Memories Of Being A New Mum

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

New mum

There are lots of things that remind me of having a small baby. The theme tune of Waybuloo. Walking past the church hall where Baby Sensory classes are held. The music that our baby monitor plays to soothe a child to sleep. The smell of fresh laundry. I cuddled my friend’s seven month old son today and he smelled of washing powder. It immediately transported me back to a time when we seemed to be endlessly washing baby clothes. Our washing machine often got a thrice-daily workout as we laundered muslins, vests, babygrows, bed sheets, t-shirts, pillow cases. You name it, we laundered it.

I distinctly remember walking into our kitchen one day (where our washing machine and clothes dryers live). My daughter must have been only a week old, and the warm damp air hit my face. It smelled – and felt – like an actual laundry! It was the strangest sensation, but no stranger than the whole new reality of being a mum to a tiny, wrinkly, yawning baby.

Another memory that always comes back to me is laughing to myself that our laundry had done from being lots of dark loads – jeans, black tops, dark dresses, black gym gear – to whites and pale pinks. Our drying racks were fit to burst with white muslins, white sleepsuits, pale pink sleeping bags, pale pink vests. We were those totally stereotypical parents of a daughter who had pale pink ‘everything’.

Now, our laundry drying racks look very different again. We’re back to the jeans, the gym clothes and our (nearly four year old) daughter’s wardrobe is filled with bright fun colours. Yes, there’s a bit of pink there, but there’s also red, green, purple, blue…

Our laundry

Our laundry

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Win £100 River Island Voucher!

Every day this week, my three-year-old asks ‘Is it the weekend yet?’ because she knows that on Saturday, we’re heading to a festival. I’m not sure she even knows that a festival is, because I’m pretty sure her memory won’t stretch back to last year’s Camp Bestival or Lollibop.

But she knows that a festival sounds fun, and that’s good enough for her. So each morning, when I tell her, ‘No, it’s only Thursday… two more days until the weekend!’ she puts on a really sad face and says ‘Awwwww!’ in a dramatic way. It’s so cute how excited she gets about our weekend adventures.

The festival we’re going to on Saturday is Lollibop – in its brand new home of Hatfield House. With acts like Justin Fletcher and Mr Bloom (hey-lo Mr Bloom!) plus a storytelling area, foodie treats and Titan the Robot, there’ll be plenty to keep us busy. I highly suspect Mr P will sneak off to watch Sam and Mark too (he is a secret fan of their CBBC show – ha!)

We were very lucky to be invited to Lollibop 2014 by River Island, who have an area at the festival and who are leading the way when it comes to affordable trend-led kids’ clothing (see my current faves below). We’ll be checking out their design area where kids can get crafty and then show off their designs on the catwalk. If you fancy going along, there are still tickets available to buy for £22 (£25 on the day).

 

River Island Kids

River Island have also given me a £100 voucher to give away to one lucky winner. Ooooh! To be in with a chance of winning:

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The Circus Is In Town!

Is anyone else as obsessed with the new Mini Rodini AW14 kids’ clothing with the strong man on it, as I am? I discovered it last week while browsing Scout & Co Kids (one of my favourite online stores) and it reminded me how much I love circus themed stuff for kids. And there are lots of things to choose from at the moment – the big top is having a bit of a ‘moment’. Here are a few of my favourite circus buys for kids …

Circus buys for kids

 

1. Mini Rodini t-shirt and leggings, from £23

2. Zara Kds Home cutlery, £4.99

3. Maileg wooden circus mice wagon, £16 and ringmaster mouse, £14

4. Great Little Trading Company circus play tent, £25

5. Missus Print circus print, £25

6. Make your own big top party hat with this tutorial from Oh Happy Day.

Which is your favourite? I vote for Mini Rodini and Maileg…

 

 

Baking With Kids: The Fantasy V The Reality

With another series of The Great British Bake Off here, it’s that time of year when I avidly watch each week, to see who will be crowned the Star Baker. Seeing them bake sponges, bread and pies, I think to myself: “I should bake more”. This is usually followed by a flashback to being in Home Economics class at school, aged 13, being scowled at by the teacher, Mrs Mackay, because my rock buns hadn’t turned out well (apparently my technique for making breadcrumbs with the mixture left a lot to be desired).

