Happy Birthday my beautiful little miracles

I can’t believe that we’ve had our babies for one whole year. I’ve been looking back at the thousands of photos that we’ve accumulated this year and I’ve been choking back the tears. They have come so far.

Benjamin was 3lbs 5oz when he was born. From day 1 he thrived, we watched him gradually put on ounce after ounce in the neonatal unit and 5 weeks after he was born, we got to bring him home. We were such proud parents. I was standing at the front of the hospital, waiting for Mr C to bring the car around beaming with pride. But one half of my heart was breaking, weeping for his little brother that we had to leave behind. One year on and Benjamin is such a little joy. He’s making lovely little sounds, learning to clap his hands and zipping around the kitchen in his car. Happy Birthday my beautiful Benjamin, I love you more than you’ll ever know.

 

Harry was a teeny 1lb and 12oz when we was born. He was a little fighter from the outset. His tiny, wrinkled little body, kicking away in the incubator. We were willing him to lie and sleep. To conserve his energy and to put on some weight. He had a long and fraught stay in hospital with two very serious bouts of infection and then open heart surgery. But he was our wonderful little fighter. With the help and care of so many fabulous doctors and nurses, he managed to make it home at 13 weeks, weighing only 4lbs. One year on and Harry is a live wire – he’s always ready for a giggle and loves nothing more than a house full of people. We were so proud when Harry managed to sit up on his own two weeks ago. He’s come so far and brought us so much joy. Happy Birthday my lovely Harry, I love you more than you’ll ever know.

  

I don’t think I could ever have anticipated the extent of love that I feel for these two little boys. From the second I heard their two beautiful little cries in the operating theatre, I was besotted. I love our little family. We’ve had so many simple moments of joy as we watch our babies grow and discover new things every  

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Mummuddlingthrough

Becoming Dad [Guest blog]

Today, being a landmark in the life of our family, Mr C has written a guest post about how he felt about becoming a father. He is a secondary school teacher from the north coast and has written education related blogs in the past. I hope to persuade him to add a few future contributions, but in the meantime enjoy a post told by dad

Twelve months ago today I became a father for the first time… and the second time.

In one year I completed my teacher training – in that time I qualified to teach your children how to use semi-colons, I qualified to educate them in the ways of the oxymoron, I qualified to affect their future career prospects in a tangible way that few people can ever have. Surely a year is enough time to qualify me to teach you all how to be a dad.

Except it isn’t. And I can’t.

What I am able to do is describe a little about how becoming a father changes you. Because it changes you – so everyone tells you. “It’ll be different when you have one of your own.” “You’ll forget what it was like before you had them.” Or as one fellow teacher remarked twelve months ago, “Welcome to a world of wanting to kill anyone who hurts your family.” He’s seeking professional help now.

Twelve months ago I changed. For a few seconds I got to hold the hand of each of my sons, carry out a ceremonial cutting of an already cut cord, and watch as they were taken away to be examined. In those few seconds I changed. But if you were to ask me how, I’m not sure I’d be able to give you a satisfactory answer.

There’s something there about how acquiescently I sacrificed my personal life. It’s a well-known fact that parents say goodbye to their social life when they have kids; we’d been warned about that by many smug been-through-it types. We were expecting it. Add to that the loss of sleep – including getting up an hour earlier to get the boys up and ready before work; and the inability to go further than the corner shop without military planning. I knew all that was coming. What I didn’t expect was that I’d not really care.

Maybe there’s the pressure that comes with being the perceived “provider” and all that that entails. Being a father is an odd situation. Biologically we aren’t set up to care for children the way mothers are. We modern fathers are supposed to be frustrated, or even intimidated, by our gender limitations. Trust me on this; I read it in an actual book.

Apparently we feel crushed by the responsibility of taking on a job that we feel utterly unqualified to carry out. We are meant to be terrified of doing the wrong thing. I do the wrong thing on a daily basis. I’m the king of doing the wrong thing. I have to say that the pressure I feel from my 9-5 work is harder to deal with than the pressure of having a family. Somehow the pressure I feel at home is more rewarding. It is less, yet greater. That, my friends, is an oxymoron.

I really can’t tell you how we change when we become fathers. If you came here expecting to hear answers I’m sorry. All I can tell you is that we change.

