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What to do during your Maternity Leave

My maternity leave was a couple of years ago now, although I still have fond memories of most of it, though I believe I have blocked out the first few months for sanity’s sake.

close up of a calendar picture

Everyone will obviously choose to do different things, I remember how shocked I was when I was talking to another mum at a surestart centre, and she said that this was the first time she had left the house. Her baby was almost 6 months old! I shouldn’t have been shocked though, because if someone wants to stay at home the whole time, that’s fine, if it is your choice, however, I do worry about the people who stay at home because they have nowhere to go, no friends or family nearby, or any ideas of where to take their baby.

I was and still am one of those mums who likes to get out of the house. I don’t think I spent a single whole day at home during my maternity leave, but that’s because I like being around people, I would have felt very lonely at home.

Since I was always out and about, I was always on the look out for ideas of places that were baby friendly in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas, and particularly for activities that were aimed at babies or new/first time mums, and this is what I found.

Ideas for things to do/activities for your baby

Surestart Centres

I’m starting with surestart/children’s centres because these should be the easiest for you to get to, are free and varied. In Milton Keynes there are over 100 Surestart centres, they have one on most estates, meaning they should be walking distance for most, classes are usually free and you can go to any centre you want, you are not limited to just your local centre, although some popular classes only allow those in their catchment to attend.

When your baby is very young you will likely use your centre to get your baby weighed as most health visitors run a weekly weigh-in clinic, and are also available to answer your questions, of which I always had loads! Some centres will also run breastfeeding clinics, which is especially useful if you are struggling, as they can check that the baby is latching on properly or help with the positioning or technique.

Some of the classes they have include:

  • Baby massage (Nate loved this and we did it every week in the heated sensory room at Hedgerows)
  • Messy play
  • Stay and play
  • Toddler time (music and dancing)
  • Cooking classes

baby massage benefits

Cinebabies at Cineworld

I wrote a post about Cinebabies whilst I was on maternity leave, because I thought it was such a fantastic idea. If you have read my blog before you will probably have noticed that I love movies, and have continued to go to the cinema a few times a month ever since Nate was born. This was made easier by Cinebabies which is: one morning a week Cineworld show a movie that is a 12A Certificate or lower, aimed at adults, but won’t upset the babies, the sound is turned down, the lights turned up. You get to watch a movie, for you, while your baby sleeps in the car-seat next to you (well that’s what Nate did). Odeon appear to do the same thing, called Newbies.

baby in a car seat at the cinema movies

NCT classes

NCT run useful courses for parents throughout the year such as – early days with your baby, baby massage, baby yoga, introducing solid foods, baby first aid. Most of their courses will involve a cost, but I am sure some of them are well worth it. I did their ante-natal classes and would highly recommend them, if only so you can make friends with like-minded parents who will all have a baby the same age as yours. NCT Course finder.

Play Centres

If you only have one child, you may want to wait until your baby can crawl before you take them to a play centre, that way, assuming there is a baby or toddler zone, they will gain some use from it, although it is vastly better when they can walk. If they are still young, bring your stamina too because those places are a major work out for the parent who runs around with their toddler. I’m surprised, actually, that no celebrity has yet to come out with the ‘play centre’ work-out! We took our son to one of our local play centres called 360 Play when he was 7 months for the first time, and he loved it. They have recently improved their outdoor area so they can be useful in the summer too. Recently he has been to Safari near me in MK, The Riverside Hub in Northampton and Snakes and Ladders in Dunstable. Our favourite is probably the Riverside, shame it is too far away to go there regularly. The best thing about that one is all of the play area is along one long back wall, so no matter where you sit, you can almost always see where your child is, which is perfect for older toddlers/children who are more independent. Play centres are also ideal as they have food and drink, so it is nice to sit and have a hot chocolate whilst watching your little one run around.

