First weekend away from Baby Girl: it begins

So, I am sat in the car on the way to *location omitted as currently a secret from the Hen* for a very old friend’s Hen Do – my first ever Hen Do. 

I am majorly excited. 

My mom spent the night last night to look after Baby Girl today as I was leaving at 10:45am, then the OH is flying solo from this evening until my return on Sunday evening. 

It’s a big weekend for us all. 

Baby Girl was in a funny mood this morning, she knew something was up & kept trying to take things out of my suitcase – slightly unhelpful! She also wouldn’t say good bye to me or let me hold her. Which was quite hard as it felt like I didn’t really get to say good bye.  But I’m feeling ok at the moment, only very, very mild separation anxiety. 

The OH has been left a crib sheet to refer to if in need, with the all important, “CBeebies is channel 121” at the bottom. 

The crib sheet is more for my piece of mind though. The OH isn’t your average guy. I’ll return on Sunday to find the apartment spotless, laundry done, Baby Girl with extra meals in the freezer. He sometimes gets a bit frazzled about timings for Baby Girl during the day but I’m confident they’ll have a brilliant time. 

As will I! I’m ready for a few days away to be someone other than Mama. After the tough month with the MMR & Leap 9, I’m raring to go!

See you on the other side…


The Adventures of Mog

On holiday in Italy, in March, my dad & H took Baby Girl to visit some family friends to meet their menagerie of pets. As they walked into the kitchen, Baby Girl locked eyes on a  little toy bunny (one of their grandchildren’s), hanging solemnly by his ears from the washing line.

“Da!” She cried, pointing at the bunny furiously. They all laughed & handed her the bunny. For the remainder of the visit, Baby Girl never let go of that bunny. Even when she met the two dogs, the four cats, the rabbits…

By the end of her visit, it was clear, Baby Girl had no intention of leaving the bunny behind. When they returned home, Baby Girl was clutching the bunny & has barely let go of him ever since.

One of the family’s cats was called Mog. In homage to his original home, Nana H named the bunny mog. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Baby Girl’s best friend.

Baby Girl & Mog share everything – even when Mog doesn’t want to…



Mog comes with us everywhere.



Very occasionally, Mog gets left behind…

Mog is always there for support & confidence.

Always ready & waiting to play

Partners in crime, stealing older girls’ skateboards…

Ready for a weekend away, God forbid Mog should be left behind!

Even when Baby Girl needs both her hands, Mog is never far away


And of course, Mog is there to help chase the pigeons.

BritMums Live 2015 Sponsor: Baby Monitor 3G app & give away

UnknownI was looking for a sponsor I felt relevant (i.e., probably a baby brand) and that I believed in, liked and supported already. Although they’re kindly paying for my ticket to BritMums Live 2015, I didn’t just want to give space on my blog and my time over to just any old brand.

Enter Baby Monitor 3G.

I approached Baby Monitor 3G as the OH & I have been so impressed with their app. BritMumsWe’ve been using the iOS version for about six months and it’s never let us down yet (there was one time we forgot to switch the app on… but that’s our fault, not their’s!).

You can read my original 5* review here, written long before I approached them about sponsorship.

Luckily, they were very excited at the chance to get involved and we started planning. We’ve held off announcing the partnership as they had some exciting to new features coming to the app, just in time for BritMums Live 2015.

So, with one month to go until the big event…

Let me introduce you.

Baby Monitor 3G is a fantastic iOS and Android app that allows you to turn two Apple or Android devices (or one of each) into an audio & video baby monitor using a wifi or your mobile data (3G/4G) network.

The initial set up with your two devices takes just 30 seconds.

“But won’t that use up all my data?” I hear you cry. The guys at Baby Monitor 3G are one step ahead; if you’re using your 3G or 4G network rather than wifi, the app will send you still images using the camera on the baby station device, rather than a livestream video, to conserve your data.

Still not convinced? Baby Monitor 3G guarantee you’ll only use 1MB of data for every hour you use their app using your mobile data package (i.e., on a mobile operator network, not your wifi).