In my job I have taught many a teenage boy who has passed around his partner’s latest scan. My initial reaction is generally shock, followed by an internal shaking of the head in sadness. I worry for the child, I worry for the parents, I worry about society in general. I question how someone who doesn’t have all the answers to my comprehension tasks could have all the answers to fatherhood. But then I’m more than twice their age and I don’t have the answers either. I look at them, and they’ve changed. They may not have suddenly become literary geniuses, they may not have suddenly become wise beyond their years – but they have a look about them that says “I’m going to be a father and I plan to be the best father I can be.”

And that is the only answer I can give you. That’s how we change. Suddenly we want to be the best fathers we can be.

Twelve months ago today I became Dad, the only Dad they have, the best Dad I can be. 

  

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Mummuddlingthrough

Position Vacant: Night Nanny Required

My little twin boys are so happy, content and full of fun. I love spending my days playing with them, pulling silly faces, reading endless books and getting covered in baby mush at every feed. That is, up until it hits 7pm.   

From about 6 -10 months the boys slept so well. We’d pop them up to bed at 7pm and with a few shushes and strokes to their head they were off to sleep. Then we’d settle down to some dinner, clear up and get things ready for the next morning. Flopping unto the sofa around 9pm to relax for an hour before bed. I felt a teeny bit guilty for loving having our evenings back. But I did love it. I needed it. 

Now I am mourning their loss. They’ve now been gone for two whole months. Hopefully not forever. 

When the clock strikes seven, the twins morph into little sleep stealing gremlins. Gone are my super cute, happy boys. Hello crazy babies.  

They seem sleepy right up until they hit the cot mattress. Then all of a sudden they wake up and the baby gymnastics start in their cots. So it’s time. We need a night nanny.  

Position Vacant: Night Nanny*

Essential Criteria:

• You’ll have elastic arms and a stretchy back to stand in between two cots and stroke two heads at once

• An appreciation for the French Grey paint on the back wall of the nursery is a must. You’re going to be looking at it a lot

• You’ll need to understand this equation and ensure your response times are quick enough to avoid its development: A crying baby = a coughing baby = a vomiting baby = a baby that wakes his brother = two crying, babies, covered in vomit = two more baths = two more bottle feeds = two babies that need settled to sleep again in two clean cots

• You’ll have arms that can carry at least one baby for hours at at time while you pace up and down the room in the hope that sleep will eventually come 

• The ability to survive on less than 3 hours of undisturbed sleep per night

Desirable Criteria: 

• The magical ability to teach our babies how to sleep

That is it, if you can do that, you’re hired 

*Unfortunately this advert and the funds to support it, exist purely in my imagination. So if you do happen to have any ideas of how we can get our twins to sleep, please join the conversation below. All weird and wonderful suggestions welcome! Please.

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I’m linking this post up with #MarvMondays  

Weaning twins – How to spoon feed on your own!

We have regular follow up appointments at the paediatric hospital to monitor the twins’ growth and development because they were so premature. When they were 4 months old (1 month corrected) the paediatrician asked if I’d thought about starting to wean them. I nearly choked. They were tiny – I think at the time they weighed about 6 and 9lbs respectively. They could have been new-born babies… 

I had a good chat with the consultant and she explained that they like to take quite an aggressive approach to feeding with low birthweight babies. I smiled and nodded and went home and did some research of my own. I decided to wait a while before I started the boys on solid food. And I’m very very glad I did! I waited until they were 24 weeks and even that felt very early as technically they were only 14 weeks. 

As a first time mum I was quite daunted by the whole weaning thing. I felt like I had just about nailed the process for managing to bottle feed the twins on my own and now I had to re-think their whole routine and work out how to fit in (very-slow) spoon feeds. To top it all off, the twins had quite bad reflux and were horrendous projectile vomiters! The number of times I spent ages feeding the boys my lovely home-made baby purees only to have it puked all over me and everything nearby, 20 minutes later. 

I hated that there was no clear ‘how to’ manual. I wanted to know what to feed, how often, how much, if I should reduce their their milk intake etc etc. But every book I read only gave rough guidelines… In the end, I relied pretty heavily on a mixture of weaning methods and recipes from Annabel Karmel and Gina Forde until I found what worked best for us. 

We started weaning over the summer months when my husband was off work for the school holidays. I was terrified of having two babies choking at the same time and wanted a bit of help to get started. When he went back to work, I was quite nervous about doing all the feeds myself. But I got there!  

