Category Archives: Playdates

One thing that I really love about Living Arrows (aside from the project itself!) is that it gives me the chance to discover new blogs and chat to new people and one of those is Donna from What The Redhead Said (formerly Redhead Babyled). Donna is mum to 3 year old Little Pickle and Little Man, who just turned 2. She works part time for a high street bank and spends the rest of the time juggling family life, a shift working husband and her blog. And she loves Maltesers, gin & tonic and pedicures, just incase you were wondering. We realised when were chatting one evening that we weren’t actually that far from one another and our daughters are only a few months apart, so we decided to get together one sunny Tuesday. My previously shy poppet has really come out of her shell the last couple of months and within a couple of minutes the girls were the best of friends, swapping dressing up stuff and admiring each other’s shoes!

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What’s a typical day like for you?  

No day is typical for me – every day is different. Because Hubby works shifts and I work around his shifts some days I’m at work 9-5 and other days I’m at home with the kids, doing the school run, LP’s swimming lesson and housework. I work every Saturday too but Sundays I can generally be found at home baking, playing with the kids and catching up. We do squeeze in some family time where we can too.

playdates redhead-007playdates redhead-010What’s the best parenting advice you’ve been given?

I think the best advice was to trust my instinct and follow the baby’s lead. From the day LP was born we were very much baby-led and tried to feed her when she was hungry, let her sleep when she was tired and we really just rolled with it. We did the same with weaning, sleeping through the night and pretty much everything else – all babies get to the same point in the end eventually and we found it easiest to just go with the flow and see what happened so trusting my instincts has worked pretty well.

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What inspired you to start your blog and what do you blog about?
I started blogging when LP started weaning and documented her weaning journey on my old blog ‘Redhead Babyled’. The blog has evolved so much over the last three years and now I blog very much about our family life but under a new titles ‘What the Redhead said’, a space that can grow with my family and I.

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How has having kids changed you?
I think since having children I am more content with my appearance and less hung up on the physical things – my body has done an amazing thing in giving me two beautiful children and after 20+ years of criticising myself I think it’s about time I gave my body a break. Apart from that I think I am more laid back, more organised and better prepared for anything since having children – they keep you on your toes!

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Both your babies were born at home. What was that like?
Amazing. I had always planned to have home births and having LP at home and being alone as a family unit an hour afterwards was a surreal experience. Little Man was born in the birth pool at home but we had to transfer to hospital soon after as he was having breathing problems but I’m glad I got to experience the hospital side of things too – although I was glad to get home three days later!

playdates redhead-026What are your hopes for the kids?

As corny as it may sound I just want them to grow up happy and healthy, going wherever life takes them. I hope they find someone to share life with, have families of their own and live life as fully as they can until they are old and content.playdates redhead-027What has surprised you most about having kids?

The amount you can love someone. Every single day since having LP has been a rollercoaster of emotions, pure absolute love for that tiny ginger bundle of squishyness that has grown into such huge pride in everything she learns, everything she does and everything she is. It’s an honour to be her parent and the same goes for Little Man. When you’re pregnant with your second child you always ask yourself whether you’ll have enough love for two and whether you’ll ever be able to love another as much as you love your first. You do, it happens. You don’t love the first one less, you just have another to love equally – and that love is the best thing about being a parent.

 

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Donna’s Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

I found Brummy Mummy of 2‘s blog through the Living Arrows linky and loved her sense of humour and I’m originally from Brum myself so that makes us practically family! Em is mum to two toddlers (the girl and the boy) and teaches part time. She loves Malibu, fruit pastilles, reality TV, tea and can often be found in a flowery dress, leggings and a statement necklace (when she’s not braless and in a onesie). We met up at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on one of the hottest days EVER to explore the gardens and have a picnic. Thankfully she wasn’t braless that day. Somehow we both managed to completely run out of baby wipes which is the most fun thing ever when you have 4 children with sticky ice cream hands and 2 of them still in nappies. What a pair of amateurs! The kids got on really well though and enjoyed being able to run around together like a bunch of loons.

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Meet Em!

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What’s been the biggest surprise about motherhood?

The biggest surprise about motherhood is that it has totally changed me. It’s bloomin hard work and there are some days where I feel like I could have a good old weep but generally? It has made me a lot happier. It has made me laugh lots and I really enjoy it. Prior to being a Mum I was a bit low in confidence but now I have the kids? I care a little bit less about things. And if my hair is a bit dirty? I care not! Having my girl was not planned. But with hindsight it came at the perfect time and saved me from myself (oh that’s a bit deep isn’t it?).

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What’s a typical day like for you?

Twice a week I work as a teacher in a secondary school so that is teaching RE to teens. Which I love and is hilarious and I can’t imagine doing anything else. But when I am at home? Day starts at 5.30/6ish (urgh) and then it is general mayhem till Daddy comes home at 6pm for ‘the handover’. We go out quite a lot, so visit farms or friends or soft play. My girl is starting pre-school in September so mornings she will be there and I am sure me and the boy will find something fun to do.

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What inspired you to start your blog and what do you blog about?

I was on maternity leave and SO BORED! I started to read blogs by Zoella and Sprinkle of Glitter and decided that I would like to try something whilst the kiddies napped. I tried once and failed miserably so tried again at Christmas and it all started from there! When I had the girl I went back to work full time, I was head of RE so I found it hard switching to part time with no responsibility. This gives me something to do and helps to stop me being manic. Well helps a little. I like to think I try and blog about daft things that happen to us, and the real side of motherhood. I have a YouTube channel where I do vlogs of different days out and each week I host photo linky #wickedwednesdays where bloggers are encouraged to send in funny pictures.