Key features:
  1. realtime audio and video monitoring with adjustable volume
  2. pair two Apple devices, two Android devices or one of each
  3. soothe your baby from afar using the microphone in your device to talk to your baby
  4. use your device’s flash to act as a nightlight, which you can activate via the parent station device
  5. never miss a whimper with vibration alerts; leave your phone locked in your pocked & the app keeps running in the background.
  6. relax, the app monitors your battery life and connection on both devices being used and alerts you if one is running low or your connection isn’t strong enough.

Baby Monitor 3G is compatible with:

  • iPhone, iPad & Apple Watch (£2.99)
  • Mac OS X (£4.99)
  • Android tablets and smartphones (£2.89)
  • Windows 7 coming soon
  • Chrome OS coming soon

You can read my original 5* review here, now updated with the new feature information.

IMG_0206The give away

I’ve got 10 free Apple downloads of the iOS or Mac app to give away to ten lucky readers.

To Enter: simply comment on this blog post answering the following question;

Now you won’t need space in your luggage for a baby monitor, what will you take instead?

Remember, once you have downloaded the app on one Apple device, you can download it on your other Apple devices for free.

Don’t forget to Tweet @bumpbabyme with the #bumpbabyBM3G.

Find out more about Baby Monitor 3G on their website.
Find Baby Monitor 3G on Twitter & Facebook.

Good luck!

The competition will be open from Monday, May 25, 2015 to Monday, June 1, 2015. Winners will be contacted on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. One code per person. Codes only work in the Apple App Store.




Me & You: May 20

IMG_0448Last night was date night once again & this month, we had planned ahead to avoid committing the ultimate parenting faux pas once again of having a baby sitter & nothing to do!

The back story…

Christmas 2013. I was heavily pregnant & everyone was struggling with ideas of what to get me. I didn’t really need anything, clothes (usually a Christmas fail-safe ) were definite a no-go zone & the only things I could come up with were baby related, which no one was willing to buy me. “It needs to be something for you,” they all said.

So, I suggested theatre tickets to use before Bump was due in the February, knowing we probably wouldn’t get much of a chance after he (yes, I was convinced Baby Girl was a ‘he’) arrived. The OH was particularly keen on The Book of Mormon, especially as the tickets were well out of our price range.

So my parents kindly bought us two tickets to see this notorious musical. Alas, we never got to go. Unfortunately, they booked the actual tickets rather than a redeemable voucher without asking when we were free. The OH had his last hurrah before fatherhood in January, a week long boys’ ski trip… Guess when they booked the tickets for…

So we gave the tickets to the OH’s parents instead, who said they would buy us another pair when we found another date we could go…

17 months later…

We finally got to see The Book of Mormon!!

I was right; we didn’t get a chance to go to the theatre after Baby Girl was born. It was indeed, rather low down on the to do list, even for me, a total theatre nut.

But two months ago, we planned ahead & booked two tickets to see The Book of Mormon. We had amazing seats – centre of the front row of the dress circle (it pays to plan ahead!).

Now, we’ve all read the reviews. “It’s amazing!”, “sidesplittingly hilarious!”, “not-to-be-missed!”. So I was expecting great things from The Book of Mormon, even though I’m not the biggest South Park fan (the OH is) & had originally suggested these tickets so that we would both enjoy the theatre rather than just me.

Well. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much in the theatre, so continuously throughout a performance. (And I’ve seen a lot of shows!) It was absolutely brilliant.

I cannot recommend this show enough; if you have a date night opportunity, go see this show. The tickets are expensive, but worth every penny.

The only downside to a theatre date night (on a weeknight especially) is that it’s all a bit rushed.

The OH scooted out of work at 5pm so we could meet for dinner beforehand, but I ended up held up on the phone to a recruiter regarding my job hunt at the moment.

So eventually, we met at  Bone Daddies Shackfuyu in Leicester Square about 6:30, giving us just 45 minutes to wolf down some (awesome) modern Japanese food and practically run to Piccadilly where the theatre was. (Me not being so used to heels these days, this was fun. And I ended up with a stitch.)

If you’re a Londoner, you need to check out Bone Daddies Shackfuyu. It’s a great little place that “playfully highlights foods current in Japan today”. I’d recommend the Korean fried chicken wings (OMG.), picanha beef (my favourite of the night) and prawn toast with BBQ sauce (so, so good).

