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The Dance Class: A Parent’s Reality

The realities of taking a 3 year old to Dance Classes…..

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Realities of Dance Classes for Parents

Last year I thought it was a great idea to sign Nancy up to dance lessons. It was one of those thoughts, where you think ‘it’s probably time I left the house and started to initiate her into a social world,’ and in paticular I was looking for something for her to do so that she gets worn out and I didn’t neccessarily need to do much to achieve it. It suddenly dawned on me that athletes, musicians or dancers started this stuff when they were really small. So in order to ensure she has the best chance of turning into the next superstar, I duly signed her up.

She actually attends a lovely dance class where she does Tap and Ballet every Saturday. I didn’t think when I signed her up, though, how much of a commitment it is for me, and how you get sucked into the world of dance classes. This is the reality of The Ballet Class:

1.The Early Start

I have to get up every Saturday morning and get her to Ballet for 9.15am in the morning. On a SATURDAY. What the hell was I thinking?

2. Uniform

Every week she has to wear the dance uniform. Which comprises of a leotard, tights and a caridigan, as well as the right shoes. Not only did it cost me a fortune, I have to remember to wash* it and make her look presentable as well as getting her to the start for 9.15am. On a SATURDAY….

I also am still ramming her into the leotard as I refuse to buy one until at least September. Same goes for the shoes, I ordered them a size larger and it was only when she wore them the first time I realised they could slightly affect her dance skills, but she’s better now she’s grown into them a bit.

*I admit there may be weeks where the uniform may not get washed and she may look slightly dishevlled and smell slightly like a PE kit.

3.  Waiting

When I signed her up for classes, I couldn’t wait to watch her in her cute little pink uniform and watch her gracefully piroet around. Well, I wouldn’t know what she actually does, as I have to wait outside the class in a cold church hall. I can’t go anywhere in case I need to help her get to the loo.  It is 45mins of pure me time though, I guess, as long as I take a jumper and a flask.

4. Other Parents

The waiting room looks like a parent wasteland. I’ve seen some parents in their Pyjamas, although I haven’t done that yet. Some look hungover, some look tired. Some look absolutely pristine and as if they’d just got off the jet from St. Tropez. Not many people talk to each other, and seats in the corners by the dividing door to the class are a premium, as you can spy on your child through a crack. My idea of meeting more Mum friends hasn’t really become a reality as yet….

5. Noise

No-one thought to tell me that  group of 3-5 year olds in a tap class are LOUD. There is half an hour of out of rythmn, tap tap tapping as well as children roaring like lions or singing the Frozen theme tune whilst they stomp about the hall like elephants. Also, the teacher is loud. She has to be, to keep it in order. I sometimes wonder if she needs a drink after the class.

6. Progress

I keep taking her, because she seems to enjoy it. But can she actually dance? I have no idea. mainly because we are always too late so I can’t look through the crack to see if she is actually moving. I ask her to show me what she does at home but all I get is a roaring lion and a shuffle on the kitchen floor. So we keep on, keeping on. Maybe I have the next Darcy Bussell right here….

7. Once you join, you can never leave

Once you’re a fully signed up member of the dance class, attempts to leave are futile. You need to give one term’s notice to leave, and not that we are planning to, but I would never be as organised as to work out when that would be! I can barely remember NOT to turn up when it’s half term….

8. You do as you are told

If the teacher tells you to buy something, you buy it. You label all the clothing as you don’t want to get told off by the teacher. You get your fees paid on time and you sit there every week and smile even though you may be dying inside.

9. The Car Park

The car park is a war zone. The later you are, the more likely you are to abandon your car in the middle of the car park, blocking off 5 cars in the process. Some people wedge themselves sideways just so that they can park in the car park. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a school at pick up time, but parents plus cars equals carnage. I am surprised no-one has been run over as yet. Once the first class ends, the real issues begin as people attempt to leave, and the next class attempt to park.

 

My Five Favourite Beauty Products

Anyone reading this sporadic blog will realise I don’t normally write about beauty. But I want to write what’s interesting me and at the moment it’s beauty. Being 31, a sleep deprived mother of one, the last two years feeling like I’m walking through treacle, beauty and using beauty products was not really in my mind. I was a mess, frankly. I’ve never been too into beauty but before having a baby I did slap on the mascara and brushed my hair on a daily basis.

So, this new year, I started to make some changes. First of all, I started to wear clothes that weren’t crusty and covered in squished mini rolls to work or when I was going out. Losing weight has helped as it’s meant I can get into things that were a bit tight before. Feeling comfortable in what I wear is really important to me.