Gymnastics Centres

We have three gymnastics centres in Milton Keynes, they all run play sessions at different times of the day for babies and toddler to come along and play on the equipment. Again we took Nate when he could crawl, and since they also provide toys, and sometimes a music session this worked well, but again once they can walk, they are off. Our centre in Kingston is particularly huge so you could easily be running from one end of the room to the other every few minutes – another good work-out. The down side with these is that the sessions are time-limited, there is nowhere comfortable for parents to sit and no food or drinks there for adults.

baby gym sessions milton keynesplay sessions for baby

Library sing a long sessions

Most libraries that have a children’s section run rhyme time sessions with young children. In Milton Keynes we have 9 libraries and most of them run: baby song and rhymetime for under 2s and storytime for the under 5s. They run at different times between Tuesday and Saturday and they are free.

David Lloyd/Virgin Active – Creche

I joined David Lloyd for their 3 month membership when Nate was about 2 months old. They have a creche, so it meant I could try to lose a little baby weight in the gym, swimming pool or exercise classes whilst Nate was being taken care of for a short while. It was a real luxury to have a tiny bit of me time during my maternity leave, and when I was having a particularly bad day, like this one, I just sat in the sauna and hot tub, then had a hot chocolate and relaxed for a short while, trying to re-coup my energy from a particularly bad night. Virgin active, also had a creche and were much more affordable.

Waterbabies/Turtles classes

When Nate was 6 months old we started doing Water babies classes, and even though they were expensive, and quite hard at first with crying babies during the class and trying to get a baby and yourself changed afterwards, which is really tricky. It was worth it to see the change over the 12 week course. Nate became happier in the water, and even being submerged, and learned how to hold onto the side. Another bonus was that he always had a mammoth nap straight after the class. Waterbabies were the most expensive, though they used the best pools for their classes, with the warmest temperatures. Turtles classes were more cost-effective but in pools that were cooler and with less nice changing facilities, with an older baby or toddler I am sure that would be less of an issue.

baby swimming lessons

Buggy in the Park/Buggy Fit

Local parks trusts tend to run sessions for new mums and lots of family event through the year. The Parks Trust in Milton Keynes runs Buggy in the Park sessions and fun events through the year such as the Outdoor Cinema, Proms in the Park, World Picnic, Bark in the Park, MK Play Association fun days and more.

Classes run by private companies such as Baby Signing, Musical Monkeys, Rag Dolly Anna’s and more are also available.

3

50 Things that make me Happy

I was inspired by Ally at Messed up Mum so I thought I would take part, what a lovely idea as my week has been stressful, particularly at work, so this is a lovely activity for de-stressing. They are not in order, although the top few probably are my most loved!

  1. My boys
    3 year old on dads shoulders
  2. My family and friends
  3. Singing
  4. 112 (that’s an American band, not my favourite number – how weird would that be?)
  5. Dinner and a movie (at the cinema)
  6. About Time (that’s my favourite movie, check out my review)
  7. Home-made cakes
  8. Reading – but especially listening to audio books
  9. My son’s laughter (is there anything better than your child laughing?)toddler laughing
  10. Relaxing and watching old TV shows such as Dawson’s Creek, Ally McBeal, Friends, Charmed, Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters etc.
  11. Days out with my boys
  12. Angel perfume
  13. Chatting with my bestie while our children play together
  14. Coca-cola (favourite soft-drink)
  15. Mojito (favourite alcoholic drink)
  16. Pizza
  17. Yosemite National Park (went there on our honeymoon)big dome bridal veil falls
  18. Sleep
  19. Afternoon tea
  20. Cooked breakfast
  21. The Twilight novels and movies
  22. Blogging
  23. My job and most of my colleagues
  24. Fiorelli bags and purses
  25. Mexican food
  26. The seaside
  27. Helping someone
  28. Holding hands with my boy                                                                                       toddler wearing ear defenders
  29. Winter (yeah I’m a freak – I know!)
  30. Keeping up with the Kardashians
  31. Family holidays
  32. When Nate sings
  33. Writing in my diary
  34. Reminiscing with someone who knows me well/my history
  35. When hubby and I make each other laugh
  36. Planning/Researching our next holiday or day out
  37. Playing Bingo with my mum
  38. Listening to or watching Rock concerts on TV with my dad
  39. When days run smoothly
  40. Doing two things (or more) at the same time (e.g. listening to an audio book whilst walking/eating/cleaning)
  41. The health of myself and those that I love
  42. Chinese food
  43. Playing old computer games such as Sims, Theme Hospital, Mario etc.
  44. Sitting in front of an open fire
  45. Beautiful scenery
  46. Hydrangea                                                                                             lilac hydrangea in pots
  47. West Ham
  48. Cats (the musical)
  49. Roast potatoes
  50. Learning (especially about History and Literature

What makes you happy?

