The Six Stages of Preparing for a Kid’s Party

Here I stand, in a friend’s kitchen, close to 10pm. Four piping bags cluttering the bench, bowls and gel icing everywhere. I’m exhausted because 9:30 is usually my bedtime #doiknowhowtoliveorwhat but yet I persist. This bloody cake is going to be the death of me…

It’s birthday party season. You see, apparently September is the most popular month of the year to be born, mostly because people seem to get, ummmm, busy during the Christmas/New Year festivities. True story. So for all the Mums and Dads out there gearing themselves up for another onslaught of birthday parties, this one’s for you.

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So pink. Much glitter.

SHOCK

“Are you sure? It’s only a month until Avery’s birthday? Really? Seriously, didn’t we just have her third birthday party?”

This is a common conversation I started having with my friends and husband around August. There’s that lovely quote about how the days are long but the years are short… I’m pretty sure that was written by a parent that was in shock that they already had to start thinking about another birthday party. FML.

DENIAL

“She’s only turning four. Do we really have to have a party? Surely she won’t notice…” Usually heard coming out of Benji’s mouth.

“Nope, she’s my baby. She’s never growing up.” Usually heard coming out of my mouth as I scoop up my “baby” and smother her with kisses as she rolls her eyes at me and reminds me that, “I’m not a baby anymore Mum. Actually I’m turning four soon”. Ugh.

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This one is still a baby at least. For now…

ANGER

“This is bullshit! Why do we have to bow down to society’s expectations of what a birthday party should entail? We are setting our children up for a life of keeping up with the Jones’, one iced cupcake at a time. I’m taking a stand. No cake! No lolly bags! I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world of kid’s parties!”

This stage looks a lot like me stropping around the house only to sit in front of my computer to trawl through Pinterest for party inspo… Sigh.

BARGAINING

“Okay. So obviously we have to have a cake. And lolly bags. We’re not monsters. But how about we buy a sponge from Woolies and just ice it? And let’s look into a play centre so we don’t have to turn the house upside down making it party ready. How does that sound?”

This is when it all starts to come together. Plans are made. Negotiations are heard and conditions agreed upon.  Breathe Amy.

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Because I’m not a monster

DEPRESSION

“Ugggggggh, fuck. Why did I say I was going to make a unicorn cake. Whyyyyyyy? Benji, does this look like a penis? Seriously. I’m going to stick in on the top of our daughter’s cake. I can’t have it look like a cock.”

This is when I start to doubt everything. RSVP’s are due tomorrow and I haven’t had a single reply yet… What if the kids don’t want to come? What if Avery doesn’t like the cake? What if her dress doesn’t fit? What if it rains? Oh calm down Amy – you’re having the party indoors! But seriously, what if the unicorn looks like it’s got a cock on it’s head. It’s 10:30 the night before the party. Wahhhhhhh

ACCEPTANCE

And finally, about five minutes before the party starts, “Let’s just enjoy ourselves. I’m sure it’s all going to be fine.”

And of course it always is. Even when things don’t go quite to plan, the kids always have an amazing time. All the effort, sweat and tears is worth it just to see the smiles on their little faces.

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100% worth it

So if you’re about to enter the six stages of planning a kids party, just remember you’re not alone… and just in case you were wondering, I’m pleased to report my unicorn didn’t receive any cock-like comments #nailedit

The Jaded Monkey’s 5K Giveaway!

Well, here we are – 5000 followers on my Instagram page!

For some, it may not mean much, but to me it means a whole lot. 5000 people who want me to pop up in their feed (Instagram willing). 5000 people who are interested in what goes on in my life.

To all 5000 of you, I want to say thank you so I’ve teamed up with some of my favourite stores to present The Jaded Monkey’s 5K Giveaway!

Gro Company – Ollie the Owl Sleep-Aid RRP $79.95

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The perfect sleep companion! Playing 4 comforting sounds (Heartbeat, Rainfall, Static White Noise or Brahms Lullaby) and with a gentle warm glowing tummy, Ollie the Owl creates a lovely soothing environment for your baby to drift off to sleep in. The built in CrySensor cleverly listens in and reactivates to help keep them calm should they stir.