  

Here’s my top tips on feeding two babies yourself: 

• Try and find a comfortable way to sit for the feeding sessions. This is so important.Each feed could take you up to an hour for the first few weeks. And that’s a lot of time spent in the same position every day. For about the first 3 months of weaning, I had to feed the twins in their bouncer seats as they were just too small to sit up in a high chair. It wrecked my back and I wish that we’d invested in high chairs suitable from birth (they tilt back) from the start. Once we moved them into proper high chairs, it was so much easier.

  • If at all possible, feed them both at the same time. This means that you can prepare the food and have it heated up at the same time and you don’t have to go through that ritual twice. For the first few months I had to feed the boys one at a time as they got very distracted unless you gave them your full attention, and stopped eating. Once they got a bit bigger and they were used to spoon feeds, I started to feed them together. I just alternated mouthfuls. This works quite well as they have time to chew up their food as you feed their twin. 

• Leave yourself plenty of time. Trying to spoon feed two babies when you’re under pressure for time is a bad idea! I think they can sense that you are in a rush (!) and so everything that possibly could go wrong, does. If you are relaxed, hopefully that will make for calmer babies that want to eat their meal. 

• Invest in a split bowl. This is the best £5 I have ever spent on a baby product. It’s so much easier and quicker than having to switch between bowls for each spoonful. Get a nice deep bowl, so the spoons don’t fall out when you switch.

  • Two coverall feeding bibs are a must. Unless you want to have the washing machine on four times a day, instead of two! 

  • Two babies.Two spoons. I always try and make sure they have their own soon – they pick up enough coughs and colds and any effort I can make to limit that is definitively worth it. 

• Before you start, make sure you have all the essentials within arms reach. For me, that’s baby coverall bibs, kitchen roll, baby wipes and sippy cups. 

  • The freezer is your best friend. I rarely make their meals up just before they eat them. I make big batches of chicken, beef or fish based baby food and freeze them in individual portions. I also make a batch of vegetable mashes and every night, I lift out a protein portion and a vegetable portion to defrost overnight in the fridge. That means you can spend a few hours a week cooking and have tasty, home made food everyday.

  • Don’t feel bad about feeding pouches of bought baby food when you need to! I recently started using a lot of pre made fruit purees and the boys love them. I couldn’t keep up to the number of apples and pears that needed peeled on a weekly basis!

  • There will be days when one or both of them will just decide that they don’t want to eat. Don’t stress and just give them a bit of whatever it is they want –when our two are being fussy, the only thing they won’t refuse is fruit purée and yoghurt! Teething babies do not make good eaters. As long as they are getting plenty of milk, don’t worry about the odd ‘off’ day. 

I really didn’t enjoy the early stages of weaning – it’s depressing when you feel like you throw out more food than gets fed! But now I love mealtimes with the boys. They love their food and generally we have lots of fun in the highchairs. It’s a lot of mess. And I get really sick of cleaning the floor. But the giggles make their food smeared faces look very very cute! Have you enjoyed the weaning process or are you fed up with the mess?!

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Twins By Numbers

We’re going to be celebrating the boy’s 1st Birthday next week.That means we’ve had two babies for 12 whole months. I can’t quite believe it. Here’s our year in numbers: 

1 blue line

150+ dry crackers consumed

13 suspicious co-workers

1 very large bump

21 weeks until we knew we were having twins

2 petrified parents to be

1 deadly disease

1 emergency in-utero laser surgery in London

2.5 litres of amniotic fluid drained from my womb

2 little miracles

19 agonising antenatal appointments

775 approximate number of times I googled TTTS

8 trips to the toilet every night

72 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy watched post surgery

55 pear picking porky ice-lollies licked

2 steroid injections to help mature two tiny sets of lungs

22 hospital staff present in the delivery suite

2 beautiful baby boys born

10 weeks too early

1 besotted new mum

1 very proud new dad

2 little cosy incubators

0 cuddles with my babies on the day they were born

10 beeping monitors in NICU

2 beautiful faces

4 little hands for mummy to hold through the portholes

5 long weeks of going home every night without my beautiful babies

14 hours a day spent in an armchair in the neonatal unit

1 bittersweet night of bringing my eldest twin home

8 more heart-breaking weeks of leaving my little twin on his own in a hospital ward

4 return trips to ICU for Harry when he picked up infections and struggled to breathe

1 awful moment when the cardiologist told me that Harry needed open heart surgery

4 the number of lbs Harry needed to weigh before they would operate

2 air ambulance journeys for our little family

10 days spent in Westminster at Evelina Children’s Hospital

1 celebrity paediatrician – CBEEBIES Dr Ranj!