8

Big Bones and Stuffed Animals

We have been trying to go here for several weekends, and we finally made it there on Saturday, after a rather tricky and unlucky journey, but ultimately we had a good time.

It seemed like nothing was going our way – some days you just find that every traffic light is red and everything that can go wrong – does, well it was one of those days – BUT we did persevere and had an overall great day.

The things that went wrong:

  1. Nate was in a grumpy mood, pretty much all day.
  2. When we arrived at the train station our train was just pulling away.
  3. We had a 30 minute wait for the next train.
  4. The next train left from a different platform than we were told and we missed it.
  5. We got on the next train, which was wrong and went past Tring so we ended up in London.
  6. When we finally arrived at Tring station we had missed the bus, which only comes every 2 hours.
  7. We had to walk (with a toddler) 40 minutes into town, which took us 1 hour 5 minutes, due to little legs.

Now for the good stuff…

The Natural History Museum in Tring is free, it is pretty big (on 3 floors) and full of every kind of animal you could imagine. The downside is they don’t have any dinosaurs, although they did have the skeleton of a giant sloth from the Pleistocene period so I fibbed and told Nate it was a dinosaur!

dinosaur bones

It’s looks like a dinosaur doesn’t it? He didn’t care anyway, he was in awe of all of the animals. He kept pointing and opening his eyes in wonder, it was lovely to see. He did speed past the animals pretty quickly though, I would have liked to have looked at them more closely. For older children they have dinosaur coloring pages and activity sheets for them to take round the museum.

I have to say though that I was both amazed and disconcerted at the same time. Some of the animals are actually stuffed, which (although amazing to look at), makes me feel a bit sad, it feels somewhat morbid, but then I am also fascinated so I am very torn. The dogs particularly made me feel uncomfortable. However, seeing an actual Anaconda, a giant armadillo and a Komodo dragon, without having to trespass in their habitat etc. is pretty darn amazing and there are no other times or situations where you could see them, they are not exactly in a zoo.

real anaconda

giant armadillo dinosaur

I’m going to reveal a ditsy moment I had. I wandered into the second floor and came across this huge armadillo and I thought “Wow! I didn’t know armadillo’s were this big, how cool is that? Maybe I should go to Mexico”. Then I read the card that said it was a giant Armadillo from the ice-age! Oh well I left it too late.

A 5-10 minute walk from the Museum, on the high street, is a fantastic coffee bar called the “Espresso Lounge”, which was recommended by a friend, who said it was the best coffee and brownies in the world. I don’t drink coffee so I cannot vouch for that but the hot chocolate was pretty good and the brownie was actually delicious, I also really enjoyed a bacon sandwich on wholemeal bread that was pretty special.

coffee and sugarhot chocolate with marshmallowstoddler eating brownie

Interesting Facts

The museum was a private museum created by Lionel Walter Rothschild. He bred hybrids of Zebras and Horses called Zebroids and he would use them to pull his horse-drawn carriage, pretty strange. The museum has had some thefts recently of their birds and rhino horns, the thieves sold them on ebay. The Dodo is a replica, but some of the real (stuffed) animals have become extinct since Rothschild collected the specimens.

walter lionel rothschild zebroid

5

Nate at 3 years 3 months – Progress

A few stats first…

Weight: 3 stone

Height: 108cm

childrens height chart

Current favourites: Power Rangers, Big Hero 6, The Lion King, strawberry milk, yoghurts, pizza, the moon, going exploring.

Communication:

Nate has always been a big talker, he said his first word at 6 months and it just exploded from there. Now he talks incessantly about everything…and I love it! His phrase of the moment is “Did you know” and here are a few examples of his speech:

“Mummy just remember,(points to our car) that is my Batman-bill, and you musn’t break it, ok?”