Best blogging moment so far?

I’m really lucky to have been on Mumsnet a few times and one of those posts (10 signs you are the owner of a toddler girl) went viral. So that’s had like 19,000 views or something ridiculous. It’s one of those things that I doubt will EVER happen again. That was mental. Watching people literally all over the world reading my blog and seeing pictures of messy house and crazy child. It still makes me smile now thinking about it.

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How have you changed since having kids?

As I said before I am just a lot happier. Not in a “hey kids you know just fufil me” kind of way but in a “I’m not bored to think about daft things” kind of way. Alas I don’t spend as much time with my friends or my husband which is a shame but I just feel a bit more content with myself.

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You have a whole day to yourself. How do you spend it?

Oh good god that would be the dream! Defo watching Real Housewives of New Jersey for a few hours in bed, whilst I eat chocolate and crisps without having to share them. Next shopping without having to control two crazy children. Then the flicks and a nice meal with my husband. Just normal everyday things you can’t do with tiny tots looming around. Would be lovely! And I would for sure sneak a nap in.

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What kind of things do you enjoy doing with the kids?

I LOVE going on days out. I do that a lot. People seem to think it costs me a lot of money? But it really doesn’t. We always take picnics and I always use vouchers. I love showing them new things and having little adventures with my little crew. With my girl I love chatting with her about daft things and my boy I love those sleepy baby cuddles he gives me. I also love dancing around with them when we have our tea. That crazy bit just before their Dad comes home. It’s brilliant!

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What advice would you give to first-time parents?

Embrace these things 1) it’s hard 2) you won’t sleep 3) it WILL get easier. Just don’t be so hard on yourself really. Being a parent is amazing and wonderful and brilliant but it comes with times where it is scary and terrifying and a bit rubbish. Do whatever it is that makes you and your little family happy. Ignore people and their daft advice you never asked for. You will make the odd mistake, and you may go out with poo on your top but at the end of the day? As long as everyone is well fed, happy and rested? It really doesn’t matter!

You can find Em all over the internets! Go and follow her – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

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I love to meet other bloggers, especially when they live nearby and they have kids the same age. I met Mary who blogs at My Model Mummy at the MAD Blog Awards last year and we’ve met up a couple of times with our daughters since. I’m really happy that Mary agreed to be first in this new series!

We spent a lovely morning with Mary and her 2 year old daughter, Olivia in the woods near their home. Our girls really enjoyed each others company and jabbered away to each other in toddler! I love their matching curly heads and they were so adorable sitting together in the wagon (which Sunshine point blank refused to get out of, she loved it so much!)

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Meet Mary!

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Name 

Mary Louise

Age

34

Star sign

Aquarius

Blog

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Likes

Juicing, being outdoors and travelling.

Dislikes

Creepy crawlies, bullies and spicy foods.

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Was parenthood planned or did it take you by surprise?

Parenthood was not planned at all. I fell pregnant just five months after meeting my Fiancé and although I was extremely shocked at the time, I was ready mentally to take on the challenge.

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What’s a typical day like for you and Olivia?

Our day starts at 7am and we have our morning cuddles in front of the cartoons for ten minutes. I know this will be the only time I get to sit with Olivia until after dinner now.

I spend my day multi tasking between housework, being a mum, running a blog, a business and hosting a radio show. If we are not visiting grandparents, aunties or sisters we are holding a play date at our house. As dinner time approaches we try and take a walk or a trip to the park and then always make sure the three of us sit and eat together. Olivia loves this time as she knows for the next two hours she has our full attention. After dinner we build bricks, do puzzles and read books all together in her playroom before bath time and bed at 7pm.

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Do you feel like you have a good balance or is it more of a juggling act?

Although it sounds like we have a pretty good routine going on, everyday is different therefore I feel as if life as a mummy is a complete juggling act. I wake up every morning wandering how I’m going to fit everything in. I always make a real effort with friends and family as I know that they will be there to catch me if I fall. And I have once! But I needed to fall to realise how quickly I can get back up!

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What inspired you to start blogging?

When I first became a mum I pitched for an open slot to my local online radio. I found this was a great way to spend time with myself for a few hours a week and as I built up a listening base it became apparent that my listeners were advising me through Motherhood! If I needed advice then the public were there to advise me, from colic to weaning and through to nursery school admissions! I wanted to share my experience with other new Mums and pass on the knowledge I had been taught and that is why I started a blog.

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Tell me a bit about your new business and how that’s come about

I have always worked and earned a wage since the age of thirteen. Between babysitting and paper rounds I quickly learned to be independent and the value of money. I was a travelling model before becoming a mum and knew my career had come to the end of it’s shelf life. After spending some time in the states and using pull along wagons for just about everything I realised they were missing from the UK when I returned home. I ordered one for my daughters first birthday and she absolutely loves it. The Wagon made my life so much easier, no tipping buggies or a tearful baby refusing to be strapped back in her pram! People were flocking to the wagon wherever we rode it and so I decided to throw myself into the import business and build a better, safer, child friendly version.
Almost a year later and I am proud to present my new business Brandon Wagons.

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What inspires you?

My sisters inspire me.

I come from a very big family and being the youngest of four, they taught me how to be part of a team as well as independent. They taught me about respect and friendship which is one of the most valuable attributes to pass onto another person. With colossal amounts of love thrown in too it has moulded me to be the woman I am today.

Thank you so much Mary! If you want to know more about her, you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and over at her blog.