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Christmas Adventure Calendar

For this weeks blog I wanted to share some of the Christmas traditions we have as a family and most importantly share the adventure calendar I do every year with the kids. I know it’s a little early for all the Christmas chat but I like to get organised for advent.

The tradition of our adventure calendar started in the lead up to Alfie’s first Christmas and first advent calendar. He was coming upto 9 months and obviously weaned onto food. However I wasn’t really keen on him eating chocolate every day for a month. Side note: I am not that mum! I’m pretty sure the twins had chocolate a few days after their first taste of broccoli! I saw another fab mummy on Facebook doing advent with activities instead of chocolate and loved the idea. The idea is very simple, instead of a chocolate (or as well as) you do an activity related to Christina’s. The beauty of this is that you can tailor it to your schedule, the age of your children, and things you already have booked (like Santa visits and nursery parties). 

Being a teacher and loving to get creative, I got started in making 25 little Christmas envelopes that I hung in our living room. Next I planned the activities I would do each day. In following years I haven’t put the activity card in till the night before because our plans quite often change and with it the activity for the day. Over the years I have made a new version each year. The year I was heavily pregnant with the twins, I didn’t make the calendar, I just used a pre bought one with drawers. You can either make your own or if that’s not your bag, then there’s so many gorgeous pre bought ones you can use year after year! Last year with the twins I just adapted the activities to suit their age and Alfie’s age and I plan on doing that again this year. 

At the bottom of this blog I have included my full list of activities you can pinch but I’m sure you all have so many amazing ones and I’d love to be tagged in them so I can pinch them. There’s more than 25 as I always have back ups in case the kids (or me) don’t feel up to something we had planned. I’d also love you to use the hashtag #adventurecalendar so we can all steal each other’s ideas. You only really need 4 or 5 to start you off then you can steal other people’s ideas for the later days. 

Here’s some pictures from some of activities we have done in the past and I’ll be sharing our adventure calender this year on Instagram and Facebook as always. The Christmas spam is about to begin! 

Here is a list of activities I pull from. It is not endless and can be adapted as needed. I really hope I can add to it through the hashtag #adventurecalendar and have more ideas for next year.

  • Write letter to Santa
  • Watch a Christmas film
  • Visit Santa
  • Go to a Christmas party
  • Buy a gift for those less fortunate
  • Make a Christmas card
  • Make a Christmas craft
  • Christmas sensory/messy play
  • Winter walk (count Christmas trees as you go!)
  • Read a Christmas story
  • Pantomime
  • Christmas light show
  • Make a Christmas tree decoration
  • Put up Christmas tree
  • Deliver cards and presents
  • Visit the Christmas market
  • Build a snowman (felt, marshmallow or real snow!)
  • Make own wrapping paper
  • Wear a Christmas jumper
  • Visit a church and learn about the Nativity
  • Donate to food bank
  • Make a paper chain
  • Have a hot chocolate
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Snowball playdough
  • Homemade Christmas presents
  • Donate old toys to charity
  • Christmas baking (cookeis, gingerbread etc)
  • Open Christmas Eve Box
  • Open presents (this is obviously for Christmas Day)

I hope this is helpful to some of you and can’t wait to see everyone else taking part in Christmas activities, really gets me excited for the big day itself. If you’re not following me already on Instagram then please click on the icon below as I will be popping all our pictures and activities on my grid and stories. And any questions, please use the contact me page on this blog.

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The Pros and Cons Of Center Parcs


Last week we all went to Center Parcs for 5 days. My plan was to write a blog about our time in the same way I did for our Glasgow trip. Unfortunately Flyn was unwell with slap cheek during the holiday so we didn’t do as much as we would have liked. So I’ve decided to write a quick pros and cons list for Center Parcs in case it might help others who fancy going.

The Pros – Before we went Tony did loads of research on Center Parcs and worked out what we needed and what was good to book for while we were there.

  • The first pro for us was that we were able to go during term time which really affected the price.
  • We also liked that it is only a 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive so manageable in one go if the kids were up to it.
  • Once we arrived a real pro for me was hiring bikes. We picked them up as soon as we arrived and had them for the whole duration of our stay. We initially had one with a trailer for the twins and we took Alfie’s bike with him. After the first morning we realised it is actually quite hilly for a wee one on a bike so we went back and got a baby seat on the back of mine so that Alfie could go in the trailer with one of the twins and I would have the other twin on mine. It cost us £119 for the whole stay which included two adult bikes, the trailer, baby seat and two baby helmets.
  • We went straight to the pool on our first morning and Alfie’s face when we walked in was amazing. It’s really impressive and you could spend whole days there with older children. It’s pretty warm and has rapids, slides, waves and a splash bit that the twins loved! Alfie was super confident in the water with his armbands and they provide life vests for little ones which you just help yourself to. Our favourite part of the pool was the fast rapids and we went round it many many times!
  • We were trying to keep to a pretty strict budget during this trip with Christmas coming so we had brought a food shop with us. The kitchen in the accommodation had a hob, oven and microwave so was kitted out for what we needed. We did end up eating out on our last night at Bella Italia which was fine.
  • One thing we worried about with sticking to a budget was whether we could do enough to keep Alfie occupied. We had booked a treasure trail for our first full afternoon and we enjoyed that and we were given free crazy golf which Alfie also enjoyed. Apart from that we just stuck to the pool and the free fireworks which kept us busy.

The cons – We has obviously heard lots about Center Parcs before we went as so many people have gone but this was our first experience of it.