4 painful hours waiting whilst Harry was in surgery

48hrs post op spent sucking Daddy’s finger before Harry was allowed food

1 amazing day when we reunited our little family at home

2 happy little brothers

16 bottles a day for the first 4 months

4 nightly feeding sessions

2200+ bottles made in the first year

200+ projectile vomits over a 3 month period

1 very exasperated mum, dripping with puke

60 loads of washing each month

6400+ smiles from 2 very happy babies

5,824 nappy changes in the first year

32 baby books that elicit squeals of delight everyday

1,134 messy spoon feeds

4 little teeth that have made it through

Endless cuddles

2 bundles of joy

2 permanently shattered but very happy parents

12 months that have totally changed our lives forever

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I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays

Prawn, Chilli and Lemon Penne

 This is one of my favourite everyday pasta dishes and I am seriously proud of it. Its quick and easy to make, it’s healthy and most importantly it’s really really tasty. I make it really frequently and I enjoy it every time. Once you’ve tried it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a firm favourite with your family too.

I’ve recently started my #MissionHealthyMum and I’m on the look out for new, healthy and nutritious recipes. So you can expect to see more healthy eats popping up here.  

Ingredients – Serves Two

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped finely

olive oil

250g punnet of baby plum tomatoes, chopped in half

splash of balsamic vinegar

175g raw tiger prawns

50g Parmesan, grated and a little extra to serve

2 handfuls rocket

Juice of 1 lemon

Freshly killed salt and black pepper

150g dried penne

  

Method:

• Prepare all the ingredients, as above

• Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions

• Fry the garlic and chilli for a minute in a little olive oil to release the flavours

• Add the tomatoes and a splash of balsamic vinegar

• Cook for 5 minutes – the cherry tomatoes will start to break down and create a lovey tomato sauce

• Add the prawns to the tomato mixture and watch as they turn nice and pink. This will only take a few minutes

• Add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to the tomatoes and prawns to loosen the sauce

• Drain the pasta and add to the tomatoes and prawns

• Stir in the grated Parmesan and rocket

• Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the pasta and taste. Add more lemon juice if you fancy!

• Serve up and enjoy! (Preferably accompanied with a lovely crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc)

If you enjoyed this / found it useful, please share this post and maybe even tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest

  

  

I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays

Our Routine with Baby Twins

Warning: Please stop reading now if you don’t have one or more babies. This post will bore you to tears. We, parents of young babies, are obsessed with getting a baby routine that works for us and we will talk about it a lot. That’s just the way it is.   

Throughout my pregnancy, I did lots reading to prepare as much as I could for the twins’ arrival. One day I was persuaded by the no routine, baby-led approach to sleeping and feeding. The next, I was won over to the idea of implementing a fairly strict routine.

I was pretty terrified by the whole prospect of managing two babies on my own!

When the boys arrived and we finally brought them home, I soon realised that you can do all the reading in the world but when you have twin babies both screaming for food, cuddles or their nappy to be changed, I reckon most people (like me) just wing it in the early days.

That worked well enough when they were very young but as the boys got bigger, they weren’t as happy to wait to be fed when they got hungry and one would be getting upset as I fed his brother. So I tried to move to more of a structured routine in an attempt to pre-empt what they needed before they got upset.

Most parents find that they work out their own little routine but I found it really useful to read up on how what worked well for other people. So that’s why I’m sharing what’s worked well for us.  These are the routines that we fell into:

Newborn to 4 months routine

At this stage we only focused on a feeding routine. The babies slept when and if they wanted around the feeds. I kept the double pram with carrycots in our kitchen/living-room and they napped in the pram throughout the day. I woke them up if they were sleeping at a daytime or evening feed time. This is a bit controversial. For some, the idea of waking a sleeping baby is unthinkable. But with twins, you have to find what works for you and stick with it.

Our feed-times were

• Day-time: 7am, 10am, 1pm and 4pm during the day

• Evening: We cluster fed every two hours at 6pm, 8pm and the last feed at 10pm

• Night-time: I fed on demand at night-time.

Up until 12 weeks, this usually meant a feed at 1am and 4am. By about 12 weeks, they were managing to sleep through the night with only one night-time feed. My larger twin slept through the night from about 16 weeks and his brother slept through from about 20 weeks.

