Family Fun at the Sea Life Centre

We were kindly gifted a visit to the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, so as a family of three we popped along on Tuesday afternoon. Now I’ve been a number of times in the past but this was my first time as a mother, and nothing quite beats seeing the wonderment on your little ones face. It amazes me that this was the first time he’s seen such beauty. We met clownfish, seahorses, sea turtles and for the first time ever I saw an upside down jellyfish who just wait for their prey to come to them – the life eh!

The lighting on the centre is suited for needs of those living there so my photo quality isn’t the best but I experienced first hand Quinn’s smiles and constant stroking of the glass – do I have a future Aquaman in the making?

The Sea Life Centre is perfect family day out, there is so much to learn and fun for all ages. Our favourite was walking under the glass bridge to meet the sharks. What’s your favourite part of the centre? Have you taken your little ones yet? There are many ticket and price options including combi tickets saving 39% if you book twenty four hours in advance – this ticket gets entry into both Sea Life and Legoland Discovery (Birmingham only) or if you fancy a simple Mum and little one day out there’s the adult and toddler ticket for just £14. Children under three, are free! Even better.

Please enjoy a small selection of photos from our visit 🐙

Shark Spotting
Chit Chat with the Seahorses
Aren’t they beautiful!
Baby Aquaman, Aquababy?
Clownfish watching
Bev the Octopus
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Cookie Dough Kids – a collaboration

I was approached by Cookie Dough Kids to work alongside them in a Blogger Ambassador program and I couldn’t have said yes any quicker. They are a Mama ran business and who specialise in personalised, boutique items of clothing for baby, toddler, child AND mama – with home items and accessories!

My first purchase was a gorgeous Liberty Print London baby gro with Q letter which I unfortunately haven’t got any photos of! But see an example below.

I was kindly gifted a MAMA teeshirt which I love, I got to choose the font colour and style and of course I chose leopard print (does it ever go out of style?!) I wear this with my cropped high waisted jeans that I can finally fit in again (yay!) and my doc martens. It fits quite snug and the quality is amazing! It’s so soft and is very versatile – dress it up or down.

Whether you’re looking for a first ‘welcome home’ outfit for your newborn, birthday outfit or just love cute, independent clothes supporting fellow Mamas I highly recommend Cookie Dough Kids. Grab yourself some bargains using code Rebecca10 at the checkout.

Half a year of you, my boy.

One whole year ago today I had announced my pregnancy. I remember typing up what I wanted to say quite early on and was scared I would jinx it. I was so, so nervous at the first scan – I wouldn’t look at the screen because I was worried something would be wrong or he wouldn’t be there and I had imagined it all (I find it bizzare how small they actually are at 12 Weeks!) As pregnancy went on, and scans continued I couldn’t wait to meet my little boy. I idea how much I would love him and how quickly time would fly by.

Those first few days in hospital were hard, we were kept in and rushed to children’s emergency neonatal ward when he was just a day old. I still think about the other Mums in those wards, how their little ones are doing. One lady had been there for all six weeks of her little girls life and there was I in floods of tears after one afternoon. When we were finally home I was terrified. There was a tiny human in my lounge and he needed me. This feeling of fear and protection is only something a new mum could understand. Months went by – he smiled at 5 weeks, laughed at 8 weeks, and did nothing but sleep for the first three months. I remember wanting him to start interacting more I just can’t remember when he did. He suddenly went from this mini snoozing human to a laughing, sassy, sitting up, eating actual real food almost crawling little boy. He likes bus rides, attention and mash potato. We have inside jokes, made up little games, we have our own routine and I’m always nattering away to him (even if he’s asleep). I have no idea what I’m doing, but do any of us? But I’m enjoying the absolute beaut of an adventure we’re both on together.

‘Is it normal if…’

So, by now if you’re a regular reader of my blog you’d know I talk about my anxities a lot, almost to the point WordPress should start charging me a fee for therapy. This time though it’s more to do with you. And how motherhood (& pregnancy) can cause the most well balanced, zen as f*ck Mama to stress.

Dr Google No PHD has been my go to for years now and I do not recommend his services. It’s never a yes or no answer and if it is, you probably got 2 seconds left live.

I seem to have eased now as we enter month six of this parenthood lark but we’re just about to start weaning so that’ll be frightening/exciting. I asked a few of you what your worries were as parents and I had such a great response. Some irrational but all justified as new parents. There’s a tiny person who relies on just you! At least cats can play outside for hours (not recommending you do this with a child).