  • Suitable from Birth
  • 4 soothing sounds – Heartbeat, Rainfall, White Noise static and Brahms Lullaby
  • CrySensor technology listens in on White Noise and Brahms Lullaby sounds
  • Adjustable Volume – High, Mid, Low (Tailored to suit your baby)
  • Sounds play for 20 minutes
  • Replicates pre-birth sounds
  • 4 different levels of light
  • Light shines for 30 minutes
  • Secure Velcro Fastening – attaches to cot, moses basket, pushchair or car seat

Talk about a Godsend for new babies (and not so new babies. Niamh loves her Ollie!)

Babyink Keep Sake – Hand/Footprint Frame Set RRP $68.00

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Mess Free, Ink- less and safe to use from birth. BABYink® is the perfect way to capture those special hand and footprints!

Wipe. Press. No Mess™ Exclusive COLOUR ink-less printing technology creates prints in vivid pink, blue and soft grey. The combination of the wipe and special paper creates prints like magic! Draw or print on the paper! – It’s double sided!

This gorgeous classic white frame is the perfect way to show off your BABYink® prints.
The frame has a thick white bevelled mat with two cut outs of 5×7″ and glass front, perfect for a photo enlargement alongside your little one’s hand or footprints.

Simply take your prints, customise them with your child’s details (these can be run through your home printer or simply handwritten alongside the prints) and pop them into the frame behind the mat.

Fun and a beautiful keepsake. Win win!

Two Little Ducklings – High Contrast Flash Cards and Milestone Flip Book RRP $66.90

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Created for infants 0-6 months, the High Contrast Flash Cards consist of 15 black and white illustrated flash cards which are designed to aid cognitive development and strengthen eyesight. Each card is laminated and designed with rounded corners to protect them from wear and tear.

The Milestone Flip Book can be used throughout pregnancy, for your newborn baby and also for your growing child. The first two parts of the flip book have the pages 0-9 so that you can choose the number, the second part of the flip book also incorporates ST, ND, RD and TH so that you can use it for 1ST, 2ND, 3RD and 4th etc. The third part of the book has the following pages: day, days, week, weeks, month, months, year, years, today, birthday, day of childcare, day of kindergarten, day of school, Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day and lastly Father’s Day.

We have used this for basically every milestone you can think of. Love!

Tip You’re It! – Interior Design Book: Creative Children’s Spaces by Ashlyn Gibson RRP $59.00

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Our favourite Canberra children’s store – Tip You’re It! wants to help you with your kids spaces, since putting together a creative and inspiring environment for children is perhaps one of the most exciting interior projects, yet also one of the hardest to get right! Creative Children’s Spaces is here to change that.

Packed with fresh and imaginative ideas, Creative Children’s Spaces is the perfect companion for your journey into parenthood.

I must admit, I had a quick flick through this book. It’s a great read! You’re lucky I’m not keeping it…

Munchkin – Bottle and Steriliser Bag Set RRP $36.98

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I’ve previously written about my love for the Latch range which you can read about here, but here’s the highlights…

The Latch Bottle does what others claim to do and fail – mimics the breast in movement and function. The flexibility of the Latch nipple moves with your baby without disrupting his/her feeding, which for an easily distracted baby is amazing. The shape of the bottle is easy to hold and big enough to hold a full bottle without being so big that it becomes heavy and cumbersome. The anti-colic valve at the base of the bottle allows the milk to flow without bubbles travelling through, helping to reduce gassiness. There are a range of nipples available, ensuring that the Latch Bottle will grow with your baby from the newborn stage, up until they are ready to ditch the bottle and move to a transition cup.

The Latch Sterilize Bags are small, portable and re-usable for up to 30 uses. Big enough to hold two wide mouth bottles or the parts for a double breast pump and a Cool-Touch grip that ensures you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers!

You’ll take away a set of three bottles and a six pack of steriliser bags. Ah-may-zing.

Mama Body Tea – 2 x Boxed Teas RRP $35.90

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Happy and healthy is all Mama wishes for when bringing her baby into the world!

This is exactly why Mama Body Tea has created an organic and caffeine free herbal tea range to assist women and their babies the healthy and natural way. The Mama Body Tea range is specially formulated to provide support and comfort to women and their babies throughout pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood.

Their organic teas are grown and processed without pesticides or artificial fertilisers, ensuring you are nourishing your body and your baby without any nasty chemicals. This also means workers nor the environment are exposed to the harmful chemicals used in conventional tea production.

