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The Philippines- FINAL PART

We arrived back encrusted with puke onto mainland Bohol.

We purely picked the next accommodation because it had a slide (although sure my husband picked it because it was called Mario…..Super Mario???). Weirdest place ever. Was sort of like a building site with random scuba divers walking around? I cant even describe it really! Slide was a hit though, the kids liked the slide too

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It was only one night and it was actually the cleanest place/ insect-less place we had stayed so far. Once we all got bored of the slide, we made an executive decision to go OUT OUT and sack off any type of bedtime routine (kinda been the go since we got to the Philippines). We got a trike down to the “main strip” which was buzzing. Again, I actually felt like I was a (younger) backpacker again, I bought some “tat” (essential holiday jewellery to make me look more travelly) and had a last ditch attempt to let Rich allow me to get some henna and get my hair braided. If anyone has been to Thailand, it was kind of like Koh San Road, but a waaaaaay smaller scale. I LOVED it!

Next morning we had one last swim in the pool. We had remained accident free most of the trip, but on my way to the toilet I FULLY wiped out. Not just a little fall, like a full blown wet jelly fish blubbering around on the floor. Literally couldn’t get up, everytime I tried I just slipped again. Im not sure what the floor was made of. About 4 men ran over to me to try and help the “poor white british wanna be backpacker damsel in distress” wallowing on the floor. Massive cut on my leg, but I told everyone it was a shark attack. Not fall on pissy bog toilet floor.

Flight up to Manila was a breeze with semi well behaved children. Ran them ragged in the airport before so think that helped. Landed into the big smoke of Manilla. Such a change from the little remote island and rickety villages. This was a proper big city. Actually nice to have a change. The people of Manilla seemed totally unaffected by the earthquake a couple days ago, felt rather silly carrying my “evacuation bag” (just like normal bag but with more snacks). I did feel a bit uneasy about staying somewhere so high with a roof top pool after all the videos I had seen on the news with a roof top pool during the earthquake. But I soon got over it when I had a dip.

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Ventured out to a mall that evening, it seemed to be the thing to do?! Then we had the age old crisis of trying to buy nappies and wipes again, not easy in a mall either. Rich went off to try and find some, I stayed with the boys in the “soft play” (sofa department). Arlo announces he needs a poo (you get 5 mins warning before it comes out), so queue me running around shopping mall like a crazy women trying to find a toilet and realising we have lost rich and no phone signal

Toilet found, poo deposited, Filipino sanitary towel bin opened a million times, anti-bac applied, husband found, nappies purchased then back to the hotel for our last night in the Philippines. I cannot describe how much I didn’t want to come home. Arlo mainly enjoyed standing naked in front of our hotel window.

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The flight home was SO much better than the way out. We got the bulk head seats…together….so the boys had their own little play bit down by our feet (obvs still wanted to jog up and down the aisle). We got offered a sky cot for kit, even though he was too big for it really, I forced him into it. To not have a kid on your lap for 14 hours was so much nicer. I even managed to go to the loo a couple times! Sleep was still minimal and Arlo still puked, but Rich and I didn’t want a divorce at the end so it was a success

WE MADE IT!!!!!! Backpacking in a crazy Asian country with 2 children!!! I felt quite proud of our little family. I also realised (well I kinda knew anyway, but this trip had just confirmed it) that THIS is want I wanted to do with our lives. I want to be one of these cool backpacking families that travel the world, giving their kids the best life lessons ever and best memories ever and realise there is a whole world out there to explore. I am going to do everything I can to make this possible, new life goals

And I 100% found it easier than being at home….
1) No housework- your staying in hotels/ beach huts/ home stays and you don’t have to clean woohooooo
2) No cooking- you end up just eating out for all your meals as its so cheap and don’t have cooking facilities anyway
3) No Routine- no school run, no deadlines, no packing school bags, no toddler groups, just your own time all day every day
4) Extra pair of hands-normally at home I’m on my own, whilst travelling I had an extra pair of hands every day
5) High spirits- everyone is generally happier as don’t have the stress of every day lief to argue about
6) Less life shackles-you literally have everything you need in a couple bags. It liberating. Don’t need Tezza the Turtle, toy frying pan and weird one-eyed squeaky fish thing after all.

7) We were happy! It felt easier to be happy without all of the above!

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Arlo still talks about the Philippines now (Uncle Janice and Aunty Jamie, bless him, he gets confused), but mainly about the boat and the plane??!