I was worried my baby wasn’t gaining weight because I was throwing up constantly and losing weight- @lalaleahslife

I thought I’d bake my baby if I sat close to the fire – anonymous

I was worried I’d end up going into labour in the middle of a shop – @checkingin_

I was worried my nipples and my hoo haa would look like after – @raising.k.squared

I honestly worried if he’d be ugly – @emilyandbabyarlo

I was worried about chemicals in deodorant so I stopped using it – anonymous

Whether I’d love him if he ruined my body- anonymous

There were a lot of you worried about pooing in labour and to be quite frank, I probably did. By that point I’d have taken a crap over all the surgeons to get my baby out. Another common worry is the stay at home or work dilemma we’re faced with. I don’t know whether there’s something in the hormone change that causes these irrational, though often logical, worries. I think I worried most when I was pregnant as I couldn’t see him. Now, if he’s sad or ill I can pick him up. Those reassuring Mum cuddles I couldn’t quite do when he was living inside.

Now we’ve started weaning, my worries focus all around this. If he can eat this or that, have I cut his food up correctly, am I feeding him too much. Luckily I’m in a few Facebook Weaning groups where I

Fur Mama

Before I was Quinn’s Mama, I was a Fur Mama. Shelby was my right hand man when I was pregnant. He was the doula I didn’t know I needed. We’d nap together, he’d follow me to the corner shop and back, he’d walk me to the toilet during my many trips in the night – he wouldn’t let me out of his sight. On the night I went into labour he followed me further than usual. I had gone for a walk around the block to start things off and he walked with me the whole way. I felt like a Pixar character.

Before Quinn, my phone was FULL of Shelby photos and videos and I was constantly snapping away but all that changed when I birthed my own child. Luckily Quinn and Shelby are very gentle with each other. Shelby will watch over if when we all sleep, Quinn reaches out for a cuddle and we all sit and watch Netflix (or Baby TV).

I was lucky enough to work with Cattitude Box box on their subscribition boxes and it’s full of surprises for both me and the Ginger Ale (one of many loving nicknames he has). Luxury vet approved treats, organic fish food tray and some treats for me too. I think it’s fantastic to show some love to the cat/s in your life.

Shelby loved the box the gifts came in, like most cats. If he fits, he sits.

I’ll be subscribing for monthly treats for both Shelby and I. I think he loved the attention. Not to say he doesn’t get loving now, just not as often as my pregnant self. This Mama is on the move and if she isn’t she has a furless kit on her lap.

Cattitude Box cater the boxes to your preferences. Want more toys instead treats? Specific dietary requirements? It’s great because both puss and owner (who am I kidding, the cats are the owners…) receive surprises. My box contained cat-themed accessories which I love .

You’re able to subscribe monthly, spread them out or purchase a one off gift or the Cat Lady/Gent in your life. Even better, use code MEOWFORFIVE for £5 off your first box.

Treat your fur children 😻

Hi, I’m an Influencer…

I have a confession, a pretty big one in-fact. I used to despise bloggers and vloggers. I used to wonder why Becky Basic was receiving free stuff and #gifted every single day and talking about the day she had with her child. BORING.

I used to blog several years ago under Freckles and Frolics, I didn’t have a niche and I was messy and unsure of my style. I dabbled in short stories, product review and opinion pieces. I had a few people (mostly family, ok, I mean my Mum) push me to write again because I was ‘good at it’ but I could never get past my block. Write about what? I was my own biggest critic and eventually gave it up. In hindsight, I think this is why I was so bothered by successful bloggers. It was only when in October 2018, a month after indenting my sofa with my body print and a newborn I created Midlands Mommies. To start with, it was a meet up group for Mums in the Midlands (Mom is a Midlands term, later realised this was mostly American term and re-branded). I had a Facebook group with 100 likes but I was so introverted I never actually created a meet up. I lost love for it and felt myself losing my creative spark again.

It was only when I came up on a follow loop (oh no, the unspoken term of the Influencer world) and I met some lovely Mum’s I felt that inspiration to focus the account about me, the Midlands Mummy. I created a blog again to document my days with Quinn and I love it.