Keep it straight

Secondly, I dusted off my straightener. I have no idea why but after having Nancy, my hair started to frizz and sprout these ugly little twisty tufts by my ears and around my face – why the hell did this happen? For ages I wondered what the hell I could do about these ugly tufts but then I remembered I had a straighter, and it has really made my hair look normal. I’ve also used John Frieda Smooth Start shampoo and conditioner which has really helped, and the Daily Miracle leave in conditioner is amazing.

Hand cream

I’m in a job where washing my hands or covering them in alcohol gel occurs frequently throughout the day. This means my hands are getting dry, and what with the cold weather, they were getting a little haggard. I got some lovely hand cream for Christmas, Body Shop Honeymania – it smells gorgeous and sinks in really nicely and quickly – ideal at work.

Lip balm

Similar issues in that my lips were getting dry and cracked due to the winter weather. Burts Bees ultra conditioning lip balm is amazing. It almost feels tingly on my lips so to me that means it must be working.

Body shop cool vitamin E BB cream Glowing

Now I have to wonder why the Hell it took so long for me to find and use BB cream. This stuff more or less reconstructs my face so that it doesn’t look like I’m the living dead. I’ve found it very easy to apply, and once it’s on, I forget I’ve even put it on – it feels very light. I love it.

Nail varnish

I’ve always loved nail varnish and have always tried to keep my nails looking nice. Saying that, the pink nail varnish I slapped on my feet a week before I had the baby probably stayed there for over 9 months. I’ve rediscovered my nails recently and I am loving the Nails Inc colours. I was lucky to get some for Christmas – a current favourite is a grey called Hyde park place.

So, there you have it. These gems are bringing the sexy back. Or I should just say the Emily back. I am feeling so much better about myself. Oh, and I know I’ve listed more than 5, but nobody’s perfect.

About Being on A Diet

Being on a diet, or healthy living plan, or whatever you want to call it, sort of takes over your life. You change before your very eyes. Suddenly, you’re talking about what cheese is the lightest and how many haribos you can eat for 1 point. Here’s 10 observations I have made about being on a diet – let me know yours as well!

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1. Healthy Things Cost Money

Trying to stick to your healthy eating plan? Want a life? You go out, you choose your salad. you’re congratulating yourself on your wise choice, then you realize your salad costs more than the non-healthy option. you lose weight, but are poor, or you are fat, and can afford to eat salad – its one of life’s conundrums.

2. You become addicted to fat TV

Fat: a year to save my life, Super Size vs. Super skinny, biggest loser…there are loads of these shows. And sometimes you may feel a bit smug and/or better as you don’t weigh as much as they do. Even though you’re probably eating a biscuit when you’re watching.

3. Everything becomes Mini

You become obsessed with anything  miniture. Teeny tiny morsels of niceness that you can savour, for about a minute.  Mini Babybels, mini twisters, mini flapjacks are just a few.

4. Sauces

You make sauces out of random household items such as Fanta and a mysterious item called Quark that you have never seen before in your life.

5. Crazy-Ass Recipes

You start following mad recipes such as ‘mushy pea curry’ and start to put baked beans in everything. You make chocolates out of shredded wheat and Nutella out of desperation, and try and make some sort of cake out of pasta.

6. Weigh yourself

When you weigh in the first time, you wear whatever it is you’re wearing. No probs. A few weeks later, you are going to the toilet 3 times, turning around 6 times and touching your nose once whilst wearing a negligee before you stand on the scales.

7. You try and convince yourself initially that walking to the canteen to buy a diet coke is excersize. The next week, you’re breaking your ankle undertaking Insanity with 30 day shred on as background music.

8. It’s all you can talk about

It becomes a total obsession. you want to tell everyone about your points, what you’ve eaten, and how hard it was/how easy it was to eat that Penguin. Instagram is your friend. You may, Er, blog about it too.

9. Wine doesn’t count

Wine doesn’t count. Especially on Fridays. Or Saturdays. It’s like water, or something.

10. Cheat Days Rule

You can’t go on a diet without having weigh-in day as a cheat day. When after you weigh in, you pop next door to the chippy and queue up behind everyone else from the class.

How NOT to anger a toddler

And so it begins.

I have the makings of one angry little person on my hands.