We have started talking about the next trip…VIETNAM BABY!!! (my husband bought me the Lonely Planet to Vietnam so he must mean it??). We’ve agreed that we will go when Kitt is out of nappies and doesn’t run away so much and Arlo doesn’t want to shit in the sofa section of shopping malls….2020/21???? I will be shaving my head for this trip

I really thought my backpacking days were over, but they really aren’t. They have become VERY different but way better! Its almost like more fulfilling with kids and more exciting and rewarding. Also slightly harder work than drinking your way round Asia when you’re 18 AND there is a hell of a lot more luggage. There are lows, there are highs (way more highs) but travelling with kids is so much fun…in a “travelling with kids” kinda way

The world is your oyster boys….and your mum might just come with you!!!

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Arlo’s 10 Minutes of Fame!!!!!

I remember when Arlo “huge-potato-head-with-ginger-quiff” was born, I said to my husband….we really need to get him into baby modelling!!!! Now when we look back at baby photos, we can see how strong (sometimes a little blind) a parents love can be. Bless Arlo, he’s really grown into his head now.

So now, age 3, he’s finally got his time to shine!! Whitestuff (where I work part-time ie: drink HOT tea), gave Arlo an outfit to photograph to help promote a kids event I am holding this Sunday (23/8/18) in the Exeter store.

He actually did pretty well, we got a full 10 minute window of happy times/ model posing before the window of opportunity closed and he started rolling in the mud (do they want the clothes back??!!)

So please come see me on sunday if you are around. There will be an Arts and Crafts Kids drop-in FREE workshop held by my lovely friend George, focusing on autumnal crafting. Also, personal styling appointments for the ladies (and men, and dogs?) AND…….drum roll……….20% off EVERYTHING

There was also chat of Gin, but don’t hold me to that

11am-3pm ish, Whitestuff Exeter……Arlo will be signing autographs

 

Here you go Arlo, here are you “Best Bits”……

Arlo wore…..

Element Borg Lined Overshirt- Multi- Age 3-4
Abstract Tee- Multi- Age 3-4
Bocy Jersey lined Cord Trousers- Seaweed Green- Age 3-4

https://www.whitestuff.com/kids/

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Potty Training Perils

The Lost Nugget
For days and days you can smell shit in the house. You’ve looked everywhere, followed your nose, but to no avail. You just KNOW a nugget of poo has slipped through the net somewhere along the line. Days, maybe even weeks later, you find said nugget of shit. It’s now hard, almost like a little bullet, crusty, with a layer of dust on top. You will never know how/ why it ended up where you found it (in the toy kitchen, was he trying to cook with it??), but at least you can sleep at night now knowing that the little brown bugger has been disposed of.

The Pink Eye
Shit induced conjunctivitis is a real thing. Whilst receiving some beautiful engagement news over Skype, your “potty trainee” has shat on the landing (not unusual). He has then proceeded to smear poo on the head/ side of face/ into eye of your poor helpless baby. Your baby however is just glad of the attention……until the next morning he realises that he has fallen victim to Pink Eye.

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The Brown Eye
At the start of the Potty Training Camp 2018, it’s best to just go balls out at home: face the training head on in your birthday suit (NB: trainee not trainer). This often means the postman might catch a glimpse of the “brown eye” pressed up against the window as he delivers his letters. Unsuspecting guests might find themselves looking head-on, straight into brown eye itself whilst the trainee bends over to pick up a one-legged robot off the floor. As a potty trainer leader, you will become quite familiar with the brown eye, often at close proximity.

The Plan Canceller
When potty training strikes, you have to go with it. Often sacrificing the best laid plans. As far-fetched as it might sound ” We can’t come to the park this morning as my trainee hasn’t had his morning shit”….or “sorry we have to cancel the dentist appointment as we can subject ourselves to a shit in the car…….”, are totally legitimate excuses to use. Who knew!

The Dog Whisperer
Behold, yet another shit on the carpet. As you hot-foot it into the kitchen to gather the required shit-cleaning-equipment, the dog has hot-footed it into the living room, seizing an opportunity. As you re-enter the scene of the crime, the turd is nowhere to be seen. But the white fluffy dog is looking most pleased, satisfyingly licking her (brown) lips. One can only speculate what happened.

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The Utensil User
Once they get the idea that they have to do their business into something, you must be careful of open containers/ crevices / spaces/ holes/ boxes/ cupboards etc…….Stickers MUST still be rewarded for wees in kitchen saucepans that are then covered with the correct sized lids.