It’s always hard to know how much milk to offer and there’s not a stack of guidance available. I didn’t find the guides on the milk cartons terribly helpful. I generally worked to 2.5fl oz per lb. So when my babies weighed 5 lbs, I would aim to feed them a minimum of 12.5 oz over the course of the day.

Best case scenario is that you have two adults for each feed-time! In the first few weeks, I had a lot of help and often had a spare pair of hands to help with a feed. However, fairly quickly I had to get used to managing on my own during the day. I never really attempted to tandem feed because I wanted to get that 1:1 bonding time with each of my babies throughout the day. I would just place one baby on the play gym, positioned so they could see me whilst I fed and burped his brother.

If the baby on the play gym wasn’t happy and I couldn’t calm them with my singing (poor baby!) or a dummy, then I sometimes split the feeds. I would feed half a bottle to baby 1 then I’d swap babies and do the same for baby 2. Then repeat to finish off both feeds. One of my twins (I’ll not say who!) generally always needed to be fed first – he just wasn’t happy to lie and kick once he saw a bottle! Don’t feel bad if this is same with you – they will both get fed and it just makes it easier if you feed the fussier baby first!

 I should also mention that my boys were bottle fed (breast milk + formula) from the outset. The combination of a 10 week early delivery, weeks of tube-feeding, long stays in neonatal and heart-surgery meant that my plans to breastfeed were thwarted from the outset. I’ll keep the breast/bottle trauma for another post!

Thankfully I did have quite a lot of help in those first few months – mainly from my mum but also from an army of sisters, friends, aunties and cousins! The more help you can line up, the better!

4 months to 6 months routine

At around 4 months, the boys had stopped napping so easily in the pram and had started to fall asleep only when we went out for a walk. This wasn’t great for me as I needed some time in the house, when the twins were sleeping so that I could wash bottles, clothes and most importantly grab a cup of tea! So I introduced a morning sleep time, when I purposefully put them down for a nap. It took quite a few attempts to get it working and sometimes they’d be asleep in their bouncer seats before I managed to get them into their cots!

Nap-times:

• Morning: 8:30am to 9:30am – I put them into their cots for a nap

• Afternoon: I just let them have a nap in the pram when we went for a walk

At 4 months, I started to stretch out their feed-times, so they were taking bigger but less frequent feeds.

Our feed times were:

• Day-time: 7am, 10:30am, 1:30pm and 4:30pm

• Evening: 6:30pm

• Night-time: I fed on demand at night-time. My larger twin slept through the night from about 16 weeks and his brother slept through from about 20 weeks.

Knowing when to stop night-tIme feeds can be difficult. We stopped when we realised that it was simply a ‘comfort-suck.’ They’d have a few mouthfuls and then they were happy to settle back to sleep. When this happened, we simply gave them a dummy and they settled back to sleep. And that was the end of night feeding!

6 months to 10 months routine

With twins, you will spend a lot of your day feeding. But when you introduce weaning into the routine, you’ll start to wonder when you managed to fit anything else into your day! On top of what already seems like a mountain of jobs, you now need to make baby purees, clean up the mess and still feed the babies 4 bottles a day, each! Madness.

We’ve now managed to get into a routine that works for us all (well, most days anyway!). The boys are eating well and getting a good amount of sleep. We’ve had a few ‘bad’ weeks of sleep recently but that’s mostly been down to chest infections and teeth pushing through..

This is how are day looks with bottles, spoon feeds and naps

Bottle Feeds: 7am, 11am, 3pm, 6:30pm

Spoon Feeds: 8am, 12pm, 4:30/5pm

Nap-times: 9:15am – 10:15am, 12:45pm – 2:00pm

Bed-time at 7:15pm

There’s not a heck of a lot of time for much else!

The nap times are a bit erratic sometimes. Occasionally, they’ll sleep a bit longer in the morning and then not want an afternoon nap. I keep to the routines as much as possible and flex them a bit when we have outings and appointments etc.

11 months onwards

The boys are now 11 months and over the last few weeks, our routine has evolved again as they have become more interested in their solid meals and less interested in their bottles. I’ve dropped one of their morning feeds and adjusted their nap times to suit.

This is how are day now looks with bottles, spoon feeds and naps

Spoon Feeds: 7am, 12pm, 4:30/5pm

Bottle Feeds: 9am, 2pm, 6:30pm

Nap-times: 9:30am – 11:00am, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Bed-time at 7:15pm

The twins are currently 11 months old so I’ll update this post as our routines evolve. I think the next change will probably be to drop the morning sleep and increase the afternoon sleep. Although this may not happen for another few months!