I personally love the Digestive tea, but lucky you – you get two teas of your choice!

Seriously Milestones – The Original Baby Milestone Cards RRP $29.95

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Newborns suck right?

We know you’re meant to be totally over the moon in love with them, but…. sometimes, they just suck.

To help share the load, Seriously Milestones have created the baby milestone cards you really need! Seriously Milestones are all about keeping it real, so they love celebrating your babes first poo in the bath, that time they kept you up every hour, and even when they found their genitals!

  • Each pack contains 19 cards to be used as a photo prop or keepsake.
  • The cards are an A6 size and 400gsm so are perfect for photos.
  • Seriously Milestones are made to be used in conjunction with standard milestone cards in that they do not contain similar cards.
  • $1 from each pack is donated to Postnatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA).

Want to find out more about the creator of the most realistic milestone cards on the market? You can do that here.

Amberocks – Teething Necklace RRP $27

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This Raw Cognac and Lemon Baltic Amber teething necklace measures approximately 30-31cm’s in length.

Each bead is individually knotted so if the necklace was to break, only one bead would come free. The screw clasp is designed to break under stress.

Baltic amber works best by being heated by your skin allowing the release of its natural oils. For this reason it’s recommended to wear a necklace where possible to allow the most amount of oil to be absorbed by your skin.

Each amber bead is completely unique. That’s what makes it so special.

So, they look good and help with teething symptoms. Ummmm, yes please!

BasiK Organics – Bottom Balm RRP $24

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Their #1 selling Bottom Balm helps soothe and protect little bottoms. Regular use can even help prevent nappy rash.

Calendula has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, while cocoa butter contains natural antioxidants, is high in vitamin e, and is well known for it’s healing and moisturising properties. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and healing properties while castor oil is naturally astringent, helping to pull impurities from the skin. It fights infection by inhibiting growth of bacteria and fungi, and has anti-viral properties. Coconut oil helps to increase collagen production and facilitate the healing of wounds, while beeswax is highly effective at locking in moisture and promoting cell development. Tea tree has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties, and chamomile is calming and works as an anti-inflammatory.

And have I mentioned how good it smells? Ahhhhhhh

Shop Zaha – Set of Three Bows RRP $22

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Check out this set of three sweet little pure merino wool felt bows on soft nylon headbands, that will stretch as they grow. Handmade by my insta-turned-real-life friend Beck, they are the perfect accessory for your little one.

Colours in set: Mulberry, Dusty Blue and Grey

We have a tonne of these are the girls LOVE them.

Nellie and the Cat – “You’ve got this Mama” Charity Mug RRP $18

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You’ve got this Mama! Exclusively designed for Nellie and the Cat by Tiny Mountain Studio, these charity mugs are very special. They are a reminder that you’re doing your best and you’re doing a great job. Buy it for yourself for those days you need that reminder or for someone special who might need reminding too.

$5 from each mug sold goes to Love Your Sister to help with their fundraising for cancer research.

As of 30 June 2017, over $2000 has been raised for Love Your Sister! Talk about giving you all the warm and fuzzies!

Modern Monty – Arctic Silicone Teether RRP $18

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The Arctic Teether is designed to be extra practical and soothing for your teething bub. Made with only 100% food grade silicone beads of the highest quality. Their beads are certified to be free from BPA, Lead, Cadmium, Phthalates, PVC and Latex and will not absorb odours or support the growth of mould, fungus or bacteria. AND, the most exciting feature of this teether is it’s ability to get wet!

Available in 12 Modern Scandinavian inspired colours – it’s your choice!

There you go, that’s it! Total prize value is $485.68. Holy moly, talk about a good one… To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, head over to my Instagram page for all the details.

Good luck!

Your Services are No Longer Required: That Time I was Fired from Breastfeeding

Last week marked the end of an era for me. One night, for the final time in my life, I unclipped that little hook on the top of my bra, and fed my youngest. One more chance to feed her to sleep. A final moment of hearing those little slurping noises. The last time I’ll watch as she dozes off in my arms, getting comfort from the milk my body has made, just for her.