  • The first con for us is that it is very expensive. We were lucky and able to go during term time but when Alfie starts school next year it won’t be so easy. It was 1/3 of the price for us to go in term time so it’s a huge difference. We couldn’t justify it during holiday time.
  • The second thing is that it is full of activities you can do that look amazing. That may sound like a pro but the activities are very expensive as well. For example the mini trek for 2 years plus is almost £14 for 30 minutes. Now it’s not that bad but it could add up if you have more than one child. If money isn’t an issue, center parcs would be incredible!
  • The accommodation varies depending on what you’ve booked. Because we were off peak times we booked a three bedroom new style lodge. It was nice and spacious and had a good sized living area with kitchen, dining and living space. We did have an issue that we only had one cot and one high chair even though we had emailed ahead but that was fixed and staff came and collapsed down the single beds in the third bedroom so we could fit two cots. While out and about exploring we did see some lodges that looked really run down and I guess those would be the cheaper options. I felt the lodges weren’t particularly child friendly and that leads me onto my main con.
  • When we were researching what we would need to take we were surprised by how much we would need to provide that we assumed would be included. When staying in the lodges you are provided with some toilet paper but not enough, some dishwasher tables but again not enough. No cot bedding, no sponges, cleaning stuff and fairy liquid. And we had a log burner but no logs provided. Now it’s all very first world problems I know, but when you’re spending a good amount of money I thought toilet roll could at least be included. I also realise that some people may come and eat out all the time so don’t really need the kitchen stuff but that wasn’t financially possible for us. It meant that our car was absolutely full to the brim and by the time we added swim towels, our clothes, nappies and food, the car was heavenly laden. I think if I’d paid the full holiday price (roughly £1300 for a family of 5) I’d be thoroughly miffed heading off to buy my own toilet roll.

My opinion – Overall I was impressed with Center Parcs. It was well run and organised. Check in and out was easy and with bikes it was lovely to cycle around and explore the amazing grounds. The pool was a real hit and with older kids would make it easy for parents to sit back while their kids were off swimming. It’s frustrating that things are so expensive but all the activities looked good quality so it’s not unexpected to pay the price. Once we are restricted to term time I’m not sure we’d be running back. I just can’t get past the price you have to pay for the accommodation when that same amount could get you flights and an Air BnB somewhere abroad. The only way I could be swayed would be to share with family or friends to lower the price. It was nice to experience what all the hype was about and we certainly had an enjoyable trip (even with sick babies) so I would recommend it to anyone looking for a holiday in the uk who loves to be outdoors where everything is under one ‘roof’.

If you’ve been to Center Parcs, what were your thoughts on it and would you go back? And if you’ve not been, is it your kind of holiday?


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Mother’s Lurgy – When the plates start dropping!

Being a mum, or an adult, means there’s normally a lot going on. For me, I’ve always liked the analogy that you are spinning lots of different plates. Now when I imagine this analogy in my head each plate is a different size. Some are big as they take up a lot of your attention and energy – for example kids (if you have them), your job or maybe a house move. Other plates might be small like housework, keeping fit or seeing friends. The plates could be different sizes for different people. For some, fitness might be the biggest plate and maybe some give little time to small things like food shopping! And plates might change size time and time again. When kids come along, for mums the friendship plate might dwindle for a few months until mum can get some time to be herself again. Plates might also be made of different materials. China plates, given as a wedding gift might be difficult to fix, whereas plastic plates are unlikely to break and can be spun again when needed. Paper plates are disposed off and recycled later into something new.

With all these plates spinning in tandem with each other it is inevitable that sometimes some will start to drop. When this happens I call it the Mother’s Lurgy. What is the Mother’s Lurgy you ask? Let me describe what it is like for me. 

My life has always been quite busy and never more so than now with three small children and a part time job. I’m naturally a messy person but I like to be very organised with other aspects of my life. My house might look a mess but my diary is carefully mapped out and I know where I need everyone to be and when. Normally this planning and organising keeps us ticking along nicely and my constant list writing keeps me right on jobs that need doing. 

However, sometimes when life seems to get even busier than normal, even the most organised person can feel overwhelmed. A busy week at work with parents evenings or a week with the kids being ill can throw me off balance and end in many plates being dropped. For example, the first week back to work (and nursery for kids) after the October holidays was a stressful one. I worked an extra day, so three instead of 2. That simple change to our routine made me feel like things were becoming overwhelming. I knew that there were forms to fill out for school, emails to send for work, our holiday coming up which needed lots of planning and busy weekends of birthday parties/ car MOT’s and personal trainers. I know things are becoming overwhelming when I start forgetting simple things and that can then snowball out from there. 

This overwhelming feeling has cropped up a lot more since the twins arrived and having three children definitely is juggling act. There’s always someone needing you in some capacity and as I am the kind of person who likes to do things well, I don’t like to feel stretched thin. The good thing about experiencing the Mother’s lurgy more often now, is that I am much better at recognising when I am getting bogged down. I am learning to take a step back, look at what is causing me to feel overwhelmed and try to get myself back into balance. I am a very logical person so I write lists. I tick off the things I can easily, which helps immediately as it reduces the things I am feeling overwhelmed about. Then I try to focus on me, some self care. A bath, a run, a glass of wine! Something that is just for me and allows me to think about what is going well and reflect on what needs to change to make things more manageable. Recognising when I am frazzled and dealing with it immediately has definitely reduced the times I have started to feel like I can’t cope. I suppose it’s like when you get a headache and take pain killers straight away – the pain never gets too bad. 

I think that each time a plate drops I feel a different way. Sometimes the plate drops but doesn’t smash. I’m able to get back on track with some simple self care and a bit of organising. However sometimes the plate drops and smashes. For me, this is when I need to lean on others for support. This is when I feel I’m completely overwhelmed and not keeping on top of things. It feels harder to get back on track these times and takes longer but we always get there. I’m a social person so for me, talking to someone is always a good start! 