And the Bone Daddies Punch – you might want a few of these.

Bonus Date Night!

This month, we’ve actually been lucky enough to wangle two date nights! I mentioned the other week my mom took Baby Girl for 24 hours as between the MMR reaction and Leap 9 we needed a break.

To be honest, we both just wanted to sleep. But determined not to waste some child-free time, we dragged ourselves to Street Feast at Dalston Yard – “the food market that knows how to party”. If you hadn’t realised yet (given most of our date nights revolve around food in some way or another) we’re big foodies, the OH in particular.

Baby Girl actually joined us at Street Feast last year at just three months old. But now she’s toddling, we fear this might just end with her having various types delicious dishes thrown on her head as she trips everyone up running between their legs!

We had great visions of Street Feast sans Baby Girl; beer, good food, music… The reality didn’t disappoint: the food was delicious (Kimchinary, Korean burritos, yes, really, were mouth-wateringly good), the beers were cold & we even bumped into some friends we didn’t know were going. But at 8:30 we turned to each other & said, “I’m knackered. Shall we go home?” We were in bed by 9:30pm and slept for a eleven straight hours.

Utter bliss.

At 8:30 when we woke up, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. I was bouncing round the apartment, not used to so much energy & we actually struggled to find things to do to fill the time until my mom brought Baby Girl back that afternoon! All we kept saying was, “what did we do before we had Baby Girl on a Sunday?”

And that’s when it hit us. If we could go back in time and have baby-free lives again, we would be so efficient. We’d probably have solved world peace by now if we had that kind of time again!


Mama Badge: Surviving the MMR vaccine

  Time & time again my parents tell the infamous story of me, age two, a few weeks after having my MMR, repeatedly banging my head off the floor, distraught with swollen glands.

Twenty-four years on, my mum friends who had had the MMR before us warned me it would be bleak; fever, crying, the usual fall out of a jab but up a notch or two now they’re older.

In the UK, babies now get the MMR around their first birthday. However, I delayed ours by about a month as we were going on holiday, then I had some freelance work on… Safe to say I’m very, very pleased I waited for Baby Girl to get her MMR when I had the time to deal with the reaction rather than trying to deal with it on a plane to Italy.

The MMR is a live vaccine. That means the reaction isn’t immediate. The virus stays in your baby’s system for some time, ‘working it’s magic’. It’s hardcore. And hellish.

Phase 1: Measles

Baby Girl just gave up and put her head down on the changing table for a nap.

Between five and ten days after the jab, measles begins to rear its ugly head. Baby Girl had a rash down her back and around her mouth. She had a light fever, looked a bit sorry for herself, seemed a bit under the weather & was a bit grumpier than usual.

But this felt manageable.

Phase 2: Mumps

Between three and five weeks after the jab, the mumps part of the MMR comes to play.

The NHS website says:

one in 50 children develop a mild form of mumps. This includes swelling of the glands in the cheek, neck or under the jaw, and lasts for a day or two.

 Just take that in for a minute. One in 50. That seems a low chance doesn’t it?

Well dear reader, I’ve taken bullet for you. Because Baby Girl was that one.

Oh sweet Jesus.

Baby Girl was in a fowl mood for about three days. Cried at almost everything. Didn’t want to be held, didn’t want to be put down. Didn’t want to eat, but then would bang at the kitchen cupboard, howling, as though we were starving her. Nothing was right. At all.

On the Tuesday, I was house hunting in the afternoon then going to an interview so my mom was coming about 11am to hold down the fort. By 8am, Baby Girl was absolutely inconsolable. The crying started, honestly, for no apparent reason. She was playing on the bedroom floor while I dried my hair then just started wailing. She was red in the face, tears streaming down her cheeks, her voice hoarse with the screaming, rolling and writhing around on the floor. If I went near her, she crawled away, crying louder. I was beside myself. I didn’t know what to do.

I tried forcing paracetamol down her neck with a syringe (a baby friendly one that comes in the packet I hasten to add!) but she just batted me away, flailing & flopping this way & that, nearly whacking her head numerous times. So I gave up.