I was one of the lucky ones. Able to feed both of my babies for 13 and 14 months respectively. I took it for granted the first time around. It was easy. The milk came in and for the first time in my life, I loved my breasts. I thought, yes! They finally have a purpose! Avery was a star. Perfect latch, power feeder. 13 months and only one bout of mastitis when I stopped feeding her that last pre-bed feed.

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My little milk monster

Knowing things could be completely different the second time around, I still secretly expected it was all going to go smoothly again, because how could it not? My body was a milk-making machine! Ha! Niamh had other ideas. A tongue-tie that we waited a month to snip just in case it self-corrected. Trauma from the bad latching led to nipple vasospasm (where blood vessels tighten and go into spasm, so that blood does not flow to the nipple). Searing pain for months not only during feeds, but pretty much all the time, resulting in pumping exclusively on my left side for a month straight. It seemed like I was losing the battle. I almost gave up. But if you know me, you know I’m a stubborn thing and so I persevered. Maybe a little longer than I should have. It almost broke me, but I kept going. And now here we are, 14 months strong. Time to hang up the maternity bra and pack away the reusable breast pads. I quit. Well, more like Niamh quit.

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I wish I knew these were a thing earlier…

In my head, I had this vision of the last time Niamh and I would share our special feeding time together. I would decide that this was the final feed. I would spend those precious moments watching her as her eyes got heavy and her breathing went from rushed and needing to get in milk as quick as possible, to calm and quiet as she drifted off to sleep. I would let her sit there for a moment longer than normal and reminisce about our feeding journey (ugh that word. Not a fan) in the dark with my precious babe sleeping in my arms, boob still in mouth.

Of course, that’s not how it went at all. A last minute flight to Adelaide at 7pm saw Niamh refuse her feed on the plane. “It must be all the noise, lights and distractions,” I thought to myself. She’ll be right tomorrow night. And so I tried again the following night. Still, not interested. Arched back. Tears. No dice. And then once more the following day. Complete and utter rejection.

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One of our final feeds. I just didn’t know it at the time.

Devastated.

So here we are today, a week on. Our journey (again…) has come to an end. To my breasts, I say thank you. You gave my girls an amazing start to life, providing them with the nourishment and comfort they needed during those first precious moments and beyond. Sometimes it amazes me what our bodies are capable of.

Now… Where did I put those small, lacy bras with the underwire?[

(Just kidding. T-shirt or sports bras fo’ life!)

Amy x

 

Feature image courtesy of Kayleigh McGlynn Photography

The Strength of Vulnerability

Let’s wind back the clock a couple of years. 2011 to be precise. My Husband and I have just sat my Mother down to tell her we’ve decided to end our marriage and we’re getting a divorce, 23 months after saying “I do”. I’ll never forget the look on poor Mum’s face that night. Her jaw nearly hit the floor. She was completely and utterly blindsided. Our friends were the same when we told them. Shock. Disbelief. No idea that this was on the cards.

“You were off my radar Amy. You were the one I didn’t need to worry about anymore.”

Surprise! My life was falling apart and very few people had any idea. Why? Because I was strong! I was resilient! I was… stupid.

I was really good at keeping up appearances and making it seem all was okay, until of course everything was shit. My world was broken and I needed help to fix it, but those around me were too shocked to know how to help and I wasn’t willing to let them even if they wanted to.

Eventually, I healed and my world became “unbroken” over time. I learned to love again and to be loved in ways I never knew I was allowed. But I also learned a valuable lesson in the importance of vulnerability. Allowing people to see inside doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong. It gives you an army of friends and family who are able to be there for you and help you when your chips are down.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I can imagine you looking at your screen quizzically as you read this.

“I’ve literally seen you cry more on Instagram this week than I did when my dog died last Autumn. Seriously, I think you know how to share your feelings…”

And you know what? You’re right. There have been a lot of “real” moments on my social media these last couple of weeks. My chips are down. My resilience is very very low. Lower than it’s been for a very long time. And I’m a little ashamed of the fact that it’s all due to a couple of back to back colds and me feeling crappy. But that’s the thing with resilience. It’s not always the big stuff that breaks you. Sometimes, it’s not being able to taste food for a month straight because you just can’t get back to 100% and your baby has just been diagnosed with Scarlet Fever and you didn’t even know that was still a thing and you’ve had so much time off of work lately and your new boss is surely going to be annoyed at you because you’ve got that time critical project that you need to write that brief for that you haven’t started yet and your eldest comes into bed with you every night and you just need eight hours of unbroken sleep for once but your husband is away for work again this week anddddddddd take a breath! Ahhhhhhh. You get the picture. Life is messy sometimes.