The Squirter
I tell you, those little hose pipes can project a long way. Devastating for anything/ anyone that gets in its path. Even in the safe confines of your living room, there are still casualties. As quickly as you try to grab that little snake and wrestle it to the toilet, the force of the yellow liquid can still squirt through your clasped fingers and soak a poor unsuspecting train set (this time……)
NB: different for girl trainees

The Improviser
You are still in the dark beginning stages of potty training but starting to see some light. You want to leave the house (which is covered in shit) and re-enter the outside world. But you aren’t quite ready to do this with no nappy. You almost need a half-way-nappy? Inspired by some old potty training pads a friend once gave you, you decide to make excellent use if those sanitary towels in the back of the cupboard. The maxi ones, with wings. Hey presto. They give you confidence, and the potty trainee confidence. Not to mention that “fresh feeling for up to 8 hours”.

The Go-Cart
The potty trainee has finally got the hang of it (hurrah!!). So much so they have taken themselves for a shit on the potty ALL BY THEMSELVES. But why oh why is there brown skid marks in a north-easterly direction all over your beige carpet?? Unbeknown to you, whilst you were momentarily distracted (Instagram), your potty trainee has dragged their bottom along the carpet, legs out to the side for full bottom-carpet contact, to clean off the residue of the solo potty turd. You can only liken this movement to that of a go-cart/ dog with worms.

The Public Shitter
This could be in a shop/ restaurant/ al-fresco….but when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. And that poo comes FAST. Thank god you take the potty everywhere you go. But it does however mean the public cheering of potty poo “well done, clever boy, big poo etc” , and loud trainee interpretations ” mummy I’ve made a snail”, can be marginally embarrassing. Then what on earth do you do with clever potty poo??? After leaving the public place in disgrace, you rest the potty (plus snail) on top of push chair and walk head down as fast as you can (but not too fast, careful now) back to the car. Then drive the clever poo home for disposal, avoiding speed bumps.

The Foot Plunger
If you are unfortunate enough to be mildly clumsy/ unlucky at time, at some point you may well find yourself ankle-deep in a potty full of piss. You can only rejoice in the fact that it wasn’t the brown stuff. Now that would have been catastrophic in flip-flops.

The Tail
You’ve really cracked it, so much so you decide to go to a soft play (what were you thinking). All is going swimmingly, until you realise, to your horror, your potty trainee now has a tail. Not a lovely little fluffy dog tail, but a turd tail. A distinctive bugle around the bottom area. The potty trainee is about to set-off down the slide (which would no doubt end in a squishy disaster ), so with the speed of light you grab your new “doggy” and whip them into the toilet before any little brown balls slip down the trouser leg and into the ball pit.

NB: One must be very careful eating crumbs/ bits of “food” off the floor

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To add to this blog post, if you actually want to potty train with success and not fall victim to any of the above scenarios, this is a REALLY good blog on how to do it properly. Just follow the link……..

https://www.thinkbaby.org/how-to-potty-train-boys-girls-quickly-easily-potty-training-tips.html

 

 

 

 

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What Parents REALLY Mean

I’ve noticed now my toddler is getting older I have to be a lot more careful what I say ie: fuck, shit, bollocks. But also, a lot of white lies are spun (these are good aren’t they?) and twists of the truth are spoken to help keep their innocence/ control them/ make parenting easier. Here are some “phrases” I’ve found myself using in the last month…..

Dead fox on the road…..”Aw he’s just having a little sleep, he wanted to have lots of energy for crossing the road later”….Mr Fox will be asleep for a very very long time

Jazz things/ places/ food up by saying its SPECIAL……” ah this is a special sandwich” or “we need to go home to do some special things now” (actually nothing at all, but hopefully will entice toddler into car and he will totally forget about it by the time we get home)

“Santa wont bring you any presents”….I went through such a tough time after christmas when I couldn’t use this bribe a million times a day, I mean, what do other parents do in the “off-season”? But really, I’d been buying presents since September, I was never going to cancel christmas and not give him anything, seriously

“It tastes like Bacon”…….favourite food, so a good incentive to eat/ try things. Broccoli even tastes like Bacon, promise.

“I’m so sorry, the machines broken”…seems to be A LOT of broken machines around these days. But why do they always want to go on the yellow plastic bus ride outside Sainsburys, or get some weird wind-up toy from the slot machine in the theme park. Damn the children that then go and “manage’ to get the machine working right in front of us and spoil my master plan.