I guess this is just another challenge that we need to face as adults and learn how best to work through the rough times in a way that suits our personality and personal situation. I’m always interested in other people and how they deal with situations that I also experience. How do people, especially mums who are being pulled every which way, make sure they don’t get lost in the constant admin, kids, work, house, life? What self care works for people who experience the Mother’s lurgy and does it ensure things never get too bad? I would love to hear peoples thoughts on this and remember to tag me in any Instagram posts using the hashtag #motherslurgy 

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Midweek Musings – How do you choose your pals?

When you’re a kid you choose your friends by what their favourite colour is. Or if they like the same flavour of haribo as you. My favourite dinosaur is a triceratops but I don’t ask potential new friends what there’s is! Well at least not the first time I meet them!

However once we mature into dull and busy adults, our way to choose friends surprisingly doesn’t change. No we might not bond over our favourite park equipment but we do still choose our friends by what their favourite hobbies are, or whether they like the same food as us. As an adult, however there’s a little bit more to it. I’m pretty sure I can speak for most people when I say a lot of the time when you meet someone knew, you’ll know within a few minutes if their ‘your kind of person’.

I think as an adult I look for friends that share similar personality traits that I do. I like to think I’m a pretty honest person and I know for a fact that a large portion of my friends are brutally honest. I love that about them! I also like to socialise and I choose friends who are chatty and love a catch up. And one of the main traits I look for, is pals who like a glass of wine. Now that’s not to say I don’t like people who don’t drink! Of course not! But I do spend a fair bit of time drinking (I do have three kids) and I like company when I’m sipping on my rose wine!

Now one thing that is true of friendship no matter the age is that they can be fluid. During any point in our lives our friends come and go depending on what we have going on at that time. Friends may come and go as you change jobs, move city, get married and have babies. For me, I found this hard to take as a teenager as I worried I had done something wrong or just wasn’t ‘cool’ enough (cringe, I know). However after I got through my early twenties and became more confident in myself I realised it wasn’t personal. Me and my friends were all just looking for people who had the same time consuming hobbies as we did at that time.

While friends may come and go, it is always the best and truest friends who will keep hanging on and keep dipping back into your life. I feel very lucky to have friends I have known for most of my life, and friends who I have only known for a short space of time, both of whom I feel incredibly close with. And I feel grateful that I feel confident enough in myself that when friends dip out for a whole they will either be back in touch down the line, or are just off on a different path. For me, friends are here to eat with, drink with, experience new things with and go through the tough times with and I’m so glad to have the friends that I do.

Now please, tell me what is your favourite dinosaur?

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Our Child Free Trip To Glasgow

A few weeks before the October holidays while out for lunch with my mother in law, she let it slip that there might be a secret my husband had planned coming up. For those of you who know me or my husband you will know this is not the first time he’s surprised me with a nice trip away – I married a man who’s more romantic than me! After a bit of pestering I managed to wheedle out of him that we were going to Glasgow for two night to celebrate ten years together. A child free trip was just what the doctor ordered so I was very excited! The plan was that my mother in law would come to collect the kids on the Wednesday morning and we would head into Edinburgh on the train and train through the Glasgow from there.

Wednesday morning we headed into Edinburgh Waverley around 1.15pm and caught the express train to Glasgow. Tony had managed to get the train tickets on offer for £5 each way instead of the usual £25 return so it’s worth looking online if you’re travelling during off peak times. During the trip we were staying in 2 different hotels. The first was the Blythswood Hotel on Blythswood Square and was within walking distance from Glasgow Queen street station. We dropped our bags and popped out to do a bit of shopping and then headed to lunch.

For lunch we went to the restaurant The Lychee Oriental which we had read amazing reviews of on Trip Advisor. It is very close to Buchanan Street and looks like you’re going down a wee alleyway. It’s not much to look at from the outside but the inside decor is pretty cool. We ordered from the lunch menu and everything we had was amazing. The duck spring rolls and chicken satay starter were my favourite and Tony really rated the chilli salt chips. The only thing that wasn’t great was my cocktail. Worse mojito i’ve had! But small price to pay when food was so good.

After lunch we headed back to the Blythswood to check into our room. We were staying in one of the Deluxe rooms and it did not disappoint. It beautifully styled with a beautiful marble bathroom with shower and separate bath. I can report the bed is super comfy but the hairdryer left a lot to be desired, especially with my long hair! When staying in the hotel, you have complimentary use of the spa from 6 till 9 in the evening and 7 till 9 in the morning. There is also a Social hour from 5 till 6 in the foyer where you get a complimentary drink. We headed down to the spa at 6 as we had late dinner booked at Six By Nico. The spa is situated in the basement of the hotel and there are robes and slippers in the rooms. We used all the facilities in the spa which included a vitality and hydrotherapy pool, steam room, laconium and sauna. I wasn’t brave enough to use the ice fountain but Tony did push me into the cold shower! That was enough for me.

Our main reason for going to Glasgow was to use vouchers for Six By Nico that I had got Tony for his 30th. For those that don’t know Six By Nico is a restaurant both in Edinburgh and Glasgow that runs set 6 course themed menus for 6 weeks at a time. We had booked about 7 weeks before, even before the current menu had been released. It was already nearly fully booked, hence the 9.30 reservation time. We grabbed a taxi from our hotel and I would have missed it if I hadn’t got dropped straight there. It is very unassuming and also very small. I really loved the way it wasn’t flashy or over the top. It had a really casual vibe to it and because it’s set menu, it was really relaxing. You do get the option to add a wine tasting menu (we didn’t go for that) and there is also vegetarian options for all courses. I have an intolerance to cream and they were able to recommend where to change things. Another lovely touch was a free glass of champagne as my husband had let them know it was our anniversary. I won’t try to describe each menu as i’m no foodie expert but for me, my favourite course was the Flat Iron Steak. The croquette that came with it was out of this world as well. Tony’s favourite was the Clam and Cod Chowder. I was really impressed with the food and the menu was really varied. For me, I love a tasting menu as it forces you to taste food that you may not necessarily choose in a normal A La Carte menu. Also I happened to be married to a slightly fussy eater so it’s great to get him out of his comfort zone. It is, I believe very reasonably priced. £29 for a 6 course set menu with food that is creative and delicious is good in my books!