“Mummy, I’ve noticed that you’ve been a good girl, so here, have a sticker.”

“You sing it slowly and I’ll sing it fastly.”

His letter recognition is improving slowly, he can sing the alphabet song very easily, and will recognise all of the letters in his name and a few odd letters like M in mummy and O and S in his friends’ names. He often says “Look mummy, that’s my letter”, he sees them on car number plates, signage, books and even on man-hole covers! I am (along with nursery) trying to help him learn the sounds of the letters in his name, as when they start school they teach through Phonics, which is all about breaking words down into their constituent sounds. So instead of saying “that’s en for Nate” I say “that’s nnnn for Nate”. I think it is helping because when we were reading before bed, a couple of nights ago, I asked him “how do you say that letter” he said “nnnnn”.

He loves to sing, which is fantastic as I do too. They teach him loads of songs at Nursery, which he will happy sing out loud at various times of the day, plus he picks up songs from movies pretty quickly. One of his favourite songs at the moment is “Roar” by Katy Perry, and he keeps making me play it in the car, all of the time, he knows all of the words to the chorus and is trying to learn the rest. A favourite movie at present is “The Lion King”, I put it on for the first time, a couple of weeks ago (a treasure from my past) and he instantly loved it, and like most 3 year olds now loves to watch it over and over again. He sings along to “I just can’t wait to be king” and “Hakuna Matata”, well we both do!

Physical

He has recently become more independent, and is quite happy to go off on his own in a play centre. Previously, one of us had to go with him, but now he feels comfortable enough to run off on his own, knowing that we are nearby. Which is lovely and sad at the same time, he doesn’t need me as much (so it makes me feel sad), but it is lovely to sit and watch.

safari play centre milton keynes

We potty-trained Nate over Christmas, so Nate had just turned 3 years old and he was obviously very ready because he had 3 accidents on the first day, 1 accident on the second day and then he was dry from then on, even including the excitement of Christmas day. Even though he was potty trained older than most of his peers, once he had it, it was cemented. I know of some who potty-trained earlier than Nate but still continue to have regular accidents. So, I guess I shouldn’t have been so worried that he was getting behind. He isn’t dry at night yet, but he is very close, because he wears pull ups and takes himself to the toilet in the middle of the night, plus he keeps asking to wear his pants in bed, so I don’t think it will be long.

Behaviour

Nate is a very well-behaved boy 90% of the time, but he is a 3 year old so he has his moments when he really tries my patience. I find the hardest parts of the day are the getting dressed and un-dressed, the beginning and end of the day. Those are more 50/50, sometimes he is happy and compliant, and other times he wants to do anything but get ready for bed.

Food

He eats a nice healthy breakfast, his favourites are Blueberry Shredded Wheat or Shreddies, his lunch is a nice mixture of fruit, veggies, cheese and yoghurt, however he will only eat ham or peanut butter sandwiches (on wholemeal bread at least), I wish I could vary that. However, my major bug-bear at present is what he eats at dinner time. He has become very fussy lately, refuses to eat things he used to eat (he previously ate Broccolli) and refuses to try anything new.

baby led weaningfeeding a baby

I have been reading a lot of fussy eating posts lately so I know I am in good company, worrying about this. Some of the things I am going to try include: smoothies, cupcakes and muffins with hidden veg, eating family style – BUT not until my damn fridge freezer gets fixed!

Some useful blog posts I read this week include Mum’s Days posts on healthy eating snacks, and Mini Yummers post on getting kids to eat more vegetables,

Sleep

He was sleeping fine and only waking up when he was sick or other rare occasions, however the last few weeks he has not wanted to go to bed and keeps getting up in the evening (not necessarily overnight), keep saying that he isn’t tired. I have been working on it though, so we will see what next week brings.

 Do you have a 3 year old? What are they like?

