Living a more conscious life – Lagom inspiration

I’m really into books that are all about creating the best lifestyle for you, and particularly loved the Little Book of Hygge I received as a Christmas present last year. The one book that really spoke to me though, was Lagom – the Swedish art of Balanced Living. Lagom is often referred to as the Swedish version of Hygge and is fast becoming the new lifestyle and cultural phenomenon us Brits are adopting.lagom-lifestyle-inspiration

As with the Danes and their Hygge, I related a lot to Lagom, as I think we Scots are not too dissimilar to our Scandinavian neighbours. A lot of what they promote, such as spending time in the great outdoors no matter the season, or offering to help out neighbours, are second nature here.

However as the title of the book suggests, Lagom is all about balance. For instance, you are encouraged to go out and explore the countryside, camp, climb, ski or whatever, so long as you don’t disturb or destroy anything. In essence, it’s all about taking a more conscious and balanced approach in all walks of life.

This is what really drew me into the book and the Lagom lifestyle as a whole. Now that I’m a parent, a whole lot of attitudes and priorities have changed for me. Any parent will tell you that they probably didn’t consider themselves selfish, until they had a child or children. Then you start to realise all the things you did or took for granted which either are no longer appropriate, or which you need or want to sacrifice for your little one(s).

For example, do I really need all those clothes? Or, more specifically, do I really need all those Saturday night clothes, when realistically I’ll get about one night out every couple of months, after a good few weeks of strenuous planning. Or do I really need like 8 pairs of black leggings when I only have one pair of legs?

Not only does Lagom preach about the importance of “just enough,” it helps keep your life organised, whether at home, work or at leisure. If I have just enough clothes for each occasion or eventuality, then I won’t need to buy unnecessary furniture, rooms won’t get clogged, and theoretically, I should always be able to find what I’m looking for. The same goes for paperwork, stationery, DVDs, books – heck, even pots and pans! If you don’t overdo it on the material possessions, you find that your home and your life suddenly become less cluttered.

As an organisational freak (to the point where every client at work has their own labelled folder and specific set of matching documents), I am very much a fan of anything which can keep my life in order (more so than it already is. Just ask Craig about the wee man’s wardrobe). So of course that side of Lagom appealed to me, but in doing this, or living a more practical life, you actually end up benefiting the environment. Think about it; if you’re not buying food you don’t need then you’re not wasting it, and if you’re not buying possessions you don’t need you are reducing your own carbon footprint. The Lagom life goes much deeper than this in terms of being an environmentally responsible person, but even by following just one or two of the practices (it feels weird calling it practices, like it’s some sort of set of cult commandments or something) you automatically start becoming more eco-friendly, and certainly more aware of the impact of your actions on the environment and wider world.

This then leads to more awareness in daily life. Now, when I’m doing things like picking new furniture, I don’t just go for the cheapest or most aesthetically pleasing item, I think about things like durability and longevity, and whether, in fact, it’s really necessary to replace the furniture item in the first place. Is it beyond repair, or could we just paint it/add a mirror/change handles etc to achieve the desired effect without wasting good furniture?

Upcycling and reusing things are part and parcel of the lifestyle, but so is a more conscious approach to even basic things like grocery shopping. Whether it’s changing your shopping habits to minimising food waste through better meal planning or ‘deal’ avoidance, or simply looking at products and choosing those with less packaging or which have travelled less miles before finding their way into your basket, we can all become a little more Lagom and help the planet at the same time.

It’s not all about being an eco-friendly warrior, though, as Lagom is also about balance and togetherness with friendships, family and work life. Their attitude to a work-life balance is something which massively appeals, specifically the Swedes attitude to childcare and spending time with your children as they grow up. Fun things like neighbourhood picnics/BBQs etc where everyone contributes something to the party are hugely appealing too.

Already I’ve found myself following many of the Lagom practices subconsciously, and with a little help and co-operation from friends and family, I’m looking forward to making life a little more Lagom each day.