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When friends/ animals/ family have to leave our house after visiting…..”Lottie (dog) has to go home for a sleep now”….she’s a dog, she doesn’t have to go home for a nap/ dinner/ milk/ stories etc. but this seems a totally acceptable reason for ending a fun time and saves a toddler melt down

Comes home with ANOTHER beautiful drawing (smudged squiggles on a tattered piece of paper), the first few I certainly kept, but can’t keep them all, can I? …… “where’s my drawing?????”…..”Ive put it in a very special place, where I keep all the most special things” (ie: the bin)….bad Mum

“ah im sorry, all the yogurts/ chocolate/ bacon/ snacks have gone now”…….still 5 chocolate bars in the cupboard that I will sneak into the bathroom later and scoff and hope he doesn’t catch me. He’s becoming wise to my secret Mum bathroom retreat

“I’m really sorry but you cant bring that stick (stick number 5678) as you need to leave it there for the other girls and boys to play with”……we have a stick cemetery in our garden

”Magic cream” pretty much any cream ( Vasaline, nappy rash cream, Fairy Liquid?!) that makes everything better in an instance

“The Dinosaur eggs in the garden (stones) still haven’t hatched…..because they only hatch in the summer time”…….buys me a bit of time to think up new excuse as to why stones haven’t hatched beautiful spikey baby T-Rexs….

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………still waiting

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Do I Look Mumsy In This?

Why is it whatever I wear these days makes me feel Mumsy??!! “Well Katie you ARE a Mum “is the simple answer my Husband (man of few words) will give me. Well there you go, that explains it all, no need to write this blog then.

But WHY do I feel Mumsy when I’m wearing pretty much the same wardrobe I had pre motherhood (give or take a few….BILLION…. items bought on impulse after having a baby, jacked up on hormones and in my “super Mumsy identity crisis” phase). This is a question I’ve often pondered whilst picking dry crusty Wheetabix out of my hair, simultaneously frantically digging through mountains of clothes exclaiming I have NOTHING to wear.

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Do other Mums feel like this???

Is this a midlife crisis?

Am I screaming out “MUM” even when I am without child??

Is it time to re-invent oneself?

Reality check…….have you possibly just let yourself go? Chocolate cake for breakfast is actually NOT a good idea/ example to set?

So many questions.

Right, here’s whats been going on:

Your body has changed
Lets start with the tummy. Try as you might it will never be quite the same as it was. Even if you are back to your pre pregnancy weight and same waist size, it will never be quite as tight as before (was it ever tight or is this just a rose-tinted version of yourself you have created, actually you looked the spitting image of Miss Universe 2016). That gap in-between your tummy muscles is STILL there, your tummy skin is unfortunately like a deflated pink balloon and your belly button looks like ETs finger. Anyway, no more crop tops (??!!) or skin-tight tops (apart from those ones that have secret structural scaffolding). Tops that flow nicely over (hide) tummy are the style of choice these days. I’m sure I have shrunk height wise a little too?? Maybe when you are a pregnant WHALE it compresses your joints together?? To hold the baby inside you ( WE ARE SO CLEVER), hips also get wider. And goes without saying, you look a lot more tired these days and on some particularly bad days, you have even aged by 50 years. So with all these changes to your appearance of course clothes are going look different on you now. Well that is a good excuse to buy a whole new wardrobe if ever I heard one!!

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Boobs
For starters, you’ve gone from average size boobs, to monster-cant-even-be-contained-in-a-bra breast-feeding boobs…….to disappointing empty Tetley Tea bag boobs. Clothes look totally different with different boobs and you just cant keep up with it. You feel you should take the opportunity to flaunt your newly enlarged BF boobs, but then feel extremely guilty as this is perhaps wrong (??) and they aren’t real anyway ie: filled with milk. Then you realise, even though you have Jordan type boobs, the rest of you body is more likened to a Sloth. You just look odd. And no matter how hard you’ve tried to be consistent with BF sides, you are still lopsided, not such a great look. Then once all this palava is over, you are left with nothing. The expressing machine cant get anything out of them, your baby has given up trying and unfortunately there is nothing you can do to “cheer them up”. The thought may even cross your mind to have another baby just to get them back….are you crazy??!

See your body in a different way
YOU’VE GROWN A HUMAN IN THERE….RESPECT. I look in the mirror sometimes (after the self loathing and tugging at excess skin has finished) and think “wow, I grew an actual baby in there”. Just knowing what you can do, well what women can do, makes you feel your body is less like a sex machine (!!!) and more like a holy shrine to be worshipped and appreciated. It sometimes feels bad flaunting this serene “temple”. It becomes less important to look good and more important to realise what we are capable of.