I had never intended to ‘collaborate’ with brands as I’d never understood that side of it. I didn’t realise it was a two way street of advertising for the brand and most of the time, it was the influencer reaching out first. I had the support from my new found Mum friends who advised best way to pitch and what brands like to see. I think I was around 2000 followers when I sent my first few pitches and was accepted by a teething brand. I aimed for smaller brands to start with, as a way to boost both of us. I remember that sense of achievement when I received a message saying they had received a number of orders and followers since my post. Coincidence? Maybe. But there I was, doing something of value once more. The whole reason for my blog and Instagram account is an online journal of Quinn growing up and since, watching my wonderful Mum friends children’s grow. We’ve seen first teeth, first steps, first words and the dreaded sleep regressions, the Mum guilt and the endless advice and support from both the Mothering side and the blogger side. ‘Which photo is better?’ ‘Here is a discount code for this brand I rep for’ – the blogging community isn’t a horrible place.

I reached out to a few Mums who’s opinions mirror mine. Their blog is somewhere to document their life with their child/ren and everything that comes with it is a bonus. I then spoke with Mum Businesses (mix of followers) who gave their opinion on being approached. A large majority were flattered and loved it – they felt the bloggers they worked with were professional. The odd one would creep through with a ‘Collab?’ email with no personality. A few brand were unsure why influencers didn’t just buy their products instead and others had wished they were approached and we’re unsure how it all works.

Jodine Bootby, one half of the Gummee Teething brand offered her insight:

“I love working with influencers, particularly micro because it is such an easy and informative way to get my product in front of my target audience at very minimal cost.

I understand that the bloggers/influencers, as well as brands, are trying to grow something for themselves. Smaller influencers are keen to gain experience and add to their portfolio, and small brands can not afford to pay countless influencers to post content for them, so the two are a match made in heaven.

Each can get equal benefit, with the brand gaining content to use across social media as well as brand awareness and reach, and the creator gaining reach and exposure via shares of their content from the brand, as well as complimentary products and the addition of the brands to their portfolio and the experience of working with brands”

And that’s it really isn’t it? It’s a business relationship.

My Midlands Mummy brand I have since created another meet up page, I have hosted giveaways, I work as an ambassador for brands, rep for brands and yes, I do hashtag collaborate. I enjoy working with brands on what approach they want. I review products I will use and my followers will enjoy. It isn’t a case of here’s a freebie, see you later. I have found many, many small brands through my Instagram account newsfeed and recommendations from other bloggers. I remember the Love to Dream Swaddle I saw on an influencer page, before I had my own account. I wanted this product. I saw Gummee Teething products because I saw them in another blog. The power of social media is huge, and social media users play a big part and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Mummy Bloggers are on the rise and it can hard to find your voice in such a bustling community, but speak up, it’s such a welcoming place to be.

What products have you found through your followers? Do you have any positive Collab stories? Leave a comment below of your favourite Insta stores!

BebAmour, I adore you!

Before Quinn was born I was adamant on a few things and like most naive new Mums none of these actually happened. I wanted to carry Quinn on park walks, stay close and still enjoy the sights. I had bought (& had bought for me) numerous slings, wraps and carriers all of which were clumsy or I felt lacked support. I’m only tiny so for to me feel like I’m supporting my son without back ache is a big deal.

The BebAmour mutli way carrier is so easy to put on and it’s so comfortable. The padded waist strap means no cutting into your skin and the hip seat means baby is comfortable and secure. There are a number of ways this carrier can be worn depending on age of baby first and foremost and your preference. There is front inward, front outward, back pack & hip seat, perfect for when Mumma wants a cup of tea! Today we used Inward Carry because Quinn’s so little and it was quite windy out and like his mother he’s not a fan of any inconvenience! I love the shade cover too, it’s something so simple as a design that attracts me to a product; colour and extra pockets and zips for your phone if off on a stroll. Some carriers have been far too bulky for my liking. It’s great to feel Quinn is comfortable too, the hip seat is designed to support spinal development and sits at a 90 degree angle. BebAmour products are available on Amazon and be sure you check their Instagram out.

If you, like me, prefer a carrier be sure to follow the T.I.C.K.S

T Tight.

I In view at all times.

C Close enough to kiss.

K Keep chin off chest.

S Supported back.

Thanks for reading!

Mama (still) got style

I don’t know about any other mummas but I certainly feel like I’ve lost my ‘me’ since becoming a Mum. I mean 4 months post partum it is creeping back, slowly, but it’s not quite here yet. Probably helps that Quinn is gaining more independence so I get a few extra 10 minute slots to get myself ready. Those first few weeks were definitely pyjamas only dress code only and make up wasn’t a forethought. I like comfort, but also to look good. My style has always been a cross between an ever-long emo and an English teacher.