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Going for the Chop

So, I’ve been feeling a bit down lately because my body hasn’t been behaving quite the way I’d like it to. Part and parcel of having a baby, and one of the many joys of being a woman, is that our bodies can change on a whim. Between irregular periods (eww, gross, I said the p word!), knees that can take less impact than those of an obese 80 year old and both hair and skin that want to abandon the notion of any sort of regularity, I’ve been getting bloody fed up.
I know they aren’t the worst problems in the world but they have added more stress to my daily life than already exists with a 5 month old baby and builders constantly in and out of my house. One such stressor I decided to do something about was my hair.

February Firsts

We were very fortunate to have another month full of firsts in the life of our little boy. Not all necessarily milestones you’d mark with a photo card, these firsts meant something to us and hopefully made memories for our little munchkin.

First seat in high chair
So in January we tried weaning, with the wee fella enjoying his first tastes of a variety of foods. Unfortunately, as he was weaned earlier than recommended, he wasn’t quite strong enough to sit upright in a high chair for the amount of time it took to feed him. So, we had to wait until he was a bit bigger, and on the day he turned 4 months old (6th February) we put him in his Chicco high chair for his breakfast (banana porridge since you asked) and haven’t looked back since. The Chicco high chair we chose has three different reclining points so it means Travis doesn’t need to sit absolutely straight, and it has proved a great help in terms of limiting mess when feeding and also encouraging the wee man to sit up on his own. This particular version is also designed for travel, folding neatly and with a useful handle which makes carrying easier. It will be very handy if we make road trips which involve staying over or for at least most of the day.

First Valentine’s Day
Of course he didn’t have a clue what was going on, but that didn’t stop me celebrating Valentine’s Day with my little cherub. Any old excuse to dress him up, I bought a lovely heart outfit from PitPat and got a rose for him to give his first Valentine, his gran. Rather than just describe how cute it was, you can see for yourself via my Instagram post:

 

First road trips
This leads on nicely to Travis’ first road trips. As he was born at a time where the nights were beginning to get longer and darker, we didn’t really plan too many road trips in the first few months of his life. Lovely autumnal walks in the park during the day or trips to the supermarket were just about all he saw of the outside world in 2017. With the exception of one trip to Glasgow to visit my work colleagues, he hadn’t been much further than 5 miles from home at any given time. So after the threat of winter weather was over (at least we thought so at the time) with milder, brighter days, we ventured further afield. Firstly we headed to Ayrshire on 15th February to visit his future wife, aka the new baby daughter of one of my friends. Nervously mum sat in the back of the car while dad drove, just in case the wee man got upset or needed fed/entertained at any point. I struggled to make a bottle on the potholed streets of Prestwick, but naturally he was fine and slept until we got there. So you would be forgiven for thinking that we would have gotten braver by the time the Dunoon adventure rolled around on 23rd February, but the same rules applied. Although this time he was much nosier, taking in the lovely scenery of Argyll and Bute on the way home.

First birthday party 
Part of the same weekend as his Dunoon adventure, Travis got to go to his first, first birthday party. My best friend’s little boy turned 1 on 24th February, and was having a Mickey Mouse themed party to celebrate. Of course I went and got the biggest Mickey balloon I could find, and a Mickey Mouse dress-up outfit for my little man to party in style. And of course the hat didn’t fit. Curse his huge head! He definitely enjoyed the party more than I thought he would for someone so young, though that might have something to do with the napping and the feeding mid-party. It’s worth noting that he’s been to a 2nd birthday party already, and went to a birthday dinner for an adult, but this time he was awake for long enough to at least smile at half the guests! It probably helped that it was a lovely day, and that Travis dotes on the birthday boy, but he was so well behaved that I’m now looking forward to his next party invite and him being awake for longer to take it all in.

