34 Things That Will Happen To You As A Parent

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The Baby Years

1. You will feel more tired than you ever thought possible. More tired, in fact, than the time you stayed up all night queueing for Take That tickets when you were 16. More tired than the time you went out every night, drinking Bacardi Breezers, for a whole week, when you were 22.

2. You’ll get a four hour block of sleep and feel like a NEW PERSON and feel like you can take on THE WORLD.

3. You will feel judged for your choices: breast or bottle, routine or baby-led, co-sleeping or cot, purées or finger food, home-made or shop bought…. the list is endless.

4. But you will learn to block out any judgement. Just smile and breathe!

5. You will post baby spam on Facebook – even though you swore you’d never become that person.

6. In a matter of weeks, you’ll go from being confused and befuddled by vests, baby grows, nappies, breast pumps, nursing bras, Sudocrem, Jumperoos, Bumbos and buggies…. to being the biggest ever expert. In the whole world. You might even write a book on it all. Just because you can.

7. You will strike up conversations with strangers who have babies. She has a baby! We have so much in common! She might end up being by NBF!

8. You will discover a whole new world of guilt. Guilt about giving your baby formula milk, guilt about leaving your baby with a family member, guilt about giving your baby Calpol for the first time. You’ll look back on all of this stuff and wonder why you felt guilty. But at the time! Dying of actual guilt.

9. Your baby will have a massive nappy explosion at the worst possible time – usually just as you’re about to leave the house, or when you’ve just arrived at a friend’s house, or right in the middle of a Baby Sensory class. Oh and you’ll have forgotten to bring any baby wipes with you. So you’ll have to ask to borrow some from a friend. And you’ll feel like a fool.

10. You realise the hard way that a hangover and a baby don’t mix well. Would it be frowned upon to vom outside the church hall after a Sing ‘n’ Sign session? Oh and why is the CBeebies house so brightly coloured, even when you’re watching it wearing sunglasses?

The Toddler Years

11. Your child will do something amazing (count to 20, build a huge tower with peanut shells, moonwalk at eight months old…) and for a split second you’ll wonder: “Maybe my child is an actual GENIUS” before realising it was a fluke/something all kids can do.

12. You’ll text a friend before realising it’s 6.10am and chances are, since they don’t have a small child, you’ve probably just woken them up. Oopsie.

13. You will step on a Lego brick and discover a whole new world of pain. “FUUUUUU-n times.”

14. You find stickers everywhere. On your child. On you. On clothing that has been through the wash. On walls. On tables. On food. On the cat.

15. You will find the following positively applaud-worthy: urine in a potty, poo in the toilet, the eating of vegetables. Dark days.

16. You see any time after 11.15am as a suitable time for lunch. See also: 4.30pm and tea.

17. You start to develop a crush on CBeebies presenters. Hello Mr Bloom and Dr Ranj…

18. Your child will have a tantrum over at least three of the following: a t-shirt being the wrong colour, a banana being peeled for them, having to wear shoes to go outside, milk being poured on their cereal, having to go into the bath, having to come out of the bath, the fact you can’t fast forward live TV….

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Switching Off From Reality at Pine Cliffs Resort with James Villa Holidays

Pine Cliffs resort Portugal review

Going on holiday often gives you a kind of out-of-body experience. You know exactly what I mean – you’ll be sitting on the beach, or by the pool, and your mind will start to wander. You think about things and you’re somehow able to look down upon your life and see it with a bit of clarity. I reckon it’s just the change of scenery but also the fact you have time to think and that, on holiday, you’re away from your everyday routine (and possibly the things that cause you minor stress) that allows your brain enough space to be able to do this.

Right now, I’m writing this while sitting on the terrace of my villa in Pine Cliffs resort in Portugal. I’m drinking a cup of tea and the four-year-old is sitting next to me, playing games on her iPad and munching dry Cheerios. It’s so quiet – well, it’s not even 7.15am yet – and the sun is rising, hitting the golf course and trees in the distance.