By 9am, I simply grabbed her & tried to clasp her tightly to me, rocking her gently, desperately trying to sooth her. The screaming reached new decibels & in her desperate attempt to escape, she kicked so hard she smacked her head off the floor. I let go defeated and let her crawl away from me once again, still crying.

And that’s when it started.

She knelt up, threw her head back then flopped forwards, banging her head off the floor. Again & again & again. Exactly as my parents described me doing 24 years ago. No matter what I did, I couldn’t make her stop.

By 9:45am, we were on opposite sides of the room, both sobbing. I was completely spent & I felt utterly useless. What good is a mother if they can’t make you feel better?

NB: I don’t usually take photos of Baby Girl when in distress rather than helping her. This was taken to send to the OH while he was a at with the caption, “I don’t know what to do!”

Some time after 10am, she finally calmed, lying on her side, whimpering quietly. I slowly crawled towards her & started stroking her head, singing softly. We stayed like that for some time.

This was the only morning it got this bad. The following morning we had about an hour and a half of solid crying, though thankfully no head banging. After about three days, she was just a bit grumpier than usual but otherwise back to normal.

Phase 3: rubella 

Things quieten after phase two for most bambinos. You might be dealing with Leap 9, just to add insult to injury, but usually, you wouldn’t have had as severe a reaction to phase two as Baby Girl did & you’re on the home stretch.

Then BAM! Rubella swoops in & ruins everything.

Up to six weeks – six weeks! – after the initial jab (giving you just enough time to forget about it…) your baby can suffer from a rash & fever. On Saturday, Baby Girl woke up with a runny nose. By bedtime, she had a fever and a rash around her mouth & creeping up her right arm. Bedtime was long & arduous. She screamed for someone to comfort her, then cuddled Ewan the Sheep like her life depended on it while you rubbed her back softly.

But fingers crossed, this is it now. We’re done & dusted…

We’ve had more than a few long, loud, nights as a result of the MMR & a few long, tough days as well.

So, I do believe we’ve earned another badge. And that’s about the only silver lining there is to the MMR.


Bump, Baby & Yogi Tea give away!

I love tea. I’ve drunk it since I was iddy biddy – though then it was more milk than tea – and now actually drink it black.

When I fell pregnant, giving up caffeine was one of the harder things I had to do. Especially as you’re so flaming tired all the time! NHS guidelines state:

High levels of caffeine during pregnancy can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life. Too much caffeine can also cause a miscarriage. You don’t need to cut caffeine out completely, but you should limit how much you have to no more than 200mg a day. Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or water…

Furthermore, some studies report that having more than the recommended daily intake of caffeine during pregnancy can lead to the baby having an increased heart rate, increased breathing rate and can have trouble sleeping. (Find out more here.)

The levels of caffeine, however, vary drastically between homemade coffee, Starbucks espresso & a Costa Mocha. I was a typical first time mum, panicked & decided to go almost cold turkey. (You can read about my caffeine-free hardship here.) Considering my office had a Costa and a Starbucks in the building, I think I did pretty well.

To help with the transition, I started drinking herbal teas. And I actually got really into it.

Caffeine free green tea, camomile tea, berry tea, jasmine tea… the list went on & on.*

While breastfeeding, my caffeine intake stayed relatively low – god forbid I should give Baby Girl any reason not to sleep! But once off the boob, the number of cups of tea & coffee slowly started to creep up as I struggled to cope with the long term sleep deprivation.

Around Baby Girl’s first birthday I realised I was drinking a whopping 3-5 cups of tea & coffee a day. Which just didn’t seem healthy.

So when Yogi Tea got in touch asking if I’d like to try their range, I was delighted. Free tea? Yes please!

When the box arrived, it smelled like Christmas and a spa all rolled into one. If that doesn’t sell them, nothing will. The Bedtime tea has become a quick favourite of mine & the little recipe book the also sent me includes some really interesting & delicious ideas.

But whether you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, on a health kick or just a herbal-tea-nut, I have a little something to share the love…

Drum roll please…!