Our second day started perfectly as checkout time in the Blythswood is 12 as standard. We had a nice relaxing morning and once we checked out we walked straight to our second hotel – The Dakota. It was right around the corner and despite it being only 12 we were able get in straight away. We were staying in a suite so I was very excited! The pictures don’t do it justice at all. The hotel is very dark and stylish. It’s modern and moody. I loved it! Our suite was beautiful. For me the standout was the bathroom. A big double shower, beautiful vanity and lovely big bath. We also had a dressing area, mini bar with a coffee machine and sitting area at the end of the bed. Sky was included and if you stayed in a suite the mini bar was also included. 

We didn’t spend long in the hotel as we wanted to head out for lunch. We headed in the direction of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as that was our plan for the afternoon. We picked up lunch in a wee Italian cafe called Dal Pizzaiolo on Argyle Street where the lasagne was amazing! Once we arrived at Kelvingrove we headed straight to main hall. I love it there and it really remind me of the national museum in London. Kelvingrove is such a lovely gallery as it really has more of a museum feel so I don’t feel so out of place. I have no clue when it comes to art! I also love a look around a gift shop so finished our trip off there and bought a gift for each of the kiddies. 

After the art gallery we headed to Ashton Lane which is a pretty little street with lots of bars. It’s within walking distance from the Gallery and you walk past Glasgow university campus which is lovely to look at. We had a quick drink then headed back to the hotel via Kelvingrove Park – another beautiful spot, especially in autumn! 

For our second night we had again turned to Trip Advisor for recommendations for an Indian. We went for Obsessed with India as it had so many good reviews. We took an Uber straight there form our hotel and again from the outside it looked pretty shabby. However, when you entered it was a very authentic, family run place where the food was incredible. I had tandoori king prawns for starter and both them and the nan that came with the main were the best i’ve had. It was really reasonably priced and even on a random Thursday night had a steady stream of customers. The staff were lovely and we had such a nice dinner. We had planned to go to a bar after for drinks but the hotel bar seemed easier and we were stuffed! We also wanted to make the most of the mini bar that was included in the suite! The hotel bar was lovely and the staff during our whole stay were amazing. They even found out what yankee candle scent was in the plug ins in the hallways as I wanted it for our house! On a practical note, the bed was huge and comfy, the hairdryer a little better than the Blythswood and the hotel felt so luxurious and exclusive.

The final morning we checked out at 11 and headed for brunch at Stack and Still. This is somewhere i’ve wanted to try for ages as I follow them on Instagram. It’s the kind of place that once you see the food you have to go! By the name you might be able to tell it’s a pancake place. And it’s typical American big fluffy pancakes. When we deciding what to order we both agreed we couldn’t stomach the idea of the savoury pancakes. I know that might make us the odd ones out but we decided to go for the stacked fries as our savoury option and then sweet pancakes. I kept looking around the restaurant and all I could see were giant mounds of pancake being left and people looking defeated. I decided that stacked fries and then two pancakes rather than three would be good. The food arrived and it was bloody amazing! The brisket on the stacked fried was outstanding and the pancakes were amazing as well. I didn’t even manage to get onto my second pancake but one was perfect! For next time i’ll know! I highly recommend you go if your are ever in Glasgow as it’s close to the station and as a Nutella lover it is my kind of heaven! It also was the best way to end our trip and head back on the train to our little ones.

I feel i’ve had to rush through this as we did so much and I don’t want to bore you with the tiny details. We had such a lovely time and it was so needed to have some alone time where we could actually hold a conversation! Tony asked me after which hotel I preferred and I really couldn’t decide. They are so different. The Blythswood is so elegant and traditional, and the Dakota is so modern and moody. They both felt so special and I can totally understand why they are the top two rated hotels in Glasgow. Let me know if you head to any of the places i’ve mentioned and what you think of them – just tag me on Instagram (MuddlingThroughWith3)!

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Diastasis What Now? Trying To Get Fit After Twins

Diastasis recti abdominis is a separation of the rectus abdominal muscles at the linea alba.

Physiopedia

With my first pregnancy I was 28, pretty physically fit and carrying one baby. My recovery was pretty straight forward. With my second it wasn’t.

When you’re told you’re carrying twins I don’t think many woman first think ‘oh no what about my body!’. There’s way too much other scary shit to worry about first. Like pregnancy, birth and having two newborns! So when the midwife came to see us on that first day at home with the twins, I was a little taken aback when she said that I had diastasis recti.

Now in normal language that you and I can understand, that means the stomach muscles have become overstretched during pregnancy and have separated down the midline. This results in a bulge after pregnancy and weakness in the area. This can be diagnosed during pregnancy but in my experience, it was the midwife who diagnosed mine a few days after the birth.

If you are unsure where you have a separation there is an easy way to check yourself. You can obviously look online for a guide on how to do this and should definitely speak to a professional but here is the general idea. You should lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your lower abdomin, in line with your belly button. Gently press your fingertips into the center of your abdomen while you lift your upper body in a crunch motion. Now I was told that most people will feel a hole immediately after birth as most woman will have some separation to begin with. The way Diastasis is measured is by how many fingers (I know, a bit gross) can be fit in the hole (by width from one side of your waist to the other). On that day the midwife explained that I had a four finger separation.

