Waterbabies – Chapter One*

This is the first of several posts I’m going to be writing in collaboration with Waterbabies Tees. Back when Edie and Mabel were just a bump, I had a feeling that they were going to love water. I could feel them turn when I took a shower or they used to go crazy if I took a bath and I did aquanatal classes throughout my entire pregnancy, where I’d always have the most peaceful night’s sleep after. Overall I guess I just had a feeling that they’d love it. Once they arrived, they loved having a bath no matter whether that was a plastic tub in the livingroom, the kitchen sink or the big bath in our bathroom.

So I jumped at the chance to get them into lessons when Waterbabies got in touch and I’m so glad I did. We started our Chapter One lessons back in November and both girls, from the moment they got in the water loved it.

For those of you who haven’t heard about Waterbabies before, they’re the UK’s number one baby swimming school and children can attend from newborn till they’re four years old. In fact their youngest ever swimmer was just one day old! Props to that Mama because all I wanted to do with my day old babies was have a sleep!

On our very first lesson Edie and Mabel both took part in an under water swim… I also nearly did as I’m sure I nearly fainted in shock. They meanwhile loved the experience and I guess when you really think about it, it’s no surprise that they have an affinity with the water – they did spend nine months in it afterall.

Prior to starting Chapter One, I guess I hadn’t really thought about what baby swimming would consist of too much and I just assumed it would be splashing about in a pool, getting babies used to water. But Waterbabies is so much more than that! There is a huge focus on poolside safety and from our very first lesson, we were learning the skills needed if a baby should fall into the water.

I was talking to my health visitor about this and shockingly she told me that a baby dies from a swimming pool incident every year, not just in the region but in the tiny rural area we are based in which she covers. Sadly I’ve since discovered that that shocking fact isn’t just our small area and that drowning is the second highest cause of accidental deaths of children under five years of age in England. So learning about swimming pool safety as young as possible is incredibly important.

From the moment Edie and Mabel got into the pool, both of them instinctively kicked away trying to tread water, whilst they weren’t smiling, they were wide eyed and mouthed, looking round and taking everything in. I could tell they enjoyed it when we were singing (there’s lot of this) and I was so proud of them both.

We swim at a lovely warm hydropool in Stockton which works out perfectly because it’s half way from Jason’s office to home. So I feed them before we go, the girls have a nap in the car on route and we meet J there. They’re still currently feeding every three hours, so I take a bottle for straight after and repeat the process on the way home.

We’re midway through our Waterbabies Chapter One journey and it has been wonderful so far. The girls always sleep really well the night after swimming (you know that baby sleep style when their arms are above their heads) and I personally really enjoy going – the other mum’s we swim with are lovely and it’s nice having a natter in the changing room after. In the few lessons we’ve had, I’m feeling a lot more confident about taking Edie and Mabel in the pool on holiday and I’m planning on taking them to my healthclub with me swimming as well as our lesson next week.

If you’re interested in taking your baby swimming or learning more about poolside safety then I cannot recommend Waterbabies enough. Find out more about Waterbabies Tees Valley and North Yorkshire Moors who we swim with here or to find your local office, take a look here.


Prevention vs Cure | Sudocrem Care & Protect Review*

It’s always really nice to be contacted by a brand that I really love and then given the opportunity to work with. When Sudocrem got in touch about their new Care and Protect cream, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was actually nearly six months ago, when Edie and Mabel had just come out of hospital and we’d been home for a couple of weeks.

All the advice I’d received up until that point was to avoid using any lotions or creams and just use cotton wool and water… which I did for a while, until I realised what a faff on that was. At first, like any new mum I’m sure, I did as I was told and followed ‘the guidelines’ but it wasn’t long before I got sick of kicking over various tupperware dishes of water all over the carpet and finding cotton wool balls everywhere. It also wasn’t long before one of the girls got a very small sore patch. Preemie babies obviously have very sensitive skin and I dug out a tub of Sudocrem that I had in the bathroom.

The original Sudocrem is a medicated antiseptic cream to treat nappy rash and it worked like a treat sorting out that sore spot. Prevention surely is better than cure, I thought to myself and I decided to keep applying it on both the girls. Then as if someone had heard me, an email pinged into my inbox about Sudocrem’s new Care and Protect cream which is designed purely for this purpose.

Containing vitamin E and Pro Vitamin B5 to protect baby’s most delicate areas, the cream is a lot thinner than the original and rather than a tub, it’s in a handy tube. Obviously given the fact that I have two babies, I do go through it a lot quicker than a singleton mum but a little goes a long way.