0

How to have calmer, easier mornings

My toddler/pre-schooler has recently become less co-operative, particular in the mornings, he used to be so beautifully behaved and would say “yes mummy” whenever I asked him to do something, well within reason. I guess I was lucky then because he is really testing his boundaries right now.

My boy is hard to get dressed in the morning, and in the evenings sometimes, therefore after a bit of research online I found that preschoolers and older toddlers do not like transitions.

difficult mornings with toddlerThis is Nate’s defiant, I don’t wanna get dressed face!

That certainly explained why we had a better time with him on weekends than we do in the week when we only really see him during transitions e.g. waking up, drop off at nursery, collection and then bed-time. He definitely appears more fractious during those times.

So my research yielded the following of which I will be trying most of and will report back.

  1. Children of this age do not liked to be rushed or hurried, so organisation the night before is important. Do as many tasks in advance as possible e.g. making lunches, choosing clothes and laying them out ready (for yourself and them), making or at least choosing breakfast, packing bags, and leaving of all essential items in one place (we leave ours by the front door).
  2. I particular struggle to get my little man dressed so one tip is to dress them the night before in the clothes for the next day, instead of pyjamas. I will consider this once my boy is out of nappies overnight. It would be pointless right now. I’m not sure this would work if they had to wear uniform to school, as it would get very crumpled, but is perhas okay for Nursery.
  3. Showing empathy and understanding and stating that to them out loud is recommended. I have to admit to wanting to try this as I have read about it in two books. The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin recommends this approach and the book “Talking so children listen and listening so children talk”. An example: “You don’t want to wear spiderman today, you want your Batman t-shirt, even though it’s being washed.”
  4. Keep it simple – decide in advance what you absolutely need to do in the mornings, and whatever chores or activities that are very important for your children to do before school/nursery and stick to that, if making the bed is not essential or important to you, don’t waste time arguing or trying to coax your child to do it.
  5. Descriptive Praise – as recommended by the book “Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting”. To aid co-operation it is important to give specific praise on the behaviour you are happy with, no matter how small it is e.g. “I have noticed that you put on your shoes by yourself”. What most parents (and myself) usually do is say “well done” or “fantastic” which is not helpful as the child does not know which behaviour he did correctly. I have to admit that I have already tried this approach, as soon as I read about it, and it appears to be working well for us so far.

How to you avoid the morning rush/stress?

2

Free Family-Friendly Forest of Fairies

Why visit Rushmere Country Park? Fantastic views, fairies, free entry and freedom.

We had planned a day out to the Natural History Museum in Tring today, however, since it was Bank Holiday the trains were not running as normal so we decided to do something more local, and since it was a beautiful day we decided to go to the park. The last time I went to Rushmere Park I was actually pregnant with my little man, I told this to Nate and he said:

“I remember mummy, but I couldn’t see”!

Well what a difference 3 years makes, they have certainly invested in Rushmere in Leighton Buzzard (aka Stockgrove Park) and it is a major improvement and is definitely more family friendly.

It costs £2 for parking (on exit) and is a beautiful forest, with the most magnificent views, so is more than worth it.

beautiful views of milton keynes

It now has a children’s park and sandpit, Nate really enjoyed the digger.

toddler playing with digger

Plus, for the first time, he went into the park by himself and made some friends, they asked him what his name was and pointed at his Turtles T-shirt, then they all played “Turtles” and played with the digger together, it was so sweet to watch.

It has a visitors centre and a new Tree Tops Cafe, overlooking the beautiful views.

Throughout the forest they have added some special little features such as Fairy/Goblin doors in the trees. Nate enjoyed finding the doors throughout the forest and knocking to see if any Goblins were home.

toddler knocking on tree doors

A Giant’s chair, which Nate flat-out refused to sit on, hubby loved it though!

rushmere park

Nate really loves “going exploring” as he calls it, he ran around, picked up sticks, looked for animals and bugs. It is so lovely to watch Nate interact with nature, to enjoy the sunshine and say things like “Mummy look at the blue sky, its so pretty”. He loved playing hide and seek, but still thinks that if he closes his eyes, you cannot see him!

toddler hiding in the woods

I have to admit, I am not very good at impromptu/unplanned days out, I am Mrs Organised, but my husband is the opposite, he is very go with the flow, and sometimes I am really glad that I give in to it and just see where the day takes us. We all had the most lovely day out, it costed us far less then the two trips I had planned, it was right on our door-step, and it was nature at its very best. I hope that I can relax and allow some of my days to be as beautifully unplanned as this one.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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This week I’m…

Watching…House of Cards season one – my husband recently got me hooked on this weird politically show, starring Kevin Spacey. Every time I watch an episode though, I keep thinking, those two are freaks! Frank and Claire Underwood – they are so weird.