First night out!
Hardly a big party or anything, but as we’d made a sort of unspoken rule that we wouldn’t take or keep Travis out past 7pm, this was a big step and exciting moment for us. The Botanic Gardens in Glasgow hosted a weekend of mystical magic at the end of the month, promising light displays, sounds and stories, not to mention plants too. Seeing as trees and lights are pretty much Travis favourite things after food, it was a no brainer to take him there. Along with his best pal, we took a trip up for the 6pm walk on Sunday 25th February. It was a fantastic end to a busy weekend for us, although it was blooming freezing! I would say that the wee ones were a bit agitated when the tales of the history of the Botanic Gardens were being told, probably because they don’t really understand ghost stories or tales of Brownies and things yet. Boy did they love the lights though. And the fire dancers. Travis was particularly amused by a lit up skeleton-come-scarecrow which already makes me terrified of what sort of stuff he’ll be into when he gets older.

First snow-in
Of course we weren’t over the winter by the end of February, this is Scotland we’re talking about! So, as the dreaded Beast from the East rolled in on 28th February, we were all a bit miffed but not surprised at this turn of weather so close to spring. However, nobody could have predicted just how much snow we would be left with – a whopping 49cm where we live (the largest snowfall from the storm in the whole of the UK, in case you were wondering). Naturally, as the wee man is only currently 20cm bigger than the height of the snow – also, comfortingly measured in Irn Bru cans here – we ended up pretty snowed in. I can’t remember snow so persistent in my lifetime, never mind the little fellas, but I’ll certainly remember how demented we became as we were stuck in the house for about 4 days. In fact, today is the first day we’ve actually been able to get a pram out (now 6 days post-initial snowfall), and even then it has been a struggle on some streets which have yet to be properly cleared or gritted. Thank goodness for air tyres!

Book review: The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

I don’t think I’ve written a book review since I was at high school, and even then it was reluctantly written as part of my higher coursework. I absolutely used to love reading when I was younger, and loved nothing better than a book that got under your skin or into your heart. However I didn’t always feel like I could put into words the amount of enjoyment from any given book.

the-missing-girl-novelI’m giving it a go now, as a book hasn’t gripped me as much as Jenny Quintana’s The Missing Girl in a long, long time. Part of that might have something to do with the fact that I’ve not read at this rate in a long time either, but I digress!

The debut novel by Quintana is a mystery, unfolded by Anna Flores, sister of a missing girl. The basic premise is – without giving away any spoilers – that a pre-teen Anna dotes on her older sister Gabriella. She seems well liked in her local village, and is the most beautiful girl ever, according to her younger sister. As the title suggests, one day Gabriella goes missing, simply disappearing without a trace.

30 years later, the girls’ mother passes away, and Anna makes a return to her hometown to bury her mother and hopefully dig up some clues and solve the mystery as to what happened to her sister back in 1982. After a lot of suspicion, possibilities and theories, the mystery is finally solved at the very end.

There are quite a few things I love about this book, both in terms of the actual plot of the story and the way it was written. Quintana opted for a split chronological narrative, with chapters alternating between 1982 and 2012. This adds to the tension as you know that at some point 1982 Gabriella is going to go missing, but you don’t know the how’s and the why’s. Similarly it helps build up a better character picture, as you almost feel like you’re reliving the memories with Anna.

The other thing that I really enjoyed was how the story was completely told from the viewpoint of Anna Flores. This meant Quintana hopped between the thoughts, feelings and understandings of the situation as both an adult and a 12 year old girl. She captures the essence of a pre-pubescent girl perfectly, giving an insight as to how a young girl in the 80s perceives everything from relationships between family and friends to understanding arguments and reasoning.

Considering I’ve not been much of a reader in the past decade (I blame uni textbooks, they were enough to put anyone off), I genuinely couldn’t put this novel down. I devoured it in just 2 weeks, which when you consider I also have a demanding 4 month old baby, is some testament to the author. Completely gripping to the last page, I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a book that keeps you on your toes and guessing every possible theory.

I read the book via Kindle, as it was on a special offer at the time, but the book is also available in paperback, audiobook and hardback. For more about Jenny Quintana, you can find her on Twitter.

Oh no, the sleep regression has started!