For my first ever give away on the blog, you can win:IMG_0433

  1. Six boxes of Ayurvedic** blend Yogi Tea:
    – Bedtime tea (my favourite): fennel, chamomile and valerian root
    – Classic tea: cinnamonm cardamom and ginger
    – Stomach Ease tea: cardamom, fennel and ginger
    – Choco tea (so warming; like healthy hot chocolate!): IMG_0434cocoa shells, liquorice and cinnamon
    – Throat Comfort tea:  liquorice, fennel and thyme
    – Licorice tea: liquorice, orange peel and cardamom
  2. Yogi Tea mug
  3. Yogi Tea ceramic To Go mug
  4. Yogi Tea hemp bag
  5. Yogi Tea tote bag
  6. Yogi Tea 2015/2016 calendar with recipes and yoga positions
  7. IMG_0432Stimulate Your Senses booklet introducing you to the full Yogi tea range
  8. ‘Recipes for Healthy Living’ cookbook with 50 recipes and 50 yoga postures (I was very tempted to keep this for myself!)

To Enter: simply comment on this blog post with why you want to win the Yogi Tea Hamper

Don’t forget to Tweet @bumpbabyme with the #bumpbabyyogitea.

Find out more about Yogi Tea on their website. And join @yogiateaeurope on #teatagthursdays; show us your cup of cha.

The competition will be open from Friday May 15, 2015 to midnight on Friday May 22, 2015. The winner will be picked and notified on Saturday, May 23, 2015.

Good luck!


*Always double check the ingredients of herbal teas as some aren’t suitable for ladies up the duff. For example, do not drink raspberry leaf tea until you’re really ready to pop!
**Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It was developed thousands of years ago in India. It is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Read more about the art of Ayurveda here.

Parenting Hack #5: makeshift door latch cover

Every parent knows the situation all too well: bambino has finally fallen asleep and you’ve managed to successfully transfer the sleeping cherub from your arms to the cot.


You start backing away, slowly, silently, like a ninja and you ever so carefully close the door behind you…


The door latch. That damned door latch! And so bambino is awake. Again.

Many parents now invest in ‘Wrap and Naps’; basically pieces of cloth with a loop on each end you wrap around the door handles, preventing the door from latching or closing properly.

But as new (younger) parents, we’re on a tight budget and I the option to make my own is pretty much non-existant as I can barely even sew on buttons successfully. (Back in the day, the teacher actually asked me not to consider Textiles GCSE… as if I ever would!)

So, instead, I suggest a bandaid. (Sorry; ‘plaster’). A friend of mine used sellotape, but in a rented property, we can’t risk the tape removing the paint work. A bandaid (‘plaster’) is gentle enough it won’t take the paint off, but strong enough to hold the blasted door latch at bay. And the little extra padded cushion in the middle of a bandaid (get over it) also helps cushion the door ever so slightly. Win.

I’m Going to BritMums Live 2015

In June, I’m attending the BritMums Live! 2015 event.

(I’m also shortlisted for a BiB in the Family Category. Don’t forget to cast your vote by May 15 – whoever you’re voting for!)

BritMums have suggested we all write a bit about ourselves ahead of the big day. But I thought I’d give you all a chance to get to know me a bit better with my first ever vlog…

(Feedback welcome! I’m ridiculously nervous about doing a vlog!)

Blog: Bump, Baby & Me

Podcast: The ParentCast

Twitter: @amiecaitlin / @bumpbabyme / @theparentcast

Instagram: @bumpbabyme

Pinterest: bumpbabyme I’m going to BritMums Live

The Wonder Weeks: Leap 9… AKA Purgatory

The blog has been quiet for the last week or so because I’ve been furiously house hunting & prepping for & attending three job interviews.

And dealing with the baby from hell thanks to Leap 9.

Never have I been less mentally prepared for an interview in my life.

One morning last week, she screamed, writhing & rolling around on the floor, sobbing her heart out for nearly an hour and a half. She had had her MMR the week before as well, so it could have been a reaction that; but the truth is, I don’t really know.