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Mutton Dressed as Lamb
You are constantly in this grey area of “am I dressing too young/ am I dressing too old”. The balance just never feels right. I fear I have been over compensating since becoming a Mum and trying to dress younger. Its like I need to make a statement that I am still cool and down with the kids??! Backward baseball caps and tie dye shoes sometimes make me feel like mutton dressed as lamb. Its like I am in total denial that I’m over 30 (21 to those who ask), have a child and a house. Should I be dressing more respectfully now I’m a Mum? My skirts should be a little longer, no flaunting of cleavage (what cleavage), swimming costumes over bikini, no rips in jeans and defo no tops with side boobs??! I do feel like I can’t carry certain items off now I am a mum. Might be me over thinking things, but  do people almost expect you to dress more appropriately now you’re a mum. ANYWAY, we need to come to terms with the fact we ARE Mums and in a new category now…..The MILF Category. Accept it and work it!

No time to dress
Dressing is no longer a pleasurable thing. It’s a necessity. You have to wear clothes to go to Tescos. Spending hours deliberating on what scarf to wear with what top, what jeans flatter you the most and what necklace brings out your eyes, are days of the past. Most of the time its a case of just grabbing whats on the top of the unwashed/ unfolded/ scrunched clothes pile (BTW that you have worn for the last 3 days) with one hand, whilst trying to retrieve your favourite earrings from the nappy (possibly poohy) of your toddler with the other hand.  A lot of the time this could lead to accidentally standing in front of your bedroom window (that faces the road PLUS neighbours) with no bra on. Yes you could be more organised and devise an outfit the night before once your child is in bed, but who can be bothered with that?! So in my eyes, if it hasn’t got puke (visible) or sh*t (smellable) on it, its ok to wear.

More aware of brand clichés
There are certain brands that are considered “Mumsy”. These brands I actually really love and before becoming a Mum would not of hesitated to buy (if I had lots of money). But now I think twice about whether, for example, a Joules rain coat or Kath Cidson bag would make me look Mumsy. I guess they are tailored to suit Mums and fulfil our needs at this time (Cath Kidson= wipeable bags, Joules= practical/happy rain coats/ flattering fits). PS. I have a Cath Kidson Bag AND Joules Wellies. You do somehow just feel more drawn towards these Mumsy brands.

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Personal grooming/ different priorities
The “other things” that make clothes look good and YOU look good is personal grooming eg. actually brushing your hair, remembering to brush your teeth, shaving your gorilla (extra layer to keep warm) legs, completing your make up routine thus achieving TWO eyes of mascarra, wearing jewellery that isn’t going to be used as a rope swing, DIY on your mono brow, showering, considering shoes you don’t have to run in  …..non of this matters now. It’s all about being quick and practical with your decisions and personal grooming. Your priorities aren’t your appearance anymore, its stopping your child drinking toilet water and painting the dog purple.

Shopping
The past time of shopping itself isn’t an enjoyable activity AT ALL with a toddler in tow. You need to be focused. It’s about knowing exactly what you want and GRABBING. Knowing that you maybe have a window of 15 mins to do EVERYTHING makes shopping a different mpre stressful ball game. Super Market Sweep anyone?! However you’ve realised actually its way more fun shopping for your child anyway. This can be done quite nicely from your I-Phone in the comfort of your own home. And have you thought about the reason you may now be attracted to younger clothes??? Perhaps not an identity cries, but you are spending a lot more time surrounded by kids clothes these days you have actually forgotten that there’s a whole other universe out there (including Topshop, HM, Urban Outfitters etc).

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“Twinning”
You do lose confidence in your own judgement of dressing yourself when you become a mum, so an easy and FUN option is to just dress the same as your child. Then it’s just seen as cute (cheesy) and you can’t be blamed for dressing to young and your child cant be blamed for dressing to old. You just look awesome!!

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In mourning
You cant help but always compare yourself to your pre baby body/ life and try as you might, you just cant let go. Don’t torture yourself, don’t put a pre pregnancy bikini photo up of yourself on the chocolate cupboard, don’t troll through FB looking at younger/slimmer pictures of yourself (and FB stop “reminding” me of these skinny memories), don’t reminisce over old fancy dress items (why did you always have to make everything slutty?!), don’t keep prodding at your skin and considering chopping parts off and don’t whatever you do, weigh yourself……whilst shovelling carrot cake into your moth (technically vegetables). Easier said then done but just be amazed at what you have achieved (grown a real life human- GIRL POWER) and how your kid is the most important thing now. Once you stop trying to be the old you, you should feel more content. I’m still not there yet and in my “mutton dressed as lamb” phase….for the foresable future.

CONCLUSION
So as this is a very confusing time for us new Mums, it totally justifies excessive purchasing (online preferable) to experiment with our new identity. This is for your mental well-being therefore well-being of your child. Their future is in YOUR (credit card) hands so you MUST buy that new dress.