Reading…an actual book: Six Little Miracles by Janet Walton – I’m really enjoying this story about the first lady to have sextuplets. I know how hard it is just having one child, so having six, and then having six all at once – amazing! Audiobook: I am listening to A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, I am revisiting thie beloved book. I love Bill Bryson, he is so funny, I love his dry humour and sarcasm. Nate is reading lots of books, but our current fave is The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson.

daisies and tulips

Trying…I bought myself a Bento-style lunch box and will be trying to indulge in healthier snacks at work such as granola, yoghurt, nuts and fruit. I love the little sections and pots in this fab little box, it even comes with mini cutlery!

Cooking…tonight we had a pasta dish that I invented myself – Garlic chicken in pasta, onions and chicken soup. Tomorrow we will be having bangers and mash with roasted apples and onions (Jamie Oliver I think), plus a whole host of other veg and we will be serving it family style and letting Nate help himself. This idea came from Mummy McD, who also has a fussy 3 year old. I am hoping he will try a few new foods, but without me pressuring him.

Planning…our 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up, so I am planning something fun for me and the hubster. Obviously I won’t be going into detail as he often reads my blogs *waves at hubby*.

Going…this weekend we are going to try to go to the Natural History Museum in Tring, we also need to go to the Library to get some new books. Nate wants some more Julia Donaldson books, as we have read most of hers.

What will you be doing this week?

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10

15 Things only a Toddler can get away with

Nate ran into nursery the other day and showed everyone his new underpants (TMNT ones) and it got me thinking, only babies/toddlers can get away with showing other people their pants…what else can they do and it’s not considered weird?

So only toddlers/young children can get away with…

1. Wearing a Captain America costume to the supermarket

toddler dressed as captain america
2. Weeing in public
3. Eating the same food every single day for months
4. Jumping on the furniture

sofa jumping

5. Shouting out inappropriately in public

6. Falling asleep in the middle of someone’s conversation

toddler sleep

7. Talking incessantly and not letting anyone else speak

8. Crying and pouting because you can’t get your own way

9. Cross-dressing: A boy can dress up as a princess and a girl can dress up as Bob the Builder.

10. Eating sweets all day long without feeling sick or feeling guilty

11. Believing in Santa and the Easter Bunny

12. Not paying taxes

13. Reading the same book over and over and over

14. Making up their own rules to every game

15. Where being good is the only work they have to do!

What do you wish you could get away with?

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You Baby Me Mummy
4

Liebster Award

Thank u Mumma McD for nominating me,  it is very much appreciated! Like most before me, I had never heard of the award but felt so happy to be chosen. So I am returning the blog-love by nominating others for the award.

Each nominee has to follow 6 simple rules:
Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the Liebster Award on your blog.
Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
Give 11 random facts about yourself.
Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award, that have less than 200 followers (I went off the number of Facebook and/or Bloglovin followers if I couldn’t tell from the blog).
Let those bloggers know you’ve nominated them.
Give them 11 questions to answer.

liebster-award

And the 11 questions for those bloggers:
How did you choose the name of your blog?

When I first started blogging, just as a diary, when Nate was a baby, I called my blog “Muslin Times”, with the tag line: it is the muslin time of my life. But the name looked like a religious newspaper and caused some confusion, so as Nate got a bit bigger and the focus was not so much on sleep deprivation and survival but became, days out, trips, play centres, parks etc and I simply loved to organise anything fun for us to do as a family. So it became Mum for Fun.

How much time per week do you spend on your blog?