If I went near her, let alone tried to touch her she just screamed louder & crawled away from me distraught. Eventually, this ended with us both crying on opposite sides of the room. By the time my mom arrived at midday, I was a frazzled mess, in no fit state for an interview. And I can confirm, I did not come across my best…

We’ve also had more night wakings in the past couple of weeks; a few nights Baby Girl has had us up for three, even five hour stretches. She only settles if in our arms, which as we’ve been so successful with gentle sleep training, we’ve been loath to do. But my god, when you’re that tired & after that long in the dead of night, no doubt having woken up all the neighbours, the silence that comes with sitting in an arm chair with a toddler in your arms is too great. Even the OH – a diehard sleep trainer – gave in a few nights just to stop the crying!

I’m not usually one to be negative on the blog. Who wants to read about the miseries of parenthood – experiencing them for yourself is bad enough! And if I am, it’s usually in a  light, let’s-find-the-laughter-instead-of-the-tears kind of way.

But the truth is, even just writing this, I feel quite emotional at how difficult the last couple of weeks have been.

It’s been really tough. No, scratch that. Leap 9 has brought with it some of the hardest days of parenthood to date. And last weekend my mom actually had to take Baby Girl to her’s for 24 hours while we had a break as I was nearing my wits end, my patience shot & my energy levels nearing zero; the OH could barely function at work on how little sleep we were getting.

This weekend, we’ve had a busy one. We were at a friend’s house last night for his birthday. We took Baby Girl with us & stayed the night so we could enjoy the evening not worrying about dashing home to relieve a baby sitter or grab last tube.

And she has been a dream, charming everybody at the party, going to sleep on time & pretty much sleeping through. You wouldn’t believe she was the same child.

The Wonder Weeks app tells me we still have fourteen days to go until the end of leap 9 but tentatively, I wonder (hope!) if we might be starting to regain some equilibrium as Baby Girl begins to get a handle on her new skills.

But what is Baby Girl learning? Leap 9 opens up the world of ‘Principles’ to Baby Girl. She’s no longer a baby, getting a grip on the world around her & mastering the previous leaps fully.

Leap 9 allows her to;

  • Play with emotions, facial expressions & behaviour. (Tick… What a joy…)
  • Wants to do things by herself. (Yep; if I touch her spoon during mealtimes it’s met with screams & her throwing her bowl on the floor. Good times! There’s that wilful personality shining through… Sadly only myself to blame for this one.)
  • ‘Playing house,’ pretending to clean or take care of her toys.
  • Thinks ahead & makes plans
  • Temper tantrums & nagging to get her own way. (Oh yeh; Baby Girl has reached this stage in a big way.)
  • Understands the concept of ‘mine & yours’ (the trick is getting her to share…)
  • Starts negotiating & bargaining
  • May have irrational fears

Leap 9 is the penultimate leap in The Wonder Weeks. I can’t believe it. It feels like only yesterday I downloaded the app! There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

And then I realise that she’s only fourteen months old and we have toddlerhood, childhood & the teenage years yet to go…

That light is dimming somewhat…

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonder Weeks posts.



Kate’s in labour: leave her in peace

A friend of mine works in TV & has been called to the Lindo wing this morning after news broke Kate’s gone into labour. My friend will be filming (I quote) “all the nutters outside”.

We’re all thrilled for Kate & Wills. A baby brings joy regardless of his/her pedigree & I couldn’t be happier for the couple.

But am I headed to the Lindo wing this morning? Am I hell.

And neither should anybody else.

Giving birth is such a personal, private, emotional moment between two parents (& their medical team). Why do the British public think they have the right to be a part of that moment?

How many of those civilians camping outside for this past week are parents themselves? How would they have felt if their birth experience had been scrutinised in such a way? If they’d been expected to look camera ready days after giving birth (& let me just say, she looked bloody amazing on the steps of the Lindo wing two years ago – far better than I did after giving birth, make up team or not!)

As if it’s not stressful enough trying pop the light of your life out of your woowoo!

I am aware this is the royal family; they’re used to being in the public eye; their lives not being their own & Kate of all of them had a choice in the matter. But I feel this is one time they should be allowed to have some peace, just be a family & not deal with the press & the UK public until they’re ready.

So go home, put the kettle on & wait for them to introduce you to Royal Baby 2.0. Leave them to have this precious moment in peace. After all, at the end of the day, they’re just people too.