So I feel as though I’ve been a bit spoiled lately, compared to some other mums. Our little man was starting to sleep through the night on and off from about 8 weeks old, which was way back at the end of November.

It wasn’t every night at first, but when it started becoming more regular, there was a simultaneous relief between myself and Craig that things did in fact get easier, even with a colicky baby. As the hours of continuous evening sleep slowly seeped back into our systems, we began feeling more human again. I especially enjoyed regaining my ability to finish sentences and not break concentration/yawn in the middle of important conversations.

I don’t want to sound smug, as I know we were very lucky that the wee man started developing that routine so young. I know mums that have 8 and 9 month olds, even 2 year olds, that still don’t sleep through the night and need to wake up for a feed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all plain sailing either; the first few nights saw us both remain sleepless as we expected baby M to wake. And 99% of nights see us getting up to find a dummy 2-3 times, but believe me there’s a world of difference between semi-consciously shoving a dummy into a stirring baby’s mouth and going straight back to sleep, than being woken up twice a night for almost an hour at a time as baby cries, feeds, winds and changes.

So it’s fair to say we’ve enjoyed some sort of variation on normality for the last couple of months. Sure it’s less sleep than we got pre-child, but it’s something we’re managing well. Or at least we were until this last week. Aside from the initial shock of broken sleep in the first few weeks as a new parent, nothing else deals quite such a devastating blow than having to wake up for random and unexpected night feeds when you’re used to almost getting your 7 hours a night again.

It honestly felt like we were going back to square one again, and I felt far from thrilled about it. First it was 2am, then 4am the next night, with no warning or level of hunger or alertness to gauge. It was like being a new mum again, only dad was back at work and couldn’t catch up on his sleep the next day. Neither could mum to be honest, but that was more down to the wee one’s social calendar being fuller than a TOWIE cast members.

I’d heard about sleep regression from friends, and had read about it in the baby books and apps and countless online articles that exist to simultaneously put our minds at ease and fuel our anxiety as new parents. Basically, it’s thought that from around 4 months old, babies can develop what’s known as sleep regression, i.e. they start waking up again through the night where they may otherwise have slept through. There’s no known reason for it to happen, and is referred to as something akin to growth spurts or teething pains – unpredictable and something we just have to ride out. However with growth spurts and teething there are usually little tried and tested methods to fix it, such as upping the volume of milk/food for baby or offering a form of pain relief. But there’s no such magical cure for sleep regression.

So I guess I’ll continue to function on little sleep for now, whilst rambling along and not making any sense by the time I reach the end of my blog post…

A Thortful Valentine’s Day

When it comes to Valentine’s day, or any occasion in fact, I love giving a good card. Whether it be punny, sentimental or an in-joke, I like to give a card with meaning to it.

This is why I love online card sites which offer the chance to personalise cards, and can usually offer something better than the average high street store. When I was looking for a Valentine’s card this year for my other half, I came across the site Thortful. Friends had used it before and raved about it, so I decided to give their selection a try.

Self-proclaimed home of up and coming creatives, Thortful is different from your average card website as it contains collections from independent artists, businesses and general creatives. I’m all for supporting individual talent and creativity, and like to know that I’m getting something a bit more individual, with more heart in it than mass produced, samey rubbish from supermarkets and the like.

There are loads of collections on Thortful for pretty much any occasion, and I immediately came across a range I knew my other half would love. I would show you it, but it’s not Valentine’s day yet and I don’t want to ruin the surprise! Here’s a picture of the sturdy (and not so love-like) grey envelope though. The card I chose was by JG Artwork, run by mother and entrepreneur Jodie Gaul.

Another great positive about this site is that the card I ordered arrived literally the next day via Royal Mail, when had only purchased the card in the middle of the afternoon. Automatic next day delivery is ideal for me as I can’t always usually guarantee that I’ll be able to get out to get a card, or even remember a birthday until the last minute thanks to baby brain!

