Last month we had our first trip abroad as a four, it was amazing and something I'd anticipated from the moment we booked it four months prior. We've been out of the country every year since as long as I can remember, and it's something I have continued with my sons, I really love for them to explore and for us to have these special memories together as a family. However, travelling with children isn't always easy, particularly babies. They need a lot because they're doing quite a lot. If you're thinking about heading away and are anything like me, you'll be researching heavily into what you can and can't be without when abroad, I'm hoping my little must have's will give you that little extra help in figuring it out.


Oh smoking, that deadly pleasure many people are addicted to. Everyone talks about the threats that a cigarette can possess to your health, and about the thousands of chemicals found in the tobacco smoke. But did you know that when you inhale and exhale that cigarette you’re not only harming yourself but you’re also putting at risk your children’s health too? The smoke that comes out of it travels through walls, hallways, and ventilation systems, exposing your children to the same health threats as a smoker. As a non smoker it's such a hard pill to swallow knowing my children are quite often exposed to others cigarette smoke, we experience it almost daily - having to walk through a plume of stinky stuff, I've strode through it outside hospitals when carrying my newborn, when trying to enter supermarkets with my children in a trolley or simply walking behind someone and being met with a huge slap in the face of smoke. It's something I'm really, really against and I know sometimes I should probably hide my disgust a little better, but I just can't help it. My tolerance level is incredibly low, especially when people are knowingly exposing their children to it.


When we envision our waters breaking it's usually one of huge gushes on the kitchen floor ensued by a mass panic to scramble the hospital bags in the car because an arrival was imminent. But what happens when your waters break a whole 11 weeks early? When the doctors ignore your concerns and you're rushed off home to continue into pregnancy. I even doubted myself. Had my waters gone or was this another side affect of pregnancy? Was I already losing full bladder control at the age of 23? I swear my story is like something you read in one of those 'real life' magazines.


I really worried upon making the choice to return to work, that I'd struggle to keep up the momentum I had with this blog. I imagined within a couple of weeks it falling to the side and in all honesty, it turning stale again for a while till I had things figured out. It had happened previously after my maternity leave with Noah ended and I truly couldn't see how this time would be different. I knew I had developed more of a deep rooted love for my blog this time around, and I was making a small income from it monthly, so that was definitely an incentive to push harder. But if I couldn't keep it up last time, and I would be having more on my plate now more than ever with two children in the mix, surely it would suffer the same fate? I guess the proof would only be in the pudding, how I actually felt when I returned to work and had to juggle my blog alongside that.


We love Ellas Kitchen, it's not only an iconic brand for us in the baby world but one that I trust as we've used it for over three years now. We've tried everything from the baby porridge, right up to their toddler and preschooler snacks - both my boys have always enjoyed anything Ellas Kitchen have to offer. We were fortunate enough to work with Ellas Kitchen when Noah was one, and of course I was delighted when they got in touch to ask Patrick to be one of their 'Tiny Tasters'. This meant he got to sample their delicious new pouches and boy were they a treat for his taste buds.


I've now been officially back at work for over a full month, I've had the benefit of a full pay day too - YAY! I did begin to write this a week in but realised that it wouldn't really give a full portrayal, as a week definitely isn't enough time to tell how things have settled. But now I feel I can properly sit down and thrash out my thoughts on how everything has gone with both me and family life in my transition from maternity leave to work. Returning to work is a big task, of which I so desperately wish and do hope for the future, that phased returns will become the norm. I was incredibly lucky that my proposal to work 4 days instead of 5 now, was approved - as I really can't imagine running a house, with two smalls, working 5 days a week. People who manage it deserve medals.


You're eleven month old update was one I have been incredibly nervous about writing, not so much now but over the last month. I've worked throughout the entirety of your tenth month, meaning only evenings, weekends and Mondays are ours to share and honestly, I wondered if I'd have anything to write - perhaps I would have missed any important milestones you would be hitting and not really know what you have been up to as such, maybe I wouldn't have noticed if you're saying a new word until a couple of weeks after you first spoke it? Or what if you got a new tooth and I wasn't the first to see it? I couldn't have been more wrong, I don't feel as though I have missed one thing, nor do I feel that I know you any less. Each hour, day and month our bond just grows and I can't quite believe your next update will be at a year old my son.


I made a little mantra to myself to be more positive, don't get me wrong I'm not one of these people sat warning off  'negativity' with incense around the house, I understand there are times when you are bound to feel down and negative, which is a perfectly normal, part and parcel of daily life - but I do believe positivity breeds positivity. I've followed the beautiful Emily's gratitude lists since she started over six months ago, even though they aren't relative to me as they're her thoughts and feelings, I cant' help but feel a little pick me-up when I read them myself. It's a fantastic idea and one that I want to try to do occasionally myself, starting today. It's easy to feel grateful for material things as it's physical, but more and more as parents I think we find happiness in the little things in life; - the toddler eating their meal without a tantrum, successfully avoiding a danger nap with the baby, a full nights sleep and a washing basket empty.


If you've been around here long enough, you will probably notice I didn't really document much of my first two trimesters with Patrick and there is a very good reason for it all, besides the usual pregnancy exhaustion, I was uncontrollably sick. Flashing back, it's only around this time last year that I could go a day without having a second screening on what I'd eaten that day, the first twenty weeks were nothing short of horrific for me. It was a huge shock, with Noah I'd had your most textbook pregnancy with no real out of the ordinary sickness, so suffering with hyperemesis gravidarium hit me like a tornado.


My post on controlled crying has been one of my most popular so far this month and that tells me that the sleep deprivation is troubling a lot of parents out there. I don't think I'm alone in feeling controlled crying is one of the last resorts, it's pretty unbearable to hear your child distressed yet knowing you shouldn't really comfort them. My heart and head were completely torn during those first few days, I had to figure out what worked for us by myself as I just couldn't see many posts out there offering some helpful tips, perhaps it's because controlled crying is a little more taboo than most methods.


Whilst I was pregnant with Noah I was so blissfully unaware of just how much hair you can lose once you enter the postpartum period. I don't ever recall being warned about it once, not even from those who had babies themselves, it was the thing everyone forgets to mention. I can't lie in saying that it didn't knock my confidence to see my hair falling out in clumps so often that I was left with actual patches of missing hair. I began to wonder if there was something more wrong as I just couldn't believe how bad this could be, yet not one healthcare professional mention it during your nine months of pregnancy.