Now like I said I was a litle taken aback and concerned this was going to cause major issues. However the midwife was really patient and explained there were excercises that I could start doing immediately which would improve the separation very quickly. There was a simple, low impact pelvic tilt exercise that she recommended and explained that if I did this religiously, I would see a huge improvement in as little as 2 weeks. She would check again then, before she signed me off to the Health Visiting team.

I’m normally crap at those kind of things, but at the time I was having a bath every day at 5 as I was experiencing really strong emotions at that time of day and the bath helped. I did my pelvic tilt exercises in the bath religiously for two weeks. And low and behold, when my midwife checked again, it was almost down to a 1 finger separation.

It wasn’t just the exercises that I think helped. My midwife had asked that I tried to avoid any movements that would normally use my abdominal muscles. This included simple things like sitting up in bed. A really easy way for me to know which movements were putting strain on my abdominal muscles was the physical ‘doming’ that happened when I moved. For example, when I sat up in bed, my stomach would make a very very obvious dome down my midline. It looked quite alarming. I therefore changed these movements to avoid this strain. In bed, I would roll onto my side then push myself up. This visual cue was also hugely helpful when I later went back to exercising. I also think time was a big factor. I have heard that if the separation is not too wide that it can improve over time itself.

When I saw the doctor for my 6 week check, I was looking forward to being signed off to start gently exercising. The GP didn’t even ask about my DR or check it so I was a little confused by that as I had been told the doctor had to check. To be honest, I was nowhere near ready to start exercising as suprisingly, twin newborns were taking all of my energy. It wasn’t until around about the year mark that I seriously started to exercise.

I started back into fitness with pilates. I dutifully told the teacher I had Diastasis Recti as I had been told that final 1 finger separation would take the longest to heal. I was able to do most of the exercises but during some (most noticeably the plank), the doming was very obvious. I was frustrated by this stage and the bulge around my stomach was affecting my confidence. I felt a bit deflated and stepped away from excercising again as I just didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with it.

By this summer I was running a little and feeling more confident in getting back into exercise. I didn’t want to try the same route I had done before (gym and pilates classes) and really fancied working with a Personal Trainer who could tailor the exercises to me and my needs. I was so lucky to find a fantastic Personal Trainer, Katie McCaskey who worked locally in East Lothian.

We started meeting in late July and she started by seeing what strength I had in my abdominals. Not much was the answer to that!! I could only do about 2 sit ups, and needed Katie to stand on my toes to stop my feet raising. Over the next few weeks, we focused on whole body strength rather than focusing on core. It is important to avoid crunches, sit ups and most traditional core exercises until you have some strength. This is to avoid making the separation wider. However, after just 3/4 weeks when we tried sit ups and cruches again, I was able to complete a few more without any doming or pain.

I am now a couple months in to my personal training and I am so pleased with the results so far. I have had one PT session of 45 mins each week, the occasional run and a core workout I do some evenings. I have been watching what I eat as well and I have lost half a stone. Now that might not seem like much but for me the biggest change is in my stomach and how I feel in myself. In my last session with Katie, we did circuits with sit ups in between each activity. It was the first time I have been able to do sit ups without Katie on my feet and I completed over 200 over the 45 minute class, finishing with 50 to finish! It felt amazing! To see such an improvement and feel so much stronger has done wonders for my self esteem, let alone my general fitness.

On my way to feeling fit and healthy!

I do still have a way to go. I would like to lose more weight, run more and eat better. But it’s a great start and I am so thankful to Katie who has been patient but also pushed me. I am still unable to do double leg lifts and I will not rest until I smash those as well!

I suppose the whole point in writing about diastasis recti, is to say that it takes time. In a lot of cases, time is all it needs! When told this has become an issue during, or after pregnancy, it can seem like another blow. Another part of your body rearranged and changed by growing a little person! But it’s not forever, and I feel like now 20 months on, I’m starting to see that.

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Midweek Musings: When The Kids Are Away!

Recently I read an article on whether people enjoy time without their children or not. It got me thinking if people feel the same way that me and my husband do. Child free time for us is bloody exhilarating! I didn’t crave child free time so much when it was just one child I was trying to escape. But with three, I’m running out that door without a backwards glance!

Me and my husband are incredibly lucky to have very supportive and hands on friends and family and since the twins came along have managed to go on two child free breaks and are having a third this week. I really find this time so important to us as a couple. Life at the moment is so busy and with the children, our jobs and the house, we rarely have the energy to have a good catch up, let alone anything else!

Our trip to Rome – October 2018

The article I mentioned earlier discussed these men and woman who don’t like spending time away from their children. Now while I think this is admirable, I have struggled to find any of these people in real life! Are they a myth concocted to make us that enjoy our peace feel guilty? Because if that is the case, it ain’t working. I do not feel guilty when I am sipping cocktails with my pals. I do not feel guilty when me and my husband have a conversation, start to finish without any interruptions!

The main thing for me with child free time is that it makes me a better mum. When my patience is wearing thin, and I’m becoming that screamy mum we all know and don’t particularly love, a wee break from the kids is just the tonic! Even an hour or two can take the edge off and allow me to deal better with the constant muttering of ‘Mummy I’m hungry’.

Now what I do with my child free time is not always glamorous or interesting! I hate housework, but housework in a quiet house is actually quite therapeutic. Sitting on the sofa is another of my favourite things to do without children! Or quite often I am running around like a headless chicken going to shops and organising things for the kids. But at least I’m not dragging three kids along for the fun!

Doing what I do best!

But for me, the most important thing with child free time is it allows me to be me. Not the me I was before kids as that person is long gone. But the me I am now. And let’s face it, when kids come along, your whole identity changes so it’s nice to spend some time learning about the new person I have become.