The size of the tube also makes it really handy for carrying around in my changing bag and the cream itself has a lovely smell to it. In a blurry eyed moment of sleep deprivation during the four month sleep regression, I accidentally picked it up thinking it was my hand cream. Thankfully the result was really nice, unlike when I brushed my teeth with my moisturiser.

I’ve been using the cream since that point, so nearly six months and neither one of the girls have had any sore spots again, nor had any nappy rash. Depending on whereabouts you shop Sudocrem Care and Protect is priced around £4.29 for 30g or £5.99 for 50g. Other cheaper creams are available but to me, this is my go to. So much so that I stocked up in Sainsbury’s (good old nectar points) and now have several tubes lying around the house.


Identical Twin Diaries: Six Months Old

This post is probably going to be a bit of a ramble… I’ve been trying to write it for a couple of weeks now (as the girls are actually closer to seven months) but something always happens that stops me. Whether that’s one of the girls wakes from a nap early, or work calls or getting to the bottom of the washing pile seems somewhat possible so I decide to do that instead. Something always seems to happen or need doing more than writing this post.

The past six months have gone by in a complete utter whirlwind, yet the days seem to pass by so slowly. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed every second but I can say I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being a twin mum is really hard work but it’s not as bad as people made out to me that it was going to be prior to the girls arriving.

Edie and Mabel turned six months old on the 22nd of December and between now and the last update I wrote things have changed so much. I’m almost scared to write things down or say them out loud sometimes for the fear that I’ll jinx it but we are in a really good routine, one where I feel confident that the girls are happy and they sleep really well. Since my last update post, we survived the four month sleep regression, started weaning (using our new Oribel highchairs which we were kindly gifted – another post on these soon), both girls started sleeping from 7pm – 7 am and I threw their dummies out the window!

In terms of physical appearances, they haven’t changed much! They’ve put on weight of course and their hair has finally started to grow but their eyes are still blue. Edie has started to roll onto her side and they both can now sit up with support.

Things I want to remember: 

  • How they hold hands all the time! No matter how far apart they’re put, they seem to find a way of wiggling back together again and holding hands. If one of them is a bit twisty, the other will often stroke the side of their head. I thought at first this was a bit of a fluke but when you see how flighty they are with their hands normally and then they turn very gentle – I don’t think it can be. 
  • In December, Edie began sticking her tongue out all the time. She would do it non-stop and ruined any photos of her smiling. Thankfully she got over this within a couple of weeks but Mabel has now also just started doing it. Perhaps this is one of those odd developmental milestones that no one ever talks about or it might just be my two?
  • I mean this in the nicest possible way but it does make me smile when one sneezes or pumps and scares the other. They do a starfish style jump and the best shocked expression I’ve ever seen! 
  • The look on their faces when we went into Toys R Us for the first time. We had a last minute Christmas shopping trip and I’d been wanting to go have a look at light weight strollers / pushchairs to take on holiday with us this month… both girls were really twisty but the second we walked in, it was like they knew where they were and their faces lit up! If you follow my stories on Instagram then you’ll have seen a hilarious picture of Mabel in a mini.
  • The faces they pull when eating new foods… so far we’ve only tried broccoli, carrot, turnip, parsnip, sweet potato and peas – the best reaction going to broccoli (as pictured)! 
Things I’ve learnt:
  • There’s swings and roundabouts to babies sleeping through 7pm – 7am. Short naps. As they develop, I know their sleeping habits will change but it’s really hard to get anything done when they don’t have decent naps. Beggars can’t be choosers though! 
  • Not something I’ve necessarily learnt but I wish we’d done more tummy time in the early days. They are really strong and developing well but they dislike been on their stomachs still and I think this is purely down to the fact I didn’t do enough.
  • Everyone’s an expert! From the lady on the tills in the supermarket to the random person in the street, no one seems afraid to stop a twin mum and offer their advice. I smile politely, thank them and move on because I don’t feel the need to have my babies on three solid meals a day with puddings, nor do I feel the need to dream feed them when they don’t want or need it… etc etc the list goes on. Instinct is best. 

Working 9-5*

As soon as I wrote the title for this post, I started singing Dolly Parton in my head – anyone else read it and sing it? It’s not exactly true in my case either… for one, I’m currently off on maternity leave and also my job is anything but 9-5. I’ve worked in event marketing one way or another since graduating and I now predominantly work for our family events company, Imaginative Productions.