Here’s 15 golden tips to make sure you never anger your toddler:

1. Never offer them crayons or pencils of any kind especially if they have to be put away at some point.

2. Make sure whatever you’re doing doesn’t ever end.

3. Don’t give them anything that can be squeezed or squished in an angry fist

4. Give them whatever they want, whenever they want

5. Don’t let them see any other child or what they are playing with

6. You must leave the cafe/restaurant as soon as they have eaten.

7. Don’t get them dressed. Ever.

8. Play the theme tune to the Tweenies on a loop all day

9. Know instantly what ‘bouga boyga da Gaga’ is

10. Never ask them if they are tired

11. Don’t put the giraffe on the train

12. Let them rifle through the kitchen cupboards

13. Don’t wear shoes

14. Don’t ever ask about the nappy

15. Make sure tables and other high furniture is available for climbing

Sleep Well Event with Next Garden and Home Store Bristol

I couldn’t wait to go and have a look around the Next Garden and Home Store in Cribbs Causeway. We were invited to their blogger sleep well event as they have just opened and it is one of the first Garden and Home stores Next have! It also includes Next’s very first Bed Shop. The other added bonus for me was the Costa Coffee outlet which is inside!

We had a fabulous talk with Sammy Margo, a sleep export who has written the book The Good Sleep Guide, all about getting a good night’s sleep. We listened to Sammy and she gave some really useful and easy tips you can use at home to get a good nights’ sleep. You can follow Sammy on twitter @goodsleepexpert

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Some tips were:
· Your room should be pink or green as these are colours which help us to get a good nights’ sleep

· Have a ‘sleepy snack’ before bed such as a banana, oats or turkey

· Make sure your pillow is not too old and supports you properly (Sammy showed us a fab trick to see if your pillow needs replacing – fold pillow in half and put a trainer on top. If it pings off, it’s fine – if it stays on there, it’s too old and needs replacing)

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· Have a bedtime routine just like your children do – have a nice hot bath, read and relax before bed

· Turn off all electronic devices by 9pm (although Sammy admits for bloggers this is hard!)

· Keep room cool as this helps sleep – 18 degrees is the ideal room temperature

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I really found this talk useful as my partner doesn’t sleep well and I can find it hard to relax. I am definitely getting us some more pillows as ours don’t pass the test!

We were given a lovely goody bag to help us get a good nights sleep and also a gift card to choose something from the store. We then had time to browse the store and buy some lovely things! I had a look at all the beds and they all looked really comfy and cosy and a lot of different styles and types. They also had some fab accessories for bedrooms, bathrooms and every part of the house! I thought the variety was very good.

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I loved these bedroom styles – I noticed that many of the bedrooms were accessorised with green or pinky colours.

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In the end I chose a wall clock and a set of candles. As we have just moved into a new house, our first home, I have never really ‘accessorised’ before so it was lovely to have such a lot of things to choose from.

I felt that the store was lovely and bright, everything was laid out well (according to colours which is great when thinking of what you want for certain rooms) and there was a variety of different colours and styles to suit.
The items I chose were lovely and when I got them home I had a good look at them. The candles were lovely and look great in my downstairs loo. They don’t have a fragrance though which I was a little disappointed about. The clock looks fab, and will look great on my kitchen wall. It looks well made.

I loved the goody bag and I am really impressed with the fragrance diffuser. I have never used one of these before but I will do from now on – it was so easy to put together and it smells gorgeous. I have it in my bedroom and the smell (Garden Mint and Elderflower) is wonderful and very calming – I feel like I have slept better since I have put it in there!

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We then had a lovely lunch at Carluccio’s. It was a great day and it was lovely to see the new store and see what Next had to offer. I will definitely be back again.

I was invited to the Next blogger event where we were given a goody bag and a voucher. We we also taken out for lunch at carluccios. However all opinions within this post are my own

10 Things I have learnt in 10 Weeks

Since having the Bubs 10 weeks ago, I thought I would share some of the things I feel I have learnt over this period of time:

1. What did I do without Muslin Cloths? and where do they go? the same place as odd socks?

2. That getting up at 6am is a good thing, as it’s better than 2, 3 or 4am

3. You may be tired, and half alive, but hey! 3am is the perfect time for smiles, giggles and playtime.

Me and Bubs after a particualrly good 3am party

Me and Bubs after a particualrly good 3am party

4. Don’t bother wearing a nursing bra for at least 6 weeks, as you’ll be feeding so much you may as well not wear it. In fact why bother wearing any top at all! (im talking around the house, not popping down the shops mind)

5. That you will sing any nursery rhymes you can remember, and even then the ones you do you make up half the words, and then sing over and over again, until that’s all you can think in your brain

6. That however quiet you are trying to be, you will always end up making the most noise

7. That as soon as you think the baby is asleep, and you put them down, they are actually in fact wide awake and just playing a joke on you

8. That after a while you start to think baby sick, poo, and dried milk all over your clothes doesn’t smell that bad, not really.