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The First Year with Twins (Part 2)

As I mentioned in the first part of this blog, many people told us that after the first year things would get easier. Yet for me, I really noticed a difference when the twins passed 6 months. I have so many amazing and enjoyable memories from the second part of the year which included a holiday abroad, my first trips away without the twins and our first Christmas. We still had sleepless nights and difficult days, but those seemed fewer than they had been before.

The main change that we noticed after the twins turned 6 months was that Flyn and Noah’s wee personalities started to show and I was able to stop worrying that we simply had miserable children. Flyn was cuddly and looked like an angel but had an amazing twinkle in his eye. And Noah, who we always thought was the trouble maker was more cautious and reliant on Flyn than we first thought.

The weaning journey begins.

Bang on 6 months I started weaning which was a great experience. With our eldest we had to give him purees for quite a long time. With the twins I wanted to try baby led weaning as Alfie can be a fussy eater and I had heard BLW could prevent this. Thankfully the boys took to food very well and are excellent eaters. It was and still is so messy but with baby led weaning the twins they were able to feed themselves which meant we could all sit together and eat at the same time.

By 7 months we were feeling confident to attempt our first holiday as a family of five. Luckily my mother and father in law were coming as well for a week in Gran Canaria. We had booked two self catering bungalows in a small and quiet complex. There was a pool and not much else which suited us perfectly. Now I plan to write a separate blog post on the holiday so i’ll not go into detail here, but it was a total success and actually pretty relaxing. The kids loved it and it turned out the twins were total water babies. I think the main thing that helped on this holiday was that the babies were not too mobile. They were still breastfeeding and also starting to try different foods which now looking back, made it the perfect time to go.

Sunbathing in style.

When we returned from holiday I planned to start weaning the boys off the breast. I had both a trip to London (my mum was being given an OBE by the queen and i’d be damned if I was missing that!) and then a surprise trip to Rome my husband had planned the month after. We had already introduced the boys to bottles early on and had been giving a bottle a day. We started upping it by one feed each day every week and eventually were just down to bedtime and through the night. Stopping feeding was such a huge step. It was an emotional time for me as it would be the last time I would feed our babies but it was also liberating as I could be apart from the twins for longer periods of time. It also marked the end of constant blocked ducts and constant worry I was developing mastitis again so for this I was grateful.

With this new found freedom I was able to enjoy both my trip to London and Rome. It surprised me that I actually found it easier to be away from the twins compared to when I had to leave our first born. Maybe it’s because I needed the break more than when I only had one child or maybe I worry less as a second time mum. But I definitely noticed I was less anxious than I had been first time round.

From 9 months onwards we felt like we were starting to get the hang of this twin business. Don’t get me wrong, it was, and is logistically challenging to do almost anything, but with lots of planning and the babies being more active and physically able we did get out more. Bottles seemed to help ours sleep longer spells at night and we all know that we can tackle everything better on a little more sleep!

Halloween ready!

By this stage I was starting to prepare myself for returning to work. I was going back two days a week and did a few Keeping In Touch days before this to get my head back in the game. We had reserved places for the twins in the same private nursery we had used for our eldest and they would start settle ins when they were almost 11 months old. Again I was less worried about settling the boys in and returning to work this time round. It helped that I knew the boys would always have each other and were much more independent than our first. As I predicted, the boys loved nursery and settled within the first two sessions. It was another milestone we had made and with one last milestone approaching (their first birthday) we had nearly made it to a year.

Our lovely three boys.

Writing about the twins first year has reminded me just how many milestones and challenges all parents have to tackle in the first year of their child’s life. Your body, lifestyle, relationship, career and even home change so much they are unrecognisable. You have to dedicate yourself to these tiny babies and you become the last priority. It’s overwhelming and all consuming and can make you feel trapped and lost. But, and it’s a huge but! It’s worth it. It might sound cringe and cliche but it’s true. Flyn and Noah are incredible. They’re clever, funny, wild and loving and we are truly lucky to have them. And eventually, they can walk, talk, feed themselves and need you less and less. So i’ll let these years be all consuming and hold onto them for as long as I can.

Full of love for each other.
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Midweek Musings: Mundane Mess

Mess. I live my life surrounded by mess. No matter how often I declutter or tidy the house, it is a midden at least 95% of the time.

I understand that with three young children my house will never be Instagram perfect all of the time, but I do wonder how others seem to keep a lid on total mayhem!

Tidying up after my children is one of the most frustrating but necessary tasks that makes mum life mundane. For me, it’s the food mess that drives me mad! As soon as I’ve cleaned the kitchen table, floors and worktop from breakfast it’s trashed again within what feels like seconds! Without wishing my children’s life’s away, I long for the day that they can eat like civilised people. Unlike the current animalistic shove as much food in my mouth as quickly as possible while spilling half on the floor technique!

I hope me and my husband are not alone in the evening ritual of claiming the least messy room to tidy before slumping down on the sofa for 30 minutes before falling asleep. We do occasionally (more than I’d like to admit) decide that life is too short and watch tv amongst the dulplo, cumbs and cars because let’s face it, it’ll be a mess as soon as the kids wake in the morning anyway!

I’m aware that this problem will change as our children grow, but my question is how do people cope in the mean time? Do people tidy frantically behind their children throughout the day? Do they serve food which does not cause havoc on the kitchen floor? I wish I knew the answers, but all I know is that it will be a few more years until I can put the dustpan and brush to the back of the cupboard and enjoy a mess free mealtime with my children.

How I’m tackling the mess!

Ps don’t get me started on the endless washing! 😂

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The First Year with Twins (Part 1)

Just get through the first year, then it gets easier.