If you’re now intrigued by Thortful, why not have a look for yourself? If you buy anything via this link, you’ll also get 30% off. It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t a sponsored post, and I don’t receive my commission for this. It’s merely an incentive offered to all customers after purchase. Friends can get 30% off via a certain link, whilst the customer gets a discount on their next order. It’s handy, because I for one will definitely be going back to them for another card in the near future!

January Roundup: So Many Firsts!

So starting the year we didn’t really have any resolutions in our household, but we did anticipate an exciting year of firsts ahead. With baby M only a couple of months old at the turn of the year, we knew we had loads of new and exciting things to expect in 2018.

It’s only the beginning of February, and already he has accomplished (not sure that’s the right word. Learned probably?) so much in the past month. From first tastes to first rolls, here’s how our January went:

First food
I know all the guidelines say not to wean your child until at least 4 months, with the official government line being 6 months and not a minute before. However I’m pretty sure the government officials deciding that didn’t have a 17lb, 3 month old baby who was gubbing 40oz of milk a day with his belly physically rumbling at every feed. And that was him on hungry baby milk! So around 15 weeks we started introducing first tastes – fruit purees and spoonfuls of baby rice here and there. It’s been a fun and mixed journey (more poo chat for another day!) but it’s safe to say he’s been far more content and satisfied since he’s started the slow and steady journey to solids.

First massage
Baby massage was always something I was keen to sign baby M up for, as I’d heard that it’s meant to work wonders for colicky babies. Unfortunately, I was unable to book onto the free massage block at the local library (if you’re not fast you’re very much last in these situations!) but I didn’t let that deter me. So I went in search of some other classes around the area, and came across Teddy’s Baby Massage, which was advertised in my local Costa. After speaking to Michelle who runs the classes, we were able to secure the last spot in the Helensburgh block for January. Our first class was on 10th January and we haven’t looked back since. I’ll be sad when these classes come to an end next week, but with a handy massage guide and plenty of oil, the wee man will feel the benefit long after thanks to plenty of home massages.

First hartbeeps
I’ve already written about Hartbeeps, the baby play and development classes, and it’s something that the wee fella absolutely loves. With songs, nursery rhymes, toys and dress up, it keeps him totally entertained and stimulated for the full hour so he’s ready for a much needed rest afterwards! I’m looking forward to Baby M progressing through other Hartbeeps classes, Baby Beeps and Happy House, as he grows.

First yoga
We ran into the same issue with the local, free, Baby yoga classes as we did with massage – block of classes were fully booked on the day they went online for registration. In this instance, I decided to add our names to the waiting list, to see if anything would come of it. I wasn’t as fussed about yoga as I was for massage, though I’d heard there were some great benefits for development of bones and motor skills, as well as moves that would help ease the dreaded wind pains. Luckily, we got a notification near the end of the month to say that there was now a space for us. We missed the first half of the block but still had our first class in January with one more left to go. Since we started, I noticed a great difference in the wee man’s movements and am pretty convinced that baby yoga helped us achieve the next first!

First roll
Ok so it happened just last week on the 31st, but that’s still January! We were at our weekly baby massage class when the wee surprise occurred. It was time for the back massage section of the class, which usually pains Baby M as he hates tummy time if it lasts any longer than 20 seconds. However, much to my delight, he seemed quite happy on his tummy. No screams, no rigid body. And then it happened. He just rolled right back over onto his back. Convinced it was a fluke, I tried not to make a big deal out of it, and carefully placed the little wriggler back on his tummy. As I attempted to continue the back massage he did it again! So far he’s refused to do it when any of his family are watching, and if he’s on his back he can only get as far as rolling onto his side before he gets stuck, but we’re getting there!

First bookbug
Bookbug is yet another local, free service in the area for which spaces are like gold dust. As you can imagine, this early bird was not early enough and so didn’t quite catch the worm. Though yet again, a few weeks into the current block, we were notified to say that we were top of the waiting list and a space had opened up. Bookbug is exactly as the name suggests, a class that encourages your little ones to become book bugs. As far as I know it seems to be a government initiative, with sessions held at libraries up and down the country. For 45 minutes nursery rhymes are sung, babies and toddlers play games and of course sit down for some story time. It turns out the wee man’s big cousin, who’s just turned one, is also at the same bookbug class, so there’s a familiar face for mum and baby!