9. That trying to leave the house for any specific time means getting up at least 3 hours before allotted leaving time as baby will always want to feed and then will absolutley want to do the biggest, most horrendous poo the second you want to leave

10. I never knew you could put someone before everything else, that you wouldn’t mind feeling like death, and not brushing your teeth, eating rice crackers as that’s all you can grab, crying at kittens on TV, singing nursery rhymes until your ears bleed, because this little person is all that matters. Until it happens you don’t believe it.

10 Survival Tips for the first few weeks of parenting

10 Survival Tips for the first few weeks of parenting

For what it’s worth I have been compiling a list of Tips for surviving the first two weeks. This has made night-time feeds slightly more interesting for me, and I hope that someone may find some of these useful.

1. Remember to brush your teeth

Sounds obvious doesn’t it? But I’ll confess: day 3 in the hospital and I realised I hadn’t brushed my teeth since Sunday. You worry so much about the baby you forget about yourself.  Showering can be more of a challenge, But brush your teeth, your dentist will thank you and you will feel so much better.

2. Learn to take showers that last 30 seconds

As above; even simple tasks can seem impossible when you’re on your own with the baby. But you’ve got to shower, even if it is just your big toe. I put baby in their Moses basket in the bathroom with me, jump in, scrub myself like a bat out of hell and jump out again before the baby goes too high on the Richter scale. Each time you do it,it gets easier. So best to start sooner rather than later. And besides, you don’t want to smell too bad when your relatives come round.

3. You’ll only have one arm

To start with, babies need a lot of attention. I sort of knew this, but I didn’t really think about how this would affect me living day-to-day. Newborns can feed very regularly, and Nancy fed practically every 20 minutes to start with, when we began breastfeeding again. This can cause you some issues; namely, you will be holding the baby a lot, which will mean that you will have to adapt to doing things slightly differently – i.e. – one-handed. I have perfected eating roast dinners one-handed, so the opportunities are endless once you get the knack.  There are a few things that you should have to (one) hand at all times in this situation. These are:

  • TV Remote – you do not want to be stranded on the sofa one-handed without the TV remote. I got caught out once and had to endure Alan Titchmarsh. That was a low day.
  • Mobile Phone/Laptop – you need to be able to communicate with the outside world. Twitter is my friend, as is Candy Crush (or is that enemy – damn jelly sweets)
  • Kindle/Book – if you can still see straight, then reading is an option. Kindle is much easier as you don’t have to turn the pages. So I am very thankful for that one.
  • Snacks/Drinks – its important to keep yourself hydrated and fed especially if you’re breastfeeding. being awake 24 hours a day means you’re body needs fuel. I have devised a snack table for myself (pictured) to ensure that I have these things to hand. I try to keep it fairly healthy but chocolate is a must if you ask me.

4. Buy a box set

This is a perfect opportunity to watch some TV shows you’ve never got round to. So far I have watched Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and am currently halfway through Breaking Bad. If you’re not going out, may as well make the most of it!

5. Freeze meals

One armed, you wont be able to knock up many gourmet meals. So if you try to make them (or get someone else to) in advance, freeze them, then you can get them out of the freezer and microwaved quite easily one-handed, or if you just can’t be arsed, which I find, is quite a lot.

6. You’ll become Obsessed with wee and poo

Just to warn you; you’ll become obsessed with wee and poo, no joke. You’ll be ringing people up to tell them your baby has pooed and what colour it is. I never thought I would, but look at me now. I even tweeted about it earlier. To be fair it is rather important to keep track, just in retrospect i doubt everyone wants to know. However I really need to heed my own advice here.

7. Work around the baby

Don’t make the baby work around you. It’ll make you stressed and it won’t work. You can still do things, just not when the baby needs you’re attention. This may be at odd hours of the day, but it’ll work. I know the baby will be asleep around 7am, so I make sure I shower then, that is if I want to wash my hair, face and actually feel like I’ve had a shower as opposed to a quick dash (as described above). I can wash up, put the washing on, even leave the house – but I prefer to do this once I’ve sorted the baby. It’s just so much easier and less stressful.

8. Things take time.

Things slow down. But you still get them done. Why do you need to be in a rush anyway? You’re on maternity leave! I do little and often rather than all at once. It still gets done.

9. It gets easier.

Everyone tells you this. But it does. You just need to take it day by day, night by night. Think of all the fun you’ll have eventually! Think of that day when you may sleep 8 hours again! These are you motivators for getting through the first few weeks.

10. It’s up to you

No-one tells you how to do it, you have to work it out yourself. And suddenly you have to make the decisions. People look at you, and will ask you what you think. They won’t judge, and they won’t tell you what to do either. It’s a bit disconcerting for me, but I’m realising that no-one has the right answer, no-one knows everything, and you may as well go with your gut instinct as if you ask there will be loads of people with advice if you really need it. (and you’ll get it if you like it or not anyway)