I made a decision not too long ago that I was going to share the bad times with everyone as well as the good. Call it an experiment of sorts. My way of forcing myself into being more open. Because if I don’t, I might just go back to 2011 Amy, who is great at pretending her life is like a magazine picture.

If this week has taught me anything, it’s that support is everywhere. I’ve had so many amazing people reach out to offer a kind word, flowers, a small gift. It’s filled my heart with all sorts of warm and fuzzies. I’ve also had others reach out to let me know that they have been feeling the same and thought they were alone, but seeing me go through something similar has made them realise they’re not.

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When people know you’re having a rough time, they do really lovely things, like send you ALL THE PRETTY FLOWERS

There are people everywhere wanting to be strong to support you, if you let them. You just have to be brave, and open yourself to the possibility. Vulnerable is the new strong.

Amy x

 

The Rise of the Mombies

It’s Monday morning. I think. It’s as I push the pram in one hand, hold a large latte in the other and encourage Avery to keep up with my snail-like pace as I schlep from Woolies to Coles in search of… something, that I first notice it. I don’t know why I haven’t seen it before…

Mombies. Everywhere.

And it appears I might be their newest recruit.

We live in a messy combination of active wear and sleeveless puffer-vests over jeans. Our hair has its own name, the “Mum Bun” which almost certainly contains traces of our kid’s breakfast. While our faces might contain traces of BB cream, a quick swish of mascara and Go-To’s Pinky-Nudey Lips (because Zoe Foster Blake is our spirit animal) the odds are that we didn’t have time for a shower, so you can forget the idea of makeup. There are bags under our eyes and attached to our prams which probably only contain about 1/3 of the items we actually needed to buy today because in our sleep deprived state we’ve forgotten what we actually needed and those caramel and pretzel cookies looked really tasty as I passed through the bakery section.

You can recognise Mombies by their glazed eyes and the way their bodies slump over their prams. Tired, worn out and stuck in the continuous loop of the thanklessness that is raising small children. Don’t ask her what day it is. She’ll probably only know if it’s a weekday or the weekend. But I tell you what – she will know every goddamn word from the theme song of ‘Ready Steady Wiggle”, complete with hand actions and she’ll proudly admit that she kinda likes it too. It’s catchy you know.

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How to spot a Mombie in six simple steps
If you don’t see them coming, then you’ll certainly hear them. Just listen for the sighing and accompanying cries of, “Stop touching that.” “Hurry up please!” and my personal favourite, “Why can’t you just listen to me for once?”

I remember when I used to care what I looked like, wearing things like high heels and shift dresses to work everyday. I would go to the same mall as I did this morning, usually at lunch time to buy myself something pretty because I had all the disposable income in the world and #imworthit. I would look these fascinating creatures up and down and tut-tut them. “Ugh, Mums let themselves go sahhhhh bad.” I would think. “I’m never going to be like that”. I’m not going to be a regular Mum. I’ll be a cool Mum…

*insert eye roll here*

Ironically, I now see the childless masses look at me in their current season clothes, unreasonably high shoes and hair that glistens in the fluorescent light of the shops with the same look that I used to give those Mombies. I’m being judged. As we pass, I give them a knowing look. “I used to be you” I whisper under my breath. Karma is coming my pretty little friends.

When you’re a Mombie, it feels like it’s never going to end. This is your life now. Mum buns, eye bags and buckets of coffee fo’ life. I’m in the tunnel and I can’t even see the bloody light at the other end. I’m not even sure I’m heading in the right direction to be honest with you.

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Seriously. Caramel and Pretzel people.
But then there’s a second group of people I see looking at me. Mums with older children. When they spot me, I see a different look come over them. Is it nostalgia? Not quite. Maybe there’s a twinge of that. But there’s more to it than that. It’s recognition. Recognition that they’ve been where I am now. They understand that the fact I’ve made it out of the house with everyone fully dressed is an achievement. “Go Mama! You’ve got this!” I half expect to see a Hunger Games three finger salute to be offered as we pass each other with a coy smile.