We produce the North East’s largest and scariest Halloween haunt, Scream Factory which runs each October and our Christmas event, Dine With Santa… as well as working on other commissioned projects. It’s headed up by my father in law but I work closely with my sister in law who is the event manager and my brother in law leads the site build. I feel quite lucky that I married into quite a talented family – all the sets are handmade by the team, as well as the majority of props. I absolutely love what I do, so combining that with been able to work with the people I care about to me is a perfect job.

However whilst off on maternity leave, various connections have got in touch to see when I’ll be back to work for freelance projects. ‘Drop me an email,’ I’ve been saying whilst scrambling in the twins changing bag to find a pen and piece of paper…

So when Basic Invite got in touch about working together, I jumped at the chance! They’re known for their breathtaking and affordable wedding invitations but pretty much do whatever kind of stationery you can imagine. From Bar Mitzvah invites to birth announcements, they literally cover everything and they are all completely customisable.

If you watch my Instagram stories, then you’ll know they had a fantastic offer on Christmas and Holiday cards. I made some using their online builder featuring Edie and Mabel and they were just the cutest!

However I was most impressed with my business cards – so much so, I’m planning on ordering some compliment slips and other stationery in the new year ready for when I go back to work. The quality of the paper stock was fantastic and I love how affordable foiling is – even with shipping to the UK.

So if you’re looking for some business cards for your blog, wedding invites or a really unique baby shower thank you card then you have to check them out. Click here to to take a look and start using their online customisation builder to make yours!


Pregnancy Problems – Varicose Vein Treatment*

Thankfully, other than extreme fatigue I didn’t experience too many negative pregnancy problems. Despite it been a (surprise) twin pregnancy, I was only sick the once and it wasn’t until the very last few weeks when I developed preeclampsia that I actually felt unwell.

In the last couple of weeks before I went into hospital, I’d been sent to see a physiotherapist as the pressure on the lower half of my body was causing me a few problems. I had a really sore back and my legs felt unbelievably tired. I was putting everything down to the fact I was carrying two babies and I’m very small framed… hindsight is a wonderful thing however and it is clear now that it was the start of preeclampsia.

Obviously when I found out I was pregnant I had began smothering on various oils and body butters at least twice a day (more if I had the chance) in an effort to combat any stretch marks. One thing I hadn’t considered however was the potential of varicose veins developing. While providing my treatment and a nice set of crutches to help me with walking, my physio mentioned them. A woman’s blood volume increases in pregnancy by up to 50% putting pressure and strain on the veins. While I understood my body would never be exactly the same after pregnancy, I certainly wanted to look after it as much as I could while I still had the time!

Thankfully I’d been doing everything I could to prevent varicose veins anyway. I’d taken daily exercise – even if this was just a quick walk up the road during my lunch break. I’d stayed within my recommended weight range during pregnancy – some people didn’t even realise I was pregnant, let alone having twins. I ate healthy, balanced meals and treated myself to sweet things when I felt like it. Not to mention I’d raised my legs while I slept (on my left side) and had avoided crossing my legs while I sat.

I also already had some lovely NHS compression stockings which I’d been wearing – these appear to come as standard when you find out you’re pregnant with twins. “Congratulations, there’s two heartbeats – now here’s some not-so-attractive socks for you to wear!”

Of course being the worrier I am, I came home and did a search on Google. If anyone can see my search history from the time I found out I was pregnant to the day Edie and Mabel arrived, it’ll be far better than any comedy. The good news is that in most cases symptoms disappear post-pregnancy but in a worst-case scenario, there is varicose vein treatment available.

In the last week before the twins arrival, I ballooned in size. Again, this was down to the preeclampsia, which I found out when I went in for my routine check at 34 weeks. My legs were swollen and I struggled to see them past my still small but big enough bump.

After my emergency section, I was given another pair of fancy looking stockings to wear whilst in hospital. They definitely didn’t add any glamour to my hospital bag attire but they did their job. Thankfully I came out the other end of my twin pregnancy with two healthy babies and after a few weeks, a rather healthy me.

When I look back at my pregnancy now… I am really pleased I stayed active and as healthy as I could. During the first trimester the exhaustion was unreal and it was so tempting to stay in bed all day. Even on the days when I really struggled, I’d take a walk out into my garden and just get some fresh air and I honestly believe this is what kept me healthy and well throughout most of the 34 weeks!