Our twins were 10 weeks premature so you may find that your babies move though these routines a little quicker.

Do you prefer to have a routine or go with a baby-led approach? Any tips much appreciated, go on, leave a comment!

If you enjoyed this / found it useful, please share this post and maybe even tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest

  

I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays and #coolmumclub

Mummuddlingthrough

Review of the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep

When I was pregnant, I never even considered buying this as I had intended to breastfeed the twins. I read up on tandem breastfeeding techniques, bought a twin breastfeeding support pillow, watched lots of how-to clips and prepared for myself for a lot of time spent on the sofa! Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like this. 

The boys were born very prematurely at 30 weeks, they were tiny and they were fed through a tube for 4 weeks (Benjamin) and 6 weeks (Harry.) They were so tiny that the logistics of breastfeeding was very difficult – they got tired very quickly and their little mouths were just too small. I expressed for the first 8 weeks but this also proved very difficult as despite pumping every 2 hours, my milk never properly came in. I was expressing maybe 20-30ml with each attempt. 

When we finally made the move to formula, some of the nurses in the neonatal unit told me about the Tommee Tippee perfect prep. I did some research and bought one before the boys arrived home. I never looked back and it is my second most useful / favourite baby purchase. First place is reserved for my pram – I love it! (You can read my review of the Uppababy Vista here!) 

So far, I think I’ve made about 2000 bottles for the twins over the course of the last 11 months! I miss it every time we stay over somewhere and I have to make a bottle the old-fashioned way!  

   

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep – Reasons I love it 

• You can make a bottle in 2 minutes, at exactly the right temperature, ready to feed 

• It is so easy and straightforward to operate. My mum, who is a complete technophobe, has no difficulty using it! 

• You know that the bottle is exactly the right temperature. I find it hard to heat up feeds and know exactly when it is ready. The fear of scalding your baby is gone 

• When you are up multiple times in the night, this machine keeps the time you are out of bed to an absolute minimum 

• You can make a bottle with one hand – this is really important when you permanently have a baby on your hip!

 • You can use the machine with lots of different types of bottles – I use it with both Tommee Tippee and NUK bottles 

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep – A few niggles 

• The only thing I have found a tiny bit frustrating is the loud beep that comes from the machine when it is time to add the formula. It’s no issue during the day but I think it startled the babies a little when we were getting up for night feeds 

• You do need to order replacement filters for the machine – I’ve had to do this every 3 or 4 months but my usage is particularly high as I have twins. This isn’t really a niggle – just something you should take into account when purchasing 

In my opinion, this is a necessity for twin mums!! And a very handy piece of kit for anyone else! 

If you enjoyed this / found it useful, please share this post and maybe even tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest

**Please note, I have not been asked to provide a review of the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep and I purchased this machine myself. All views are my own.**

We're going on an adventure

Mission Healthy Mum

Today I stopped dieting. Twenty-two years later and my 12 year old slightly pudgy body has morphed into a mass of wobbly bits. I am determined to be fitter and healthier and my journey starts today.  

I have tried every diet known to man –some of them for half a day, some for months and a few on and off for years. Some with success and some without. I have lost a lot of weight along the way but have put every ounce back on again and added a few stone to boot. This pattern of on and off dieting really isn’t working.

 It takes me a few weeks to ‘build up’ the mental energy and commitment to start each new diet and each time, I spend the in-between weeks eating way too much. I justify it with thoughts of how much I will lose once I start this next new diet. This new diet that will transform my body and mean that I never need to count calories/syns/points again. Honestly, who am I trying to kid?

I have lost significant amounts of weight before but I never manage to keep it off. I just settle back into old eating habits. I love good food and enjoy cooking and baking. I don’t eat rubbish – I never buy ready meals and we tend to eat tasty, fresh, relatively healthy meals. The trouble is we simply eat more of them than we actually need. I also have a very sweet tooth and I love nothing more than a coffee and a yummy traybake. (Traybakes or sticky buns are something that we Northern Irishers are very good at. Too good at.)

Having two babies at once hasn’t helped matters. I never used to carry weight on my tummy and all of a sudden, I have a serious mummy tummy. A twin mummy tummy. It needs to go.