I can’t believe we’ve accomplished so many firsts in January, it means I’ll need to reevaluate the “firsts list” for the rest of the year already!

Hartbeeps Mother and Baby Classes

So rather than new year, new me, I started 2018 focusing on all the new great things baby M could, should and would hopefully do in his first year of life (see 2018: A Year of Firsts). One of the main things I wanted baby M to experience was play and interaction with other babies, which is where Hartbeeps comes in.

I’d been looking at various classes, including the council baby massage and yoga classes which ultimately book out in about 5 seconds flat (where are these parents that are so bloody organised?!) So decided to see what else was on offer in our area. Hartbeeps immediately caught my attention as it focuses on baby play and letting them learn and explore at their own pace. Whilst other classes also offer this, it felt a bit different from the yoga and massage which focus on tested techniques with specific results – for example, some massage elements help digestion, breathing and so on, whilst some yoga moves help with the development of things like rolling, coordination and so on. So Hartbeeps essentially seemed like a break from all of that and a chance for baby M to have an hour to play with mum and a bunch of fun songs and toys to boot.

First impressions
Our first class was on 12th January and I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew there would be songs and bright colours but that was about it. Laura, the instructor, (or teacher? I’m not sure what the right term is!) was so friendly and welcoming right from the off. She explained the class was about mum and baby and not to worry about things like running late or sleeping babies. She also made it clear that this was a place for both mum and baby to forget about whatever else was going on that day or in general – no worries about laundry or groceries or visitors or anything. This class is designed as an escape for mum just as much as for baby.

What happens at class
Doesn’t necessarily stay at class. Parents are encouraged to continue play outside and sing the songs at home. Though part of the reason I signed up for Baby Bells is that it’s so easy not to play that way at home. Things like phonecalls and listen and cooking and all sorts distract us from getting completely lost in play. Also, I feel like I should always be doing something else. Play is most definitely vital for babies needs, growth and development but I was brought up to believe that play was what you did after all the other work/chores/school etc were finished. So I’m usually doing a load of washing or tidying up around baby M while we’ve got toys and playmats and all sorts out. I feel bad if I do and bad if I don’t!

Everything at Baby Bells was laid out and colourful, with mats arranged in a circle round the room. There are soft fleecy mats for baby to lie on and lovely circular ones for mum’s to plonk our bums on. In the centre of the room is the sparkly sunshine, containing a trove of baby fun underneath. With actual baby bells* and bubble machines and lights and feathers and much more, it’s hard to see how babies couldn’t get all their senses going at these classes.

*sleigh bells on a rattle

Baby benefits
Each class has it’s own theme, whether that be pirates and treasure or dinosaurs or anything in between. Songs and play then follow that theme. Basically each class is good for their imagination as no two weeks are the same. Some songs do get repeated (this is good for memory) but generally the set up remains the same with the journey different each time.

  • Songs are sung with actions which can include baby yoga or massage techniques, brilliant for development. There are familiar nursery rhymes like round and round the garden.
  • Dress up is one of my favourite parts not least because it provides a great photo opportunity. From sweatpants to frogs eyes and dinosaur tails, dress up accessories do wonders for the imagination and senses with new and different textures to touch
  • Tummy time each week over the big tummy ring, your lap or with a towel; however baby is comfiest. There are light-up toys, mirrors, shiny paper and different textures to discover
  • Quiet time at the end of class which involves putting out all the lights and having a lovely projected display, personal lights, bubbles and lullabies. This is perfect for calming baby after an exciting class and getting them ready for a nice long nap afterwards (thank you Hartbeeps!)

All in all, both Baby M and I absolutely loved Hartbeeps and now can’t wait for a Friday morning to go and play. All of the above benefits plus meeting other mums and babies makes for a happy wee boy and a happy mum going into the weekend. If there are Hartbeeps classes in your area I would strongly recommend giving them a go, particularly if you have someone like Laura taking the class.