These were the words we heard in twin antenatal classes. These were the words we were told once the twins were born. These were the words I repeated over and over again when I didn’t think I could cope any longer. And if you are in any of those moments then please do know that it’s true. It does get easier. Does it get easy? No! But in my experience, neither does one child. It changes. The challenges are different. But no, it’s never easy. Why would something so rewarding ever be easy. Also let me say now, before I go any further, that I am only 4 years into my parenting journey and in no way an expert!

31st August 2017 – Our 12 Week Scan

On that day I convinced myself that I wasn’t pregnant. We were going to go to the scan and there would be no baby. The extra weight was my bad eating habits and the sickness just related to vertigo that I suffer from. We had been trying for a while and I guess I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But wow was I wrong. Twins. Two babies. Like I mentioned in my Twin Birth Story (read my Birth Story here) my first reaction was fear. Not fear of what it would be like to have two babies, at the same time. But of the pregnancy and birth. Therefore after the birth when I was handed these two tiny perfect little babies, I felt completely and utterly overwhelmed!

The frustrating thing was I thought I had prepared. We had gone to twin antenatal, we had spoken to other twin parents, we had had another child. I had even met with a breastfeeding councillor! But I still felt this awful, all consuming feeling of overwhelm. Like I wasn’t cut out for this.

22nd February 2018 – The Twins Are Born At 36 Weeks, 4 Days

One Day Old

Now I won’t go into detail on the birth as that’s in my birth story but I will start immediately after they were born. After the birth the twins were both well enough to be with us. A three day stay at the hospital while their blood sugars levelled felt like a lifetime and I was desperate to get home. I missed our eldest and I thought home would ground me and make me feel less overwhelmed. We got home on day 3 which is when my baby blues really took hold. By day 6 we were back in hospital and this time to the neonatal unit for delayed jaundice. This was my first breaking point. They wanted me to stay on my own with both boys and I had a panic attack at the thought of Tony not being there. The staff were amazing and found us a family room where Tony, Noah and I could stay while Flyn received treatment for his jaundice. It was a short stay but felt like another hurdle to pass. Being snowed in on our second day did not help!

The next few weeks I can only describe as the hardest time of my life. Between constant bloods for Flyn to check his continued jaundice, two bouts of bad mastitis for me and suspected reflux for both boys, we never seemed to have a day without a hospital visit. Every day I would say to my husband I can’t do this and every day he would say ‘but you are’! I worried I was suffering from PND as I felt so detached from the babies and felt numb most of the time. The twins seemed to cry constantly and when Tony went back to work at 2 weeks I had all 3 by myself. Without friends and family I don’t think I would have got through those weeks. During this time, the advice that stuck with me was to take each day as it came. To survive and not worry about thriving just yet.

Muddling Through!

The first few months are now a bit of a blur if I’m totally honest. Feeding, not sleeping and trying to give the toddler some attention were about all I managed. We eventually were discharged from hospital when Flyn’s jaundice cleared. We later found out he had a whole in his heart but after a cardio check up they were happy to just monitor and it has since closed. Their reflux got better once medicated and sleep did eventually even out. We weren’t thriving but we were surviving. For me, I find everything harder on a poor nights sleep and it took us a while to work out how to feed two at night. I mostly combi fed both at the same time and then slept with them on my chest. This was not ideal of course but it meant I did get some shut eye! I regularly went to a breastfeeding group which was a huge source of comfort to me. The breastfeeding councillor would hold a baby, make me a drink, give really helpful advice and it was a safe space for me to really let out how I was feeling. Another thing that really helped me was talking to and making friends with twin mums was also a lifesaver and Lauren and Abbey were a godsend for understanding and getting me when I was struggling.

Struggling with one of those days

There were many times people would say or suggest that I was doing things wrong or I was ‘making a rod for my own back’. To those people I say bugger off. Unless you are in it and know how it feels at that exact moment then you don’t know what’s best. For me, I did what I had to in order to keep me in a good place. My mental health was a priority because happy mum, happy baby. Maybe sleeping the twins on my chest wasn’t the best idea but I would tackle sleep when they were older and I was able to cope with that challenge. Maybe feeding them to sleep was a poor choice, but again I would deal with that when I felt stronger. My advice to anyone with one, two or more babies is you do what you have to do. No one can understand how you feel and to be honest, unless it’s the babies daddy, it’s none of their business!

July 2018 – Boys Reach 5 Months Old

When Noah hit 5 months he started crawling and this made him a much happier baby. A really strong memory for me happened when the boys were 5 months. I had avoided going places for lunch since the twins were born as it generally turned into carnage. This made me feel down as with Alfie I was constantly lunching or grabbing juice (I don’t drink tea or coffee!) with pals and I hated I couldn’t do this with the twins. On this day in July, my parents had suggested lunch at a local kid friendly cafe. I said yes as I felt that with 3 of us, surely we could manage. And do you know what, we did! It was a total success. The babies were calm, stayed in their buggies chewing on their teethers and drawing attention while we ate a nice hot lunch! This really stuck with me and made me hope that soon we may get some normality back into our life.

22nd August 2018 – The Boys Are 6 Months Old!

Before we knew it, the boys were turning 6 months and we were halfway through that first year that everyone told us would be the hardest. I looked forward to the exciting challenges that were ahead of us. Weaning, learning to crawl, walk and talk were all things I could get on board with. Those that know me will know that newborns are not my all time fav! Now reading this Blog it might seem like I hated every minute of these early months. I definitely didn’t. I became more confident in my ability to handle two babies and in turn bonded with Flyn and Noah. I loved the double cuddles, the moments they bonded together, the special feeling of having two little identical people. They had fantastic personalties, were super cute and after 4 months stopped screaming all day! We didn’t have miserable babies after all!

We’ve made it to 6 months!