It takes me a moment before I realise why I’m smiling back at them. They offer what no one else can. A glimmer of hope. They’ve been in the never-ending tunnel and somehow managed to make it to the other side. Sure, the shift dress and high heels might have made way for a waterfall cardigan and a kick arse pair of orthopaedic loafers, but they are dressed. They have a hair style. They probably slept past 6am! They have made it!

And Mama, so will we x

 

 

Feeding Made Simple – Munchkin Latch 

Flashback around 9 months ago. Breastfeeding isn’t going great the second time around, I’m desperate for a break, if only for a couple of hours and I’ve been pumping my heart out to build a stockpile so I can go out and get that alone time I so badly need.

The time has come to get those precious few hours to myself and surprisingly, Niamh doesn’t take to the three year old bottle we’ve pulled out of the back of the cupboard. I watch 150ml of breast milk get poured down the drain. A couple of days later we try again, this time with a different bottle we’ve gone out and purchased from the local supermarket. Same result. another 150ml of that precious milk, down the drain. Third time’s the charm right? No, no it’s not. More milk down the drain, along with it money from another failed bottle purchase and finally, there goes my sanity too. Glug glug glug. You know the saying, “There’s no use crying over spilt milk?” Ignore it if you’re talking about expressed breast milk. Cry away.

Next thing I know, I’m sitting in a crumpled heap, crying my eyes out proclaiming, “I’m never going to be free!”

True story. I kid you not.

I thought feeding babies was supposed to be easy?

Thankfully ,things got better after that point in time, but I’ll never forget that feeling of helplessness. Anyone who has a baby who is fussy with bottles will tell you that trying to find the right one can be one of the most stressful times in a tired, frazzled, new family’s life.

Thanks to this experience, I’m always in search for products that are going to make my life easier and the transition from breast to bottle to beyond a non-event for Niamh and for the rest of the family too! Here are a few of my new favourites;

First up – Munchkin Latch Sterilize Bags 

Wow. Just wow. For both of the girls, I had the largest monstrosity of a steriliser that took up the best part of a cupboard in my kitchen, not to mention a lot of space on the bench in those early days where EVERYTHING needed to be sterilised ALL THE TIME. Not anymore! Enter the Latch Sterilize Bags. Small, portable and re-usable for up to 30 uses. Big enough to hold two wide mouth bottles or the parts for a double breast pump and a Cool-Touch grip that ensures you won’t have to worry about burning your fingers (something I did plenty of with ol’ Bertha that I previously mentioned). These bags were a welcome change in our house. Farewell Bertha. You’re services are no longer required.

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Most Importantly – Munchkin Latch Bottle 

The Latch Bottle does what others claim to do and fail – mimics the breast in movement and function. Niamh took to the Latch nipple with ease. The flexibility of the Latch nipple moved with Niamh’s movements without disrupting her feeding, which for an easily distracted baby is amazing. The shape of the bottle was easy for her to hold herself (she’s a fiercely independent woman you know) and big enough to hold a full bottle without being so big that it became heavy and cumbersome. The anti-colic valve at the base of the bottle allows the milk to flow without bubbles travelling through, helping to reduce gassiness. There are a range of nipples available, ensuring that the Latch Bottle will grow with your baby from the newborn stage, up until they are ready to ditch the bottle and move to a transition cup.

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Lastly – Munchkin Latch Bottle and Valve Brush 

This was Avery’s favourite product in the range (no surprises there really). The size and shape of the brush ensured that she was able to clean the bottle, nipple and anti-colic valve with ease. The suction cup bottom was also a big hit for Avery (because, fun), as well as for me (because, germs). Lastly, and one of my non negotiables – it’s dishwasher safe. Hallelujah!

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Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the Latch range. It’s functional, easy to use and does what it promises to. It helps that it’s easy to look at and is fun for older kids to get involved in the cleaning side of things. I’ll definitely be recommending the Latch range to my new Mama friends.

You can learn more about the Latch range here or just head straight to your local Amcal Pharmacy to pick yours up!

This has been a sponsored collaboration with Munchkin, but we do not endorse or work with any products or brands we do not use and love. 