 

Returning to Exercise After Having a Baby

One thing I was really craving during pregnancy wasn’t food related, oddly. Towards the 8 month Mark, when I’d given up my exercise classes, I would have given anything to be able to do a sit up or a burpee. And I bloody hate burpees.

I was craving this and general exercise to the point where I would get quite down if I couldn’t so much as get out for a walk in a day. So my 6 week post-partum check up couldn’t come quick enough for me after baby M arrived.

Quite literally the next day I’d booked myself into an exercise class for that night. Having not been in 4 months, I was apprehensive as to how much my body had changed and was no longer capable of doing, so I decided to ease myself back in with Clubbercise.

Clubbercise is one of my favourite ways to exercise because It’s so much fun that it doesn’t feel like a chore of a workout. You get all the cardio alongside some basic toning, while raving to some top club tunes with glowsticks, whistles and UV lights.

First time back
My first class back was in mid November, and as suspected it was a bit more breathless than I’d been used to but overall it was a lot like I’d imagined it would be. Some of the routines were still lodged in my brain from months ago so that was helpful and reassuring.

One thing I was shocked to realise though is how much your pelvic floor exercises matter. If I hadn’t been squeezing those exercises in (No pun intended) where I could, there easily would have been a mess on the floor to contend with. This is especially true for Clubbercise as there’s a lot of jumping around and raving, and let’s just say I felt the pressure a couple of times on my first day back!

Diving in deep
After I’d done a couple of Clubbercise classes, my instructor announced she was running a new fitness class; Deep Hau2. Full of – you guessed it – deep house music, this workout focuses more on your core and toning, using interval training but at a much lower intensity than something like metafit. I was eager to get back to toning, not liking or wanting to get used to the sagging tummy I’d been left with post-pregnancy.

The only trouble is, this class takes place straight after Clubbercise. Not wanting to back out of my favourite night of the week, I’d signed up to both classes when Deep Hau2 started in mid-December. Oh dear Lord it hurt. Double and even triple classes back to back were a fun challenge pre-pregnancy, and something I felt confident doing even up to around 6 months pregnant. However after only 3 real attempts at working out, the combination of Deep Hau2 exercises (think planks, press ups and other stomach-killing moves) and extended period of workout left me defeated. I tried my best but realistically probably only did about 1.5 press ups and felt like I’d been assaulted the next day.

I love to push myself and know that it’s better to try and struggle than not to bother, but boy was that a reality check on my fitness levels. There’s no doubt about it my body has done some incredible things in the last 12 months but it will take a lot of work to get to the same level of fitness I had this time last year.

New year, new expectations

So going into 2018, I decided to take things a little more gradually. On Wednesday I returned to Clubbercise which was just the cardio boost needed to beat those winter blues. Today I had planned to return to Pound; another one of my favourites which uses weighted “Ripstix” (giant green drumsticks) to help you tone as you rock out to some fab tunes. However it seems the winter flu bug has struck and the class was cancelled. So instead I carted myself off to Piyo at 8.45am on a Saturday. Ordinarily an achievement in itself, exercising at that time on a Saturday doesn’t feel so early when you’ve been up since 6am.

Piyo is a combination of Pilates and Yoga (geddit?) which helps improve core strength, flexibilty and balance. As a bit of a Pilates virgin, I was keen to see what the fuss was about, not to mention try to get back some flexibility post-baby. It was interesting to see how much of my body could still actually bend and stretch, though a bit depressing to find out all the bits I couldn’t do. The most difficult bits were definitely the burpees and anything involving pulling myself up from downward dog/low lunging positions. But I’ll get there, as long as I keep going back and pushing myself that bit further each time.

Next up is Strong by Zumba, on Monday. Related to Zumba only in name so I’m told, this class is more high intensity training in time to the music. I’m not confident I’ll be able to do a whole lot, but I am confident I’ll give everything a try at the least. If there are no more posts after today, you’ll know it has defeated me!