I may not be a Mary Berry in the making, but I do enjoy baking. And I love baking with my three-year-old daughter. At least, I love the idea of baking with her. But unfortunately, the fantasy of baking with her doesn’t always match up to the reality of baking with her. Here’s why…

The fantasy: We’re in a lovely clean kitchen (à la Bake Off) with sun streaming through the windows and upbeat music playing (let’s say Abba on this occasion).

The reality: It’s pissing it down outside (hence the need for an indoor activity), I haven’t had time to tidy the kitchen of the bills, free newspapers, paintings and random craft materials that clutter the surfaces and the three-year-old is demanding to listen to Justin Fletcher’s latest album as we bake. It takes me at least 20 minutes to faff around, getting the baking equipment out of the (very back of the) cupboards, locate the scales (where did I put them, again?) and work out how the flip I’m meant to line the cake tins before we can begin. Which means there are 20 minutes of “Can we start, Mum?” and “Muuummmmyyy! I want to bake cakes!” and “MUM! Stop doing that! I want to make a cake!”.

butter

The fantasy: My daughter helps me measure the ingredients while we laugh and joke about something funny. A bluebird probably flies in the window and lands on my shoulder.

The reality: I stress about allowing a three-year-old to cut butter with a knife, then as she struggles to get the butter off a spatula and into the scales, it goes flying off the spatula and lands on the floor. Flour goes everywhere. I say a lot of “When I say ‘stop’, you have to stop pouring, OK? Stop. STOP! I SAID STOP!”

The fantasy: We take turns stirring the mixture, seeing the dry ingredients and eggs/butter come together in a beautiful way. We sing along as we do it. Mr P wanders in and cheerfully asks if he can help.

The reality: The three-year-old gets bored stirring after ten seconds. I try to help. “NO Mum!” she says, giving it a half-hearted poke with the wooden spoon. Eventually I get the electric whisk out and use that, which leads to the three-year-old covering her ears and shouting, “It’s TOO NOISY!” Mr P comes in to find out what all the screaming is about. Continue reading

Win 4 Tickets To OnBlackheath Festival

I was having serious Camp Bestival withdrawal symptoms this weekend – a year ago, we went to our first family festival together and it was utterly fantastic. But this weekend, while I was watching lots of people I know have an amazing time there (and quietly sobbing into a paper cup of wine for that genuine festival feel) I’m looking forward to another family friendly festival… and this one is much closer to home.

On September 14th, we’re heading to OnBlackheath. The inaugural festival on Blackheath Common in south east London is in partnership with John Lewis and sees Massive Attack and Frank Turner headline with performances from The Levellers, Aloe Blac, Grace Jones and Athlete.

There’s also going to be a real foodie presence with a farmers’ market and a cooking demo stage hosted by Gizzi Erskine and featuring a range of Michelin-starred British talent – all cooking up tasty creations for you to sample.

sum11_late-august-farmers-market

For the younger festival goers, OnBlackheath promises a fabulous area designed specially for kids, with arts & crafts workshops, games and special performances. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

camp-bestival-painting-fort-2

Blackheath holds a special place in my heart – I lived there for three years in my 20s and loved mooching around the gift shops and drinking coffee outside the many cafes. The common is a beautiful space that I used to sit on (usually outside the Prince Of Wales pub if I’m honest, with a Bacardi Breezer in hand) and watch the kites flying by. I’m super excited to go to the festival – and giddy at the thought that it’s just a bus ride away from my house!

I can’t wait to put my floral hairband on (might get one for the three-year-old too) and soak up the atmosphere… and late summer sun hopefully.

OBH14_3_61_RADIOTIMES_IMAGE_620x374_AW

And you could be there too! OnBlackheath have given me four tickets for Sunday 14th September to give away. To be in with a chance of winning:

• Comment on this blog post, saying which act on Sunday 14th September you’d most like to see if you win

• For an extra two entries, follow @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweet the following ‘Win four tickets for @OnBlackheath festival over on @alisonperryblog’

• Fill in the Rafflecopter box below if you want your entries to count

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:
1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Not Another Mummy Blog or the Promoter.
2. One winner will receive four tickets for OnBlackheath, valid on Sunday 14th September 2014 only. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
3. The prize draw starts at 12.01am BST on 4th August 2014 and closes at 11.59pm BST on 29th August 2014.
4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post. Entrants can gain bonus entries by following @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway, then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
5. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
6. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable the Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value.
7. The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
8. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
9. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
10. The Promoter is: AKA, 115 SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, LONDON WC2H 8AF