Now to talk about the second half of that first year will need to wait until next week. I’m off to look at old photos and remind myself of those second 6 months and how we handled those exciting challenges with two!

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My Twin Birth Story

Ever since I gave birth to the twins I have wanted to write my birth story. When I was pregnant I turned to the internet to find stories of a twin birth that didn’t scare the living daylights out of me. There were hardly any! I thought it must be rare to have a straightforward birth with twins and that scared me. After the birth I felt so strongly that I wanted other twin mums to read about how my birth did go to plan and hope it would give them encouragement that they might have a positive birth as well.

Our journey to our second baby started just after our first child (Alfie) turned 2 in April 2017. It took about 4 months for us to fall pregnant and we found out we were expecting in very early July. The pregnancy seemed normal and my sickness was not nearly as bas as when I had Alfie. I was showing a little earlier but I just put this down to second pregnancy!

Officially pregnant!

When I found out I was having twins at our 12 week scan, the main feeling that consumed me was fear. Not fear of what having twins would be like, but fear of the pregnancy and birth. Anyone who knows me well will tell you I am a bit of a hypochondriac so to be facing a high risk pregnancy was a scary thought. I hoped for non identical twins as they were less risky but after three further scans we were told we were having identical twins who had their own sacs but shared a placenta. 

Baby 1 during the first scan.
Baby 2 during first scan.

Fortunately my pregnancy was pretty straightforward considering. With fortnightly scans and appointments with our consultant, I felt well cared for and reassured everything was going well. A small stay in hospital at 30 weeks when my heart seemed to be struggling with the strain was the only blip, apart from of course the intense discomfort, restless legs and heartburn!

Leading up to the birth my consultant, midwife and obstetrician discussed the options for the birth. I had the choice of a planned c section or a natural birth. I was petrified of the idea of a c section but a natural birth also scared me. My eldest son was born in a midwife led birthing suite in a water pool with no pain meds and I so wished for the same with my next pregnancy. Obviously this was not going to be possible and my consultant seemed keen for me to have an epidural. 

By the time I was 36 weeks both my boys were head down and looking great. They were similar in size and I had luckily not developed any problems that would interfere with a natural birth. I was however still so undecided. I would spend days swaying between natural and c section. It consumed my thoughts. At my 36 week scan my obstetrician examined me and said I had already started dilating. That solidified my decision to go for a natural birth. I had such a straightforward first birth and felt I would regret not giving it a go when everything was looking so good. I was not keen on an epidural but thought i’d have to get one. I was given a sweep that day and sent away to hopefully start labouring. 

Ready to head to the hospital for induction.

Over the next 4 days I felt twinges and some mild contractions but nothing earth shattering. I turned up 4 days later at the hospital for my planned induction. Upon examination I was already 5cm and luckily would only need my waters broken. Before this was done the midwife discussed pain relief and I explained that I did not like the idea of an epidural. I was so surprised to hear her say that she understood and that we would progress with the induction in the way I wanted.

By 11am they were ready to break the waters around twin 1. We got comfortable as we were told it might be a long wait. However our babies had other plans and my contractions ramped up a notch straight away. I wanted to stay on my feet as much as I could so I had two heart monitors strapped to my stomach to keep track of the babies heart rates. I gave a tens machine a try but found that as my contractions progressed, it got in the way of my focus. I had used hypnobirthing in my previous birth and found concentrating on my breathing and blocking everything else out helped so much.

It didn’t take long till we realised that I was nearly ready to push. The room gets very busy at this point during a twin birth. A third midwife, sonographer, surgeon and paediatric doctor all need to be there before you proceed. The next bit is a bit blurry for me as it all happened pretty fast. Noah was born first at 1:57 pm weighing 5lbs 7oz. Once he was out the third midwife held my stomach firmly to keep twin 2 in place while the sonographer checked that he was head down. Noah was handed to Tony after a very quick cuddle with me. Unfortunately I went back to 6 centimetres after this so the midwife had to break my second waters. After this there was no stopping Flyn and he came into the world at 2:26pm weighing 6lbs 3oz. Both were handed to Dad while I delivered the humongous placenta. From start to finish it had taken 3 and a half hours which was pretty fast and furious! Flyn needed a small stay in neonatal but we were all home safely together by day 7.

Both boys shortly after they were born.

Writing this I realise how lucky I was to be able to birth my babies in the way I wanted without complication. It was such an empowering experience but I would not have had the strength if it hadn’t been for both the midwives and my husband. They backed me and put trust in me that my body knew what it was doing. I am a strong believer in trusting our bodies to do what they were designed to and am proud that mine did just that. Having said that, I went into the birth knowing that the medical professionals know best and that getting those babies out safely whilst also keeping me safe was the priority. I have so much respect to all mamas out there, no matter how they birth their babies and I just feel grateful to have had three healthy babies to take home.

Our perfect twosome!

If you have any questions or want to talk to me about twin pregnancy or birth, fill in the form on the contact page and I will get back to you ASAP!

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Who am I?

Part time teacher alongside mummy duties to my three boys. Documenting a very busy and messy life.

Hello! 

My name is Kat and I’m a 33 year old mummy from Edinburgh. Born and bred, I have lived in Edinburgh my whole life except for a year in Australia which blew my mind!

I qualified as a primary school teacher in 2008 and work part time. I met my husband Tony in 2008 and we got married in 2014. We welcomed our first child Alfie in 2015 and our second two boys, twins Flyn and Noah in 2018. 

My plan in this blog is to share things that pop into my head and document life as a mum to three very energetic boys. I’m messy, sociable, honest, impulsive and long to be more creative than I am! I love baking, travelling, following interior account on Instagram and wine, wine and more wine. Pop over to my Instagram to see more pics of the kids and our busy life!