Five Minutes with Seriously Milestones

I’ve been a big fan of Issy and her Seriously Milestone cards ever since I first came across her on Instagram. Understanding that motherhood isn’t exactly the picture perfect world that we often portray on social media, Issy has managed to snag a corner of the market that was missing – milestone cards for those Seriously Real Moments. The ones that sometimes make us cry, but almost always make us laugh.

Mother of two herself, you’ll find Issy on Instagram most likely chatting candidly in her dressing gown, singing in the car (a woman after my own heart) or making some amazing lip sync videos with her bestie, Emma which you can view over at @lipsyncbattleground.

As the mother of girls, I’m always interested to know what “Girl Power” means to you?

Oh wow way to start with a hard one!

Girl power means so many things, it means being able to stand up for yourself without being a bitch; respecting males but understanding that you don’t need one to be happy; not really giving a shit what other people think but also considering people’s feelings.  It is super hard to summarise actually, but maybe I’ll half answer it in the next question.

Who inspires you and why?

On a business level, there are so many amazing women out there who have and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.  The ones who are literally there every step of the way like Leah (@leahladsonphotography), Morgi (@morgimacdesign) and Em (@happyhandshappyheart), to the ones that I have never even met before but have been so generous with their knowledge on this crazy journey – Heather (@kippins_), Cherie (@thedigitalpicnic) and Kim (@captain.and.co).

Anyone who has been generous to me is a winner in my eyes, because it can be so easy to not reply to an email or to forget the ‘little man’, but all of these woman and more have gone out of their way to support me and I am forever grateful for it.

Describe Seriously Milestones in three words:

  • Piss-take
  • Time-consuming
  • Love

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Was it hard to take the leap into running your own business?

I wouldn’t say hard is the right word, it was more exciting.  There were times when it was challenging, but having been on maternity leave for almost 12 months my brain was ready to start up again!  Plus, as I mentioned above, I had a shit tonne of support, so any time I started to doubt my idea, I had a whole tribe behind me telling me that I was going to totally rock this business thing!

If you weren’t running Seriously Milestones, what would you be doing?

Probably back at my office job in a school, trying to ensure that the naughty kids don’t get expelled and sorting out an alternative pathway for the ones that do…See why I’ve had to develop a sense of black humour? I do love that job though, mainly because my boss was so freaking awesome, but she knows I am not coming back any time soon 😉

I love that the Insta-community is so supportive of each other. Share with me your top five Insta-brands and what makes them so special:

Oh god I feel like I’ve totally done a million shout outs, so I’m kinda including those girls in this but I’ll pump out some new ones too –

  • My Little Booky Wooky – she is special because she is new on the scene, and she has that energy and excitement to learn that only a new account can have, so I’m excited to see what she does.
  • Hello Zef – I caught up with Suzi when I was in her home town of Torquay recently and it was so nice to meet someone for the first time who is just exactly what you expect them to be like.
  • Thank-You – Because, they are amazing.  I wouldn’t say we’re supportive of each other, or work in the same circles, but I have a total girl crush on Justine and think the whole brands ideology is something that we should all aspire to.
  • Emmylou Loves – if you haven’t watched her insta stories yet, do yourself a favour! She swears, she gets her kids to film her as if they were her insta husband, and she does not appear to have a filter between thinking and speaking.  Can’t get enough.
  • Hurrah For Gin – I obviously couldn’t do a shout out without mentioning this account, because I do repost her images about once a week.  She is a god, that is all.

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What’s next for Issy and Seriously Milestones?

In August I’m heading to Life Instyle for my first trade fair – I’m so excited! Hopefully it goes well enough that I can convince hubby that we should go to one in New York next year…watch this space.

For me? I’m gearing up to kick the eldest one out of the house for more days a week and into school next year, and I may have to cut the apron strings and put my big baby into some sort of care…but I probably won’t.

Finally, for anyone out there wanting to make a change, what words of advice do you have?

Find your support crew – the people who will champion your idea but also give you constructive feedback.  Probably the ones that know the industry you are going into so they can give you their advice from learned experience.  But most of all? Back yourself, you rock!

To celebrate my chat with Issy, you can get your hands on a free greeting card of your choice over at the Seriously Milestones website when you purchase any set of milestone cards. Simply pick your card and mention the TJM blog in the comments at checkout. Enjoy!

You can find Issy and her awesome cards here

Amy x