couldn’t even tell when I was having a contraction to push so a midwife was holding my tummy and telling me when it was coming. I have no idea where my mam was. She was probably distraught in the corned thinking about what sort of trauma counselling she needed.

Arthur was safely born at 7.11pm on 9th November weighing 6lbs 10oz. And wow! The pain disappeared as soon as I held him in my arms. I was being stitched up, had people shoving things up my bum (I think they said to stop me getting piles from pushing so much) and god knows what else.

I managed to get up and have a shower. The floor looked like someone had been murdered. There was blood everywhere. Once I (and the room) was cleaned up my dad came in. They both left and Arthur had a really bad night. His head was all ripped and so sore from the ventouse so he was given some paracetamol. I was so sore and struggling to get up from the bed to settle him and breastfeed him. My mam came back the next day and I was in and our of sleep. It was so good to have someone there to jut pass him to me rather than me getting up. I was discharged that night and had the best bath in the world.

So there you have it. My labour story. It was horrendous but my, it was worth it!

Food for an (almost) 1 year old!

If you’ve seen my Vlogs you will have seen me making a few different things for Arthur and I. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite recipes for food that you can give to a 1 year old. Snacks aside (because lets face it, what adult wants to eat broccoli cake) I enjoy these meals as well. I don’t have enough time to make separate meals for everyone.

So number 1 you will have seen me make in Sunday’s Vlog. It’s the Chicken, Bacon and Leek Risotto. This is a Slimming World recipe so it’s syn free and it’s Arthur’s absolute favourite! He literally ate two portions in one sitting on Sunday.

Serves 4 adults

What you need:

1.75 litres of boiling low sodium chicken stock (in my Vlog you will have seen that I was cooking a joint of ham in the slow cooker so I used the stock from that)

Fry Light

8 bacon rashes with the fat cut off and roughly chopped

2 large or 3 medium sized leeks chopped up

300f dried risotto rice

4 chicken breasts (or 5 skinless and boneless thighs), cooked and chopped/shredded

a pinch of saffron

 

Method:

Pour the stock into a saucepan and keep on a low-medium heat.

Spray a large non-stick frying pan with fry light and place on a high heat. Add the bacon and fry until cooked. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Spray the same pan with a touch more fry light and add the leeks. Cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft.

Add the rice and stir in with the leeks for about 1 minute. Add chicken and saffron, stir and turn heat down to medium. Add stock one spoonful at a time. Stir often and as soon as the rice has absorbed the liquid add another spoonful. Continue this until rive is fully cooked. It should take around 25minutes.

Add bacon and give it a good stir.

For the adults you can add some salt but I find that it doesn’t really need any.

Voila!

 

Next up one of Arthur favourite snacks. Broccoli muffins.

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This recipe makes approx 12 mini muffins. I use standard fairy cake cases rather than muffin cases and they are suitable to freeze.

What you need:

150g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 broccoli florets, cooked and finely chopped

2tbsp of grated cheddar cheese

50g butter, melted and cooled

125ml whole milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

Method:

Heat oven to 170degrees C fan (190 normal)

Sieve together flour and baking powder, then stir in the broccoli and cheese.

Beat together the butter, milk and egg and then add it to the flour mixture. Stir until combined.

Spoon into approx. 12 cake cases and bake for about 10-12 minutes. They will rise and be golden brown when cooked.

 

Here is the link to my Vlog where you can see me making the Risotto:

If you like it then please hit subscribe click on the bell so you don’t miss the next instalment!

 

So there you have it. Two very easy recipes for your 1 year old!

 

MamaB x

 

 

 

 

What I bought on Amazon in October

So it’s the start of another month. It’s November and you know what that means? Only 1 more pay day until Christmas (assuming December’s pay comes at the end of December after Christmas).

Are you prepared? Have you started/finished/thought about Christmas Shopping? Well this year I have and I am almost finished. I started early this year as I have spent most of the year on maternity leave so I knew that a few months pay at the end of the year just wasn’t going to cover Christmas Shopping, parties and all of the food, booze etc you need.

So what I bought on Amazon in October is mostly Christmas presents for Arthur, other babies I know and my sister. And I have to say I picked up some bargains.

Let’s get stuck in!

First up we have this adorable Elf Outfit for Arthur. How cute is he going to look! It cost £5.97 and comes in a range of sizes from 0-24months.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M74TFR9/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Next up we have  a Wooden Puzzle Clock at only £2.56. This will be a Christmas present for Arthur. There’s a few different puzzles on this list. It keeps him busy and at this price you can’t go wrong.

clock
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N217MX6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Next is the Wooden Alphabet Jigsaw at £3.15. Arthur’s still probably a bit too little for this but hey ho!

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01MYAXD2S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Then there is the Wooden Shape Jigsaw Puzzle at £1.99. Can you see a pattern emerging? I actually bought 2 of these and I’m going to give one to my friends baby for Christmas with the Manhattan Teether you will see below!

shapes
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N5FM83U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

As mentioned above here is the Manahttan Rattle and Sensory Teether which was £9.99. If you’ve got a teething baby and you’ve never come across this before then I can’t recommend this enough. I have one for Arthur and when he was a bit younger this would keep him entertained for ages! I first came across it in a baby sensory group I used to go to and he wouldn’t put it down so I bought him one.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000BNCA4K/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Then I got 3 Baby Farm Puzzles at £5.99 each. One for Arthur and one for a friend of the families baby for Christmas and the third is for a girl who I met at a baby group’s son who turned 1 yesterday.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00140KLZ4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

The last toy on the list is these Wooden Hand Rattles at £1.59. I ordered 2 of these as well. One for Arthur and one to go with my friends baby along with the Manhattan Teether and the puzzle.

rattle
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01HG813HM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Next we have something I am very excited to try. Maybe this makes me sad, I don’t know. Mane&Tail Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve read some amazing reviews about how it leaves your hair thicker, shinier and more manageable so we shall see. I got 2 of these because this is a Christmas gift my sister will LOVE! You can get the shampoo and conditioner for £7.98 which is really cheap compared to some other good brands out there.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005CI1JEG/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Now something else for me, although not very exciting. I’ve been trying to do some running so I got myself the iPhone Armband which is Sweatproof &Weatherproof. It also has a little pouch for your keys and a little bit of money. Now I can listen to music in the hope it carries me round. It was £7.79 and I have to say I was actually quite impressed with the quality of it for a bargain!

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0719P9ZTS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Finally, something that’s long over due and it can’t come fast enough as I’ve dropped my new phone about 3 times today is the OtterBox Strada in Burnt Saddle Brown. I’m a massive believer in a good phone cover and I usually go for the Apple ones but I fancied a change so I picked this up for £24.99. You can get different colours that are cheaper but I’m a massive fan of the whole burnt saddle/tan colours.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01ITHI8ZE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

So there you have it. That’s everything I bought from Amazon in October. Some stuff hasn’t been delivered yet so when it does I’ll pop a little review up.

Over and out!

MamaB x