I’ve decided that the only way to stop this mania is to stop dieting forever. No more see-sawing between 500 calorie a day hell and eating far too much rubbish. No more ‘being good’ today and falling off the wagon tomorrow. I’m just going to focus on eating good, nutritious food that I enjoy, when I’m hungry and getting out walking as much as possible. Sounds simple. And sensible. Doesn’t it?

My challenge is to live by the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra. Something my mum, in her wisdom (and size 10 jeans) has been advocating for years.

  
My journey starts right here, right now. I’m going to weigh and measure myself this morning and then every 4 weeks from here on in. Mr C is going to join me on my healthy mission. So maybe I’ll report back on both of us!

I’m also going to be trying out the SlimPod from Thinking Slimmer – I’m hoping that it will complement my efforts to get healthy and shed my excess pounds. I really really want to avoid the lure of a faddy new diet that inevitably fails. I think the SlimPod sounds like a step in a new and more positive direction. From what I’ve read about it, it addresses the link between how we think about food and what we eat instead of focusing on long lists of food that you can and cannot eat.

Thinking Slimmer describe the Slim Pod as:

“…a nine-minute podcast which transforms the way you feel about food and yourself – and it breaks the perpetual diet-fail cycle. Day by day it retrains your brain so you instinctively make healthier choices, want to eat less and move more – perfect for lasting weight loss.”

It’s a big claim. And I really hope it works for me!

I’m going to be using the hashtag #missionhealthymum on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to track my progress, so come join me if you are also on a mission to lose the mummy tummy in 2016.

The question is – am I the oddity or do diets work for anyone?

**I have been given complementary access to the SlimPod programme from Thinking Slimmer. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.**

I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays and #coolmumclub

Mummuddlingthrough
Twins in Christmas costume

Our First Family Christmas Photo Album

Last December we hardly dared imagine a Christmas with our babies. I was 26 weeks pregnant and it was five weeks after an extremely risky surgery on my placenta. We had so many hopes but we knew the risks were high.

Our babies had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, a deadly disease that affects a small percentage of identical twin pregnancies. You can read all about my twin pregnancy here. Against all the odds, the boys made it through. They were very premature and very small but they made it.

And this year we had two 11 month old bundles of fun to spend Christmas with. Here’s a few snaps from the festive season!

 

I love the Christmas stocking tradition. My mum made the best stockings ever and I still got one until two years ago (!) when I got married and the mantle was passed to Mr C. He’s been doing a great job of carrying on the tradition. This is us hanging the twins’ stockings on Christmas Eve! I’m sure they didn’t really have a clue what was going on, but they made a fantastic attempt at joining in with Mummy and Daddy’s excitement.
  

On Christmas Eve, they gave us a rather fabulous gift of a full nights sleep! Unfortunately it was  one of the very few full nights sleep we saw over the two week holiday.

On Christmas morning, before we headed to Church, the boys came down to a bag of presents each to open and play with. The wrapping paper was definitely the biggest hit!

It’s been a really special time, sharing our celebration of the Christmas story and all that it means with our beautiful little miracles. 

 Our  First Family Christmas  Photo Album After our Christmas morning service  at Church, we headed up to my parents house. The boys are such sociable wee things and they  just love all the attention when there are plenty of grandparents , aunties, uncles and cousins around. 

The best purchase I made this Christmas were these high-chair toys. They kept the boys entertained the whole way through a delicious Christmas Lunch.

  

We had a lovely few weeks spending lots of time with the boys and with both sides of the family. I loved having Mr C at home for two weeks. Looking after baby twins is a lot easier with two pairs of hands!

 Our  First Family Christmas  Photo Album 

But just to keep it real (!) the photos don’t show everything and like every other parent at Christmas, there’s a lot of mania behind the scenes! 

They don’t show the hours that went into the planning and packing for a few nights away over Christmas and New Year. It doesn’t show the despair on our faces at 3am when the twins were both screaming and we just didn’t know how to settle them!Amplify the panic to settle screaming babies when they start to waken all of their little cousins who were staying in the same house. 

The last minute Christmas-shopping trips that needed to be fitted around the daily bottle, nap, meal schedules weren’t exactly straightforward.

 And there’s no photographic evidence of the number of coffees and the volume of under eye concealer that saw me through the last two weeks!!! But all things considered, it was pretty special really.

How was your Christmas? You can join in the conversation below or tweet me and let me know! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest if you’d like to see more posts. 

 Our  First Family Christmas  Photo Album 

I’m linking up with  #MarvMondays