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I feel like I could stay here forever, but that’s the beauty of holidays, isn’t it? They allow you to relax, get some perspective on life back home and spend precious time with your family. Even though I work from home, I work full time (actually, if truth be told, I probably work nearer 50 hours a week) and even on the four-year-old’s day off from pre-school, it’s Mr P who spends the day with her while I work. So having a whole week to hang out has been fab.

Every day, we’ve had a long drawn out breakfast in the villa, with rounds of cereal, toast and croissants plus cups of tea and coffee for the grown ups. Then the only decision we need to make is: pool or beach? There are three pool areas here – the main pool (which has waiter service to your sun lounger), a smaller pool area (with heated pool) and a tiny pool in the children’s play area. The beach is a ten minute walk away, down some beautiful paths towards the cliff edge (gorgeous views!) and then down in a lift to the sand. I have to admit, I’m definitely more of a pool girl. I love being near the sea, and I love sitting listening to the ocean, but that sand gets everywhere. Does anyone actually enjoy getting sand stuck to their suncream-smeared legs and hands?

Pine Cliffs resort Portugal review

So we have been spending most of our days by the pool. We did that classic holiday thing of spending €12 on an inflatable toy for the pool, yet the four year old still keeps eyeing up all the other kids’ inflatable toys – which seem much more desirable than hers. We’ve also spent a large proportion of our days playing with the random buckets, balls and spades, abandoned by holiday-makers gone by. We really should leave our inflatable, in pay-it-forward style for next week’s families….

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A Four-Year-Old’s Holiday Wardrobe

Look out the passports. Buy the factor 50 sun cream. Yep, we are on the countdown to a family break to Portugal and the usual giddy planning is taking place. But it struck me a few weeks ago that the four-year-old has had a growth spurt in the last few months, so now half of her summer gear from last year no longer fits. The other half of it is covered in paint/felt tip pen stains. In fact, yesterday she went to pre-school wearing a double whammy – a summer dress that was far too small for her and had black paint stains down the front. Mother of the year, right here.

So it was time to sort out a new summer wardrobe for her. My usual hit list for kidswear is H&M, Marks and Spencer, Mothercare, Tootsa MacGinty and River Island. I also hit Next and spent far too long checking out the swimwear and beachwear from Sunuva.

I love kidswear that looks like kidswear – bright colours, cotton, comfort. I’m not as keen on high fashion or grown-up trends shrunk in size (leather leggings on toddlers make me feel a bit uneasy) and brilliantly, there’s lots of fun kidswear around…

Holiday outfit kidswear

Yellow shorts, part of pack of 3 c/o Mothercare // Blue vest, part of pack of 4, Next // Blue sandals, Little Bird By Jools c/o Mothercare // Sun hat, Marks and Spencer

Little Bird by Jools sandals

Summer 2015 kidswear

Because I’m Happy t-shirt c/o Marie-Chantal // Blue sandals c/o Little Bird By Jools, Mothercare // Floral shorts, part of pack of 3 c/o Mothercare

Summer 2015 kidswear

White shirt c/o RI Kids // Blue smock dress c/o Tootsa MacGinty, Sun hat Marks and Spencer, Blue sandals c/o Little Bird By Jools, Mothercare

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How Would You Spend A Spare £100?

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I love playing imaginary games over coffee like “What would you buy if you won the lottery?” Dreams of buying a swish new house, treating yourself to a new car, going on a couple of luxury holidays a year, buying a posh handbag… What’s a bit harder is thinking what you would spend a spare £100 on. There are almost so many options that I find myself going around in circles and ending up thinking I’d just pop it in the bank.

Would you treat someone you love?

£100 would cover a lunch for two at a restaurant like the Berners Tavern in London or a couple of tickets to see The Book Of Mormon – two of my favourite things to do in London.

Would you treat yourself?

We all need a little R&R sometimes so taking yourself off for a spa day somewhere like Whittlebury Hall. From £89pp you can book their Escape & Spa Stay package which includes an overnight stay and a 25 minute treatment.

Would you give it to charity?

The Nepal Earthquake Appeal is the one that springs to mind, first of all. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes and over 7000 people have died. Donating money to the appeal would help – a little….

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