I still have my mum pouch and I’m trying to accept it, it’s where Quinn sits and where he lays and cuddles. I’m just slowly adapting to the change. I mean, I adored being pregnant, I loved my bump and styling it. I felt beautiful.

I often get sad when I see my pouch but it’s a constant reminder of my boys home, those first flutters, those 8pm kicks when I showered – it’s now where he rests on me. I thought I would ‘bounce back’ because other people did but we’re all different. I naively thought becauase I was slim before that it’d be ok. Over Christmas I wasn’t happy with what I wore because I had to cover ‘my belly’ and I had ‘nothing to wear’. Anything that showcased my gut made me sad and I really need to stop berating myself over the miracle of pregnancy and the changes my body has taken. It took nine months to grow, it may take nine months to shrink. Or it may never at all. I’ve made it my mission to do something about it, start loving it or stop moaning. Sitting on my arse eating a bar of dairy milk won’t achieve anything. Continuing on from my new year’s post, another goal is to stop being my own enemy. To learn to love my body the way it is, not mourn for the way it was.

With 2019 around corner it’s inevitable I write a resolutions themed post. I’m not someone who has many, if any, addictions. However, saying that, 2018 has brought me my first child and with that a number of lessons and changes in myself I didn’t know were needed. For one my anxiety peaked becoming a parent, one thing I didn’t want to happen. Not ashamed to say I’ve cried countless times thinking he hates me. OK, maybe a little ashamed. Yet I’m constantly told how content Quinn is and that it’s because I’m so chill (no clue where they get that from). I don’t bring it around my child but I am still anxious more than I’d like to be. I am forever asking Mum friends ‘Is it normal if….’

Along with my curled in little. toes, my anxiety is one thing I don’t want my son to learn from me but at the same time if he does, to not be ashamed of it.

2019 I want to be in the moment, I want to spend more time outdoors, adventuring and seeing new sights. I want to take care of myself mentally and physically and stop over analysing so much. I want to keep a physical journal with physical photos. I spend more time than I’d like to admit on my phone (when Quinn’s sleeping) and I want more toys and activities for me and Quinn to do. I want to finally go to a Mum and Babies group and finally want to start eating healthier. It’s the biggest New Years resolution going but with weaning around the corner I want to ensure my diet resembles what I feed my boy. More veg, less choc – that type of thing. I’ve signed up to host a park walk in my local area through NCT so that’s two goals already in process. Here’s hoping I don’t wuss out, watch this space.

Your First Christmas – a letter to Quinn up

You are three months old. Your first Christmas is just days away and in all honestly you are blissfully unaware of all the festivities going on around you but you certainly love the lights, tinsel and the ladies cooing over you in your elf and Santa onesies (soz about that). We’ve both been so busy this last week, well more so me and dragging you along. Turns out everybody wants to see you when you have a child. Mummy would love nothing more than to sleep but family is important to me and your dad and we hope you grow up with same mentality. The dishes can wait, have fun.

Today we are seeing Nana in Leicester before we leave to see your Nanny in two days. Pre-you I would be packed by now, three outfits per day, five pairs of shoes and sack full of beauty. This year however I am nowhere near finished, or started. I’ve started trying to pack your things but then there’s a nappy to change or a tiny belly to feed. I’m not complaining, honestly. You have a Christmas Eve box ready with a lovely onesie designed and personalised just for you. We’ve taken you to see Santa and we’ve opened a few of the bigger presents to save Mummy and Daddy carrying them back. Turns out Santa doesn’t think about assembling and carrying large gifts so with the help of a few elves we’ve stored these away. Noises and patterns are this stages new Brangelina, you are crazy for colour. Because you’re still so young we, (Santa, your dad and I) have asked for presents that will be both necessary for your learning and fun. There will be a jungle gym play mat, sensory roller, teething and weaning bits and plenty of books. You’ve become so chatty this last week too, usually telling me off or laughing away at my awful singing. You’ve been lifting yourself up, though not quite sitting, and playing with your rattle. It’s an absolute delight watching the little cogs turn as you work out something new for the first time like ‘wow, I just did that?!’ I am 110% biased but you’re so clever, beautiful and such a sass pot. One year I hope to take you go Lapland just so I, sorry you can meet Santa at his house. I’ve always loved Christmas but it’s extra special now you’re here to celebrate it with.

Merry Christmas Quinn, love you now and forever

Mummy xx

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