Much more lately, but it is tricky because I work a full-time job out of the house and therefore have very little free time. I would say I spend about 12-15 hours a week on blog related activities.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Many things, but the two prominent ones were a teacher and a writer. If I wasn’t playing “Teacher” with my little brother I had a notebook in my hand.

Last piece of clothing you purchased?

Batman underpants – for Nate obviously! He is potty training right now so we have had to buy a bunch of new underpants.

Where in the world do you live?

I live in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England and I love it here, it is a beautiful green town, full of history and always growing.

Favourite television show at the moment?

Keeping up with the Kardashians is still my guilty pleasure, but I don’t tell many people that, so shhhhh keep it to yourself. The fave that I am not embarrassed to tell anyone about is Call the Midwife and House of Cards, watching them both on Netflix.

Favourite actor/actress?

It’s tricky, I tend to love a particular actor or actress because they are in one of my favourite movies, but then it keeps changing. I don’t think I could choose one, but I do like the following: Liam Neeson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Emily Blunt, Morgan Freeman, Bill Nighy.

How do you relax?

Dinner and a movie are my favourite activities, hubby and I get to do that when my parents take Nate for the night. Lying in bed and watching TV or reading helps me relax before I go to sleep.

Do you have a nickname? Or did you have one as a child?

Embarassingly my dad used to call me Gloria because I always (and still do) walk around the house singing. My friends and my brother all call me Kat, in fact my colleagues at work call me that too, but not my mum, she always calls me by my full name Katrina.

How do you take your coffee?

I don’t like coffee, however I take my tea white, no sugar. For christmas hubby and I bought each other a tea pot and real tea-leaves – its lush – am quite addicted to real tea now!

How many hours sleep do you get each night?

8.5 to 9 hours, depending on how tired I am. I need a lot of sleep!

Now for my 11 random facts:

  1. My nan gave birth to 14 children.
  2. I was once on the Timmy Mallet show as a child.
  3. I met Cheryl Cole (and the rest of Girls Aloud) on an airplane, they were sat behind us.
  4. On my honeymoon, I had a headache and stormed back to my room bumping into someone on my way, I did not look back, but husband was gobsmacked to see me bump into Don King on his way to a big boxing match at the MGM Grand.
  5. I almost died when I was 10 when I got chewing gum stuck in my throat and couldn’t breathe.
  6. During labour I shouted out answers to the women either side of me who were screaming such as “you can do it” and “don’t give up” etc whilst I was in the middle of my terrible labour pain, I don’t remember that though!
  7. After Nate’s birth, due to extreme sleep deprivation I hallucinated that someone was breaking onto the post-natal ward and dialed 999 from my mobile to tell the police.
  8. My favourite UK band is Muse, my favourite US bands are quite obscure: 112 and Danity Kane.
  9. I don’t put butter in sandwiches.
  10. I have kept a diary (and still do) since I was 10 years old.
  11. Singing is my most favourite thing to do.

Now for my 11 questions for my fellow bloggers that I nominated below:

  1. What do you do for a living, your career, either in our out of the home?
  2. What is your current worry for each of your children?
  3. What is the last movie you watched at home? At the cinema?
  4. What is your best blogging tip for newbie bloggers?
  5. Which is your favourite social media platform? Which brings you the most traffic?
  6. What one food could you eat every day for the rest of your life?
  7. What is your favourite activity to do with your child(ren)?
  8. Is child-rearing shared between you and your partner? If yes, how do you split up the cooking, cleaning, playing, changing, bathing, putting to bed, getting dressed etc of your children?
  9. What is your favourite perfume?
  10. Where was your best holiday as a couple? And where was your best family holiday?
  11. A cute or funny thing your child(ren) recently said?

Now for my top 11 newbie bloggers (newbie status according to amount of followers):

  1. Fit2Thrive
  2. Mummyscribbles
  3. The Family Patch
  4. The Dadaventurer
  5. Adventures of a novice mum
  6. Baby baby
  7. Hills and Daffodils
  8. Mama vs Teacher
  9. Mummy on a Budget
  10. Diary of a Midlife mummy
  11. Betty and the Bumps