2018: A Year of Firsts

Happy New Year! How did it get to 2018 already? In fairness, the last month has flown by in an unexpected rush, with Christmas and lack of laptop (and other things which I’ll get to later) taking most of the blame for lack of posting in December.

But, it’s a new year so to new beginnings and all that. Whilst I’m not exactly proclaiming any specific resolutions as such, I am preaching positivity and fairly excited for the year ahead. There’s a lot to look forward to, including many firsts to come.

2017 had its fair share of ups and downs, but also many firsts along the way, like having my first baby and all the wonderful firsts that come with the first few months of parenthood. Sure, first dirty nappy and first hospital trip weren’t exactly highlights, but they were necessary and all part of that new parent experience. However there’s still plenty to look forward to in 2018, both with baby M and without.

Here are the firsts that top the list:

First swim, massage and yoga
There are a wealth of great baby classes out there which both help baby’s development and allow mum’s to meet other parents. The most popular in my area are baby yoga, baby massage and baby swimming lessons. Due to baby M’s birthday falling at the beginning of October, he was unable to start any of these classes in 2017, as by the time he was old enough, everything was beginning to wind down for the festive season. I’m excited for him to experience these classes, in particular massage, as this is meant to be extremely useful for colicky babies. I’m also open to any other fun and useful classes that would help with baby’s development, stimulation and just generally to make him some baby friends!

First sleep in his cot
Due to some pretty unforseen circumstances, we haven’t been able to try baby M in his big boy cot bed yet, not even just for a trial. However, he’s growing at such a rapid rate, I can’t see him fitting in his moses basket much longer. By the end of January he should hopefully be sleeping in his cot bed, and finally getting to enjoy the mobile attached to it too!

First tooth
Already baby M is teething, with dribble and soaking mittens a constant factor of daily life. If those were the only symptoms of teething, I wouldn’t care if he didn’t cut his first tooth till 2019! Unfortunately his teething also comes with pain, meaning a routine of discomfort, bonjela and unexpected cries of pain in the middle of the night, which are, quite frankly, heart breaking. He’s too small for teething rings as they don’t quite fit in his mouth yet, so seeing his first tooth appear and knowing that’s the beginning of the end of his mouth pain will be a great moment.

First day back at work
Ok, so this first won’t officially happen till June, but I’m both excited and terrified of the prospect of it (much the same way I felt about labour and the anticipation of motherhood if I’m honest!) On the one hand I can’t wait to get stuck back in, catching up with colleagues, clients and cracking on with the workload. Yet on the other I’m worried I’ll have more separation anxiety that the wee one will! Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in some KITT days, meaning I can ease back into the workplace in a less dramatic or stressful faahion.

First family trip
I’m not visualising Disneyland or anything yet. In fact, we haven’t even got anything planned. But I’d like to take a trip with the other half and baby M this year, even if it’s just for one or two days away at the other end of Scotland. Every time we leave the house it feels like we’re packing for a holiday anyway, so we might as well take a wee break before I make that proper return to work.

First family home
This one is more of an ideal world scenario rather than anything. At the moment we have a 2 bedroom flat, which is absolutely fine, but not what either myself or other half visualise when we picture “family home”. The flat itself was great for the first 2 years but you never know how un-family friendly your home is until you have kids! Clunky old external stairs make for less than fun pram time, complicated bathroom layouts make for difficult bath time for baby M and just generally we’ve found that there isn’t anywhere near enough storage space for all the stuff that comes with babies. So, if all goes to plan and we can both save and see somewhere we fall in love with (front and back doors with a kid-friendly yard are goals), then hopefully we will have our first proper family home.

Other exciting firsts I’m looking forward to are baby’s first steps, first words and first experience with food! Although I’m not looking forward to the first new nappies after the latter! Plus each child grows at their own pace so if my boy wants to be lazy, or doesn’t find anything worth talking about in 2018, I won’t sweat it.

Hope you all have a great year of firsts or new experiences too, however big or small!